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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

| November 30, 2022

MAJOR NEWS/TALK RADIO MILESTONE: “The Sean Hannity Show” Cracks 700 Affiliate Level.  History has been made today in the news/talk radio realm as Premiere Networks syndicated talk media superstar Sean Hannity reaches the 700th affiliate milestone. His program, “The Sean Hannity Show,” which celebrated its 20th anniversary in syndication last year, continues to be a leader in the talk radio format, attracting tens of millions of listeners and driving top ranks for stations nationwide. According to TALKERS data, Hannity is the most-listened-to talk radio host in the U.S. (TALKERS Estimetrix) as well as the most influential (TALKERS Heavy Hundred). For his work on the program, he has been honored with two NAB Marconi Awards for “Nationally Syndicated Personality of the Year” and was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2017. “We couldn’t be happier to celebrate another impressive milestone with Sean,” says Julie Talbott, president of Premiere Networks. “There are very few people who have the talent to command an audience of this size for over two decades, while continuing to grow and set new benchmarks. Sean is one of the best in the business and this achievement is a credit to his passion and commitment to talk radio.” TALKERS founder Michael Harrison adds, “What’s so special about Sean Hannity is that he is not only the modern-day news/talk radio champion year after year, but he also holds that same distinction in the realm of cable news television as one of the pioneers and pillars of FOX News Channel. On top of that, he is a prolific best-selling author. This kind of multi-platform success is rare requiring an enormous amount of media skill and ability to engage on significantly separate levels of human wiring. Whether or not people in the talk media industries agree with his controversial political positions, we all owe Sean a debt of gratitude for raising the impact, prestige and influence of the American talk show business to both measurable and perceptual levels never before achieved by an individual performer and for his personal dedication to supporting the professional interests of each and every one of its players.”  For more information visit www.Hannity.com.

Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights Release Fall 2022 Podcast Report. The ninth edition of the Podcast Download Report from Cumulus Media, in partnership with Signal Hill Insights, is released. Cumulus says the ninth edition of the study examines weekly podcast listeners and is part of its commitment to share insights and research findings with the podcast community. A key finding of the Fall 2022 report is that podcast listeners have no problem listening to podcasts with language or content that might be considered objectionable on other media. Cumulus EVP, marketing and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes says, “Our new Podcast Download Report reveals that podcast listeners are comfortable with the content they choose. Since listeners make a more active decision when choosing their podcasts, brand safety may be less of a concern with podcast advertising than with other forms of media.” Other highlights from the report include: 1) Watchable podcasts have grown in popularity. Driven by podcast newcomers, more listeners prefer podcasts with video they can actively watch or minimize, to listen in the background; 2) Podcast video is strong but not necessary for all podcasts. 43% of weekly podcast listeners still prefer audio-only podcasts. Some podcast genres, like True Crime, do better with listeners who prefer audio only; and 3) Weekly podcast listeners co-listen with their children. Half of weekly podcast listeners with children in their household say they have ever listened to podcasts with their children. 20% of weekly podcast listeners with children say they listen to podcasts with their children frequently. You can download the full report here.

Audacy Names Aaron Roberts Operations Manager for Sacramento Market. Radio programming pro Aaron Roberts is promoted to operations manager for Audacy’s Sacramento cluster that includes sports talk KIFM-AM “ESPN 1320,” plus five music brands. In this role, Roberts will oversee content strategy, talent, operations and branding for the stations. He joined the cluster in August of this year as brand manager for “98 Rock” and “96.9 The Eagle,” and he will continue in those roles. Audacy Northern California RVP Stacey Kauffman says, “When we welcomed Aaron to our team in August, we were confident in his ability to position ‘98 Rock’ and ‘96.9 The Eagle’ for success. His experience and leadership style have done just that and we’re excited to have his oversight on our full suite of stations moving forward.”

SiriusXM Commissions Two New Satellites. Satellite broadcaster SiriusXM announces that it has commissioned Maxar Technologies to build and deliver two new geostationary communications satellites for SiriusXM. The SXM-11 and -12 satellite orders increase the total number of space craft in development for SiriusXM by Maxar to four, following the 2021 agreement for the construction of SXM-9 and -10. SiriusXM SVP of satellite and terrestrial engineering and operations Bridget Neville says, “This investment reaffirms our commitment to satellite content delivery systems and cutting-edge technology. SXM-11 and -12, along with SXM-9 and -10, will allow us to innovate and improve our service offerings for subscribers and will extend the continuous and reliable delivery of our audio entertainment content.”

 

Trump in ’24/Legal Battles, Oath Keeper Conviction, Respect for Marriage Act, Congressional Leadership Maneuvering/Georgia Runoff, China Protests, Russia-Ukraine War, The Economy/Rail Strike, and World Cup Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/29). Former President Donald Trump’s announced run for the White House in 2024, his dinner meeting with Ye and White Nationalist Nick Fuentes, and his numerous legal battles; Oath Keepers Stewart Rhodes and Kelly Meggs are convicted of seditious conspiracy in connection with January 6; the U.S. Senate passes the Respect for Marriage Act; the political maneuvering for leadership of the U.S. House in January and December’s runoff between Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker; the protests against China’s zero-COVID strategies; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and the political fight over U.S. aid to Ukraine; inflation, fears of a recession, the crypto plunge, and the deal to avert a nationwide rail strike; and the World Cup were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, October 10, 2022

| October 10, 2022

Monday Memo: Plan NOW For The Big Story. “When-the-fit-hits-the-shan, news/talk stations need to be conspicuous.” In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke uses that colorful quote as he provides four suggestions for stations to re-familiarize themselves with their network’s continuing coverage routine.” Read Holland Cooke’s column here.

