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Wednesday, April 6, 2022

| April 6, 2022

Report: iHeartMedia Creating NFT-Based Podcast Network. According to a report by Sara Fischer at Axios Media Trends, iHeartMedia is investing “several hundred thousand dollars in purchasing the rights to roughly a dozen NFTs to create a new NFT-based podcast network.” The story notes that this initiative is “one of the first major media franchises to introduce a podcast slate of characters and voices united across prominent NFT collections.” iHeartMedia EVP of strategy Khalil Tawil says that the company is in talks to invest in some 10 to 15 prominent NFT collections including CryptoPunks, Mutant Ape Yacht Club, and World of Women. iHeartMedia digital audio group president Conal Byrne says the company would combine the intellectual property from the NFTs into a content collection it will call the “Non-Fun Squad” universe. “We can world-build for them, creating narratives around them, and bring those stories to life via podcasts.” The programs on the Non-Fun Podcast Network will be hosted by voices portraying various NFT characters. Byrne adds, “This is really pushing the envelope to pressure test the assumptions we have around what is IP, what is a host, and what is talent.”


KIRO-FM, Seattle Launches Fallen Officer Memorial Fund and Online Auction. Seattle news/talk KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM announces the newly created “Fallen Officer Memorial Fund” and online auction benefitting the families of the two uniformed officers killed in the line of duty in Washington State: Deputy Sheriff Dominique Calata of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department and Officer Dan Rocha of the Everett Police Department. The online auction that began yesterday and concludes on Friday features such items as Seahawks and Mariners suite tickets, Kraken tickets and lunch with Kraken CEO Tod Leiweke, dinner at El Gaucho with a visit from John Curley, a virtual golf experience at Five Iron Golf with Dori Monson, a round of golf for two at Chamber’s Bay, a Seattle’s Morning News Experience, lunch delivered by Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin, a VIP Paul McCartney concert experience, Mariners All-Star Club tickets with a visit from Jack Stine, a Bellevue Collection “Date Night” package, and a Truce Spa package. Funds received will be distributed equally to the two families through the existing official officer funds. These funds have been set up for the Calata family and the Rocha family by Tacoma-Pierce County CrimeStoppers and Victim Support Services, Coastal Community Bank, respectively. Bonneville Seattle SVP and market manager Cathy Cangiano says, “One of our company’s core values is to ‘lift, inspire and help others.’ I cannot think of a more meaningful way to use our voice and resources than to help the families of these officers. Our afternoon host, John Curley, initiated the idea and the natural progression of heart-felt support from the rest of the KIRO Newsradio staff has been a source of great pride for us all at Bonneville Seattle.”


SiriusXM to Broadcast All MLB Games; Adds New Programming. The relationship between SiriusXM and Major League Baseball continues into the 2022 season as subscribers will get access to live play-by-play of every regular season and postseason game. Additionally, SiriusXM provides 24/7 news, talk and analysis on the MLB Network Radio channel. New this season to the lineup is “Unassisted with Jenny Cavnar,” which airs live weekdays at 2:00 pm ET. MLB Network Radio features a simulcast of Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo’s MLB Network show, “High Heat with Christopher Russo” presented by Liberty Mutual, weekday afternoons at 1:00 pm ET, as well as simulcasts of additional MLB Network television programming. A new season of the “Black Diamonds,” podcast presented by SiriusXM and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum will debut on April 14, the eve of the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the Major League Baseball color barrier. It is hosted by museum president and historian Bob Kendrick and this season will look back at integration, the forces that created baseball’s segregation and the people who fought to tear those barriers down and will feature the stories of baseball legends like Josh Gibson, Ray Dandridge, Leon Day and many more.


Russia-Ukraine War, the Economy/Inflation, Hunter Biden Investigation, Obama-Biden ACA Event, COVID-19, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, and Severe Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/5). Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and accusations of war crimes against Russians in the city of Bucha; the state of the U.S. economy and high gas and food prices; the DOJ’s investigation into the international business ventures of Hunter Biden; Barack Obama’s return to the Joe Biden White House to celebrate the Affordable Care Act; the relaxing of COVID-19 restrictions and concerns about the BA.2 Omicron variant spreading across the world; the battle for control of Congress in November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; and the severe weather affecting the Southern U.S. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

| October 18, 2012

Michael Savage Signs with Cumulus Media Networks; Push for Affiliates and Programming Changes at O&O Stations to Begin.  Not too long after vowing he’d be back on terrestrial radio, talk radio host Michael Savage joins Cumulus Media Networks for a syndication deal that will have his program distributed nationally live from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET.  The terms of the contract are not available but in a press release announcing the pact, Cumulus COO John Dickey states, “As we aggressively create radio’s most compelling mix of show hosts the addition of Michael Savage is a milestone in our determined efforts to provide our listeners nationwide with the best programing in the business.”  Savage won freedom from his contract with Talk Radio Network in court several weeks ago, freeing him to sign anywhere for national distribution.  Savage states in the release, “Cumulus and Savage will make radio history.  The turbulent times we live in give talk radio a new power.  This is the biggest move of my radio career and I look forward to reaching many millions of new listeners on their flamethrower signals.”  Savage has broadcast from his home studio in the San Francisco Bay Area for years and most likely will continue to do so.  Cumulus will want to put him on as many O&Os as possible so here’s a rundown of what programming airs during the live broadcast time of Savage’s soon-to-be program.  In San Francisco, O&Os KGO and KSFO air a local evening news show and its own syndicated John Batchelor program respectively; WABC, New York airs Batchelor; KABC, Los Angeles airs its own syndicated Mark Levin; WLS-AM, Chicago airs the last hour of Premiere’s Sean Hannity followed by Levin;  WMAL, Washington airs Batchelor; WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas airs local host Chris Krok; and WJR, Detroit airs Mark Levin.  With Savage’s program to debut next Tuesday, October 23, look for some programming changes on Cumulus Media O&O talk outlets.

