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Thursday, September 9, 2021

| September 9, 2021

WOR-AM, New York Announces 9/11 Anniversary Broadcast. New York City news/talk WOR-AM will present a two-part, special broadcast to mark the 20th anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001 that “will aim to honor the victims of 9/11 and the courageous first responders that risked their lives following the attacks, as well as the resilience of New Yorkers.” Tomorrow (9/10), from 6:00 am to 10:00 am, a special edition of “Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning” will reflect on the events of that day with special guests including David Lim, a retired Port Authority police officer who was one of 16 officers to survive the collapse of the North Tower of the World Trade Center; Jed Bernstein, head of the Broadway League and an instrumental force in getting Broadway back up and running after the attacks; and John Feal, founder of the Feal Good Foundation and 9/11 first responders advocate. On Saturday (9/11), from 8:30 am to 10:00 am, WOR-AM news director Joe Bartlett will anchor live coverage of the memorial ceremonies at the World Trade Center. The show will also feature the entire 710 WOR-AM morning team that was on the air on September 11, 2001, including host Ed Walsh, iconic 710 WOR-AM traffic reporter George Meade, news reporter Mara Rubin, and morning show executive producer Natalie Vacca. Tom Cuddy is program director for the iHeartMedia station, and he says, “These two special programs are being quarterbacked by Joe Bartlett and Natalie Vacca, two long term members of the WOR programming team who were both working on our morning show on 9/11/01. Preparing for these broadcasts has been emotional and heartbreaking for our entire staff.”

Joe Pags Releases 9/11 Memorial Song, ‘Tuesday Morning.’ Nationally syndicated, San Antonio-based talk radio host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo has released a song he wrote, sang, and played saxophone on that commemorates September 11, 2001. Titled, “Tuesday Morning,” the song describes the daily routines most Americans were beginning on that morning before the World Trade Center and Pentagon were attacked and before a group of brave Americans helped down a jet in Shanksville, Pennsylvania before it could hit its target. You can listen to the song and watch the video here.

Art Vuolo Presents Updated Edition of New York City Radio’s Coverage of 9/11. Radio’s Best Friend Art Vuolo has posted a new, updated version of the video he originally produced in February of 2002. That edition of the video was just under 13 minutes. This re-edit is just shy of 20 minutes in remembrance of the 20th anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001. As Art notes, this is how the events of that morning were covered from a radio perspective. See the complete video here.

Newsmax to Present, “9/11: The Day That Shook the World.” This Friday evening (9/10), Newsmax will air its new documentary “9/11: The Day That Shook the World” at 9:00 pm ET. Newsmax commissioned the film with Fox Tail Productions. Award-winning filmmaker Jack Thomas Smith serves as one of the executive producers and the film was directed by Mandy Del Rio. It includes exclusive interviews with many of the key officials and players at Ground Zero that fateful day, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, former FDNY Commissioner Tom Von Essen, former New York Congressman Peter King, founder of the Guardian Angels Curtis Sliwa, Chairman of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation Frank Siller, and other guests who share their personal stories of loss, grief, and heroism.

Round One of August PPM Ratings Released. The first of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s August 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 August 2021 sweep covered July 22 – August 18. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets. Audacy New York’s all-news station WCBS-AM rises two-tenths to a 2.7 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) and is now the #13 ranked station in the market while sister WINS-AM dips one-tenth to a 2.6 share and falls to the #14 rank. In Los Angeles, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI is up one-tenth to a 4.1 share but falls to the #7 rank while Salem Media Group’s crosstown news/talk KRLA is up four-tenths for a 2.4 share finish and the #16 rank. Nexstar Media’s news/talk WGN-AM, Chicago rises three-tenths for a 3.4 share and is ranked #9 in the market while Audacy’s crosstown all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM loses a full share for a 5.7 finish and falls to the #2 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways here.

Pittsburgh-Based Talk Host Wendy Bell Launches Show in Self-Syndication. Former KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh talk radio host Wendy Bell, who also served in the past as a television news anchor for KDKA-TV, has begun broadcasting a daily, three-hour talk radio program that’s available via streaming and on the radio. She’s developed an app to listen to her program online and her program has been added to the lineup at Lightner Communications’ WRTA-AM/W253CJ, Altoona, Pennsylvania “Talk Radio 98.5” in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart.