Pending Business: To Do Lists. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa knows the importance of being organized in running a sales department or being a seller in this business. He gains inspiration from Benjamin Franklin – an incredibly busy man known for creating “To Do” lists – in drawing up five important things he suggests you include in creating yours each day. Read it here.

Bohannon’s Final Bow Set For This Friday. One of the most proficient and classiest talk/radio personalities the country has ever heard – Jim Bohannon – will hang up the headsets on his eponymous program this Friday (10/14). Having appeared on the TALKERS “Heavy Hundred” an astounding 27 consecutive years, the highly affable “Jimbo” is calling it quits due to health reasons. Beginning next Monday (10/17), Rich Valdes will succeed Bohannon on the weeknight, three-hour (10:00 pm – 1:00 am) Cumulus Media Westwood One broadcast. Bohannon states, “It’s been a great 40 years with Westwood One – the last 30 of which as host of ‘The Jim Bohannon Show.’ I’ve enjoyed every minute of our daily nighttime town hall with my guests, callers, and all of America. “Now, I’d like to introduce Rich Valdes, a very bright, vibrant young man who will be taking over in the same tradition.” Cumulus Media executive vice president of corporate marketing/Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes remarks, “We celebrate Jim’s long radio history and all his achievements, including his induction into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame; the First Amendment Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association; the Lifetime Achievement Award from TALKERS Magazine; and his inductions into the National Radio Hall of Fame and the Missouri Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. We are especially proud that Jim has been an invaluable member of our Westwood One family these many years – he is truly an industry legend. As we pass the baton to Rich Valdes, we’re excited to bring a new name and voice to talk radio. We look forward to continuing our tradition of providing the best programming to our affiliates and listeners.” Valdes notes, “No one can ever fill Jim’s shoes. I consider it a blessing and great honor to be part of the next generation of late-night talk show hosts, following the tradition of Jim Bohannon and Larry King.” TALKERS founder/publisher Michael Harrison has a very candid conversation with Bohannon on PodcastOne’s “The Michael Harrison Interview,” which drops tomorrow (Tuesday, 10/11). Bohannon joined Westwood One in 1983 and spent over 31 years as host of the early morning weekday news magazine “America in the Morning” and previously hosted “America This Week.” He began his career in 1960 at KLWT-AM, his hometown station in Lebanon, Missouri.

Sid Rosenberg Pays Tribute to Bernard McGuirk.  WABC, New York personality Sid Rosenberg shares personal feelings about his longtime broadcasting colleague Bernard McGuirk who succumbed last week (10/5) after a courageous battle with prostate cancer.  The two co-hosted the highly successful “Bernie & Sid in the Morning” program since April of 2018 bringing it to the top of the ratings in the competitive Big Apple AM drive daypart. But their relationship went back many years before that to their days together as part of team backing the legendary “Imus in the Morning” program and more.  Rosenberg discusses their history together and his loving perspective on McGuirk as a broadcaster and a friend in an exclusive conversation with TALKERS founder Michael Harrison.  To listen to the tribute, please click here.

Scheld Schedules His WCBS-AM Departure. In a memo to the staff of WCBS-AM, news director/brand manager Tim Scheld notes he will be leaving the Audacy New York all-news facility before the end of the year. Lauding the WCBS-AM team and Audacy New York market president Chris Oliviero, Scheld writes that “Audacy New York is in great hands.” Also included in the memo, Scheld states an Audacy arrangement with SAG-AFTRA signifies a new strategy, combining WCBS-AM’s resources with those of co-owned/similarly-formatted WINS. “[It’s] a plan I have endorsed and frankly helped design.” Scheld was a WCBS-AM reporter from 1987 – 1994 and rejoined the station in 2003, after a nine-year stint as a correspondent for ABC Radio News. In addition to his WCBS-AM duties, he’s chair of the Radio Television Digital News Association.

KGO Betting On The Spread. Confirming a story reported here last Friday (TALKERS, 10/7), Cumulus Media San Francisco today transitions longtime news/talk KGO to “The Spread 810 AM,” the Bay Area’s first station focused on sports betting. Cumulus San Francisco vice president/market manager Larry Blumhagen comments, “This is a bittersweet day for us, as it’s hard to say goodbye to the legendary KGO, which has been a part of listeners’ lives for so many years. We want to thank all the people who have been a part of KGO’s historic run these many years and the listeners who loyally tuned into the station. Times change, and we must change with them. We are excited about this new chapter and look forward to serving the Bay Area’s passionate sports fans in an incomparable way.” Cumulus San Francisco sports talk KNBR and KTCT program director Kevin Graham adds PD duties for “The Spread” and notes, “We are pleased to introduce sports-betting radio to our community. The station will feature a lineup of expert personalities that deliver unique sports talk and sports betting insights that entertain, inform, and engage. While [KGO] will feature specific gambling information, we believe our entertaining presentation will make it a favorite for all Bay area sports fans and a perfect complement to the legendary KNBR and KTCT.” The station’s weekday programming lineup includes: Joe Ostrowski, Joe Giglio, and Erin Hawksworth (6:00 am – 9:00 am); Jim Rome (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); Nick Kostos and Ken Barkley (12:00 noon – 4:00 pm); Quinton Mayo, Trysta Krick, and Ryan Horvat with “Bet MGM Tonight” (4:00 pm – 8:00 pm); and CBS Sports Radio (8:00 pm – 12:00 midnight). Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s September 2022 San Francisco sweep, KGO “810 AM” was up two-tenths from August 2022 (1.5 – 1.7, #21 to #20). In San Jose, KGO registers its fourth straight uptick for a combined +1.0 (1.7 – 2.0 – 2.2 – 2.6 – 2.7, 6+) and ranks #13.

