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Thursday, July 22, 2021

| July 22, 2021

Larry Elder Prevails in Suit to Get on California Recall Ballot. California-based Salem Radio Network talk host Larry Elder is on the official ballot for the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom after California Superior Court Judge Laurie Earl sided with Elder in his suit against Secretary of State Shirley Weber. Weber’s office said Elder’s five years of tax returns were improperly filed or redacted and he would not be allowed on the September 14 ballot. In his suit, Elder argued that the 2019 law requiring gubernatorial candidates to provide five years of tax returns applies to candidates in a “direct primary election,” and this recall is not a primary election and Judge Earl agreed, saying, “I don’t find that Mr. Elder was required to file tax returns at all.” Elder also argued that since Governor Newsom did not have to provide tax returns, Elder was not being afforded equal protection under the law. There will be 43 candidates on the September ballot.

Bob Philips Named President of Audacy Networks and Multi-Market Sales. In a memo to company employees, Audacy chief operating officer Susan Larkin announces that chief revenue officer Bob Philips is assuming the new role of president of Audacy Networks and Multi-Market Sales. She says, “We believe Bob will deliver significant revenue impact and client outcomes by focusing on growing our network and multi-market sales businesses as we continue to execute our market growth strategy. As chief revenue officer, Bob was a catalyst for innovation and growth. Under his leadership, we streamlined multiple revenue departments, launched the Audacy Network and our in-house traffic network while also revolutionizing our approach to national sales, bringing new brands and bigger opportunities onto our platform. And, as the economy rebounds and local and national advertising return to pre-pandemic levels, Bob will build exponential value for our clients and for Audacy.” Larkin says the company is beginning a search for a new chief revenue officer immediately.

Townsquare Media Names Peter Van Den Heuvel Market President for Cedar Rapids-Waterloo. Media executive Peter Van Den Heuvel is joining Townsquare Media as market president and chief revenue officer for the company’s Cedar Rapids/Waterloo station group. Van Den Heuvel was most recently with Spectrum Reach. Townsquare Media SVP Todd Lawley says, “Peter has extensive multi-platform management experience which makes him a perfect fit for this role. I could not be more excited to have someone with Peter’s leadership and depth of multi-platform knowledge to lead our two-time ‘Market of the Year’ team in Cedar Rapids/Waterloo.”

BIA: U.S. Local Ad Spend to Hit $142 Billion. The consultancy firm BIA Advisory Services is revising its 2021 forecasts for U.S. local advertising revenue to $142.4 billion, up $4.8 billion from its November 2020 estimate. The projection is split between traditional and digital media but shows that the divide is narrowing, with traditional advertising only 8 % ahead of digital media that includes: mobile, online, over-the-top, email, and traditional media’s online ventures. BIA predicts local radio advertising will rebound somewhat to $11.7 billion in 2021 and $12.3 billion in 2022, with $.94 billion and $1.04 billion, respectfully, coming from digital platforms. The revised forecast also sees a 5.6 % increase in overall compound annual growth in U.S. spending in local ad markets and expects the amount to reach $157.1 billion in 2022 and $162.1 billion in 2023. While the digital media share will first leapfrog to 51 % over traditional media by 2023.

Journalists Andrea Bernstein and Ilya Marritz to Produce January 6 Podcast for Audacy’s Pineapple Street Studios. Former WNYC reporters Andrea Bernstein and Ilya Marritz, co-hosts of the podcast “Trump, Inc.,” announce they will be working with Audacy’s Pineapple Street Studios on an investigative documentary podcast series “that will trace the multiple failures that led to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.” The yet-to-be-titled series will launch in early 2022. Pineapple Street Studios co-founders Jenna Weiss-Berman and Max Linsky say, “We couldn’t be prouder to be working with Andrea and Ilya. We’ve been tremendous fans of their unique, ambitious style of investigative narrative audio for years, and what they are uncovering about the insurrection on January 6 will provide the context about that day and what led to it that all of us are so desperate to understand.”

TALKERS News Notes. WOKV-FM, Jacksonville and KRMG, Tulsa talk host Mark Kaye is giving away his new book to listeners for free. He says his anti-cancel culture book, The Woke Folk, is dedicated to his late on-air predecessor Rush Limbaugh. He says, “I just wanted to get this book out there. Cancel culture is already destroying important parts of our society. It must be stopped. I want everyone in my audience to have this book so we can continue to spread Rush’s legacy to as many people as possible. So, instead of selling it, I’m just giving them all a copy for free.”…..NuVoodoo Media Services announces the findings of a new study on COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among Americans, conducted on Tuesday (7/20) and supplementing its Ratings Prospect Study 18, fielded June 18-20, 2021. In Tuesday’s study of 1,318 respondents between 14 and 64 years of age, NuVoodoo found that COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy is highest among women and 25-54-year-old adults. On the flipside, the study further revealed that Hispanic Americans are the least vaccine hesitant of any population segment. NuVoodoo president Carolyn Gilbert comments, “Our June study was conducted about five weeks after the CDC gave the all-clear for vaccinated Americans to essentially return to a normal life, and feelings were most certainly running toward the optimistic side after 15 months of COVID-19 related restrictions. With this new variant of concern starting to impact case rates and hospitalizations, not to mention dominating the news cycle, we felt it important to provide the timeliest information, so our industry partners can make better informed decisions when planning the next few months.”…..Nexstar Media Group‘s WGN-AM, Chicago announces that Joe Brand is named the host of Chicago Blackhawks pregame and postgame shows and the weekly “Blackhawks Live” program, starting September 29. Brand takes over for Chris Boden, who was cut after four years. WGN sports director Dave Eanet says Brand is “one of the exciting sports broadcasters in Chicago. He’s been a key part of our Blackhawks broadcasts on WGN for several years, but mainly behind the scenes. Now, we’re thrilled that he can share his expertise, energy, and enthusiasm with Blackhawks fans on the air on a daily basis.” Brand has reported for the broadcast team and co-hosted both the “Blackhawks Crazy” and “Blackhawks 720” podcasts that originate from the WGN Radio studios.  Since joining WGN in 2013, Joe Brand has been a producer, reporter, anchor, and host.

