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Thursday, July 1, 2021

| July 1, 2021

TALKERS 2021 Conference Video Posted – “Programming News/Talk Radio in the ‘20s.” The fourth video, under the direction of Art Vuolo, from the TALKERS 2021 Conference that took place at Hofstra University on June 11, is posted. This installment explores the main challenges facing spoken-word commercial radio’s largest and most influential format as we move into the highly unpredictable third decade of 21st century. Introduced and sponsored by Doug Stephan of the “DJV Show” and moderated by Mike McVay, CEO of McVay Media Consulting, the panel includes Phil Boyce, senior VP/spoken word format, Salem Media Group/Salem Radio Network and VP/operations New York region; Michael Czarnecki, PD, WONK-FM, Washington, DC/iHeart Podcast ChannelDave LaBrozzi, SVP/programming, Red Apple MediaJosh Leng, CEO, Talk Media NetworkGreg Stocker, executive producer, Rich Zeoli Show and APD, WPHT, Philadelphia; and Joe Thomas, morning show host/PD, WCHV, Charlottesville, VA. TALKERS will be posting a new video from TALKERS 2021 each business day until all 10 are archived and available for on-demand viewing.

WFAN, New York Programmer Mark Chernoff Honored with Studio Naming. Yesterday (6/30) was Mark Chernoff’s last day on the job at Audacy’s WFAN, New York and the CBS Sports Radio Network. Chernoff retired from the company after an illustrious career in which he served as program director for legendary sports talk outlet WFAN for 28 years. In honor of his service, the company dedicated the sports newsroom as “The Mark Chernoff WFAN Newsroom.” Pictured above are (top l-r): Craig Carton, Chernoff, Al Dukes, and Eddie Scozzare and (bottom l-r): Boomer Esiason, Jerry Recco, and Chris Oliviero. The plaque reads: “Program Director 1993-2021. Influenced the sound of New York sports over four decades while nurturing the careers of many who traveled this space. Dedicated June 30th, 2021.” (Photo: Audacy)

WSB, Atlanta Meteorologist Kirk Mellish to Retire; Christina Edwards to Join the Station. A meteorologist dedicated just to a radio station is indeed a rare thing in today’s media landscape and Cox Media Group’s WSB Radio (WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta) has enjoyed the service of “first and only radio-only” meteorologist Kirk Mellish for 34 years. Mellish will retire at the end of July and transition into a consultant role through the end of the year. However, the station will not be without a meteorologist as Christina Edwards will assume the role. Mellish says, “When I joined WSB in Atlanta in July 1987 just three years after graduation, I never would have thought I’d stay this long. It has been a blessing to turn my childhood hobby into a career and to serve most of these decades as the first radio-only, full-time meteorologist in the country. This is the type of broadcasting innovation typical of WSB and CMG leadership in the industry. It has been an honor and privilege to work with so many great colleagues and big names in our business in management, on-air and behind the scenes. I look forward to the next chapter in my life and am excited to pass the baton, or should I say barometer, to Christina Edwards who will be a great fit for the tradition of weather coverage on 95.5 WSB.” About her new position, Edwards says, “I am thrilled to be joining the legendary 95.5 WSB Radio! I grew up in metro Atlanta, listening to Kirk Mellish’s weather reports during my family’s daily commute, and I continue to listen even today. I appreciate Kirk’s ability to break down complex weather forecasts in a way listeners can understand. And, of course, diving into the details online in his weather blog. I am thankful for Kirk’s service and weather forecasts. It is an honor to join 95.5 WSB Radio and continue in the footsteps of Kirk’s legacy.”

iHeartMedia and Audacy Honored by Philly Civic Organization. The Philadelphia operations of iHeartMedia have been named a 2021 honoree of The Civic 50 Greater Philadelphia by Philadelphia Foundation, in partnership with Points of Light and other local partners. Modeled after Points of Light’s national program, The Civic 50 Greater Philadelphia provides a standard for corporate citizenship and showcases how employers use their time, skills and resources to drive social impact in their communities and company. iHeartMedia Philadelphia director of news and community affairs Loraine Ballard Morrill says, “iHeartMedia Philadelphia’s six stations have a long history of community service, especially critical during this pandemic. We are deeply honored to receive this recognition. To quote President Barack Obama, ‘If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope.’” Audacy vice president of social impact Sarah Harris says, “We are honored to be recognized as one of the region’s most community-minded companies. And I am thrilled to share our national impact and commitment to supporting sound communities in our inaugural social impact report. Thank you to our employees, partners and neighbors for the incredible work you do to move people to action within our markets.” Pictured below at a ceremony for the honor are (from l-r): Michael Nutter, former Mayor of Philadelphia; Natalye Paquin, president & CEO, Points of Light Foundation; Sarah Harris, VP social impact, Audacy; David Yadgaroff, SVP / market manager, Audacy Philadelphia; Diane Melley, Points of Light board member & executive director, Philadelphia Foundation; Pedro Ramos, president & CEO, Philadelphia Foundation.

