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Monday Memo: “Try to Sell Everyone You Talk to.” Regardless of your stated occupation, you’re in sales, “especially if you’re in radio, where, lately,” consultant Holland Cooke observes, “return on investment in talent is calculated ruthlessly.” In this week’s column, HC recommends a read that he says, “changed my life decades ago, no less than a master class in the way we deal with each other day to day.” Read it here.
Pending Business: Killing the Customer. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa writes in today’s column about handling the situation in which management puts the kibosh on a sale after it’s been consummated. How does a radio seller preserve the relationship with the client? Lapa offers some thoughts on handling this delicate situation. Read more here.
Key Networks and Summit Technology Group Partner for ATMOS Weather Reporting Syndication. This deal between Key Networks and Summit Technology Group will offer ATMOS Weather Reporting to radio stations of all formats and market sizes for no additional barter. Key says ATMOS Weather Reporting is an advanced routine and emergency weather reporting system developed by Summit Technology Group that uses artificial intelligence to generate a script and natural text-to-speech synthesis to deliver a customized, localized weather forecast in a broadcast quality voice. The result is seamless, accurate and as personable as a real meteorologist. With ATMOS Weather Reporting, all advertising inventory is contained in the weather forecasts that are delivered, so stations can sell the forecasts to local sponsors and others. Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green comments, “Key Networks’ mission is to bring innovative products and services to the market that you cannot find anywhere else. Mission accomplished with ATMOS Weather powered by Key Networks. Stations will get precise and accurate weather forecasts without having to give up additional inventory outside the content. That is a game changer. This service works on any station in any format and you’ll want to sign up soon, as there is additional cutting-edge technology coming that will provide even more localization to your weather forecast. Prepare to be wowed and provide your local listeners and advertisers with weather forecasts around the clock and branded as you desire. I’m beyond excited to get stations on board!”
Churchill Author to Keynote Bold Gold Broadcast & Media Foundation’s 6th Annual Event and Dinner. The non-profit arm of the Bold Gold Media Group, the Bold Gold Broadcast & Media Foundation, which supports educational programs that help students prepare for careers in broadcast journalism, announces that professor Andrew Roberts, author of the 2018 international best-seller, Churchill: Walking With Destiny, will keynote the organization’s 6th Annual Event & Dinner taking place on November 19 at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre. The theme of the event is: Celebrating the Leadership of Winston Churchill – Defender of Free Speech and Western Civilization and once again focuses on the importance of freedom of speech, the press and First Amendment rights. Bold Gold Foundation president Vince Benedetto says, “Winston Churchill used the power of speech and the power of radio to rally his nation and the world to fight against tyranny. Churchill also confronted many of the dangerous ideologies that we see reemerging today… ideologies that are a threat to individual freedom and self-government, and he vanquished them. Professor Roberts is going to talk about how he defeated them, and what lessons we can learn from his leadership that are applicable in our time.” Also at this year’s event, the Bold Gold Foundation will honor Northeast PA business leader, Rob Grimm, of Grimm Construction, with The Atlas Award for Citizenship, presented to individuals who, through their hard work and bold actions, show what is possible to achieve in a free society, and who exhibit extraordinary dedication to the highest ideals of character, community service, entrepreneurialism, patriotism, leadership, and virtue. For more info about this event and to reserve your place, visit www.BoldGold.org
Altitude Ventures Transitions KKSE-AM, Denver to Sports Betting Format. Denver sports talk outlet KKSE-AM, “Altitude Sports Radio 950 AM,” is transitioning to a 24/7 sports betting information format, airing VSiN The Sports Betting Network content. Altitude Sports Radio general manager and SVP Dave Fleck says, “With hundreds of millions of dollars bet on sports in Colorado, credible sports betting information and analysis is increasingly valuable to Denver sports fans. Our listeners have repeatedly told us that they want informative, quality content focused on sports gaming. We’re responding to those listeners by bringing them some of the most knowledgeable sports betting talk in the business, as we become the home of VSiN in Denver.” Air talent include morning talk personalities Mitch Moss and Pauly Howard, former Denver Bronco and Denver radio host Mike Pritchard, sports betting analytics expert Gill Alexander, former pro football executive Michael Lombardi and sportscasting legend Brent Musburger.
El Dorado Broadcasters Names Ashley Gorniak Promotions Director in Victor Valley. For its Victor Valley, California radio station cluster, El Dorado Broadcasters announces that Ashley Gorniak is the new promotions manager. The cluster includes talk KIXW-AM “Talk 960” and five music brands. Gorniak is an upstate New York native who recently relocated to California to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. El Dorado VP of programming Mark Mitchell says, “Ms. Gorniak started as promotions assistant in August and has shown the ability to take on this new role with the station. Ashley has the drive and focus to help our station grow and achieve great things. We welcome her addition to our organization. She is exactly what we need to make the Victor Valley stations sing.”