Round Three of September PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s September 2022 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland; Charlotte; San Antonio; Sacramento; Pittsburgh; Salt Lake City; Las Vegas; Orlando; Cincinnati; Cleveland; Kansas City; and Columbus. Nielsen Audio’s September 2022 sweep covered August 18 – September 14. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from this group of 12 markets. News/talk packs a one-two punch (6+) in Salt Lake City, where iHeartMedia’s KNRS-AM & KNRS-FM “Talk Radio” erupts with a +2.5 (9.1 – 11.6, 6+) to rank on top for the eighth month in succession, while Bonneville-owned KSL “News Radio 102.7 FM & 1160 AM” adds six-tenths (6.1 – 6.7, 6+), advancing from fourth to second. In addition to SLC, the format registers number one showings in Sacramento with iHeartMedia’s KFBK-AM & KFBK-FM “News 1530 AM & 93.1 FM” gaining eight-tenths (8.1 – 8.9, third to first, 6+), and in Cincinnati, where co-owned WLW “700 Cincinnati’s News Radio” – despite being off six-sixths – is on top for the seventh consecutive month (11.7 – 11.1, 6+). Meanwhile, Cox Media Group-owned WDBO “Orlando’s News Talk” dials up a +1.3 (3.7 – 5.0, 6+) and enters the top ten (#11 to #8). The largest (6+) August 2022 – September 2022 increase by any station in the 36 PPM-markets whose data has been released thus far is in Columbus, where Tegna-owned sports talk WBNS-FM logs a +2.6 (6.8 – 9.4, 6+); “97.1 FM The Fan” vaults from fourth to first. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete “Ratings Takeaways” for this group of 12 markets (as well as the first two groups) here.

Hurley Charity Event Hauls in $65,00+. The fourteenth Annual Hurley in the Morning Charity Dinner and Silent Auction was held last Friday (10/7) at Atlantic City’s Resorts Casino Hotel. This year’s event raised more than $65,000 and featured congressman Jeff Van Drew as guest of honor/keynote speaker. An additional supplemental live on-air auction is still to be staged. According to “Hurley in the Morning” Charity founder/chair Harry Hurley (pictured at the right with Jeff Van Drew), “It was an amazing, ‘Who’s Who’ evening, which will directly benefit many worthy non-for-profit organizations throughout New Jersey and beyond. For example, this special event will make it possible for the “Hurley in the Morning Charity” to make a $7,000 contribution [next June] to The Broadcasters Foundation of America. Jeff Van Drew arrived early and was the last to leave.” To date, The Harry Hurley charity has donated $21,000 to the Broadcasters Foundation of America.” Hurley, who does morning drive (6:00 am – 10:00 am) on Townsquare Media Atlantic City news/talk WPGG “WPG Talk Radio 95.5 FM & 1450 AM,” reveals that Fox News Channel/Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade will be guest of honor/keynote speaker September 29, 2023 at “our fifteenth annual Hurley in the Morning Charity Dinner and Silent Auction.”

TALKERS News Notes. As part of cutbacks at Beasley Media Group Boston sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Toucher & Rich morning show producer Mike Lockhart and nighttime Adam Jones Show co-host Christian Arcand exit. Meanwhile in Philadelphia at co-owned/similarly-formatted WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic,” John Kincaid Show member Jaimie Lynch departs. … Almost seven months to the day from his kidney transplant, Zimmer Broadcasting Cookeville (Tennessee) news/talk WHUB “News Talk 107.7 and 1400 The Hub” program director/6:00 am – 8:00 am host/promotion director/assistant news director Brent Carl Fleshman won two first-place trophies at last week’s inaugural Tennessee Association of Broadcasting’s “Excellence Awards.” Fleshman was named “Best Local On-Air Personality” and “Best Local Talk Show” in the “Small Market Radio Division,” which consists of stations not in Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, and Chattanooga.In 2016,  Fleshman won the NAB Marconi Award as “Small Market Personality of the Year” and was a finalist for that award in 2019. … “Fridays with Frankie,” a limited-edition Audacy series hosted by reality show star Frankie Grande, debuted last Friday (10/7). Each episode will feature a different topic and will be live aired on Audacy’s digital platform at 8:00 am (ET) and replayed until 12:00 midnight (ET). The show will also air across Audacy’s Channel Q’s network of stations. … The Society of Professional Journalists names the headquarters of the Voice of America – 330 Independence Avenue SW in Washington, DC – as a Historic Site in Journalism. The Voice of America is the editorially independent international broadcaster funded by the United States government. SPJ international community co-chair Dan Kubiske states that, “For 80 years, the Voice of America has been a source of solid and honest journalism. From its beginning in 1942, despite being a U.S. government agency, through custom, charters and law the editorial independence of VOA journalists has not wavered.”