Tim McCarthy to Exit WEPN-FM, New York as ESPN New York Operations Evolve. According to a piece by Andrew Marchand in the New York Post, Tim McCarthy will exit his general manager role at ESPN’s WEPN-FM, New York “98.7 ESPN New York” at the end of this month. McCarthy has been with ABC/Disney more than 30 years and previously served as manager for news/talk WABC when the company still owned it. This comes as Good Karma Brands is expected to assume operations of WEPN-FM and KSPN-AM, Los Angeles as ESPN looks to completely get out of the radio station operation business. Good Karma recently entered into an LMA to control sports talk WMVP-AM, Chicago. Emmis Communications owns the WEPN-FM signal and leases it to ESPN. McCarthy tells the Post that Disney has been very good to him over the years. “While it is bittersweet to say goodbye, I am excited and ready to begin a new chapter. The adventure continues! I am certain that our paths will cross again.”

Doug Stephan is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Long-time syndicated news/talk radio morning host, content producer and independent farmer Doug Stephan is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison and Stephan discuss the evolution of talk radio as well as the present-day factors that influence the way food is produced and distributed in America including climate change and the Chinese takeover of U.S. industrial assets. They also discuss the introduction of legal cannabis as an American agricultural product. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

G Networks Names Brian Pollina Director of Network Sales. National radio network G Networks announces Brian Pollina joins the company’s Ad Sales Team under Rich Baum, as a director of network sales. Pollina began his career with Audacy’s sports talk WSCR, Chicago and served with Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM before joining United Stations Radio Networks in 2008 as VP of digital assets and Midwest sales.  Baum says, “We are thrilled to bring someone of Brian’s talent on board to the G Networks team as we find new ways to dynamically reach audiences through our full-service portfolio of networks and syndicated shows. We are aware of the importance of creating engaging and compelling stories for our clients across various platforms, and Brian will be an integral part of that expansion as we strengthen and grow.”

Media Bridge Advertising Names Shannon Knoepke SVP of Marketing. Radio sales pro Shannon Knoepke joins Media Bridge Advertising as senior vice president of marketing. During her career, Knoepke has served as senior vice president and market manager for Audacy, as well as senior managerial experience at Townsquare Media, Cumulus Media and iHeartMedia. In this new role, Knoepke will serve on Media Bridge’s leadership team and her executive responsibilities will include helping Media Bridge’s clients plan the right strategies, achieve the most value and achieve the best results, as well as mentoring and developing talent within the agency. Media Bridge founder and CEO Tracy Call states, “I’ve always been blown away by Shannon’s intelligence, professionalism and integrity. She’s the perfect fit for Media Bridge on many levels. She’s also the latest proof that some of our best talent comes from other side of the media table. She knows what clients want. She knows what media companies can do. And she’s the best in the business as putting those two things together efficiently.”

Melissa Colon Named VP of Client Investments for Focus 360. Marketing pro Melissa Colon is joining Focus 360 as vice president of client investments. In her new role, she’ll represent Focus 360’s suite of products and national networks to agencies and clients across the country. She most recently served with Havas Media and has also worked for Westwood One. Focus 360 founder and CEO Phil Brown comments, “This is such an exciting moment for me and the entire Focus 360 team. We’ve worked with Melissa very closely for many years and have always been grateful for her unwavering support. To have her now join our team and help spread the word on Focus 360, speaks volumes to what we’ve been able to build for all companies who turn to radio for results.”

TALKERS News Notes. The NFL’s 2021 season begins tonight and Cumulus Media’s Westwood One begins its 35th consecutive year as the exclusive network radio partner of the league. Westwood One Sports will provide play-by-play coverage of the NFL’s 2021 national regular season primetime games including Monday Night Football, Thursday Night Football, and Sunday Night Football plus Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, the entire postseason, including the Wild Card and Divisional Playoffs, the AFC and NFC Conference Championship Games, the Pro Bowl, and Super Bowl LVI on February 13, 2022, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. Kevin Harlan and NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner return as the lead broadcast crew…..iHeartMedia New York and media mogul Charlamagne Tha God partners with Mental Wealth Alliance to recognize World Mental Health Day by hosting the Mental Wealth Expo, a free and open to the public event taking place on October 10, 2021, at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, New York City. Attendees will hear from experts on everything mental health, with curated panels on racial trauma and mental health, Black men’s mental health, Black women’s mental health and the role religion and spiritualty play in our mental wellness…..CNN Audio presents the first episode of season one of “Total Recall: California’s Political Circus with Dana Bash.” The first episode is titled, “Welcome to the Circus.” CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash takes listeners back to the origins of the 2003 California recall and talks with Arnold Schwarzenegger and the man he beat, Gray Davis, to learn why this election became such a circus.