TALKERS News Notes. The USA Radio nationally syndicated Wayne Allyn Root show moves from its six-year Las Vegas flagship affiliate Silver State Broadcasting’s KBET-AM to Kemp Communications’ crosstown news/talk KMZQ-AM in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm daypart…..Salem Radio Network announces its Election Night 2021 coverage that includes the two high-profile gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey, as well as key mayoral races in New York, Boston, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia. SRN News and TOWNHALL News are providing live updates during newscasts at the top of each hour as well as Live Special Reports each hour. The one-minute Live Special Reports will air at 30-minutes past the hour beginning at 7:30 pm, ET and continuing until least 11:30 pm, ET or longer if either contest remains undecided…..FOX News Channel names Carley Shimkus co-host of “FOX & Friends First” (weekdays 4:00 am to 6:00 am ET). Shimkus made her debut alongside co-host Todd Piro this morning (11/1). Host Jillian Mele left the position to return home to Philadelphia to focus on her MBA program at La Salle University. In making the announcement, FNC VP of morning programming Gavin Hadden says, “Carley brings great experience to this role developed over nearly a decade at FOX News Media and we are excited to have her join ‘FOX & Friends First.’ We wish Jillian all the best as she returns home to Philadelphia and thank her for her outstanding contribution and dedication to the FOX & Friends franchise.”
Biden Spending Bills, January 6 Investigation/Trump Election Fraud Claims, COVID-19, COP26 Summit, VA Governor’s Race, SCOTUS Abortion Case, and World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The fate of President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and $1.75 trillion economic plan and Congress likely to act on them this week; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and former President Donald Trump’s ongoing claims of election fraud; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., mask & vaccine mandates, and school board tensions; this week’s COP26 Summit in Glasgow and the issue of climate change policies; Democrats are sweating the Virginia gubernatorial race between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin; the U.S. Supreme Court will begin hearing the case of Texas’ restrictive abortion law; and the World Series between the Atlanta Braves and the Houston Astros were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Monday Memo: Is Your Imaging Boastful or Benefit-Laden? Noting that “the first Star Wars movie was 44 years ago,” consultant Holland Cooke pleads that “it’s time to retire those whizzing sounds that still litter on-air promos.” And in this week’s column, he cautions against copy clichés that sound equally dated. Read it here.
Pending Business: Survey Says… Radio sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, writes in today’s column that the recent NPR/Edison study showing that “connection seekers” and “infomaniacs” are fine with hearing ads is good news for news/talk radio stations, however, poorly executed creative can kill any benefit you station is getting from these groups’ acceptance of ads. Read his piece here.
Ransomware Attacks, COVID-19, Trump North Carolina Speech, 2020 Vote Audits, Biden Infrastructure Bill, Voting Rights Bill, and Immigration Reform/Kamala Harris’ Latin America Trip Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The growing number of ransomware attacks affecting American businesses and utilities; the fast-declining rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the rate of vaccination, and questions about the origin of the coronavirus; former President Donald Trump’s speech before North Carolina Republicans and speculation about his political future; the audit of 2020 presidential votes taking place in Arizona and New Hampshire; negotiations in Congress over President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill; West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin’s statement he will not back Biden’s For The People voting act; and Vice President Kamala Harris’ trip to Latin America and the related topic of immigration reform were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Talk Host Wayne Allyn Root Gets International Press for Political Strategy Advice to Donald Trump. Las Vegas-based, nationally syndicated talk radio host Wayne Allyn Root was among the talk radio hosts to interview former President Donald Trump as he made his first round of media appearances since leaving office. During the conversation, Root suggested Trump run for a House seat in Florida in 2022 and, in his words, “lead the GOP to a resounding House takeover, then become Speaker of the House, and then become Biden’s worst nightmare, block Biden’s agenda for the next 2 years, open multiple criminal investigations against Biden, lead the impeachment of Biden, dominate the news cycle, then be in perfect position to win back the presidency leading into 2024. Trump liked the idea and was clearly intrigued.” Numerous media outlets picked up on the interview and Root got press in the New York Post, TMZ, the U.K.’s Daily Mail, Newsweek, and more.
