Townsquare Media 2021 Second Quarter Net Revenue Up 45%. The company releases financial data for the second quarter of 2021 and reports net revenue was $107.3 million, an increase of 45% over the same period in 2020. Townsquare Media says it achieved 99.4% of Q2 2019’s net revenue when excluding Live Events net revenue. Total digital revenue growth was up 36% year over year and contributed approximately 47% of the company’s total net revenue in the first six months of 2021. Townsquare CEO Bill Wilson says, “Over the next three years, we expect double-digit digital net revenue growth to continue, fueling the growth of our digital platform from $180 million of revenue (on a trailing twelve-month basis as of June 30, 2021) to $250 million. Most impressively, I am extremely proud to report that Townsquare’s second quarter Adjusted EBITDA of $30.3 million not only exceeded our expectations, our previously stated guidance, and 2019 levels (+1% vs. Q2 2019), but it was also the highest Adjusted EBITDA generated in any single quarter in Townsquare’s history. To accomplish this strong result only one year after the start of the pandemic is a testament to the strength of the Townsquare team, our digital platform and solutions for local businesses, and our careful expense management efforts.” Wilson adds, “As a Digital First Company, our digital revenue and profit growth has accelerated, driving the diversification of our business, total company growth and separation from our local competition. I am incredibly optimistic about Townsquare’s future, and very proud that we are on the path to achieving 2019’s Adjusted EBITDA in 2021, on the verge of a full revenue recovery in 2021, and plan on delivering strong revenue and profit growth in 2022.” Townsquare reports in three segments: Townsquare Interactive – its digital marketing solutions subscription business; Advertising – including broadcast and digital advertising products and solutions; and Live Events – including concerts, expositions and other experiential events. Advertising net revenue for Q2 of this year was $85.9 million, an increase of 50.4% over the same period in 2020. The company also reports net income of $10.1 million compared to the net loss of $28.9 million it posted during the same period a year ago. As of June 30, 2021, Townsquare had a total of $25.1 million of cash and cash equivalents and $550 million of outstanding indebtedness.
Jeff Rickard Named Brand Manager for WEEI, Boston; Ken Laird Promoted to Assistant Brand Manager. Boston sports talk outlet WEEI announces that Jeff Rickard is joining the station as brand manager, effective August 11. Audacy says that in this role, Rickard will oversee content operations for WEEI-FM and the WEEI radio network that spans the New England region. Rickard was most recently PD and morning host at Emmis Communications’ WFNI-AM, Indianapolis. During his career, Rickard spent almost 10 years in Bristol, Connecticut hosting ESPN Radio’s “Gamenight” program and served with Comcast as managing editor and anchor of the Boston-based “Out of Bounds Latenight” show. Rickard has also hosted shows regularly for numerous SiriusXM channels including: NFL Radio, ESPNU, MLB Network Radio, and Mad Dog Sports Radio. He has served as the host of NFL Radio’s “The Sunday Kickoff” during the NFL season for the past five years and is the host of “College Football Overtime” on ESPNU. He says, “Having worked in sports radio for virtually my entire career, I am thrilled to join the team at WEEI. Its rich history is well documented as is the unmatched passion of the Boston sports fan. I’m looking forward to pairing this talented team with fresh, new ideas to both reflect and match that passion.” At the same time, WEEI executive producer Ken Laird is being promoted to assistant brand manager. He’ll continue his role as update anchor and executive producer of the morning drive “Greg Hill Show.”
Ramsey Network Unveils New Podcast, ‘The Fine Print.’ The newest podcast from Ramsey Network is a show that shines a spotlight on the deceptive methods companies, marketers and scammers use to influence money decisions. ‘The Fine Print’ is hosted by Ramsey personality George Kamel and is “a bi-weekly show featuring interviews with experts and industry insiders about the money traps and trends keeping people broke.” Ramsey Solutions CEO and “The Ramsey Show” host Dave Ramsey says, “For 30 years, I’ve heard the pain in people’s voices when they call into the radio show because of a money trap that’s left them in a world of hurt. What if we could prevent that pain by empowering people to avoid the trap in the first place? That’s what ‘The Fine Print’ does. George educates listeners to recognize and steer clear of money minefields so they can be the heroes of their own stories.” Episodes of the podcast include: How TurboTax Is Screwing You; Could Bitcoin Be Your Ticket To Wealth?; The True Cost of Credit Card Rewards; The Dirty Truth Behind Your Credit Score; and How the Robinhood App Steals from the Rich AND the Poor. Find out more here.
