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Thursday, March 4, 2021

| March 4, 2021

Meruelo Media Launches HD Talk Station in Los Angeles. This new talk station broadcasting on KLOS-FM, Los Angeles’ HD2 signal is being programmed by “Heidi and Frank” show co-host Frank Kramer and for now airs a 24-hour loop of the morning drive program.  Kramer says, “I’m excited to bring all-talk radio back to Southern California. The listeners have been hungry for it since KLSX ended in 2009, and now that over half of the cars on the road have HD radios, it’s perfect timing.” Kramer adds, “The 24-hour loop is just phase one. In the coming months, my team and I will be adding original programming, special features and even more surprises. KLOS2 will ultimately become a full-fledged talk radio station, courting new advertisers and personalities. I appreciate Meruelo Media for trusting my vision to double down on personality-driven radio, and I can’t wait to get started.” Meruelo Media president Otto Padron comments, “We’re excited to offer Frank a second audio platform to expand his creative brand and explore bold new ideas. While 95.5 KLOS-FM will continue to be the flagship station for the daily, live version of ‘The Heidi & Frank Show,’ we are certain that fans will love more listening options, which includes the KLOS2 mobile app.”

Edison Research: 30% of Audio Listening Done on Mobile. According to data from Edison Research’s Share of Ear report, “listening on a mobile device now accounts for 30% of all time spent listening to audio by those age 13+ in the U.S., an increase of 67% since 2014.” Edison goes on to say that the gap between listening on a traditional radio receiver and a mobile device among those age 13+ has narrowed remarkably quickly since 2014: 31 percentage points separated the two in 2014 and only five percentage points separate the two today. The traditional AM/FM radio receiver does account for the largest share of audio consumed but has decreased the most since the survey began, now accounting for 35% of all audio consumption compared to 49% in 2014. “Mobile devices have already surpassed traditional radio receivers in the younger age groups. Among those age 13-34, 46% of total daily audio consumption is done on a mobile device and 20% is done on a traditional AM/FM radio receiver. It is important to note that these statistics speak to device only, not the audio product that is delivered by the device.” Edison Research president Larry Rosin adds, “Mobile devices, particularly of course the phone, have been gaining on the traditional radio receiver as the primary listening device for as long as we have been measuring Share of Ear, but with the disruptions of the last year the gap has narrowed dramatically. As fewer people have a standard radio receiver in their homes these days, naturally more listening comes through digital devices.” See more here

Westwood One Sues Local Radio Networks for Patent Infringement. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Local Radio Network’s home base of Fort Wayne, Indiana, accuses LRN of willfully infringing upon two patents Westwood One holds for its syndicated automation program. The patents – titled “Methods and Computer Programs for Localizing Broadcast Content” and “Systems, Methods and Apparatus for Operating a Broadcast Network” – according to Westwood One “represent a leap forward in broadcast network technology, solving several problems exhibited by traditional methods and systems that rely on the broadcast affiliate to manually enter ‘breaks’ in programming during which time audio content can be switched over to local broadcast sources.” WWO alleges that LRN’s Radio Velocity Control program illegally uses those technologies. In the complaint, WWO says that former WWO staffers Chris Reeves, Jonathon Steele, Chris Hatton, Matt Caldaronello, and Patrick Crocker “have knowledge of the workings of Westwood’s patented program. Furthermore, these employees are presently attempting to use this knowledge to lure customers away from Westwood by informing customers in the market that the LRN program is comparable. Such acts constitute willful and deliberate infringement, entitling Westwood to enhanced damages and attorney’s fees.” LRN issued the following statement in response to the suit: “LRN believes the claims are legally and factually baseless and intends to vigorously defend against those claims. LRN was launched in 2015 by Steve Swick, a radio station owner/operator. LRN developed and uses its own technology and built its business station by station and format by format. LRN’s relentless focus on quality programming, affiliate service, and fair inventory pricing has propelled its growth to a leadership position in the radio industry with 14 formats and supports hundreds of affiliates nationally. Six years after LRN’s successful launch in 2015, Westwood One is apparently giving up on trying to fairly compete and instead is trying to now use the courts to do what its programmers, engineers and affiliate salespeople could not do. On behalf of the independent radio owners and operators in our industry, please understand that LRN will not be bullied by a corporate radio Wall Street giant attempting to disrupt its much smaller competitor LRN and its superior team, technology and products.”