Salem Radio Network Host Eric Metaxas Loses YouTube Channel. The Washington Times reports that Salem Radio Network talk host and Salem Books author Eric Metaxas has lost one of his YouTube channels for violating the social media platform’s community guidelines. Metaxas’ digital producer Chris Himes tells the paper Metaxas’ YouTube channel was banned after getting three strikes in a 90-day period, the latest apparently was an interview with Naomi Wolf in which she criticized COVID lockdown policies, leading YouTube to conclude the program violated the “medical misinformation policy,” Other programs that were flagged contained content YouTube said promoted, “false claims that widespread fraud, errors, or glitches changed the outcome of the U.S. 2020 presidential election.” Metaxas told listeners to his radio show, “I’m all hopped up. I’m crazy because I got knocked off of YouTube permanently. People don’t realize it — this is a huge financial hit, but you know what, it’s because we’re over the target.”
SRN’s Charlie Kirk Show Added for Early Afternoons at Virginia Stations. Beginning June 21, Salem Radio Networks’ “The Charlie Kirk Show” is joining the program lineup at Monticello Media’s news/talk WCHV, Charlottesville and news/talk/sports WRAD, Blacksburg, Virginia in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart. Program director Joe Thomas says, “Since the talk radio format has been built on the ‘Rush Limbaugh Show’ since it launched in 1988 and so has the success of WCHV, needless to say this was the biggest decision of my career. When I arrived here in 2007 the station’s biggest audience was 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm and we’ve built this station around serving the listener. But now it’s time to head into the future and to see what Charlie has already built with Turning Point USA. I know his is the show to continue that… We poured over all the information on all the options out there and there are great folks that will be doing terrific things, I’m sure. However, when I saw the esteem that Rush himself had for Charlie I knew that his show is the one that would meet the needs of Rush’s audience and help bring more of the young folks who Charlie already connects with to the station, and that’s a win-win.”
Dr. Asa Andrew Takes on Diabetes in This Fall’s Season of ‘Reversed.’ This fall, the third season of the reality TV show “Reversed” will air on WGN America and Discovery and in it, Dr. Asa Andrew and business partner Charles Mattocks will take on Diabetes. Dr. Asa Andrew is one of the leading personalities in health radio and television programming (as well as a member of the TALKERS magazine Heavy Hundred). Dr. Asa says, “This is our third season of ‘Reversed’ and the networks have been thrilled with the audience and the message. The show is designed as reality TV with a purpose, presenting the powerful effects of unmanaged diabetes, and the hope of reversal.” Filmed in early 2021 in Costa Rica, this season tells the story of five brave individuals living with diabetes as they work to positively transform their lifestyle choices. The show will have a world-class team of nutritionists, trainers, doctors, therapists, and celebrity guests focused on one common goal – to improve the health and well-being of each person living with diabetes. Dr. Asa adds, “Better health begins with better choices. ‘Reversed’ is about transforming the behavior of those fighting diabetes. Charles and I share a common mission and this is just the beginning. In my years of coaching and clinical experience, ‘Reversed’ is a powerful version of an inspirational office visit to those watching looking for hope and faith to believe that anything is possible for empowering your health.” Find out more about Dr. Asa Andrew here.
Tim Donnelly Show Debuts on ‘94.1 ESPN’ in Norfolk. Today (6/7), the “Tim Donnelly Show” launches on Max Media’s sports talk WVSP-FM, Norfolk, Virginia “94.1 ESPN” in the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot. Donnelly also serves as the executive producer of the “Nick Cattles Show” that airs from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Donnelly says, “The opportunity to carve out my place in the 757 sports landscape is one that I do not take lightly. I understand that the market deserves a host that is dedicated and determined to create a fun, sports-centric escape for listeners each and every time they flip on the radio during their lunch break or hop in the car for a midday drive. I am unbelievably thankful for Keith Barton, Eddie Haskell, Nick Cattles, and Max Media for giving me the chance to bring the show to Hampton Roads.”
TALKERS 2021 a Sellout. The 24th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important conference, the Talkers Convention, has reached its COVID-era attendee capacity. TALKERS 2021 will take place between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY on Friday, June 11. The event is a presentation of TALKERS in association with Hofstra’s multi-award-winning radio station, WRHU.
POWER PACKED Agenda Set for TALKERS 2021. Because of the timing, per the pandemic, this 24th annual meeting of talk media industry leaders has the potential to be one of the most important radio-centric conventions in recent history. More than 50 industry leaders from talk radio and cable news/talk TV will be speaking during a non-stop day of presentations and panel sessions. Check out the latest updated agenda by clicking here.
TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “We are delighted to be able to join forces again with our colleagues at Hofstra – the site of our very successful 2016 event – to be able to actually present a live conference in an extremely COVID-19 compliant environment which Hofstra is equipped to provide. This convention will be smaller and more streamlined than the traditional TALKERS conventions – with lots of comfortable indoor and outdoor space to spread out, especially in the university’s gigantic state-of-the-art theater. The convention will boldly address key existential issues facing the talk radio and talk media industries at this dramatically critical juncture.” The conference has been limited to a smaller number of attendees and exhibitors than usual and only open to members of the working media and closely associated industries. For the sake of safety, all attendees will be required to comply with COVID-19 regulations in effect at the time of the actual conference regarding social distancing, the wearing of masks, and providing proof of vaccination and/or testing, etc.
Travel and Hotel Information for TALKERS 2021. The full-service Long Island Marriott Uniondale is serving as the closest and best hotel for TALKERS 2021. To reserve rooms, please click here. All New York area airports are a car ride away from the hotel and Hofstra: JFK (18 miles), LaGuardia (24 miles), MacArthur (34 miles), Newark (47 miles). Free and convenient parking information at Hofstra will be posted here shortly.
Convention Information: For further TALKERS 2021 information please call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Wayne Allyn Root
Talk Show Host
LAS VEGAS — On Saturday, February 6, I was ‘disappeared’ by Twitter. This reminds me of the Soviet gulag, or the East German Stasi, or Fidel Castro’s Cuba. Places where dissent was disallowed. And dissenters were “disappeared” in the middle of the night. As a Jew, it reminds me of the Nazi Gestapo. Clearly, no political dissent is allowed by Twitter. Certainly not by conservatives. My banning by Twitter is very shocking and bad news for American exceptionalism, personal freedom, freedom of speech, and conservative talk radio. If free speech and opinions are no longer allowed in Joe Biden’s America, how long will it be before conservative talk radio is banned?
NYTimes Piece Pins Capitol Attack on Talk Radio. The piece in The New York Times titled, “How Right-Wing Radio Stoked Anger Before the Capitol Siege,” comes on the heels of a story published by the Washington Post several days prior that attempts to assess the state of talk radio and where its future lies in the 21st century American media landscape. The two stories are at the forefront of an effort by the mainstream media to determine why U.S. citizens aligned with Donald Trump were willing to break into the U.S. Capitol on January 6 to disrupt the certification of the 2020 presidential election. In the Times story, the writers quote statements by leading talk hosts, some of which show sympathy for the “stolen election” allegation, others that directly claim it to be true, and still others that use language that advocates protest but falls short of encouraging law breaking. TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison is quoted saying, “We always had shock jocks. But then we had a shock president.” Harrison, one of the most vocal proponents of the First Amendment in radio over the past half century, elaborates by stating, “Democracy and free speech as reflected and discussed on political news/talk radio constitute the major hardball league in the marketplace of ideas. Neither democracy nor free speech are tidy processes and can get real mean, loud, and even dirty – but both are vital to the very foundation of liberty as we understand it as being the American way. It takes courage to stake out a controversial opinion in the media and willingness to face the negative blowback of critics and political opponents from other platforms – even to the point of economic boycotts – keeping in mind that negative reaction comes with the territory of a healthy First Amendment in action under which they are all fair game. From this perspective, media practitioners such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin are among the most important commentators in America today and they should be cut some slack from being demonized for performing their jobs. That being said, we should never confuse the difference between being a pre-meditated liar for personal gain and simply being wrong in our interpretation of the evidence and news at hand in a swirling, ever-changing political environment. We should also not forget that there is a HUGE difference between being a non-elected media pundit and being the President of the United States. The fact that these talk show hosts are being compared to the President of the United States as being responsible for his statements and their real-world consequences either shows how incredibly important this profession has become or just how low Donald Trump – the first ‘shock president’ – has sunk the presidency and is pulling his loyal media followers with him down the rabbit hole. These hosts will have to decide for themselves if they want to stay on the Trump train or get off at the station being offered by the Senate trial. History WILL eventually be the judge of the wisdom of their decisions going forward.”
Root: I Was ‘Disappeared’ by Twitter. Las Vegas-based, nationally syndicated talk radio host Wayne Allyn Root writes an opinion piece for TALKERS magazine today in which he decries his Twitter account being shut down. Root is one of a number of conservative media personalities who’ve lost their Twitter accounts, many of which were suspended or shut down for supporting election fraud theories, and liberal media figure Robert F. Kennedy Jr. just lost his Instagram account for his anti-vaxxer posts. Of course, not everyone in conservative talk radio takes Root’s position that private social media platforms are obligated to carry materials or opinions with which they disagree or believe to be harmful. After all, if the Fairness Doctrine was repressive to talk radio, isn’t imposing a similar obligation on Twitter equally repressive to the First Amendment? The First Amendment protects private platform owners from being obligated to run content with which they disagree and only protects free speech from government censorship. You can read Root’s piece here.