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

| August 17, 2022

Guardian Angels Have Significant Presence as NYC Crime Deterrent as Curtis Sliwa Breaks New Ground on WABC. In the late 1970s, New York City was a modern-day equivalent of the Wild West. Murder and violent crime were the norm. A trip on the subway was an exercise in urban survival. Residents of the city resigned themselves to that unfortunate reality as the politicians and police seemed powerless. However, a young man from Brooklyn, a former Jesuit student, felt someone had to do something. Curtis Sliwa stepped forward. What started as a group of Sliwa and a dozen other dedicated volunteers riding the subways of New York to serve as protectors of everyday law-abiding citizens, grew into the “Guardian Angels” that residents of the Big Apple have come to know and love. With their distinctive red berets, they are as New York as Central Park or a potato knish. They operate under the motto “we dare to care” and have proved it over and over through the years, in some cases with their lives. These days, the Guardian Angels have chapters in 13 countries and over 100 cities and the terrible spike in street crime gripping the Big Apple has made them more relevant than ever. While the original hometown group of 13 has grown to thousands across the globe, the mission has not wavered as Sliwa puts it, “To make a positive change in the community by involving citizens to step forward and take an active role. While the classic street patrols are the lifeblood of the organization, we all know that reaching the youth in our neighborhoods, especially the most at risk, is crucial. Once again, the Guardian Angels is meeting the need.” The “Junior Angels” program, their youth outreach programs, and their Washington Heights Community Center, provides help for kids with everything from homework to nutrition while getting them actively involved in their community. Since his recent high-profile campaign for mayor of New York as the Republican standard bearer, Sliwa has returned to the airwaves of juggernaut talker WABC with a powerful midday 12:15 pm -1:00 pm program, “The Curtis Sliwa Show,” that TALKERS founder Michael Harrison describes as “extremely creative and truly ground breaking in its utilization of satire, hard-hitting commentary and subtle sarcasm that appeals to the listeners’ intelligence.” Sliwa tells TALKERS, “I will push into new realms that have not been approached with ‘theatre of the mind’ broadcasts during the height of the day. It will become the alternative to straight non-stop repetitive political talk. The satire and parodies that I am doing can win over whole new audiences.” Pictured above: noted former radio producer and Yappy Days author Bernadette Duncan riding the East Side E subway train with a couple of patrolling Guardian Angels this past Sunday (8/14).

Audacy Trimming Payroll with On-Air Staff Reductions. In the wake of Audacy’s second quarter financial report for 2022 in which company president and CEO David Field cited “declining macroeconomic conditions and ad market headwinds” as the reason for the company’s top line growth of just 5%, the company is reducing its payroll. Audacy, like its competitors, has been taking steps to build a multi-platform media company and, as a result of the economics Field referred to, is being forced to make cuts in areas where growth has been the most limited – over-the-air radio. Some of the cuts being reported include all of the local sports talk personalities at sports talk WSSP-AM, Milwaukee “The Fan,” including LeRoy Butler and Gary Ellerson (as reported by the Milwaukee Business Journal). WSSP’s website reveals its programming now consists solely of CBS Sports Radio shows. Last week, sports talk host Jerry Coleman revealed his exit from WJZ-FM, Baltimore “105.7 The Fan” in a tweet.

KFI, Los Angeles Reporter Corbin Carson Wins NABJ Honor for Documentary. KFI, Los Angeles news reporter Corbin Carson has been honored by the National Association of Black Journalists with its “Salute to Excellence Award” for Best Documentary for his work on “This Sand is My Sand: The Stolen Legacy of Bruce’s Beach.” iHeartMedia says the powerful two-hour documentary focuses on property in Manhattan Beach that was stolen from the Bruce family through eminent domain in the 1920s amid threats from the KKK. The feature includes exclusive interviews with historians, protestors, critics, and the Bruce family about racism, reparations, and a yearlong movement to return the $20 million-dollar-plus beachfront property. “This Sand is My Sand: The Stolen Legacy of Bruce’s Beach” culminated with California Governor Gavin Newsom signing a bill to return the property to descendants of the Bruce family. Hear the documentary here.

Salem Promotes Jon Latzer to VP/GM of Salem Surround. Rising from his position as digital sales director to vice president and general manager for Salem Media Group‘s Salem Surround is Jon Latzer. Latzer previously served with Alpha Media, CBS Radio and Katz. Latzer will report to Salem SVP of Broadcast Digital Jamie Cohen. He says, “Jon has been an active, hands-on leader in broadcast for years, but his last six years at Salem and Alpha Media prepared him well for the fast-paced digital world. In Jon, we have a strong, experienced general manager, who will help us take Salem Surround to the next level. Jon was ready for the next adventure in his career, and we are extremely fortunate to have him on the team.”

Cumulus Renews Deal with Benztown. This new deal extends the partnership between Cumulus Media’s Westwood One and imaging firm Benztown. The two companies first partnered in 2011, creating one of the radio industry’s largest collections of production and imaging libraries. With the new multi-year agreement, Benztown will continue to provide radio imaging, production, voiceover, programming, and jingles services for Cumulus Media-owned radio stations and Westwood One syndicated programming. Westwood One will continue to represent the barter inventory for Benztown Branding, Benztown Voice, and Hollywood Radio Networks. Cumulus EVP of marketing and president of Westwood One Suzanne Grimes says, “We are committed to partnering with companies that provide best-in-class services for our affiliates. By extending our partnership with Benztown, our affiliates will be able to create the radio magic that listeners remember and advertisers seek for many years to come.”

TALKERS News Notes. The latest Latino Podcast Listener Report 2022 from Edison Research is published and among its findings are that 59% of U.S. Latinos age 18+ have ever listened to a podcast, a high mark for the measure. Just over half (51%) of U.S. Latinos have ever listened to a podcast in English, and 33% have ever listened to a podcast in Spanish. The U.S. Latino Podcast Listener report was commissioned by Adonde Media, LWC Studios, Libsyn, PRX, and SXM Media. The study found that video podcasts are popular among the U.S. Latino population. Seventy-six percent of U.S. Latino monthly podcast listeners consume podcasts with video component where they actively watch the video while listening. Sixty-six percent consume podcasts with video where they play the video in the background or minimize the video on their device. Edison Research senior director of research Gabriel Soto states, “Latinos in the U.S. control an impressive $1.9 trillion in purchasing power, and today’s data demonstrate how advertisers who support Latino podcast content are benefitting, while those who don’t are missing out.”…..Gemini XIII announces its new partnership with Jane Green, author of 18 New York Times bestselling books and a global household name in commercial women’s fiction, to form Emerald Audio, a new premium podcast network creating connection and community through authentic female-led storytelling. The first podcast to be produced by Emerald Audio is Jane Green’s Rainbow Girl, the story of a crumbling rock star marriage mired in drugs, infidelities, and black magic, set in 1979 and based on the characters from Green’s newest book, Sister Stardust, which was released in April. Green comments, “In today’s world, there are so many more ways for people to tell their stories outside of traditional publishing. To be focused on female-driven stories in the podcast medium is the most exhilarating thing I have worked on in years. Fiction, particularly female-driven fiction, is at the very beginning of its growth in that area, and there are so many opportunities for strong, powerful stories aimed at women. I couldn’t be more honored, and excited to work with Spencer [Brown], Charles [Steinhauer] and the entire team at Gemini XIII.”…..iHeartMedia and Tenderfoot TV announce the newest addition to their popular “Monster” podcast franchise titled “Le Monstre.” The podcast recounts the story of real-life monster Marc Dutroux – a serial killer, pedophile, and kidnapper whose crimes brought terror to Belgium in the 1980s and 1990s…..The Independent Broadcasters Association extends the registration period for member stations to participate in the IBA Fall 2022 National Cash Contest to this Friday (8/19) to give all IBA member stations time to sign up for the promotion. The contest begins on-air September 19 and stations must be members of the IBA to participate.

