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Thursday, January 7, 2021

| January 7, 2021

Radio News Organizations Spring into Action to Cover Capitol Riot. Numerous news organizations were already on hand in Washington, DC on Wednesday to cover the certification of the 2020 election results and they quickly shifted gears as hundreds of Donald Trump supporters turned from protesting to rioting as they stormed the U.S. Capitol, overwhelming the unprepared Capitol police. Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup says that Salem Radio Network News and TOWNHALL News produced two extended, 15-minute special reports titled “Chaos At The Capitol” to provide their O&O stations and all affiliates the latest breaking news from Congress, even as the lockdown continued following security breaches earlier in the day. Tradup says White House correspondent Greg Clugston anchored the reports with updates from U.S. Senate correspondent Bob Agnew and U.S. House correspondent Bernie Bennett. Though both Agnew and Bennett were inside the Capitol when the breach happened, they were removed from their usual broadcast desks but were able to file their reports and update listeners using their cell phones. ABC News Radio offered breaking news coverage to affiliates as the invasion of the Capitol was taking place but also produced the special program “Chaos at the Capitol” that aired in the 7:00 pm ET hour anchored by Aaron Katersky with assistance from correspondents.

Townquare Media Completes $550 Million Senior Secured Note Offering. On Wednesday (1/6), Townsquare Media filed a report with the Securities Exchange Commission announcing that is has completed the sale of $550 million aggregate principal amount of its 6.875% senior secured notes due 2026 that it announced in December. Townsquare says that it used a portion of the net proceeds from the New Notes Offering to repay debt accrued under its term loan facility provided under the Existing Credit Agreement. The company also intends to use a portion of the net proceeds from the New Notes Offering, together with cash on hand, to redeem all of the Company’s outstanding 6.500% senior notes due 2023 on January 14, 2021, and to pay the premium, fees and related expenses. The New Notes bear interest at a rate of 6.875% and mature on February 1, 2026. Interest is payable on the New Notes semi-annually in cash in arrears on February 1 and August 1 of each year, commencing on August 1, 2021. Townsquare used a portion of the net proceeds from the New Notes Offering to repay borrowings under its term loan facility provided under the Company’s existing credit agreement, dated April 1, 2015. It also terminated its revolving credit facility under the Existing Credit Agreement and all other obligations thereunder were repaid effective January 6, 2021.

Save Time and Money in Public Affairs Programming. One of the requirements the FCC makes of radio stations is that they address “local issues and local problems” in order to serve the public. How stations do that is required to be part of their quarterly reports filed with the Commission. Shel Lustig, president of MediaTracks Communications, says that syndicated public affairs programming not only saves money but also saves time by including the quarterly reports the FCC requires. His company has been producing and syndicating award-winning public affairs radio programs for more than 30 years, with more than 1,200 affiliate radio stations across the country. He has more to say about the use of syndicated public affairs programs and you can read it here.

Radio’s Bob Lawrence Announces Retirement. Radio pro Bob Lawrence announces he is retiring from Revenue Development Resources after a 54-year career in the broadcasting industry. During that time, he’s been an air-talent, program director, and general manager. He served with the Radio Advertising Bureau for 14 years and spent the past six years with Revenue Development Resources. RDR president Mark Levy says, “I have had the great privilege of working with Bob Lawrence for 13 years, first at the RAB and then with RDR. During that time, he amazed me with his energy and the respect so many people in the industry had and continue to have for him. But even more than that, he never stopped learning, and he never was anything but nice to people. I know that last part is often brushed over, but it is truly something that made Bob stand out from so many others in this business. He’s been a cheerleader, a sounding board and a sage for so many people…the industry is certainly going to miss him!”

