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Thursday, October 7, 2021

| October 7, 2021

Audacy Named Tim Clarke SVP, Digital Audio Content; Mike Thomas Returns to Boston to Lead Company’s Six Stations. Media executive Tim Clarke is promoted to the corporate senior vice president, digital audio content position with Audacy after serving as SVP and market manager for the company’s six Boston stations for the past six months. Taking over for Clarke at Audacy Boston is former WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” programmer Mike Thomas. In Clarke’s new role, he’ll be responsible for audio content across the Audacy digital platform that includes the Audacy app, Audacy.com, and Audacy’s station websites. Clarke will drive strategy and execution for new exclusive and original content for the platform and will have oversight of Audacy’s new exclusive digital music stations. He will also be responsible for the digital audio experiences of Audacy’s portfolio of broadcast stations, local and national station affiliates, and podcast partners. Audacy chief digital officer J.D. Crowley comments, “Tim is a rising star in our industry, and we’re excited to add his talents and capabilities to our digital business. He brings rich experience leading content and consumer strategies that we trust will enable him to help us further elevate our mission of delivering dynamic digital audio content through a listener-friendly platform every day.” Clarke joined Audacy in March of this year after serving as vice president of content and audience for Cox Media Group. Mike Thomas joins Audacy Boston from his most recent position as market manager for sports talk WMVP-AM, Chicago “ESPN Chicago” that’s being operated by Good Karma Brands. Prior to that, he was brand manager for Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub.” In this new role, he’ll oversee Audacy’s six Boston stations that include sports talk WEEI-FM, WEEI-AM “ESPN Boston,” and WVEI-AM, Worcester and three music brands. Thomas says, “Boston evokes memories of great times and celebrations. When [regional president] Mark Hannon reached out about coming back and leading such a diverse group of stations, it was exhilarating! I can’t wait to reconnect with a lot of talented people, some which I spent over a dozen years working side-by-side with and celebrating many more victories.”

Curtis Sliwa is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Longtime WABC, New York talk show host, founder of the world-famous volunteer public safety organization the Guardian Angels, and GOP nominee for Mayor of the Big Apple, Curtis Sliwa, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Sliwa, who is on leave from his radio position while running for office, won the Republican primary by a landslide although he is considered an underdog in the forthcoming general election against Democrat Eric Adams. However, Michael Harrison says, “I wouldn’t count Curtis out. He was born to be the Mayor of New York City and has enormous ‘street-cred’ and appeal – especially when the major topics in this race are crime and homelessness. He’s a real-life Spider-Man.” Harrison and Sliwa discuss these issues as well as the candidate’s strong position on animal welfare and the colorful history of New York broadcasters such as the great Barry Farber running for mayor and other elective offices. Don’t miss this mega-cool conversation. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

Round Three of September 2021 PPM Ratings Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s September 2021 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’s September 2021 sweep covered August 19 – September 15. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from these markets. In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM adds six-tenths for a 5.8 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) but remains anchored in the #4 rank while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk KEX-AM adds seven-tenths for a 3.2 share finish and rises to the #15 rank. Radio One’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte rises from #10 to #8 after tacking on seven-tenths for a 4.7 share. iHeartMedia’s KFBK-AM/FM, Sacramento is ranked #1 in the market after adding 1.1 shares for a 9.8 share finish while sister talk KSTE loses two-tenths for a 3.4 share finish and falls to the #12 rank. And in Salt Lake City, Bonneville’s news/talk KSL-AM/FM soars from #3 to #1 after adding 1.4 shares for an 8.4 share finish while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk KNRS-AM/FM shoots up from #7 to #4 after adding 1.3 shares for a 6.3 share finish. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets (as well as his reports on the first two rounds) here.

Buffalo Talk Host Tom Bauerle Back on Air After Breakthrough COVID Case. According to a story in The Buffalo News, WBEN-AM afternoon drive talk host Tom Bauerle returned to the air this Tuesday (10/5) after being off for a few weeks due to his getting a breakthrough case of COVID-19. Bauerle told his listeners that he was vaccinated with two doses of the Moderna shot and was tested daily while working as an extra on the set of the film Cabrini that’s being shot in Buffalo. Bauerle, who is against vaccine mandates because he thinks mandates are “un-American,” admitted to his listeners that while he was sick, he thought to himself, “Wow. I’m glad I got Moderna. How bad would it have been if I didn’t get Moderna?” He also said, “I’ll never know if the symptoms were mild because I got the shot. I’ll never know that.”

