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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

| January 25, 2022

Dennis Green Promoted to COO for Sun & Fun Media and Key Networks. Chief revenue officer Dennis Green is promoted to chief operating officer for Sun & Fun Media and affiliated radio syndication company Key Networks. He’ll continue to report to founder and CEO Rob Koblasz. Green joined Sun & Fun Media as CRO in May 2018 after serving for 22 years with Westwood One and added CRO responsibilities for Key Networks upon the network’s launch in March 2019. In his new role, Green will oversee operations for Sun & Fun Media’s products and services for barter to radio and for Key Networks’ portfolio of nationally syndicated programming and services. Koblasz says, “Dennis is one of the hardest working people in radio, and we are very pleased to reward his efforts with this much-deserved promotion to the chief operating officer of both Sun & Fun Media and Key Networks. As chief revenue officer since 2018, Dennis has been central to the continued growth of Sun & Fun Media and the successful launch and growth of Key Networks. His leadership and deep experience in network radio are tremendous assets for us.” Green comments, “I’m delighted to assume the role of COO for Sun & Fun Media and Key Networks. I’ve been fortunate in my career to work with amazing talent and provide programming and services for stations. Rob Koblasz gave me an opportunity to build upon the success at Sun & Fun and to start Key Networks, which is fast developing into a ‘key’ player in network radio. Thank you to the best-in-class staff we have assembled to help lead the charge to provide best-in-class products and services to affiliates around the country. The best is yet to come!”

Beasley Media Group Names Pat Eastburn VP of Digital Sales. Digital media sales pro Pat Eastburn joins Beasley Media Group as vice president of digital sales. Eastburn was most recently vice president and general manager at Flypaper Digital Marketing, the internal digital agency of WEHCO Media. In his new role, Eastburn will report to Beasley chief digital officer Todd Handy and focus on leveraging his experience across the entire digital sales team as well as be focused on new products, services and key verticals. Handy says, “Pat was the consensus choice as the top candidate for this role given his extensive background in leading digital agency sales teams and disrupting traditional media channels.” Eastburn comments, “I’m very excited to join Beasley Media Group. It’s so well-respected and I’ve been thoroughly impressed by the entire team. I believe that digital marketing has significant potential as an industry relative to current and future opportunity. Combine that opportunity with top level talent and the sky is the limit.”

Banyan Software Acquires Mr. Master Inc. Today Banyan Software, Inc. Enterprise software firm Banyan Software acquires compliance and content distribution software Mr. Master Inc. Banyan, self-described as a firm that “focuses on a buy and hold for life strategy for growing software companies that serve specialized markets,” says the Mr. Master acquisition joins its growing portfolio of media companies which includes vCreative and Counterpoint Software. Banyan says it employs a decentralized management philosophy, allowing Mr. Master to operate independently and continue the successful practices that led to its acquisition interest. Banyan CEO David Berkal says, “The Mr. Master team has deep, network radio software expertise and has spent over two decades developing market leading products that serve the unique needs of its long-standing customers. We are excited to welcome Mr. Master into the Banyan family of companies and look forward to supporting the company’s future growth in the coming years.” Mr. Master president and founder Stu Jacobs comments, “We have a great team and product that radio has embraced as its go-to traffic and production workflow solution and partnering with Banyan marks an exciting new chapter in our journey. I am thrilled to stay on as CEO and work alongside Banyan as we continue to build on the foundation of client-centered innovation and services that has made Mr. Master so exceptional. Equally important is the opportunity to leverage additional resources, fueling our continued growth.”

Neal Boortz to Do Commentaries for ‘Xtra 106.3,’ Atlanta. Retired talk radio legend Neal Boortz will start doing daily commentaries for Dickey Broadcasting’s WFOM-AM/W292EV, Atlanta “Xtra 106.3/1230,” effective January 31. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports that Boortz will provide daily, two-minute commentaries. Station owner David Dickey tells the AJC, “I told Neal I figured he didn’t want to do a long-form show and we couldn’t afford that anyway. Our goal is to give him a forum for a station that is growing quickly and to fill a niche. He’ll be a great addition to our brand.” In a statement, Boortz says, “The opportunity to be stridently un-WOKE and to stir things up during a crucial election year just couldn’t be passed up. Let’s have some fun.” One fallout from the new deal is that Cox Media Group’s crosstown news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM is not allowing Boortz’s voice on endorsement spots he’s been cutting for a number of clients that air on the station.

Alan Peterson Sets March Retirement Date. Writer, air personality and veteran radio/podcast production pro “The Other” Alan Peterson announces he’s retiring from his position with Radio America and the business, effective March 11. Peterson has served with Radio America for the past 18 years engineering or producing weekend programs including, “The Pet Show with Warren Eckstein,” “Intelligent Medicine with Dr. Ronald Hoffman,” “Liberty Nation,” “Tech It Out,” and “Eat Drink Smoke,” among many others. Peterson is the co-creator of the comedy jingle collection, “Dork-a-Pellas,” now produced and distributed by Dan O’Day’s L.A. Air Force. From 1989 to 2004 he wrote for Radio World and served as technical editor. He hosted radio shows in Syracuse; Springfield, MA; Danbury, CT; and Washington DC.

TALKERS News Notes. Imaging, voiceover, and jingle firm Benztown is partnering with P1 Media Group to present a free webinar for radio professionals called, “Stop Using Best Practices and Try Something New.” This 18th in the “Global Radio Ideas” webinar series is being hosted by Benztown CEO Andreas Sannemann and P1 Media Group partner Ken Benson and will feature Alpha Media EVP of content Phil Becker who will share his insights into what stations should be doing in 2022 to drive the growth of their brands. The webinar takes place on Thursday (1/27) at 1:00 pm ET. You can register for the webinar here…..PodcastOne teams with MotorTrend Group to produce and distribute “The InEVitable,” the limited-run podcast and vodcast series hosted by Ed Loh, MotorTrend head of editorial, and MotorTrend editor and automotive personality Jonny Lieberman. On the program, Loh and Lieberman will provide lively in-depth discussion on the greatest challenges and changes coming for the future of transportation. In the premiere episode, Reggie Watts, actor, comedian and band leader for “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” sits down with Loh and Lieberman for an engrossing conversation about how Watts thinks about artificial intelligence and consciousness, and what that might mean for the automotive world. As an owner of both gas-powered and electric-powered vehicles, Watts also talks about the dichotomy of owning both plus his love of Porsche cars…..SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio is broadcasting live from this year’s PGA Show today through Friday (1/25-28). SiriusXM hosts including Robert Gamez, Carl Paulson, Brian Katrek, Jason Sobel and Taylor Zarzour will broadcast on location from PGA Show Demo & Fitting Day at the Orange County National Golf Center, as well as the 2022 PGA Show at the Orange County Convention Center.

