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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

| September 21, 2021

Cumulus Media Names Two Execs to Multi-Platform Content Development Positions. The new title SVP, sports, content and audience is a promotion for Bruce Gilbert, who has been serving with Cumulus Media for the past seven years. This new title formalizes Gilbert’s role following “consistent accomplishments leveraging the company’s massive sports portfolio to build compelling new franchises and successful partnerships.” Gilbert continues to direct all sports programming for Cumulus radio stations and Westwood One Sports, which also entails overseeing key partnerships with iconic brands including the NFL, the NCAA, the Masters, and the PGA Championship/Ryder Cup. Cumulus also brings Doug Cohn aboard as SVP, music & entertainment, content and audience in which he’ll “lead new content development across the company’s platforms, including broadcasting, podcasting, streaming, social media, digital, and live events.” He was previously with ViacomCBS as SVP, music & talent for Nickelodeon. Cumulus EVP of content and audience Brian Philips says, “Today’s audio ecosystem provides us with infinite opportunities to break talent out of their traditional lanes and our consumers with the ability to access our products whenever they wish, on an ever-widening array of platforms. Cumulus is bursting at the seams with creative chops and the ambition to thrive in this exciting environment. Doug has shown a Midas touch in understanding what the next generation will want, and Bruce has forged groundbreaking partnerships for years and will now have more runway to innovate – these two leaders possess the vision to produce a surge of remarkable new Cumulus content.”

Broadcast for Broadway. Pictured above at The Hunt & Fish Club on W 44th Street in the heart of the Theater District are (from l-r): The Broadway Association’s Cristyne Nicholas, Broadway historian, NYPost columnist, and WOR morning host Michael Riedel, and WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” afternoon host Kevin McCullough. Salem’s “AM 970 The Answer” and McCullough presented the “Broadcast For Broadway” show from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm last Friday night as Broadway shows were staged for the first time since the pandemic began in March of 2020. The program was presented in conjunction with Nicholas & Lence Communications, The Broadway Association, and The Actors Fund.

WARC and iHeartMedia Study Underscores Gap in Audio Investment from Marketers. According to data from a study by WARC and iHeartMedia, although consumers spend 31% of their media time with audio, brands only allocate 8.8% of their media budget to audio, while 25% of brands eschew audio entirely. The study concludes that consumers of every generation are spending more and more time with audio content across radio, streaming and podcasts driven by audio’s ease and accessibility with the growth of wireless headphones and smart speakers adding to in-car, at home and at work listening. WARC Data forecasts audio advertising spend in the US to reach $13.9 billion this year, a double-digit recovery (+10.9%) from the pandemic’s 2020 cuts, yet the report highlights a large audio investment gap and the vast opportunity that exists in this mass reach and high engagement audio advertising market. The study identified four key types of advertiser attitudes towards audio: 1) Audio Avoiders, the 25% of advertisers who do not invest in audio at all; 2) Broadcast Believers, who have seen the benefits of radio and are beginning to delve into more forms of audio; 3) Digital Only, those who have started to invest but are missing out on the full suite of audio options, particularly the 90% reach of broadcast radio; and 4) Cross-Platform Champions, who explore audio’s full potential and continue to test, learn from and optimize their investments across platforms. iHeartMedia chief marketing officer Gayle Troberman says, “The Audio Investment Gap is the single-biggest growth opportunity for brands. With the growth of wireless headphones and smart speakers paired with in-car listening, audio is everywhere, and consumers are listening in more places, more times throughout the day. But too many brands are on mute. Brands that right-size their audio investments and begin spending and innovating across radio, streaming and podcasts outpace competitors in finding new audiences, building brand affinity and driving sales.” See the full report here.

NuVoodoo: Delta Variant Keeping the Vaccinated at Home. A recent study from NuVoodoo Media Services on public attitudes toward attending large indoor gatherings indicates the unvaccinated are “nearly twice as likely to attend large indoor gatherings with no COVID restrictions, when Compared to their vaccinated counterparts.” Among the people 18-64 surveyed, 47% were fully vaccinated, with another 10% having had the first of the two-shot vaccines – meaning 57% of the subjects are at least partially vaccinated. There’s another 5% who say they’re trying to find time to get vaccinated. There are 20% who are not interested in getting vaccinated at all and another 18% who say they’re still researching facts about the vaccines or aren’t sure about getting vaccinated. The study found “only 4 in 10 people would attend a large public indoor gathering that didn’t require prior COVID-19 vaccination or other safety measures.” NuVoodoo president Carolyn Gilbert says, “As always, the devil is in the details – and the results change with age. In our sample, which includes only pre-retirement demographics and excludes the vaccination status of seniors, 55-64s are the only age cell in our study where a solid majority are fully vaccinated. Vaccination rates hover around 40% among young women and fall well below that level among young men.” NuVoodoo EVP of research Leigh Jacobs adds, “Our study results indicate that Delta’s impact on event attendance is significant. For example, better than 2 in 5 either will not (or might not) attend business conferences or trade shows. Requiring proof of vaccination lifts attendance among the vaccinated while disenfranchising the unvaccinated. Potential attendance is limited either way. Last week’s cancellation of the October NAB event underscored the value of virtual attendance options wherever possible. Virtual won’t work to replace every event experience, but it can be an attendance-widening addition in many cases – and an insurance policy in others.”

