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Monday, June 27, 2022

| June 27, 2022

Monday Memo: Inflation Hacks. Inflation is changing listeners, advertisers and OUR lives, in almost every way. Consultant Holland Cooke vows that, “Rather than joining the blame-game unison, I will be using this column for the entire month of July to offer solutions, dozens of ways you can share on-air, and use yourself.” He begins a week early, with “a renegotiation hit list.” Read it here.

 

Pending Business: Roe v Wade. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa writes in today’s column that the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v Wade could present opportunities for talk radio. He asks, “As the ruling to reverse Roe v Wade works through societal and financial issues, could 50 years of history be reversed? Could the impact change the next 50 years of talk radio? He suggests three possible shifts. Read about them here.

 

TEACHING NEW GENERATIONS ABOUT “RADIO.”  New C. Crane Emergency Radio a Big Hit at TALKERS 2022 Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Walter Sterling of “Sterling on Sunday” scored a home run with his grade-school-aged daughter Samantha (shown above) upon returning from TALKERS 2022 with a magical device known among communications wizards as the CCRadio Solar.  The first 200 registrants to arrive at the June 10 TALKERS 2022 convention were surprised and delighted to find a real special premium, individually handed to them by iconic radio manufacturer/distributor C. Crane for their conference goodie bag. Each attendee received an amazing CCRadio Solar radio unit – valued at $99.99 retail – and the result was raves all around. The CCRadio Solar is a small digital portable radio that is successful as an emergency radio, but the form and format function invite its owner to use it daily. When placed in a sunny window, it’s perfect for the morning news. Audio quality is a surprise; it’s accurate, pleasing and has two modes. A miser mode to conserve battery power in a true emergency and a high-power mode for an even better audio experience. Reception is good for the size. The almost brick-size depth and unique UV resistant rubber perimeter is concave on the bottom which makes it inherently stable. The flashlight is above average in brightness and color because of the selected high-quality LED. The hand crank folded (that’s right, it can be cranked for power) and inlaid on in the back is the only visible clue that it’s an emergency radio. The included lithium-ion battery can be recharged by wind-up, solar panel, your USB port, or optional AC power adapter (not included). When the lithium-ion battery is fully charged, the radio will run more than 50 hours or charge your phone from the approximately 50% level to 100% level. It can also be powered by three “AA” alkaline batteries (not included) for approximately 50 hours in low power mode or 35 hours in high power mode. C. Crane founder Bob Crane tells TALKERS, “I brought the first CCRadio Solar home and my wife absconded with it until our designer/illustrator had to beg to get it back for documentation. To get it back from him was also overly arduous. I have never seen a radio so coveted. It is about hand-size and it stays charged in a sunny window with an oversize solar panel which means it may not need a power assist for years.” TALKERS founder Michael Harrison says, “The radio industry owes a great debt of gratitude to C. Crane for keeping the appliance known as a ‘radio’ alive in the consumer electronic marketplace and ever-innovative for decades after the business itself abandoned the idea that it would be a good thing to promote and support the appliance as being at least as important a device as a can opener. Shame on the NAB as well as the rest of us for committing this potentially lethal negligence.”  To learn more about this fabulous device and enjoy a TALKERS discount on C.Crane purchases, please click here.

 

New TALKERS 2022 Video Posted: Today, TALKERS magazine posts the latest in an ongoing series of video presentations from the TALKERS 2022 convention held on June 10 at Hofstra University on Long Island. Today’s video addition features RAB president/CEO Erica Farber moderating a panel session titled, “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in a Noisy Digital World.” Panelists include Erik Hellum, chief operating officer, Townsquare Media, New York/RAB Chad Lopez, president, Red Apple MediaJulie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks, and Christine Travaglini, president, Katz Radio Group, New York/RAB.  Introduction provided by Gary Krantz, CEO, Krantz Media Group.  You can watch the video here.