LiveXLive and PodcastOne Announces Podcast Competition. This competition is called “Self Made Podcast Edition” and is “an audio competition to find the next big podcast star for PodcastOne.” The company says the competition will be driven by fans and PodcastOne’s panel of judges, as they listen to see who will take the top prize, a podcasting contract with PodcastOne and a total package worth over $100,000 including promotion across the network which features a roster of celebrity podcasters, including Adam Carolla, Kaitlyn Bristowe, Barbara Schroeder, Michael Irvin, and Jordan Harbinger.” The contest kicks off today (8/3) and is open to amateur podcasters only. The winner of “Self Made Podcast Edition” will be crowned on September 30, 2021 – International Podcast Day. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “There are so many wonderfully creative and innovative podcasters out there. We’re excited to be able to offer someone the opportunity to make their dreams of becoming a self-made podcast host come true.” Learn more here.
SiriusXM to Unveil Lucille Ball’s ‘Lost’ Radio Show on New Channel. The legendary comedienne is the star of the new SiriusXM channel called, “Let’s Talk to Lucy,” named after her 1960s CBS Radio program. SiriusXM says, “In between starring in four television series and more than 70 films, Lucy would frequently jump from set to set, tape recorder in hand, and talk about all aspects of life with some of the biggest names in Hollywood history, including Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Dean Martin, Carol Burnett, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, and dozens more. These recordings eventually made it onto air when CBS Radio broadcast them as ‘Let’s Talk to Lucy’ from 1964-1965. However, for the last 50-plus years they’ve never been heard publicly again – until now.” Ball’s daughter Lucy Arnaz says, “Although I have been care-taking these ancient tapes for over 30 years, I had never really listened to them all and had no idea how many remarkable people Mom had talked to on these radio shows. It’s a treasure trove of personal information from some of the greatest talents of American entertainment and my family and I can’t wait to share them with the rest of the planet.”
TALKERS News Notes. Tomorrow evening (8/4), a debate among a number of the candidates running to replace California Governor Gavin Newsom in the September 14 recall election will will take place and Salem Radio Network is distributing the event nationally. It’s taking place from 9:00 pm to 10:30 pm ET at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California. SRN host Hugh Hewitt – who serves as president of the Richard Nixon Foundation – will moderate the debate along with panelists Christine Devine and Elex Michaelson of KTTV-TV, Los Angeles “FOX 11 News” and former U.S. National Security Adviser Ambassador Robert C. O’Brien. Special radio coverage will be anchored by KRLA, Los Angeles morning host Jennifer Horn and KRLA news anchor Larry Marino. SRN host and candidate Larry Elder is declining to take part saying his goal is “defeating Gavin Newsom not appearing in a circular firing squad with other Republicans.”…..Westwood One is expanding the role of sports media pro Rich Eisen within the network to include pregame and halftime hosting duties for “Monday Night Football on Westwood One.” The Monday night schedule kicks off on September 13, when the Baltimore Ravens visit the Las Vegas Raiders and concludes on January 3, 2022, when the Cleveland Browns battle the Pittsburgh Steelers. Eisen says, “‘Monday Night Football on Westwood One’ is one of the greatest hosting gigs in broadcasting and I’m honored to have the seat. The fact that I can expand my partnership with Westwood One beyond my daily show and podcast platform by talking even more football thrills me to no end.”…..The application window for programming candidates interested in applying to the “Elevating Women in Audio: MIW & BDSradio Mentorship” is being extended through Tuesday, August 10. The “Elevating Women in Audio: MIW & BDSradio Mentorship” program is a year-long experience for women in music programming, provided by Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio and MRC Data (formerly Nielsen Music). Personalized conversations with the best programming minds in the business are geared to help advance a career within the radio/audio industry. Additionally, the mentee receives a scholarship to attend Radio Show 2021 this October in Las Vegas. The mentorship is available to one female brand manager, content/program director, assistant program director, and/or music director from any U.S. based music format. To apply, click here…..The popular finance and investing podcast “Pennies: Going in Raw,” hosted by Hugh Henne and Dan, the Deity of Dips, is now a part of the iHeartPodcast Network. iHeartMedia says, “With more than 2.3 million downloads, the