Ukraine Tensions, Financial Markets/Inflation, Biden-Doocy Incident, COVID-19, Urban Crime & Violence, and Boris Johnson Troubles Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/24). Concerns about Russia’s military build-up at the Ukraine border; the week-long selloff on the world’s financial markets that’s worrying investors and record-high retail and oil prices; President Joe Biden curses at FOX News reporter Peter Doocy after being asked a question about inflation affecting the midterm elections; the high rate of COVID infections in the U.S. and abroad and the legal challenges to vaccine and mask mandates; the spike in urban crime and violence; and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s sinking popularity after being photographed violating COVID protocols were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, January 12, 2021

| January 12, 2022

Dave Ramsey Releases New Book, Baby Steps Millionaires. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey has published his most recent book, Baby Steps Millionaires (Ramsey Press, 2022). A press release for the book says, “In his first trade book in eight years, Ramsey proves that anyone can become a millionaire — no matter their starting point. The No. 1 national bestselling author and host of ‘The Ramsey Show’ tells real stories about ordinary people who spent years busting through barriers and digging out of debt so they could build wealth. Now, they’re millionaires.” The book takes a deeper look at how Ramsey invests and builds wealth — and teaches readers how they can do the same. It also includes Ramsey Solutions’ The National Study of Millionaires, the largest study of millionaires ever done in North America. Dave Ramsey says, “This is a book 30 years in the making. I’ve coached millions of people on ‘The Ramsey Show’ over that last 30 years, and people come up to me all the time saying they’re millionaires because they followed the Ramsey Baby Steps. The stories of real Baby Steps Millionaires will show you this is really possible — because these millionaires are just like you!”

Sun & Fun Media Celebrates 25th Anniversary. Founded in 1996 by chief executive officer Rob Koblasz, Sun & Fun Media is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Sun & Fun is a leading network radio company offering radio stations a unique suite of products and services designed to increase sales, improve ratings, and reduce expenses for 100% barter. It serves more than 1,400 stations across the U.S in nearly all 50 states. Sun & Fun says it is the radio industry’s go-to supplier of virtually all products and services needed by radio stations for barter, including vacations, incentives, gift cards, vehicle wraps, branded station merchandise, and bill pay for NTR events, television and billboard advertising for stations, research, consultants, transmitters and other equipment, software and more. The company has even paid electric bills on barter, as well as worked with large radio groups to cover costs for corporate managerial meetings and office holiday parties. Koblasz, who is also CEO for Key Networks, says, “Over the last 25 years, Sun & Fun Media has built a dream team of former radio GMs and network executives who deliver big for our clients time and time again. Our team has an extensive radio background. We understand the needs of stations and the challenges they face, and we’re able to provide turnkey solutions to improve their top-line revenue and reduce their expenses. We are proud to have set the standard as a barter partner to radio stations across the country. We thank our team members for their outstanding service and commitment to our customers, and our loyal customers who continue to grow with us.

iHeartMedia Reveals Plans for Development in the Metaverse and Web3. Audio giant iHeartMedia says it is taking “an important next step in extending its presence into web3 and the metaverse, beginning with plans for the creation of iHeart events and experiences for listeners and music fans” on online gaming platform and game creating system Roblox and “committing to launch tokenized communities for its users and creators.” It also says it will “use its industry-leading consumer reach of over 90% of Americans every month and strong engagement to create the awareness and demand necessary to bring new metaverse and web3 platforms to the mass market.” If you’re not familiar with these terms, XRToday defines metaverse as “a simulated digital environment that uses augmented reality, virtual reality, and blockchain, along with concepts from social media, to create spaces for rich user interaction mimicking the real world.” Wikipedia defines web3 as “an idea for a new iteration of the World Wide Web based on blockchains, which incorporates concepts including decentralization and token-based economics.” iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “Although there are a number of great new products for the metaverse and web3 from a wide array of creators, with our unparalleled audience reach, multiple platforms, and our trusted broadcast and podcast hosts, iHeartMedia is uniquely positioned to build the consumer awareness, understanding and demand necessary for those new products and platforms from both us and others to succeed. We see this as a unique opportunity to serve our listeners’ needs, provide an important new layer of growth for the company, and help develop the advertising and consumer potential for the metaverse and web3.” The press release says that this year, “iHeartMedia plans to bring immersive musical moments to the over 47 million daily active users on the Roblox platform and launch its first tokenized community, building a new token that will incentivize and reward the iHeart creator community in new ways and give iHeart’s fans unique access to offerings across its multiple platforms, and a series of collectible non-fungible tokens (NFTs), building on the success of its previously launched iHeartRadio Music Festival NFTs in partnership with Green NFT platform OneOf in September 2021.

Premiere Networks’ Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Enjoying Rapid Growth. According to data presented by Premiere Networks, the nationally syndicated radio program “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show” continues to experience rapid growth and success across multiple platforms since its debut in June 2021. Premiere says, “In addition to marking one of the biggest launches in talk radio history on more than 400 stations nationwide, the program’s total AQH audience increased 40% from June to November among PPM markets in the key demo of Adults 25-54. The powerhouse duo is also driving No. 1 rankings in many markets, including KTRH-AM, Houston; KOGO-AM, San Diego; KNRS-FM, Salt Lake City; KFBK-AM, Sacramento; WTKK-FM, Raleigh-Durham; and WISN-AM, Milwaukee. Additionally, ‘The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show’ closed out 2021 by setting a new podcast record with 10.3 million monthly downloads in December. The popular program is also connecting and engaging with fans online, with unique visitors to www.ClayandBuck.com growing 239% since its launch in June 2021.”

Compass Media Networks Promotes Alexander to Senior Director of Research. The company announces that Kareem Alexander is promoted to senior director of research. Compass Media Networks says that Alexander, who’s been with the company since 2015 and previously held the director of research title, will oversee and manage the research, data, and analytics of Compass Media Networks’ 16 national advertising networks and audience measurements of the affiliate base. Compass president of sales & marketing Paul Gregery comments, “Kareem always goes above and beyond to deliver timely research and data for our sales staff and advertisers.”

AURN and Superadio Networks Offer Free MLK Jr. Weekend Programming. This weekend is Martin Luther King Jr. weekend and American Urban Radio Network and Superadio Networks are offering free programs to honor and celebrate Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The informative and provocative one-hour special celebrating the life and legacy of King is titled, “King…Realizing the Dream.” It was originally produced in 2002 and chronicles the life of the Baptist minister and freedom fighter and explores how we as a society have carried on King’s legacy. The special includes excerpts from his inspiring speeches and examines the messages behind the words by those who walked with him to contemporary leaders who have carried the torch for justice and equality. This offering also includes a series of one-minute MLK vignettes titled, “Inspiring Moments,” and “Remembering the Dreamer.”

