Jimmy Failla is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the funniest and freshest talents in news/talk radio, FOX News Radio’s 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm ET midday host Jimmy Failla, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Prior to filling the position as the host of “FOX Across America” in the spring of 2020, Failla – a native Long Islander – worked his way up through the ranks of New York’s stand-up comedy scene and served more than a decade as a cab driver in the Big Apple where he sharpened his insights into the human condition. Harrison and Failla engage in a fascinating discussion about the historic role of comedy and satire in political and social commentary with a focus on the impact today’s repressive political correctness is having upon the communication arts in general. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.
Kevin Dietz Officially Named Late Morning Host at WJR-AM, Detroit. WJR-AM, Detroit radio personality Kevin Dietz is officially named the host of the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart. He’s been hosting the show at the Cumulus Media station since June 1, three months after longtime host Frank Beckmann retired back in March. Dietz made the announcement via his Facebook page. Dietz was a longtime investigative reporter at WDIV-TV, Detroit who was fired from the station in 2019 after he made a racial comment about another reporter at an Investigative Reporters and Editors conference. Dietz issued the following statement after the incident: “The intent of my comment was to openly acknowledge, amongst team members, the challenge it’s been for our company, and many companies, to achieve diversity goals. This is a serious subject that I approached through humor. Nevertheless, the station has a zero-tolerance policy on racially insensitive comments and they determined, despite the intent and context of my statement, that it violated the policy. I understand and support the need for such policies.”
‘Big Horn Radio Network’ Host Darian Dudrick Dies at 52 from COVID. The Cody Enterprise reports that KODI-AM/FM, Cody, Wyoming and “Big Horn Radio Network” morning drive talk host Darian Dudrick died on Tuesday (9/21) at the age of 52 after a battle with COVID-19. His “Daybreak with Darian Dudrick” program aired across the network and was popular for its “Speak Your Piece” call-in segment. Legend Communications co-owner Susan Patrick is quoted saying, “He was loved by the community and whole radio station. He was a great journalist and recognized across the state of Wyoming.” The station issued the following statement after his passing: “It is with saddened hearts that we have to say goodbye to one of our own. Our hearts go out to the Dudrick family with the passing of Darian, a man of God, loving father and husband. He was the voice of Cody and will be missed by all.” He is survived by his wife April and children Kaitlyn and Christian.
RAB: Marketers Looking to Capitalize on ‘Screen-Free Media.’ In its latest “Matter of Fact” column, the RAB addresses the “new wave of radio advertising” that marketers are exploring by presenting a piece by Tammy Greenberg originally published in the Association of National Advertisers Knowledge Center. The piece says, “The diversification of audio platforms and the attention audio commands among consumers has opened up tremendous opportunity for brands to expand their audio strategies and grow their audiences.” American Association of Advertising Agencies president and CEO Marla Kaplowitz says because consumers “are inundated with ads, audio and radio offer a very different and effective alternative to capturing consumer attention while adding complementary scale.” She says the biggest challenge for brands is creative. “It is a given that adding radio to a media mix is going to extend the reach and provide the opportunity to engage consumers differently. To be successful, brands must be thoughtful about the right execution because audio is not stimulating the other senses in the same way as visual media can. Brands must really focus on allowing the consumer to create their own visual sense connected to the audio advertising that invites them in.” Read the entire column here.
Audacy to Broadcast 5th Annual ‘I’m Listening’ Special Tonight. This evening from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm Audacy broadcasts its fifth annual “I’m Listening” special – a live national broadcast bringing together artists, athletes, medical specialists and others with intimate conversations about mental health through authentic, open dialogue led by some of the nation’s top influencers. The two-hour special is taking place in partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and airs across more than 230 Audacy stations and will be livestreamed via its digital app. The program is being co-hosted by Carson Daly (left) and Dr. Alfiee M. Breland-Noble (right) and features appearances by celebrities including: Machine Gun Kelly, Darius Rucker, Nelly, Glennon Doyle, Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X, Lizzo, Shakira, Justin Bieber, Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kevin Love, Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, and Bleachers’ Jack Antonoff.