COVID-19, Biden Town Hall, January 6 Investigation, Infrastructure Bill/Debt Ceiling Battle, Critical Race Theory, Extreme Weather and Western Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/21). The rising rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., vaccine hesitancy, and the return of mask mandates; President Joe Biden’s Wednesday evening CNN town hall; Republicans and Democrats battle over the January 6 investigation committee; the fight in Washington over the Biden administration’s infrastructure bill and the GOP’s refusal to raise the debt ceiling; the controversy over the teaching of critical race theory in public schools; and the extreme weather all over the world and the wildfires in the U.S. West were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

| July 21, 2021

Pete Kaliner Returns to WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte for Early Afternoon Show. North Carolina talk radio personality Pete Kaliner is joining Radio One’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte as host of the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm talk show, effective July 26. Kaliner, who has been hosting afternoon drive at iHeartMedia’s news/talk WWNC, Asheville, returns to the station where he spent a dozen years as news reporter and talk show host. Radio One Charlotte regional VP and market manager Marsha Landress says, “For three decades, ‘Noon to 3’ has been synonymous with an icon that is irreplaceable. We know that no one will ever replace Rush, and we’re not attempting to replace him. Bringing Pete Kaliner back to WBT represents our commitment to serving this community by utilizing his decades of experience in covering national issues and how they affect us here. We are excited by the future that having Pete on this team brings.” Kaliner says, “Returning to WBT is somewhat surreal, as it has been such a huge part of my life. Being a part of WBT for all those years meant being a part of Charlotte’s unique and inspiring story. WBT and Charlotte are inextricably connected by a century of history. I am sincerely humbled and honored to be entrusted to help contribute to the next chapters.” The station adds, “And, just as WBT has supported the community of Charlotte for over 99 years, Pete will join in this commitment to service by raising awareness to anti-poverty and animal welfare organizations as WBT approaches its Centennial celebration in 2022.”

Larry Elder Sues California Secretary of State for Keeping Him Off Recall Ballot. In a suit filed in California Superior Court, Salem Radio Network talk show host Larry Elder complains that California Secretary of State Shirley Weber has improperly applied the state’s election code that requires candidates for governor submit five years of tax returns. Elder is among a number of people who filed as a candidate in the September 14 recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom. Elder’s suit says that he fully complied with the code that requires filing of the tax returns and was informed by the Secretary of State that everything appeared to be in order and therefore the state’s Elections Code says it’s incumbent on the Secretary of State to correct any redacting errors that might have occurred. Further, Elder says the law requiring the filing of tax returns specifically applies only to “direct primary elections” so it’s debatable whether it applies to recall elections at all. Additionally, the way the law is being applied does not require Gavin Newsom to file his returns and this, Elder argues, violates his equal protection rights under California’s Constitution. Read the court filing here.

TALKERS Founder Michael Harrison Guests on 11th Episode of Limbaugh Tribute Podcast Series – Premiere Networks and EIB Network Presenting ‘Rush Limbaugh: The Man Behind the Golden EIB Microphone’ Podcast Series. This 12-episode podcast series is narrated by Rush Limbaugh’s longtime call-screener and “official show observer” James Golden, a.k.a., Bo SnerdleyPremiere Networks says, “The 12-episode series details legendary radio host Rush Limbaugh’s award-winning, 30-plus year career in radio that revitalized the spoken-word format and provided a platform for him to develop and lead modern conservatism in America. Featuring Limbaugh’s own words and never-before-heard stories shared by colleagues, friends and family, the series gives listeners a guided tour of the five-time Marconi Award winner’s historic journey from Cape Girardeau, Missouri to becoming the number one talk radio host in America. The series will also highlight Limbaugh’s lasting legacy.” Golden says, “The only blessing greater than working with Rush was knowing the man that he truly was. It is not only my honor, but also my duty, to help ensure his legacy is properly acknowledged. I want to thank Premiere Networks and the EIB Network for allowing me this profound opportunity.” Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott adds, “It is gratifying to share this incredible series with millions of Rush Limbaugh fans. Those who knew Rush best are providing an insider’s look at his life and career, presenting a true celebration and tribute to the greatest talk radio host of all time.” Michael Harrison states, “I am honored to be part of this magnificent project. Congratulations to the entire team at Premiere including the production wizards Phil Tower and Chris Kelly for their superb craftsmanship.” You can listen to the first 11 installments of this historic 12 part series including the latest featuring Michael Harrison and Salem Media Group VP Phil Boyce titled, “Talkers,” by clicking here.