Salem Media Portland Names Sue Wilson Marketing/Promotions Director. Programming and marketing pro Sue Wilson returns to Salem Media Group as marketing/promotion director for the company’s Portland cluster that includes news/talk KPAM “AM 860 The Answer” and religious outlets KPDQ-AM/FM and KFIS-FM. Wilson was director of programming for the company’s Cleveland operations from 2001 through 2007. She served with Rubber City Radio as VP/operations for 12 years and launched Sue Wilson Creative in 2018. She says, “General Manager Dennis Hayes has built this amazing team in Portland that I’m so excited to be a part of. I’m grateful to him and [PD] Chris Kelly, and look forward to helping them create new, innovative ways to market and promote these incredible brands.” She begins her position later this month.

Audacy’s WEEI, Boston Renews Broadcast Deal with Red Sox. Boston sports talk outlet WEEI-FM and MLB’s Boston Red Sox announce a multiyear radio broadcast contract extension for the Audacy sports talk station to continue to serve as the Red Sox flagship radio station, as it has since 1995. Audacy Boston SVP and market manager Tim Clarke states, “Few things embody the city of Boston better than the Red Sox, and we’re delighted to extend our partnership with the team. The team has delivered some of the most memorable moments in baseball over the course of the last two decades and we’re proud to continue giving our audience a front row seat to everything surrounding the team.” As part of the partnership, WEEI will continue to air a weekly front office report with as part of “The Greg Hill Show,” featuring a rotation of interviews with Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and general manager Brian O’Halloran. Additionally, afternoon show “Merloni and Fauria” will welcome manager Alex Cora every week.

WABC, New York Honors Goya on Hispanic Heritage Day. New York City news/talk WABC presented an all-day event yesterday (10/6) honoring Hispanic Heritage Day by celebrating the numerous contributions the Hispanic community has made to New York City’s businesses, governmental communities, and culture. The celebration honored Goya, the largest and most successful Hispanic-owned food company in the United States, for donating over 40,000 pounds of food to victims of Hurricane Ida and over 4.5 million pounds of food since the start of the pandemic. Goya CEO Bob Unanue was presented the Humanitarian Award. Officials from the State of Louisiana called in via Zoom to thank Goya for supporting the residents during Hurricane Ida. Red Apple Media CEO John Catsimatidis said, “The Hispanic culture in New York City is among the most vibrant and fastest growing. As an immigrant myself, I understand what it means to take pride in your culture, your heritage, your ethnicity, and the path by which we all became ‘New Yorkers.’ We are proud of the contributions made by our Hispanic brothers and sisters, whether it is the thousands of Hispanic-owned businesses or the millions of New Yorkers of Hispanic heritage who work, live, play, and pray here in the greatest city on earth.” Pictured above are (from l-r): Red Apple and 77 WABC Radio president Chad Lopez, Unanue, and Margo and John Catsimatidis.

Debt Ceiling, Biden Infrastructure and Reconciliation Bills, COVID-19, Texas Abortion Bill, January 6 Investigation/Trump Election Denial, and China-Taiwan Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/6). The battle in Congress over the raising of the debt ceiling; the debate between Democratic factions over President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion Infrastructure bill and his $3.5 trillion Reconciliation Bill; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., booster shots, and mask & vaccine mandates; a federal judge blocks the highly restrictive and controversial Texas abortion law; the investigation into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and former President Donald Trump’s continuing claim of the “stolen” election; and China’s aggressive military actions toward Taiwan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

| August 26, 2021

Archived Conversation with Phil Valentine is Featured on This Week’s Installment of Harrison Podcast. A conversation featuring the late Phil Valentine has been retrieved from the archives for this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” The classic dialogue was recorded in May 2017 – less than five months into the administration of then-President Donald Trump. Harrison and the WWTN-FM, Nashville talk star engage in a deep-dive conversation about a number of still-timely issues including the challenges faced by conservative talk show hosts during this politically charged new era in finding a balance between playing to the Republican Party’s base while maintaining independent critical thinking. The two also discuss Valentine’s experience at that time as an independent filmmaker of the documentary, An Inconsistent Truth, which provided a rebuttal to former Vice President Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth, about the environment and climate change issue. Valentine discusses his career in radio and his childhood growing up as the son of long-time member of the U.S. House of Representatives; his love of family; and his close personal and business relationship with his brother. Harrison states, “There was so much more to Phil Valentine as a media practitioner and human being than the headlines surrounding his tragic death indicate. I am gratified that this interview conducted four years ago really presents a full-dimensional portrait of the man and I’m pleased to be able to showcase it for people who might not be familiar with the scope of his contribution to the talk media scene.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

