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Monday, May 10, 2021

| May 10, 2021

Monday Memo: Was Rush the Format? As the American comeback unfolds, polls demonstrate widespread optimism. “Yet,” consultant Holland Cooke reckons, there’s “a day-after-day negativity, a wearying sameness, among the half-dozen hosts vying for the Rush Limbaugh hours” on his affiliate stations. And in this week’s column, Cooke warns against typecasting the format as political talk: “If we learned one thing during the pandemic shutdown, it’s people’s appetite for ‘survival information.’” Read his column here.

Pending Business: Why Buy? Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa says that if you ask yourself the question: Why buy advertising on your station, you know the answers to this in your sleep. “Yet why do three different sellers give three different answers? It sounds silly, but even at the best run stations, large market or small, my experience is the answers vary a little too much.” He offers eight questions to ask yourself that will help you formulate the answers to that question: Why buy? Read it here.

Townsquare Media Q1 Net Revenue Down 5.1%; Digital Revenue Up 13%. Reporting its financial data for the first quarter of 2021, Townsquare Media reveals total net revenue was $88.8 million, a decline of 5.1% from the same period in 2020. The company’s net loss shrinks dramatically from $59.5 million in the first quarter of 2020 to $6.1 million in Q1 of 2021. Operating income also did an about-face, shrinking from a loss of $72.1 million in Q1 of 2020 to income of $8.8 million this year. Townsquare Media CEO Bill Wilson says, “We are extremely proud to report that Townsquare’s first quarter 2021 results approached, and in some cases exceeded, levels achieved in the pre-COVID first quarter of 2019, which surpassed our expectations and previously stated guidance. In the first quarter of 2021, net revenue declined -5% year over year, and -1.6% excluding political and Live Events net revenue. When excluding Live Events net revenue, first quarter net revenue increased +0.3% as compared to the first quarter of 2019. Total digital revenue growth accelerated to +13% year over year (+32% vs. Q1 2019), contributing nearly 49% of Townsquare’s total first quarter net revenue. Our digital revenue growth was fueled by Townsquare Interactive, our digital marketing solutions subscription business, Townsquare Ignite, our digital programming advertising platform, and Townsquare Amped, digital advertising on our owned and operated brands, which increased revenue year over year by +15%, +12%, and +11%, respectively. Impressively, TSI, Ignite, and Amped’s first quarter net revenue exceeded Q1 2019 revenue levels by +34%, +45%, and +15%, respectively. Over the next three years, we expect to grow our digital net revenue from $167 million (on a trailing twelve-month basis as of March 31, 2021) to $250 million. The strong growth of our digital revenue, together with our strong expense management, led to Adjusted EBITDA increasing nearly +30% over the prior year. I am especially proud to share that first quarter Adjusted EBITDA of $20.1 million is +$1.3 million, or +7%, higher than Q1 2019’s pro forma Adjusted EBITDA, and +$2.1 million, or +12%, higher when excluding profit from Live Events.”

The Mayor and the Mobster. Nationally syndicated Compass Media Networks talk star Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo scored an amazing one-hour double interview with former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former high-profile mobster Michael Franzese last week which he ran on Tuesday through Friday (5/4-7) as a four-part special series on his radio show titled, “The Mayor and the Mobster.” Giuliani prosecuted Franzese 40 years ago at a time when the two men were arch enemies. Much has changed since then in terms of their relationship. In a fascinating conversation about the nature of crime fighting, prosecution, and redemption, the two men have more than reconciled their differences as indicated in a wonderful interview conducted brilliantly by Pags. You can watch the entire 56-minute conversation captured on video by clicking here.

Missouri House Passes Bill to Make January 12 ‘Rush Limbaugh Day.’ The Missouri House of Representatives passed a bill last Thursday (5/6) that would make January 12 “Rush Limbaugh Day” in honor of the Cape Girardeau, Missouri native who died in February at age 70. The bill met with opposition from Democratic House members, including Rep. Ashley Bland Manlove who criticized Limbaugh for “constant attacks on Black people and other people of color,” according to a report by the AP. Republican Rep. Sara Walsh, a supporter of the bill, said, “Rush demonstrated courage to speak boldly and encouraged his listeners and viewers to reach for their dreams and to push onward beyond the naysayers and discouragers that we all encounter in life.” The bill must pass the Missouri Senate before it moves on to the governor’s office.