Kristy Beebe to Lead iHeartMedia Indianapolis. Promoted from her regional SVP of sales post for iHeartMedia’s Kentucky-Indiana Metro, Kristy Beebe is named market president for the company’s Indianapolis cluster that includes sports talk WNDE-AMFOX Sports 1260,” “Business News 97.5” (WOLT-HD2/W248AW), and three music brands. Beebe has held various sales leadership positions throughout her career, including local sales manager and general sales manager for iHeartMedia Toledo and iHeartMedia Louisville. iHeartMedia president for the Kentucky-Indiana Metro Earl Jones comments, “I am so excited for Kristy’s well-deserved promotion to market president. She has earned the opportunity to lead our Indianapolis market. Kristy has been an incredible sales leader, coach, and major contributor to the success of iHeartMedia Kentucky-Indiana Metro.”

TALKERS News Notes. This evening (3/4) from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm, Adelphi University is hosting The New York Times business editor Ellen Pollock, for a live-streamed discussion about today’s pressing issues, titled, “Keeping Up With the Times,” and moderated by Adelphi alumnus and Skyview Networks president and COO Steve Jones. He comments, “Press freedom is an essential thread in the fabric of our democracy – now more than ever. Join us for a discussion about the role media and business play in society and the responsibility we citizens have to understand how these forces are shaping our lives and our children’s future.”…..When the NHL expansion club the Seattle Kraken take to the ice for the 2021-2022 season, games will be heard on iHeartMedia’s sports talk KJR-AM. The club and Climate Pledge Arena have inked a multi-year partnership that includes broadcasting of all home and away games on KJR-AM, which will serve as the flagship station for radio broadcasts…..The GCN-syndicated “Dr. Daliah Wachs Show” adds Relevant Radio‘s KAHI, Auburn, California to its roster of affiliate stations.

COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Texas and Mississippi Mandates, COVID Relief Bill Debate, Capitol Insurrection Investigation/March 4 Threats, SCOTUS Voting Rights Case/House Voting Rights Bill, Andrew Cuomo Sexual Harassment Allegations, Ronny Jackson Report, and Deadly Myanmar Protests Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/3). The falling number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about variants and the rollout of vaccines; the governors of Texas and Mississippi cancel mask and occupancy limit mandates; the debate in the Senate over the Biden COVID relief bill; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol insurrection and concerns about far-right March 4 warnings; the Supreme Court hears arguments in the Arizona voter rights case and the passage of a voting rights bill in the U.S. House; the allegations of sexual harassment against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo; the Department of Defense inspector general’s report detailing allegations of drinking and sexual harassment by former White House doctor and current Texas Congressman Ronny Jackson; and the deadly pro-democracy protests in Myanmar were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

| July 23, 2019

Blair Garner’s Pete Buttigieg Interview Kept Off Westwood One Show. After Cumulus Media denied nationally syndicated overnight country radio host Blair Garner (left) permission to air segments of his interview with Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg (center) (but allowed him to post it on his personal Soundcloud account) the company is facing public scrutiny over its decision.  Cumulus’s official statement was that equal-time concerns – especially considering the large number of Democratic candidates running – were the only reasons for not allowing the interview on the air. Regarding the equal-time rule, TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says, “As it applies to advertising, the rule means that if a station sells advertising to one candidate, it must offer the same amount of time to other candidates.  Where the rule gets confusing to some is that if the station offers free air time to a candidate, it must offer free air time to other candidates.  However, the [four] exceptions to the rule effectively eliminate this as a concern because free air time to other candidates is not required if the air time being used – as with the Buttigieg interview – is a bona fide news interview.  Other candidates are not required to be given equal time.  Therefore, the position of Cumulus Media that they are not running the interview because the provisions of the equal time rule would require them to provide air time for interviews with all of the other candidates, is an inaccurate interpretation of the rule.”  It’s possible that Cumulus is choosing to avoid the political “can of worms” entirely by not engaging in political content on a country music show.  Some critics, perhaps cynically, are suggesting the company’s true motive centers on the fact that Buttigieg is openly gay and the country music audience is traditionally conservative.  Garner said it all started when he was approached by Buttigieg’s campaign ahead of his appearance in Nashville.  Garner agreed to the interview because Buttigieg requested it.  Garner told Buttigieg during the interview, “I think that our base tends to be more conservative.  And the fact that you, from the Democratic ticket, are the singular candidate to reach out and to say, ‘May I please be on your show?’  That you are reaching out to our listeners, I think we all have to embrace that and be appreciative of that.”

Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Continue Posting Today with the Panel Discussion, “Overcoming Distrust of the Media.  TALKERS is continuing to post key speeches, presentations and sessions from the recent 22nd annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story.  Today’s (7/23) post: the panel discussion, “Overcoming Distrust of the Media” featuring panelists (in alphabetical order) Thom Hartmann, host, WYD Media; Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, host, the Joe Pags Show; Doug Stephan, CEO/host, Stephan Multimedia; and Rick Ungar, host, the Rick Ungar Program/editor-in-chief, TheDalyCentrist.com.  The session was moderated by Jim Bohannon, host, Westwood One.  Posted yesterday (7/22): the presentation of the TALKERS Freedom of Speech award to Brian Kilmeade of Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel.  Posted Friday (7/19): the discussion “Attracting Younger Demos to Talk Radio” featuring panelists (in alphabetical order) Mike “Bax” Baxendale, morning co-host, WAQY (Rock 102), Springfield, MA; Greg Foster, VP/programming and national news/talk brand coordinator, iHeart Media/PD, KOA, Denver; John T. Mullen, operations manager, WRHU, Hofstra UniversitySid Rosenberg, morning co-host, WABC, New York; and Rich Zeoli, host, WPHT, Philadelphia. The session was moderated by Kevin Casey, VP/executive editor, TALKERS.   Also already posted: discussion “Talk Radio in the Era of Watch What You Say” featuring panelists (in alphabetical order) Michael Berry, host, Michael Berry Show; Grace Blazer, national brand coordinator of news/talk/sports programming and director of AM programming Miami/Fort Lauderdale, iHeart Media;  Karen Hunter, host SiriusXM Satellite RadioBrett Winterble, host KFMB, San Diego; Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore; and Dan Yorke, host WPRO, Providence.  Also already posted: WPG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley saluting the Broadcasters Foundation of America and Vince Benedetto, CEO of Bold Gold Media Group receiving the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Talk Radio Broadcaster (“Humanitarian of the Year”); a special luncheon address by former Trump Administration advisor Sebastian Gorka, now a personality syndicated by Salem Radio Network; panel discussion “Adding the Video Component to Talk Radio” featuring Howie Carr, host of the Howie Carr Show (Howie Carr Radio Network and Newsmax TV), Jared Hart, former PD, WPHT, Philadelphia, and  Art Vuolo, president, Vuolo Video.  The session was introduced and facilitated by Scott Lakefield, APD, WOR, New York.   Also posted: special keynote address delivered by CBS Sports Radio syndicated host Jim Rome with an introduction from Yappy Days author/college professor Bernadette Duncan; the panel discussion, “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in 2019” featuring (in alphabetical order) Asa Andrew, host, AsaRx;  Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group;  Suzanne Grimes, EVP/marketing, Cumulus Media and president, Westwood One; and Dave Robinett, chief marketing officer, #250-America’s Mobile Speed Dial – moderated by Erica Farber, president and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) and introduced by renown independent station owner Michael Zwerling of KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz, CA; the special keynote address by Key Networks syndicated personality Bill O’Reilly; the one-on-one discussion, “Sports Talk Radio’s Role in Popular Culture” featuring a conversation between Mark Chernoff, senior VP/programming WFAN/Entercom, NY and captain/sports format, CBS Sports Radio and Mike Thomas, PD, WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Boston and brand manager/spoken word, podcasts, esports, Beasley Broadcasting with  Kate Delaney, host, GCN and correspondent NBC Sports Radio, serving as facilitator; the panel discussion, “Broadcasting and Podcasting,” featuring (in alphabetical order) Greg Batusic, chief operating officer, PodcastOneSteven Goldstein, founder/CEO Amplifi MediaMichael Czarnecki, program director, WONK-FM, Washington, DC and iHeartRadio Podcast Channel; and Craig Schwalb, former program director WABC, New York and WPRO, Providence with moderation by Mike Kinosian, managing editor/West Coast bureau chief, TALKERS; the keynote “fireside chat” in which TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity in a casual one-on-one conversation introduced by DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones; the opening address titled, “Telling the Story,” delivered by Lee Habeeb, host and producer of the successful syndicated program, “Our American Stories;” RAB president/CEO Erica Farber receiving the Woman of the Year award and SiriusXM Satellite Radio star “Cousin” Bruce Morrow receiving the Lifetime Achievement award. The convention took place in New York City on Friday, June 7 and was one of the most positively received in the event’s colorful history.  TALKERS plans to add one or two videos per day to those posted until all the major events of the conference are posted here at Talkers.com where they will remain on view for the rest of the year.  To see the videos and convention video page, please click here.