Primaries/2024 Presidential Race, FBI Raid/Documents Issue, Georgia Election Probe, Inflation, Russia-Ukraine War, and U.S. Drought Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/16). Tuesday’s primary elections for the November midterms and speculation about the presidential nominees in 2024; the aftermath of the FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago and the matter of top secret documents; Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani’s scheduled appearance in Atlanta for questioning in the 2020 election subversion investigation; the still-rising cost of food and the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine; and the drought affecting the U.S. and causing water emergencies in the West were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

| June 8, 2022

Steve Cochran to Host Morning Drive on WLS-AM, Chicago. Chicago media personality Steve Cochran is joining Cumulus Media to host the morning drive show on news/talk WLS-AM, effective June 15. Cochran served as morning drive host at Nexstar Media’s crosstown news/talk WGN-AM from 2013 to 2019. He’s been producing two podcasts since his exit from WGN – one titled “Live from My Office” and another with Patty Steele called “The Deep 6 with Patty Steele – both of which he says he’ll continue to produce, according to a report by Chicago media writer Robert Feder. Cochran is taking over the morning show from Bruce St. James, who was brought in from Phoenix in December of 2020 to host the morning show after Erich Mancow Muller exited the station. WLS program director Stephanie Tichenor says, “I’m delighted to welcome Steve to our team, where I know he will bring his wisdom, wit, and political prowess to morning drive. Our listeners need a place to feel safe to express their opinions while having a destination for entertainment, news, and, of course, conservative conversation. Steve will provide that for our Chicagoland audience. I’m looking forward to growing 890 with Steve Cochran in the mornings.” Cochran comments, “Like thousands of others, I did my homework listening to The Big 89 WLS when I was a kid. It’s an honor to say those call letters, and I can’t wait to get started.” Cochran is represented by John McConnell at Workhouse Media.

 

Cumulus Names Lisa Waks SVP Digital Partnerships and Business Development. Digital media pro Lisa Waks is named SVP, digital partnerships and business development, in which she’ll lead Cumulus Podcast Network’s content acquisition strategy and content pipeline development, with a focus on personality-driven brand franchises in the news; business, money & tech; sports; and entertainment verticals. Waks was most recently head of global media partnerships, strategy, and operations for TED Conferences, where she expanded their digital business, streamlined operations, and launched the TED Audio Collective. Cumulus EVP corporate marketing and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes says, “Lisa is a trailblazer who has spent years creating new businesses, building new revenue streams, and forging successful and enduring partnerships. We are excited for her to bring this fire and focus to Cumulus to help us continue to expand the Cumulus Podcast Network with innovative, interesting, and unique content that is craved by listeners and partners alike.” Waks comments, “I am thrilled to begin the next chapter in my career with such a long-standing and prestigious organization. Cumulus is best-in-class, leading the audio industry with a wide range of voices and premium content. I believe in the power of the spoken word, and through smart collaborations we will successfully deepen connections and community.”

 

Adrian Warren Named VP of Sales for iHeartMedia Jacksonville. Radio sales pro Adrian Warren is named vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s Jacksonville cluster, effective June 13. The company says that in this role, Warren will be responsible driving revenue across the market’s entire broadcast and digital cluster, with a specific focus on WJBT-FM, WSOL-FM and the Black Information Network. Warren most recently served with Radio One in Indianapolis as digital sales manager and local sales manager. iHeartMedia area president for North Florida Paul Rogers comments, “I’m really excited to have Adrian join our leadership team here on the First Coast of Florida. His track record, personal character, and specific experience with some of the same diverse brands we represent here in Jacksonville were a perfect fit for us, and we were fortunate to get him. I’m confident he’ll help us get back to our market-leading revenue position.”

 

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Lizzie Baumgartner is returning to Audacy’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM to serve as managing editor of podcasts. Most recently, she’s been serving the company as audio production coordinator for its alternative rock and country stations. Her previous role with WBBM was as assistant producer…..A number of executive promotions are taking place at Triton Digital. Stephanie Donovan is now global head of revenue. Alex Fournier is named chief technology officer. Benjamin Masse rises to chief product officer, and Molly Glover Gallatin joins the executive team as SVP of marketing and Jelli customer experience. Triton says the promotions “further support the company’s recent integration of Jelli to accelerate the development of innovative technology that serves the entire audio ecosystem across radio, streaming, and podcasting.”…..SiriusXM is presenting coverage of the Belmont Stakes, the third and final jewel of thoroughbred racing’s 2022 Triple Crown, this Saturday, June 11 from Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. The wire-to-wire race broadcast of the Belmont Stakes is provided by NBC Sports Audio Network.