COVID-19/Biden Speech, Afghanistan, Democrats’ $3.5 Trillion Reconciliation Plan, Texas Abortion Law, Justice for J6 Rally, Newsom Recall, and Jamie Spears Files to End Conservatorship Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/8). The high rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the battle over mask & vaccine mandates, and President Joe Biden’s planned speech to address the situation; the announced release of Americans in Afghanistan and the Taliban’s return to iron-fisted rule; the debate over the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion reconciliation plan that expands the social safety net; the blowback from the passage of Texas’ restrictive abortion law; public safety concerns about the planned September 18 “Justice for J6” rally in Washington, DC; the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom; and Britney Spears’ father Jamie files to end his conservatorship were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

| August 25, 2021

ESPN Radio Unveils New Weekday Programming; Max Kellerman Joins Morning Drive Show with Keyshawn Johnson and Jay Williams. The rumored move of ESPN personality Max Kellerman from the “First Take” TV program to the morning drive radio show becomes a reality as ESPN Radio unveils its new fall weekday lineup. Kellerman will become part of the new “Keyshawn, JWill & Max” show (6:00 am to 10:00 am ET) with Keyshawn Johnson and Jay Williams on September 7. ESPN says Kellerman will host a new ESPN television series with details on that to come soon. He’ll also continue to host his weekly boxing show, “Max on Boxing,” on ESPN2. The midday “Bart & Hahn” show hosted by Bart Scott and Alan Hahn adds an hour expanding to 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET. The afternoon drive show loses WNBA star and co-host Chiney Ogwumike whose ESPN duties will change to roles including college and professional basketball analysis on various platforms such as “SportsCenter,” “First Take,” “Get Up,” and more. Joining Mike Golic Jr. on the ESPN Radio afternoon show is Chris Canty for the “Canty & Golic Jr.” show that expands by an hour to 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET. The rest of the ESPN Radio lineup remains the same. ESPN SVP, production David Roberts says, “We are excited about these next steps as we continue to build upon the impactful lineup we debuted last year. These enhancements create even more cross-platform chances for hosts to better engage with fans throughout the day, while delivering timely, compelling content.”

Dan Patrick and iHeartMedia Announce 2nd Annual ‘The Next Great Podcast’ Contest. This year’s “The Next Great Podcast” contest is open for submissions through September 17. iHeartMedia and sports broadcasting legend Dan Patrick are again partnering on the contest that will give the winner the opportunity to produce a new podcast series of any genre – from comedy to true crime, sports to pop culture – and to work with the iHeartPodcast Network and Patrick to launch the new series. Last year’s contest – in collaboration with content creation platform Tongal – received nearly 1,800 submissions from creators of all ages from Albania to Zimbabwe and all geographies between. The 2020 winners were creators Lianna Holston and Siena Jeakle’s “Tossed Popcorn,” a new movie review podcast from a pair of friends who “don’t really like movies,” which debuted earlier this month. Dan Patrick says, “Our first year of ‘The Next Great Podcast’ exceeded my wildest expectations. What I most love from our contest is the incredible diversity of voices and range of stories that our amazing fans submitted from across the planet. I know that our second year is going to be just as incredible as the first. The Danettes and I can’t wait to hear them.” Creators are asked to submit a short synopsis and treatment that describes their podcast idea, along with links to past work and an optional audio trailer and pitch video. Pitches will be narrowed down by a panel of podcasters, led by head judge Dan Patrick, and 10 semifinalists will be awarded $1,000 to further develop their idea into a 10-minute pilot. These pilots will be shared on “The Next Great Podcast” feed in the fall for fans everywhere to listen and vote. iHeartPodcast Network COO Will Pearson comments, “Podcasting as a creative medium and launch pad for new talent continues to thrive. After the impressive results from last year that brought us ‘Tossed Popcorn’s’ fresh approach on movie reviews, we are excited to collaborate for a second year with Tongal to reach their impressive community of creatives as we search for 2021’s next great podcast.”

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago sports talker WMVP-AM “ESPN 1000, Chicago’s Home for Sports” announces a new multi-year agreement with Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana as the new naming rights sponsor of the White Sox Radio Network. ESPN Chicago market manager Mike Thomas states, “Partnering with the Chicago White Sox late last year was monumental for ESPN Chicago! Now, to partner with Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana to present the naming rights of the White Sox Network to White Sox fans throughout Illinois, Indiana and Iowa is remarkable. I want to thank Matt Schuffert and Joe Branchik and the Hard Rock team! I can’t wait to hear Len Kasper say: ‘The ESPN 1000 Hard Rock Casino White Sox Network’ each game for years to come.”…..Digital audio boutique Price Brothers announces that it has been tapped for creative and production services by voice dialogue platform Instreamatic. Price Brothers, a spinoff of longtime radio ad shop Oink Ink, was formed to meet the need for creative solutions for brands growing increasingly interested in new digital tools such as interactive audio. Co-founder Dan Price comments, “We’d been developing campaigns in the digital space for four years now and decided to carve-off a new entity that would focus solely on initiatives like dynamic audio and interactive, as well as podcasting. We wanted to position ourselves as the guys already doing great creative by the time brands would eventually become comfortable implementing the new technologies.”…..Motor Racing Network adds two content producers to its production team. Julian Council comes to the Concord, North Carolina studios of the Motor Racing Network from nearby Charlotte where he was an on-air host and producer at Audacy’s WFNZ “Sports Radio 610 and 102.5.” Trey Downey joins the MRN production team from Tampa Bay Buccaneers flagship radio station WDAE, Tampa where he was an executive producer, reporter, and host. The first race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs is the “Cook Out Southern 500” Sunday, September 5 from historic Darlington Raceway and will be carried live by approximately 350 radio station partners across the United States.