Introducers Play Vital Role at TALKERS 2022. Last week, TALKERS began highlighting the talk media professionals who introduced the panel discussions and presentations at the recent TALKERS 2022 at Hofstra University. Today, we continue to give a little digital ink – as well as our tremendous thanks for their outstanding efforts – to those who took the time to prepare brief speeches that provided informative and relevant information prior to the conference presentations. Pictured below is Rich Zeoli, morning drive host at WPHT, Philadelphia, who introduced the panel titled, “Strategizing a Talk Show Hosting Career.”

 

“NPR News Now” Tops Triton Digital’s May Podcast Report. The latest (May 2022) U.S. podcast report from Triton Digital findsNPR News Now” leading for average weekly downloads. In descending order, the top ten in that category includes: “NPR News Now”; “The Ben Shapiro Show”; “Crime Junkie”; Dateline: NBC”; “Morbid: A True Crime Podcast”; “Up First”; “The Dan Bongino Show”; “My Favorite Murder”; “Fresh Air”: and “Last Podcast On The Left.” Meanwhile, the top 10 podcasts by average weekly users are: “Crime Junkie”; “Up First”; “Morbid: A True Crime Podcast”; Dateline: NBC”; “The Ben Shapiro Show”; “NPR News Now”; “Smartless”; “My Favorite Murder”; “The Dan Bongino Show”; and Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend.” Rankers indicate Stitcher Media is the top network based on average weekly users. That top 10 includes: Stitcher Media; Audacy Podcast Network; Audioboom; NPR; Wondery; Cumulus Podcast Network; NBCUniversal News Group; Warner Media; Kast Media; and Paramount. Extremely similar to this list is the top 10 networks by average weekly downloads: Stitcher Media; NPR; Audacy Podcast Network; Wondery; Cumulus Podcast Network; Audioboom; NBCUniversal News Group; Paramount; Warner Media; and Kast Media. The top three highest indexing shows for women 18+ are: “Watch What Crappens” (Stitcher Media); “Something Was Wrong” (Wondery); and “The Viall Files (Kast Media). The top three highest indexing shows for men 18+: “The Pat McAfee Show 2.0” (Stitcher Media); “The Fighter & The Kid” (Kast Media); and “2 Bears 1 Cave with Tom Segura & Bert Kreischer” (Stitcher Media). Based on downloads, top podcast genres were: “News” (27%); “True Crime” (20%); “Comedy” (18%); “Society & Culture” (7%); and “Sports” (6%). More than nine of ten (93%) episodes were downloaded on mobile devices; 1.8% occurred on a desktop or laptop. Numbers do not include all shows and exclude those not participating in this particular measurement system. The entire report is available on TritonRankers.com.

 

Legislation Gains Steam To Allow Cannabis Ads on Radio. Language on a House Appropriations committee bill advanced last Friday (6/24) would prevent the FCC from taking administrative action against broadcasters accepting cannabis advertisements consistent with the law of the state or jurisdiction in which the station is licensed. NAB spokesman Alex Siciliano comments, “We are pleased to see this bipartisan language has advanced in the House. As the vast majority of states have legalized cannabis in some form, today marks a long overdue step toward finally allowing broadcasters to receive equal treatment regarding cannabis advertising that other forms of media have had for years. While we welcome [Friday’s] progress, local broadcasters will continue to work with all policymakers towards a broader resolution of this competitive disparity and in support of our unique service to local communities.” New York State Broadcasters Association president David Donovan adds, “We are grateful to House Appropriations Committee chair Rosa DeLauro; subcommittee chair Mike Quigley; and members of the committee for recognizing the unfairness of the present situation with respect to cannabis advertising. The provision in this appropriations bill is a major step forward for leveling the playing field for local broadcasters. We believe the law of the state in which a station is licensed should determine whether a station can accept cannabis advertising, if they so choose. We look forward to working with members of Congress and the administration to help restore parity between local broadcasters and other media outlets.” In states that have approved cannabis for medical and/or adult use, local radio and television stations have been unable to accept advertisements from legally-authorized cannabis distributors. Meanwhile, cable; satellite; internet; print; magazine; billboards; and social media platforms are free to accept and transmit these ads.