 

Making Dreams Come True. Pictured above is WRVA, Richmond afternoon drive talk host Jeff Katz (right) before a Richmond Flying Squirrels baseball game. Katz says, “Being the number one talk radio personality in Central Virginia brings some perks like being asked to throw out the first pitches for the area’s two big baseball teams – the Tri-City Chili Peppers and the Richmond Flying Squirrels. I got those calls but realized there is something better than doing it yourself and that’s making a dream come true for someone else. So, citing my health issues like ‘outgrown hair and a torn rotator cufflink,’ I asked Emily Morrissey (second from left) if she’d be willing to help him. Emily is a 23-year-old young lady with cerebral palsy and other challenges, but she brought the heat and did a great job as my ringer at both Shepard Stadium in Colonial Heights, Virginia and The Diamond in Richmond, Virginia. Emily personally makes beautiful bracelets which are available at www.emilysbracelets.com and donates a portion of the proceeds to the Special Olympics of Virginia. Each player on the Chili Peppers and the Flying Squirrels wore one of her bracelets in their respective team colors during their games.”

 

Primary Elections/Donald Trump & the GOP, January 6 Hearings, the Economy, Russia-Ukraine War, Gun Violence-Legislation, and COVID-19 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/7). Tuesday’s primary elections for the November midterms and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; Thursday’s hearings before the January 6 Committee; the soaring price of gasoline & food, plummeting tech stocks and concerns about a recession; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and its effect on the global economy; reactions to the recent episodes of gun violence and attempts at gun legislation; and the status of COVID-19 in the U.S. were some of most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

| May 18, 2022

Round Two of April PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s April PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, DC, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s April 2022 sweep covered March 31 – April 27. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this round of markets. In Boston, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO sheds four-tenths to finish with a 4.3 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) but rises to the #7 rank, and sister all-news WBZ-FM dips by eight-tenths to finish with a 4.7 share and remains ranked #6. Bonneville International’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle loses 1.1 shares and wraps the survey with a 6.3 share that pulls it out of first place to #2. Meanwhile, Lotus Communications’ crosstown all-news KNWN-AM/FM dips by seven-tenths for a 4.3 share finish good for the #9 rank. In the Twin Cities, Audacy’s news/talk WCCO loses half a share for a 3.8 share finish and the #13 rank, while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk KTLK-AM sheds six-tenths for a 3.0 share and the #14 rank. And Hubbard Broadcasting’s talk KTMY-FM ticks up one-tenth for a 2.7 share finish good for the #15 rank. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (as well as the first round) here.

 

WOLB-AM, Baltimore Morning Host Larry Young Recovering from Leg Amputation. The Baltimore Sun reports that WOLB-AM, Baltimore morning drive host Larry Young is recovering after having surgery to remove his leg below the knee, the result of an infection in his foot that was complicated by his Type 2 diabetes. The 72-year-old Young has been off the air since April 10. He’s been hosting the morning show on Radio One’s WOLB-AM for the past 25 years and is planning to retire from the station at the end of this year. As noted in a story below, Young is being honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from TALKERS magazine at TALKERS 2022 at Hofstra University on June 10. Young tells the paper that he expects to be back on the air in June and back to normal activities by August.

 

Cumulus-Signal Hill: YouTube Most Used U.S. Podcast Platform. The latest Podcast Download – Spring 2022 Report from Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights that examines weekly podcast listeners has been released. Cumulus says the report is part of its commitment to share insights and research findings with the podcast community. Cumulus EVP, marketing and president, Westwood One Suzanne Grimes says, “Our new Podcast Download Report uncovers a major surge in video podcast audiences as YouTube becomes the most-used platform to access podcasts. Podcast advertising reaches millions of younger consumers who have abandoned linear television for advertising-free video streaming services.” Some highlights from the report: 1) Six in 10 weekly podcast listeners say they prefer podcasts with video. When asked how they prefer listening to podcasts, 28% say they like a podcast video they actively watch while listening and 29% indicate they have the video in the background/minimized while listening. 43% say they use audio only with no video; 2) YouTube is now the leading audience destination. When asked which platform they listen to the most to access podcasts, 24.2% say YouTube, followed by Spotify (23.8%) and Apple Podcasts (16%); 3) The greater the time spent with podcasts, the more the podcast ads generate consumer response and business outcomes. As a result of hearing a podcast ad, heavy podcast listeners (those who listen six-plus hours per week) are more likely to have searched online for a product, discovered a new product/service, made a purchase, used a promo code, or followed a brand on social media. See the complete report here.

 

Edison Research: SiriusXM Top Podcast Network by Reach. According to just-released data from Edison Research, the Top Podcast Networks in the U.S. for the first quarter of 2022 are: SXM Media, Spotify, and iHeartRadio, respectively. This ranker measures reach as a percentage of the weekly podcasting audience. Rankings are compiled by measuring the total unduplicated reach of all the shows represented by a given network. Listening is credited to the producer and/or the network that represents the advertising for the show, not the platform or app that the listener uses to access the podcast. Rounding out the top 10 are: 4) NPR 5) The New York Times 6) Audioboom 7) Audacy 8) Cumulus Podcast Network 9) Wondery and 10) PRX. Edison Research director of research Gabriel Soto says, “Edison Podcast Metrics is the only dataset that covers the entire U.S. podcast space. By surveying listeners and measuring their actual consumption, the data doesn’t depend on opt-ins from networks and isn’t subject to the various issues with counting downloads. These top networks offer a diverse range of shows that appeal broadly to listeners.”

 

TALKERS Announces Recipients of 2022 Awards. Ian Freeman, Mandy Connell, Larry Young, and Jeff Katz to be recognized at TALKERS 2022.