HOLIDAY DOUBLE HEADER: Mandy Connell and Vince Benedetto Are This Week’s Guests on Harrison Podcast. KOA, Denver 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm personality Mandy Connell and Bold Gold Media Group founder/CEO Vince Benedetto are this week’s guests on a special Independence Week edition of the PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison states, “We wanted to do a short-but-sweet salute to the nation’s 245th birthday and the selection of Mandy Connell and Vince Benedetto really fits the bill. Mandy is a refreshingly objective conservative commentator and rising star in news/talk radio armed with facts, wit and goodwill. She articulates the subjective nature of today’s media and the role that it plays in perpetuating the wave of polarization gripping our republic. Vince Benedetto is a former Air Force pilot and U.S. intelligence agent with a remarkable wealth of scholarly knowledge about the founding fathers and the formative years of America’s development from Thomas Jefferson all the way through the mega-challenges faced by Abraham Lincoln. Together, but separately, Mandy and Vince present an informative and thought-provoking tribute to our nation’s past, present and future. Happy Birthday, America!” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here

iHeartMedia Unveils ‘NextUp’ Podcasting Initiative. The iHeartPodcast Network is launching an initiative called “NextUp” that takes up-and-coming and underrepresented diverse creators and gives them a chance to learn all about the world of podcasting from iHeartMedia. This initiative is being led by iHeartPodcast Network executive producer Anna Hossnieh and executive podcast producer Joelle Smith. Hossnieh says, “I’m excited to help launch ‘NextUp’ with the iHeartPodcast Network, an initiative that takes underrepresented diverse creators and gives them a chance to learn all about the world of podcasting from one of the largest global podcasting networks. Led by myself and fellow executive podcast producer Joelle Smith, the program will mentor two people in each of iHeart’s three major podcasting hubs: Los Angeles, New York, and Atlanta. We believe by helping to elevate the voices of underrepresented storytellers and providing an incredible opportunity to be heard, iHeart will become the epicenter of compelling podcast talent and an industry leader in helping to address the market inefficiencies among underrepresented audio creators. The program will take place over five months and include a monthly stipend. ‘NextUp’ aims to empower participants by giving them the tools to succeed in the podcast industry – from developing and marketing a podcast to using industry-leading software. Participants in ‘NextUp’ will learn from some of iHeartRadio’s top creators and leave the program with at least three finished episodes and a polished pitch for their podcast. Submissions to apply for the program open July 5 – July 9 and can be found here.

Trump Org CFO Surrenders, COVID-19, Tucker Carlson NSA Allegations, Condo Collapse, Big City Violent Crime, Cosby Released, House January 6 Investigation, CCP Anniversary, Heatwaves, and Donald Rumsfeld Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/30). Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg surrenders to authorities after being indicted by a grand jury; concerns about the COVID-19 Delta variant and the slowing rate of vaccinations in the U.S.; FOX News host Tucker Carlson claims he’s being surveilled by the NSA on the Biden administration’s orders; the continuing rescue efforts at the collapsed condo in Florida; the soaring rate of violent crime in America’s large cities; Bill Cosby is released from prison after a PA court overturned his conviction; the U.S. House plan to investigate the January 6 Capitol attack; the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party and Xi Jinping’s warning to the West; the record-setting heatwaves in the Pacific Northwest and the Northeast; and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld dies were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, June 11, 2021

| June 11, 2021

TALKERS 2021 Taking Place Today. The 24th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important conference, the Talkers Convention, is taking place today at between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. The event is a presentation of TALKERS in association with Hofstra’s multi-award-winning radio station, WRHU. More than 50 industry leaders from talk radio and cable news/talk TV will be speaking during a non-stop day of presentations and panel sessions. CHECK OUT THE AGENDA here. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “We are delighted to be able to join forces again with our colleagues at Hofstra – the site of our very successful 2016 event – to be able to actually present a live conference in an extremely COVID-19 compliant environment which Hofstra is equipped to provide. The convention will boldly address key existential issues facing the talk radio and talk media industries at this dramatically critical juncture.” The conference has been limited to a smaller number of attendees and exhibitors than usual and only open to members of the working media and closely associated industries. For the sake of safety, all attendees will be required to comply with COVID-19 regulations in effect at the time of the actual conference regarding social distancing, the wearing of masks, and providing proof of vaccination and/or testing, etc.

WBZ, Boston Begins Celebration of 100 Years of Service. Boston’s all-news WBZ-AM today (6/11) begins a 100-day celebration to mark the 100th anniversary of its first day of broadcasting on September 19, 1921. The iHeartMedia station “celebrates 100 years of being a legendary cornerstone of the Boston media landscape,” broadcasting the latest headlines and news coverage on 1030 AM. The station will celebrate on-air and online with short stories and photos of memorable moments in WBZ’s rich history. iHeartMedia Boston market president Alan Chartrand says, “For a station to broadcast for 100 years is nothing short of amazing. Listeners and advertisers consistently utilize this heritage brand as evidenced by WBZ’s continued ratings and revenue success. People lean into objective news sources to remain informed and none has been more dependable than WBZ NewsRadio.” iHeartMedia Boston vice president of news, talk & sports Rob Sanchez adds, “WBZ NewsRadio is defined by our strong, unmistakable presence in the communities we serve. As the media landscape continues to evolve, our reach has only increased as WBZ listeners have adopted streaming on smart devices and the iHeartRadio app.”