 

Sigma Delta Chi Journalism Award Winners Announced. Honorees were cited by the Society of Professional Journalists in a video presentation last Thursday (6/23). In Sigma Delta Chi’s category of “Radio Breaking News Reporting, Market 1-100 or Network Syndication,” CBS News Radio’s staff won for “Assault on the U.S. Capitol.” Other winners included: Chicago Public Media-owned public radio news/talk WBEZ’s Esther Yoon-Ji Kang, Susie An, and Alden Loury for “Fertile Soil For Abuse: A Reckoning at Covenant Fellowship Church” (“Radio Investigative Reporting, Large Market”) and Virginia Tech public radio news/talk WVTF, Roanoke’s Sandy Hausmang for “COVID-19 in Virginia Prisons” (“Radio Investigative Reporting, Small Market”). NPR’s Hansi Lo Wang won for “Immigration Hard-Liner Files Reveal 40-Year Bid Behind Trump’s Census Obsession” (“Radio Feature Reporting, Large Market”), while Wichita State University public radio news/talk KMUW’s Suzanne Perez won for her piece on 3,000 Kansas kindergartners (“Radio Feature Reporting, Small Market”). Elsewhere, University Radio Foundation public radio news/talk WFAE, Charlotte’s David Boraks was victorious in the “Radio Documentaries, Large Market” category for “Asbestos Town.” Reports regarding healthcare mistreatment in Maine State Prisons by Maine Public Radio’s Susan Sharon and Mark Simpson won in “Public Service in Radio Journalism.” The award for “Narrative Podcast” went to NBC NewsAyman Mohyeldin and Preeti Varathan for “American Radical.”

 

Lee Named to Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame. On October 5, Kristi Lee – the co-host and news director of Westwood One’s “Bob & Tom Show” – will be among six Hoosiers to be inducted into the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame Class of 2022. Indiana Broadcasters Association executive director Dave Arland notes, “The 2022 Hall of Fame Class is comprised of well-known broadcasters who pushed the boundaries of innovation and made the Indiana communities they served better, more informed places to live. For decades, our newest group of Hall of Famers have provided critical eyes, ears, and voices for listeners and viewers in Indiana and beyond. They have told wonderful stories and are each also active members of their communities. We are honored to add our 2022 honorees to the honor roll of the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame.” Lee – who has covered sports for ESPN and the Indiana Pacers – comments, “I am humbled and honored to be included amongst these prestigious honorees. As a lifelong Hoosier, I have been lucky enough to spend my entire career in my home state. I cannot imagine a more meaningful award.” Over 100 stations carry “The Bob & Tom Show.”

 

BetMGM Becomes Exclusive Sportsbook of the BetQL Network. The partnership is a multi-year agreement that expands the current relationship between BetMGM and Audacy. Audacy chair, president and chief executive officer David Field comments, “We are delighted to expand our strategic partnership with BetMGM, highlighted by their new exclusive position with the BetQL Network. Barely a year old, the BetQL Network has a bright future ahead of it as legalized sports betting continues to expand over the next decade.” BetMGM chief revenue officer Matt Provost notes, “We’re excited to further our strategic partnership with Audacy and to bring our market-leading sports betting and gaming entertainment content to millions of listeners nationwide across the entire BetQL Network platform.” Since its launch last June, the BetQL Network has expanded from two markets to 31. Beginning in September, BetMGM will have category exclusivity of the network’s full slate of programming, including flagship “You Better You Bet” and “BetQL Daily,” “The Daily Tip,” and “BetMGM Tonight.” Audacy will produce content for live audiences at various MGM Resorts across the country. Audacy first announced a partnership with BetMGM in March 2021. The BetQL Network is a live, linear digital channel that distributes approximately 100 hours of original content per week on the Audacy and BetQL digital platforms and YouTube.