PodcastOne Announces Panel of Judges for ‘Self-Made Podcasts Edition’ Contest. The award-winning panel of judges who will select the winner in PodcastOne’s “Self-Made Podcast Edition” contest have been named. They are: Kailtyn Bristowe, creator and host of “Off the Vine,” Adam Carolla, Emmy Award-winner and “Entourage” creator Doug Ellin, broadcast journalist and “Cheating: When Love Lies” podcast host Jillian Hamilton, documentarian Barbara Schroeder, Oxford Road head of client services James Ingrassia, Ad Results VP of media DeSha Runnels, Podsights co-founder Sarah Cotenoff, Magellan AI chief revenue officer John Goforth, PodcastOne president and co-founder Kit Gray, and PodcastOne and Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz. “Self-Made Podcast Edition” is driven by fans as well as the panel of judges, all listening to see who will take the top prize: a podcasting contract with PodcastOne, and a total package worth over $100,000 including promotion across the network. The winner will then be crowned on September 30, 2021, International Podcast Day.
Brandi Love Visits ‘Shannon Burke Show.’ Pictured above is adult film actress Brandi Love (right) with talk radio host Shannon Burke (left). Love recently appeared on “The Shannon Burke Show” – heard afternoons on JVC Broadcasting’s “Florida Man Radio” (WDYZ-AM/W288CJ, Orlando and WZLB-FM, Fort Walton Beach) – and talked about getting booted from Turning Point USA’s Tampa conference in July because of her profession. Love is a columnist for The Federalist and a Donald Trump supporter and had a lot to say about hypocrisy.
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago reporter Steve Miller is semi-retiring from the Audacy station after a 38-year career there. Feder reports that Miller will continue to do some fill-in work and special projects for the station. WBBM news director Ron Gleason says, “We’ve been blessed with many great reporters over the years, but when it comes to digging for tough-to-find information, I can’t think of anyone better than Steve Miller.”…..Audacy’s Cadence13 announces the launch of “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts: A Friday Night Lights Rewatch,” a weekly podcast hosted by actors Derek Phillips (Billy Riggins) and Stacey Oristano (Mindy Collette-Riggins), in which they return to the fictional town of Dillon, Texas to revisit the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning series. The pair invite listeners to take a trip back to Dillon, home of the Panthers and the Lions, as they break down iconic show moments, share behind-the-scenes stories, and answer fan questions, which listeners are invited to send in…..Cumulus Media and Rolling Stone introduce the podcast “Don’t Let This Flop” – a weekly podcast that highlights the week on TikTok, revealing the top trends and memes in all areas including dance, recipes, makeup challenges, viral videos, celebrity videos, grassroots campaigns intended to raise awareness of social issues, and anything else capturing TikTok users’ attention each week. Hosts Brittany Spanos and EJ Dickson are joined by a special guest each week to discuss the significance and relevance of the week’s most popular posts outside the world of TikTok…..The K-Star Talk Radio Network announces the addition of radio host Ron Edwards’ syndicated talk radio program, “The Ron Edwards American Experience,” to its schedule. The program is a one-hour, live, highlight reel of substantive information, history, and current events with a Christian, conservative perspective. K-Star program director Angeline Marie says, “He is a radio veteran that is well respected with over 20 years as a radio host and news anchor in several Midwest markets including Cleveland and Detroit.”
COVID-19, Debt Ceiling Debate, Border Crisis/Migrant Policy, Policing Reform Stalemate, Michael Sussman Indictment, U.S.-EU-Australian Indo-Pacific Tensions, and Gabby Petito Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/22). The rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., booster shots, and mask & vaccine mandates; the debate in Congress over raising the U.S.’s debt ceiling to avoid default; the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the return of migrants to Haiti; Democrats and Republicans in Congress at a stalemate over federal policing reform; the indictment of attorney Michael Sussman in connection with the DOJs Trump-Russia investigation; the cooperation between the U.S., Europe, and Australia in monitoring China’s rapidly expanding military presence in the Indo-Pacific; and the investigation into the death of Gabby Petito were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Entercom Renews with Bloomberg News for Service to All-News and News/Talk Stations. The extension of this companywide deal between syndicator Key Networks, business news provider Bloomberg Radio and Entercom Communications keeps Bloomberg Radio’s business and consumer news on the majority of Entercom’s 26 all-news and news/talk stations, including 1010 WINS in New York, KNX-AM in Los Angeles, WBBM Newsradio in Chicago, and more. Under the new agreement, Bloomberg Radio will continue to provide Entercom stations with access to its world-class news content, including live, customized reports, “Bloomberg Money Minutes,” and Bloomberg specialty features including: “Bloomberg Business of Sports,” “Green Report,” “Small Business Report,” “Real Estate Report,” and more. Entercom vice president of news Bill Smee says, “As the unrivaled leader in local news radio, powered by some of the most iconic brands across the country, we’re proud to extend our partnership with Bloomberg Radio. Our news stations are committed to serving as a trusted source of vital information for our millions of listeners, and this partnership will continue to enhance the content they turn to on a daily basis.” Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green adds, “It is a privilege to bring the most in-depth business and financial news reports to Entercom stations that are best in class from coast to coast. This partnership brings Bloomberg-created content to listeners and advertisers and we look forward to building on this successful partnership with Entercom.”
