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Monday Memo: Inflation Hacks. Inflation is changing listeners, advertisers and OUR lives, in almost every way. Consultant Holland Cooke vows that, “Rather than joining the blame-game unison, I will be using this column for the entire month of July to offer solutions, dozens of ways you can share on-air, and use yourself.” He begins a week early, with “a renegotiation hit list.” Read it here.
Pending Business: Roe v Wade. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa writes in today’s column that the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v Wade could present opportunities for talk radio. He asks, “As the ruling to reverse Roe v Wade works through societal and financial issues, could 50 years of history be reversed? Could the impact change the next 50 years of talk radio? He suggests three possible shifts. Read about them here.
TEACHING NEW GENERATIONS ABOUT “RADIO.” New C. Crane Emergency Radio a Big Hit at TALKERS 2022. Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Walter Sterling of “Sterling on Sunday” scored a home run with his grade-school-aged daughter Samantha (shown above) upon returning from TALKERS 2022 with a magical device known among communications wizards as the CCRadio Solar. The first 200 registrants to arrive at the June 10 TALKERS 2022 convention were surprised and delighted to find a real special premium, individually handed to them by iconic radio manufacturer/distributor C. Crane for their conference goodie bag. Each attendee received an amazing CCRadio Solar radio unit – valued at $99.99 retail – and the result was raves all around. The CCRadio Solar is a small digital portable radio that is successful as an emergency radio, but the form and format function invite its owner to use it daily. When placed in a sunny window, it’s perfect for the morning news. Audio quality is a surprise; it’s accurate, pleasing and has two modes. A miser mode to conserve battery power in a true emergency and a high-power mode for an even better audio experience. Reception is good for the size. The almost brick-size depth and unique UV resistant rubber perimeter is concave on the bottom which makes it inherently stable. The flashlight is above average in brightness and color because of the selected high-quality LED. The hand crank folded (that’s right, it can be cranked for power) and inlaid on in the back is the only visible clue that it’s an emergency radio. The included lithium-ion battery can be recharged by wind-up, solar panel, your USB port, or optional AC power adapter (not included). When the lithium-ion battery is fully charged, the radio will run more than 50 hours or charge your phone from the approximately 50% level to 100% level. It can also be powered by three “AA” alkaline batteries (not included) for approximately 50 hours in low power mode or 35 hours in high power mode. C. Crane founder Bob Crane tells TALKERS, “I brought the first CCRadio Solar home and my wife absconded with it until our designer/illustrator had to beg to get it back for documentation. To get it back from him was also overly arduous. I have never seen a radio so coveted. It is about hand-size and it stays charged in a sunny window with an oversize solar panel which means it may not need a power assist for years.” TALKERS founder Michael Harrison says, “The radio industry owes a great debt of gratitude to C. Crane for keeping the appliance known as a ‘radio’ alive in the consumer electronic marketplace and ever-innovative for decades after the business itself abandoned the idea that it would be a good thing to promote and support the appliance as being at least as important a device as a can opener. Shame on the NAB as well as the rest of us for committing this potentially lethal negligence.” To learn more about this fabulous device and enjoy a TALKERS discount on C.Crane purchases, please click here.
New TALKERS 2022 Video Posted: Today, TALKERS magazine posts the latest in an ongoing series of video presentations from the TALKERS 2022 convention held on June 10 at Hofstra University on Long Island. Today’s video addition features RAB president/CEO Erica Farber moderating a panel session titled, “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in a Noisy Digital World.” Panelists include Erik Hellum, chief operating officer, Townsquare Media, New York/RAB Chad Lopez, president, Red Apple Media; Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks, and Christine Travaglini, president, Katz Radio Group, New York/RAB. Introduction provided by Gary Krantz, CEO, Krantz Media Group. You can watch the video here.
Introducers Play Vital Role at TALKERS 2022. Last week, TALKERS began highlighting the talk media professionals who introduced the panel discussions and presentations at the recent TALKERS 2022 at Hofstra University. Today, we continue to give a little digital ink – as well as our tremendous thanks for their outstanding efforts – to those who took the time to prepare brief speeches that provided informative and relevant information prior to the conference presentations. Pictured below is Rich Zeoli, morning drive host at WPHT, Philadelphia, who introduced the panel titled, “Strategizing a Talk Show Hosting Career.”