 

TALKERS News Notes. Ramifications on the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade will be discussed tomorrow afternoon (Tuesday, 6/28) on Boston public radio news/talk WGBH’s “Community Conversation: The Roe v. Wade Ruling”  (2:00 pm – 3:30 pm). WGBH general manager/news Pam Johnston comments, “The Supreme Court’s opinion on Roe v. Wade will impact our lives in Massachusetts in ways we haven’t even begun to understand yet and opens up a host of questions for people across the Commonwealth. We invite people to gather at the ‘GBH Studio inside the Boston Public Library to discuss and unpack these critical and far-reaching issues.” WGBH hosts Callie Crossley, Margery Eagan, and Paris Alston will be joined by Reproductive Equity Now executive director Rebecca Hart Holder and Suffolk University professor Renee Landers … Taking effect this Friday (7/1) will be a ten-year extension between Learfield and the University of Oklahoma athletics department. Learfield executive vice president/university partnership group Mike Hamilton notes, “We’re extremely proud to have the opportunity to continue representing the Sooner brand. We appreciate Oklahoma University Athletics’ longtime trust in us. The unprecedented agreement commencing in July speaks to the forward-thinking, strategic decisions necessary in today’s rapidly evolving college sports landscape.” Oklahoma University vice president/director of athletics Joe Castiglione comments, “As with any challenge and change our industry experiences, we intentionally seek cutting-edge collaborations to move us forward in the marketplace. [Learfield’s] leadership continues to help our administration navigate through areas such as evolution in the content game and digital innovation.” Sooner Sports Properties’ newly-named vice president/general manager Kelly Collyar remarks, “We are genuinely excited about this extension and how it will transform the way our brand partners integrate with our fans. Through the expansion of categories and assets, sponsorship will truly take on a new meaning at Oklahoma University.” Meanwhile, pending finalization of a deal first reported by The Grand Forks Herald, radio rights to University of North Dakota athletics broadcasts will be awarded to iHeartMedia, which currently airs Fighting Hawks sports. According to the report, Leighton Broadcasting also bid on the radio package … Several major media and entertainment companies such as Comcast, Discovery, Disney, Meta, Netflix, Paramount, Sony, and Warner Bros. will cover travel costs for employees seeking abortions after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Pending Business: Roe v Wade

| June 27, 2022

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
President

 

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — When the Supreme Court first ruled on Roe v Wade in 1973, talk radio was a fledgling niche format struggling to help re-establish fading interest in AM radio. Fast-forward 50 years to last Friday’s Supreme Court ruling that could drive well-programmed talk radio stations to the forefront of every community.

As the ruling to reverse Roe v Wade works through societal and financial issues, could 50 years of history be reversed? Could the impact change the next 50 years of talk radio? Here are three possible shifts that could change your talk radio marketing strategy.

Read More

Monday Memo: Are We Flunking the Rorschach Test?

| September 27, 2021

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Is that ink blot a butterfly? Or Satan? Some psychologists use the Rorschach Test to analyze personality characteristics and emotional function, especially when patients are reluctant or unable to describe their thinking process openly.

We see what we want to see

And we hear what we want to hear, as talk radio assures those dug-in that “It’s not YOU, it’s THEM!” And “they” don’t simply view things differently, they’re wrong. And bad people. Grrr…

Read More

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

| April 7, 2021

Gordon Smith to Leave NAB Leadership Role at Year’s End. The National Association of Broadcasters announces that president and CEO Gordon H. Smith will leave his position and transition to an advisory and advocacy role effective December 31, 2021. NAB’s chief operating officer Curtis LeGeyt will become the next president and CEO of NAB effective January 1, 2022. In a video message to members, Smith said, “It has been my great honor to give the lion’s roar for broadcasters – those who run into the storm, those who stand firm in chaos to hear the voice of the people, those who hold to account the powerful – and to stand with those of the fourth estate who have the hearts of public servants.” Smith joined NAB as president and CEO in November 2009. Previously, he served as a two-term U.S. senator from Oregon and later as senior advisor in the Washington offices of Covington & Burling, LLP. NAB joint board of directors chairman Jordan Wertlieb (president of Hearst Television) thanked Smith for his service to the industry. “Gordon is the ultimate statesman, bringing people together from both sides of the aisle to discuss ideas, find common ground and lead NAB to success on countless fronts. On behalf of the leadership of NAB, we extend our sincere gratitude for more than a decade of service to the broadcast industry. We look forward to continuing to work with Gordon and benefiting from his guidance for years to come. I am also delighted to share that NAB is in the enviable position of having cultivated top talent within the organization to provide for a smooth and stable transition in leadership. Curtis LeGeyt has the utmost confidence of the NAB leadership and staff to lead our association into the future.” LeGeyt has been with NAB for nearly a decade, during which time he led several highly successful legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of broadcasters, including the permanent reauthorization of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR), inclusion of $1 billion in RAY BAUM’s Act to reimburse stations impacted by the spectrum auction repack, and successful passage of the Music Modernization Act. Prior to assuming his current role as chief operating officer, LeGeyt served for five years as NAB’s executive vice president, Government Relations. Before joining NAB, LeGeyt was senior counsel to then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (VT). He says, “I am honored and humbled to be named the next leader of this great organization. To represent the broadcast industry and the local stations that bind our communities together in a moment of such tremendous change across the media landscape is a privilege. Our stations’ role in communities across this country has never been more important, and I look forward to working every day to ensure their ability to grow and thrive.”