Elston Howard Butler Named to Lead Talk KBLA, Los Angeles. The new talk radio station being launched on KBLA-AM, Los Angeles by Tavis Smiley will debut on June 19, a.k.a. Juneteenth. Smiley Audio Media announces that it has hired Elston Howard Butler to serve as president and general manager of the station as well as president and CEO of Smiley Audio Media. Smiley says the launch of the station will give Los Angeles its “first and only ‘Unapologetically Progressive’ talk radio station for the African-American listening audience.” Butler most recently served as market manager for Taxi Productions’ urban contemporary KJLH-FM, Los Angeles “Radio Free 102.3.” Butler says, “I’m having a great run, but I’m not tired yet. The eyes of the future are looking back at us, hoping and praying that we get it right this time. I have been in and around LA my entire life, and now more than ever in this moment of racial reckoning for America, I feel a deep responsibility to help put our city on the right track.” He adds, “For me, that starts with helping to build a new talk radio station that will sound like our city and reflect the way it looks. KBLA ‘Talk 1580’ is a talk radio station that will give everyday people a voice, and advance conversations that matter. I am grateful to Tavis Smiley for his vision and stewardship of this historic Black-owned and operated media venture. The city is ready, our talented team is ready, I am ready.”

iHeartMedia Names Barb Neren Director of Marketing and Partnerships. In the Twin Cities market, iHeartMedia promotes Barb Neren from director of sponsorships and events to director of marketing and partnerships. In this role, Neren will be responsible for overseeing the market’s marketing, promotions, events and partnership efforts. She will report to market president Greg Alexander. He says, “I am excited to see Barb promoted into this expanded role. Her industry knowledge, both on the promotions and programming side of the business, will serve her well as she leads our marketing and partnership efforts.” The company says Neren’s leadership while events were shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic showcased her ingenuity. She was able to create events to connect listeners with their favorite on-air personalities and artists whether that was via Facebook Live or virtual concerts like KDWB’s Star Party. Neren can also be heard Fridays on “KFAN 100.3” and weekends on Cities 97.1. Neren comments, “I am honored to lead this team. While we have loved finding new and creative ways to bring our listeners, advertisers and artists together virtually, we are looking forward to our events being live and in person once again.”

Audacy’s Cadence13 and American Public Media Enter Multi-Year Partnership. This new deal between Cadence13 and the podcast arm of American Public Media makes Cadence13 the exclusive podcast sales representative for APM. Additionally, the organizations will develop future on-demand programming initiatives, co-productions, and collaborative new revenue opportunities. APM podcast division general manager Lily Kim says, “Our organizations share a complementary vision for premium audio storytelling and we are delighted to form a partnership with an established powerhouse like Cadence13 that will help us expand our collective reach and pursue new ways to connect directly with our fans. A cornerstone of public media is the commitment to serve our listeners by providing meaningful content that enriches, informs and builds community. This partnership will further enhance our ability to deliver on that mission.” Cadence 13 chief content officer Chris Corcoran adds, “Cadence13’s objective is to align with the best. Partnering with APM, one of the most premium networks in the industry, brings together two of the most accomplished podcast companies for unmatched opportunities for scale and development. We are so proud to be joining forces with the entire team at APM and look forward to taking this to market together.”

Cumulus Media Partners with Adomni to Rep Uber OOH. This agreement between Cumulus Media and programmatic advertising platform Adomni (with 460,000 out of home digital screens nationally) makes Cumulus the exclusive sales partner to local businesses for the Uber OOH powered by Adomni cartop advertising network in markets where Cumulus operates radio stations. Uber OOH is the official Uber digital out-of-home national advertising network which, in partnership with Adomni, features two-sided internet-connected, video-enabled screens on the tops of Uber vehicles. Cumulus Media EVP of operations Dave Milner comments, “Cumulus Media is delighted by its selection as Adomni’s exclusive Uber OOH local sales partner. Not only does this product give advertisers a unique and creative new way to connect with consumers, but it is also a terrific addition to the portfolio of radio, streaming, podcasting and other digital marketing solutions we already offer local businesses to meet their marketing needs.”

TALKERS News Notes. The Way Media board of directors and president/CEO John Scaggs announces he is stepping down from his post, effective immediately. Scaggs says, “Leading through the pandemic is the hardest thing many of us have done. The board recognized this and recommended a season of rest for me, to which I’ve agreed. My wife Cathy and I plan to relax and catch our breath before finding another great Kingdom role to serve in.” Scaggs spent 18 years on the Christian network’s board prior to being named to president/CEO in 2017. Way Media COO Tim Dukes has been appointed interim president while the board prepares for a national search to select a permanent replacement…..Radio One Charlotte regional vice president Marsha Landess announces that news/talk WBT-AM/FM will partner with the Charlotte Knights on this year’s Fourth of July Skyshow. The annual July 4th holiday event has been celebrated every year since 1976 and is a staple event in the Charlotte community. Last year’s event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic…..ABC News Radio is providing live anchored coverage of next week’s Joe BidenVladimir Putin summit (6/15-16), with correspondent Karen Travers reporting live from Geneva, Switzerland. Correspondent Aaron Katersky will anchor from New York and be joined by ABC News contributors and experts on Russia and cybersecurity. Hourly status reports will be offered throughout the morning and as news warrants. ABC News’ flagship daily podcast “Start Here,” hosted by Brad Mielke, will provide coverage of the summit, featuring the latest updates from ABC News’ reporters and analysts.

COVID-19 Vaccines, Origins, Stats & Politics Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 7-11. The issues of vaccine hesitancy, the coronavirus origins, infection rates and politics combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was a tie between voting legislation and the status of the senate filibuster, followed by the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack at #3. 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.