AdLarge and Sounds Profitable Partner for ‘Up Next – A Podcast UpFront.’ Audio ad sales network AdLarge Media partners with podcast ad tech publication Sounds Profitable to launch Up Next – A Podcast UpFront. The companies say that “embracing a ‘never-been-done-before’ concept, Up Next utilizes the podcast format to promote podcasting with two acclaimed industry leaders hosting the series, FRQNCY founder/CEO Michelle Khouri and Edison Research SVP, Tom Webster. The idea originated from a brainstorming session between the leadership team at AdLarge and Sounds Profitable and is NOT an event but rather a podcast series specifically designed to showcase the multiple facets of the podcast industry including publishers, networks, content producers, and more. No special invitation required to listen to the podcasts, they are available to everyone.” In the first season of the Up Next series, AdLarge’s premiere episode focuses on the power of podcast advertising in addition to exploring the intriguing and valuable aspects of the podcasting world. The AdLarge season consists of six episodes, which also includes sample episodes from some of the most favored podcasts in the space today such as: “Crime Junkie,” “Swindled,” “The Hey Girl Podcast,” “The Trip,” and “Kill Me Now with Judy Gold.” AdLarge SVP, head of revenue operations & digital sales Ilwira Marciszek says, “It’s crazy that no one thought of this earlier. We know podcasts get results. This is the perfect way to get in front of people on their own time. I’m beyond thrilled to use the medium we’re selling to showcase the power of podcasting.” You can learn more here.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Seeks Donations to Counter Lost Fundraising Events. The Broadcasters Foundation of America is in need of donations to counter the loss of funds from major fundraising events that were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. A 501(c)3 charity, the BFoA is the only organization dedicated exclusively to providing financial aid to broadcasters and their families whose lives have been upended by debilitating illness, accident, or catastrophe. BFoA chairman Scott Herman says, “In its more than 70 years of existence, the Broadcasters Foundation has provided financial assistance to every broadcaster who qualified, and we want to continue that track record. These men and women are our colleagues, and unthinkable tragedy has left them unable to work. We cannot turn our backs on them.” Cancelled fundraisers for the Broadcasters Foundation include the Celebrity Golf Tournament, the Golden Mike Award, and the Philip J. Lombardo Charity Golf Tournament. Personal and corporate donations can be made here.

COVID-19, GOP vs Cheney, Rising Consumer Goods Prices, Weekend Gun Deaths in U.S., Gas Pipeline Hack, Biden’s Infrastructure Plan, Afghanistan Girls School Bombing, and Arabian Sea Arms Seizure Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., vaccine hesitancy, and the outbreak in India; U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney faces losing her GOP leadership role for not carrying the stolen election banner; concerns about the fast-rising prices of gas and consumer goods; the slaying of six at a Colorado Springs birthday party and numerous other gun deaths over the weekend; the hacking of a gas pipeline by Russia-based operatives; President Joe Biden to push his infrastructure plan this week; the bombing at a girls school in Afghanistan that killed 85 people; and the U.S. Navy seizes a large weapons cache in the Arabian Sea were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Michael Harrison Animal Welfare Music Video Going Viral on YouTube. The animal welfare anthem “I Know You’re Real” that appears on the new Gunhill Road album What Year Is This! has been picking up an accelerating number of views this past week – approximately 1,400 per day – solely based thus far on radio interviews. The song’s lyrics, penned by Michael Harrison and recited by him on the recording and video, discuss the metaphysical nature of the relationship between humans and animals as well as the connectedness of all sentient life forms to the universe at large. The video, described by talk media host Thom Hartmann as “a masterpiece,” displays a fascinating array of photos and video clips depicting animals – domestic and wild – and cosmic images. Harrison recently became a regular working member of the legendary NYC-based band that has been around since the late 1960s. To book Harrison to appear as a guest talking about animal welfare, cosmic consciousness, and the golden days of FM rock radio, please contact him directly at michael@talkers.com or call Barbara Kurland at TALKERS at 413-565-5413.  To view the video, please click here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