Larry Elder’s Ex-Girlfriend Files Police Report as Newsom Recall Race Heats Up. Politico is reporting that the former girlfriend of Salem Radio Network talk host and current candidate for governor of California Larry Elder has filed a formal police report alleging “several incidents of domestic abuse” during their relationship that ended in 2015. Alexandra Datig spoke publicly about the allegations last week but says she delivered her statement to Los Angeles police yesterday (8/25). According to numerous media outlets, Elder is the leading candidate to replace Governor Gavin Newsom should California voters choose to recall him on September 14. Democratic leaders are also reportedly concerned that lack of voter interest could keep enough Democratic voters home on election day and hand the governorship to a GOP challenger such as Elder. Now Alexandra Datig enters the fray with this complaint against Elder. She says she was interviewed by LAPD detectives for two hours on Wednesday, about a week after going public with her story that she broke off her 18-month engagement to Elder after he “pulled a loaded gun from a nightstand” during an argument in 2015. Politico’s Carla Marinucci writes, “She said that out of fear and intimidation, she didn’t file a police report at the time, but that she decided to make a formal report after hearing some of Elder’s public statements denying the gun incident and suggesting she fabricated the account. His denials, she told police, have resulted in her receiving hostile threats on social media.”

WCCO-AM, Minneapolis Afternoon Host Jordana Green on Medical Leave. According to a story in BringMetheNews, afternoon drive co-host Jordana Green is taking a “short leave of absence” to focus on her recovery from a rare form of Leukemia. Green told her listeners about her diagnosis of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia last October. She says her problem now is her inability to create platelets. She recently posted an update on her condition saying, “I can’t seem to get my platelet or red blood cell count up (no there’s nothing I can do for this). Transfusions are my only option. I’m also neutropenic. Which means my white blood cells have been wiped out and I’m at risk for infections.” Green adds, “I’m ready to be done being sick but it looks like I have two more years of treatment. I hope future posts will be more uplifting.” Green co-hosts the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show on Audacy’s WCCO-AM with Paul Douglas.

CNN Audio Unveils New Fall Podcast Lineup. This fall there are new limited-series podcasts launching from CNN Audio. They include, “Tug of War,” hosted by CNN chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward. In this series, Ward travels across the world to meet the courageous people on the front lines of a battle for democracy. She says, “During my career I’ve always been struck by extraordinary acts of courage from ordinary people. Currently authoritarian regimes are on the ascent across the world, but so are the grassroot movements resisting them. In ‘Tug of War,’ we take you to Syria, Myanmar, Russia and more to meet some of the people behind these movements and see what it takes to risk everything to fight oppression.” Also debuting this fall is, “In Total Recall: California’s Political Circus,” with Dana Bash and “Margins of Error,” hosted by senior data reporter Harry Enten. Longtime podcaster Aminatou Sow joins CNN Audio to host “When Diana Met…,” a new podcast that will revisit Princess Diana’s most notable encounters with politicians, dignitaries and celebrities. Additionally, HLN is launching a new audio companion to their popular true crime series, “Very Scary People.” This season, the show returns to Amityville, New York to revisit the 1974 murders that would spark a cultural conversation.

TALKERS News Notes. WBEN-AM, Buffalo afternoon drive talk host Tom Bauerle just celebrated his 30th anniversary with the Buffalo stations now owned by Audacy and recently inked a new, long-term contract with the company. Bauerle also shares that a major motion picture based on the life of Saint Cabrini is being filmed in Buffalo and WBEN played a big role in helping put together more than 2,000 extras after local casting director Frank Rossi appeared on his radio program. Bauerle says he is also an extra – actually a featured extra – in the film. We’ll have to wait for the final cut to see if Bauerle makes his big screen debut in the film. Stay tuned!…..Nashville native Clay Travis is the subject of a piece in the Williamson Herald in which he tells writer Carole Robinson how he segued from sports talk to news/talk. Travis – now half of Premiere Networks’ “Clay Travis & Buck Sexton” show – spoke with Robinson while at a political event for Tennessee State Senator Jack Johnson. He says when the sports world shut down in the spring of 2020 due to COVID-19, he began talking about current events. “The sports audience exploded. I used that as a strong sign. People wanted my opinion.”…..Public radio news/talk KQED-FM, San Francisco – along with its sister television outlet – are presenting a new live event series hosted in its newly redesigned San Francisco headquarters. “KQED Live” events will take place in the 238-seat multipurpose theater called The Commons. The inaugural schedule of guests includes: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Grammy-winning Oakland recording artist Fantastic Negrito, The Joy Luck Club author Amy Tan, former California governor Jerry Brown, NPR’s Sam Sanders and others. KQED CEO and president Michael Isip says, “Our mission is to inform, inspire and involve. ‘KQED Live’ will provide an inclusive space for personal, participatory experiences that enhance civic and cultural vitality as well as cultivate a sense of community. ‘KQED Live’ will also elevate diverse Bay Area community voices and stories, adding fresh context to our reporting and programs in an informative and entertaining way.”