Loker Promoted to VP of Politics/Senior Executive Producer at FNC. Producer Jessica Loker is promoted to vice president of politics and senior executive producer of “FOX News Sunday” at FOX News Channel. In this role, Loker will oversee all political newsgathering and logistics in addition to managing “FOX News Sunday,” the network’s one-hour Sunday public affairs program that airs on FOX Broadcasting and FNC. Alan Komissaroff will continue overseeing all political coverage as the SVP of news & politics. FOX News Media president & executive editor Jay Wallace says, “Jessica’s exceptional skills and extensive understanding of politics in Washington and beyond have made her an asset to our news division. We look forward to her continued contributions to the network.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new podcast from Audacy’s Cadence13 called “Fly on the Wall” is launching. The program stars former “Saturday Night Live” alums Dana Carvey and David Spade who sit down with past and present cast, hosts, writers, and musical guests to reminisce about their favorite moments, memories, and sketches from the iconic sketch comedy program. Each week, Carvey and Spade invite listeners to be a “fly on the wall” as they sit down for in-depth conversations with a who’s who of SNL, as well as other special guests and friends, to take listeners behind the scenes and share never-before told stories about their careers and time on the show. Guests include: Chris Rock, Tom Hanks, Darrell Hammond, Kevin Nealon, Jon Lovitz, Martin Short, Melanie Hutsell, Ana Gasteyer, Tim Meadows, Laraine Newman, Rob Lowe, and Will Forte…..AdLarge announces that the “Honeydew Me” podcast joins the company’s podcast sales network portfolio. Expanding the focus on female health, wellness, and self-love, “Honeydew Me” podcast – hosted by Emma Norman and Cass Anderson – pushes old boundaries and breaks antiquated rules and expectations by openly discussing women’s sexual wellness, and normalizing conversations, questions and experiences. AdLarge co-founder Cathy Csukas says, “Emma and Cass have created something that is uniquely compelling, informative, and honest. They have provided a space to openly and authentically address female health and insecurities in a casual and safe environment. Proven by their explosive engagement on social media and with the podcast, it’s abundantly clear these are questions women everywhere want to find answers to.”…..Public media’s WNYC welcomes two new staffers as Steve Smith joins as the culture & art editor and Ann Givens assumes the public safety editor role. Smith was most recently with NPR as a senior editor on the arts, culture and books desk. Givens comes to WNYC from The Trace, a nonprofit news outlet dedicated to covering guns and gun violence in America.

COVID-19, Voting Rights, Facebook Anti-Trust Complaint, U.S.-Russia Relations, 2022 Midterms/Trump & the GOP, January 6 Investigation, and Boris Johnson Troubles Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/11). The soaring rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the Omicron variant, and the face-off between Dr. Anthony Fauci and Senator Rand Paul; President Joe Biden’s Atlanta speech promoting the Voting Rights Act; Facebook loses its bid to have the FTC’s anti-trust complaint against it tossed; the U.S., NATO and Russia’s planned meeting over the Russian troops amassed at the Ukraine border; the battle for control of Congress in the 2022 midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence within the GOP; the investigation into the January 6 attack on the Capitol; and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is called out for attending Downing Street party that violated COVID protocols were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

| January 14, 2021

Key Networks Names Deidra Hoye to Lead Expanded Sales Team. Syndication firm Key Networks appoints network advertising sales executive Deidra Hoye to the senior vice president, ad sales position in which she’ll lead the company’s newly expanded sales team. Los Angeles-based Hoye will supervise the enhanced sales team of veteran network radio sales professionals that includes recent hires Maggie Sisco, vice president, Eastern sales; Brian Pollina, vice president, Midwest sales; and Michelle McLynn, supervisor of sales support & operations. Hoye previously served as vice president, network sales, for Premiere Networks. Sisco joins Key Networks from PodcastOne, where she was vice president/director of sales, Eastern region. Pollina comes to Key Networks from United Stations Radio Networks, where he was vice president of digital assets and Midwest sales. McLynn joins Key from Westwood One, where she was affiliate services manager. Key Networks and Sun & Fun Media CEO Rob Koblasz says, “We are delighted to welcome Deidra to the Key Networks team. Her wealth of experience in the network ad sales arena will allow us to serve our partners now and as we grow our network. Deidra’s leadership along with the breadth of experience of our team is a winning combination for our customers.” Key Networks syndicates “The O’Reilly Update,” starring Bill O’Reilly to almost 250 radio stations. It also manages all network advertising sales, affiliate sales, and marketing for Bloomberg Radio and distributes “Shawn Parr’s Across The Country,” as well as news/talk program “The Jesse Kelly Show,” alt rock morning program, “The Billy Madison Show,” and Virtual Jock programming services.

KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh News Anchor Rose Ryan-Douglas to Retire. Pittsburgh news anchor Rose Ryan-Douglas is retiring from her PM drive anchor post at Entercom’s news/talk KDKA-AM after 45years in the broadcasting business. Ryan-Douglas has been with KDKA-AM since 2002. She joined KDKA-AM after anchoring the morning news at crosstown (current classic hits outlet) WWSW “3WS” for almost 20 years. Entercom Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “Rose has been the ultimate news professional. Not only will we miss her on the air but her calming influence in the newsroom is irreplaceable. On behalf of all of us at KDKA Radio and our listeners we thank her for the tremendous work she has done over the years.” Her last shift will be Friday, February 26.

Seth Goldberg Exits ‘ESPN Syracuse’ for Gig with the NBA. Syracuse.com reports that WTLA-AM, Syracuse “ESPN Radio Syracuse” host and producer Seth Goldberg is leaving the radio station to take a position with the NBA. Goldberg began working at WTLA in 2015 producing “Upon Further Review” with hosts Chris McManus and Steve Neikam while still a student at Syracuse University. Joining WTLA full time after graduating in 2016, Goldberg has been co-host and producer for “Orange Nation” (co-hosted with Steve Infanti), and produces “On the Block,” a program with Syracuse.com’s Brent Axe. Both programs also are featured on the WTLA-SU Twitch streaming channel ‘Cuse Sports Talk.’ Galaxy Media CEO Ed Levine says Goldberg’s on-air role on “Orange Nation” will be filled in the interim by Paulie Scibilia.