| March 16, 2021

Cox Media Group’s ‘95.5 WSB’ Names Erick Erickson Early Afternoon Host. At news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta, Cox Media Group announces that the daypart long occupied by the “Rush Limbaugh Show” will be hosted by the station’s Erick Erickson, beginning on Monday (3/22). Erickson will move from his current 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot and the station’s early evening host Mark Arum will take over the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm program. WSB will air an hour of Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity program live at 3:00 pm and will air the rest of the show delayed from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. WSB director of branding & programming Drew Anderssen says, “With these lineup changes, 95.5 WSB will better serve Atlanta with more local programming. Erick Erickson and Mark Arum are both tremendous talents, and the move will continue to strengthen the extraordinary brand that is 95.5 WSB.” Erickson also hosts his own self-syndicated 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET talk radio show that has garnered almost 20 affiliate stations in its first year (although speculation has already begun that other syndication developments could be in the works that take into account the host’s new schedule).  Erickson says, “I would never have gotten into radio without encouragement from Rush Limbaugh who has been gracious over the years with a lot of great advice and guidance. It was an honor to fill in for him on his show, and it is overwhelming and humbling to move into the slot Rush occupied with such distinction for so long. I appreciate and intend to live up to the responsibility that comes with this time slot.” Mark Arum, who’s been with WSB since 1997, also serves as traffic anchor for WSB-TV’s “Channel 2 Action News This Morning.” Arum says, “When I was hired at 95.5 WSB over 23 years ago, I could never have envisioned that I would ever get the opportunity to host a drive time show on the best news and talk station in the nation. It’s a cliché, but this is truly a dream come true.”

WOKV-FM, Jacksonville Goes Local in the ‘Rush Daypart.’ As sister news/talk giant WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta is doing (see story above), Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville is filling the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daypart occupied by Rush Limbaugh for so many years with a local host, in this case current late morning personality Mark Kaye. CMG says that Kaye “has been growing his audience on 104.5 FM from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon for multiple years. Mark has gained a national following through multiple video streaming platforms, as well as a show on Newsmax TV.” Cox will fill Kaye’s current daypart with FOX News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade whose radio show will air from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. Kaye comments, “As a life-long fan of Rush Limbaugh, I am still adjusting to a world without his voice. Producing a daily show in ‘Rush’s timeslot’ is a daunting task for any broadcaster, but I am grateful to the leadership team at CMG and 104.5 WOKV for placing their trust in me. With the audience’s help I promise to do my best to keep Rush’s spirit, energy, and unique brand of conservative entertainment alive. This is an incredibly bittersweet opportunity.”

iHeartMedia Names Paul Rogers Area President for North Florida. Media executive Paul Rogers is named area president for iHeartMedia’s newly configured North Florida area that includes Jacksonville, Tallahassee, and Panama City. Rogers takes over for Nicky Sparrow who was recently promoted to SVP of multicultural sales for iHeartMedia Markets Group. Rogers reports to division president Linda Byrd. She says, “I’ve worked with Paul for over 35 years, in many different roles. His integrity, judgment, professionalism, and competitiveness are what any manager would look for in a market leader. He is the perfect choice as a successor, and I have no doubt that he will take this area to the next level. I also want to thank Nicky for the great work she has done in getting Jacksonville to where we are today and congratulate her on this exciting new opportunity to expand her role in iHeartMedia.” Rogers has been serving iHeartMedia as market president for Tallahassee and Panama City since 2017.

Townsquare Media 2020 Q4 Net Revenue Down 3.2%; Full Year Revenue Declines 15%. Compared the second quarter of 2020 when Townsquare Media’s net revenue was down 35% compared to 2019, the fourth quarter’s decline of just 3.2% was a source of joy for CEO Bill Wilson. While Q4 net revenue was $108.5 million (down 3.2%), net revenue for the full year was $371.3 million, down 15% from the full year 2019 ($431.4 million). What has Wilson pumped is Townsquare’s digital assets. He says, “Townsquare Interactive, our digital monthly subscription business, excelled throughout the year, accelerating year-over-year net revenue growth in Q4 to +16% and generating over $70 million of revenue for the full year (+14% YoY) at a profit margin of approximately 30%. In total, digital net revenue increased +6% year over year, driven by both Townsquare Interactive and Townsquare Ignite (our digital programmatic advertising platform), which grew net revenue by +11% year over year.  With $162 million of 2020 digital net revenue, digital now accounts for approximately 44% of our total net revenue, further differentiating us in the local media marketplace.” Wilson says that the company is proud of its roots and DNA in local radio, “2020 was the year Townsquare became a ‘Digital First’ company.” He says, “I am also pleased to reaffirm our expectation that Townsquare Interactive and Townsquare Ignite will each generate $100 million in revenue in two to three years. 2020 served to accelerate Townsquare’s transformation into a premier local media and digital marketing solutions company proudly super-serving markets outside the top 50 markets.”