NAB Comes Out Against Geo-Targeting Using FM Boosters. The National Association of Broadcasters is filing comments with the FCC on its inquiry into whether to amend its rules to allow FM booster stations to originate programming. As TALKERS reported earlier this week, GeoBroadcast Solutions received permission for its fourth test of its technology that enables FM radio broadcasters to use boosters to air geo-targeted content, independent of a broadcaster’s primary signal, within different portions of a station’s market – what the company calls ZoneCasting. But the NAB says that after a careful and thorough review of the Notice, it is strongly opposing revising the booster rule that forbids them from airing unique content, a requirement for ZoneCasting. The NAB says, “A close review of the Notice suggests that rather than bolster the industry’s economic outlook, GBS’s proposal would instead undermine the industry’s fundamental business model. The vast majority of broadcasters – from a wide array of perspectives – agree that permitting program origination on boosters will almost certainly drive both advertising rates and revenues down even further as advertisers push to purchase geo-targeted ads. The outcome is unavoidable, given the obvious business incentives for advertisers to purchase spots that cherry-pick what they view to be their most desirable customers and at a lower cost. Further inspection also leads to the inevitable conclusion that broadcasters will not be able to recoup such losses through sales of any additional spot inventory that is created on boosters. Based on their considerable advertising expertise, most station owners predict that existing advertising customers will likely substitute, rather than supplement, market-wide ads with cheaper, geo-targeted ads. They also agree that potential sales of geo-targeted ads to new customers are purely speculative. Broadcasters do not by and large see pent-up demand by small businesses in their local markets that have not previously purchased advertising time, and even if such demand exists, it would not be economical to undertake the substantial investment to capture the additional business.” The NAB goes on to say, “Amending the booster rule could very well produce a race to the bottom of ad rates and revenues and NAB is concerned that ZoneCasting will only increase the leverage of larger broadcasters and consolidated groups at the expense of smaller stations. Minority- and women-owned stations could be hardest hit if they cannot afford the expense of selling geo- targeted ads or absorb lower advertising rates and new competition for ad dollars from the boosters of larger stations.” It also questions the effect the technology could have on listeners. “Broadcasters are extremely concerned that the interference caused by geo-targeting where the boundary of a primary station meets a booster airing different programming will spur listeners to change to an alternative platform and reflect poorly on the reputation of FM radio service. Even if an individual station is willing to risk that loss, listeners may not limit their disdain to one station or group; rather, they may become so disenchanted with the reliability of terrestrial radio that they seek out a plethora of other options.” You can see the NAB’s complete comments submitted to the FCC here.
MIW Group’s Gender Analysis Report Card Shows Improvement and Room for Growth. The annual MIW Gender Analysis Study for the year 2020 is released by the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group. Each year it compiles and analyzes the number of women in radio broadcasting who are rising to the ranks of management – specifically tracking the progress of female professionals holding general manager, sales manager, and program director positions. MIW says the figures and percentages in the study’s conclusion are reflective of 11,158 AM and FM radio stations across America, as accounted for by PrecisionTrak as of December 31, 2020. Looking at the general manager position, the study finds that in 2020 19.9% of stations had women in that role, up from 19.5% in 2019. MIW says this number continues to show consistent growth from 2004, when the percentage of female GMs was only 14.9%. Moving to sales managers, MIW says the best management opportunities for women in radio continue to be in sales management. 33% of stations had a woman sales manager in 2020, that figure was basically flat from 33.1% in 2019. MIW says that although there continues to be progress, the greatest challenge for women in radio management continues to be in the area of program director. Women currently program 12.2% of stations versus 11.6% last year. This is the second year in a row this number has increased, as it has remained stalled for fourteen years. MIW Group national spokeswoman Ruth Presslaff comments, “In a year as challenging as 2020, any growth should be celebrated. However, our mission is advocating for the advancement of women to senior radio positions in radio. If not flat, the 2020 numbers reflect only slight increases. This fuels our passion for mentoring and inspiring women in the industry and drives our dedication to seeing these numbers rise in 2021 and beyond.”
Two New Affiliates for Erick Erickson Show. The syndicated, midday “Erick Erickson Show” adds two new affiliates to its roster of stations. RadioJones LLC’s WVOP, Vidalia, Georgia (yes, the home of the Vidalia onion!), that covers a significant portion of the southeast part of Georgia, adds the program in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm time slot. Also, QBS Broadcasting’s WBQO, Brunswick, Georgia, covering the Georgia coastal area, picks up the show, airing it live from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.