SCOTUS Declines to Hear Alex Jones Appeal. According to numerous media reports, including this one from NBC News, the U.S. Supreme Court will not hear the appeal requested by radio and internet personality Alex Jones of his sanction by a Connecticut court. Jones was sanctioned in 2019 for what he said on his radio show about an attorney for the relatives of the victims of the Newtown massacre and for violating numerous court orders to turn over documents to the families’ lawyers. Judge Barbara Bellis also barred Jones from filing a motion to dismiss the case and added she would order Jones to pay some of the families’ legal fees. Jones argued that his words were the exercising of his First Amendment rights. Jones is being sued by some of the families who lost loved ones in the shooting after Jones claimed that the shootings were a hoax and who consequently suffered harassment and threats from Jones’ fans. Jones earned the sanction after claiming on his radio show that an attorney for the families tried to plant child porn on his computer by sending it in encrypted email files. In Connecticut, that state’s Supreme Court ruled that sanctions were proper because Jones’ words were an “imminent and likely threat to the administration of justice.”

WHCU, Ithaca Adds SRN’s Dennis Prager to Early Afternoon Daypart. Ithaca, New York news/talk WHCU is adding Salem Radio Network’s Dennis Prager show to the lineup in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Joe Salzone is news director at the Saga Communications station, and he says, “We polled our listeners on a Rush Limbaugh replacement show over the past month and Prager was their top choice. While they know that Rush’s show was great, they also understand that radio is best as a live, topical medium and that running repeats of Rush segments was not what they ultimately wanted to listen to.” WHCU operations manager Chris Allinger adds, “Dennis will be a good fit for WHCU. He is intelligent, educated, and will bring those assets to the regional airwaves. Replacing a legend like Rush is not easy, but Dennis has been successfully doing his nationally syndicated weekday show in the exact same time period for over 20 years, so his track record is already proven.”

Todd Starnes Show Joins WMLB, Atlanta. The nationally syndicated “Todd Starnes Show” is joining the program lineup on WMLB, Atlanta “Freedom 1690” in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart. The station is owned by Delmarva Educational Association but is being operated under an LMA by the Virginia-based John Fredericks Radio Network that owns conservative talk duo WJFN-AM/FM in the Richmond, Virginia market. John Fredericks says, “Now more than ever, as Leftist elites continue their unprecedented power grab and assault on Christians, Todd stands at the beachhead of defending people of faith everywhere.”