TALKERS News Notes. One of WFAN, New York afternoon co-host Craig Carton’s fraud victims is petitioning the court asking that Carton’s restitution order be rewritten because Carton has returned to the Entercom sports talk station in what petitioner Gerard LoDuka says “is almost surely an extremely lucrative job,” according to a piece in the New York Post. LoDuka claims that the restitution order requiring him to pay 15% of his yearly income toward the nearly $5 million he owes victims should be rewritten because of his new, high-profile job. But Carton’s attorney says Carton makes “a fraction” of his previous salary as morning drive co-host…..Cumulus Media announces that for the second year in a row, news/talk KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno’s “Morning News” takes home the Golden Mike Award for “Best Newscast under 15 minutes” (Division B) from the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California. KMJ news anchors Matt Otstot, Tony Manes, Liz Kern and Aaron Abeytia – along with sports anchor George Takata and weather anchor Kimberly Kolliner – teamed up for the winning newscast…..The National Association of Broadcasters is offering a new online training course for radio stations containing critical information and guidelines for complying with Federal Communications Commission regulations. The Radio Rules! A Guide to FCC Regulations for Radio Stations course is now available here. The scenario-based training course tests participants’ understanding of acceptable practices for FCC regulation compliance. The guide outlines compliance related to content, advertising, station operation and management, copyright, and public files and reporting in four learning activities.

Mildred Carter Mentoring Program Announces 2021 Participants. The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group, a volunteer organization dedicated to developing management and leadership skills for women in radio broadcasting, introduces the MIW Group Mildred Carter Mentoring Program’s Class of 2021. They are (pictured above from left to right) The 2021 class is comprised of the following professionals, listed in alphabetical order: Lisa Kirkman, national accounts director, Ruby Radio, Northeastern Nevada; Jenna Miller, integrated sales manager, Cox Media Group, Tampa; Tonee Roper, on-air personality and promotions director, Neuhoff Media, Springfield, Illinois; and Ashley Wilson, director of country programming, iHeartMedia, Kentucky/Indiana Region. The program, now in its 20th year, matches up-and-coming women in radio with female professionals recognized as leaders in all aspects of the industry. vCreative is serving as the lead sponsor of this year’s program. The MIW Group Mildred Carter Mentoring Program is named in the memory of Mildred Carter who, along with her husband Andrew “Skip” Carter, founded the first African American-owned radio station in the U.S. in 1950, when they turned on KPRS, Kansas City.

Migrant Border Crisis, COVID-19, Cuomo Allegations, Stimulus Package, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Voting Bills, Georgia’s Trump Investigation, Gavin Newsom Recall Effort, North Korea Warns U.S., and the Grammy Awards/Oscar Nominations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/15). The Biden administration’s immigrant problem as thousands of parentless children amass at the U.S.-Mexico border; the number of COVID cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, the removal of mask mandates in some states, and the rollout of vaccines; the sexual harassment allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the fellow Democrats calling for his resignation; Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package becomes law; the voting bills in various states critics say will make voting more difficult; the investigation into Donald Trump’s call to the Georgia Secretary of State asking for more votes; California Governor Gavin Newsom battles the recall effort against him; the sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un warns the U.S. about military exercises with South Korea, and Sunday night’s Grammy awards and the unveiling of this year’s Oscar nominations were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, October 9, 2020

| October 9, 2020

Radio Show 2020: Noon Is ‘the new Morning Drive.’ In today’s report from the virtual 2020 NAB/RAB Radio Show, consultant Holland Cooke recalls how, “in olden times, when the boss asked what the station got for its money when you got home from the convention, THIS is what you’d show-off.” In the virtual Radio Show session “Radio Listening During Covid-19: What’s Changed,” Nielsen Audio senior VP/client services John Snyder draws the road map to radio’s New Normal, “and you didn’t have to spend a dime on airfare or hotel!” Read it here.

