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Thursday, February 3, 2022

| February 3, 2022

WTOP, Washington’s Joel Oxley Testifies on Journalism Competition and Preservation Act. At a Senate subcommittee hearing in Washington, DC on Wednesday (2/2), numerous media executives provided testimony as the subcommittee considers the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act that “creates a four-year safe harbor from antitrust laws for print, broadcast, or digital news companies to collectively negotiate with online content distributors (e.g., social media companies) regarding the terms on which the news companies’ content may be distributed by online content distributors.” Joel Oxley, general manager of Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington, DC testified on behalf of the National Association of Broadcasters. He said, “Quality journalism delivered through our uniquely free service has only been made possible over many decades through advertising revenues. As you all are aware, these revenues have experienced a free-fall in recent years, due almost exclusively to the rapid, often anticompetitive, expansion of the dominant online platforms who have upended the advertising marketplace. The market power of the tech platforms undermines the online advertising model for local broadcast journalism in two important ways. First, the tech platforms’ role as content gatekeepers stifles our ability to generate user traffic. Second, anticompetitive terms of service and a ‘take it or leave it’ approach leave local broadcasters with a below-market sliver of those advertising revenues derived through their products. For local broadcasters and our viewers and listeners who rely on quality journalism, this is a real catch-22: To attract online user traffic, we must be accessible through the major platforms, yet the terms of access dictated by the online platforms devalue our product. For example, not only is WTOP not being compensated by Facebook and Google for its content, WTOP is actually paying to make sure its content is being accessed on their platforms.” He added, “The dominant online platforms have flourished, siphoning off huge amounts of advertising revenues that are the lifeblood of free, local journalism. Consider the big storm that just blew through the Northeast over the weekend – a nor’easter and blizzard conditions. Tons of work at a lot of cost and time for local broadcasters to cover it for millions of people. But not for Facebook, Google and the like. They simply take our coverage and profit from it, and virtually nothing comes back to us. But without local news, my guess is a lot of people would have not evacuated places like Cape Cod last weekend, and lives would have been risked. We just can’t have that.” You can read his complete testimony here.

Erick Erickson Show Adds New Affiliates; Reports Ratings Growth. Nationally syndicated talk radio personality Erick Erickson announces the addition of two new affiliate stations as Audacy’s KXNT, Las Vegas and Willamette Broadcasting’s KYKN, Salem, Oregon add the show to their program schedules. The show says, “In every Nielsen PPM market carrying his show, either live or delayed, Erickson is generating higher ratings than the show he replaced, including Rush Limbaugh’s show in Atlanta, Georgia on Erickson’s flagship station, WSB Radio. Erickson is also seeing robust digital growth. From June to December 2021, Erickson’s live-streaming audience increased 339% and his podcast audience grew 188%.”

Terry Foxx Named to Programming Role at Public Outlet KUT, Austin. Radio programming pro Terry Foxx is joining public radio station KUT, Austin as director of programming and audience. The organization says Foxx will oversee KUT 90.5’s on-air programming and KUT and KUTX Studios’ podcast strategy. He will collaborate with the KUT newsroom and sister station KUTX 98.9, the Austin Music Experience, on developing audience-centered engagement strategies and expanding KUT’s reach. Foxx has most recently been serving as brand manager for Radio One’s sports talk WFNZ-AM, Charlotte and sister AC WLNK-FM. KUT and KUTX general manager Debbie Hiott comments, “Terry has deep knowledge and experience when it comes to identifying and expanding audiences. He grew up in Texas, has always had family in Austin, and understands how KUT can serve our community. With those things he will help us develop and provide programming that reaches into new areas important to Central Texas.” Foxx says, “KUT has a rich heritage and is part of the fabric of Central Texas. I look forward to joining the strong team at KUT and engaging new listeners in creative ways.”