TALKERS News Notes. The new podcast from retired NBA All-Star Metta World Peace debuts on PodcastOne today (9/21). “Mettaphorically Speaking” features Metta World Peace as he interviews a variety of people from the worlds of athletics, music, film and television, and business covering topics including sports, business, mental health and community, with a goal of inspiring and empowering listeners to pursue their own passions and dreams.” PodcastOne president Kit Gray comments, “Metta World Peace was a force to be reckoned with on the hardwood courts of the NBA and he’s a force to be reckoned with in the world of podcasting. His drive to search for the deeper purpose and meaning in life matches the drive that shone in his career as a professional athlete, and we couldn’t be more pleased to be hosting his podcast.”…..iHeartMedia announces a new iHeartPodcast slate of true-crime shows in collaboration with KT-Studios after their first successful venture together produced, “The Piketon Massacre.” The new slate of podcasts begins with, “The Dougherty Gang.” iHeartPodcast Network COO Will Pearson says, “iHeartMedia is excited to join forces with KT-Studios to co-produce this brilliant new slate of true-crime podcasts. We’ve seen incredible success with KT-Studios and are excited to offer listeners a full slate of new podcasts that delve into everything from unsolved murders to some of the most bizarre crimes in the name of love.”…..This Thursday, WMVP-AM, Chicago “ESPN Chicago” personality David Kaplan steps off on the second annual Walk As One Chicago charity walk to benefit Bernie’s Book Bank, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing book ownership. During the 24-mile walk, Kaplan and Bernie’s Book Bank CEO Darrin Utynek will distribute free books to K-6th grade students at James Ward Elementary. Since 2009, Bernie’s Book Bank has distributed more than 19 million books to Chicagoland children ages birth through sixth grade.

COVID-19, Debt Ceiling Debate, Biden UN Address, Immigration Woes/Border Agents Violence, U.S.-Australia Sub Deal, Canadian Election, and Gabby Petito Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/20). U.S. COVID-19 deaths match the number of those who died from 1918-21 Spanish Flu pandemic, boosters, masks & mandates; the debate in congress over raising the U.S. debt ceiling; President Joe Biden to make first address to UN; the immigrant situation at the U.S.-Mexico border and the video of border agents on horses rounding up Haitian migrants; the controversy over the U.S.-Australia nuclear sub deal; Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wins re-election but fails to gain a majority in parliament in Canada; and the case of Gabby Petito and missing fiancé Brian Laundrie were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

| September 16, 2021

Nielsen Podcasting Today Report: Lighter Listeners Fueling Audience Growth. According to the most recent Podcasting Today Report from Nielsen, the broadening of the audience for podcasts is being attributed to “light users” who make up 49% of U.S. podcast listeners. Those “light users” are defined as people who listen anywhere from one to three times a month. Nielsen says, “That’s a notable contrast to a typical podcast listener five or 10 years ago when most listening came from people who were more likely to listen to each and every episode from their favorite titles – episodes that are oftentimes released once a week.” Nielsen says the evolution of podcasting engagement over the past few years highlights two important storylines: Consumer interest in new, engaging content from across the media landscape continues to grow, and podcast content has proven to be an attractive option among the media diets of millions of Americans, especially during the global COVID-19 pandemic. The study also concludes that “the pandemic has not had a negative impact on overall podcast engagement. While listener growth flattened somewhat during the second half of last year, it has ramped up notably in 2021, largely due to an increase in at-home listening, which is attributable to light listeners checking out the medium. The rise in at-home listening is also somewhat counter to historical podcast engagement, and again, speaks to the transformation of industry to a broader audience.” You can see the complete report here.

New York Festivals to Honor Molly Solomon with Lifetime Achievement Award. The New York Festivals Television & Film Awards announces it will honor Molly Solomon, executive producer & president of NBC Olympics production and executive producer for the Golf Channel with the eleventh annual New York Festivals Lifetime Achievement Award. A 13-time Emmy Award-winner, Solomon won a Gracie Award from the American Women in Radio & Television for her Beijing Olympics work. She was also a producer on NBC’s primetime coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony, which won a Peabody Award. Solomon was named “Woman of the Year” by WISE (Women in Sports Events) in 2008, was named to the Sports Business Journal’s prestigious “Forty Under 40” list, honoring the best young talent in the business, among other industry honors. Solomon comments, “Thank you to the New York Festivals for the Lifetime Achievement Award. It’s an honor to be recognized among pioneers in our industry. It’s a dream job working at NBC Sports and Olympics covering the biggest sporting events across the world, working alongside the most talented team of announcers and production colleagues. I wouldn’t be here without each and every one of them.” The 2021 New York Festivals Storyteller’s gala celebrates the eleventh year of NYF’s strategic partnership with the annual NAB Show. For 2021, New York Festivals will celebrate global storytellers and honor world-class content from prominent television and radio stations, networks, international independent producers, and presenters in a virtual ceremony on October 12 at 6:00 pm ET.