TTWN Expands Relationship with The JOY FM. The Total Traffic and Weather Network announces an expanded newswire content partnership with The JOY FM. Under the agreement, TTWN will provide news, sports, show-prep and audio content via its 24/7 News Source wire service to The JOY FM’s 14 radio stations across Georgia, Florida and Alabama. TTWN says that with a completely redesigned all-in-one broadcast interface, 24/7 News Source provides its affiliate partners with market-customized text and audio news, weather, sports, and entertainment updates, including format-specific content and show-prep, plus the ability to instantly click-n-share stories via social media. TTWN SVP of affiliate sales Jack Dunkle says, “TTWN delivers custom solutions for all formats to meet our affiliate partners’ needs, including more than 200 Christian Radio affiliates.  We’re excited to expand our partnership with The JOY FM to provide more of their stations with trusted, premium newsroom content.”

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM is hiring Hollywood entertainment reporter Sam Rubin to contribute show biz reports to Steve Bertrand’s afternoon drive program on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Rubin is based at Nexstar’s KTLA-TV, Los Angeles and he also contributes to the NewsNation cable channel. WGN-AM vice president and general manager Mary Sandberg Boyle tells staffers, “These added resources help WGN report and tell stories that other audio platforms can’t deliver.”…..Compass Media Networks unveils the lineup of NFL games that it will make available to radio stations this season. The season starts on September 9 with the Dallas Cowboys at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Compass Media Networks says the schedule will feature a double-header every Sunday for all 18 weeks of the regular season along with full coverage of the Dallas Cowboys and Las Vegas Raiders…..3G Broadcasting’s WADK-AM, Newport, Rhode Island adds a translator to its broadcast at 101.1 FM. Station owner Bonnie Gomes says WADK can now operate 24 hours and they’ll be rounding out the program schedule soon. “We’ll make the announcement as our programming increases, but we’re still going to be the source for wide, local news, and a resource to the community. That’s who we are, we’re not going to change.”…..The Undefeated columnist, commentator and host Clinton Yates is leading a new The Undefeated and ESPN podcast, “Black History Always,” produced by Roj Grobes, beginning July 28. Yates says, “With ‘Black History Always,’ we’re looking to remind people that who we are as a culture is a living, breathing entity in all parts of American society. It’s not just history books and social media. The humans who make up the fabric and backbone of this country aren’t all superstars or slaves. We contain multitudes and everyone deserves to be heard. So, tune in.”…..RAB announces that the deadline for entries for the 2021 Radio Mercury Awards has been extended to August 23. For more information and to register, click here.

Jiggy Jaguar Interviews Stars at Exxxotica Conference. Pictured above is Transmedia World Wide talk host James “Jiggy Jaguar” Lowe (center) at last weekend’s Exxxotica conference in Chicago interviewing two adult film stars for his radio program.

COVID-19/Paul-Fauci Battle, Infrastructure Bill, Critical Race Theory, Trump Books/Trump and the GOP, Bezos Space Flight/Philanthropic Awards, Western Drought and Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/20). The rising rate of COVID-19 cases in all 50 U.S. states, vaccine hesitancy, and the Senate floor accusations between Senator Rand Paul and Dr. Tony Fauci; the status of Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill and Republicans’ plans to kill debate and negotiate a new bill; the ongoing backlash against teaching critical race theory in schools; the various books detailing the final year of the Trump administration and Donald Trump’s relationship with the GOP; Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ space flight and his awarding $100 million to CNN’s Van Jones and chef Jose Andres; and the drought and wildfires plaguing the U.S. West were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

| July 14, 2021

TALKERS 2021 Conference Video Posted – Panel Discussion, “Maintaining Integrity in Times of Political and Cultural Change.” The 10th video, under the direction of Art Vuolo, from the TALKERS 2021 Conference that took place at Hofstra University on June 11, is posted. This installment features the panel discussion, “Maintaining Integrity in Times of Political and Cultural Change.” Moderated by Lee Harris, morning drive anchor, WINS, New York, introduced by Brad Shepard, GM, Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA, and sponsored by ABC News Radio, the panel featured (in alphabetical order): Juliet Huddy, talk show host, WABC, New York; Dr. Lisa Mozer, talk show host WSIC, Statesville, NC/podcaster, “Teacher Talk”; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkLisa Wexler, talk show host, WICC, Bridgeport/probate judge, State of Connecticut; Larry Young, talk show host, WOLB, Baltimore; and Rich Zeoli, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia.  The major panels and presentations from TALKERS 2021 will remain posted on Talkers.com for the rest of the year.

Round One of June PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s June 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s June 2021 sweep covered May 27 – June 23. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets. In New York City, Audacy’s all-news properties are basically flat with WINS dipping one tenth to a 2.6 share (6+ weekly, AQH share) and WCBS-AM adding one-tenth to finish with a 2.5 share. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles remains ranked #3 even though it loses four-tenths to finish the survey with a 4.4 share. In Chicago, Nexstar Media Group’s news/talk WGN-AM slides to the #10 rank after adding one-tenth for a 3.3 share and Audacy’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM remains in the #2 rank after adding one-tenth for a 6.0 share finish. Cumulus Media’s WBAP-AM, Dallas tacks on two-tenths for a 3.6 share and climbs from the #12 rank to #9. Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta continues its run as the #1 ranked station even after shedding a half share to finish the survey with an 8.1 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways here.