Beasley Media Group’s Preliminary Q4 Net Revenue Down 5.8%-6.5%. Releasing preliminary financial data from the fourth quarter of 20201, Beasley Media Group says it expects net revenue for the period to be approximately $67.4 million to $67.9 million. Compared to the same period in 2019, the figures represent a decrease of between 5.8% and 6.5%. The company says the change reflects a year-over-year decrease in commercial advertising revenue due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, partially offset by growth in digital, esports, and political revenue. Other data points include: fourth quarter 2020 Station Operating Income increased by approximately 23.1% to 28.8% year-over-year to approximately $19.2 million to $20.1 million; and fourth quarter 2020 EBITDA increased by approximately 25.0% to 33.8% year-over-year to approximately $17.0 million to $18.2 million. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “We expect to report top-line revenue improvement in the second half of the year, with sequential quarter-over-quarter growth in both the third and fourth quarters of 2020. Our preliminary fourth quarter performance also demonstrates the significant operating benefits from the actions we took earlier this year to address the pandemic, including reducing station operating expenses and negotiating discounts with landlords, service providers, and partners. Although it is difficult to predict what the impact of COVID-19 will be in the coming months, we remain optimistic that the commercial advertising market will return to more normalized revenue levels as we move further into the year, following broad vaccine distribution.”

CES2021: Technology Is Merely the Plumbing. As the (virtual) convention that reporters are scolded for calling “the Consumer Electronics Show” wraps today, consultant Holland Cooke urges broadcasters to focus on product, not package. Read his analysis here.

First Detroit Sports Talk Show Hosted by Frank Beckmann? Not So Fast… Former longtime Detroit Free Press writer John Smyntek reaches out to TALKERS magazine to let us know that legendary Detroit radio personality Frank Beckmann – who announced his retirement from Cumulus Media’s WJR-AM on Wednesday (it takes effect at the end of March) – was not the first to host a sports talk program on Detroit radio as the press release from WJR claims. Smyntek says, “WXYZ-AM (1270, now WXYT-AM) had the late Dave Diles hosting a daily sports talk and caller dial-in show from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm weeknights starting, I think, in 1967 and running through 1969 or 1970. Then Ron Cameron had a sports call-in format on WXYT-AM under the Chuck Fritz regime for several years in the 1970s, long before Beckmann’s show started.” Smyntek – who retired from the Free Press in 2008 – says Beckmann’s “Sportstalk” program, launched in 1981, was indeed the first sports show to air on WJR-AM.

WSB, Atlanta Talk Star Erick Erickson Is This Week’s Guest on the Harrison Podcast.  One of the rising stars of talk radio, Erick Erickson of WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” He’s one of the most important talk radio figures in the Peach State where, for the past eight years, he’s been hosting “Atlanta’s Evening News with Erick Erickson,” a 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm program on the Cox Media Group heritage station. He also hosts a recently launched, daily three-hour show airing from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon on his own independent network of almost 20 stations stretching across Georgia that many industry observers say is ready to expand nationally. His background is fascinating. Born 45 years ago in Jackson, Louisiana, he was raised between the ages of five and 15 in Dubai where his father worked for Conoco Oil as a production foreman. Returning to the U.S., he received a bachelor’s degree from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and a J.D. degree from Mercer University Walter F. George School of Law. He practiced law for six years at a major legal firm in Georgia. He served four years as an elected city councilman in Macon. He was one of the founders of RedState.com which he managed as editor-in-chief for 10 years. He’s been a regular contributor to CNN and FOX News Channel over the years. He’s currently attending a seminary where he is working on earning a theological degree and he’s one of the talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh turns to when he needs someone to fill in. Erickson is a conservative who has not been reluctant to tell his audience the truths he thinks they need to know as opposed to engaging in the daily dance of affirmation and only telling them what they want to hear – especially when it comes to his opinions about President Donald Trump. Don’t miss this extremely timely conversation about the state of talk radio and politics in America today recorded the day after the Capitol insurrection. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Report: Dan Le Batard and Former ESPN Boss John Skipper to Form New Sports Media Company. According to a report by Michael McCarthy at Front Office Sports, former ESPN radio and TV personality Dan Le Batard and former ESPN chief John Skipper are partnering for a new “politically progressive sports media company” that is “described as the strategic opposite of Clay TravisOutkick.” The Le Batard-Skipper partnership was first reported by the Miami Herald. McCarthy’s piece says that Le Batard and Skipper are seeking talent including former ESPN talent Jemele Hill, Bomani Jones, and Kate Fagan. Hill tells FOS, “We’re trying to figure out the most productive way to work together. Both John and Dan know I have such a deep level of respect for them. So, me working with them again always felt like it was inevitable.” Skipper is currently executive chairman of sports streaming platform DAZN. Hill, in the aftermath of her departure from ESPN, formed her own production company that produces the Vice TV show “Stick to Sports,” and the “Jemele Hill is Unbothered” Spotify podcast.

TALKERS News Notes. Detroit talk station WFDF “910 AM Superstation” announces that former Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, who served as mayor during the city’s water scandal, joins the station as a talk host. She’ll appear Monday-Friday in the 8:00 am to 9:00 am hour. Adell Radio Group CEO Kevin Adell says that with former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder being criminally charged with willful neglect in conjunction with the Flint water crisis, bringing Weaver aboard is timely. “Mayor Karen Weaver watched this disgraceful water episode unfold firsthand and will have much to talk about as Rick Snyder works his way through our legal system”…..The Armstrong & Getty Show – starring Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty – announces that QBS Broadcasting’s talk WBQO-FM, Brunswick, Georgia adds the program to its lineup. WBQO program director Paul Andresen says, “There’s a reason Armstrong & Getty’s reputation precedes them. So, when tasked with finding a replacement for Clark Howard, it was a no-brainer. A&G brings a much-needed change of perspective and influx of personality to not only 93.7 WBQO, but our market as a whole. The listeners’ response, from the first show onward, has been nothing short of fantastic and I couldn’t be prouder to have Armstrong & Getty in our on-air lineup.”…..The “RMWorldTravel with Robert & Mary Carey and Rudy Maxa” announces that it has added 23 new affiliate stations in 2021 so far, bringing its affiliate roster to more than 460 stations!

U.S. House Votes to Impeach Trump, Capitol Attack Investigation, States Prep for More Attacks, Social Media and Free Speech, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, WHO Investigating COVID Origin in China, and Powerball Jackpot Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/13). The U.S. House of Representatives votes to impeach Donald Trump; the investigation into last week’s attack on the Capitol; states across the nation move to protect their capitals from potential future attacks; the removal of Donald Trump and others from social media platforms and questions about free speech; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the rollout of vaccines; the WHO enters China to investigate the origin of the coronavirus; and the record Powerball jackpot were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

| August 12, 2020

Sumner Redstone Has Died. According to a statement from ViacomCBS, its chair emeritus and chief executive officer of controlling shareholder National Amusements, Sumner Redstone, has died. Redstone served as Viacom CEO from 1996 – 2005, and was executive chair of the Viacom and CBS boards from 2005 – 2016. He since was chair emeritus for both companies. A statement reads, “Sumner Redstone was a brilliant visionary, operator, and dealmaker, who single-handedly transformed a family-owned drive-in theater company into a global media portfolio. He was a force of nature and fierce competitor, who leaves behind a profound legacy in both business and philanthropy. ViacomCBS will remember Sumner for his unparalleled passion to win, his endless intellectual curiosity, and his complete dedication to the company. We extend our deepest sympathies to the Redstone family today.” Sumner Redstone was 97 years old.