TALKERS News Notes. WGN-AM, Chicago is debuting “Blackhawks Live” on Monday (1/11). The hour-long program will air at 7:00 pm hosted by Chris Boden and Nick Gismondi. WGN sports director Dave Eanet says, “This is going to be a must-listen for Blackhawks fans. WGN listeners already know Chris and his knowledge of the Blackhawks, and we’re thrilled to welcome Nick and his Hawks expertise. Together they’ll deliver an insider perspective on everything from the players to the games.”…..Entercom announces that its campaign to raise funds for those without enough to eat raised more than $1.1 million – including a record-breaking one-day toll of $358,250 – as a part of the 35th annual Hungerthon campaign. Entercom’s New York stations – including sports talk WFAN and all-news WINS and WCBS-AM – partnered with WhyHunger for the campaign. Entercom New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “This year has presented all of us with unprecedented adversity and forced us to reflect on what’s important. Like we’ve proven time and time again, our ability to support one another in times of struggle is one of our greatest attributes as New Yorkers, and we are proud of our colleagues and listeners for coming together for our neighbors in need. As we’ve done since its launch, we are once again honored to support WhyHunger’s annual Hungerthon and the selfless mission to end hunger.”…..SiriusXM announced today it has signed a new agreement to become the exclusive audio broadcaster of the Masters Tournament. For the 2021 Tournament, scheduled for April 5-11, SiriusXM will produce and present live play-by-play broadcasts all four days of Tournament play from Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia…..WNYC Studios’ podcast “Death, Sex & Money” announces the launch of “Getting Real About Getting Older,” a special episode and live radio program “to create space to talk about aging – because we don’t talk about it enough in our society, and when we do, we don’t often do it well.” WNYC Studios says, “The project was inspired by a listener’s feedback that DSM host Anna Sale (who is 40) didn’t seem to understand aging. It was a comment that came in last year, at a time during which the value of people of a certain age was being challenged and questioned at every turn – from callousness surrounding seniors dying from COVID, to questions about Joe Biden’s competency for the job of president based on his age.”…..Nashville Public Radio’s WPLN News hires Paige Pfleger as the newsroom’s first arts, culture & music reporter. WPLN news director Emily Siner says, “Having this beat in our newsroom will allow us to give Nashville and Middle Tennessee’s arts and music community the coverage it deserves. Paige has the reporting and storytelling chops to show how the arts are a lens to understand broader civic and cultural issues.”…..GCN-syndicated talk radio host Dr. Daliah Wachs picks up new affiliate stations KBFI, Bonners Ferry and KSPT, Sand Point – both in Idaho – plus iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC as they add her show to their program schedules.

Trump Supporters Storm Capitol, Congress Certifies Biden Victory, Democrats Win Georgia Runoffs/Dems to Control Senate, and COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/6). Supporters of Donald Trump storm the U.S. Capitol disrupting the certification of Joe Biden’s victory; Congress reconvenes in the evening to certify Biden’s election victory; Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff defeat their Republican opponents in Georgia’s runoff elections, giving Democrats slim control of the U.S. Senate; and the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the rollout of vaccines were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, November 22, 2019

| November 22, 2019

Steve Bannon’s ‘War Room: Impeachment’ Airing on Newsmax TV. The one-hour, daily talk program, “War Room: Impeachment,” hosted by former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, is now airing on Newsmax TV at 9:00 am ET.  Bannon’s co-hosts on the program are former Trump campaign senior communications strategist Jason Miller and Raheem Kassam, former chief adviser to Brexit leader Nigel Farage.  They provide up-to-the-second analysis and commentary on the impeachment hearings of President Donald Trump.  Bannon says, “We will deliver information and analysis on the impeachment of President Trump to hard-working Americans as they get on with their busy lives.  The citizens of this country will be the real jury in this case, and it is vital they get the facts.”  The program is also being distributed as a radio program via Salem Radio Network.

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, 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 on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (11/22).  The new episode titled, “Poll Dancing with the Stars!,” looks back at this past week of November 18-22, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Jeffrey Kuhner, talk show host, WRKO, Boston; Dr. Dana Cheng, senior China news reporter, The Epoch Times; Thom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD Media NetworkRich Zeoli, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Tony Katz, talk show host, WIBC, Indianapolis; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show first airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm; followed by WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA. It also appears on the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