NYTimes: Talk Radio Is Turning Millions of Americans Into Conservatives. A piece in The New York Times by author Paul Matzko (The Radio Right: How a Band of Broadcasters Took on the Federal Government and Built the Modern Conservative Movement, Oxford University Press 2020) credits talk radio with, as the headline states, “turning millions of Americans into conservatives.” In the piece, Matzko writes, “Talk radio may face an aging audience, a decline in ad revenue and competition from new mass media forms like podcasts, but there are still millions of Americans whose politics are shaped by what they listen to on talk radio all day, every day. FOX News gets more of the attention for shaping conservative opinion and for its influence on the Trump administration, but we shouldn’t overlook the power of conservative talk radio.” Citing such show hosts as Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage, Matzko suggests that “[t]alk radio’s power is rooted in the sheer volume of content being produced each week. The typical major talk radio show is produced every weekday and runs three hours, so just the top 15 shows are putting out around 45 hours of content every day. Even setting aside hundreds of additional local shows, the dedicated fan can listen to nothing but conservative talk radio all day, every day of the week, and never catch up.”

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “The Other Side is Lying!” looks back at this past week of October 5 – October 9, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Robyn Walensky, talk show host, KWAM, Memphis; Charlie Kirk, talk show host, Salem Radio Network/president, Turning Point USADr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/medical doctor; and David Bernstein, professor, Caldwell University, New Jersey/general manager, TalkersRadio. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network;Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here  or call 616-884-8616.

WABC, New York Debuts ‘The Other Side of Midnight’ Overnight Program. New York City’s TALKRADIO 77 WABC launches the live and local overnight program “The Other Side of Midnight” hosted by Frank Morano. Red Apple Media says that the 1:00 am to 5:00 am program airs Monday through Friday and “features newsmakers, insightful commentary, expert guests, lively exchanges with callers, and a healthy dose of satire. Just this week, Morano welcomed former Trump adviser Roger Stone, subway vigilante Bernard Goetz, former radio talker Doug McIntyre, and radio legend John Gambling. There are also regular discussions exploring the world of the paranormal, including UFOs and conspiracy theories.” In addition to this new program, Morano will continue to host his daily 10:00 am to 11:00 am program on “Talk Radio 107.1” (WLIR-FM, Hampton Bays, Long Island). Red Apple Media and WABC president Chad Lopez says, “Frank has already proven to be one of the most entertaining young voices in talk radio today. We’re thrilled to add Frank to our ranks as we continue to cement our place as New York’s premiere news and talk station. This is the city that never sleeps, and New Yorkers deserve a live and local overnight show.” Morano comments, “I grew up listening to overnight radio. To me, there’s nothing more intimate and more fun. There’s no daypart where you can combine longform interviews, wacky topics, off-the-wall guests, and a bit of irreverence. When I’d fall asleep, or wake up early, listening to the likes of Alan Colmes, Brian Whitman, Art Bell, Jay Diamond and Doug McIntyre, I’d quickly find those voices becoming the soundtrack of my dreams. I was absolutely hooked. I’m hoping to give insomniacs one more reason to stay awake.”

Townsquare Media to Investors: 2020 Continues to Improve. In a presentation to investors, Townsquare Media says that its status as a “small market presence” has “greatly benefitted the company” because its markets reopened sooner than many of the big cities. Townsquare says its digital products and services were more resilient than its over-the-air services and those helped offset overall revenue decline. It adds that digital products Townsquare Ignite and AMPED (advertising on its O&O websites) returned to positive revenue growth in July. Finally, Townsquare tells investors that it has “prudently managed cash and generated positive cash flow from operations through the first six months of 2020,” pointing out that its cash balance on June 30 was $70 million, down just $15 million from its $85 million balance on December 31, 2019.

Calgaro Named OM for Entercom’s Sacramento Operations. Programming pro Joe Calgaro moves from Entercom’s Boston station group to the company’s Sacramento cluster to serve as operations manager for sports talk KIFM-AM “ESPN 1320,” hip hop KSFM, CHR KUDL-FM “106.5 The End,” classic rock KSEG “96.9 The Eagle,” KRXQ “98 Rock,” and alternative KKDO “ALT 94-7,” effective November 1. Calgaro has been serving as operations manager for the company’s sports talk WEEI-FM, adult hits WBGB “Big 103,” and rock WAAF-FM (prior to that signal’s being sold to religious broadcaster EMF). Entercom Sacramento SVP and market manager Stacey Kauffman says, “Joe has a long track record of working with rock, sports and high-profile talent, which lends to the Sacramento portfolio in working with the biggest radio brands and engaging personalities in the market. His experience leading three very different brands in Boston will allow him to strategically position our stations to collectively represent our audience.”