Larry Elder Campaign Gets Support from Street Artist Sabo. The boxing match-themed poster pictured above was recently published by Breitbart in a piece about the support Salem Radio Network talk host Larry Elder is getting from street artist Sabo in his campaign for governor in the recall election of Gavin Newsom. The posters have been spotted in numerous places around Los Angeles.

Afghanistan, COVID-19, SCOTUS Keeps ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy, Dems Pass Voting Act, Herschel Walker Senate Run, Kamala Harris Vietnam Trip, Western Wildfires, and Charlie Watts Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/24). President Joe Biden sticks to the August 31 date for withdrawal of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan as critics charge him with leaving Afghan allies behind; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., Pfizer’s vaccine gets FDA approval, & mask and vaccine mandates; the Supreme Court refuses to block the Trump administration policy requiring amnesty seekers to remain in Mexico during their application period; House Democrats pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act; former NFL star Herschel Walker announces bid for Georgia Senate seat as a Republican; Vice President Kamala Harris criticizes China’s “bullying tactics” during trip to Vietnam; the wildfires scorching parts of California; and Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts dies at 80 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

| July 15, 2021

Round Two of June PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s June 2021 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 June 2021 survey period covered May 27 – June 23. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Washington, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM dips four-tenths for a 3.6 share (6+ weekly AQH share) finish and the #11 rank in the market. Hubbard Radio’s crosstown all-news WTOP also loses four-tenths, finishing the survey with a 7.7 share and falls to the #3 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston sheds two-tenths for a 3.7 share but remains in the #9 rank while sister all-news WBZ-AM also dips two-tenths for a 5.7 share and again finishes ranked #5 in the market. In Seattle, Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM falls out of the #1 spot after losing seven-tenths and falling to a 5.9 share good for the #3 rank while Sinclair Broadcast Group’s all-news KOMO-AM/FM adds 2.2 shares to climb to the #1 rank on the strength of a 6.5 share finish. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets here.

FCC Denies Petitions by Larry Wilson and Paul Stone to Nix Alpha Media Applications for Assignment of Licenses. Minority stake holders Larry Wilson and Paul Stone filed petitions with the FCC to deny the assignment of licenses for the stations that will comprise the new New Alpha, whose pre-packaged Chapter 11 plan has been approved by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court. In a ruling handed down on July 13, the FCC’s Audio Division, Media Bureau denied both petitions, paving the way for New Alpha to emerge as scheduled. Wilson argued two points: 1) that the FCC’s assigning the licenses would authorize the restructuring of the company thereby causing him economic injury as a minority stakeholder; and 2) that Alpha officers engaged in corporate misconduct by taking actions – including filing the prepackaged bankruptcy plan – without a vote of the board of directors. (Stone’s petition to deny centered around the FCC’s foreign ownership regulations.) In denying Wilson’s petition, the Media Bureau ruled that he (as well as Stone) has failed to show he has standing in the proceeding since his arguments center around his private interests and not the public interest with which the FCC in concerned. It adds that Wilson’s complaint about corporate governance is outside the Commission’s purview and belongs in a state court. You can read the ruling here.

WCNN-AM, Atlanta Unveils New Program Lineup. From a report in the Atlanta Journal Constitution by Rodney Ho, Dickey Broadcasting’s sports talk WCNN-AM “The Fan” has made changes to its program lineup. First, joining the morning drive team of Brian Finneran and John Michaels are three station personalities from other dayparts. “Hometeam” Brandon Leak, Joe Hamilton, and Hutson Mason are joining the morning show on Monday (7/19) as the show changes names from “The Front Row” to “The Locker Room.” Midday host Buck Belue – currently paired with Mason – will go solo from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. The new midday show will air from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm and star Nick Cellini and Chris Dimino. The afternoon drive show hosted by Chuck Oliver and Matt Chernoff moves to the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm daypart and its producers, Brian Hoyt and Carlos Medina, will host a 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show called “Fun Bag” when Atlanta Braves games are not airing. Owner David Dickey tells the AJC, “We’ve got the deepest bench in town with local, live talent. It’s not about how many people are in the room. It’s about the right chemistry. It’s about the right energy. It’s about having the right diversity of voices to reflect the modern conversation about sports.”