“NPR News Now” Tops Triton Digital’s May Podcast Report. The latest (May 2022) U.S. podcast report from Triton Digital finds “NPR News Now” leading for average weekly downloads. In descending order, the top ten in that category includes: “NPR News Now”; “The Ben Shapiro Show”; “Crime Junkie”; Dateline: NBC”; “Morbid: A True Crime Podcast”; “Up First”; “The Dan Bongino Show”; “My Favorite Murder”; “Fresh Air”: and “Last Podcast On The Left.” Meanwhile, the top 10 podcasts by average weekly users are: “Crime Junkie”; “Up First”; “Morbid: A True Crime Podcast”; Dateline: NBC”; “The Ben Shapiro Show”; “NPR News Now”; “Smartless”; “My Favorite Murder”; “The Dan Bongino Show”; and Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend.” Rankers indicate Stitcher Media is the top network based on average weekly users. That top 10 includes: Stitcher Media; Audacy Podcast Network; Audioboom; NPR; Wondery; Cumulus Podcast Network; NBCUniversal News Group; Warner Media; Kast Media; and Paramount. Extremely similar to this list is the top 10 networks by average weekly downloads: Stitcher Media; NPR; Audacy Podcast Network; Wondery; Cumulus Podcast Network; Audioboom; NBCUniversal News Group; Paramount; Warner Media; and Kast Media. The top three highest indexing shows for women 18+ are: “Watch What Crappens” (Stitcher Media); “Something Was Wrong” (Wondery); and “The Viall Files (Kast Media). The top three highest indexing shows for men 18+: “The Pat McAfee Show 2.0” (Stitcher Media); “The Fighter & The Kid” (Kast Media); and “2 Bears 1 Cave with Tom Segura & Bert Kreischer” (Stitcher Media). Based on downloads, top podcast genres were: “News” (27%); “True Crime” (20%); “Comedy” (18%); “Society & Culture” (7%); and “Sports” (6%). More than nine of ten (93%) episodes were downloaded on mobile devices; 1.8% occurred on a desktop or laptop. Numbers do not include all shows and exclude those not participating in this particular measurement system. The entire report is available on TritonRankers.com.
Legislation Gains Steam To Allow Cannabis Ads on Radio. Language on a House Appropriations committee bill advanced last Friday (6/24) would prevent the FCC from taking administrative action against broadcasters accepting cannabis advertisements consistent with the law of the state or jurisdiction in which the station is licensed. NAB spokesman Alex Siciliano comments, “We are pleased to see this bipartisan language has advanced in the House. As the vast majority of states have legalized cannabis in some form, today marks a long overdue step toward finally allowing broadcasters to receive equal treatment regarding cannabis advertising that other forms of media have had for years. While we welcome [Friday’s] progress, local broadcasters will continue to work with all policymakers towards a broader resolution of this competitive disparity and in support of our unique service to local communities.” New York State Broadcasters Association president David Donovan adds, “We are grateful to House Appropriations Committee chair Rosa DeLauro; subcommittee chair Mike Quigley; and members of the committee for recognizing the unfairness of the present situation with respect to cannabis advertising. The provision in this appropriations bill is a major step forward for leveling the playing field for local broadcasters. We believe the law of the state in which a station is licensed should determine whether a station can accept cannabis advertising, if they so choose. We look forward to working with members of Congress and the administration to help restore parity between local broadcasters and other media outlets.” In states that have approved cannabis for medical and/or adult use, local radio and television stations have been unable to accept advertisements from legally-authorized cannabis distributors. Meanwhile, cable; satellite; internet; print; magazine; billboards; and social media platforms are free to accept and transmit these ads.
Sigma Delta Chi Journalism Award Winners Announced. Honorees were cited by the Society of Professional Journalists in a video presentation last Thursday (6/23). In Sigma Delta Chi’s category of “Radio Breaking News Reporting, Market 1-100 or Network Syndication,” CBS News Radio’s staff won for “Assault on the U.S. Capitol.” Other winners included: Chicago Public Media-owned public radio news/talk WBEZ’s Esther Yoon-Ji Kang, Susie An, and Alden Loury for “Fertile Soil For Abuse: A Reckoning at Covenant Fellowship Church” (“Radio Investigative Reporting, Large Market”) and Virginia Tech public radio news/talk WVTF, Roanoke’s Sandy Hausmang for “COVID-19 in Virginia Prisons” (“Radio Investigative Reporting, Small Market”). NPR’s Hansi Lo Wang won for “Immigration Hard-Liner Files Reveal 40-Year Bid Behind Trump’s Census Obsession” (“Radio Feature Reporting, Large Market”), while Wichita State University public radio news/talk KMUW’s Suzanne Perez won for her piece on 3,000 Kansas kindergartners (“Radio Feature Reporting, Small Market”). Elsewhere, University Radio Foundation public radio news/talk WFAE, Charlotte’s David Boraks was victorious in the “Radio Documentaries, Large Market” category for “Asbestos Town.” Reports regarding healthcare mistreatment in Maine State Prisons by Maine Public Radio’s Susan Sharon and Mark Simpson won in “Public Service in Radio Journalism.” The award for “Narrative Podcast” went to NBC News’ Ayman Mohyeldin and Preeti Varathan for “American Radical.”