Beasley Study: Boston Consumers Optimistic. Results of Beasley Media Group Boston-commissioned/ Strategic Solutions Research-conducted polling indicate the majority of Boston-area consumers remain optimistic even during the COVID-19 crisis. Furthermore, a large percentage feel their spending is – or will soon be – back to normal. Beasley Media Group Boston vice president/market manager Mary Menna comments, “The company’s study is meant to help guide marketing partners on how to craft the most effective messaging with their advertising and give Boston area businesses critical data as to local consumers’ current state-of-mind and planned future behaviors. It was important for us to conduct this research to get a pulse on Boston consumers for our clients. People in Boston are optimistic that we will make it through the pandemic. That optimism shows true ‘Boston Strong’ grit and determination. They also understand the seriousness of the situation: The great majority of listeners – nine of ten – support wearing a mask, and they expect others to do so as well.” Strategic Solutions Research partner Hal Rood notes that, while shopping patterns have had to shift online, “It does not spell the end of brick-and-mortar establishments. The overwhelming majority of listeners still plan on making in-person shopping part of their mix, and that includes people under 35.” The survey was conducted July 6 – 16 among 1,532 listeners of Beasley Media Group Boston’s five radio stations: sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub”; classic hits-oldies WROR “105.7 ’80s & More”; WKLB “Country 102.5”; WBOS “Boston’s Rock 92.9”; and rhythmic hot AC WBQT “Hot 96.9.”

Local Ad Revenue Estimates Lowered. Continuing economic fallout owing to the coronavirus crisis has led BIA Advisory Services to adjust its estimate for 2020’s total local advertising market to $140.4 billion, which is down from April’s $144.3 billion. Albeit with this year’s anticipated strong political advertising, BIA’s updated forecast estimate represents a 6.1% decline from 2019. BIA’s senior vice president/chief economist Mark Fratrik explains that, “To update our post-COVID forecast from April, we analyzed the continuing impact on local advertising by the weakened economy, continuing job loss reports, and the downturn in some key business verticals. We believe a realistic view of the economy overall and the advertising marketplace is that, after a dramatic decrease in the second-quarter and a bumpy start to the third, the remainder of the year will turn positive, but end up with an overall decline in local advertising for the year.” As political campaigns continue to drift to online rallies and events, presidential and down-ballot candidates are spending significant dollars in local broadcast and digital advertising. Ever since its April prediction, BIA increased the expected political ad spend from $7.1 billion to $7.3 billion. Distributed share to different media includes $5 million to terrestrial radio; $138 million to over-the-air TV; $40 million to cable TV; and $26 million to online/digital.

COVID-19 Concerns Cause BFA Golf Tourney Cancellation. Owing to coronavirus-related safety fears, the Broadcasters Foundation of America has scrubbed its celebrity golf tournament fundraiser. Another big BFA money driver – the Philip J. Lombardo Golf Tournament traditionally held in conjunction with the NAB Show in Las Vegas – was cancelled as well a few months ago. Broadcasters Foundation chair Scott Herman remarks, “Our colleagues who find themselves in acute need due to a debilitating illness or accident need our help. This year, we are helping more broadcasters than ever before, and it’s imperative that we continue to do so. We cannot turn our backs on our colleagues.” Broadcasters Foundation president Jim Thompson adds, “We have three major fundraisers a year, and the golf tournaments are two of them. Our grant recipients worked in radio or television stations in markets across America.” The two golf fundraisers, along with smaller events, generate over $450,000 a year. In hopes of negating the losses, the Broadcasters Foundation is launching a plea for donations. Personal contributions can be made to the Foundation’s Guardian Fund. Corporate offerings are accepted through the Angel Initiative, while bequests can be made through the Foundation’s Legacy Society.

Mr. Master Marks Milestone: Million Spots Per Week. The company behind Automation Import Manager (AIM) – Mr. Master – has processed and provided compliance for one million network spots per week nationwide. This coincides with Mr. Master announcing new AIM agreements with Neuhoff Communications (five markets/20 stations) and Forever Communications (three markets/26 stations). It has AIM renewal contracts with Entercom (44 markets/453 stations); Alpha Media (46 markets/226 stations); SummitMedia (nine markets/51 stations); and Forever Media (16 markets/63 stations). Mr. Master president Stu Jacobs states, “We are very proud that AIM has become such a widely accepted, and useful tool that helps networks, stations, and advertisers to quickly get the accurate information they need, whether they are working in-office or remotely. One million national network spots a week – 52 million spots a year – is a huge milestone for our company. We couldn’t have done it without our first-class team and the amazing clients who trust us with their accountability.”

Albuquerque’s KQTM Aligns With Cage Side Seat MMA Media. The multi-layered broadcast relationship between Team Broadcasting Albuquerque sports talk KQTM “ESPN 101.7 The Team” and Cage Side Seat MMA Media includes weekly Jim “Gries” Grieshaber-hosted longform programming; daily UFC/MMA commentaries/features; and weekly guest appearances on live programming. KQTM president Joe O’Neill comments, “It’s great to work with Jim. He’s a national-level talent connected to the pulse of UFC/MMA. We look forward to bringing “Gries” to New Mexico.” Grieshaber adds, “We’re so pumped to partner with our friends at ‘The Team’ and the great MMA fans of Albuquerque. Albuquerque is hallowed ground in our sport. It is home of the mecca of MMA gyms Jackson-Wink MMA, the GOAT Jon Jones, and legends like Holly Holm, Carlos Condit, Diego Sanchez, ‘The Karate Hottie’ Michelle Waterson, and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. We’re coming strong with the best in MMA/UFC sports talk programming.”