Afghanistan Withdrawal, COVID-19, Trump Lawyers Sanctioned, January 6 Investigation, Newsom Recall, and California Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/25). The criticism of the Biden administration’s Afghanistan withdrawal plan and the new threat to the Kabul airport from ISIS; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., China promotes U.S. military base as COVID origin, and mask and vaccine mandates; Sidney Powell, Lin Wood and other Donald Trump attorneys are sanctioned in Michigan for “abuse of the judicial process” in contesting the election results; former President Donald Trump claims executive privilege as January 6 House committee seeks documents from his administration; Democrats fear lack of voter interest in Gavin Newsom recall could hand governorship to GOP; and the California wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

| March 25, 2021

Cumulus Fires One and Suspends Two at WGRF-FM, Buffalo After Racists Remarks on ‘Morning Bull Show.’ One member of the “The Morning Bull Show” at Cumulus Media’s classic rock WGRF-FM, Buffalo “97 Rock” has been fired and two other members have been suspended after they did a bit that involved comparing the color of famous Black women’s skin to burnt toast. Spectrum News reports that Cumulus fired Rob Lederman and suspended Rich Gaenzler and Chris Klein. Gaenzler also lost his gig as arena announcer for Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bandits games and the University of Buffalo says Gaenzler will not be considered for stadium announcer next fall (a position he’s held in the past). At least two advertisers pulled their ads from the station as Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and the West Herr Auto Group canceled their current ad schedules. Cumulus issued the following statement: “Cumulus Media operates from a clearly defined set of programming principles and there is no question that Rob Lederman’s comments made on The Morning Bull Show are in direct violation of those principles. We swiftly terminated him and suspended the remainder of the show’s on-air talent. We apologize and deeply regret the incident.”

WBEN-AM, Buffalo Extends Bauerle and Bellavia Shows to Cover Limbaugh Daypart. According to a report in the Buffalo News, Entercom’s Buffalo news/talk WBEN-AM is going to fill the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart long occupied by “The Rush Limbaugh Show” by expanding the midday David Bellavia and afternoon drive Tom Bauerle shows. Beginning on April 5, the David Bellavia show air from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and Tom Bauerle’s program will air from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. The station will add a 9:00 am to 10:00 am program hosted by AM drive co-host Brian Mazurowski and producer and fill-in host Joe Beamer. To fill the 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm hour created by Bauerle’s move, WBEN will air “The News Hour with Tom Puckett and the WBEN News Team.” Program director Tim Wenger says in a memo to staff, “This lineup gives us the ability to super-serve the market with the most compelling stories and topics on the minds of people in Buffalo and Western New York and establishes us as THE go-to outlet for full LIVE coverage all day long.”

Dana Loesch Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The leading female news/talk radio host in America, Dana Loesch, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Loesch has been syndicated by Radio America in the 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm ET time slot for the past seven years and is considered one of the leading players in a growing field of competitors seeking to be cleared on stations looking to fill the vacancy left by the passing of Rush Limbaugh. Loesch, a staunch conservative described as a “next generation” talker, is the author of three highly influential books: Hands Off My Gun: Defeating the Plot to Disarm America (Hachette, 2015), Flyover Nation: You Can’t Run a Country You’ve Never Been To (Sentinel, 2016), and Grace Canceled: How Outrage is Destroying Lives, Ending Debate, and Endangering Democracy (Regnery, 2020). Harrison and Loesch discuss the state of the talk radio industry as it enters the post-Limbaugh era along with her views on the gun control debate in the wake of the latest wave of mass murders in the news.  They also tackle the big questions about the future of the Republican Party, Donald Trump and the conservative movement in America.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.  Don’t miss this!