Report: Good Karma Brands Talking with ESPN About New York and LA Radio Stations. According to a piece by Andrew Marchand in the New York Post, WEPN-FM, New York and KSPN-AM, Los Angeles owner ESPN is in “serious talks” with Good Karma Brands to have the latter operate those two stations as GKB is currently doing with ESPN’s WMVP-AM, Chicago. Marchand writes, “ESPN would make such a move to reduce the head count on Disney’s books, which is nearly 40 people. In New York, it would also alleviate some of the massive cost that ESPN pays to Emmis Communications to lease the 98.7 FM signal. That would effectively put the local business sales and marketing in Good Karma’s hands, while ESPN would retain oversight of the station’s content.” Marchand asserts that ESPN’s interest in radio is taking a back seat to its efforts in the podcast genre.

WGFX Adds ‘The Install with Greg Cosell’ to ‘104.5 The Zone Podcast Network.’ The new podcast platform branded “104.5 The Zone Podcast Network” from Cumulus Media’s WGFX-FM, Nashville announces a new program hosted by NFL analyst Greg Cosell called, “The Install with Greg Cosell.” The podcast is being co-hosted by WGFX-FM midday personality Buck Reising. The show promises to bring “a different approach and sound to how Cosell covers film, as Cosell and Reising go through NFL film that Cosell has watched, through a Tennessee Titans lens.” The show also covers the rest of the NFL. Cosell, a nephew of legendary sportscaster Howard Cosell, is the co-author of the book, The Games That Changed the Game: The Evolution of the NFL in Seven Sundays (ESPN 2011) with Ron Jaworski and David Plaut. WGFX program director Paul Mason says, “I am thrilled that Greg Cosell is partnering with Buck Reising to host ‘The Install with Greg Cosell’ as the latest piece to the expanding 104.5 The Zone Network. ‘The Install’ along with Cosell’s weekly appearance on the Zone with ‘3HL’ will allow him to take Titans fans to even more places.”

KSCO, Santa Cruz Owner Michael Zwerling is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast, Sort Of. One of the most colorful members of the radio industry’s endangered species list – the independent local radio station owner/operatorMichael Zwerling is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Zwerling (known to his friends, employees and station listeners as “MZ”) has owned the 10,000-watt Central California heritage news/talk flamethrower, KSCO AM 1080 for the past 30 years. He is widely known in the radio industry for his eccentric personality, tongue-in-cheek humor, prowess in NTR marketing and unwavering commitment to local, community-involved broadcasting. Zwerling, himself, hosts a weekly two-hour, Saturday morning, commercial-free program titled, “The Saturday Special,” in which he tackles a wide variety of issues while taking listener calls and interviewing guests. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison joined MZ as a guest on the show this past Saturday for a half hour segment that candidly addressed political correctness, the First Amendment, the state of media and the future of talk radio. The provocative conversation between Harrison and Zwerling recorded on that broadcast is the basis for this week’s installment of “The Michael Harrison Interview.” So, in a sense, Harrison actually serves as Zwerling’s guest on this week’s podcast. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

COVID-19 Delta Variant & Vaccines, Trump and the GOP/New Trump Book, January 6 Investigation, Senate Democrats’ Budget, Cuba Protests, Voting Legislation, Western Heat and Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/14). The surge of COVID-19 cases in several U.S. states and the stalling rate of vaccinations; former President Donald Trump’s relationship with the Republican Party and the new Trump book, I Alone Can Fix It; the House panel to investigate the January 6 attack on the Capitol; the Senate Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget; the protests taking place in Cuba and in Florida’s Cuban community; controversy over the new, stricter voting policies enacted in several states; and the Western heatwave and wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

| June 24, 2021

Bill O’Reilly is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Longtime radio and TV commentator, as well as prolific author, Bill O’Reilly is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” The conversation took place during a “fireside chat” at the recent TALKERS 2021 conference held June 11 at Long Island’s Hofstra University. The conference was presented in association with Hofstra’s renowned student-run radio station, WRHU. Harrison and O’Reilly discuss topics geared to an audience of professional broadcasters and serious students of communication that include the state of the book publishing industry and its relationship to broadcasters; the shrinking attention span of the younger generations induced by digital technology; maintaining credibility with the core audience without compromising your values or the truth; the state of corporate media in America; and details about his forthcoming limited engagement arena “History Tour” with former President Donald Trump. Don’t miss this! To listen to the interview in its entirety, click here.