New York City Radio Sales Opportunity. The New York City radio stations owned and operated by Salem Media Group announce a sales opportunity. The company says, “NYC is REOPENING and sales are starting to boom – the hottest stations around belong to Salem Media Group’s NY cluster, come join us! If you were born to sell and want a great career with benefits and financial security, write directly to: Jerry Crowley, VP/GM at: Jcrowley@nycradio.com.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

| June 3, 2021

Lotus Communications to Acquire Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Seattle Radio Stations for $18 Million. The three Seattle radio stations – all-news KOMO-AM/FM, talk KVI-AM, and hot AC KPLZ-FM – are the only radio stations in Sinclair Broadcast Group’s portfolio. The company is better known for its television station holdings and its conservative editorial policy. Lotus Communications will acquire the three stations – pending FCC approval – for “an aggregate purchase price of approximately $18 million in cash and other consideration.” Lotus Communications first SVP Jim Kalmenson says, “We are excited to work with the amazing staff at KOMO, KPLZ, and KVI. These are legendary stations which share Lotus’s vision of producing local programming to serve the community, enhance local neighborhoods, and support our hometown businesses. Seattle is home to several excellent broadcasting companies who have made this a great radio market.” Lotus owns and operates 44 radio stations in the Western U.S. This deal was initiated by Richard A. Foreman Associates and acted as exclusive broker representing Sinclair.

George G. Beasley Passes at 89. The founder of Beasley BroadcastingGeorge G. Beasley – died yesterday in Naples, Florida at the age of 89. Beasley was also serving as executive chairman of the board for Beasley Broadcasting at the time of his death. The company says, “While best known for his many trailblazing achievements in the radio broadcasting industry, George will be most remembered for his humility, kindness, integrity, work-ethic and love of family and friends. Born on April 9, 1932, George grew up working in the tobacco fields in his hometown of Ararat, Virginia. His drive and determination led him to enlist in the army to pursue a degree in Education through the G.I. Bill. Upon completing his B.A. and M.A. from Appalachian State University, he taught in Virginia, before moving to North Carolina in the late 1950s to become a high school principal and coach. Inspired by a commitment to provide a voice for the voiceless in his local community, George built his very first station (WPYB-AM) in Benson, North Carolina in December of 1961. Over the next 60 years, his hard work and vision paved the way for what Beasley Media Group has become today – one of America’s premiere publicly traded media companies, consisting of 62 radio properties located in 15 large and medium-sized markets with digital offerings and an esports division.” Among his proudest professional accomplishments was receiving an honorary doctorate and the unveiling of the George G. Beasley Media Complex on campus to provide future generations of ASU students with the opportunity to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams in broadcasting. Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley says, “George’s unconditional love for our mother, Ann and our family, along with his passion for the radio industry, helped to guide him throughout his lifetime. A loving father, mentor, and friend, I will especially miss his incredible wisdom, keen insight and gentle smile.” A memorial service will take place for family and friends in Naples, Florida. Details will be forthcoming. A private burial service will be held for the family in Ararat, Virginia. In lieu of flowers, the Beasley family requests donations be made in his name to The Broadcasters Foundation of America, 125 West 55th Street, 4th Floor New York, New York 10019. Online donations may also be made at www.broadcastersfoundation.org.

Kim Komando Show: 86% of Those Surveyed No Longer Trust Big Tech. A national survey of 6,351 Americans conducted by “The Kim Komando Show” found that 86% of participants no longer trust Big Tech companies. Kim Komando says the poll underscores the growing concerns surrounding the power and influence Big Tech companies have on society and the little confidence Americans have in the tech power players. She says, “Americans are finally waking up to the fact that when a product is free, they are in fact the product.” Among the findings of the study: 1) 82.73% of those polled say they think smart speakers listen to what you say all of the time instead of only when you use the “wake” words. Kim recently explored how users can stop smart devices from listening to you and recording what you say; 2) Nearly 60% fear their smartphone is spying on their activity and have had advertisements populate for something they were just discussing. Thankfully, Kim explained in a recent “Daily Tech Update” episode that this phenomenon is likely dumb luck! 3) Participants surveyed believe Big Tech has too much influence on politics, with Facebook and Twitter each at 92%; 4) 67% of Facebook users would be willing to delete their account knowing that the social media platform tracks everything, sells data and cannot control what is posted on the site; and 5) 92% of people surveyed think Google knows too much information about their personal lives. To combat this, Kim has rounded up alternatives to Google that won’t track your information. She adds, “Since the onset of COVID-19, Big Tech companies have seen accelerated demand as the world has shifted to a more digitalized landscape. Across the board, the survey demonstrated that a majority of individuals worry that Big Tech has too much influence or knows too much about our personal information, yet nearly 4 billion people use social media worldwide and the numbers continue to grow. Interestingly, with the world becoming more digitalized and the news of Instagram for Kids, more than 84% of people surveyed said they would prefer their children to be over the age of 15 to use Instagram. Maybe we are starting to see the damage social media does to our adult lives and how it’s robbing children of a healthy, happy start to their own.” The national survey was disseminated to subscribers to “The Kim Komando Show” newsletters and 6,351 individuals across the United States participated.

Salem Brings Trish Regan into Podcast Network Fold. Conservative media figure Trish Regan is joining Salem Media Group’s Salem Podcast Network beginning June 15. Regan is most well known for her prime time show on the FOX Business Network. She was also a host on Bloomberg TV, CNBC, and CBS Television. The former Miss New Hampshire competed in the Miss America pageant in 1994 and is a graduate of Columbia University with a degree in U.S. history. Salem says,“‘The Trish Regan Podcast’ will be her unique take on the day’s news events. Trish will examine the trouble we have gotten into in this country, and how we can and must get out of it. Her understanding of Wall Street and the nation’s economy will be an added plus for her listeners.” Salem SVP spoken word Phil Boyce comments, “Trish is a superstar in conservative media. She adds class, personality, and wisdom to our lineup, and I have no doubt her millions of fans will follow her and find her here.” Regan adds, “I am thrilled to enter into partnership with Salem Media. Salem is an organization with real leadership and a management team that stands up for American values including—most importantly—our first amendment.”