Nielsen: Consumer Sentiment About COVID-19 Recovery Improving. According to a new study by Nielsen that addresses American consumer sentiment about COVID-19 and media usage, people 18 and older are showing “increased confidence with respect to consumer behavior.” Nielsen says the survey looked at three segments reflecting attitudes about the pandemic. People who are “Ready to Go,” those who “Proceed with Caution,” and consumers who “Wait and See” when it comes to resuming normal behavior. The “Ready to Go” segment peaked at 61% in the March 2021 survey compared with 34% in April 2020. The more pessimistic group of Wait and See consumers dropped to 9% in March 2021 compared with 29% a year ago. Other key consumer sentiments include: 82% now say that stores that were closed have started to open again compared with only 40% in April of last year; 64% agree that it is safer than it was a month ago, compared to 38% in April 2020; and 72% agree that their town is starting to emerge from the crisis versus 44% a year ago. The study showed that heavy radio listeners are more likely to make big-ticket purchases within a year. Heavy radio listeners are 18% more likely to purchase or lease a new or used vehicle in the next year, and 64% are more likely to buy a house in the next twelve months, compared to total adults. Nielsen Audio managing director Brad Kelly comments, “As Americans continue to navigate the pandemic, the future looks promising. Consumers are becoming more optimistic and resuming more normal activities, especially heavy radio listeners. AM/FM listeners are more likely to be out and about and spending more time in their vehicles.” You can see more in a Nielsen webinar here.

‘The Biz Tape’ Launches on Nashville Podcast Network. The Bobby Bones-led Nashville Podcast Network is launching a new program called “The Biztape” hosted by Colin McKay and Joe Wasilewski. “The Biztape,” formerly known as “That’s Showbiz Baby,” is a weekly podcast covering all things music business and media. Hosts McKay and Wasilewski are music industry professionals who provide insight into the business and technical side of these closed-curtain industries. McKay and Wasilewski say, “We searched for a long time to find a podcast that discussed the music business from the business side. We wanted more advice and more depth than just ‘work hard.’ We decided to fill the void by creating ‘The Biztape’ so we could get as nerdy as we always wanted to with it. Thankfully, with the help of Bobby Bones and the Nashville Podcast Network, we have the opportunity to continue that dream and we can’t wait to start creating with such a passionate and unique brand.”

iHeartMedia Debuts New Podcast ‘In Fact with Chelsea Clinton.’ A new iHeartRadio Original Podcast is being launched titled “In Fact with Chelsea Clinton” and hosted by the former First Daughter and public health expert. The podcast joins the iHeartPodcast Network that is already home to “You and Me Both with Hillary Clinton” and “Why Am I Telling You This? with Bill Clinton.” iHeartMedia says, “‘In Fact with Chelsea Clinton’ will pull back the curtain on some of the biggest public health challenges of our time. Each week on the podcast, Clinton — who holds a doctorate in international relations, a masters in public health, and teaches at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health — will sit down with experts, activists, and an assortment of surprising guests who share her passion for science, evidence and, of course, facts.” In the podcast’s debut episode, Clinton sits down with Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness, who has been a vocal advocate for people with HIV/AIDS since publicly sharing his own HIV-positive status in 2019; activist Peter Staley; and Dr. Oni Blackstock, an HIV physician and health equity advocate, to explore the trajectory of HIV/AIDS from the early days of activism through modern day.”

New Kelly Osbourne and Jeff Beacher Show to Launch on PodcastOne. A new, eponymous podcast starring Kelly Osbourne and Jeff Beacher is debuting on PodcastOne in which Osbourne and Beacher will create a live theater experience and feature their dynamic and outrageous personalities and uncensored conversations with a diverse list of celebrity guests and famous friends. They will discuss everything from the latest current events to fitness, weight-loss, fame, stories of inspiration and beyond. Osbourne and Beacher will be joined by regular co-host Donny Davis, original star of “Beacher’s Madhouse” and one of the most well-known activists for little people. The podcast will record and film from the penthouse of the iconic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel – former home to “Beacher’s Madhouse” theatre. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “Kelly and Jeff together are a showstopping dynamic. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome them to PodcastOne and know that their show will be destination programming for podcast audiences.”

‘104.5 The Team’ in Albany Names Dan Bahl Brand Manager. Two months after previous brand manager and on-air host Tom Gozlowski was let go from the station, Townsquare Media’s WTMM-FM, Albany “104.5 The Team” announces that Dan Bahl joins as the new brand manager and afternoon drive co-host. Bahl partners with incumbent air personality Jeff Levack on the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm program. Bahl has been operating his own sports website and podcast network. He says, “I am extremely honored and excited to join ‘104.5 The Team’ and the Townsquare Media family. I am really looking forward to having great debates and conversations with Jeff Levack and the ‘104.5 The Team’ listeners, as well as strengthening the brand on-air, online, and across social media.” Townsquare Media director of content Matty Jeff comments, “We are thrilled to welcome Dan to the Townsquare Media local team here in Albany. Dan’s leadership, acumen across all platforms, and passion for sports will broaden the reach of the great local on-air and digital content we create daily on ‘104.5 The Team.’”