SummitMedia Appoints Rick Parrish President of Omaha Market. Radio executive Rick Parrish is named president of SummitMedia’s Omaha station group that includes sports talk KXSP “AM 590 ESPN,” four music brands and the “Todd ‘n’ Tyler” morning show franchise. Parrish’s nearly 50 years of radio experience includes serving as market manager for iHeartMedia, Cumulus Media, and Cherry Creek. SummitMedia CEO Carl Parmer says, “We are very excited to have Rick lead our amazing team in Omaha. His wealth of experience, passion and competitive nature will serve us well as we move forward.” Parrish adds, “I’m excited to be a part of the leadership of SummitMedia Omaha. SummitMedia has an excellent team in Omaha that is dedicated to entertaining and informing our listeners and achieving outstanding results for our clients. I’m confident that we will continue to grow and receive exceptional results.”

Binnie Media’s SEALs By the Sea Event Raises $145,000 for Veterans. Pictured above are some of the 35 former and present Navy SEALs (including Congressman Dan Crenshaw who is fifth from the right) who took part in Binnie Media’s first annual SEALs By The Sea VIP Luncheon event on July 9. The newest addition to the Swim With a Mission Veteran Festival was held at the Wentworth By The Sea Country Club where more than 150 people showed up in support of Veterans, including generous event sponsors, Binnie Media staff, and the SEALs, their families, and their friends. Through the sale of VIP tickets and a live auction, Binnie Media’s SEALs By The Sea event raised more than $144,500 for the Navy SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce, as well as Trident Tuition Funds, and Swim With A Mission. Since its inception, Swim With A Mission has raised over $6 million for Veteran organizations.

‘The Dana Show’ Adds New Affiliate Stations. The Radio America nationally syndicated talk program, “The Dana Show,” starring Dana Loesch announces the addition of new affiliate stations to its roster, including: KIVA, Albuquerque; KJJR, Whitefish, Montana; KNFT, Bayard, New Mexico; KRSN, Los Alamos, New Mexico; KWOR, Worland, Wyoming; KODI, Cody, Wyoming; KIML, Gillette, Wyoming; WNIX, Greenville, Mississippi; and WULK-FM, Crawfordville, Georgia. “The Dana Show” is now heard on almost 250 stations nationwide. Dana Loesch is a regular contributor to FOX News and has been invited to provide election analysis on FOX, CNN, and ABC and has also appeared on HBO. She is the author of three books.

iHeartMedia to Broadcast ‘Global Citizen Live’ Event. The September 25 multi-continent event Global Citizen Live will be broadcast by iHeartMedia as the company is serving as the exclusive U.S. audio partner. Global Citizen Live will consist of performances from six continents with the goal being to “defend the planet and defeat poverty.” It will feature music artists, activists and world leaders taking the stage at iconic locations across the globe all in an effort to inspire global action and shine a light on issues ranging from equitable access to COVID-19 vaccinations, hunger, education and climate change. To help support this historic worldwide event iHeart will launch Global Citizen Radio later this month which will offer the latest news and information surrounding the event leading up to Global Citizen Live. iHeartMedia president of Entertainment Enterprises John Sykes says, “By bringing together the world’s most powerful leaders, music artists, cultural influencers, and the general public, Global Citizen has recreated the ‘Live Aid’ of this generation and is once again proving that music can encourage citizen action in the movement to fight extreme poverty. iHeart is proud of our deep relationship with Global Citizen and the progress they have made in the last decade addressing some of the toughest global issues of our time.” iHeartMedia’s six New York radio stations, including news/talk WOR, will again support this year’s Global Citizen Festival, the free ticketed festival that takes place on the Great Lawn of New York’s Central Park on September 25.

‘ESPN Chicago’ Personality David Kaplan to Lead ‘Walk As One’ Charity Event. Chicago sports media personality David Kaplan – host at Good Karma Brand’s WMVP “ESPN 1000” will lead the second annual “Walk as One” charity walk scheduled for Thursday, September 23, 2021. The event benefits Bernie’s Book Bank, which sources, processes and distributes free, quality children’s books to under-served children ages birth to sixth grade throughout the Chicagoland area. Kaplan will walk with Bernie’s Book Bank CEO Darrin Utynek for 24 miles hitting various stops along the way, including Guaranteed Rate Field, the United Center, and other stadiums across Chicago, to raise awareness and donations. In 2020, the event raised over $95,000 with around 350 donors, and this year, the goal is to raise over $300,000. ESPN Chicago market manager Mike Thomas says, “What Kap and Darrin Utynek were able to do last year, during a pandemic, to help Chicago’s under-served children was amazing. We are thrilled to partner with Bernie’s Book Bank again this year to make this fundraiser even bigger and to help more children. The new route to go to all the stadiums is really awesome.”