Six Honored at Gracies Leadership Awards Ceremony. At the annual Gracies Leadership Awards luncheon in New York City yesterday (11/21), the Alliance for Women in Media honored six female media leaders.  Honorees included: Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner, Entercom COO Weezie Kramer, Univision chief communications officer Rosemary Mercedes, TV One general manager Michelle Rice, Crown Media Family Networks EVP programming and network publicity Michelle Vicary, and E.W. Scripps VP employment & labor law and chief diversity officer Danyelle WrightKatz Direct president Chickie Bucco was honored with the inaugural AWM Legacy Leadership award.  Elizabeth Smart delivered the keynote address, sharing her captivating story of overcoming the trauma of her nine-month abduction, at the age of fourteen.  Smart said, “I don’t think that you are made by what happens to you.  I think you are made by the choices you make after things happen to you.”  She ended the speech, saying, “As I move forward with my life, I am dedicated to preventing what happened to me from happening to anyone else and continuing to empower women, and girls of all ages, as much as I can.”  Pictured here is Alliance for Women in Media treasurer and The Weiss Agency EVP Heather Cohen (at right) with Mary Berner and (at left) with Weezie Kramer.

The Impeachment Hearings Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 18-22. The week’s testimony at the impeachment inquiry against President Trump was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the 2020 presidential race and Wednesday’s Democratic debate.  Coming in at #3 was the Hong Kong Human Rights Act and U.S.-China trade relations, followed by the Prince AndrewJeffrey Epstein connection at #4.  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.

TALKERS News Notes. WFNI, Indianapolis “The Fan” program director and morning drive co-host Jeff Rickard is recovering after suffering a heart attack last weekend.  Rickard updated listeners via a tweet yesterday, saying, “I’m feeling a little better but have been missing here and on air after suffering a major heart attack last Saturday.  THANKS to all who have reached out and hopefully I’ll be back to work soon.  I’m going to go back to being quiet for a few days.”…..iHeartMedia news/talk WILM-AM, Wilmington, Delaware signs a deal with the Philadelphia 76ers’ NBA G League affiliate the Delaware Blue Coats to air play-by-play of all of the team’s regular season and post season games for the 2019-2020 season.  Blue Coats president Larry Meli says, “We are thrilled to bring Delaware Blue Coats basketball to the Delaware airwaves.  iHeartMedia Wilmington is a terrific partner for our program both in the broadcast sense and also from a community engagement perspective.  We’re proud of the commitment both organizations have to bettering the city of Wilmington.”…..SiriusXM is participating in WhyHunger’s Hungerthon 2019.  The online auction takes place now through Wednesday, December 11.  WhyHunger is a non-profit organization founded by the late Harry Chapin and led by executive director Noreen Springstead.  Hungerthon auction items include a trip to meet and see Billie Eilish in Los Angeles; a trip to meet and see Kenny Chesney in Arlington, Texas; tickets to see all four nights of Phish’s New Year’s Eve shows or their exclusive concert for SiriusXM in Philadelphia on 12/3; tickets to attend SiriusXM’s exclusive event with Billy Joel in Miami on 12/5; signed guitars from Taylor Swift, 5 Seconds of Summer, Alabama ShakesBrittany Howard, and more; autographed items that include a signed Rolling Stone cover from Camila Cabello; framed lyrics of “Too Good at Goodbyes” signed by Sam Smith; a helmet signed by Marshmello; tickets to the 2020 Daytona 500; tickets to the 2020 PGA Championship and much more.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Air personality Jason Howard is named co-host of “The River Morning Show” on iHeartMedia’s hot AC WRVE, Albany “99.5 The River” alongside current WRVE personality Tracy.  Howard – a graduate of SUNY Brockport – joins WRVE from Hurley’s Media in the Cayman Islands where he was OM and morning host.  iHeartMedia Albany SVP of programming Randy McCarten says, “Jason’s experience as an entertaining morning host along with his commitment to community involvement will be a great asset to ‘The River.’  Tracy and Jason have a chemistry that is just a lot of fun to hear every morning.”…..Westwood One appoints Nick Fox country program director for Westwood One’s 24/7 formats.  In this role, Fox will oversee day-to-day operations of delivering 24/7 programming to Westwood One country affiliates.  He’ll manage on-air talent while supervising music databases and support current and potential 24/7 affiliates.  Fox was most recently the program director and midday personality at Cumulus Media’s country WXBM, Pensacola…..Programming pro Nick Cash is named operations manager at Townsquare Media’s Killeen-Temple, Texas station group that includes country KUSJ, hip hop KOOC, urban contemporary KSSM, and classic rock KLTD.  Cash was most recently program director and afternoon host at iHeartMedia’s country KHGE, Fresno “102.7 The Wolf.”