podcast takes an exciting and informative spin on stock market topics like day trading strategies, volume, price targets, penny stocks, accumulation, reverse splits and much more. The show also features a range of guests from young, successful traders to the leaders of multi-billion-dollar companies, such as Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph, and CEO and founder of Hims, Andrew Dudman…..Today through Thursday, WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talk host Simon Conway (left) is pulling double duty as he fills in for Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo (right) on his Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated program. Conway’s WHO show is also heard on iHeartMedia’s WMT, Cedar Rapids and WOC, Davenport, Iowa…..iHeartMedia Pittsburgh’s Steelers Radio Network announces changes to its broadcast team. As part of the changes, Craig Wolfley, a former Steelers offensive lineman who has served as a sideline analyst on the Steelers game day broadcast since 2002, will join play-by-play announcer Bill Hillgrove in the broadcast booth as color analyst. Wolfley takes over for Tunch Ilkin, who retired after 23 seasons in the booth. Former Steelers offensive lineman Max Starks is joining Missi Matthews for sideline reports. He recently served as a sideline reporter for Westwood One. Starks will also join Wolfley as co-host of “In The Locker Room, Presented By Neighborhood Ford Store,” a daily, in-season radio program airing on Steelers Nation Radio.
COVID-19 Delta Variant and Masks, Eviction Ban Expires, January 6 Investigation, Voting Rights, Southern Border Policy, Infrastructure Bill, and Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/2). The rising rate of COVID-19 Delta variant cases in the U.S. and abroad and the issue of mask mandates; the White House puts the onus on states as the federal ban on evictions expires; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and the suicide of Capitol police officer Kyle DeFreytag; today’s planned DC rally supporting the For the People voting rights bill; the Biden administration continues the Trump administration policy of deporting illegal migrants; the $1 trillion bi-partisan infrastructure bill; and Simone Biles returns to the Olympics to win bronze in the balance beam were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Monday Memo: About Pottymouth. Yes, the rules are different for podcasters than for what’s acceptable on-air lingo. But consultant Holland Cooke warns podcasters, “Pick your lane and stay with it.” Read his column here.
Unemployment Benefits Ending/New Stimulus Deal, Back to School Debate, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, BLM Protests, Presidential Race, U.S.-China Tensions, MLB Season Begins, and the Deaths of Regis Philbin, Olivia de Havilland, and Peter Green Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Americans are bracing for the end of unemployment benefits that run out this week as the GOP and the White House work on a new stimulus package; the debate over if and how to send kids back to school in the fall; the rising number of positive COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future cases; the Black Lives Matter protests in several cities and the Trump administration’s use of federal forces; the November presidential election and current Trump approval polls; the diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and China and allegations China is trying to steal COVID-19 vaccine data; Major League Baseball begins its shortened 2020 season; and the deaths of Regis Philbin, Olivia de Havilland, and Peter Green were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Pending Business: Location, Location, Location. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that the coronavirus pandemic has changed where people take part in certain activities and where they consume certain products. Similarly, radio salespeople must accept that in-car listening habits have changed and they must pitch accordingly. Read it here.
Two Stations Add Salem Radio Network Lineup. Two radio stations are adding the Salem Radio Network lineup of conservative talk shows to their program schedules. Idaho Wireless Corporation’s KSEI, Pocatello, Idaho flips from oldies to news/talk and Wilkins Radio Network changes KXKS-AM, Albuquerque from a religious format to news/talk, both airing the lineup of Hugh Hewitt, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Larry Elder, and Dan Proft. Both stations are also airing Townhall News at the top of the hour. Salem SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce comments, “We have seen tremendous interest in the news/talk format, with this major breaking news cycle we are living through. These stations see this tremendous interest in breaking news and what to make of it, and they understand only one network is capable of giving them an entire lineup.”
