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Thursday, March 4, 2021

| March 4, 2021

Meruelo Media Launches HD Talk Station in Los Angeles. This new talk station broadcasting on KLOS-FM, Los Angeles’ HD2 signal is being programmed by “Heidi and Frank” show co-host Frank Kramer and for now airs a 24-hour loop of the morning drive program.  Kramer says, “I’m excited to bring all-talk radio back to Southern California. The listeners have been hungry for it since KLSX ended in 2009, and now that over half of the cars on the road have HD radios, it’s perfect timing.” Kramer adds, “The 24-hour loop is just phase one. In the coming months, my team and I will be adding original programming, special features and even more surprises. KLOS2 will ultimately become a full-fledged talk radio station, courting new advertisers and personalities. I appreciate Meruelo Media for trusting my vision to double down on personality-driven radio, and I can’t wait to get started.” Meruelo Media president Otto Padron comments, “We’re excited to offer Frank a second audio platform to expand his creative brand and explore bold new ideas. While 95.5 KLOS-FM will continue to be the flagship station for the daily, live version of ‘The Heidi & Frank Show,’ we are certain that fans will love more listening options, which includes the KLOS2 mobile app.”

Edison Research: 30% of Audio Listening Done on Mobile. According to data from Edison Research’s Share of Ear report, “listening on a mobile device now accounts for 30% of all time spent listening to audio by those age 13+ in the U.S., an increase of 67% since 2014.” Edison goes on to say that the gap between listening on a traditional radio receiver and a mobile device among those age 13+ has narrowed remarkably quickly since 2014: 31 percentage points separated the two in 2014 and only five percentage points separate the two today. The traditional AM/FM radio receiver does account for the largest share of audio consumed but has decreased the most since the survey began, now accounting for 35% of all audio consumption compared to 49% in 2014. “Mobile devices have already surpassed traditional radio receivers in the younger age groups. Among those age 13-34, 46% of total daily audio consumption is done on a mobile device and 20% is done on a traditional AM/FM radio receiver. It is important to note that these statistics speak to device only, not the audio product that is delivered by the device.” Edison Research president Larry Rosin adds, “Mobile devices, particularly of course the phone, have been gaining on the traditional radio receiver as the primary listening device for as long as we have been measuring Share of Ear, but with the disruptions of the last year the gap has narrowed dramatically. As fewer people have a standard radio receiver in their homes these days, naturally more listening comes through digital devices.” See more here

Westwood One Sues Local Radio Networks for Patent Infringement. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Local Radio Network’s home base of Fort Wayne, Indiana, accuses LRN of willfully infringing upon two patents Westwood One holds for its syndicated automation program. The patents – titled “Methods and Computer Programs for Localizing Broadcast Content” and “Systems, Methods and Apparatus for Operating a Broadcast Network” – according to Westwood One “represent a leap forward in broadcast network technology, solving several problems exhibited by traditional methods and systems that rely on the broadcast affiliate to manually enter ‘breaks’ in programming during which time audio content can be switched over to local broadcast sources.” WWO alleges that LRN’s Radio Velocity Control program illegally uses those technologies. In the complaint, WWO says that former WWO staffers Chris Reeves, Jonathon Steele, Chris Hatton, Matt Caldaronello, and Patrick Crocker “have knowledge of the workings of Westwood’s patented program. Furthermore, these employees are presently attempting to use this knowledge to lure customers away from Westwood by informing customers in the market that the LRN program is comparable. Such acts constitute willful and deliberate infringement, entitling Westwood to enhanced damages and attorney’s fees.” LRN issued the following statement in response to the suit: “LRN believes the claims are legally and factually baseless and intends to vigorously defend against those claims. LRN was launched in 2015 by Steve Swick, a radio station owner/operator. LRN developed and uses its own technology and built its business station by station and format by format. LRN’s relentless focus on quality programming, affiliate service, and fair inventory pricing has propelled its growth to a leadership position in the radio industry with 14 formats and supports hundreds of affiliates nationally. Six years after LRN’s successful launch in 2015, Westwood One is apparently giving up on trying to fairly compete and instead is trying to now use the courts to do what its programmers, engineers and affiliate salespeople could not do. On behalf of the independent radio owners and operators in our industry, please understand that LRN will not be bullied by a corporate radio Wall Street giant attempting to disrupt its much smaller competitor LRN and its superior team, technology and products.”