Good Karma Brands Moving Milwaukee Stations to Downtown Location. The Milwaukee radio stations owned and operated by Good Karma Brands – as well as the company’s home offices – are moving from their longtime location on the northeast side of the city to new offices at The Avenue in downtown Milwaukee. GKB operates news/talk WTMJ, sports talk outlets WKTI-FM “94.5 ESPN” and WAUK “540 ESPN,” plus talk WGKB-AM/W269DL “101.7 The Truth” in the market. Company founder and CEO Craig Karmazin says, “It is incredibly important to us as a local operator of world class brands to be a part of the fabric of the local community and the cities in which we live and work. We couldn’t be happier with The Avenue and 3rd Street Market Hall as it is a symbol of the growth, investment and diversity present in downtown Milwaukee development, and aligns directly with our values as a locally owned company passionate about serving our local community.” Good Karma Brands’ home office and Milwaukee-based radio station operations will be located on the second floor of The Avenue, in a space designed and developed for the growing company. The radio station studios will be located on the first floor in the 3rd Street Market Hall as a featured activation within the space.

iHeartMedia Names Spencer Bynes Area President for Texas. Former iHeartMedia executive Spencer Bynes returns to the company as area president for the Texas area in which he’ll oversee the Beaumont, McAllen, Waco, Corpus Christi and Bryan markets, effective immediately. He will report to Nick Gnau, division president for iHeartMedia. Gnau says, “Spencer has been a proven leader throughout his career, his energy is contagious and his ability to develop teams and talent are unmatched. I am extremely excited for Spencer to lead these markets and expand our community efforts as well as our revenue and rating footprint in the great state of Texas.” Bynes joins iHeartMedia from Lee Hecht Harrison, where he most recently served as vice president of business development in the Southern Region. Prior to joining LHH, he was managing partner and co-founder of Accendo International Consulting. Bynes served with iHeartMedia from 2011 to 2016 as director of talent management and talent acquisition before leaving to launch his consulting business.

iHeartMedia Louisville Sets First Annual Community Voices Town Hall. Taking place on June 10 from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm, iHeartMedia Louisville’s Community Voices Town Hall will “aim to address and bring awareness to the biggest issues in the Louisville community that have been identified by the iHeartMedia Louisville Local Advisory Board, including child abuse, racial equity and mental health. The town hall will feature subject-matter experts that will address and discuss these issues.” WHAS “NewsRadio 840” personality Terry Meiners and the Kentucky-Indiana Metro community engagement manager Gabriela Espino will host the event that will include a panel of local politicians, charity heads, experts, and activists. iHeartMedia Louisville metro president Earl Jones says, “I am thrilled we have a platform to bring key voices together to discuss the issues affecting our community. The in-kind media campaigns will support local programs that address these key issues. Through the power of iHeartMedia, we are committed to positively impacting our community.” iHeartMedia Louisville Local Advisory Board will help select eight 501(c)(3) organizations in the Louisville metro area who will receive a three-month in-kind media campaign addressing child abuse, racial equity or mental health. The in-kind media campaigns will be activated using the radio stations’ on-air, social media and digital platforms.

TALKERS News Notes. After nearly 40 years with the station, all-news KCBS-AM, San Francisco morning news anchor Stan Bunger is retiring on June 11. To commemorate his final day, the Audacy station will look back on his career and the major news events he’s covered – everything from 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, 1991 Oakland Hills Fire, 9/11 terrorist attack, championship parades for the Giants and Warriors, COVID-19, and his daily conversations with former Oakland Raiders head coach and NFL Hall of Famer John Madden. The final broadcast will also feature interviews with several of Stan’s past co-anchors and co-workers, including former news directors…..A new member joins the iHeartMedia, Inc. board of directors. Former Lala U.S. CEO and president Graciela Monteagudo takes her place on the board immediately. The company says Monteagudo is an internationally respected executive who, over her 30-year career, has held leadership roles at a variety of multinational Fortune 500 companies across the consumer products, healthcare and retail industries. iHM chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “We are extremely pleased that Graciela is bringing her expertise across strategic planning, digital marketing, mergers & acquisitions, international operations and the Hispanic and Latin American consumer audience, as well as her leadership in diversity, inclusion and cultural transformation, to the iHeart board. Her significant experience in North and Latin America – and her extensive background in global/digital marketing, e-commerce and consumer goods will provide valuable insights to our board as well as significant contributions to our company and our shareholders.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One – the official network radio partner of the NCAA will present live audio broadcasts of every game of the Women’s College World Series for the first time ever. The network, which has broadcast the Championship Series since 2011, will expand coverage to include all the preliminary games for the 2021 Series.

Taja Graham Joins MIW Board of Directors. Radio management pro Taja Graham is joining the board of directors of Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio, Inc. Graham serves as market president for Emmis CommunicationsIndianapolis. She is a proud graduate of the 2011 MIW Mildred Carter Mentoring Program, and in 2010 completed the Rising Through the Ranks Management Course for Women presented annually by Radio Advertising Bureau, Broadcast Music, Inc., and MIW. MIW board president Ruth Presslaff comments, “After decades of service, MIW founding member Mary Beth Garber transitioned off our board this year. We are ever grateful for her contributions. Today, with open arms, we welcome Taja Graham to fill her seat. From MIW mentee to board member, LSM to market president, Taja embodies the spirit and strength of the MIW’s beliefs and mission.”