John Catsimatidis, Chad Lopez and Rudy Giuliani are This Week’s Guests on Harrison Podcast. Three major players in the WABC, New York galaxy of radio luminaries are this week’s guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” The four-way conversation took place Monday (9/13) shortly after the station’s extensive live two-day memorial tribute, “9/11 – 20 Years Later,” honoring the victims, first responders and families of the history-changing event. Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani now hosts a daily 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm show on WABC. Red Apple Media CEO John Catsimatidis, who acquired the heritage station in the spring of 2020, hosts a daily program, “Cats at Night,” heard 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm as well as a syndicated weekend program titled, “Cats Roundtable.” Chad Lopez, a longtime Big Apple radio management and marketing star, is president of Red Apple Media. The result is a remarkably candid, wide-ranging conversation covering Red Apple’s changes and ambitious plans for WABC going forward as well as the group’s observations of the social and political challenges facing New York City brought on by the pandemic. THIS IS NOT TO BE MISSED! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

Salem’s WNYM, New York to Present ‘Broadcast for Broadway.’ Tomorrow (9/17), Salem Media Group’s news/talk WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” will present a live event in conjunction with Nicholas & Lence Communications, The Broadway Association, and The Actors Fund titled “Broadcast For Broadway” from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at The Hunt & Fish Club on W 44th Street in the heart of the Theater District. The station will produce a live broadcast of “Radio Night Live with Kevin McCullough” along with Cristyne Nicholas featuring Tony Award Winner Brian Stokes Mitchell and Brad Oscar from the Broadway cast of “Mrs. Doubtfire.” Additional scheduled guests include Joe Benincasa from The Actors Fund, Tom Harris from Times Square Alliance, and former NYPD chief of department & NYC Recovery Czar, Terence Monahan. Special VIP guests will also be in attendance for this event.

TALKERS News Notes. KJEL-FM, Lebanon, Missouri sports director Kevin Stubblefield is being enshrined in the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. Stubblefield is in his 25th year broadcasting at the Alpha Media country station. He’s called more than 4,000 games during his career…..Green Roll Media, LLC – a company founded by sports broadcasting pro and former KNBR, San Francisco program director Jeremiah Crowe – is partnering with SuperBook Sports to create multiple podcasts for Green Roll Media’s sports betting podcast network. Green Roll Media will produce “SuperBook Sports Podcast” and “Betting With The Barbers” podcasts each week during football season, focusing specifically on the NFL and college football betting strategy and insights from experienced industry professionals…..Bonneville Seattle and the MLB’s Seattle Mariners agree to a multi-year extension to keep KIRO-AM “710 ESPN Seattle” as the flagship radio station for Mariners baseball. The 2022 season will be the 32nd year that KIRO-AM has been the Mariners radio home. The Mariners have been broadcasting on “710 ESPN Seattle” since the station’s transition to an all-sports format in 2009, and KIRO-AM was the team’s home from 1985-2002…..After nearly two years of negotiations, SAG-AFTRA members at public radio news/talk WHYY-FM, Philadelphia have overwhelmingly approved their first-ever union contract. It sets a salary floor, creates a first ever parental leave benefit and establishes mechanisms for career growth. The unit won its union election 70 to 1 on October 30, 2019 and has been bargaining for a contract ever since, aside from a brief pause due to the pandemic. Frustrated by drawn-out negotiations, union members held a rally in July of this year in order to bring attention to their cause. SAG-AFTRA national executive director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland says, “After a long negotiation process, SAG-AFTRA members finally have a solid first agreement with WHYY that implements vital benefits and pay increases. I congratulate our negotiating team as well as our amazing WHYY members on their new contract.”…..Virtual News Center has adds Eternity Media Group’s Gospel WLNO-AM, New Orleans to its list of affiliate radio stations.

COVID-19, Woodward-Costa Peril Book, California Recall, Gymnasts’ Testimony, Debt Ceiling Debate, Australia Sub Deal, and Western Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/15). The rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the battle over mask & vaccine mandates, and the debate over booster shots; the Bob Woodward and Robert Costa book Peril that details former President Donald Trump’s actions after the 2020 election; the aftermath of the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom; the testimony of former U.S. Olympic gymnasts about the FBI’s handling of their complaints about now-imprisoned doctor Larry Nasser; the debate in congress over raising the U.S. debt ceiling to avoid default; the U.S. and UK enter into a deal to provide nuclear subs to Australia to keep China in check; and the 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.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

| June 8, 2021

Jesse Kelly Show Joins Premiere Networks. Talk radio host Jesse Kelly is moving from his current syndicator Key Networks to Premiere Networks, effective June 28. Kelly – a former U.S. Marine and a former Arizona congressional candidate – will air in the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET slot currently occupied by Buck Sexton, who moves to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot partnering with Clay Travis. Kelly will continue to be seen weekdays at 9:00 pm ET as host of “I’m Right with Jesse Kelly” on TV network The First. Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott says, “We couldn’t be happier to have Jesse at the helm of our weekday afternoon timeslot. His fresh voice will undoubtedly connect with and engage our audience with intelligent, witty conversation and bold opinions, while creating impactful opportunities for our partners.”