Doug Stephan’s DJV Show Adds Jai Kershner as Air Personality and Social Media Director. The nationally syndicated “DJV Show” – starring Doug Stephan, Jen Horn, and Victoria Keelan – announces the addition of Jai Kershner to the program as an air personality social media director. Kershner was most recently with Saga Communications’ country WVVR-FM, Clarksville, Tennessee “The Beaver 100.3” where she was air personality. Prior to that she was co-host of the nationally syndicated “Dawson McCallister Show.” Stephan says, “Jai brings a contemporary feel to the show and keeps the audience abreast of what’s trending. She fits in nicely with Jennifer, Victoria, and me.” Kershner comments, “It’s a great responsibility and challenge, which coupled with the great reach of the ‘DJV Show,’ presents an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”
Former ICE Acting Director Joins FAIR as Senior Fellow and Spokesperson. The Federation for American Immigration Reform announces that former Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan joins the organization as a senior fellow and an additional spokesperson. FAIR says that Morgan “brings a wealth of knowledge and dedication to the immigration policy debate and, in his new capacity at FAIR, he will continue to be an important voice in the ongoing debate about immigration enforcement and border security.” FAIR executive director Bob Dane adds, “Mark’s experience and unwavering commitment to enforce our nation’s laws has made him one of America’s most respected experts on immigration. His expertise and ‘tell it like it really is’ approach are needed now more than ever as the Biden administration is whittling away interior and perimeter controls at breakneck speed. As Mark has done so many times during his decorated career, he once again answers the call to serve his nation as senior fellow at FAIR. Quite simply, Mark is the right guy, at the right time, in the right place.” Speaking about his new role, Morgan states, “I’m honored to serve as a senior fellow with FAIR, which is dedicated to engaging in meaningful dialogue to influence, formulate and promote responsible immigration policies for the 21st century and beyond. I am delighted to be part of the effort to seek out solutions to mitigate the tremendous burden and negative impact of uncontrolled immigration on our country’s national security and economic prosperity.”
Rachel Rollar Joins Newsmax TV’s Morning Show. The newest addition to the on-air staff at Newsmax TV is broadcast journalist Rachel Rollar, who is now part of the “Wake Up America” morning program hosted by Rob Finnerty. Newsmax says Rollar will deliver national and international news and social media updates. The program will include her feature, “Rachel’s Rapid Reactions,” in which she’ll “show what people are talking about in real time on social media in hope of bridging the gap between the audience and the newscast.” Speaking about her new position she says, “I’m excited to be joining the Newsmax TV team and its growing number of media professionals. This is a great opportunity to speak to viewers who are passionate about news.”
Hats Off to Radio Pioneers Edwin Armstrong and William Lear. The confluence of National Inventors Day (2/11) and World Radio Day (2/13) is a great time to remember the accomplishments of two of radio’s technology pioneers: Edwin Howard Armstrong, inventor of FM radio, and William Lear, inventor of the first practical car radio. Aaron Bennett of the National Inventors Hall of Fame writes a piece published today in TALKERS to help us remember these men – both inductees into the National Inventors Hall of Fame – whose inventions helped make radio the 20th century media powerhouse that it became. Read his piece here.
Trump Impeachment Case/Georgia Criminal Probe, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Social Media & Censorship, Robinhood Lawsuit, Springsteen OUI-Jeep Spot, and Larry Flynt Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/10). The impeachment case against Donald Trump and the state of Georgia’s probe into Trump’s call to its secretary of state seeking changes in the presidential vote totals; the number of positive COVID cases and deaths in the U.S. and the rollout of vaccines; conservatives’ complaints about being censored by social media platforms and anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy, Jr is banned from Twitter; the family of college student Alex Kearns sues trading firm Robinhood over his suicide; Bruce Springsteen’s Jeep spot is pulled after his November OUI becomes public; and Hustler publisher Larry Flynt dies at 78 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Round Two of September PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s September 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s September 2020 survey period covered August 13 – September 9. You can see all the weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers from subscribing stations here. Also, today TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Rating Takeaways from this second round of markets. In the Washington, DC market, Cumulus Media’s WMAL-FM adds one-tenth to finish with an 8.0 share but slides back to the #3 rank as Howard University’s urban contemporary WHUR-FM powers into the #2 rank. Across town, Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM remains in the #1 spot on the strength of a one-share gain and a 9.5 share finish. iHeartMedia’s WRKO, Boston jumps a full share to finish the September survey with a 4.9 share and the #8 rank while sister all-news WBZ-AM falls five-tenths to a 6.1 share good for the #5 rank. After six consecutive months at #1, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle falls into the #2 spot after losing eight-tenths and finishing with a 6.4 share. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.
