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Wednesday, February 2, 2022

| February 2, 2022

Lotus Communications’ Seattle All-News Officially Announces New Calls and Slogan. Last Friday (1/28), TALKERS magazine reported the changes included in a Seattle Times piece about the former KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle. Now, Lotus Communications makes it official. The all-news outlet takes on the new call letters KNWN-AM/FM and adopts the slogan “Northwest Newsradio.” The company says that the change was a condition of Sinclair Broadcast Group’s sale of the station – and sister AC KPLZ-FM “STAR 101.5” and talk KVI-AM – to Lotus. Sinclair continues to own and operate KOMO-TV. Lotus says, “Our commitment as the market’s leader in local and global news will not change. The same voices and outstanding news coverage that the Northwest has depended on will remain, as well as the station’s news and weather content sharing partnership with KOMO television.” Station general manager Gary Greenberg adds, “We honor the 95-year history of KOMO radio and its importance to our region. Lotus is fully committed to growing KNWN as the Northwest’s news and information leader by further engaging our community, advertisers and listeners.”

FOX News Channel Marks 20 Years as Top Cable News Channel. Citing data from Nielsen Media Research, FOX News Media says that its FOX News Channel “has accomplished another historic feat, marking its 20th consecutive year as the number one cable news network in total day and primetime. Since January 2002, FNC has remained the most-watched cable news network across both dayparts with total viewers and in the 25-54 demographic. FNC continued its ratings dominance for the month of January and was the only cable news network to show year-over-year growth in total day viewers, while MSNBC and CNN are experiencing massive declines, both shedding nearly three quarters of their audience.” FOX says that FNC continued to grow its audience share, occupying more than half the audience in total day viewers (55%) and the 25-54 demo (56%) and in primetime across both categories (56% P2+ and 56% A25-54). FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott comments, “I am immensely proud of this landmark achievement as it is a testament to the dedicated teams across FOX News Channel, who are the backbone in making us number one for 20 consecutive years with the most loyal and politically diverse audience in cable news.”

SiriusXM Reports Q 2021 Net Revenue Up 4%. Reporting its fourth quarter and full-year 2021 financial results, SiriusXM says its Q4 revenue was $2.28 billion – an increase of 4% over the same period in 2020 – and its full-year revenue was $8.7 billion – up 8% over all of 2020. Net income for the fourth quarter was $318 million, compared to Q4 2020’s net loss of $677 million. Net income for the full-year of 2021 was $1.31 billion compared to 2020’s net income of $131 million. (The fourth quarter and full year 2020 was impacted by a $976 million non-cash impairment charge associated with Pandora.) SirtiusXM CEO Jennifer Witz says, “2021 was an outstanding year across the board. We added more than one million net new SiriusXM self-pay subscribers for the 10th time in the past 11 years; this growth continues to be sustained by a fifth straight year of improving churn. Once again, we outperformed all of 2021’s public guidance, and now our strong financial position enables us to declare a special cash dividend to our stockholders. Our performance last year is a testament to our strong execution – and staying true to our vision of connecting listeners to the content they love. We collaborated with renowned and emerging creators across our platforms to deliver curated premium content both in- and out-of-car; and delivered value to our advertisers with effective solutions to reach a massive audience of more than 150 million listeners.” The company reports data for two segments – the SiriusXM segment and the Pandora segment that includes podcast platform Stitcher. SiriusXM says that in 2021, Stitcher and the company’s off-platform advertising businesses contributed $348 million of revenue, representing nearly 23% of the Pandora segment’s total revenue. Off-platform revenue, excluding Stitcher, increased approximately $60 million or 36% compared to 2020.

Good Karma Brands and WTMJ-AM, Milwaukee Giving Officer Shot in Line of Duty Trip to Super Bowl XVI. Milwaukee news/talk outlet WTMJ-AM and parent company Good Karma Brands are sending Milwaukee police officer Herbert Davis III, a Cincinnati Bengals fan who was shot multiple times while on duty on January 27, to the Super Bowl in Los Angeles. Davis was doing a welfare check on a person reportedly slumped over in their car. That person got into a struggle with Davis and shot him before stealing his cruiser and driving away. Davis says he’s taking his father with him to the game since his father instilled his love for the Bengals in him. WTMJ vice president Steve Wexler said on the WTMJ afternoon program, “It’s just a token of our appreciation for your service, your commitment, and your inspiration that you’ve brought to all of us.” Good Karma is giving Davis two tickets to the game, airfare to LA, a hotel room and several thousand dollars in spending money.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WGN-AM late night talk host Nick Digilio launches a new podcast called “The Nick D Podcast” on the Radio Misfits Podcast Network. Digilio tells Rick Kaempfer of Illinois Entertainer, “The podcast will be a lot like the WGN show. Tons of guests that were regulars on my show on WGN, and we cover the world of pop culture. We’ll do all the regular features that we did on the show. I’ll do movie reviews. And I get to swear a little. If you were a fan of the radio show, you’ll like this podcast.”…..Comic Byron Kennedy launches the podcast, “Hot Chicken & Cage-Free Conversation,” the first three episodes of which feature country artists Jimmie Allen, Brett Eldredge, and Lainey Wilson. The podcast is a production of Benztown and McVay Media Podcast Networks and is billed as a “wildly unscripted podcast that will feature special guests ranging from musical artists to industry power players, professional athletes, actors, fellow comedians and more.”…..FOX Sports Radio says it will begin its 22nd annual Super Week coverage on Monday (2/7). Twenty-three hours a day of FSR’s weekday lineup will originate from Los Angeles, including “The Herd with Colin Cowherd”; “The Dan Patrick Show”; “Two Pros and a Cup of Joe with LaVar Arrington, Brady Quinn and Jonas Knox”; “The Doug Gottlieb Show”; “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard and Rob Parker”; “The Jason Smith Show with Mike Harmon”; and “The Ben Maller Show.” The network will also present a special live, remote broadcast from Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica on Saturday (2/12) featuring “Up On Game with LaVar Arrington, TJ Houshmandzadeh and Plaxico Burress”; “The Joy Taylor Show”; and “Steve Hartman & Geoff Schwartz.”

January 6 Investigation, COVID-19, Ukraine Tensions, Midterm Elections/Trump & the GOP, Deadly Violence Against Cops, Beijing Olympics, Spotify Case, and Whoopi Goldberg Suspended Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/1). The House Select Committee’s investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and Donald Trump’s statement he may pardon those convicted if elected; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad, mandates, and school policies; the diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and Russia over the latter’s military build-up at the Ukraine border; the battle for control over Congress in November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the rash of deadly attacks on police in numerous U.S. cities; the political sideshow accompanying the Beijing Winter Olympics; Spotify’s handling of musicians pulling their music from the service over podcaster Joe Rogan’s program; and Whoopi Goldberg is suspended from ABC’s “The View” after Holocaust remarks were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.