Jimmy Cefalo Returns to WIOD, Miami Air. According to a report in the Miami Herald, WIOD-AM morning personality Jimmy Cefalo has returned to the air after several weeks’ absence and told listeners he’s been diagnosed with a form of demyelinating disease that affects the protective covering of the nerve fibers around the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord. ALS – amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – is a demyelinating disease but Cefalo was not diagnosed with that. He said, “We don’t know what exactly it is, what caused it, what will fix it. I’ll keep going as long as I can. One day I’ll just go, ‘Boom!’ Which is the right way to go, by the way, I’m convinced, after the last couple of months.”

Trump and Bill O’Reilly to Hold ‘History Tour’ Live Events. According to a piece in the Washington Times, Key Networks nationally syndicated radio personality and author Bill O’Reilly will go on a “history tour” with former President Donald Trump in December. The four live events before paying customers in Florida and Texas will address “exactly how things were accomplished, as well as challenges, both good and bad,” according to a statement from Trump. His statement adds, “These will be wonderful but hard-hitting sessions where we’ll talk about the real problems happening in the U.S., those that the fake news media never mention.” O’Reilly says, “My job as a historian/journalist is to get important things on the record in a fact-based way. These conversations with the 45th president will not be boring.” Bill O’Reilly will be one of the 50 industry speakers participating in TALKERS 2021.  Check out the latest up to date agenda here.

SRN’s Tom Tradup Chats with ‘Seinfeld’ Star About New Film. Pictured above is former “Seinfeld” actor Wayne Knight (left) – who played the character “Newman” – speaking with Salem Radio Network V.P./News & Talk Tom Tradup (right) at Monday night’s Fort Worth, Texas red carpet premiere of “12 Mighty Orphans.” The SONY Classic Pictures film – starring Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen, and Luke Wilson – tells the story of a Depression-era orphanage in Fort Worth that produced an inspiring state football championship team that even drew praise from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The film opens nationwide on June 18.

Radio Mercury Awards Call for Entry is Open. The call for entry for the 30th anniversary Radio Mercury Awards is officially open. The RAB announces that 15 trophies will be awarded in 12 categories, and the final round judges have the option to award a Best of Show winner. Starting this year, the Radio Mercury Awards is now accepting entries in any language for work that was broadcast, aired digitally, released or transmitted initially and primarily in the U.S. and its territories. For 2021, a new category, Purpose-Driven Spot or Campaign, will award a radio spot or campaign for an advertiser or corporation that promotes their actions and effort towards the public good and demonstrates how they addressed social, environmental or public health/safety issues. There are also updated categories, including Creative Radio Spot: Insightful Voice and Radio Station or Group Promotional Spot or Campaign. The call for entry deadline is on August 9. Finalists for the show will be announced in late September and winners will be announced at the 2021 Radio Mercury Awards event on November 17, during a virtual event. The Radio Mercury Awards is introducing a “Thirty Years in Your Ears” campaign produced in collaboration with chief judge Robin Fitzgerald and the creative team at BBDO Atlanta. The campaign highlights several of the Best in Show winners from the last 30 years of the competition. It can be viewed here and will be featured in social media and digital marketing. For more information regarding entry categories, guidelines, entry fees and deadlines, click here.

TALKERS News Notes. A couple of Chicago market notes from media writer Robert Feder: First, Wendy Snyder and Ramblin’ Ray Stevens are teaming up for a weekly program on Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM. “The Wendy and Ray Show” will air from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Saturdays. The two have been co-hosting a podcast and Stevens tells Feder, “The weekend show on WLS-AM 890 will be hyper local and will cover everything from block parties to the Bears. This is a true Chicago show hosted by two lifelong Chicagoans.” And second, Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM announces the return of “The Hamp and OB Show” starring former Chicago Bears Dan Hampton and Ed O’Bradovich. The program will air weekly during the football season…..ESPN’s Chiney Ogwumike is launching her own weekly podcast, “Chiney,” today (6/8). She’ll discuss current events in the sports world, primarily through the lens of an active professional athlete. Ogwumike plays for the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA and was the 2014 league rookie of the year. She first worked for ESPN in 2017 and in August 2020 began hosting “Chiney and Golic Jr.” on ESPN Radio, becoming the first Black woman to host a national, daily sports talk radio show…..The nationally syndicated “America Tonight with Kate Delaney” adds new affiliate station KUJ-AM/K254DK, Walla Walla, Washington to its roster of stations.