Ian Freeman is the co-host, along with Mark Edge, of a long-running syndicated radio talk show titled, “Free Talk Live,” that emanates from Keene, New Hampshire evenings 7:00 pm – 10 pm ET. The main theme of the contemporary news and topics show is freedom and the ideals of the First Amendment. Although still on the air regularly, Ian Freeman is currently under federal arrest on a wide array of charges ranging from money laundering to wire fraud. He maintains his innocence and claims the FBI and other government agencies are hell bent on shutting him up after years of dealing with the nuisance of the show’s activism and controversial information on such subjects as civil disobedience, including taking a frontline stance on the emergence and controversies of cryptocurrencies. He will begin his trial later this year. Ian Freeman will receive the TALKERS Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech (also known as the “Freedom of Speech” award) at TALKERS 2022 at Hofstra University on Friday, June 10.

Mandy Connell is the 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm midday host at KOA, Denver. Prior to her present position, her radio background includes KHOW, Denver as well as heritage station WHAS, Louisville. She began her career in Florida doing news/talk and hot talk after having been a flight attendant who decided to attend broadcasting school and begin a career in radio. She is widely recognized as an influential, reasonable, and independent conservative political voice as well as an entertaining conversationalist whose repertoire includes all aspects of pop culture and day-to-day issues. Her star continues to be on the rise. Mandy Connell will receive the TALKERS Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions by a Woman to Talk Radio (also known as the “Woman of the Year” award) at TALKERS 2022 at Hofstra University on Friday, June 10.

Larry Young has been the beloved morning show host on African American community talker WOLB, Baltimore for the past 25 years and is about to retire at the end of 2022. The “Larry Young Morning Show” is widely regarded as the top black radio talk show in Maryland. The “Larry Young Morning Show” was also named “Best Radio Station” by Baltimore City Paper in 2007, 2008, 2009 and in 2010. He also has been honored by the community with such awards as the 2007 Pinnacle Award given by American Development Consortium, 2009 Ed Bradley Award given by Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, 2011 Unsung Hero Award given by Grace Outreach Fundraising Committee, 2012 Whitney M. Young Jr. Award given by Greater Baltimore Urban League and he was the recipient of the TALKERS Humanitarian of the Year Award in 2015. Larry Young will receive the TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award at TALKERS 2022 at Hofstra University on Friday, June 10.

Jeff Katz is the 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm host at WRVA, Richmond. He is a former police officer in Philadelphia who traded his badge for a microphone and began a successful three-decade, award-winning career as a talk show host on major stations in in Boston, Charlotte, Philadelphia, San Francisco and, since 2013, at the legendary WRVA. Jeff volunteers thousands of hours to help members of the community with a special focus on law enforcement officers and disabled children. President Donald J. Trump honored Jeff’s service by presenting him with The President’s Award for Volunteer Service. In addition, FBI Director Christopher Wray honored Jeff by naming him the winner of The Director’s Community Leadership Award for 2019. Katz will be the recipient of the TALKERS Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Talk Show Host (also known as the “Humanitarian of the Year” award) at TALKERS 2022 at Hofstra University on Friday, June 10.

 

TALKERS News Notes. According to the latest data from Comscore, FOX News Digital finished April 2022 as the “top-performing news organization in the competitive set in multiplatform minutes.” FOX News Digital closed out the month reaching 2.9 billion total multiplatform minutes, 1.5 billion total multiplatform views, and 77 million multiplatform unique visitors. FOX News says April also marked the 14th straight month that it outpaced every news brand in the competitive set in multiplatform minutes. While FOX News Digital eclipses competitor CNN.com in multiplatform total views and total minutes, CNN.com tops FOX News Digital in unique visitors by a wide margin…..iHeartMedia Charlotte and the NFL’s Carolina Panthers strike a deal for the teams games to be heard on classic rock WRFX-FM “99.7 The Fox” starting this season. The team’s game broadcasts have been heard on Radio One’s WBT-AM/FM for the past 17 seasons. 99.7 The Fox will carry all Panthers game broadcasts, the Panthers pregame and postgame shows as well the team’s weekly coach’s show. The station will provide unique listener experiences and will have an on-site presence at Bank of America Stadium during Panthers game days. In addition, the new relationship will benefit from iHeartMedia’s audio partnership with the NFL, which features podcast distribution via the iHeartPodcast Network…..iHeartMedia chairman & CEO Bob Pittman and president, CEO & COO Rich Bressler will participate in a question and answer session during J.P. Morgan’s 50th Annual Global Technology, Media and Communications Conference in Boston on Tuesday May 24 at 3:30 pm ET. A live webcast of the session will be available to the general public at the start of the session through a link on the Investors homepage of iHeartMedia’s website.

 

Dick Rakovan Dies. Radio executive Dick Rakovan has passed, according to numerous reports, including this one from Radio Ink. Consultant and TALKERS magazine columnist Holland Cooke says, “His CapCities resume included WJR, Detroit; WKBW, Buffalo; and WPRO, Providence where he was our station manager in the 1970s – radio Camelot. Later, when he ran the radio group for Outlet Broadcasting, he vectored me into programming WSNE, Providence and WTOP, Washington. He also served with WFYR, Chicago and WWRC, Washington and was VP of the Radio Advertising Bureau.” Rakovan was honored by the Illinois Broadcasters Association with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016. See that video here.