Lee Named to Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame. On October 5, Kristi Lee – the co-host and news director of Westwood One’s “Bob & Tom Show” – will be among six Hoosiers to be inducted into the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame Class of 2022. Indiana Broadcasters Association executive director Dave Arland notes, “The 2022 Hall of Fame Class is comprised of well-known broadcasters who pushed the boundaries of innovation and made the Indiana communities they served better, more informed places to live. For decades, our newest group of Hall of Famers have provided critical eyes, ears, and voices for listeners and viewers in Indiana and beyond. They have told wonderful stories and are each also active members of their communities. We are honored to add our 2022 honorees to the honor roll of the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame.” Lee – who has covered sports for ESPN and the Indiana Pacers – comments, “I am humbled and honored to be included amongst these prestigious honorees. As a lifelong Hoosier, I have been lucky enough to spend my entire career in my home state. I cannot imagine a more meaningful award.” Over 100 stations carry “The Bob & Tom Show.”
BetMGM Becomes Exclusive Sportsbook of the BetQL Network. The partnership is a multi-year agreement that expands the current relationship between BetMGM and Audacy. Audacy chair, president and chief executive officer David Field comments, “We are delighted to expand our strategic partnership with BetMGM, highlighted by their new exclusive position with the BetQL Network. Barely a year old, the BetQL Network has a bright future ahead of it as legalized sports betting continues to expand over the next decade.” BetMGM chief revenue officer Matt Provost notes, “We’re excited to further our strategic partnership with Audacy and to bring our market-leading sports betting and gaming entertainment content to millions of listeners nationwide across the entire BetQL Network platform.” Since its launch last June, the BetQL Network has expanded from two markets to 31. Beginning in September, BetMGM will have category exclusivity of the network’s full slate of programming, including flagship “You Better You Bet” and “BetQL Daily,” “The Daily Tip,” and “BetMGM Tonight.” Audacy will produce content for live audiences at various MGM Resorts across the country. Audacy first announced a partnership with BetMGM in March 2021. The BetQL Network is a live, linear digital channel that distributes approximately 100 hours of original content per week on the Audacy and BetQL digital platforms and YouTube.
TALKERS News Notes. Ramifications on the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade will be discussed tomorrow afternoon (Tuesday, 6/28) on Boston public radio news/talk WGBH’s “Community Conversation: The Roe v. Wade Ruling” (2:00 pm – 3:30 pm). WGBH general manager/news Pam Johnston comments, “The Supreme Court’s opinion on Roe v. Wade will impact our lives in Massachusetts in ways we haven’t even begun to understand yet and opens up a host of questions for people across the Commonwealth. We invite people to gather at the ‘GBH Studio inside the Boston Public Library to discuss and unpack these critical and far-reaching issues.” WGBH hosts Callie Crossley, Margery Eagan, and Paris Alston will be joined by Reproductive Equity Now executive director Rebecca Hart Holder and Suffolk University professor Renee Landers … Taking effect this Friday (7/1) will be a ten-year extension between Learfield and the University of Oklahoma athletics department. Learfield executive vice president/university partnership group Mike Hamilton notes, “We’re extremely proud to have the opportunity to continue representing the Sooner brand. We appreciate Oklahoma University Athletics’ longtime trust in us. The unprecedented agreement commencing in July speaks to the forward-thinking, strategic decisions necessary in today’s rapidly evolving college sports landscape.” Oklahoma University vice president/director of athletics Joe Castiglione comments, “As with any challenge and change our industry experiences, we intentionally seek cutting-edge collaborations to move us forward in the marketplace. [Learfield’s] leadership continues to help our administration navigate through areas such as evolution in the content game and digital innovation.” Sooner Sports Properties’ newly-named vice president/general manager Kelly Collyar remarks, “We are genuinely excited about this extension and how it will transform the way our brand partners integrate with our fans. Through the expansion of categories and assets, sponsorship will truly take on a new meaning at Oklahoma University.” Meanwhile, pending finalization of a deal first reported by The Grand Forks Herald, radio rights to University of North Dakota athletics broadcasts will be awarded to iHeartMedia, which currently airs Fighting Hawks sports. According to the report, Leighton Broadcasting also bid on the radio package … Several major media and entertainment companies such as Comcast, Discovery, Disney, Meta, Netflix, Paramount, Sony, and Warner Bros. will cover travel costs for employees seeking abortions after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
KFI, Los Angeles Management Meets with Black Activists; Promises Plan to Address Staff Diversity. KFI, Los Angeles afternoon drive duo John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou returned to the air this week after a seven-day suspension for insensitive language about Whitney Houston. Clear Channel Los Angeles management – as well as John and Ken themselves – met with a group of black activists to discuss the situation and, according to the Los Angeles Times, KFI is promising to devise a plan to address the station’s lack of diversity. Activist Jasmyne Cannick tells the paper, “KFI has 14 shows, and 13 of them are hosted by white men. There are no blacks in their newsroom. This fosters an environment where insensitive comments like this can happen. And they are not living up to Clear Channel’s statement of a commitment to diversity.” Management didn’t speak to the Times but local activist Najee Ali seems convinced the station is sincere about addressing their concerns. The Times quotes him saying, “The station pledged to make substantive changes in diversity. They are trying to build a bridge. John and Ken really want to put this behind them and move forward. Their voices are needed in Southern California and they have done some good things. We can’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.”