WVNN, Huntsville Announces New Program Lineup. Huntsville, Alabama news/talk WVNN-AM/FM announces the new program schedule that will take effect on July 5. Morning personality and station PD Dale Jackson will get a bit of a break as his program will air from 5:00 am to 9:00 am instead of ending at 11:00 am as it does right now. Moving from afternoons to the 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot is Michael Yaffee. Westwood One’s Dan Bongino will air from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm on the Cumulus Media station and former Alabama State Senator Phil Williams will host the news 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm “Rightside Radio” show.

Video Coverage of TALKERS 2021 Begins Next Monday June 28. Every keynote speech, fireside chat, special presentation and panel discussion that took place at the recent 24th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running, largest and most important national convention – TALKERS 2021 at Hofstra University – was recorded under the direction of renowned industry videographer and chronicler Art Vuolo. These videos will be posted one per business day beginning next Monday June 28, right here on Talkers.com. If you were unable to attend the event in person, you will not want to miss the opportunity to take in some of the most pertinent industry conversation about the state of radio, talk programming, and related media to take place since the start of the pandemic.

RTDNA Local News Diversity Report Released. The latest segment of the RTDNA/Newhouse School at Syracuse University Survey has been released and it focuses on local news diversity in television and radio. The study concludes that “radio newsrooms now include the highest percentage of people of color in radio since 1998 – and the second highest percentage ever – but nearly 85% of the radio news workforce is still white. The local radio news workforce is 15.8% Black, Indigenous or people of color overall, up just under half a percent. Public radio is significantly more representative, for both women and people of color, than commercial radio news. Public radio newsrooms are 78.8% white compared to commercial newsrooms which are 91.7% white. Representation in radio news improved over the last year for news staff identifying as Native American or Hispanic/Latino, but slipped slightly for African American and Asian American radio staff.” When it comes to radio news management, the study finds that “representation of people of color increased marginally among radio news directors, from 7.1% to 7.2%. This year saw higher percentages of radio news directors who are African American or Hispanic/Latino, but fewer who are Native American.” Looking at women in radio news management, the study concludes that “there are fewer women radio news directors this year, down 3.5 percentage points from close to a third to just over a quarter. The public-commercial gap in representation grew, with women better represented than last year at public stations, but worse at commercial ones. Public radio women news directors now outpace commercial women radio news directors by 18 points.” See the study here.

Audacy Study: Optimizing Audio Increases Return on Ad Spend. The results of a recent study conducted in partnership between Audacy and Neustar titled, “The Audio Amplification: The Return on Ad Spend,” indicates that “a slight shift of advertiser dollars to optimize audio brings significant returns across various industries.” The study assessed the impact of optimizing audio elements, both over-the-air (OTA) and digital audio, of more than 40 national advertisers’ media mix performance. The analysis reveales that a 1.2% shift of media investment to audio would surge brands’ return on audio ad spend by as much as 23%. Across multiple industries, Audio is a high-performance player, having a direct and significant impact on results while boosting other media’s performance – primarily propelling TV, paid search, and online video. Audacy SVP, research and insights Idil Cakim says, “In today’s cluttered landscape, reach alone is not enough to break through, engage and convert. Brands need meaningful connections with their audiences through all the moments that matter and we know that audio powers up media plans. This study shows optimizing OTA and digital audio in the media mix catapults sales to new heights.” Neustar consultant Kayla Coutts adds, “Our findings revealed that there are still untapped ad opportunities in audio media, across key verticals that can be leveraged to drive marketing performance. As consumer needs continue to shift, it’s become increasingly critical that marketers ensure they are constantly evaluating their media spend in relation to these consumer trends so as to ensure they are maximizing the value of their media investments.”