Newsmax TV Reaches 9.6 Million Cable Viewers. According to Newsmax TV, the cable channel’s “total household reach jumped to 9.6 million, up from 2.9 million in August 2019, according to Comscore data.” Newsmax Media Inc CEO Christopher Ruddy says that viewership has increased steadily all year and he credits viewer interest in Newsmax’s election coverage coupled with its new shows like “Greg Kelly Reports,” “Sean Spicer’s Spicer & Co.”, and “The Chris Salcedo Show.” Ruddy says, “Viewers are clearly voting for Newsmax TV with their remotes. The growth is even more remarkable when one considers we just launched our first prime-time show in July.” The company says Newsmax TV has live or original news shows airing from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm ET and has launched significant daytime coverage on weekends. The network is also planning a daily morning show to debut in the next 60 days, with more prime-time show launches expected soon.
iHeartMedia Expands Board of Directors; Appoints Cheryl Mills to Board. The board of directors of iHeartMedia, Inc. is expanded to eight and Cheryl Mills is named to the new seat. Mills is the founder and CEO of BlackIvy Group LLC, a firm that builds and grows commercial enterprises in Sub- Saharan Africa to meet the needs of an expanding consumer population and growing business sector. Mills previously served as chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and counselor to the U.S. Department of State. She also was SVP for corporate policy and public programming at Oxygen Media and was deputy counsel to the President at the White House and served as an associate at the Washington, D.C. law firm of Hogan and Hartson. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “We are extremely pleased that Cheryl Mills is joining the iHeart board. Her depth and breadth of experience, her leadership in policy, business and entrepreneurship, education and media, and her deep commitment to public service, will provide strong and unique value to our board and our company, and we are looking forward to her contributions.”
Cumulus Media Completes Initial Closing on $208 Million Tower Deal. This news from Cumulus Media Inc is relative to the $213 million deal that transfers its tower assets to Vertical Bridge. This initial closing is for the $208 million tower portfolio monetization transaction. Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner says, “We are thrilled to have expeditiously completed the first closing of this significant transaction. Pro forma for its completion and based on our Q2 ending cash balance, we will have reduced net debt by nearly $325 million during 2020 and by nearly $580 million since emerging from bankruptcy in 2018. Our further improved liquidity position and covenant-lite, long-dated debt will continue to support our growth initiatives and allow us to take advantage of accretive opportunities as we navigate through near-term uncertainties to drive long-term shareholder value.” After transaction fees and expenses and related costs, Cumulus received approximately $202 million in net proceeds at the initial closing. The use of net proceeds from the transaction are governed by the company’s Term Loan Credit Facility due 2026 and its 6.75% Senior Secured First Lien Notes due 2026. As defined in the debt agreements, net proceeds of approximately $64 million from assets being sold and not being leased back and net proceeds of approximately $96 million from assets being sold and leased back are required to pay down the Term Loan and be applied to a tender offer with respect to the 6.75% Notes on a pro rata basis. The paydown from the Sale-Leaseback Proceeds is required to be made at closing for the Term Loan portion and within thirty (30) days of closing for the 6.75% Notes. As such, at closing, the Company paid down approximately $49 million of its Term Loan at par, and it intends in the near future to launch a tender offer for up to approximately $47 million of the 6.75% Notes at par. Cumulus Media entered into a master lease agreement for the continued use of substantially all of the towers that were sold. That deal includes the 10-year initial term of the lease, followed by five option periods of five years each. The annual lease payment obligation for the assets leased back in the initial closing is approximately $13.2 million, subject to customary escalators, and will be accounted for as a reduction of the financial liability and interest expense. Cumulus anticipates that one or more subsequent closings will be held for the assets comprising the remainder of the previously announced $213 million purchase price, subject to adjustment based upon due diligence and the curing of outstanding site defects.