Entercom Reports 7% Drop in Revenue in 2011 Q4; FM Flips a Factor. During a conference call yesterday announcing Entercom Communications’ financial numbers for the fourth quarter of 2011, CEO David Field referred to his company’s station portfolio as having gone through some pretty big changes in the last 12 months with seven format changes – three in two of the company’s biggest markets. Of course he’s talking about blowing up San Francisco’s country KBWF-FM to create that market’s FM sports talk outlet as well as the changes in Boston to give sports WEEI an FM signal. Also, news/talker KMBZ, Kansas City and WBEN, Buffalo were given FM signals at the expense of music FMs. All this means an immediate loss of revenue that the company hopes will be paid back in time. In a statement, Field said, “These moves significantly enhance our future growth potential and are expected to contribute positively to revenue growth commencing in the second quarter. However, they diluted our fourth quarter revenues by 4%. Excluding political and stations reformatted in 2011, fourth quarter revenues were flat. We are optimistic on 2012 growth, bolstered by improving economic conditions, accelerating performance from newly reformatted stations and political advertising. And we are highly encouraged by strong industry fundamentals as innovation accelerates, audience usage trends remain outstanding and radio remains the most cost-effective major advertising medium.”
MSNBC Beats CNN in February Prime Time Ratings. CNN has been working to re-tool its programming to gain back some of the viewers it has been losing but the cable news/talk channel was not able to pull out a victory over competitor MSNBC in February despite the intense GOP primary election season – including a Republican debate – and the death of Whitney Houston. According to TVWeek, MSNBC averaged 988,000 total viewers during prime time in February to CNN’s 804,000.
Schnitt Happens in Detroit. Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt is pictured here in the studios at affiliate station WXYT, Detroit broadcasting live on Tuesday (2/28) as Michigan Republicans went to the polls to vote in the primary election. Detroit was one of Schnitt’s key stops on the road to the Republican National Convention which will take place in Tampa the week of August 27. Schnitt’s program is based at WFLA, Tampa from which he will bring his listeners a full-access pass.
Cumulus Media Networks Touts Affiliation Surge for “Red Eye Radio.” Since changing the tone of the program through the merger of “Red Eye Radio” with the “Midnight Radio Network” hosted by Eric Harley and Gary McNamara, Cumulus Media Networks reports it has added 22 new affiliates to the station’s roster. With major market O&Os WLS, Chicago and WMAL-AM/FM, Washington leading the pack, the network also reports stations including KCMO, Kansas City; WPRO/WEAN-FM, Providence; WGOW-FM, Chattanooga; and KKOB, Albuquerque have picked up the overnight talk show.
WDBO, Orlando Brings Mel Robbins Aboard for Live Midday Show. Cox Media Group’s WDBO, Orlando notes it will be the first time in 11 years the station will have a local weekday talk host when Mel Robbins takes over the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot, bumping Dial Global’s Clark Howard to the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am shift. Robbins hosts the A&E cable show “Monster in Law” and worked for five years as a public defender in Manhattan. The station says when Robbins isn’t doing her radio show or filming for TV she “travels around the country on speaking engagements for Fortune 500 companies. Robbins has appeared with Dr. Phil discussing her life coaching skills and is a regular on Anderson Cooper’s daytime program, ABC’s ‘Good Morning America,’ a bestselling author, and more.” Robbins’ program will originate from her rural Massachusetts farm but will make frequent trips to Orlando.