TALKERS News Notes. This fall’s college football broadcast schedule from Compass Media Networks is released. Compass kicks off this season’s slate of games on Saturday, August 28 at 12:30 pm ET with the Nebraska Cornhuskers @ Illinois Fighting Illini. The schedule features top-ranked schools from the Power Five Conferences: ACC, BIG TEN, BIG 12, SEC and PAC-12. Compass general manager of sports Michelle Salvatore says, “After a year of uncertainty and challenges, it’s great to see a return to normalcy. College football is a beloved pastime, and we are honored to continue our commitment to offering full productions of one of the greatest sports. Our schedule of games features the best action in NCAA football available. Once again, our team of talent, producers, and engineers at Compass Media Networks is ready to bring the best of college football straight to our listeners.”…..Today (7/14) at 3:00 pm ET, Nielsen is hosting a webinar to present the results from its Nielsen Audio Consumer Sentiment survey, conducted in June to provide an understanding of how people feel about COVID restrictions and the economy in their local markets. Nielsen’s Audio Consumer Sentiment Survey is an ongoing consumer study series addressing current American consumer sentiment around COVID-19 and media usage. The study includes insights about activities consumers engage in, including health, schooling, employment, and transportation. Additionally, the study includes new data about vaccines and people’s purchasing habits. You can register for the webinar here…..The RAB is presenting its next “Radio Sales Essentials” workshop focusing on how to develop relationships and provide solutions which guides clients to the next right step on July 27. RAB says, “A change in business requires a change in approach. This course is ideal for new and experienced sellers to learn, develop, and strengthen their skills-set to ensure an individual seller’s success and station’s long-term revenue growth.” Register for the workshop here…..Beasley Media Group signs with vCreative to use its suite of software products. As a result, all Beasley stations will use vPPO for commercial production; vPromotions for promotions, contesting and event management; and vTrade to manage their trade inventory. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley comments, “Our business has grown more complex as we have grown into new and innovative areas for our audiences and our advertising customers. vCreative’s solutions are essential to bridge the gap between what we promise and what we deliver, providing us with a best-in-class platform that enables our teams to have more time to do what they do best: create.”

COVID-19 Delta Variant and Vaccines, Cuba Protests, Voter Legislation, Senate Democrats’ $3.5 Trillion Budget, Haiti Assassination Investigation, and Airline Industry Woes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/13). The rise in COVID-19 cases in several states and concerns about the falling rate of vaccinations; the protests against Cuba’s government taking place in Florida; the battle over new, strict voter legislation in numerous states; the $3.5 trillion spending bill from Senate Democrats; the investigation into Americans allegedly involved in the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise; and the large number of cancelled and delayed flights affecting U.S. travel were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, June 25, 2021

| June 25, 2021

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Bridges, Roads and Condos,” looks back at this past week of June 21-25, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Mandy Connell, talk show host, KOA, Denver; Harry Hurley, morning show host, WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media GroupDr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkSid Rosenberg, talk show host, WABC, New York and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

WABC, New York Host and Former Trump Lawyer Rudy Giuliani Suspended from Practicing Law in New York. The New York State Appellate Division, First Department suspended the law license of former NYC mayor, former Donald Trump attorney, and current WABC, New York talk host Rudy Giuliani. The court ruled that Giuliani “communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump campaign in connection with Trump’s failed effort at reelection in 2020.” It added that Giuliani’s conduct “immediately threatens the public interest and warrants interim suspension from the practice of law.” The fate of Giuliani’s New York law license hangs in the balance as the court added, “We find that there is evidence of continuing misconduct, the underlying offense is incredibly serious, and the uncontroverted misconduct in itself will likely result in substantial permanent sanctions at the conclusion of these disciplinary proceedings.”

Audacy Unveils Sports Podcast Studio Building 2400Sports. The new podcast studio for production of Audacy sports podcasts is being launched. 2400Sports houses Audacy Sports’ digital audio content, including both new and existing original podcasts. It is the latest addition to Audacy’s podcast portfolio, which contains premium podcast companies Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Studios, as well as the recently acquired Podcorn. Audacy chairman, president and CEO David Field says, “We’re excited to launch a third major studio with a goal of building 2400Sports into the home of the country’s best sports podcasts. We look forward to developing elite partnerships, including our just-announced deal with MLB, to create truly special, riveting sports content.” In the new partnership with MLB, Audacy and the league will collaborate on the production and distribution of official podcast programming for the league and its clubs. The studio will launch with a new flagship podcast series in development that revisits baseball’s most dramatic and thrilling postseason campaigns. The first installment, coming this fall, will take a deep dive into the Chicago Cubs’ historic march to the 2016 World Series championship. Audacy will work with all 30 clubs to develop new podcast content. Also concurrent with the studio launch, Audacy announces a development deal with award-winning podcast producer Jody Avirgan’s Roulette Productions. Over the coming months, Avirgan will contribute to 2400Sports’ slate of programming by developing and creating new original shows across a range of sports and genres. From 2016-2020, Jody Avirgan was the executive producer and host of ESPN’s 30 for 30 podcasts.

KBLA, Los Angeles Adds Black Information Network News. The new talk station launched by Tavis Smiley – KBLA, Los Angeles “Talk 1580” – is adding BIN: Black Information Network’s national news service to its programming, according to Premiere Networks. KBLA will feature Black Information Network News’ :60 newscasts at the top and bottom of the hour, as well as breaking news, from experienced and award-winning Black journalists. Premiere says the news service is available on more than 40 stations nationwide and is “the first and only 24/7 comprehensive national audio Black News service dedicated to providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of continual news coverage with a Black voice and perspective.” KBLA president and COO Elston Butler says, “We’re excited to partner with Black Information Network News. We knew it would deliver the trusted news and information that is valuable to our listeners. Other news sources offered KBLA a nice piece of the news pie, but with BIN, we felt we would receive the whole recipe that our listeners deserve.”