BIN: Black Information Network Names Andrea Coleman News Director; Ramses Ja to Host New Daily Podcast. News pro Andrea Coleman is promoted from news anchor to news director for iHeartMedia’s BIN: Black Information Network. In this new role, Coleman will be responsible for leading day-to-day newsroom operations, reporter and anchor development, and coordinating live news and specialty programming. She’ll be based in Atlanta, reporting to Tanita Myers, VP/news operations for the Black Information Network. Coleman joined iHeartMedia as an anchor/reporter for the Black Information Network in the summer of 2020. She says, “I welcome the opportunity to serve as news director of the Black Information Network and to continue to be a part of the dynamic team of Black professionals who have made the Network a relevant, trusted source of news and information for our community. We look forward to keeping our listeners informed and educated on all matters important to the Black experience.” BIN: Black Information Network also announces that media personality Ramses Ja is joining the Network as the host of the new daily podcast, “Our Daily Story with Ramses Ja.” The program will feature Black journalists from across America telling the most meaningful stories of the day, from their perspective. The daily talk show-style podcast will premiere later this month, with new episodes launching every weekday morning. Ja says, “I’m excited to be partnering with BIN: Black Information Network. This partnership helps show the company’s commitment to helping create a more equitable experience for Black people in this country, and the other projects we have in the works are also sure to continue that trend.” BIN: Black Information Network president Tony Coles comments, “As BIN: Black Information Network continues to grow, I am thrilled to have Ramses Ja and Andrea Coleman as part of our team. They are incredibly talented, with proven track records, and dedication to delivering significant and trusted news coverage to the Black community. I know they will contribute to the network’s mission and ongoing success.”

Newsmax Claims Big Ratings for Trump Rally Coverage. Citing Nielsen data from last weekend, Newsmax says it was the big ratings winner with its exclusive cable coverage of former President Donald Trump’s rally in Texas. Newsmax reports “some 2.9 million cable viewers tuned in to watch the event live from Conroe — and 1.1 million of them were adults ages 35-64, the demographic craved by advertisers… though Newsmax is carried in 20 million fewer homes than FOX, total audience impressions for both networks during Trump’s speech was almost at parity, both drawing around 1.4 million viewers per minute, according to Nielsen.” Newsmax points to a piece in Business Insider that said, “Newsmax’s audience skyrockets during Trump rallies that other networks, including FOX News, ignore.’” Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy comments, “We can’t speak to FOX News’ decisions, but we believe this rally was a significant news event that was worthy of coverage.”

TALKERS News Notes. Former WIBC, Indianapolis talk host Greg Garrison has filed papers to run for prosecutor of Hamilton County, Indiana. According to the Indianapolis Star, the 74-year-old Garrison will face off against three-term Republican prosecutor D. Lee Buckinham in the primary. Garrison, who also had a long career as a personal injury lawyer, retired from his radio program in 2017. He was part of the prosecution team that helped convict boxer Mike Tyson of rape charges in 1992…..Reporter Mara Hoplamazian is named New Hampshire Public Radio’s energy and environment reporter, a role in which they will anchor NHPR’s “By Degrees” climate reporting initiative. NHPR news director Dan Barrick says, “Awareness and dialogue are the best tools we have to fight climate change. The work of journalists such as Mara are crucial not simply to inform but to create awareness of what is at risk, and what we can do together.” Hoplamazian came to NHPR as the Barbara and Dick Couch Fellow. Before joining NHPR, Hoplamazian worked as an investigative reporting intern at The Sacramento Bee and a media intern at the Smithsonian Institution.

Trump & the GOP/Midterm Elections, January 6 Investigation, Ukraine Tensions, COVID-19, Spotify’s Joe Rogan Controversy, Whoopi Goldberg Suspension, Financial Markets/Economy, CNN’s Zucker Resigns, Beijing Olympics, Winter Weather, and Washington Football Team Reveals New Name Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/2). Former President Donald Trump’s influence within the GOP and November’s midterm elections; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and Russia over the latter’s military build-up at the Ukraine border; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad and mask & vaccine mandates; the controversy over artists pulling their music from Spotify because of the conspiratorial tone of “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast; ABC is slammed for suspending Whoopi Goldberg over her holocaust comments; the world’s financial markets and concerns about the COVID-hampered U.S. economy; Jeff Zucker resigns from CNN after failing to acknowledge his romantic relationship with an employee; the political aspects of the Beijing Winter Olympics; severe winter weather affecting much of the U.S.; and reactions to the NFL’s Washington franchise revealing its new Commanders moniker were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.