COVID-19, January 6 Report, Harris Latin America Trip, Ransomware Attacks/Crypto Recovered, Voting Rights Issue, and Alzheimer’s Drug Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/8). The fast-falling rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the rate of vaccinations, and the investigation into the Wuhan lab leak theory; the Senate report on the January 6 Capitol attack faults Capitol Police for inaction on threats; Vice President Kamala Harris tells Guatemalans not to come to the U.S. during Latin American trip; the increase in ransomware attacks and the FBI recoups millions in bitcoin paid to Colonial Pipeline hackers; Senator Joe Manchin’s decision not to back Joe Biden’s For The People voting rights bill; and the controversy surrounding the FDA’s approving Biogen’s Aduhelm Alzheimer’s drug were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERSmagazine.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

| May 25, 2021

SRN’s Mike Gallagher Tours Border Region of Yuma, Arizona. Pictured above is Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher (foreground) and KKNT, Phoenix talk host Seth Leibsohn (behind Gallagher) at the U.S.-Mexico border in Yuma, Arizona with Congressman Andy Biggs (R-AZ 5th District.) Gallagher says, “While we were observing an area by the Morelos Dam, a group of 27 migrants was detained a few feet from us. While there, I witnessed numerous men, women, and children with backpacks walking across the border and into the custody of the Border Patrol and National Guard. It was 101 degrees when I was there. I witnessed some of these people being dropped off by vehicles on the Mexican side and then they walked across the border to the American side.” As part of the visit, Gallagher interviewed the Yuma County Sheriff Leon Wilmot and other notable officials who are grappling with the border crisis.

Edison Research: Audio Consumption Affected by Work-From-Home Shift. The latest data from Edison Research’s Share of Ear study sheds further light on audio consumption as a significant share of American workers shifted to at-home employment in 2020. Edison says the latest Share of Ear release shows a clear difference in listening between those working primarily at home vs. those not working from home. Among employed persons who work from home, nearly three-quarters of their total audio consumption (72%) happens at home. Meanwhile, among those who work away from their homes, only 29% of their listening happens at home. Edison says that Share of Ear has tracked the growth of audio consumption since 2014 and has always tracked listening location as part of that dataset. The study has now added a measure of those U.S. adults who are employed and work primarily from home, and those who are employed and do not work primarily from home, leading to new insights. Director of research Laura Ivey adds, “We knew from Share of Ear data in 2020 that a tremendous amount of listening had shifted to home as a result of quarantine restrictions. While almost everyone was spending at least some increased time at home during the pandemic, it is those who shifted their work to their homes who drove the biggest changes. We also saw audio consumption rise on computers and other devices such as internet-connected televisions, so we can see that at-home workers are using various audio devices at home.”

Stacey Kauffman Promoted to RVP and Market Manager for Audacy Northern California. Adding oversight of Audacy’s San Francisco market to her current responsibility for the Sacramento market is Stacey Kauffman, who begins her new role as regional vice president and market manager for Northern California on June 7. Audacy operates all-news KCBS-AM, sports talk KGMZ-FM, “95.7 The Game” and four music brands in the San Francisco market. Kauffman will report into regional president Doug Abernethy and succeeds Greg Nemitz, who is assuming a leadership role as SVP overseeing West Coast sales and operations for Audacy’s National Partnerships team. Abernethy says, “Stacey has demonstrated incredible leadership in every phase of the game. She builds an incredible team culture that produces results. It is an honor to work alongside her and promote her to Regional Vice President.” Additionally, Kieran Geffert is promoted to vice president of sales for Sacramento and San Francisco, reporting into Kauffman.

Rob Carson Receives Condolences from President Trump. Conservative media personality Rob Carson received condolences on the passing of his mother Bonnie from former President Donald Trump. The former president wrote: “Your mother, Bonnie, was a woman of great warmth, humor, and personality. She will be missed. Condolences to all!” Carson hosts “Rob Carson’s What in the World?” that airs on Newsmax TV on Saturday nights as well as the podcast “The Newsmax Daily.” A top Trump adviser tells Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy that Trump watches Carson on Tuesday mornings on Newsmax TV and says, “He’s the funniest guy on TV!”

JAKIB Media Partners Adds ‘National Football Show’ to Network. Content firm JAKIB Media Partners announces the addition of “The National Football Show with Dan Sileo” to its slate of sports content. The program launched on YouTube last month and airs live from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET. JAKIB Media founder Joe Krause says, “Dan Sileo brings a powerful rolodex and incredible knowledge about football. JAKIB Media will re-define how football fans consume sports content and ‘Big Silz’ will be leading the way around the country with more live shows in 18-weeks than any other sports entity.” JAKIB Media says Sileo’s new show has already attracted an impressive lineup of notable guests, including Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich; legendary sports talker Howard Eskin; former ESPN host Mike Golic; Eagles great Ron Jaworski, Super Bowl-winning head coach Bruce Arians; and more.

