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Thursday, August 4, 2022

| August 4, 2022

Richard Neer is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Legendary WFAN, New York sports talk show host/rock radio pioneer Richard Neer and TALKERS founder Michael Harrison have been close friends and radio colleagues for more than half of the medium’s 100-year history. Needless to say, they always have plenty to talk about regarding media and popular culture – past, present, and future. Richard Neer is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview” marking his record-breaking seventh visit since the program debuted as one of the platform’s earliest offerings in 2015. In addition to his rich on-air history, Neer is the prolific author of 10 Riley King murder mystery novels and his historic overview of album rock radio, FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (Villard, 2001) remains a literary milestone chronicling the golden days of the AOR era. On this podcast, Harrison and Neer talk about a wide variety of topics including Joni Mitchell’s recent performance at the Newport Folk Festival, the high cost of Bruce Springsteen concert tickets, the controversial LIV Golf tour backed by Saudi Arabia, changes in the record business, the challenges of writing and publishing historical fiction, movies, TV, CGI and a whole lot more. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

Cumulus Media Q2 Net Revenue Rises 5.4%. Reporting its financial data for the second quarter of 2022, Cumulus Media reveals net revenue of $236.7 million – an increase of 5.4% over the same period in 2021. The company also reports net income of $8.7 million for the quarter after posting a net loss of $5.9 million during Q2 of 2021. Total broadcast revenue for Cumulus fell 0.3% to $175.7 million compared to the second quarter of 2021. While radio spot revenue was $127 million – up 5.1% over Q2 2021, network revenue slipped 12% to $48.7 million. Cumulus Media’s digital segment rose 20.3% to $37.8 million. CEO Mary Berner comments, “Our ability to deliver yet another quarter of strong results is testament both to the quality of our strategic plan and the discipline and relentlessness with which we implement it.  Specifically, we have deployed our multi-platform audio-first content strategy, developed multiple digital businesses, significantly reduced fixed costs, undertaken high ROI internal investments, and created a best-in-class balance sheet that gives the company substantial financial flexibility and capital allocation optionality. Given our track record, we have tremendous confidence in our ability, under this plan, to grow shareholder value. Despite the challenging macro environment, we increased revenue in the quarter by more than 5%, driven by our digital businesses whose growth accelerated in Q2 to 20% year-over-year. Additionally, bolstered by our ongoing focus on fixed cost reductions, this quarter we generated additional cash from operations and increased net income, EBITDA and EBITDA margins vs. the same period last year. We also efficiently executed nearly half of our $50 million share repurchase authorization and bought back $50 million of bonds at a discount, while simultaneously reducing net leverage to 3.8x, the lowest it’s been in more than a decade. With a robust political spending season anticipated, we are on trend toward achieving our net leverage target of less than 3.5 times and EBITDA at the low end of our 2022 guidance range.”

Conservative Media Figures Gather at CPAC 2022. Pictured above (from l-r) are WMAL-FM, Washington, DC morning drive personality Larry O’Connor, Salem Radio Network VP, news & talk programming Tom Tradup, and author and TOWNHALL.com contributor Kurt Schlichter in Dallas for the first day of CPAC 2022. The annual event runs through Sunday and speakers scheduled to address the gathering include: former President Donald Trump, Senator Ted Cruz, British conservative leader Nigel Farage, and Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Former WFTL, Fort Lauderdale Talk Host Rich Stevens Passes. TALKERS magazine has learned that former WFTL, Fort Lauderdale talk host Rich Stevens died on July 30 at the age of 68 after suffering a heart attack. Stevens worked in music radio prior to hosting his talk show on WFTL, serving at such signals as WPLJ-FM, New York and WJHM, Orlando. He also served at WABC-TV, New York as an entertainment reporter.