COVID-19/Fauci Emails, the Economy/Employment, Trump ‘Reinstatement,’ 2020 Vote Audits, Israel Government, JBS Cyberattack, NFL’s Race-Norming Policy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/2). The fast-falling rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., Joe Biden’s deal with Anheuser-Busch to offer a free beer to those who get vaccinated, and the flap over Dr. Tony Fauci’s emails on the pandemic; the state of the U.S. economy and employers’ complaints that they can’t find enough willing workers; the belief by some that former President Donald Trump will be “reinstated” as president; the audits of 2020 election votes in Arizona and New Hampshire; the fate of Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister of Israel and a coalition forms to oust him; the ransomware attack on meat giant JBS and concerns about future cyberattacks; and controversy over the NFL’s “race-norming” policy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, May 17, 2021

| May 17, 2021

Monday Memo: Listeners Kidnapped! “They’re being abducted! Snatched-up in our own house,” consultant Holland Cooke warns. In this week’s column: How transmitters are diverting media consumers elsewhere and how smart stations are “riding the horse in the direction he’s facing.” Read it here.

Pending Business: Elvis Has Left the Building. Sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, has some advice for sellers who are caught short when a host committed to doing endorsement spots up and leaves his (or her) talk host gig with no notice. Obviously, that scenario puts sellers in a tough situation but a little planning ahead of time can ease the burden on the sales department a little bit. Read his column here.

CDC’s Mask Update/COVID-19, Israeli-Palestinian Violence, Rising Consumer Prices/Inflation Worries, Arizona Vote Audit, and Gates Divorce Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The CDC issues new mask guidance for Americans who are fully vaccinated, vaccine hesitancy, and death rate in India; the violence in Gaza as Israel and Hamas continue rocket fire and concerns about an all-out war; the soaring prices for consumer goods in the U.S. and worries about inflation; the 2020 presidential election vote audit taking place in Maricopa Country, Arizona; and the controversy surrounding the divorce of Bill and Melinda Gates and the Jeffrey Epstein connection were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Bloomberg Radio Surpasses 400-Affiliate Station Mark. Syndication firm Key Networks announces that radio business news provider Bloomberg Radio hits a “major benchmark in affiliate growth, with over 400 stations now carrying its business and consumer news programming, a whopping 25% growth rate in the first six months.” In late October 2020, Key Networks entered into an exclusive agreement with Bloomberg Radio to manage all network advertising sales, affiliate sales and marketing. Global head of Bloomberg television and radio Al Mayers says, “The results speak for themselves. In six months, Key Networks has grown Bloomberg’s existing affiliates – including virtually all major radio groups – and added new groups and stations to our portfolio. When you combine the magic of Key Networks’ smart marketing strategies and fresh new approach to affiliations with the high-quality programming that Bloomberg offers, you can take a fully mature network and supercharge its growth.” Bloomberg’s news content includes live, customized reports for stations, “Bloomberg Money Minutes,” and Bloomberg specialty features that appeal to a diversity of audiences and interests, including the “Black Business Report,” “Green Business Report,” “Bloomberg Business of Sports,” and “The Luxury Report,” among others.

‘New Jersey 101.5’ to Present ‘Summer of ‘21’ Town Hall Broadcast. This Thursday (5/20), Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is presenting the latest in a series of Town Hall broadcasts to help New Jersey deal with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. New Jersey 101.5’s Eric Scott leads the news and digital departments in helping New Jersey families stay safe and have fun in the Summer of ’21. Scott says, “Everyone is understandably anxious for a summer of fun. This program will help guide families into making smart decisions so they can enjoy the summer safely.” The program’s on-air expert panel will feature Dr. Margaret Fisher, world-renowned pediatric infectious disease specialist and Jeff Vasser, executive director of the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism. The program will also feature check-ins with the mayors of New Jersey shore towns and representatives from the state’s biggest venues and attractions. Scott and his guests will also answer live, call-in questions from listeners throughout the hour.

KKOB-FM, Albuquerque Joins Multi-Media Effort to Address Literacy. Albuquerque news/talk KKOB-FM is working with The Albuquerque Journal and KOAT-TV to address New Mexico’s low literacy rate through The Literacy Project. The Cumulus Media station and its partners have been meeting for several months on the project after a recent study from the National Center for Education Statistics showed that New Mexico ranks 49th in literacy nationwide. Even more alarming, literacy rates in New Mexico appear to not have made any significant improvements in the last 20 years. As a result, the three newsrooms have pledged 12 months or more of layered, in-depth coverage to identify the gaps, resources and opportunities to create positive, workable solutions. The special coverage kicks off this weekend. Cumulus VP and market manager Jeff Berry says, “I believe we can do this together. As news leaders, we know how to be catalysts for change. We know how to get the attention of government and industry. We know how to rally public opinion and support. We want to use our joint strength and training to serve the state in a way that can truly enhance and assist public and private educational efforts.” Each organization has assigned some it its top reporters to this complex issue. “96.3 News Radio KKOB” operations manager Jared Hart is assigning Haylee Gonzales and is enlisting the talk show hosts in planning featured experts.