COVID-19/Wuhan Lab Origin Theory, Barr Memo Appeal, Border Crisis/Immigration Reform, Belarusian Hijacking Case, AZ and GA Vote Audits, Florida Social Media Bill, and Israeli-Palestinian Cease Fire/Attacks on Jews Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/24). The fast-falling number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about vaccine hesitancy, and Dr. Tony Fauci’s admission that he can’t rule out the Wuhan Virology lab as the origin of the coronavirus; Joe Biden’s Justice Department appeals part of the request for public release of former AG William Barr’s memo on the Mueller Report; the large number of child migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s immigration policy; Belarus faces European backlash for forcing a Ryanair jet to land in Minsk in order to capture opposition activist Roman Protasevich; the 2020 vote audit taking place in Arizona and the audit just authorized in Georgia; Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signs a bill banning social media censorship; and the ceasefire in Gaza and the rise in domestic attacks on Jews were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

SAG-AFTRA Files Grievance with NLRB Against WNYC. On Sunday, SAG-AFTRA filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board against New York Public Radio, owner of WNYC, Gothamist and other media properties, in response to what it calls “a coordinated and aggressive campaign to undermine union and protected and concerted activity.” SAG-AFTRA says the charge was filed “in response to a management-driven strategy to silence a thriving newsroom and undermine accountability and transparency by issuing discipline and threats against employees for asking questions and engaging in legally protected activity. The union also maintains that WNYC management maintained and enforced work rules designed for the purpose of curtailing accountability and transparency and surveilled employees or created the perception of surveillance of employees in their communications with the union and one another.”  The union also says New York Public Radio fired “two respected journalists, including the SAG-AFTRA shop steward and an 18-year employee for indefensible and unlawful reasons that violate the collective bargaining agreement and the NLRA.” SAG-AFTRA is asking for New York Public Radio’s chief executive and president, Goli Sheikholeslami, to immediately reinstate all unjustly terminated employees irrespective of union member status. Additionally, SAG-AFTRA has called on the NYPR board of directors to immediately investigate management actions in recent months in a transparent process and report all findings to the public.

TALKERS News Notes. Albany news/talk WGY-AM/FM and sister hot AC WRVE raised more than $350,000 to benefit the Bernard & Millie Duker Children’s Hospital at Albany Med via its 23rd annual “Cares for Kids Radiothon.” iHeartMedia Albany area president Kristen Delaney says, “iHeartMedia Albany has partnered with the Bernard & Millie Duker Children’s Hospital at Albany Med for 23 successful years of the Cares for Kids Radiothon. The event allows us to introduce some incredible kids to our listeners and share their stories. We are overwhelmed by the generosity of the Capital Region community.”…..Charlamagne The God’s and iHeartMedia’s The Black Effect Podcast Network and TV personalities Gizelle Bryant and Robyn Dixon are launching a new podcast titled, “Reasonably Shady.” In the debut episode, Gizelle and Robyn discuss how their long-lasting friendship began, how both women became cast members on “The Real Housewives of Potomac and why they decided to start a podcast during the pandemic…..iHeartRadio announces it has officially surpassed 150 million registered users. In addition to eclipsing 150 million users, iHeartRadio has also seen an explosion in growth of app downloads, music and podcast streaming and more. As audio streaming grew even more popular during the pandemic, iHeartRadio has recorded more than 3 billion app downloads, with monthly downloads peaking as high as 28% as compared to last year.

Caroline Beasley to Receive NAB’s National Radio Award. This fall, National Association of Broadcasters will bestow its National Radio Award upon Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley. The honor will be presented during the Radio Show opening session on Wednesday, October 13. The Radio Show, co-produced by the Radio Advertising Bureau, will be co-located with NAB Show and held October 13-14 in Las Vegas. NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith says, “We are thrilled to honor Caroline Beasley and commemorate her impact on the radio industry with the National Radio Award. Her business savvy and extraordinary leadership have propelled Beasley Media Group to new heights, while her passion for radio perfectly illustrate the spirit of broadcasting.”

Friday, May 7, 2021

| May 7, 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, “The Knock on the Door,” looks back at this past week of May 3-7.   The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, talk show host, Compass Media NetworksSteve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston / founder, scamicide.com; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkTodd Starnes, talk show host / owner, KWAM, Memphis; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; and Brian Koonin, Broadway musician / member, Gunhill Road. 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.

iHeartMedia First Quarter 2021 Net Revenue Down 9.5%. The company reports net revenue for the first quarter of 2021 of $707 million, a dip of 9.5% compare to the $781 million reported in the first quarter of 2020. iHeartMedia also reports an operating loss of $76 million compared to 2020’s operating loss of $1.7 billion. The company reports financial data by segment and the positive aspects of the report are its digital and podcast segments which reported revenue of $119 million (up 55%) and $38.4 million (up 141.9%), respectively. Broadcast radio’s revenue was $358.5 million (down 22.3%); networks revenue was $115 million (down 14.5%); and sponsorship and events revenue was $22.4 million (down 23.7%). iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “The first quarter outperformed our expectations on all financial metrics as the company continues its steady recovery from the COVID-19 downturn, which is not just a continuation of the positive trends we’ve seen across the business – we believe it’s a validation of our long-term multiplatform product and revenue strategy and the investments we have made in growth areas like podcasting, ad tech, and the continued expansion of broadcast radio on digital devices. As a company we continue to prioritize identifying new opportunities across the audio, advertising, and data analytics sectors to expand our Total Addressable Market from just the $15 billion of Radio TAM to include the $160 billion of Digital TAM, providing us with new revenue opportunities for meaningful and sustainable growth for all our operating segments.” Company president, COO and CFO Rich Bressler adds, “Our ability to adapt and innovate, as well as our strategic allocation of capital, during the COVID-19 pandemic have set the stage for strong growth in 2021. Our cost management, investments in key areas of growth, and focus on our core-competencies helped us to achieve Adjusted EBITDA of $102 million in the first quarter, and we remain confident that we will be back to 2019 Adjusted EBITDA levels by the end of 2021.”