Townsquare Media Repurchases Oaktree Capital Management’s Stake in Company. Spending $80.4 million in cash, Townsquare Media, Inc repurchases the entirety of Oaktree Capital Management L.P.’s 12.6 million shares and warrants of the company at $6.40 per security and retires those securities. Townsquare repurchases 100% of Oaktree’s 12.6 million shares and warrants, comprising 1.6 million shares of Class A common stock, 2.2 million shares of Class B common stock, and 8.8 million warrants. The purchase price of $6.40 per security reflects a 39% discount to the closing price of the Class A common stock on Tuesday, March 9, 2021, and a 19% discount to the pre-announcement share price. In addition, Townsquare will pay Oaktree a $4.5 million consent fee related to the transaction in four installments, the first of which is due on April 1, 2021. Following the repurchase, Townsquare has approximately 16 million securities outstanding, inclusive of common stock and warrants. Townsquare CEO Bill Wilson says, “We could not be more pleased to share that given our strong cash position, we were able to repurchase 100% of Oaktree’s ownership interests in Townsquare, capturing a strong return for our shareholders. This is a beneficial transaction for our investors and the company. The Oaktree share repurchase is significantly accretive on an earnings per share and free cash flow per share basis in 2021, and entirely eliminates Oaktree’s ownership overhang for current and potential shareholders. We thank Oaktree for their long-term support of our company. We look forward to discussing our fourth quarter and year-end 2020 results as well as our first quarter 2021 outlook on our earnings call next week.”
Appleton Rock Station Fires Host for Limbaugh Comments. Rock WAPL-FM, Appleton, Wisconsin has fired longtime morning drive co-host Len Nelson, two weeks after it suspended him for a social media post in which, after opining about Rush Limbaugh’s effect on conservative politics, he closed with the statement “the world is a better place without Rush Limbaugh.” Nelson announced his dismissal with the following Facebook post: “My longtime WAPL radio partner, Rick McNeal, posted some nice words which I’m sharing here regarding my firing today and about our years together. I could not have asked for a better person, nor one more funny than he to have worked with. I am sad that it ends this way and that it puts so much pressure on Rick and the rest of my coworkers. But Rick is resilient, and our fans should rally to him as so many of you have rallied to me. Like I said in my previous post here, none of the air and sales staffs should be blamed for any of this. I put them in this situation, and I will regret that forever. As listeners and advertisers, you can make your own decisions but, in the end, WAPL and Woodward Radio Group are made up of lots of fine people with whom I shared decades of fun and profit. That hasn’t changed. Give them the respect they deserve and give Rick and Carol and whomever else will comprise the new morning crew a chance to entertain you and to serve you as clients. I know Rick is up to the challenge as is the rest of the WAPL team. Very little individual success ever happens without a team effort and I was fortunate to have a great team on which to play. I sincerely thank each of them for that.”