TALKERS News Notes. Pictured at right is Starnes Media Group principal, nationally syndicated talk show host, and KWAM, Memphis “The Mighty 990” owner Todd Starnes (right) at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s “Road to the Majority” conference in Atlanta where he served as a keynote speaker. He’s pictured here with conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza (left)…..The “Margaritaville Podcast” joins the portfolio of cross-platform content-production and advertising-sales representation firm Crossover Media Group Sales. The recently launched podcast, hosted by Jimmy Buffett’s production coordinator Heikki Larsen features interviews with friends, colleagues, and fans of the Margaritaville global lifestyle brand inspired by the singer, songwriter and best-selling author. Recent guests have included Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt, Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane and Jimmy Buffett video producer Stan Kellam. Crossover Media Group Sales managing member Sue Freund says, “Fans of the Margaritaville lifestyle constitute an extremely devoted, enduring, cohesive, socially conscientious and upscale fan base. Heikki and his show are a valuable addition to the CMGS portfolio, as it enables us to offer an even more diverse and versatile slate of inventory for marketing partners.”…..AdLarge Media announce its newest sports partnership with National Sports Network for exclusive ad sales representation of NCAA basketball play-by-play coverage on radio. AdLarge Media co-founder and co-CEO Gary Schonfeld says, “We’re very excited to offer our advertisers these NCAA basketball games on radio. With the addition of these top-tier college basketball games from National Sports Network, the AdLarge sports portfolio delivers continuous access to engaged sports fans.”…..PodcastOne acquires the exclusive distribution and sales rights for the health and wellness podcast “The Dr. Gundry Podcast.” The program is hosted by New York Times best-selling author of The Plant Paradox (Harper Wave 2017), Dr. Steven Gundry. He says, “I’m proud for ‘The Dr. Gundry Podcast’ to now be part of PodcastOne. Its robust podcasting network is a great platform to continue to empower listeners and share the knowledge and tools to help people live their best life.”
Wayne Allyn Root Organizes Las Vegas Parade. On Wednesday (9/30), a pro-police, pro-Trump parade of cars organized by KBET, Las Vegas-based talk show host Wayne Allyn Root drove down the Las Vegas strip. Root, pictured here with supporters, tells TALKERS magazine he estimates there were more than 1,000 cars taking part in the parade. Root says he waited at the parade’s finish line – the Nevada Governor’s office building – and “shook hands, and high-fived, and took photos, and thanked every single car of my fans.” You can read the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s coverage here.
The Presidential Race/Debate Aftermath, Mail-In Voting, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, New Stimulus Deal, Amy Coney Barrett Nomination, Down Financial Markets, BLM Movement/Protests, and California Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/30). The November presidential election and the aftermath of Tuesday night’s debate; the debate over the reliability of mail-in voting; the rising number of positive COVID-19 cases in the Midwest and talk about a fall/winter second wave; negotiations between congress and the Trump administration over a new stimulus package; the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for the U.S. Supreme Court; U.S. financial markets suffer their worst month since last March; the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests in various cities; and the deadly California wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
DYNAMIC DUO EXCLUSIVE! “Cousin” Bruce Morrow and John Catsimatidis Are This Week’s Guests on Harrison Podcast. Radio enthusiasts won’t want to miss this brand-new audio gem! Legendary music radio personality “Cousin” Bruce Morrow and WABC, New York owner John Catsimatidis are this week’s guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Morrow (also known as “Cousin Brucie”) is one of the last of his generation still standing. He is the quintessential heritage disc jockey who has been a major on-the-air radio figure in New York City through several golden eras since 1959, performing on such storied stations as WINS, WABC, WNBC and WCBS-FM and, until recently, across the nation on SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Just a few weeks ago, to the delight of his multi-generational legion of fans, he was hired to host a Saturday evening music show on WABC, the station where he played to millions back in the 1960s and early 1970s during the heyday of his magnificent career. The other member of this dynamic duo, Catsimatidis is a well-connected radio lover and big business heavyweight whose Red Apple Media purchased WABC – now a news/talk outlet – from Cumulus Media late last year. He’s a prominent New York City-based, self-made mogul and syndicated radio talk show host involved in an array of industries that, in addition to communications, includes supermarkets, energy, and real estate development. He’s also a former and potential future New York City mayoral candidate. The result is a free-wheeling conversation that covers radio, music, politics, several surprises and the New York state of mind – an instant classic. 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.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-Air pro Julie Guy signs a multiyear contract extension with Entercom’s adult contemporary WLYF-FM, Miami “101.5 LITE FM” to continue co-hosting the “Julie Guy & Tamara G” morning show. Entercom Miami SVP and market manager Keriann Worley says, “As a veteran of the station, Julie encapsulates the spirit of ‘101.5 LITE FM’ and sets the tone for our programming slate each morning. Her distinct energy and solid rapport with Tamara translate to a quality morning show and I’m happy to keep her in the fold for years to come.” Guy has served as a morning show host for “101.5 LITE FM” since 2013…..Cox Media Group’s urban contemporary WALR-FM, Atlanta “KISS 104.1” adds the nationally syndicated program “The Sweat Hotel,” with host Keith Sweat to air in the 9:00 pm to 2:00 am slot. Station director of branding and programming Terri Avery comments, “Keith Sweat is an R&B legend and ‘KISS 104.1’ is excited about him joining our lineup. Keith brings just the right blend of slow jams and sensual sounds that will keep our listeners entertained throughout the night.”