Key Networks And Virtual Jock Partnering. In the barter basis arrangement, New Generation Radio product Virtual Jock will provide syndication company Key Networks access to its on-air talent and programming services. Virtual Jock founder/president/chief executive officer Jason Kidd explains that right before launching Virtual Jock five years ago, “Many stations were downsizing and losing strong local talent in the process. Fast forward to now and the need is greater than ever before. Teaming up with Key Networks will allow us to take things to an even higher level, expanding and offering our major market talent roster to radio stations across all formats. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with them.” Key Networks president and chief operating officer Jim Higgins comments, “The ongoing disruption from COVID-19 has severely impacted every radio company. All have eliminated some on-air positions and daypart shifts as cost-cutting moves in order to retain financial stability. Virtual Jock can now assist these groups and others by offering a no-cost barter option to fill some of these numerous holes and to also reconnect with those disenfranchised listeners. We want to work closely with stations to fill this void as radio is beginning to rebound.” Chief revenue officer Dennis Green notes, “Jason [Kidd] and his team have developed a concept that offers stations a chance to bring top-notch talent across all formats to markets from coast-to-coast. Key Networks is delighted to partner with Virtual Jock to provide a marketing opportunity that is cost-effective for stations both large and small to have dynamic and proven talent on their air.” In addition to 24/7 formats, Virtual Jock currently offers 40 full-time/in-house voice talents, as well as fully-produced audio programs and imaging. New York and Orlando-based Key Networks is a Sun & Fun Media-affiliated company.

Shondaland Audio, iHeartMedia Release Original Podcasts. As part of an arrangement between iHeartRadio and Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland Audio, three podcasts will debut this month: “You Down?”; “Criminalia”; and “Go Ask Ali.” Future podcasts will include “#Matter,” “American Coup,” and “Black Girl Lost.” According to iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne, “Shonda Rhimes is an absolute creative powerhouse. Developing these first few shows together has indicated what a strong partnership iHeartMedia and Shondaland have formed with Shondaland Audio. The breadth and depth of content that’s in progress as part of this partnership is unparalleled. We’re thrilled to work beside the Shondaland team to bring Shonda’s unique storytelling magic to podcast listeners everywhere.” Shondaland Audio chief design and digital media officer Sandie Bailey states, “Podcasts allow for innovative and intimate storytelling and that’s exactly what this slate offers – deeply human stories through a range of genres and formats aimed to engage the varied and ever- growing podcast listenership. iHeartMedia has been an incredible partner in forming Shondaland Audio. I’m thrilled that audiences will soon hear more from our collaboration with this new offering of shows.” Rhimes oversees development of the slate; Bailey manages day-to-day operations. Previously launched “Katie’s Crib,” a bi-weekly podcast following “Scandal” and “Waitress” actress Katie Lowes joined the slate three months ago. It releases a new episode tomorrow (Thursday, 8/13) that features actress Gabrielle Union.

Veritone One Signs On With Nielsen’s Podcast Buying Power Service. Audio advertising and media agency Veritone One is now subscribing to Nielsen’s Podcast Buying Power Service. Veritone One senior vice president of strategy and investment Conor Doyle comments, “As one of the largest podcast advertising agencies serving over 100 active clients across 15,000 podcasts, Nielsen’s research will help us refine our current placements and unlock market opportunities for new advertisers wanting to enter the medium. Access to consumption and audience data will attract brand advertisers who have been previously hesitant to enter the largely direct-to-consumer space. Integrating Nielsen’s unique insights along with our proprietary AI-based analytics and decades of experience will enable us to set a new industry standard in podcast advertising.” Nielsen Global Media executive vice president/managing director David Hohman notes, “Veritone One is an agency that is on the cutting-edge of advertising. We are excited to empower them as they turn their data into actionable intelligence with real-time campaign optimization. With more brand advertisers coming into the podcast medium, and Nielsen’s ability to analyze over 150 podcasts, Veritone One will be able to reach even greater success as an innovative industry leader.”

TALKERS News Notes. “Women To Watch” joins the lineup of Red Apple Media New York’s WABC “Talk Radio 77” this Saturday (8/15) at 8:30 am. It will commence as a 30-minute show, expanding to 60 minutes three weeks later (9/5) at a yet-to-be-determined time. The show’s founder/host Susan Rocco remarks, “I always wanted ‘Women to Watch’ to be the go-to media network for all stories related to women’s leadership and success. We are building a woman-owned, women-run media company to amplify the voices of women who are leading across all industries.” WABC’s senior vice president of programming Dave LaBrozzi notes his station, “is proud to support strong women by bringing this lively and inspiring weekly show to the NYC market.” The first guest featured on WABC will be The Weiss Agency executive vice president Heather Cohen, who comments, “‘Women To Watch’ is the place to go to hear inspiring stories by inspiring women. Susan [Rocco] is the consummate professional and her interviews are spot-on.  I’m honored to be the first guest in the NY market.” Rocco states, “Heather Cohen is an exciting first guest for our new market. She’s a New Yorker, has worked in the industry and was recently elected chair of The Alliance For Women in Media.” Originated and still heard on Entercom Philadelphia’s WPHT “Talk Radio 1210,” Women To Watch has expanded to a national podcast and digital platform … Separate from his duties as 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm host on Cox Media Group Atlanta news/talk WSB-AM & WSBB-FM, Erick Erickson today (Wednesday, 8/12) celebrates the one-year anniversary of doing self-syndication. His first affiliate was in Athens, Georgia (WGAU). Twelve months later, Erickson is on more than a dozen Georgia news/talk outlets. A one-man band, he does affiliate relations, and ad sales. Describing the experience as rewarding, Erickson explains, “Georgia’s swing state status makes a statewide program focused on the state a unique selling point. I try to be upfront, though, that I want to stretch outside the state after the election and keep growing nationwide.”  … As noted yesterday (TALKERS, 8/11), president Trump chatted on-air with Salem Media Networks host Hugh Hewitt. That wasn’t yesterday’s only radio stop for the chief executive though as he visited with Fox Sports Radio’s (6:00 am – 9:00 am, ET) “Outkick The Coverage” host Clay Travis. Regarding college football and the coronavirus, Trump told Travis, “People don’t realize it’s a tiny percentage of people that get sick and they’re old. It just attacks old people, especially old people with bad hearts, diabetes, some kind of a physical problem or a weight problem. These football players are very young, strong people. Physically, they’re in extraordinary shape, so they’re not going to have a problem. You’re not going to see people dying. You can’t have empty seats. I’m not sure college football can do it, but we’ll have to see.” On the return of the NFL and the NBA, he commented, “Well, they want to open and they want to open badly and they’ve been working with government. I would say this – if they don’t stand for the national anthem, I hope they don’t open. Other than that, I’d love to see them open and we’re doing everything possible to get them open. They can protest in other ways. I don’t think they should protest our flag or our country. Basketball ratings are down to very, very low numbers. People are angry about it. They have enough politics with guys like me. They don’t need more as they’re going up for the shot. There was a nastiness about the NBA and the way it was done. I think the NBA’s in big trouble — bigger trouble than they understand.” … Taking the place of annual in-person tours that SiriusXM’s “NFL Radio” channel usually conducts, it will present 32 virtual NFL training camp shows – one for each NFL franchise. Starting today (Wednesday, 8/12), “NFL Radio” channel hosts will interview players, coaches, and team executives via video conferencing. SiriusXM senior vice president of sports programming Steve Cohen states, “Like all NFL fans, we look excitedly ahead to the 2020 NFL season. Even amid these very unique circumstances in which teams are reporting to camp, we remain dedicated to giving our listeners the most in-depth and comprehensive preseason preview of their favorite teams. Our experts include some of the most knowledgeable and well-connected people covering the game today. They will deliver a level of analysis on teams and players that you can’t get anywhere else.” …  Numerous lineup changes next Monday (8/17) at Disney-owned/Good Karma Brands-operated sports talk WMVP will find “ESPN 1000 Chicago” airing two hours (5:00 am – 7:00 am) of ESPN Radio’s new national morning show with Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams, and Zubin Mehenti. Shifting from 6:00 am – 9:00 am to 7:00 am – 10:00 am is David Kaplan. He will partner with Jonathan  Hood, who segues from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Meanwhile, Carmen DeFalco and John Jurkovic transition from 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm to 10:00 am – 12:00 noon, as ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg-hosted “Greeny” takes over the vacated 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm slot. Weekend hosts Chris Bleck and Adam Abdalla advance to 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, while Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman remain in afternoon drive (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm) … Citing pandemic-caused budget issues, Team Broadcasting Albuquerque sports talk KQTM “ESPN 101.7 The Team” parts ways with morning host Jim Villanucci and producer/host Sam Hauser. The station’s afternoon program – “Team Talk” – is being handled by a revolving set of hosts. Formerly an on-air talent at Cumulus Media Albuquerque news/talk KKOB-AM, Villanucci joined KQTM two years ago. He previously worked at news/talk stations in Portland (KXL) and Las Vegas (KXNT). Before coming to “The Team” last year, Hauser served as sports director in Austin, Minnesota at KAUS and was a producer/board op in Miami at sports talk WAXY “790 The Ticket.”