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago sports talker WMVP-AM “ESPN 1000” announces that the station is available to listeners via a new HD2 channel at 100.3 FM. ESPN Chicago market manager Mike Thomas says, “HD Radio has been around since 2002, and today over 50% of new cars have HD Radio as standard equipment. Our partnership with Hubbard Chicago will allow fans to hear our ESPN 1000 shows and White Sox baseball in crystal clear, digital FM. As of today, you can listen to Chicago’s Home for Sports on ESPN 1000, 100.3 HD2 and on your phone from anywhere on the ESPN Chicago app!” The deal with Hubbard Radio allows “ESPN 1000” to broadcast on adult contemporary WSHE-FM’s HD2 channel…..Audacy and the NFL’s New England Patriots announce a multi-year extension to their broadcast partnership. The agreement includes the exclusive continuation of “Patriots Monday” and “Patriots Friday” programming, headlined by New England Patriots six-time Super Bowl champion head coach Bill Belichick and Patriots players on WEEI, Boston. The partnership between WEEI and the Patriots began in 1995. Audacy Boston SVP and market manager Tim Clarke says, “We’re delighted to extend our longstanding partnership with the New England Patriots and continue giving Patriots fans exclusive access to their favorite team every week. We look forward to Coach Belichick and multiple veteran leaders providing perspective and game analysis that only they can share every week on WEEI.”…..Boston public media outlet WBUR reveals Scott Tong is the new co-host of NPR and WBUR’s midday news program “Here & Now.” The program is syndicated to 477 NPR stations nationwide. Tong, who starts his new gig on July 12, has served with “Marketplace” for the past 16 years. “Here & Now” executive producer Carline Watson says, “I am thrilled and excited that Scott is joining our host lineup. The depth of his journalism, his extensive reporting experience and his willingness to be a guide for the listener will complete our already outstanding team comprised of Tonya Mosley and Robin Young.”…..PodcastOne announces that it is teaming up with writer/director Barbara Schroeder (Netflix’s “Evil Genius”) to produce and distribute another true crime podcast titled, “Bad, Bad Thing.”  The six-episode podcast, written and hosted by Schroeder, tells the story of a loving wife, Jennair Gerardot, who spirals into darkness when she suspects that her husband of 24 years, Mark, is having an affair with his dynamic, younger and beautiful boss…..2021 Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves sits down for a one-on-one interview with former Indianapolis Colts All-Pro punter Pat McAfee for a special “virtual” SiriusXM Town Hall event with an audience of SiriusXM listeners and race fans. The hour-long broadcast event airs on tonight (6/24) at 6:00 pm ET.

Infrastructure Deal, COVID-19, Urban Crime Spike, Big Tech Censorship-Monopolies, Border Crisis-Harris Criticism, SCOTUS Cheerleader Ruling, Afghanistan Pullout, Britney Spears Guardianship Case, and Western Drought/Heatwave Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/23). The Senate and the White House agree on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill compromise; the rate of vaccinations in the U.S., concerns about the Delta variant, and worries about vaccine side effects; the soaring rate of violent crime in America’s urban areas; claims of bias against conservatives by big tech and the drafting of the Ending Platform Monopolies Act; the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and criticism of Vice President Kamala Harris’ failure to visit the border; the Supreme Court rule in favor of the high school cheerleader who was suspended for swearing in an off-campus social media post; the Taliban’s resurgence as the U.S. exits Afghanistan; the Britney Spears guardianship case; and the Western drought and heatwave were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

| February 18, 2020

Beasley Broadcast Group 2019 Q4 Net Revenue Dips 4.6%; Full Year Net Revenue Up 1.6%.  In reporting 2019 fourth quarter financial results, Beasley Broadcast Group states that “the $3.5 million, or 4.6%, year-over-year decrease in net revenue during the three months ended December 31, 2019 reflects the cyclical impact of strong political advertising revenue recorded in the prior year period, partially offset by fourth quarter 2019 revenue increases in six of the company’s market clusters.”  The decrease in operating income in Q4 reflects “the year-over-year decrease in station operating income, in addition to higher corporate expenses related to digital growth investments and a $12.4 million non-cash impairment charge related to Beasley’s AM stations in Boca Raton and Atlanta and a $1.3 million impairment loss on an investment, partially offset by a $17.1 million gain from land and tower sales during the period.”  Net revenue for all of 2019 was $261.1 million, an increase of 1.6% over 2018.  Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “Fiscal year 2019 was an active and productive period for Beasley as we continued to make significant progress rolling out our digital expansion and transformation initiatives across the company, while advancing our revenue diversification strategies and actively managing our local radio platform to drive long-term SOI growth and margin expansion. Beasley’s fourth quarter net revenue decline of $3.5 million primarily reflects a $2.8 million reduction in political advertising revenue compared to the prior year period. While we were not able to fully offset the cyclical impact of political revenue, the fourth quarter radio advertising environment remained healthy with six of our markets generating year-over-year revenue increases.  By opportunistically divesting several non-core land and tower assets in 2019, Beasley generated a 31% increase in full year free cash flow over the prior year period, which enabled us to complete several strategic growth and diversification investments in our broadcast, digital, technology and esports platforms throughout the year.  Our fourth quarter results highlight the value we have begun extracting from our digital transformation strategy investments.  In the fourth quarter, Beasley generated digital revenue growth of approximately 44% on a year-over-year basis, with digital now accounting for 9.2% of total revenue, compared to 6.1% of total revenue in the prior year period.  With our focus on quality content production and consumer engagement, we are growing audience share across our digital platforms while delivering multi-platform turnkey marketing solutions to advertisers and brands. Overall, we are pleased with the momentum and trajectory of our digital initiatives and look forward to this growth trend continuing in 2020.”