Dan Patrick’s Radio and TV Simulcast Exits Fox Sports Net; Speculation About New Cable Partner Begins.  To be clear, we’re talking about the regional cable TV networks when we talk about Fox Sports Net, not Fox Sports Radio Network which distributes the radio version of the DirecTV-produced program.  Dan Patrick’s sports talk show is still available on DirecTV’s Audience Network but Patrick said on his program they expect to have a new cable partner soon and here’s where the speculation begins.  AwfulAnnouncing.com’s Matt Yoder writes that a deal with NBC’s fledgling cable sports network could use a show like Patrick’s in morning drive as a show around which to build the rest of its programming.  As Yoder points out, Dan Patrick already works for NBC hosting “Football Night in America,” so there’s a relationship in place.  If NBC and Patrick agree to work together for the cable TV distribution of his program, whether that would affect the distribution of his radio program or not is unknown.  NBC is also building a sports talk radio network for which it needs quality programming.  However, the Fox Sports Radio Network distribution of the radio program has it on more than 250 stations.  Ad sales for the radio side are handled by Premiere Networks and presumably there is a contract for this relationship.

Mancow TV Show Producer Resigns.  With less than a week to go before the debut of Erich Mancow Muller’s Chicago TV show on Fox Television’s WPWR-TV, director and producer Don DuPree leaves the project.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports DuPree had issues with Fox Television that centered on compensation and job duties unrelated to the Mancow program.  Mancow’s morning radio show — syndicated nationally by TRN-FM — is set to begin a two-hour radio/TV simulcast (during the 6:00 am to 8:00 am CT hours) on Monday, October 22.  DuPree has been involved with the soon-to-debut show for several weeks.  He tells Feder, “I really want to see the show succeed, and I want Mancow to succeed.  Working with Mancow was why I was attracted to the project to begin with, and I’m still a big fan.  I hope I get to work with him again one day.”  DuPree was director of the “Siskel & Ebert” program for 16 years and also served as executive producer for “Ebert & Roeper.”

Talent Shuffle at Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle.  A day after Bonneville announced that morning news anchor Linda Thomas would exit the AM on-air post to take an enterprising new role with the station and its affiliated digital presence, it promotes evening talk host John Curley to host of “Seattle’s Morning News” beginning Monday, October 22.  Curley, a popular media personality in the market who joined KIRO-FM in February of 2011 to host the night show, is partnered up with current AM drive co-host Tom Tangney and news anchor Ursula Reutin.  Program director Larry Gifford states, “John is unbelievably talented.  He brings a lifetime of lessons to add a personal perspective and a storyteller’s sensibility to ‘Seattle’s Morning News.’  He also has an irresistible charm and enough energy to fuel the entire Pacific Northwest.”  Curley spent 14 years hosting “Evening Magazine” on KING-TV and currently serves as a member of the Sammamish City Council.  Exiting the morning program is host Bill Radke.

WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus Suspends Host for Tweet.  RadiOhio’s sports talk WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus “97.1 The Fan” suspends talk host Scott Torgerson – co-host of “The Common Man & The Torg” – after he Tweeted regarding ESPN’s Desmond Howard, “I wish that Desmond Howard would get fired or die so I can watch ‘Gameday’ again.”  It’s uncertain how long Torgerson will be suspended but yesterday he remained off the program with co-host Mike Ricordati.

Genesis Communications Network Purchases New Headquarters.  The company that syndicated such talk radio stars as Alex Jones, Jason Lewis and Bradlee Dean is moving into new headquarters in Burnsville, Minnesota.  The company, headed by CEO Ted Anderson, is moving from its current base in Eagan, Minnesota to a former Coldwell Banker office near I-35W in the Twin Cities region.  The building was purchased for $1.4 million.

Newsweek Announces End of Paper Edition.  This isn’t a radio story but it is an interesting media development.  Editor-in-chief of The Newsweek Daily Beast CompanyTina Brown, announces the iconic weekly news magazine will cease publication of its printed product at the end of this year and will move into a strictly digital business model in 2013.  Brown writes, “Newsweek Global, as the all-digital publication will be named, will be a single, worldwide edition targeted for a highly mobile, opinion-leading audience who want to learn about world events in a sophisticated context.  Newsweek Global will be supported by paid subscription and will be available through e-readers for both tablet and the Web, with select content available on The Daily Beast.”  Brown makes it clear why the transition is taking place.  “It is important that we underscore what this digital transition means and, as importantly, what it does not.  We are transitioning Newsweek, not saying goodbye to it.  We remain committed to Newsweek and to the journalism that it represents.  This decision is not about the quality of the brand or the journalism — that is as powerful as ever.  It is about the challenging economics of print publishing and distribution.”

Second Presidential Debate Aftermath, Presidential Race Polls, Libya Attack Investigation, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/17).  Analysis of the performance of the candidates in the second presidential debate; the polls in the presidential race; the ongoing investigation into the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi; and the Major League Baseball playoffs are some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.