WABC, New York Officially Announces Greg Kelly Joins Station. In a move that was first revealed in the New York Post, Red Apple Media’s news/talk WABC, New York brings Greg Kelly aboard to host the station’s 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm program. Kelly is also host of the 7:00 pm ET “Greg Kelly Reports” program on Newsmax TV. Kelly is a former U.S. Marine who has served with television outlets NY1 and WNYW-TV “Fox 5 News” in New York. Red Apple Media CEO John Catsimatidis says, “Greg Kelly is a broadcast veteran with a tremendous portfolio of experience in media. He is dynamic on the air, entertaining, and will bring listeners what they want to hear in a style that is uniquely his own. Greg Kelly is a terrific addition to our daytime radio programming and will bring along with him a loyal audience who appreciates his perspective on the political current events. We are happy to have him aboard.” Kelly is filling in for Curtis Sliwa, who is running for mayor of New York. Regarding Sliwa’s status with WABC, the station previously said, “77 WABC celebrates what is great about America. We support our democracy and our right to vote, fair elections, and the American process. It is with that in mind that, while Curtis Sliwa is a candidate for the Office of the Mayor of New York City, his radio show, podcast, and all related contributions to 77 WABC Radio are on hiatus.” Catsimatidis added, “WABC recently received notice that a longtime member of our WABC family, Curtis Sliwa, is officially running for mayor. Therefore, Curtis is currently on leave pending his mayoral bid. We wish him and all of the candidates good luck in the upcoming race. If Curtis is not successful, we look forward to him rejoining the WABC family.”
Entercom Announces Acquisition of Podcorn. This transaction puts the value of Podcorn at $22.5 million with an upfront cash payment of $14.6 million and a performance-based earnout over the next three years. Podcorn is a self-service marketplace that allows podcasters to connect with advertisers for native sponsorships. Entercom chairman, president, and CEO David Field says, “The acquisition of Podcorn expands Entercom’s product offering for advertisers and builds on our position as one of the country’s three largest podcast publishers and the #1 creator of original, premium audio content. By making it easier for brands to collaborate with targeted podcast creators of all sizes, we are addressing an important market opportunity in the fastest growing segment of media.” Podcorn’s marketplace includes nearly 40,000 creators and has facilitated thousands of podcast ad campaigns. Podcorn creates an infrastructure for enabling direct podcaster and advertiser relationships, surfacing the most relevant matches to scale native branded content, drive higher ROI for brands, and enhance how podcast creators monetize their content. Podcorn was founded by Agnes Kozera and David Kierzkowski following the successful acquisition by Google of their previous company FameBit, a marketplace for video influencers where brands and YouTube stars collaborated for branded content. Kozera and Kierzkowski will continue to lead Podcorn, joining Entercom’s leadership team. Kozera says, “Given the success that podcasters and brands have seen on Podcorn, we’re excited to join Entercom’s growing audio platform to accelerate our vision and help brands and podcasters succeed in an even bigger way. Together, we hope to provide the most effective podcast influencer marketing solution for brands and become the largest driver of brand deals for podcasters of all sizes.” Entercom chief digital officer J.D. Crowley adds, “Remarkably, only a fraction of podcasts generate revenue. We want to change that. Bringing together independent creators, chart-topping talent, and advertisers under one roof – and providing the tools to streamline collaboration, transparency and efficiency – provides greater value for advertisers, creators and listeners alike.”
TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated “John Batchelor Show,” emanating from Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York, leaves Westwood One and is now being syndicated by CBS News. There’s not much information available as this was done quietly, but Batchelor affiliate stations tell TALKERS magazine the change happened earlier this week…..Twin Cities radio personality, sports writer and producer Dana Wessel is joining Cumulus Media’s active rock KXXR “93X” as executive producer of the “Half-Assed Morning Show.” Wessel previously served with iHeartMedia’s sports talk KXFN-FM “K-FAN,” and Hubbard Radio’s KSTP-AM…..SiriusXM announces that “Information Overload with Vernon Reid” launches on Friday (3/12) on the Volume channel. On the monthly program, musician and Living Colour guitarist Reid sits down with artists, authors, and celebrities to explore how the power of music can help in healing and creating change. Reid will explore topics from racism and social unrest to cultural moments and the onslaught of information and misinformation in social media.
COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Relaxed Mandates & School Openings, Stimulus Package, Andrew Cuomo Sexual Harassment Allegations, U.S. Border Chaos, Newsom Recall, and British Royals Interview Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/9). The number of positive COVID cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, and the rollout of vaccines; the several states relaxing mask and occupancy mandates and the push for full school openings; Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package goes back to the House; the growing number of allegations of sexual harassment against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo; the growing migrant chaos at the U.S.-Mexico border; the recall effort against California Governor Gavin Newsom; and the aftermath of Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s interview with Oprah were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.