 

Buffalo Shooting/Great Replacement Theory, Midterm Primaries/Trump & the GOP, the Economy, Russia-Ukraine War/Finland & Sweden Apply to NATO, Elon Musk & Twitter, COVID-19, and UFO Hearings Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/17). The aftermath of the deadly Buffalo shooting and talk of the Great Replacement Theory; the primary races for the November midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the financial markets, inflation, and concerns about a major recession on the horizon; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and Finland and Sweden apply to NATO; Elon Musk’s attempt to take over Twitter; the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S.; and Tuesday’s congressional hearing on UFOs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, April 11, 2022

| April 11, 2022

Pending Business: It Should Be Easy. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says in today’s column that advertising with your news/talk station should be easy. But, is it? He says, “I’m betting it’s more difficult than you think.” If you’ve never done it, try to call your station – from outside the building – and go through the process of reaching the sales department. Lapa offers a “self-check” to see how you do in the area of communication. Read more here.

 

Monday Memo: Bad News. Following-up last week’s column about how stations can better-exploit “good news,” consultant Holland Cooke outlines a playbook for “handling the gaffes inevitable in talk radio.” Read more here.

 

Cumulus Media and Daily Wire Partner for Local Digital News. A new syndication agreement between conservative news and entertainment media company The Daily Wire and Cumulus Media will include delivering Daily Wire digital content to Cumulus radio station websites in key markets across the United States. Under the terms of the deal, Daily Wire breaking news, original reporting, sports, and entertainment coverage by The Daily Wire is available on more than 50 Cumulus radio station websites, with plans to expand in the coming weeks. Cumulus Media EVP of corporate marketing and president of Westwood One, Suzanne Grimes, says, “This new deal expands our partnership with Daily Wire to include yet another Cumulus distribution platform. Our listeners now have a new way to engage with high quality content from The Daily Wire, in real time, on our Cumulus local stations’ websites.” Westwood One and Daily Wire already partner to deliver “The Ben Shapiro Radio Show.” Last year, Westwood One and Daily Wire announced they were expanding broadcast programming offerings with the addition of “The Michael Knowles Show” from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.

 

‘The Regular Joe Show’ Enters Syndication with Genesis Communications Network. Talk radio host Joe Giganti announces he and Genesis Communications Network are partnering to nationally syndicate his “The Regular Joe Show.” His program has been regionally syndicated throughout Wisconsin from his home base at Midwest Communications’ WTAQ, Green Bay since 2020. Giganti says, “When I moved to Green Bay in 2007 from my native Washington, D.C., I quickly recognized the pivotal role Wisconsin specifically and the heartland generally play in our national political identity. This impact was drawn into crystal-clear focus with the intrigue surrounding the 2020 elections.” GCN affiliates director Adam Miller comments, “The GCN family is excited to welcome ‘The Regular Joe Show’ to its morning lineup! With a proven track record in Green Bay and markets across Wisconsin as a whole, we look forward to seeing this broadcast perform at a national scale as our country transitions into an uncertain and polarized future.”

 

iHeartMedia Names Whalley VP of Sales for WOR-AM and WAXQ-FM in New York. Radio sales pro Brittany Whalley joins iHeartMedia New York as vice president of sales for news/talk WOR-AM “The Voice of New York” and classic rock WAXQ-FM “Q104.3.” In this role, Whalley will be responsible for overseeing the Q104.3 and 710 WOR sales teams, including sales growth and strategic partnerships. She will report to SVP of sales Steve DeLusant. Whalley joins the iHeartMedia New York team from Cox Media Group’s Long Island station group where she was general sales manager. She says, “iHeartMedia is a massive leader in the audio space and I am ecstatic to be joining their NYC team. I look forward to collaborating with the incredibly talented sales team and achieving goals the leadership team has put in place. The abundance of resources available at iHeartMedia to super-serve clients is a dream come true.”

 

TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated early afternoon program “The Todd Starnes Show” has two new affiliates in the Sunflower State as Steckline Communications adds the 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm ET show to KQAM, Wichita and KIUL, Garden City, Kansas…..ESPN Radio announces that it is teaming former New York Giants star Chris Canty (left) and sports radio pro Chris Carlin (right) for the new 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET “Canty & Carlin” program, effective April 25. Canty says, “I’m fired up to work with Carlin. We were able to establish chemistry going back to our days working at 98.7 FM in New York. He’s a pro’s pro that puts in the work to be at his best and also bring out the best in others. We both take sports seriously, but we won’t take ourselves seriously. We’ll keep our audience informed, make them think and hopefully get a few laughs along the way.”…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that current WBBM-FM “B96” weekend personality Gabe Ramirez is beginning a dual role with Audacy Chicago. He’s now a regular fill-in host on sports talk WSCR “The Score.” He begins his work with the station hosting the evening show this week. Also, WSCR promotes Chris Tannehill to senior audio producer…..Federal Communications Commission chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel and National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Curtis LeGeyt will participate in a fireside chat on the NAB Show on April 25 in Las Vegas. LeGeyt says, “In today’s hyper-competitive media landscape, a regulatory framework that allows local radio and television stations to evolve, adapt and better serve their audiences is of vital importance. Broadcasters look forward to hearing from chairwoman Rosenworcel about her role as the head of a critical agency and her outlook on the future of our industry.”

 

Russia-Ukraine War, the Economy/Inflation, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Hunter Biden Investigation, January 6 Committee/Greene Challenge, Macron-Le Pen Race, COVID-19, and Elon Musk & Twitter Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Russia’s continuing invasion of Ukraine and the U.S.’s reaction to the war; the state of the U.S. economy, including high gas and food prices; the November midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the ongoing DOJ investigation into Hunter Biden’s international business ventures; the January 6 committee’s investigation into the Capitol assault and a challenge to Marjorie Taylor Greene’s candidacy for re-election based on allegations she encouraged the January 6 attack; the race for France’s presidency between liberal Emmanuel Macron and conservative Marine Le Pen; concerns about a new wave of COVID in the U.S. as China continues harsh lockdowns; and Elon Musk declines to take a seat on Twitter’s board after acquiring a 9% stake in the company were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.