Audacy Net Revenue for First Quarter of 2021 Declines 19%. Reporting its first quarterly financial report after rebranding from Entercom to Audacy, the company says net revenue for Q1 of 2021 was $240.8 million, a decrease of 19% over the same period in 2020. Audacy also reports a net loss of $21.6 million compared to the Q1 2020 net loss of $9.1 million. Breaking the company down by segments: local and national spot revenue was $154.3 million (down 27.5%); digital – including podcasting – revenue was $49.9 million (up 15.9%); and network revenue was $17.6 million (down 19.1%). Audacy president and CEO David Field says, “The year has gotten off to an active start as we successfully completed the rebranding of the company to Audacy, reflecting our transformational progress into a leading, multi-platform audio content and entertainment company with scaled audience reach and a leadership position in virtually every key segment of the dynamic and growing audio market. We are in the midst of a strong, albeit uneven, advertising recovery reflecting the nature of our business mix. First quarter digital revenues grew 17% and national revenues rebounded to prior year levels, but local ad revenues remained behind as many of our customers continue to be impacted by the pandemic. Because the local radio advertiser base is weighted toward later-stage recovery categories including restaurants, concerts and entertainment, movies, travel, and theme parks, we anticipate a strong recovery of local advertising across these businesses during the third and fourth quarters. Our second quarter pacings are up more than 60% over 2020 reflecting massive improvements across all segments of our business from the depressed levels of the prior year. In another strong sign of recovery, our average local customer spending levels are now exceeding their average 2019 spending levels. Total local ad spending is down because of a decline in the number of customers with a significant majority of those inactive accounts concentrated in later-stage recovery business categories. During the quarter, we announced and completed the acquisition of Podcorn, the country’s #1 podcast influencer marketplace hosting over 44,000 podcast creators, substantially bolstering our customer product offerings. We also announced a multi-year agreement with BetMGM making them a preferred sports betting partner of the company. We are emerging from the pandemic as a meaningfully stronger and better positioned company with significantly enhanced growth potential and are excited by the opportunities ahead as we continue to drive innovation and development of new products, content, and capabilities.”

Salem Media Group Reports Q1 Revenue Growth of 1.9%. Reporting its financial data for the first quarter of 2021, Salem Media Group, delivers positive numbers as total revenue for the company was $59.4 million, an increase of 1.9% over the same period in 2020. The company reports that total operating expenses decreased 27.9% to $55 million from $76.3 million and operating expenses – excluding gains or losses on the disposition of assets, stock- based compensation expense, changes in the estimated fair value of contingent earn-out consideration, impairments, depreciation expense and amortization expense – decreased 6.2% to $51.4 million from $54.8 million. Salem also reveals operating income of $4.4 million compared to the operating loss of $18 million it posted in the first quarter of 2020. Salem Media Group reports its business segments and says net broadcast revenue was $44 million, a decline of 2.5% compared to the first quarter of 2020; same station net broadcast revenue was $43.9 million, a dip of 1.9%; digital media revenue was $9.6 million, an increase of 5.7%; digital media operating income rose 21.6% to $0.9 million from $0.8 million; and publishing revenue increased 43.4% to $5.7 million from $4.0 million.

‘1010XL’ in Jacksonville Celebrates Alumni Week. Jacksonville sports talk WJXL-AM/FM “1010XL” is taking a look in the rearview mirror next week as it celebrates Alumni Week beginning on Monday (5/10). The Seven Bridges Radio LLC-owned station is bringing back popular hosts of the past, is “re-pairing” hosts who formerly worked together and is taking a journey back through the memories of the station’s first 15 years. Frank Frangie, the station’s afternoon drive host, and Rick Ballou will reunite in afternoon drive for the entire week. The duo handled afternoon drive together for more than seven years beginning in 2009. They also will be joined periodically throughout the week by Jessica Blaylock, a mainstay on the show during much of the time Frangie and Ballou were together. Mike Dempsey, the host of “Jaguars Today,” will be reunited for the entire week with his former co-host, former Jags’ linebacker Tom McManus. Guest during the week include Jeff Lageman, David Garrard, Jason Godbee and Ryan O’halloran. “Helmets and Heels,” the station’s weekly show featuring all-female hosts, will air every night during the week from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Current hosts Lauren Brooks and Donna Murphy, who have been on the show since its inception, will be joined by show regular Taylor Doll as well as former cast members Jessica Blaylock, Blythe Brumleve, Amanda Borges and others. “The Drill,” the station’s morning show, will have interview segments with former co-hosts Jordan DeArmon, Mackenzie Thirkill, as well as Tony Boselli and some surprise guests. Hays Carlyon, currently an afternoon drive co-host, will sit in on “XL Prime Time” with Joe Cowart, Matt Hayes, and Leon Searcy. “XL Prime Time” guests include Chad Scott, Terry Norvelle, Scott Manze and more. While Frangie and Ballou will have segments with Joe Block, Pat Dooley, Amanda Borges, former program director Jason Dixon, and others.