Round Three of Nielsen Audio’s February PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s February 2021 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’s February 2021 sweep covered February 4 – March 3. All-news and news/talk stations that typically see a decline in listening following a presidential election kept the attention of listeners due to the chaos that followed the elections and that continued into the new year with the January 6 Capitol attack and the incoming Biden administration. In this report, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM drops from #1 to #2 after losing two-tenths to finish the February survey with a 6.0 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share). Urban One’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte sheds 1.1 shares to finish with a 5.5 share and slides to the #4 rank. In Sacramento, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFBK remains ranked #1 even while losing six-tenths and wrapping the survey with a 9.6 share. There’s a second-place tie in Salt Lake City as iHeartMedia’s news/talk KNRS-FM dips nine-tenths and Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM is flat – both posting 7.0 shares. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets – as well as the first two rounds – here.

Nielsen: Women Make Up 45% of Podcast Consumers; Kids & Family Most-Listened-To Genre. The new Podcasting Today report from Nielsen indicates that the top genre among female podcast listeners in the U.S. is ‘kids & family,’ with a 77% audience composition while true crime is fourth with a 60% audience composition (health & fitness and arts are second and third, respectively). The rest of the top 10 is: religion and spirituality (58%), education (54%), society and culture (53%), fiction (50%), and TV, film, and music (48%). “Perhaps what this tells us is that regardless of characteristics such as gender, podcasts listeners are a diverse group with diverse interests and that women are among the most voracious consumers of podcasts of all types and subjects.” Nielsen states, “Women are savvy consumers of news, information, and other media across devices. They also make up 45% of all podcast consumers over-indexing in podcasts across all genres. This is a coveted demographic for marketers and advertisers, as female-led households in the U.S. increased 41% in the last five years. No matter what media they’re consuming, truth, transparency, and real representation matter.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new podcast deal is announced in which iHeartMedia partners with Will Packer Media for a slate of original scripted and unscripted podcasts to the iHeartPodcast Network. iHeartMedia says, “The new partnership builds on the success of the true crime podcast ‘Fight Night,’ which launched on the iHeartMedia platform in October 2020 and was co-produced by Will Packer and James Lopez, president of Will Packer Productions. ‘Fight Night’ examined one of Atlanta’s most infamous armed robberies from the night of Muhammad Ali’s historic 1970 return to boxing.”…..ABC Audio unveils its new podcast “Inside the Oscars,” hosted by ABC News’ Ginger Zee. ABC says the six-part series dives into everything listeners want to know in the one-month countdown to an Oscar Sunday that will be like no other, including how filmmaking and the way we enjoy movies has changed. The first episode of “Inside the Oscars” is available today (3/25) with new episodes posting Thursdays…..Entercom and Global Music Rights announce a long-term partnership that allows Entercom to perform GMR’s catalog of hit songs across all of its platforms. Entercom says the multi-year deal starts immediately and paves the way for a strong partnership between the rapidly growing audio content and entertainment platform and the boutique performing rights organization featuring some of music’s most talented hitmakers. Entercom chief David Field adds, “We are excited to partner with Irving [Azoff] and the team at GMR. They represent some of the top talent on radio today. The combination of Entercom’s reach and GMR’s music is a huge win for our audience.”

Biden’s Immigration Policy, COVID-19, Cuomo Troubles, Georgia Voting Bill-Dem’s For the People Act, Suez Canal Blocked, Deadly Boulder Shooting/Gun Control, Biden Press Conference, and Chinese Cotton Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/24). The growing crush of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s response; the rising number of COVID-19 cases in some U.S. states, concern about variants, and vaccine rollouts; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is accused of giving his family priority in COVID testing, he faces allegations of sexual harassment, and engineering a cover-up over nursing home COVID deaths in the state; the Georgia bill that would restrict voting and the House Democrats’ For the People voting expansion bill; the freighter creating a roadblock in the Suez Canal; the slaying of 10 at a grocery in Boulder, Colorado and the larger issue of gun control; today’s first live press conference for President Joe Biden; and the allegation that Xinjiang cotton is made in Chinese detention camps were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

| July 21, 2020

David Bellavia Named WBEN-AM, Buffalo Late Morning Host. The replacement for longtime WBEN-AM, Buffalo 9:00 am to 12:00 noon personality Sandy Beach is former afternoon drive co-host David Bellavia. Beach is retiring at the end of this month after a long career on the Buffalo airwaves. Bellavia co-hosted the Entercom news/talk station’s afternoon drive program with Tom Bauerle from 2016 through 2019, at which time he took a leave from the station to tour the country on behalf of the U.S. Army following his receipt of the prestigious Medal of Honor. Bellavia is a former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant who joined the United States Army in 1999. He’s been awarded the Silver Star for his actions during the Second Battle of Fallujah, the Bronze Star, three Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals and the New York State Conspicuous Service Cross. He says, “I have a deep respect for Sandy Beach and am truly humbled to have my own program on WBEN. My goal is to completely reinvent how local talk radio is perceived and make WBEN the place where Buffalo comes together to start their day.”