Kamala Harris Receives VP Nod, Mail-In Voting Debate, School Opening Struggles, and Chicago Unrest Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/11).  The selection of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) as Joe Biden’s running-mate topped the TALKERS list of most-discussed stories on news/talk radio across America yesterday (8/11).  It was followed by the debates over mail-in voting and the opening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Other major topics included Chicago unrest, Russia’s vaccine, stimulus relief, and the cancellation of Big 10 and Pac-12 college football according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. With Ryan Seacrest’s television partner Kelly Ripa taking yesterday (Tuesday, 8/10) and today (Wednesday, 8/11) off, his “Live With Kelly & Ryan” co-host those two days is Sisanie, his radio partner. The two work together  on Premiere Networks’ “On Air with Ryan Seacrest,” heard around the country from iHeartMedia Los Angeles CHR flagship KIIS “102.7 Kiss-FM.” Sisanie has filled in for Ripa several times the past few years … Last summer, Westwood One’s “Bob & Tom Show” asked David Rush, the world’s fastest juggler and breaker of over 150 Guinness World Records, to attempt shattering the record for most balloons popped in one minute using chopsticks. Rush established that mark in 2018 with 28 balloons, but that feat was subsequently broken. Rush set out to regain the title this past Sunday (8/9) – this time using hand pump-inflated, COVID-free balloon targets bearing “The Bob & Tom Show” logo. Halfway into the attempt, Rush recounts that he was “just barely on pace to beat the record,” but began throwing the chopsticks a little faster to pop 40 balloons in 60 seconds – a new world record. A big promoter of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education, Rush dedicates all his world records to that cause … WBVX “Classic Rock 92.1” names Dennis “Dead Air” Dillon program director/afternoon personality of the LM Communications Lexington (Kentucky) outlet. LM Communications owner/president Lynn Martin remarks, “We are pleased to welcome Dennis Dillon, who has a long history of presenting the very best classic rock music and now can present it to the best classic rock audience in Lexington. By introducing him to our locally-owned and operated radio group, we once again show that being a local voice rather than just a cog in a national wheel lets us provide something truly unique to the classic rock audience in Lexington. Dillon notes, “In a time when big corporations are moving away from local DJ’s in the community, I’m ecstatic to have found a home in the city I love with a locally-owned and operated company. I’ve always loved this genre and I’m already discovering that the ‘Classic Rock 92.1’ fans share that same passion.” Dillon previously worked in Cincinnati, Louisville, and Chattanooga … Former MusicMaster vice president of sales Jerry Butler joins Marc Radio Gainesville-Ocala as local sales manager for a cluster that includes alternative WHHZ “100.5 The Buzz”; country WPLL; rhythmic CHR WTGM “Magic 101.3”; classic hits-oldies WXJZ; and contemporary Christian WTMN & WRZN. Marc Radio general manager Dave Cobb comments, “Jerry brings the perfect mix of leadership, marketing, on-air personality, and programming savvy. He knows the radio industry inside and out. He is great at advising clients and introducing them to new products. He’s a great asset to our team.” Butler adds, “Our goal is to guide the local advertising community on how best to earn impressive returns on their investments in any, or all, of our radio station formats.” … After stunting by playing a weekend of all-Christmas music, Zimmer Midwest Communications Springfield, Missouri flips sports talk KWTO “The Jock” to adult contemporary “98.7 The Dove.” ZMC co-owner John Zimmer remarks, “It’s a great day for our company to enter the greater Springfield market with stations featuring the most powerful signals and largest coverage areas to serve the Ozark region. The greater Springfield region has been a great driver of growth in Missouri – we are proud to be of part of the expansion. We look forward to making a positive impact and difference for the community and businesses with our local solutions and stations to promote the economy of the Springfield region.” Kevin Howard and Liz Delany (“Kevin & Liz”) debut in morning drive next Monday (8/17). Core artists on “Lite Rock Favorites The Dove” include Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, Billy Joel, and Sting.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

| September 17, 2019

Key Networks Launches Audio Ad Sales Division. Two radio sales executives join Key Networks as the division of Sun & Fun Media begins providing audio advertising sales to producers and service/program providers.  Jim Higgins joins Key Networks as president and chief operating officer and Rich Baum comes aboard as executive vice president, advertising sales.  Higgins, previously president and COO at United Stations Radio Networks will be based in New York City and Baum, formerly EVP of sales at USRN, will be based in Chicago. Rob Koblasz, Sun & Fun and Key Networks CEO, says, “We are excited to now be a full-service network company for our existing as well as new clients, with the addition of advertising sales capabilities and an experienced and knowledgeable senior executive team.  Our goal when we started Key Networks was to be best-in-class, from the talent we represent, the producers we work with and the professionals on our team.  Both Jim and Rich fit that description perfectly. Their contacts in the ad sales and marketing world run deep and they are highly respected in the industry.  We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Jim and Rich to help build Key Networks into a successful full-service network audio company.”