Kristy Beebe to Lead iHeartMedia Indianapolis. Promoted from her regional SVP of sales post for iHeartMedia’s Kentucky-Indiana Metro, Kristy Beebe is named market president for the company’s Indianapolis cluster that includes sports talk WNDE-AMFOX Sports 1260,” “Business News 97.5” (WOLT-HD2/W248AW), and three music brands. Beebe has held various sales leadership positions throughout her career, including local sales manager and general sales manager for iHeartMedia Toledo and iHeartMedia Louisville. iHeartMedia president for the Kentucky-Indiana Metro Earl Jones comments, “I am so excited for Kristy’s well-deserved promotion to market president. She has earned the opportunity to lead our Indianapolis market. Kristy has been an incredible sales leader, coach, and major contributor to the success of iHeartMedia Kentucky-Indiana Metro.”

TALKERS News Notes. This evening (3/4) from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm, Adelphi University is hosting The New York Times business editor Ellen Pollock, for a live-streamed discussion about today’s pressing issues, titled, “Keeping Up With the Times,” and moderated by Adelphi alumnus and Skyview Networks president and COO Steve Jones. He comments, “Press freedom is an essential thread in the fabric of our democracy – now more than ever. Join us for a discussion about the role media and business play in society and the responsibility we citizens have to understand how these forces are shaping our lives and our children’s future.”…..When the NHL expansion club the Seattle Kraken take to the ice for the 2021-2022 season, games will be heard on iHeartMedia’s sports talk KJR-AM. The club and Climate Pledge Arena have inked a multi-year partnership that includes broadcasting of all home and away games on KJR-AM, which will serve as the flagship station for radio broadcasts…..The GCN-syndicated “Dr. Daliah Wachs Show” adds Relevant Radio‘s KAHI, Auburn, California to its roster of affiliate stations.

COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Texas and Mississippi Mandates, COVID Relief Bill Debate, Capitol Insurrection Investigation/March 4 Threats, SCOTUS Voting Rights Case/House Voting Rights Bill, Andrew Cuomo Sexual Harassment Allegations, Ronny Jackson Report, and Deadly Myanmar Protests Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/3). The falling number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about variants and the rollout of vaccines; the governors of Texas and Mississippi cancel mask and occupancy limit mandates; the debate in the Senate over the Biden COVID relief bill; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol insurrection and concerns about far-right March 4 warnings; the Supreme Court hears arguments in the Arizona voter rights case and the passage of a voting rights bill in the U.S. House; the allegations of sexual harassment against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo; the Department of Defense inspector general’s report detailing allegations of drinking and sexual harassment by former White House doctor and current Texas Congressman Ronny Jackson; and the deadly pro-democracy protests in Myanmar were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Reminder

| February 15, 2021

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
President

 

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Sometimes we forget what we get paid to do. Sounds silly, but it’s true.

A recent experience reminded me of the temptation every seller and manager faces when presented with seemingly impossible buying parameters.

The knee-jerk reaction is to simply pass, without thinking twice about everyone downstream impacted by the decision, especially your on-air talent. They may be earning fees connected with the decision to pass. Your on-air talent are typically disconnected from your decision flow and only know their monthly talent fee check shrunk. Let’s back up and revisit the fast decision to pass.

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

| March 15, 2012

Rush Limbaugh Controversy Brings Political Attack Tactics to Talk Radio.  Perhaps it’s because the nation is in the grips of a still-stagnant economy during a contentious election year or maybe it’s just a sign of the times.  But, the talk radio industry is being invaded by political special interest groups and their hard-nosed tactics and it appears some broadcasters are playing along.  Broadcasters – and radio stations more specifically – have traditionally competed with each other intensely on many levels.  But going after each other’s advertisers with threats of guilt-by-association in order to hurt the other’s business is something in which they have rarely engaged.  The reason is simple: It pollutes the same body of water from which all broadcasters drink.  If one day your programming is poison to sponsors, who’s to say my programming won’t be tainted next week.  And the special interest groups are noticing this and employing it as well.  Media Research Center founder and president L. Brent Bozell III has written an open letter to MSNBC president Phil Griffin taking the cable news/talk network to task for what he terms its hypocrisy.  Bozell notes MSNBC talent Ed Schultz, Al Sharpton and Lawrence O’Donnell spent part of their March 13 programs “attacking Rush.”  He then lists statements made by Ed Schultz over the years as “vile, repugnant venom coming out of Schultz’s mouth.”  Bozell promises he’s not going to let up on MSNBC, either.  So, what are some broadcasters guilty of with regard to this case?  Potentially bringing harm to the entire talk media industry – especially the already hard-hit radio side – by willingly allowing special interest groups that do not represent the actual listeners of these programs to provide ammunition against one of their own (a broadcaster) for the sake of what is really a political goal and not a business goal.  Broadcasters willing to join the political battle at the expense of maintaining the integrity of their broadcasting business model may find out down the road that attempting to serve two masters – politics and the business of broadcasting – is a very difficult task to handle successfully.  If you wish to read Mr. Bozell’s piece, it’s here.