Entercom Amends Credit Agreement. The company announces that is has entered into an agreement to amend the financial covenants and other provisions under its Credit Agreement solely for the benefit of its revolver lenders. During the covenant relief period, which extends through December 31, 2021, unless terminated earlier by Entercom, the Amendment provides for a covenant holiday for the quarters ending September 30, 2020 and December 31, 2020, among other modifications. Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “We are pleased to announce this credit facility amendment, which addresses the significant impact that COVID-19 has had on the economy and our advertising revenues. As previously announced, we have taken a number of actions to reduce costs and enhance our business model to both weather the storm and emerge stronger. We ended the second quarter in a strong liquidity position with $208 million of cash on-hand, up from $189 million at the end of March. During the 2nd quarter, we saw sequential month-over-month improvement in our revenue performance from April and we see the same pattern of month-over-month improvement in our pacing data for the 3rd quarter. Entercom is well positioned to fully participate in the recovery and the attractive growth opportunities in the audio space, with strong leadership positions in broadcast radio and podcasting, the fastest growing digital audio platform, unparalleled leadership in news and sports, and strong data and analytics capabilities. We will provide further comments on our performance and the outlook for the 3rd quarter during our 2nd quarter earnings call on August 7.”

June 2020 Analysis: Cume & Coronavirus. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents part one of a look at how cume (based on Nielsen Audio data from the June 2020 PPM survey) is shaking out for radio stations during the COVID-19 pandemic with today’s focus on the all-news format. Kinosian’s previous four analyses from the June 2020 survey have used weekly AQH share as the metric. Entercom’s WINS-AM, New York was the highest cume all-news station during the June PPM survey with 1.09 million. You can see how the rest of the nation’s all-newsers fared as well as rankings of all-news outlets based on cume increases from May 2020 to June 2020; stations by cume market rank; and more. See it all here.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, GOP Stimulus Plan, NJ Judge’s Son Slain, Presidential Election, Portland Protests, St. Louis Couple Charged, and Sports Leagues Openings Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/20). The rapidly rising number of COVID-19 cases in numerous states and the projections for future cases; the battle between President Trump and GOP lawmakers in crafting a new stimulus plan; the shooting death of Judge Esther Salas’ son and the hunt for his killer; the November presidential race and the controversy over election procedures; the protests in Portland and President Trump’s use of federal troops in the city; a St. Louis couple is charged with weapons violations after aiming guns at protestors; and the attempts by U.S. pro sports leagues to start or continue their seasons were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Sports talk personality Freddie Coleman re-ups with ESPN on a multi-year deal to keep him co-hosting the evening ESPN Radio show “Freddie and Fitzsimmons” with Ian Fitzsimmons. Coleman says, “I have been blessed beyond compare to have been with ESPN Radio for 16 years and that I will have a chance to add to it humbles me beyond words. To continue to keep loving what I do and doing what I love at ESPN Radio is something that I never take for granted.”…..Washington, DC sport talk outlet WSBN “ESPN 630 – The Sports Capitol” is joining the Virginia Sports Radio Network. Jake McCann is vice president and market manager for station owner Cumulus Media, he says, “We are thrilled to be the Washington D.C. area’s home for all the University of Virginia’s football and men’s basketball games. The school has a great tradition of excellence in athletics and in the classroom. There are many alumni in the area who will be delighted to hear the games as well as exclusive content we will be providing on ‘ESPN 630-The Sports Capitol.’”…..iHeartMedia and Tenderfoot TV are expanding their relationship to collaborate on nine new iHeartRadio Original Podcasts to air now through 2022. The deal kicks off with the second season of “Sworn,” Tenderfoot TV’s criminal justice system podcast that exposes the untold stories and hard truths behind major cases. Additionally, new investigative series podcasts for the slate will include “MLK Tapes,” produced in partnership with author Bill Klaber, co-creator of “The RFK Tapes,” set to premiere January 2021; and the next installment of the “Monster” podcast series, which has over 100 million downloads with the success of “Atlanta Monster” followed by “Monster: The Zodiac Killer,” “Monster Presents: Insomniac” and “Monster: D.C. Sniper,” set to debut early next year.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The iHeartRadio Music Festival is on this year – its 10th – but the show will be enjoyed by fans remotely. It’s being hosted by Ryan Seacrest will feature live performances recorded on stages in Los Angeles and Nashville in front of a virtual audience that will include a Capital One Fan Wall of iHeartRadio station winners. The two-day festival will be streamed on The CW App, and CWTV.com, and broadcast on iHeartMedia stations nationwide on September 18 and 19 at 9 pm ET. The CW Network will broadcast the two-night televised iHeartRadio Music Festival on Sunday, September 27 (8:00 pm -10:00 pm ET) and Monday, September 28 (8:00 pm -10:00 pm ET). Artists performing will include: BTS, Coldplay, Kane Brown, with Special Guests Khalid, Keith Urban, Migos, Miley Cyrus, Thomas Rhett, Usher and more…..Neuhoff Media promotes Mike Shamus to vice president and general manager for its Lafayette, Indiana station group. Shamus was previously vice president of programming, cluster OM, and PD for country WKOA-FM. Company CEO Beth Neuhoff says, “Shamus, as we all know him, is an exceptional leader. His work with our award-winning programming team demonstrated his capacity for team building and getting the best out of people. When this position came available, he was the natural choice. I know he will lead this market to a new level.”…..Beasley Media’s classic rock WCSX-FM is working to raise $50,000 for Gleaners Food Bank. Morning show host Big Jim from Big Jim’s House will drive 27 hours on a rockin’ road trip from Detroit to Minnesota to raise the money with help from legendary artist Bob Seger. Big Jim will drive a Chevy truck (provided by Chevrolet) from Detroit to the North Star Bar in Minnesota where Bob Seger reportedly stopped and had a drink in his song, “Roll Me Away.” Big Jim will leave for Minnesota on Thursday, July 23rd and upon his return to the Motor City, Bob Seger and Chevrolet will make a $50,000 donation to Gleaners Food Bank of Detroit.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