Gallagher Broadcasts from ‘Teen Student Action Summit.’ Pictured above is Salem Radio Network talk radio host Mike Gallagher (left) speaking with Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk (right) live from the group’s “Teen Student Action Summit” in Washington, DC.  Scheduled speakers at the three-day event include: President Trump, U.S. Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, plus Gallagher’s SRN colleague, Dr. Sebastian Gorka.

Sports Talk WNDE-AM, Indianapolis Losing FM Translator. According to a piece in the Indianapolis Star, iHeartMedia has new plans for FM translator W248AW at 97.5. Local management is only saying they will debut a new format on the signal “very shortly.”  iHeartMedia Indianapolis SVP of programming Dave Hill tells the paper that the programming on sports talk WNDE-AM remains the same.  WNDE-AM airs FOX Sports Radio programming, the local “Query & Schultz” PM drive show plus Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh.

Mueller Testimony, Immigration-Asylum Policy, 2020 Presidential Race, U.S.-Iran Tensions, Louisiana Cops’ AOC Threat, $320B Budget Deal/Debt Ceiling Rises, Puerto Rico Protests, UK PM Race, and Brady-Daughter Cliff Jump Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/22). Wednesday’s testimony before the House judiciary and intelligence committees by special counsel Robert Mueller; the Trump administration’s immigration and asylum policies and the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border; the Democrats vying for the nomination to challenge President Trump in 2020; Iran’s claim to have arrested 17 CIA operatives; two Louisiana police officers are fired for social media post suggesting Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should be shot; the two-year budget deal that raises the debt ceiling and allows for $320 billion in new spending; the protests roiling Puerto Rico over Governor Ricardo Rossello’s leaked chat messages; Britain’s prime minister race between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt; and the flap over video of Tom Brady and his daughter jumping off a cliff into water were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming and on-air pro Walter Flakus moves from Cumulus Media’s alternative WKQX, Chicago to Entercom’s KNDD, Seattle “107.7 The End” where he’s taking on assistant program director and afternoon drive duties, effective August 6.  He’d been APD, music director and evening personality at WKQX. Entercom Seattle SVP and market manager Jack Hutchison says, “We’re thrilled to welcome such a talented programmer to the ‘107.7 The End’ team.  Walter brings extensive experience and leadership both on and off the air which will benefit listeners and partners.”…..In Atlanta, Cox Media Group names Chris Centore assistant program director for urban contemporary WALR, CHR WSB-FM “B98.5,” and classic hits WSRV.  Additionally, he’s hosting the PM drive program on “B98.5.”  Centore joined WSB-FM in April of this year.  He’d previously worked in Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC.  He says, “I am excited for this new opportunity with ‘B98.5’ and to work alongside Chris Eagan and the CMGA team.  I look forward to being part of our listeners’ afternoon commute and to help our radio stations continue to deliver the best, most compelling on-air content in Atlanta.”…..Hubbard Radio St. Louis inks morning man Scott Rizzuto to a multi-year contract renewal to stay with alternative rock KPNT “105.7 The Point” with castmates Tony Patrico, Jeff Burton, Phillip Sneed, and Scott McNew.  Hubbard St. Louis VP and market manager John Kijowski says, “Hubbard Radio believes in live and local talent.  The Rizzuto show is undeniable when it comes to connecting with listeners, mirroring their lifestyles, and talking about things that matter locally.  ‘The Rizzuto Show’ love is real!  We’re excited to partner with Scott for another four years.”…..Radio One programming pro Arthur “A-Plus” Willis – currently PD for hip hop WIZF, Cincinnati “The Wiz 101.1” – is adding programming responsibilities for the company’s rhythmic CHR WCKX, Columbus “Power 107.3/106.3.”…..All day today, Beasley Media Group’s classic rock WMGK-FM, Philadelphia is playing exclusively Rolling Stones songs as “102.9MCK – All Stones All the Time” in recognition of the band’s show this evening at Lincoln Financial Field.  “102.9MCK” is also providing complete concert coverage with afternoon drive host Andre Gardner broadcasting live from the venue.