Cumulus Gives Myrtle Beach Sports FM Better Signal; Splits AM Simulcast Off. Cumulus Media Group is moving 93.9 The Team (WJXY-FM) to the 100.3 dial position currently occupied by CHR i100.3 (WSEA-FM) beginning March 5. There are programming changes as well. The station becomes ESPN Radio 100.3 and takes the ESPN programming with it as well as the local PM drive show hosted by Aaron Marks. He’s the sports director and will be charged with programming the station. The other change is the AM simulcast on WHSC splits off and becomes Fox Sports Radio 1050. That station will air DirecTV/Premiere Networks’ Dan Patrick live, Premiere’s Jim Rome, Fox Sports Radio programming and play-by-play sports including minor league baseball. WJXY-FM is in a trust to be sold. It’s still unclear if Cumulus will simply move the CHR format over to 93.9 while that signal is on the market. Aaron Marks says of the moves, “We are thrilled with the addition of Fox Sports Radio to our cluster of stations. If there has been one complaint about our station I have heard since I started here last July, it is that Dan Patrick is a great show but doesn’t sound good unless it runs live. The additional station will also allow us to provide the proper coverage to all of our local and regional colleges and professional teams. Every team can have a place to call home for all of their games and we’ll be able to add even more play-by-play than ever before at the high school, college, and pro level.”
Salem Radio Network Talk Star Mike Gallagher Broadcasts Live from WHK, Cleveland. In the wake of the tragic deaths of three high school students in the Cleveland suburb of Chardon, Mike Gallagher traveled to Salem Communications’ O&O WHK, Cleveland to broadcast his program live from the area on Tuesday. Gallagher railed against the news that the suspected shooter was bullied. “That’s ridiculous, in my view, to go down this path, of suggesting that bullying is somehow to blame. It might be part of the story, it might be part of the narrative. It might be factual. This kid’s some freak, who’s a goth who acts weird and is anti-social and he’s gonna get picked on. Well, welcome to the real world…please don’t pretend that the kids who can’t handle it, who say they’re bullied, and therefore have to go get a gun and blow kids brains out somehow aren’t evil. That IS evil. E-v-i-l. They are evil monsters who frankly ought to be executed for what they’ve done. This kid ought to face the death penalty for his cold-blooded acts of violence.”
Business TalkRadio Network Announces New Daily Schedule. Beginning March 5, Business TalkRadio Network adjusts its afternoon schedule with the addition of “The Big Biz Show” with Bob “Sully” Sullivan airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET; “Catalyst Radio Show” from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm; and the Tom O’Brien show from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. President and CEO Michael Metter states, “Sometimes in life things work out for a reason and this is truly one of those reasons. We are proud about Bob ‘Sully’ Sullivan coming back to BTRN and even more so that he is anchoring our midday block. With ‘Catalyst Radio’ our partners will truly embrace this Superman of the business world along with Tom O’Brien, a seasoned pro in the financial world. You’ve seen them on many of the national television news outlets now experience them on your radio stations through Business TalkRadio Network.”
Virginia Tech and WJFK-FM, Washington Renew Multi-Year Deal. CBS Radio’s Washington, DC sports talk outlet WJFK-FM and Virginia Tech IMG Sports Network strike a deal that will see Hokies football and men’s basketball play-by-play on the station’s schedule through the 2014-15 season. The deal also includes airing of the weekly “Tech Talk Live” show featuring the school’s football and basketball coaches.
Ohio School Shooting Fatalities Grow, GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Rising Gas Prices, and Government Waste Report Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/28). The fatal Ohio high school shooting; the Michigan and Arizona primaries and the larger 2012 presidential race; rising gas prices and Iran’s role; and the new report of redundant government programs and the money they are wasting were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Dave Ramsey Helps Celebrate 90 Years for WOR, New York. Nationally syndicated financial talk sensation Dave Ramsey broadcast his program live from the Big Apple on February 27 – the first day his show aired live on WOR, New York’s program lineup. WOR VP/GM Jerry Crowley says, “Rarely in life, even as broadcasters, do we get the opportunity to affect the lives of many in one fell swoop. Well, WOR is doing just that by airing the advice and wisdom of the great Dave Ramsey daily, in our coveted 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm slot on 710am. At a time when the entire Tri-State area is stressed and in need of help with their finances, WOR comes to the rescue with Dave’s sage knowledge and direction which can, and has, changed the lives of many for the positive. We are blessed to have him.” While there, Ramsey helped WOR celebrate its 90th anniversary on the air. Pictured here (from l-r) are WOR personalities Joe Bartlett, Dr. Joy Browne, Ramsey, Joan Hamburg and Dave Spencer.