| February 6, 2020

Tom Bauerle Solo Again in WBEN-AM, Buffalo Afternoons; Report Alleges Internal Strife and More. According to a report in the Buffalo Chronicle, talk show host Tom Bauerle is back to being a solo performer in afternoon drive on Entercom’s WBEN 930 AM after co-host David Bellavia left the show with no explanation.  The piece says a rift between Bauerle and Bellavia is the reason for the change.  It also reports speculation that Bellavia is in line to take over the late morning show from Sandy Beach as he is considering retirement.  However, what’s far more bizarre is the Chronicle piece accuses Bauerle of “lashing out at members of his audience” and alleges that Bauerle sexually harassed the wife of a caller to the show. David Bellavia is still with WBEN. A station spokesperson tells TALKERS, “We have adjusted his duties to allow him the flexibility to continue with his Medal of Honor duties.  We are incredibly proud to continue our relationship with him and will soon be announcing a new venture with him.”

Quote of the Week.  There has been a lot of reaction, positive and negative, to Rush Limbaugh receiving the Medal of Freedom at the recent State of the Union Address.  The following quote deemed “brilliant” by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is attributed to Steve Lapa (pictured above), president of South Florida-based Lapcom Communication Corp.: “How ironic is the talk radio world?!  The man who was #1 on the ‘No Buy’ list received the #1 civilian honor by the President of the United States. How many agency marketing directors will open their thinking to what great talk radio is about… and the deep influence of great talent?”

iHeartMedia and VSiN Partner with XFL for Sports Betting Audio Content. The new XFL inaugural season begins on Saturday (2/8) and the league has teamed with Vegas Stats & Information Network and iHeartMedia to create audio BetCasts for two games each week during the 2020 10-week regular season and two-week post-season.  The BetCasts will feature VSiN sports betting experts covering XFL games live from VSiN’s studios in Las Vegas through a wagering lens.  These digital audio broadcasts, available on the iHeartRadio app, will deliver real-time odds, as well as in-depth analysis of the events behind those changing lines to inform fans during the live action of the games.  VSiN founder and CEO Brian Musburger says, “It’s great to see a league like the XFL embrace sports betting as a way to drive fan engagement and interest.  We couldn’t be more excited to partner with the forward-thinking executives at both the XFL and iHeart to deliver the most credible and actionable sports betting content to football fans around the country on the number one audio platform.”