Jim Louth Rises to APD at Boston’s ‘98.5 The Sports Hub.’ Eleven-year station programming staffer Jim Louth is promoted from midday show executive producer to assistant program director at Beasley Media Group’s sports talker WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub.”  During his career, Louth produced New England Patriots broadcasts for 16 seasons, spent six years as a producer at sports talk WSKO-AM, Providence “790 The Score,” and two years at ESPN in Bristol.  The APD position opened after Rick Radzik was promoted to program director following Mike Thomas’ departure for WMVP-AM, Chicago “ESPN 1000.”  Radzik says, “Jim has been with the station since day one.  He’s done a great job, not only producing our midday programming, but also overseeing our New England Patriots game day broadcasts over the past decade.  His institutional knowledge of the Sports Hub’s operation and relationships with the staff make Jim the perfect choice for the APD position.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new report from marketing firm Claritas and sales force Market Enginuity concludes that “podcast advertising campaigns result in an average 10 times lift relative to print, digital, and TV.”  The white paper reports that “new marketing tools are allowing advertisers and marketers to gain deeper insights into the effectiveness of podcast channels.  In November 2018, Claritas acquired the omni-channel attribution platform Barometric and has since collected and reported on campaign results across more than 100 advertisers, which drove a deeper analysis in the channel’s effectiveness as compared to non-podcast channels.  This analysis, across industries such as consumer packaged goods, automotive, direct brands, finance and insurance, shows that while non-podcast channels historically result in a 2.6% lift in conversions – with common channels such as digital display at 1.1% lift, print at 2.4% and linear TV at 3.1% – podcast channels are driving 34% lift on average.”  See more here…..Cadence13 announces an exclusive partnership with The Dolan Twins – brothers Ethan and Grayson Dolan – for the launch of their first-ever podcast, “Deeper with The Dolan Twins.”  The Dolan Twins have a combined following of over fifty million followers across all platforms, have won five Teen Choice Awards in three years, and earned a spot on Time magazine’s list of Most Influential Teens.  The weekly podcast debuts on Tuesday, February 25…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One News has once again won the Golden Mike Award from the Southern California Radio Television News Association.  Pictured at right is Los Angeles-based correspondent Jim Roope, who traveled to Normandy for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.  This is the fifth consecutive year that Westwood One News and Roope have won the Golden Mike award.

Presidential Race, Covid-19 Pandemic/Locust Plague, DOJ Contoversy, Boy Scouts File for Bankruptcy, and U.S. vs Huawei Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/17). The Democrats battling to take on President Trump in November and tomorrow night’s debate in Las Vegas; the coronavirus pandemic and the locust plague that affected East Africa moves to China; the controversy over Attorney General William Barr’s administration of the Justice Department and accusations it’s reducing Roger Stone’s sentencing recommendation under pressure from President Trump; under financial pressure from sex abuse lawsuits, the Boy Scouts of America files for bankruptcy; and the U.S.’s battle against China’s Huawei over its 5G platform were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Girls Night Out.  A great conversation between longtime radio pals took place along the waterway in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida as Compass Media Networks senior director of news/talk affiliate sales Susan O’Connell visited TALKERS South during her travels through the Sunshine State.  Pictured (l-r): Former ABC Radio Networks executive Gloria Briggs, O’ Connell, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, and author/professor, Bernadette Duncan.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Detroit’s “Mojo in the Morning” show is celebrating its 20th anniversary at iHeartMedia’s WKQI “Channel 955” with a special broadcast on Friday (2/21). The program, hosted by Mojo and Spike with co-host Shannon, will be broadcast live on WKQI as well as sister stations WSNX, Muskegon, Michigan and WVKS-FM, Toledo “92.5 KISS-FM.”  Also appearing on the special broadcast will be original cast members Sara Fouracre, Chad Mitchell, and Eric Harthen.  iHeartMedia Detroit SVP of programming Tony Travatto says, “‘Mojo in the Morning’ is the Mount Rushmore of Detroit radio.  The talented cast and show are continually striving to do bigger and better things than before and have evolved over the years to connect even more with the Detroit community.  ‘Mojo in the Morning’ is one of the most accessible, cutting-edge, and successful shows in Detroit and we’re honored to have it on our program lineup.”