Problematic Data: Bloomberg Poll Concludes America Wants Limbaugh Fired.  That’s the result of a Bloomberg poll of 1,002 Americans conducted from March 8 to 11 asking questions about the GOP candidates, how they feel about the birth control coverage issue and, whether Premiere Networks star Rush Limbaugh should be fired for his remarks about Sandra Fluke and her testimony.  According to the Bloomberg data, 53% of Americans believe Limbaugh should be fired for his remarks and 30% of those who expressed that point of view were Republicans to boot!  TALKERS is not questioning Bloomberg’s polling techniques but as alluded to in the story above, it should be underscored that the poll in question doesn’t survey Rush Limbaugh’s regular listeners.  It doesn’t even survey regular talk radio listeners.  Therein lays the problem.  Consumer media will grab hold of the result of this poll and conclude that the end is near for Limbaugh since a majority of the country wants him fired.  But as TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has been telling the dozens upon dozens of media outlets he’s spoken with on this issue since it began, Rush Limbaugh doesn’t broadcast to a majority of the country.  He broadcasts to a niche audience – a sizeable one to be sure – but a niche nonetheless.  Asking a sample of all Americans how a talk radio station should be programmed is analogous to asking the same sample about how to program the Golf Channel.  Read the Bloomberg poll story here.

First Spot on Tom Leykis’ New Talk Show Sells on eBay for $1,225.  FishbowlLA reports the first spot on Tom Leykis’ soon-to-debut talk show that will hit the internet on April 2 has been purchased by Stitcher chairman Noah Shanok for $1,225.  Leykis tells FishbowlLA’s Richard Horgan, “The winning bid, in my view, proves what I have always believed, which is that the reason that some people say that internet content cannot be monetized is because they try to sell advertising for new platforms the same way it’s sold in so-called ‘old media.’  What these new platforms really require is out-of-the-box thinking and a completely different approach.”  Leykis has been paid by CBS Radio since his program based at the former hot talk KLSX-FM, Los Angeles was dropped along with the rest of the format.  Leykis’ The New Normal will broadcast his new talk program as the CBS contract comes to an end.

Buckley Broadcasting Chief Rick Buckley to Be Honored Posthumously by Broadcasters Foundation of America.  At the Broadcasters Foundation of America breakfast held in conjunction with the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas on April 18, the late president and CEO of Buckley Broadcasting will be honored with the Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award.  The award honors an individual in broadcasting whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship.   It salutes its namesake Lowry Mays and is underwritten by The Clear Channel Foundation and Wiley Rein, LLP.  The BFoA states, “Rick Buckley was a beloved and highly respected broadcaster who passed away suddenly this past July from a brain embolism.  For more than four decades Buckley led the family-owned Buckley Broadcasting, which includes renowned WOR Radio in New York.  He was a longtime member of the Broadcasters Foundation Board of Directors and served as its treasurer for many years.  In recognition of his commitment to the charitable mission of the Broadcasters Foundation, The Rick Buckley Memorial Fund was established shortly after his passing.”

ESPN Montana to Provide Local Focus.  The Montana Radio Company is bringing the Worldwide Leader in Sports to Montana – a state without any professional sports franchises.  Tucker Sargent is project manager for ESPN Montana and he tells the University of Montana’s Montana Kaimin they are developing a website that will serve as the web hub for the three FM stations that will be simulcast in the Helena, Missoula and Great Falls markets.  Ben Cately, who does play-by-play for the Missoula Osprey minor league baseball team is hosting the morning drive show that will be featured across the network.  Sargent says the network will cover local schools as well, “High school sports have been pretty much completely ignored everywhere in the country.  Most other places with an ESPN station are in major markets that have professional and college teams that dominate the scene.  And while we still think that the professional teams need to be talked about, the high school sports matter quite a bit and need to get reported on as well.”

GOP Primaries/ 2012 Presidential Race, Afghanistan Civilian Massacre Aftermath, Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program, Syria Violence and Soaring Gas Prices Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/14).  The tightening GOP primary race after Rick Santorum’s Tuesday victories and the 2012 presidential race in general; the fragile state of the Afghanistan operations after the killing of 16 civilians by a U.S. soldier; ongoing concern over Iran’s nuclear weapons projects; the Syrian violence against its citizens; and the American public’s concern with rising gasoline prices were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.