COVID-19, Voting Legislation/McConnell Threat, Matt Gaetz Investigation, Biden Infrastructure Plan, Border Crisis, Derek Chauvin Trial, and China Military Exercises Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/6). The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, and the rollout of vaccines; Georgia’s vote restriction law, the Democrats’ Voting Rights Bill, and Mitch McConnell’s threats to businesses that protest Georgia’s law; allegations U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz had relationships with underage girls; the battle in Washington over President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan; the large number of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border; the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd; and China’s military exercises near Taiwan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, April 2, 2021

| April 2, 2021

The Michael Harrison Wrap Reaches 100 Installment Milestone.  This weekend’s installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap” marks the program’s 100th episode.  It is heard weekends on stations and regional networks coast to coast in the US and across the UK and is available on a market exclusive basis to stations in syndication by Talk Media Network (TMN).  For affiliate information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Trillions and Trillions,” looks back at this past week of March 29 – April 2. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkDerek Hunter, talk show host, WCBM, Baltimore; Joe Madison, talk show host, SiriusXM Satellite RadioVince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media GroupRichard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeartPodcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Supreme Court Unanimously Overturns 3rd Circuit Court’s Vacating of FCC’s Ownership Regulations. As most media watchers are aware, in 2017 – after what many radio operators say was a long time coming – the FCC concluded that three of its ownership rules no longer served the public interest and it repealed the Newspaper/Broadcast Cross-Ownership Rule and the Radio/Television Cross-Ownership Rule and it modified the Local Television Ownership Rule. Shortly thereafter, a collection of public interest and advocacy groups known as the Prometheus Radio Project appealed the FCC’s ruling to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals which vacated the FCC’s reconsideration order holding that the record did not support the agency’s conclusion that the rule changes would have minimal effect on minority and female ownership. The FCC petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the case and yesterday (4/1), it ruled that the FCC’s rule change was not “arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).” The unanimous ruling from the Supreme Court said, in part, “In challenging the FCC’s order, Prometheus argues that the Commission’s assessment of the likely impact of the rule changes on minority and female ownership rested on flawed data. But the FCC acknowledged the gaps in the data sets it relied on, and noted that, despite its repeated requests for additional data, it had received no countervailing evidence suggesting that changing the three ownership rules was likely to harm minority and female ownership. Prometheus also asserts that the FCC ignored two studies submitted by a commenter that purported to show that past relaxations of the ownership rules had led to decreases in minority and female ownership levels. But the record demonstrates that the FCC considered those studies and simply interpreted them differently. In assessing the effects of the rule changes on minority and female ownership, the FCC did not have perfect empirical or statistical data. But that is not unusual in day-to-day agency decision making within the Executive Branch. The APA imposes no general obligation on agencies to conduct or commission their own empirical or statistical studies. And nothing in the Telecommunications Act requires the FCC to conduct such studies before exercising its discretion under Section 202(h). In light of the sparse record on minority and female ownership and the FCC’s findings with respect to competition, localism, and viewpoint diversity, the Court cannot say that the agency’s decision to repeal or modify the ownership rules fell outside the zone of reasonableness for purposes of the APA.”

The NAB Comments on the Supreme Court’s Ruling. The National Association of Broadcasters issued the following statement on the Supreme Court’s overturning the 3rd Circuit Court’s vacating the FCC’s ownership rule changes. NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith says, “NAB commends today’s unanimous decision by the Supreme Court that the FCC’s recent and long-overdue modernization of its broadcast ownership regulations was lawful and appropriate. It is critical that the Commission continue to examine its media ownership rules to ensure that America’s broadcasters are able to compete and meet the needs of local communities across the nation in today’s media landscape. We look forward to working with the Commission on this effort given the essential role radio and television broadcasters play for all Americans.”