‘ESPN Cleveland’ to Honor Super Fan Stan the Man. Today (5/17), Good Karma Brands’ sports talk WKNR-AM “ESPN Cleveland” is producing a special tribute to local super fan Stan the Man, a.k.a. Leonard Stanislaus Lisewsky, who passed away last Wednesday at the age of 77. The station says it was saddened to learn of the longtime fan and caller’s passing. “Stan was a lifelong Browns fan who also loved golf. His regular calls to ‘The Really Big Show’ became a highlight of that day’s program. He even had his own produced open that was played to introduce each of his calls into the show.” Today’s tribute will air live from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm “850 ESPN Cleveland.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new collaboration between Bloomberg Media and iHeartMedia is an exclusive multiyear agreement for the two companies to produce and distribute more than a dozen new original podcasts, and will also include the distribution of Bloomberg Media’s existing slate of over 20 podcasts through the iHeartPodcast Network. iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group CEO Conal Byrne says, “Bloomberg Media continues to be one of the first, most-trusted destinations for high-quality content – from market news to business trends, to deeper financial backstories on what’s moving the economy overall. We are excited to partner with Bloomberg, not only to grow the audience of their existing slate of great shows, but to develop a whole new list of titles across the next several years, combining their editorial expertise with our mass reach and monetization.”…..ABC Audio, ESPN Audio and National Geographic presented on the final day of the last week’s IAB Podcast Upfront and announced upcoming podcast projects, including ABC’s launch of LZ Granderson’s LGBTQ+ focused “Life Out Loud with LZ Granderson.” National Geographic’s Tara Roberts previewed a new six-part series as she sets off on the journey of a lifetime, traveling with divers to investigate the lost stories of the slave trade — both to expand the historical record and to honor the estimated 1.8 million unsung souls who perished during the Middle Passage…..KQED-FM, San Francisco announces that journalist Alexis Madrigal is named co-host of KQED’s long-running public affairs radio program, “Forum.” Madrigal arrives at KQED from The Atlantic, where he was a staff writer. Madrigal will take over the 9:00 am hour of “Forum” while Mina Kim continues to host the 10:00 am hour, which is shared with stations statewide and explores current affairs through the lens of race, justice and equality. Madrigal was selected after a national search to fill the 9:00 am slot of “Forum” vacated by Michael Krasny, who retired in February after a distinguished 28-year career at KQED.

Dr. Jack Casey Leaving Emerson College’s WERS, Boston. Veteran radio executive and educator Dr. Jack Casey is leaving Emerson College’s WERS-FM, Boston later this month to expand his media career as a consultant. Casey, who has been general manager of WERS for the past 16 years, says, “I am grateful that Emerson College sees the potential of WERS, both as a real-world training ground for students and, just as importantly, as a vibrant and robust fundraising stream. This has truly been a team effort and I appreciate all the hard work done by our professional staff, as well as by student managers and volunteers. I hope the higher education community takes note of what can be accomplished by professional management and willing students. College and university radio stations don’t have to be sandboxes. They can be competitive, revenue producing, major market media outlets. In addition, I couldn’t be happier to be passing the baton to our longtime operations manager Howard ‘D’ Simpson.”

Morning Radio Opportunity at KFAQ, Tulsa. Thirteen-year KFAQ, Tulsa morning host Pat Campbell is not returning to his show in order to focus on health challenges. As a result, Griffin Communications is seeking his successor. Director of operations and programming Steve Hunter says, “We are looking for someone to fill his big shoes. We need someone that is plugged into current events, sports and community events. This is a rare opportunity to work for a locally owned company in brand-new, state-of-art studios in the heart of downtown Tulsa. Griffin Communications Tulsa Radio/Talk Radio 1170 is looking for an on-air talent that can do a daily morning show that speaks to our 35-54-year-old demo. Digital/Social Media skills are a must. We are seeking a great communicator and a fun storyteller with a keen sense of how to create excellent content that will be displayed across all our platforms. The perfect candidate is exceptional on the air, excellent digitally and has worked in various formats including talk radio, news radio or sports radio. This is a very active radio group, heavily involved in the community and requires someone who is fearless and willing to get out of the studio and meet listeners. If you are ready to work in a building full of incredible talent with a family atmosphere and a must-win attitude, we would love to hear from you. Must be willing to work a flexible schedule including nights, weekends and holidays. Qualified candidates can contact me or Talk Radio 1170 PD Jeremie Poplin at Jeremie.poplin@griffin.news.

EWTN Seeks Producer/Call Screener. Religious broadcaster EWTN Global Catholic Network is seeking an associate producer/call screener. EWTN says, “As the first point of contact for listeners during live call-in programs, [the associate producer/call screener] utilizes excellent knowledge of the Catholic Faith and customer service skills to prep callers for on-air broadcast. Executes assigned duties of recording, editing, mixing and transferring audio to and from specific media. This position is also responsible for exceptional production and promotion of live and recorded programs to EWTN standards. What does EWTN offer? Career with Purpose; Family-oriented working environment; Competitive salary; Benefits Package (Health, Dental, Vision, Life and Retirement); 11 Paid Holidays and Paid Time Off; Online continuing education and degree programs through Catholic Distance University.” Get more information here. Please send cover letter, resume and salary requirements here. EOE.

Promotions Positions Open at Audacy. There are two positions open on the Promotions + Experiences team at Audacy. The company says it is “looking to add two talented, versatile promotions pros to our central Promotions + Experiences team. These individuals will focus on promotional partnerships with concert partners, activating select live performance venues, and play a vital role in live events across the company’s portfolio of brands.” You can learn more and to apply for the Promotion Director, Concerts & Experiences position here and do the same for the Promotion Manager, Concerts & Experiences position here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

| May 11, 2021

Saga Communications 2021 First Quarter Net Revenue Down 15.5%. The 2021 first quarter financial report from Saga Communications reveals net revenue for the period was $22.3 million, a decrease of 15.5% from the same period in 2020. Net income was $758,000, a decline of 75% from the net income of $1.68 million posted in Q1 of 2020 (although Saga was one of the few audio companies to post income and not a loss). Station operating expense decreased $3.3 million to $18.9 million for the quarter compared to the same period in 2020. Station operating income was $4.7 million for the quarter compared to $5.5 million for the first quarter last year.  Free cash flow increased 21.4% to $1.8 million for the quarter. Saga Communication’s balance sheet reflects $56.3 million in cash on hand as of March 31, 2021 and $57.4 million as of May 3, 2021. The company’s total bank debt remained at $10 million as of the end of the first quarter 2021.