Cumulus Media Completes $175 Million Debt Paydown. The company completes a multi-step procedure it began in May of this year to pay down $175 million of debt using cash on hand. Here’s how it happened: On May 17, Cumulus Media completed a $60 million repayment of its ABL Revolver due 2025, which represented the entirety of the amount outstanding under the facility. Following the paydown, the ABL Revolver due 2025 is undrawn and available as liquidity for general corporate purposes. On May 25, it paid down approximately $89 million of its Term Loan Credit Facility due 2026 related to a mandatory prepayment obligation arising from the company’s previously announced sale of land in Bethesda, MD, in June 2020 and sale of towers and related assets in September 2020. Pursuant to the terms of its 6.75% Senior Secured First Lien Notes due 2026, on May 26, 2021, the company launched a tender offer to repurchase approximately $26 million of the Notes at par, which represents the pro rata amount required to be offered from the proceeds of the Tower Sale. As of the expiration of the Tender Offer, approximately $3 million of Notes were validly tendered, accepted for payment and subsequently cancelled. Giving effect to the impact of the Tender Offer, approximately $450 million principal amount of Notes remains outstanding. Finally, on June 24, Cumulus submitted an irrevocable paydown notice to the administrative agent of the Term Loan to effectuate a required paydown of $23 million, which represents the remainder of the initial amount of the Tender Offer that was not validly tendered prior to the expiration date. Cumulus EVP and CFO Francisco J. Lopez-Balboa says, “As the improvement in economic and public health conditions continues to drive momentum in business trends, we felt it appropriate to accelerate several debt repayments in order to expedite our balance sheet de-levering, reduce interest expense, and increase our free cash flow generation. We believe this better leverage and free cash flow profile, more than $200 million of available liquidity and solid rebound trajectory are significantly enhancing our financial flexibility. Given our strong competitive position, proven execution track record, and numerous revenue growth drivers, we are confident in our multiple pathways to grow shareholder value.”

The Score’s Danny Parkins Leads Fundraising of More Than $650,000 for Food Bank. The Athletes for Justice’s Austin Harvest food mart project was the beneficiary of WSCR, Chicago’s “What About Chicago Radiothon.” The Audacy sports talker helped raise more than $650,000 for the charity launched by former Chicago Bear Sam Acho and its mission to erase a food desert and build a permanent facility that can fully service the community and those in need. 670 The Score brand manager Mitch Rosen says, “What a tremendous 24 hours. ‘The Score’ asked and the audience delivered for Austin Harvest to build a permanent food mart. I can’t thank our dedicated listeners, our score team, Danny Parkins who led all of us, and Sam Acho enough. We’re so proud to help support a great cause. Thank you, Chicago.” Parkins adds, “That’s the Chicago that I know and love. We saw a problem and helped to solve. So, when people ask, ‘What about Chicago?’ I want people to tell them the story of Austin Harvest, Sam Acho and ‘670 The Score.’ Thank you to everyone who donated and helped us erase a food desert and fund the construction of a permanent facility for Austin Harvest.” Austin Harvest is in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago and was originally a pop–up food mart that was a converted liquor store. The mart addressed a food desert in the city and was staffed as an after-school program three days a week by local kids.

‘98.5 The Sports Hub’ Raises $27,000-plus for Boston Children’s Hospital. The Beasley Media Group sports talk station raised more than $27,000 to benefit the Pediatric Advanced Care Team (P.A.C.T.) Unit at Boston Children’s Hospital via the 10th Annual Who’s Your Caddy? Classic charity golf tournament. WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” afternoon drive personality Tony Massarotti created the original event in memory of his nephew who was cared for by the P.A.C.T. Unit. Pictured above (from l-r) are: Massarotti, Chris L. and Erika O. from Coca-Cola Beverages Northeast and “The Sports Hub Golf Club” host Hardy.

Pompeo Speaks at National Religious Broadcasters Conference. Pictured above is former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (left) with Salem Radio Network VP/News & Talk Programming Tom Tradup (right) at the annual National Religious Broadcasters conference in Dallas. Pompeo warned the 3,500 attendees of the dangers posed by teaching Critical Race Theory in schools and applauded Christian broadcasters for “helping protect religious freedom and traditional American values in our nation.”

TALKERS News Notes. Former Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass is hinting at a return to the talk radio business after taking a buyout from the paper that’s been acquired by hedge fund Alden Global Capital and launching his own media platform johnkassnews.com. He currently is hosting a podcast called “The Chicago Way with John Kass” on WGN-AM’s digital platform. In the past, he hosted a talk show on WLS-AM, first with co-host Jake Hartford, then with Lauren Cohn.  Kass tells Chicago media writer Robert Feder, “I’m in meetings now with various broadcast entities to continue talking to people in Chicago. I think they might want to hear what I have to say.”…..Audacy announces that Mike Hoss is the new play-by-play announcer for New Orleans Saints game day broadcasts on news/talk WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans. Hoss will work with color analyst and Saints all-time leading rusher Deuce McAllister in the booth. Audacy New Orleans SVP and market manager Kevin Cassidy says, “When we started our search for the new ‘Voice of the Saints,’ the goal was not only professional play-by-play, but also someone with a deep connection to the team, the Saints amazing fan base and our community. Mike checks all the boxes. His extensive experience covering the team both on and off the field has allowed him to paint a front-row picture for fans over the course of his career, and we trust his knowledge will enhance our coverage on game days.”…..The GCN nationally syndicated “America Tonight with Kate Delaney” adds new station KTLR, Oklahoma City to its roster of affiliates…..Colorado Springs-based Way Media announces the addition of Steven Thompson as vice president of technology. Thompson was most recently VP of technology for Hope Media Group and KSBJ, Houston. WayFM VP of broadcast operations Jim Marshall comments, “The addition of Steven to the WayFM roster puts us in a position to further solidify our operations. He played a key role in KSBJ’s expansion in South Texas and I’m thrilled that Steven has joined our leadership team. He has a heart for God and a desire to excel in the technical arena. I love that combination.”