TALKERS News Notes. On today’s Premiere Networks nationally syndicated Rush Limbaugh program, President Donald Trump will appear for what Limbaugh is calling the “largest virtual rally in radio history.” The program is also giving listeners the chance to submit their questions to the president…..An article by Matt Perez in Forbes explores how Americans perceive the coronavirus pandemic based on political affiliation and their consumption of conservative media. The piece analyzes data from a recent Pew Research poll and says, “Nearly 40% of all U.S. adults believe the outbreak has been ‘made a bigger deal than it really is,’ but only 15% Democrats think it’s been exaggerated compared to 66% of Republicans. That number jumps to 78% among Republicans who only consume FOX News or talk radio like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.”…..SiriusXM’s The Beatles Channel is honoring John Lennon’s 80th birthday today (10/9) with exclusive programming featuring special guests Paul McCartney, Alec Baldwin, Sean Ono Lennon, and more. The weekend-long programming will feature McCartney in conversation with Alec Baldwin in which he reflects on his songwriting partner, bandmate, and friend. It will air multiple times on The Beatles Channel throughout the weekend…..PodcastOne, a subsidiary of LiveXLive Media, Inc., launches the new podcast/vodcast from Grammy Award-winning artist Pitbull. The first episode of “From Negative to Positive” features Flo Rida, followed by intimate and in-depth interviews with Lil Jon in episode two, and noted producer Uncle Luke, a.k.a., Luther Campbell from 2 Live Crew in episode three.

The President’s Battle with COVID-19 Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 5-9. The positive COVID-19 tests for President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump and the president’s treatment at Walter Reed Hospital was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the presidential race and Wednesday night’s vice-presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris. Coming in tied at #3 was the transfer of power question, the SCOTUS nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, court packing, and the abortion issue, followed by COVID-19 stats & projections, health care and medications all tied at #4. The Talkers TenTMis 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.

Washington, DC-Based News Pro Bob Costantini Launches ‘Ear on the White House’ News Service. Radio news pro Bob Costantini is launching a Washington, DC-based White House news service called Ear on the White House that serves client stations with regular debriefs with a White House reporter. The former Westwood One News correspondent says, “I provide market-exclusive facts and analysis – not significant leanings – from someone on-scene as we move through the election cycle and potential changes in the dynamic between the White House and Capitol Hill.” Bob Costantini has more than three decades of experience covering Washington, Congress, The White House, and major political issues. His tenure at Westwood One News included traveling with Presidents Trump and Obama. In addition to covering the news, he can also provide an inside perspective on what it’s like to cover the White House, including asking the last five presidents scores of questions. Costantini is available for clients Monday through Friday to do talk-backs with stations and if news warrants, weekends and travel to major event locations are part of the mix. Video debriefs are a possibility for stations that have streaming simulcasts and he’s available for podcasts upon request. Find out more by direct messaging him on Twitter to @costantiniWHear or call at 410-302-3855.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Vince Richards is promoted to brand manager for Entercom’s adult hits KJKK, Dallas “100.3 JACK FM,” effective November 1. Entercom Dallas regional president and market manager Brian Purdy says, “Since 2018, Vince has consistently led the operations efforts for six iconic brands in our Sacramento market, and we look forward to bringing him back to his roots to revamp ‘JACK FM.’ ‘JACK FM’ is a state of mind here in DFW, and Vince’s leadership qualities and rich experience will only fuel its growth.” Richards was most recently operations manager for Entercom Sacramento…..iHeartMedia Chicago is promoting its fourth annual “Sista Strut,” a 3K breast cancer charity walk that will go virtual this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The “Sista Strut” is presented by Illinois Lottery and Xfinity, and will benefit the Chicago Chapter of the Sisters Network Inc., the nation’s largest Black breast cancer survivorship organization. iHeartMedia Chicago VP of programming Derrick Brown says, “2020 has brought many unforeseen challenges to our community, one being the ability to get together. Breast cancer remains a significant threat to Black women in our community and it is our responsibility to continue raising the much-needed funds to educate and inform our listeners about this devastating disease.”