RTDNA Presents Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards. The RTDNA announces the regional winners of the 2021 Edward R. Murrow Awards and bestows more than 750 awards in recognizing more than 350 local radio and television stations. RTDNA chair Andrea Stahlman says, “The regional RTDNA Edward R. Murrow Award recipients we announce today produced extraordinary journalism that brought clarity and context to 2020’s biggest news stories. The winning work demonstrates dedication, determination, and a commitment to the highest ethical standards enshrined in RTDNA’s Code of Ethics.” In a new category for 2021, more than 40 news outlets earned regional Murrow Awards for Excellence in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, including examples of bilingual reporting, contextual coverage of inequality and discrimination, and newsroom-convened community discussions. RTDNA executive director and COO Dan Shelley comments, “Local journalists across the country guided Americans through a pandemic, ongoing racial reckoning and a fraught election cycle, despite facing unprecedented operational challenges and an astonishing number of physical attacks during 2020. The persistence of the regional Murrow Award winners we recognize today is a testament to these journalists’ commitment to their First Amendment duty.” See the complete list of winners here.

Edison Research Releases ‘Moms and Media 2021’ Study Results. The results of Edison Research’s “Moms and Media 2021” study have been released and the company says some of the highlights include that 46% of U.S. moms own a smart speaker, up from 33% last year. Sixty-three percent of U.S. moms now use voice-operated personal assistants of any kind, including smart speakers, smart phones, tablets, computers, and other devices. Of those moms who own a smart speaker, they own an average of 2.7 of the devices. Edison Research vice president Melissa DeCesare says, “The past year during COVID has been about adjustment, especially for moms. The pandemic uprooted everything we knew and were familiar with and it forced a new at-home lifestyle for the entire family. Moms are tasked with keeping it all on track and they do it with help from modern technology. Our 2021 report shows that moms have not only maintained their commitment to devices and mobile tendencies, but they’ve actually adjusted their habits to better suit their needs during the pandemic.” Other noteworthy data include: More moms are consuming online audio with 82% of U.S. moms being monthly online audio listeners compared with 76% in 2020, and 76% of U.S. moms being weekly online audio listeners compared with 70% in 2020; and more moms are listening to podcasts with 64% of U.S. moms having ever listened to a podcast (up from 57% in 2020) – 40% having listened in the last month and 28% having listened in the last week. See more about the study here.

TALKERS News Notes. After nearly three years of hosting and producing “Bagels and Broadway with Valerie Smaldone” on WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer,” Smaldone says she’s ending the radio edition of the food and theatre-themed program but will continue the show as a podcast this fall when Broadway reopens. Smaldone recently began a new position as executive vice president and producer at multiplatform content company Audio Drama Initiative…..PodcastOne announces a multi-year first look deal with Picture Perfect Federation, the joint venture between Picture Perfect Entertainment and Federation Entertainment led by Patrick Wachsberger, for the development of scripted serial podcast content. Under the development deal, Wachsberger and his team will introduce scripted content across multiple genres with an eye to package the resulting audio IP for television, film, and streaming platforms. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “Patrick and his team are true professionals with unparalleled success in the movie, television and scripted world. The partnership with PodcastOne will complement their expertise with over 10 years of experience in the audio space developing weekly interview styles and successful scripted programming. Together, we are going to supercharge our story telling and fan development capabilities to create a slate of programs that will be exciting for audiences, advertisers and production houses looking to be involved with our amazing IP.”…..Advertising mogul and veteran TV personality, Donny Deutsch is teaming up with Kast Media to launch his first-ever podcast titled, “On Brand with Donny Deutsch,” on May 13. Deutsch has hosted television shows such as CNBC’s long running series, “The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch” and MSNBC’s “Saturday Night Politics.”…..Alpha Media Canton announces that news/talk WHBC-AM is the new home of “Tangled Up In Blues with Cornel Bogdan.” Bogdan’s show first aired in September 2000 in Youngstown. He says, “When I started ‘Tangled Up In Blues’ over 20 years ago, I had no idea it would be so greatly accepted. It’s very humbling. My listeners are passionate about this music like no other. WHBC is a cornerstone in Canton. I wanted to be part of that heritage. ‘Tangled Up In Blues’ on WHBC is really good mojo!”…..“The Motley Fool” radio show host Chris Hill is the narrator of the audio book edition of Morgan Housel’s The Psychology of Money (2021 Harriman House) that is enjoying having just hit the milestone of 100,000 audiobook sales.

COVID-19 Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 3-7. The COVID-19-related issues including vaccines, variants, politics, the soaring death toll in India, and statistics combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was Facebook’s Oversight Board keeping Donald Trump’s page suspended and the broader issue of censorship, followed by party politics and Liz Cheney’s battle for her status in the GOP 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.