Former ‘Talk 106.7’ Atlanta Host Mike Brooks Dies at 66. According to a story in the Atlanta Journal Constitution by Rodney Ho, former WYAY-FM, Atlanta “Talk 106.7” talk host Mike Brooks died unexpectedly Wednesday (6/23). Brooks was a former police officer who also had served as a correspondent for CNN, among numerous other career ventures that included hosting a talk radio show on Cumulus Media’s former news/talk station “Talk 106.7.”

COVID-19 Vaccines, Goals and Delta Variant Top News/Talk Story This Week. The controversy over the vaccinations against COVID-19, the Biden administration’s goals, and the Delta variant combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was a tie between the blocking of the For the People voting bill and race relations, followed by the economy and the compromise infrastructure bill at #3. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

NEED A GREAT EXPERT GUEST? Newsom Recall Attracts National Talk Media Interest. The official word that Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) will definitely face a recall election has sparked interest in the subject of California politics at talk media outlets across the nation. Attorney/author Wayne Avrashow is a reliable non-partisan expert on the subject of California politics and is available for interviews on the Newson development as well as all things Golden State. He is a frequent contributor to RealClearPolitics and a California political insider. He has an extensive background in California politics, served on two government commissions, was chair of a Los Angeles County ballot proposition, and co-authored ballot arguments. He began as a campaign manager for two victorious Los Angeles City Councilmembers and later served as chief of staff. As a lawyer and lobbyist, he represented clients before numerous California municipalities and in Nevada and Idaho. He has lectured at Southwestern University School of Law and was an adjunct professor at Woodbury University in Los Angeles. He authored numerous op-ed articles that appeared in daily newspapers and in legal, business, and real estate publications. He authored Success at Mediation: 10 Strategic Tools for Attorneys, a book used by law students at the University of Southern California School of Law. And he is the author of a current Amazon best-selling novel Center Stage: A Political Thriller (2021, RealClearPublishing) about a rock star who runs for the U.S. Senate. His experiences in politics, government and business, and as a practicing attorney provide unique insight into the machinations and characters that populate political campaigns. His website is www.wayneavrashow.com. He can be contacted directly at 818-995-1100 or walaw@sbcglobal.net

Thursday, June 10, 2021

| June 10, 2021

TALKERS Magazine’s 2021 Heavy Hundred Published . The 2021 edition of TALKERS magazine’s “100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – a.k.a. The Heavy Hundred – has been published. This highly anticipated ranking of America’s talk radio hosts from the editors of TALKERS is published annually. TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey says, “This is one of the most challenging projects TALKERS undertakes each year. The large number of quality talk radio hosts working in America makes this job a very difficult one. While longtime talk pros tend to dominate the list, each year the Heavy Hundred reveals some new faces that prove there is fresh, new talent eager to undertake the hard work necessary to build a successful talk radio career.” TALKERS magazine congratulates the members of this year’s Heavy Hundred. See the list here.

Michael Cohen Exploring Wider Audience for ‘Mea Culpa’ Program. TALKERS learns that Krantz Media Group’s Gary Krantz is feeling out major groups and networks about a project featuring former Donald Trump attorney, New York Times best-selling author, and successful podcaster Michael Cohen, who is eyeing a wider, diverse, and immediate live audience for his “Mea Culpa” podcast. KMG is in the process of talking with the major groups/networks for a Monday – Friday show on terrestrial radio stations, networks, and platforms across the United States. The new show is an obvious extension and progression of Cohen’s podcast. “Mea Culpa Radio” is an insider’s discussion of the major news of the day in politics and government today and not biased to the right or the left. Recent guests have included Stormy Daniels, Donny Deutch, CNN’s Don Lemon, Rosie O’Donnell, Ben Stiller, and Adam Carolla. Krantz says, “We’ve been talking to Michael since before his book and podcast came out and the response is explosive. The time is right to take it to radio. He is the ultimate insider to the current narrative in our country and his perspective, knowledge, and ability to converse with the biggest newsmakers in the world make for extremely compelling radio.” “Mea Culpa Radio” will launch in the third quarter of 2021. Check out the podcast here.

Former RI Trump Chair Alleges WPRO’s Dan Yorke ‘Defamed’ Him. According to a piece in the Providence Journal, former Donald Trump Rhode Island campaign co-chair Gerald Zarrella is alleging that WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence afternoon drive talk host Dan Yorke defamed him. Though no suit has been filed, Zarrella’s attorney has filed a miscellaneous petition in Rhode Island Superior Court seeking to issue subpoenas and depose Yorke. This comes after a political fundraiser Zarrella was planning for Democratic Governor Dan McKee was canceled because McKee wanted nothing to do with anyone associated (or formerly associated) with Donald Trump and this was apparently discussed on Yorke’s WPRO program. The court petition says that Yorke “while on air, made defamatory and offensive statements about Gerald Zarrella which painted Gerald Zarrella in a false light and was stated with the intent to cause harm to his name, reputation and ethnic group from which he derives.” Zarrella tells the Journal, “I’m proud that I’m an Italian-American from Rhode Island. To portray us all as Mafia or crooked people, we’re not crooked people. We’re not crooked people. We’re sensitive people. We have families. We raise children. We pay our dues. I want to get the tapes.” Cumulus Media, WPRO, and Yorke have not commented on the matter.