TALKERS News Notes. Retired Orlando talk radio personality Jim Philips authored an op ed piece in the Orlando Sentinel that decries the loss of local talent in radio.  Pointing to the recent staff cutbacks and radio leaders such as iHeartMedia and Entercom, Philips says he’s a realist who understands the business is changing, but says, “This doesn’t mean I have to like it.”  Philips hosted “The Philips Phile” on WTKS-FM “Real Radio 104.1” for 30 years prior to his retirement in 2018…..Lazer Broadcasting and MLB’s San Francisco Giants extend their radio partnership for three‐years – through the 2022 season – for games to air on its newly launched Spanish sports talk KSFN-AM, San Francisco “Unanimo Deportes.” Lazer Broadcasting chief revenue officer Gerardo Martinez says, “The San Francisco Giants are a first-class organization with legions of faithful Latino fans, and we’re excited to be the official home of the SF Gigantes in Español.  The professional sports journalism that ‘Unanimo Deportes’ brings to sports fans is unmatched.”…..The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that “Inside Edition” Emmy Award-winning anchor Deborah Norville will host its 2020 Golden Mike Award dinner taking place Wednesday, March 4, at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.  This annual event is a major fundraiser for the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation to help broadcasters in acute need.  As previously announced, this year’s Golden Mike Award honoree will be Dave Lougee, president and chief executive officer of TEGNA Inc. and the Lifetime Achievment Award will be presented to George Beasley, founder and chairman of Beasley Media Group.

Puckett Named Sales Manager for Beasley Southwest Florida; Johnson Rises to National Sales Manager. Radio sales pro Ellen Puckett is promoted to sales manager for Beasley Media Group’s Ft. Myers station group that includes news/talk WJBX, sports talk WWCN “ESPN Southwest Florida,” and four music brands.  She’s been with the cluster since September of 2016, most recently as a senior AE.  She comments, “As I move into this new phase with Beasley Media Group, I’m delighted to be working with a strong existing sales team.  I look forward to using my skills in training and development to help our team introduce new products into the marketplace while continuing to grow our existing core business to provide results for our advertisers.” At the same time, Todd Johnston is upped from his account executive position to national sales manager for the cluster.  Director of sales Allyson Hillman says, “We are thrilled to be able to promote Todd to his new role.  His talent in negotiating and research are guaranteed to help us win in the national arena in the Ft. Myers market!”

WELI-AM, New Haven Adds FM Signal. New Haven, Connecticut news/talk WELI-AM adds FM translator W245DK to its broadcast, giving listeners to the iHeartMedia station the option to hear it on the 96.9 FM frequency.  iHeartMedia Hartford Region president Steve Honeycomb says, “We are thrilled to be able to increase the reach of these heritage programs to listeners in the northern part of Connecticut.  With this new signal, listeners will get to experience our unique programming like never before.”

Impeachment Ends in Acquittal, Iowa Caucuses/Presidential Race, Russian ‘Information Warfare,’ Wuhan Coronavirus, Financial Markets Activity/Macy’s Announces Closures, and Kirk Douglas Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/5). The Senate votes to acquit President Donald Trump of the impeachment charges against him; the Iowa caucuses technical woes and the race for the Democratic nomination; FBI Director Chris Wray’s warming that the Russians are engaging in “information warfare” over the 2020 election; the status of the Wuhan coronavirus; activity on the world’s financial markets and Macy’s news it will shutter 125 stores; and actor Kirk Douglas dies at 103 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At the Cox Media Group stations on Long Island, longtime VP and general manager John Shea is retiring and the company announces that current director of sales Katelin Tinley will assume the VP/GM role.  Tinley began her career with CMG as an AE back in 2005.  The CMG Long Island operations includes CHR WBLI, classic rock WBAB and its digital media platforms.  CMG EVP radio Bill Hendrich says of Shea, “John is the kind of passionate leader that we love at CMG.  John loves his team.  He loves his stations. And he loves Long Island.  We are losing a friend and a great business partner but know that he has worked hard for this day and wish him the absolute best in his retirement.”…..SiriusXM announces that Pearl Jam will perform at Harlem’s world-famous Apollo Theater in a special invitation-only concert for SiriusXM subscribers and Pandora listeners on Thursday, March 26.  The special event comes days before the band embarks on the U.S. leg of their Pearl Jam 2020 tour.  The concert will take place just hours ahead of the release of the band’s new album Gigaton, that goes on sale at midnight.  The concert will air live on the band’s dedicated SiriusXM’s Pearl Jam Radio channel.