TALKERS News Notes. As part of RAB’s Radio Works initiative, the next live presentation in the series titled, “Radio Works for Restaurants,” takes place on Wednesday, August 17 at 1:00 pm ET and will provide industry insights and trends intended to help broadcasters gain a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing the restaurant industry and how radio can continue to serve this category. Since the beginning of the pandemic, restaurants have endured closures, staffing shortages, product supply strains and inflationary pressures making for a challenging business environment. Hudson Riehle, senior vice president, research & knowledge group at the National Restaurant Association, will provide an update on the “State of the Restaurant Industry” to help radio sellers understand the areas where businesses in this category need support. It’s free for RAB members and they can register here…..ESPN and Omaha Productions are expanding their relationship in the audio space with the premiere of a new show, “Kyle Brandt’s Basement,” led by NFL Network “Good Morning Football” host Kyle Brandt. The daily show debuts August 8 and “explores the ins and outs of the NFL through lively guest interviews with the top voices in the sport and inventive segments unique to Brandt to bring fans closer to the action on and off the field.” Brandt comments, “I’m thrilled about this show, and I’ll be shot out of a cannon every single day. It’s in my own basement and I’ve got games, toys and takes. I can promise one thing: it will not be boring.”…..Pictured at left is WGKB-AM/W269DL, Milwaukee “101.7 The Truth” talk host Tory Lowe during last weekend’s 7th Annual Stop the Violence Peace Walk during which he walked from Milwaukee to Chicago (more than 80 miles) to “raise awareness and bring an end to violence in our communities.” Lowe says, “It is important for us to build a bridge between Milwaukee and Chicago, open the lines of communication, and bring awareness to the violence that plagues our communities.”

Kansas Abortion Vote, Midterms/2024 Presidential Race, Pelosi Taiwan Visit, January 6 Investigation, Russia-Ukraine War, The Economy, COVID-19, and U.S. Rep. Walorski Killed Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday. Kansas voters elect to keep abortion rights in the state’s constitution; the primary races for the November midterm elections and speculation about the nominees in the 2024 presidential race; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan and China’s angry response; the January 6 investigation and the DOJ subpoenas issued to former White House counsel Pat Cipollone and former deputy counsel Patrick Philbin; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and the impact on the global economy; the falling price of gasoline and the still-high cost of food in the U.S. and concerns about a recession; the rate of BA.5 subvariant cases in the U.S.; and U.S. Rep Jackie Walorski (R-IN) and two staffers are killed in a car accident were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

| December 22, 2020

Kathy Valentine of The Go-Go’s Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The woman who played bass guitar, sang, and was a songwriter for the legendary rock band The Go-Go’s is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Today, Kathy Valentine is a 62-year-old working musician, songwriter, and author who began her career more than 40 years ago in her hometown of Austin, Texas and made a huge name for herself as a member of an iconic band after moving to Los Angeles. That band, The Go-Go’s, is considered by rock historians to be the most successful all-female band of all time and made music history for writing and performing the first and only album by an all-female band to top the charts. It featured the hit songs “We Got the Beat” and “Our Lips Are Sealed.” Valentine wrote or co-wrote some of The Go-Go’s most renowned tunes, including the hits “Vacation” and “Head Over Heels.” The record’s success brought the pressures of a relentless workload and schedule culminating in a wild, hazy, substance-fueled tour that took the band from the club circuit to arenas, where fans, promoters, and crew were more than ready to keep the party going. For Valentine, the band’s success was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream – but it’s only part of her story that she’s captured in a riveting book titled, All I Ever Wanted: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Memoir (University of Texas Press, 2020). It traces the path that took her from her childhood in Texas — where she all but raised herself — to the height of rock ‘n’ roll stardom, devastation after the collapse of the band that had come to define her, and the quest to regain her sense of self after its end. Harrison and Valentine take a deep-dive into the history of The Go-Go’s, their common experiences in the supercharged rock and radio environment of Los Angeles in the early 1980s, and the current activities of both the artist and The Go-Go’s who are planning a national tour this coming summer (if the pandemic allows it). Don’t miss this fascinating, uplifting program. 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.