Doug Stephan Show Adds Seven Affiliates. The nationally syndicated “DJV Show” – hosted by Doug Stephan – announces it has added seven new radio stations to its roster of affiliates. The program features Jen Horn and Victoria Keelan, along with Jai Kershner anchoring the daily “What’s Trending Report,” in addition to Stephan himself. It now airs in more than 325 markets nationwide. Stations adding the program to their lineups include: KTLR, Oklahoma City; WCAP, Lowell, Massachusetts; KUJ-AM, Walla Walla, Washington; WKCT-AM/FM, Bowling Green, Kentucky; and KLID-AM, Poplar Bluff, Kentucky. The program is syndicated by Radio America and is repped by Sun Broadcast Group and AdLarge Media. Doug Stephan comments, “It’s exciting to see the show continue to grow after all these years. We welcome these new stations to a new and different way to start their day.”

Bloomberg Beefs Up Washington, DC Coverage. There are a number of personnel moves to report from Bloomberg. Global head of television and radio Al Mayers announces that Jodi Schneider is taking over as Bloomberg TV and Radio’s political news director while Annmarie Hordern and Joe Mathieu are joining as Washington correspondents covering the White House and Capitol Hill. Bloomberg government senior congressional reporters Emily Wilkins and Jack Fitzpatrick will continue to contribute to daily coverage and round out Bloomberg’s air team with contributors Rick Davis and Jeanne Zaino. Mathieu joins Bloomberg from public media’s WGBH Radio in Boston where he was the host of “Morning Edition.” Prior to that, he was the morning anchor at WBZ-AM, Boston. Hordern returns to the U.S. from London where she was most recently anchor of “Bloomberg Daybreak Europe.”

Salem VP Phil Boyce is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Longtime talk radio executive, Phil Boyce, senior VP/spoken word format, Salem Media Group and Salem Radio Network is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Boyce, who also serves as Salem’s operations VP, New York region, which includes WMCA and WNYM “AM970 the Answer,” is one of the most influential news/talk radio programmers of the past quarter century having been a significant influence in the careers of dozens of leading personalities including Sean Hannity and Mark Levin. Before joining Salem, Boyce served as program director of such major stations as WJR, Detroit and WABC, New York in addition to an influential stint as VP of programming for ABC Radio. In a candid wide-ranging conversation, Harrison and Boyce discuss the basic tenets of talk radio as well as political aspects of social media bias, “cancel culture” censorship and principles of the First Amendment. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here. Phil Boyce will be one of 50 industry speakers at TALKERS 2021 tomorrow (6/11).

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WLS-AM and WGN-AM talk show host Roe Conn has joined the Office of Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart as a senior project manager in which he’s currently working on a crime analytics team specializing in vehicular hijacking and roadway shootings. Conn tells Feder, “It’s definitely an unexpected pivot, but Chicago is where I’m from and where I always want to be. It’s been the honor of a lifetime to be part of Chicago’s radio landscape – especially on two of the continent’s most legendary stations. But our town is facing a tough battle ahead and I couldn’t be more proud to get the chance to work alongside these amazing men and women who try to make our streets safer and our city better.”…..At 12:00 noon ET today (6/10), Premiere Networks nationally syndicated personality, political commentator and podcaster Ben Ferguson makes an appearance on FOX News Channel’s “Outnumbered.” He’ll be the #OneLuckyGuy to discuss the latest news stories and headlines for a full hour with the hosts, Harris Faulkner, Emily Compagno, Kayleigh McEnany, and Kennedy…..The Digital Division of Nexstar Media announces the promotion of Susan Parker to chief strategy officer/EVP strategy & data for the division. In this newly created role, Parker will oversee all data and strategy functions for the division that extends Nexstar’s audience insights into the digital realm…..PodcastOne announces it is now producing and distributing the “Innovation on the Edge with Microsoft Edge” podcast hosted by  Jordan Harbinger and television host and lifestyle expert Chelsea Briggs, who will trade hosting duties through the limited run series. “Innovation on the Edge with Microsoft Edge” is a weekly podcast that explores the cutting edge of Internet innovation and pop culture trends. Each of the ten planned episodes will dig into how people are currently using the web to innovate, notable ways in which it’s evolving, what its future might look like, and how we can create that future together.

Joe Biden’s European Trip, Kamala Harris’ Latin America Trip, COVID-19, Critical Race Theory, Ransomware Attacks, Keystone XL Project Abandoned, Alzheimer’s Drug Controversy, and California Drought Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/10). President Joe Biden’s meeting with European allies and his coming meeting with Vladimir Putin; Vice President Kamala Harris’ Latin America trip and her glib response to why she hasn’t visited the U.S.-Mexico border yet; the fast-falling rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., vaccine hesitancy and criticism of Dr. Tony Fauci’s emails; the blowback against Critical Race Theory in U.S. schools; the recent ransomware attacks and concerns about the vulnerability of America’s digital infrastructure; the developer of the Keystone XL pipeline drops the project; the controversy over the FDA approval of an Alzheimer’s drug that some experts say is largely ineffective; and the worsening California drought were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.