Meadowlark Media Secures $12.6 Million in Funding. According to a story in The Hollywood Reporter, Meadowlark Media – the company formed by former ESPN president John Skipper and former ESPN radio and cable personality Dan Le Batard – has raised $12.6 million in a “Series A funding round.” Investors include DAZN, DraftKings, Snap Inc. chairman Michael Lynton, EMJ Ventures, Verance Capital, Wasserman, and Carmen Busquets. The THR story says the money will be used for “key hires” and for the “first slate of projects.” Skipper says, “With the intense competition to retain audiences at established media and to attract customers to new streaming services, we and our investors see an exciting opportunity for Meadowlark to work with the industry’s best storytellers to add the highest quality sports-focused original programming to their existing entertainment offerings.”

Buffalo Association of Black Journalists Meets with Cumulus Buffalo in Aftermath of Rob Lederman Firing. According to a report by WKBW-TV, Buffalo, the Buffalo Association of Black Journalists has met with local management of Cumulus Media’s WGRF-FM “97 Rock” in the aftermath of the firing of morning host Rob Lederman and the suspension of morning show cast members Rich Gaenzler and Chris Klein. Cumulus took the punitive actions after the three engaged in a bit about color of famous black women’s skin. BABJ issued a statement noting that Cumulus has implemented steps to “accelerate diversity training in Buffalo” and has scheduled meetings with members of Buffalo’s Black community. The statement also says BABJ is pleased with the “progress being made at ‘97 Rock’ and Cumulus Media” and is advocating for increased diversity at the cluster.

Westwood One Presents Coverage of Men’s and Women’s NCAA Final Four and Championships. This weekend’s NCAA Men’s and Women’s Final Four games as well as both championship games are being presented by NCAA exclusive national audio partner Westwood One. The broadcast of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Final Four begins on Saturday with The Final Four Show at 3:30 pm ET leading up to the first game between the Houston Cougars and Baylor Bears, followed by coverage of the semifinal between the undefeated Gonzaga Bulldogs and the UCLA Bruins. The NCAA Men’s Championship Game will tip off on Monday with the pre-game at 7:00 pm ET and the game following at 8:00 pm. Westwood One will also present coverage in Spanish, called by Rafael Hernández Brito, former Puerto Rican national team coach Carlos Morales, and Clemson Smith Muñiz. Westwood One’s presentation of the NCAA Women’s Final Four this afternoon at 5:45 pm ET, as South Carolina takes on Stanford, followed by Arizona versus Connecticut. Coverage of the Women’s National Championship Game will be on Sunday at 5:30 pm ET. The Westwood One broadcast crew for the Women’s Final Four will include Ryan Radtke on play-by-play and Debbie Antonelli as lead color analyst, her 18th time in that role and 25th year overall. Krista Blunk will serve as pregame, halftime, and postgame host.

TALKERS News Notes. The Genesis Communications Network nationally syndicated program “America Tonight” with host Kate Delaney is added to the program schedule at KROS Broadcasting’s KROS-AM, Clinton, Iowa…..The podcast network Ramble announces the launch of “Crazy Stupid Fangirls,” a new weekly podcast hosted by YouTube star Elle Mills and creator Michelle Platti. Ramble – a studio division of Audacy’s Cadence13 – says the podcast features the longtime friends and fellow fangirls diving into pop culture spanning decades from all angles, debating and dissecting their favorite movies, music, streaming shows, television, artists, creators, iconic moments and more. In addition to sharing their own fangirl picks and stories on the show, Elle and Michelle will be joined by a wide range of guests who will share their favorites.

COVID-19, Vaccines, Variants and Origins Tie for Top News/Talk Story This Week. The combination of COVID-19 stats, vaccines, concerns about variants, and questions about the origin of the coronavirus made up the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of March 29 – April 2. At #2 this week was the Derek Chauvin trial tied with race relations, and police reform. Following at #3 was the Joe Biden infrastructure stimulus initiative and the related U.S. economy. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.