Good Karma Announces Debut of ‘The Truth’ in Milwaukee. According to a report in the Milwaukee Business Journal, Good Karma Brands LLC will debut its Black-targeted talk radio station on January 4. The company is acquiring WRRD-AM and translator W269DL from New WRRD LLC and will begin by operating the signals under an LMA. Milwaukee sales pro Cherie Harris has been hired to serve as general manager and Kyle Wallace is on board as the operations manager for the station being branded “The Truth 101.7.” The daily lineup includes Milwaukee Bucks broadcasters Joe Brown and Melanie Ricks in mornings from 7:00 am to 10:00 am. Sherwin Hughes will host the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm program. Tory Lowe hosts the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm program, followed by Ken Harris in afternoon drive. Wallace says of the lineup, “Our goal when recruiting was to find talent who were unapologetically and authentically Milwaukee, and we are confident we chose outstanding leaders who have already made an impact on the city through their service, advocacy, and fight for justice and equality.”

Round One of December PPM Ratings Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s December 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s December 2020 survey period covered November 5 – December 2. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this batch of markets and some moves of note include iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles tacking on one-tenth to finish the December survey with a 4.6 share and the #3 rank in the market. While maintaining its #1 rank, Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta sheds 1.8 shares to finish with a 9.7 share. Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago adds three-tenths to wrap the survey with a 6.8 share but dips to the #3 rank. You can see all of Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways from the news/talk, all-news, sports talk, and public radio news/talk stations in this survey here.

TALKERS News Notes. WPG, Atlantic City morning drive host Harry Hurley is launching his inaugural Hurley Awards in which he selects people “who represent the best and worst in our region and nation this year. For our inaugural reveal, I have attempted to painstakingly create a super-list that draws upon a variety of factors. I respectfully acknowledge that our list is subjective.” You can see winners (and losers!) in all 78 categories here…..Shondaland Audio and iHeartMedia announce the February debut of the weekly podcast from Emmy-nominated actress Laverne Cox. Shondaland Audio says the podcast “will feature intimate conversations with guests who provoke thought and potentially new outlooks. The show was created in hopes that it may foster perspectives that might inspire new behavior in each of us, to in turn get us closer to becoming the very best versions of ourselves, all the while inviting Laverne, guests, and listeners to undergo a spiritual makeover together.”…..iHeartMedia announces that with the planned retirement of EVP, general counsel and secretary Paul McNicol, Jordan Fasbender rises from his depurty general counsel post to executive vice president, general counsel and secretary, effective January 1. McNicol will remain with the company as Executive Vice President providing counsel to the company’s senior management and ensuring a seamless transition.

Trump Election Results Denial/Barr on Special Counsel, Congress Passes COVID Relief, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Variant, Vaccine Rollout, and Russian Hack of U.S. Government Networks Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/21). Reports of Donald Trump’s ongoing denial of election results, plans to continue challenging Joe Biden’s victory, and Attorney General William Barr’s seeing “no reason” to appoint a special counsel; Congress passes the COVID relief package; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., projections for post-Christmas cases, and concerns about the U.K. variant; the rollout of the COVID vaccine in the U.S.; and the vulnerable U.S. government networks affected by the Russian hack were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TAKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Nationally syndicated evening personality Delilah is featured in The New York Times’ “The Daily” podcast in which she discusses her career in radio. The interview details the Premiere Networks’ personality’s journey from the small town of Reedsport, Oregon to becoming the “most-listened-to woman on radio.”…..The first all-digital CES will take place January 11-14 virtually and will feature an iHeartMedia conference session on how technology has enabled some of today’s hottest artists to continue to create and introduce new music and immersive experiences for their fans during the pandemic. The session is being moderated by nationally syndicated on-air host, TV personality, and producer Ryan Seacrest and will feature a fireside chat with singer and songwriter Dua Lipa and a special performance by Billie Eilish.