KCBS-AM, San Francisco Sports Anchor Steve Bitker Announces Retirement. After 30 years as morning drive sports anchor for Audacy’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco, Steve Bitker is retiring after the May 14 broadcast. After graduating from University of California Berkeley, Bitker served as a news writer for KSFO, San Francisco. He worked in Tokyo for three years as a news/sports anchor for Japan’s only English-language TV station – Japanese Cable Television. After returning to the States, he worked for seven years at KNBR, San Francisco before joining KCBS in April of 1991.

Wendy Bell Off WJAS-AM, Pittsburgh for Now. According to a story by WPXI-TV, talk host Wendy Bell is off the air of St. Barnabas Broadcasting’s WJAS-AM, Pittsburgh and Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck show is airing in its place. Bell was an anchor at WTAE-TV, Pittsburgh until 2016 when she was let go after making racially insensitive comments in the wake of a shooting that left five dead. She hosted a talk show at KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh and agreed to exit that station after being suspended for suggesting park rangers “shoot on sight” anyone seen defacing park monuments. The story quotes St. Barnabas Health System director of marketing Michele Bradac saying Bell is off the air due to a personnel matter. “Until the company and she resolve their personnel matter, there’s no way to say” when she might return.

Newsmax TV to Launch ‘Cortes & Pellegrino’ Prime Time Show; Produce Town Hall with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. There’s a new prime-time program launching on Newsmax TV this evening (5/11) at 9:00 pm ET starring former presidential advisor, commentator, and financial expert Steve Cortes and former White House correspondent Jenn Pellegrino. About the new “Cortes & Pellegrino” show, Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy says, “We were the only major cable news network to see an overall ratings increase from the fourth quarter of 2020 to the first quarter of 2021, and we did it without a full prime-time. ‘Cortes & Pellegrino’ completes our nightly lineup and will continue our unprecedented growth.” Also at Newsmax, “Spicer & Co” co-hosts Sean Spicer and Lyndsay Keith will air an exclusive Town Hall with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis tomorrow (5/12) at 6:00 pm ET. The event takes place at The Villages – the 55-plus community in Sumter County, Florida that boasts almost 80,000 residents – and will feature discussions with a live studio audience of American voters. Sean Spicer says, “Governor DeSantis has proved his resolve and confounded his skeptics over the past year, leading his state to excellence in fostering a thriving economy, rolling out the COVID vaccine, and guarding religious liberty. This Town Hall will give Newsmax viewers deeper insight into the reasons why DeSantis is a true governor of the people.”

TALKERS News Notes. This Memorial Day weekend ABC Audio has the special program “Honor, Hope and Healing,” hosted by correspondent Aaron Katersky, available for affiliate stations. The special honors America’s heroes including military members who died in the line of duty, pandemic front-line workers, grieving families, and others affected by last year’s events. The program dives into the significance of Arlington National Cemetery and features interviews with its regular visitors who come to pay respects to their family and friends…..SiriusXM announces the launch of the “Let’s Get After It with Chris Cuomo Podcast” culled from Cuomo’s SiriusXM show on the P.O.T.U.S. channel that airs daily from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm. The podcast will be available three times a week and features the opening longform segment from the program as a podcast…..Audacy is partnering with independent podcaster Aaron Lammer on today’s release of the first two episodes of his newest project, “Exit Scam: The Death and Afterlife of Gerald Cotten,” a documentary podcast series exploring the 2018 death of Cotten, the founder of Canadian digital currency platform QuadrigaCx. The first episode is available right now everywhere podcasts are available, while the second episode is available exclusively on Audacy. This unique windowing strategy will allow listeners who want more of this thrilling true crime series to get their fix immediately on Audacy where listeners will get early access to episodes before all other platforms…..Blavity Inc., the diversified digital media company behind “AfroTech,” “21Ninety,” “Travel Noire,” “Shadow and Act,” and “Blavity News,” partners with Charlamagne Tha God’s and iHeartMedia’s The Black Effect Podcast Network to distribute its podcast for Black entrepreneurs and moguls in the making titled, “Black Tech Green Money with Will Lucas.” Lucas is an entrepreneur, content creator, and the brand manager at Black tech digital platform AfroTech, the world’s largest Black tech digital platform. The podcast presents the stories of successful Black entrepreneurs and technologists, as well as actionable advice and wealth-building strategies from a Black perspective…..Audacy’s Cadence13 is partnering with bestselling author, activist, and thought leader Glennon Doyle for her “We Can Do Hard Things,” podcast on which she will share stories of her life and explore topics including love, relationships, parenting, mental health, recovery and more.

COVID-19, Cheney vs GOP/Influence of Trump, Pipeline Hack, Gaza Strikes, Gates Divorce Controversy, Golden Globes Troubles Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/10). The rate of positive COVID cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, vaccine hesitancy, and India’s death toll; U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney’s battle with the GOP over the “stolen election” and Donald Trump’s influence over the party; the hack of the Colonial Pipeline Networks by DarkSide and the effect on gas supplies in the Eastern U.S.; the battle between Israel and Hamas over the potential eviction of Palestinians from Jerusalem; the growing controversy over the divorce of Bill and Melinda Gates and the Jeffery Epstein connection; and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Golden Globe Awards lose NBC’s broadcast in 2022 over diversity problems were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.