FCC Approves Tribune-Nexstar Deal; Fate of WGN-AM Up in the Air. The Federal Communications Commission approved Nexstar Media’s acquisition of Tribune Media, a deal that will create the largest television station company in the country.  After closing, Nexstar will own almost 200 stations in 115 markets – plus a lone radio station: WGN-AM, Chicago.  Nexstar is a television company and it has not specifically addressed what it will or will not do with WGN-AM.  It wouldn’t be unique for a TV operator to also dabble in radio – Sinclair Broadcast Group operates four radio stations in addition to its large television holdings.  It’s certainly possible Nexstar continues to operate WGN-AM.  However, recent deals for heritage signals in the top markets – think WABC, New York and the several FM stations in New York and Los Angeles – indicate that the value of stations like these is on a steady decline and Nexstar may be better off selling WGN-AM before its value declines even more.

Learning from Entercom’s Ransomware AttackTALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes in his column that the alleged ransom Entercom was facing is “much higher than most ransomware demands.  According to security company Coveware, the average demand this year is $12,762 — double the average demand in 2018.”  Though Entercom is reportedly not paying the ransom, Weisman says “the cost of repairing the damage will exceed the cost of paying the ransom.  Radio One paid $500,000 to repair the damage when it was victimized by a ransomware attack, which also resulted in a large amount of lost advertising revenue.”  Read Weisman’s entire column here.

Bortnick Promoted to Region SVP of Sales for iHeartMedia. Sales pro Danny Bortnick is promoted from senior vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s Washington, DC cluster to region senior vice president of sales for the Washington D.C./Baltimore markets.  iHeartMedia Washington/Baltimore region president Aaron Hyland says, “Danny has made a tremendous impact on the day-to-day operations of our sales organization since day one.  I am excited to see Danny take on this new leadership position and look forward to his continued success in developing and managing a best-in-class sales team for the region.”  Prior to joining iHeartMedia, Bortnick served as the vice president of sales for Entercom, vice president of sales for CBS Radio and general sales manager for WNEW-FM.

Saudi Oil Attack, Kavanaugh Allegations/NYTimes Criticism, 2020 Presidential Race, Another Vaping-Related Death, and ‘SNL’ Fires Comic Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/16). The attack on a Saudi oil facility, accusations Iran is responsible, and President Trump’s military threats against Iran; the allegation of sexual harassment against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and the related criticism of The New York Times; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020; the dangers of vaping after another person succumbs to respiratory ailments; and the firing of Shane Gillis from “SNL” after bigoted comments came to light were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Kansas City sports talk outlet KCSP “610 Sports Radio” and the MLB’s Kansas City Royals announce a five-year extension to their deal for the Entercom station to serve as the flagship for the team’s play-by-play broadcasts.  In addition to airing all 162 regular season games, KCSP will also broadcast all weeknight and weekend Cactus League Spring Training games from Arizona.  The weekly “Royals Hot Stove” show returns in January, and dates and times of the spring broadcasts and “Royals Hot Stove” show will be announced at a later date…..The New York Post and cabana announce the upcoming launch of “We Hear: A Page Six Podcast.”  The first episode of this new podcast dropped yesterday with Page Six editors Maggie Coughlan and Ian Mohr serving as hosts.  They bring insider stories and knowledge straight from the newsroom to the podcasts…..TALKERS founder Michael Harrison made a guest appearance this past weekend on the longtime nationally syndicated radio show “The Art of Living and the Science of Life” hosted by Danielle Lin that has generated quite a buzz in the metaphysics community.  The program deals with consciousness and anesthesiology – two subjects that are peripheral to Harrison’s usual beat of media and society, but he effectively ties them into his general theme of “rewiring the human nervous system” in the digital era.  To listen to the entire show, please click here.

‘SuperTalk Mississippi’ Broadcaster Kipp Greggory Dies. Talk host, programmer, and WOSM, Biloxi “SuperTalk Mississippi” station manager Kipp Greggory died on Saturday (9/14).  Specifics of his passing were not made public but his final message to family and friends, passed on by his wife, alluded to an illness. “Well.. it got the best [of] me. So long my Biloxi Family. I hope they have Bacon in heaven and I can get the Saints channel.”  Station owner Telesouth Communications wrote in a tweet: “All of us at Telesouth Communications and ‘Supertalk Mississippi’ send heartfelt condolences to the family of our colleague and friend, Kipp Greggory.  Kipp’s passion was radio.  For many years, he could be heard daily on WOSM ‘Supertalk Mississippi Gulf Coast’ and often heard statewide on the ‘Supertalk Mississippi’ network.  He loved the Mississippi Gulf Coast and worked diligently each day to bring Coast residents the news and issues important to them.  Kipp also used his platform to highlight causes close to his heart and give back to the community.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Jo and their daughters. Kipp loved them deeply.”

PPM Analysis: CHR. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s August 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on CHR.  Comparing data from the July 2019 survey and the August 2019 survey shows about as many stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go up (43%) as saw it go down (39%), with 18% unchanged.  Year-over-year, slightly more are down (51%) than up (42%).  Two CHR-formatted stations ranked #1 in their respective markets in the August survey: iHeartMedia’s KHKS-FM, Dallas “106.1 Kiss FM” and Hubbard Radio’s KQMV, Seattle “MOViN 92.5.”  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air and programming pro Mike James announces he’s retiring from his position at Hall Communications’ Lakeland, Florida station group – and the radio biz – effective at the end of the year.  James has been program director at WPCV, Lakeland “97 Country” since 2004, and operations manager for the four-station cluster since 2006.  He says, “My first radio job was in 1979, and I can remember thinking how great it was to be able to entertain people and get paid for it at the same time.  Forty years later, it’s still great, but I’m finally ready to kick back, relax, and spend more quality time at Anna Maria Island.  I want to thank Hall Communications owners Art and Bonnie Rowbotham for giving me the opportunity to work for one of the most respected radio groups in America.”…..The “Jagger & Kristi” morning show at Local Media San Diego’s rhythmic oldies XHRM-FM “Magic 92.5” announces that Samantha DeJesus is its new producer.  She has been serving as interim producer since the departure of Sheryl Love in July.  DeJesus says, “I cannot fully express the amount of gratitude I have to be given such an amazing opportunity.  Along with the rest of the city, I grew up listening to ‘Jagger & Kristi,’ so I feel like I’ve known them all my life. To be working alongside such an iconic radio duo, who are legends to the San Diego community, I am thrilled to learn and grow with the best in the business.”