iHeartMedia Los Angeles Partners with FanVestor for Charitable Sweepstakes. Through a partnership with fan engagement app FanVestor, iHeartMedia Los Angeles is raising money for local charities providing access to healthy meals for children and others affected by COVID-19 school closures and financial hardship. FanVestor is hosting a series of virtual in-app sweepstakes in which fans who download the free app and create an account become automatically entered to win a daily $1,000 cash prize and can also enter to win one virtual fan experience sweepstakes of their choice for free. Those virtual fan experiences include: A Private Virtual Q&A with professional baseball players Justin Turner or Max Muncy hosted by KLAC “AM 570 LA Sports” personalities Petros and Money. The winner will also receive a team gift bag and jersey from one of the players and two of the original seats from Dodger Stadium; A Private Virtual Hang with The Jonas Brothers hosted by 104.3 MYFM’s on-air personality Valentine; A Private Virtual Hang with DJ Khaled, hosted by Big Boy from KRRL “REAL 92.3”; Co-Host for The Day on 102.7 KIIS FM’s “Top 9 at 9 Countdown” alongside on-air personality EJ, plus a private virtual hang and interview with artist, singer and dancer Jackson Wang; Private Virtual Brunch with Ryan Seacrest and the cast of 102.7 KIIS FM’s “On Air with Ryan Seacrest” show; and more. iHeartMedia division president Kevin LeGrett says, “iHeartMedia Los Angeles is excited to partner with the new FanVestor fan engagement app at a time when our listeners, the fans, are craving interaction with their favorite artists and trusted iHeartMedia personalities.”
‘10,000 Voices’ Campaign Underway at iHeartMedia Philadelphia. In collaboration with non-profit voter registration organization HeadCount, iHeartMedia Philadelphia launches the “10,000 Voices” campaign to encourage voter registration in Philadelpha, New Jersey, and Delaware. iHeartMedia Philadelphia says it will “combine its tremendous reach on air and digitally with HeadCount’s voter engagement tools along with support from the Philadelphia Commissioners Office in the 100 days leading up to voter registration deadlines in Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware. “10,000 Voices” will provide three paths for voter engagement: voter registration; a Me+3 Pledge, an initiative which will encourage listeners to bring three friends or family members to vote; and voting by mail. iHeartMedia Philadelphia director of news and community affairs Loraine Ballard Morrill says, “Increasing the number of people that vote in each election means better representation of everyone’s voice and a great way to actively participate in our democracy. This is our chance to vote on the issues important to us.”
TALKERS News Notes. Talk radio pro Simon Conway (left) is filling in for Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo (right) on his Compass Media Networks-syndicated talk show today through Wednesday. That’s in addition to Conway doing his regular WHO, Des Moines-based morning show that’s also heard on iHeartMedia’s WMT, Cedar Rapids and WOC, Quad Cities. The Joe Pags Show will also air on WMT and WOC…..Magnum Communications closes on the acquisition of WFAW-AM and WSJY-FM, Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin and WKCH-FM, Whitewater, Wisconsin from NRG Media. KALIL & CO., INC. was the exclusive broker for this transaction…..The NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers announce they have a new Spanish-language radio broadcast team for the 2020 season. Francisco Pinto will provide color commentary and Adrian Garcia Marquez will serve as the play-by-play announcer on Estrella Radio’s simulcast of regional Mexican KBUE-FM/KEBN-FM “Que Buena 105.5/94.3.” Chargers president of business operations A.G. Spanos says, “We are excited to reunite two of LA’s most recognizable and respected voices on our Spanish-language radio broadcast. Francisco and Adrian have great on-air chemistry, as witnessed by their multiple Emmy Awards calling Los Angeles Lakers games for Spectrum SportsNet Deportes. Both are consummate professionals with extensive sports broadcast experience not just in LA, but on the national and international stages as well. We cannot wait for their call to hit the airwaves this season and bring Chargers fans the action in a way that only Francisco and Adrian can.”…..Nationally syndicated talk host Dave Graveline announced via social media that he’s tested positive for COVID-19. He writes: “I am COVID positive and I ‘have a bad case of pneumonia.’ They are sending for the respiratory therapist STAT. And they will do everything they can before they need to consider… ventilator. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Not feeling well at all.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Broadcaster Urban One, Inc’s executive team expressed thanks on Friday to the Washington, D.C. City Council for the amendment that effectively eliminates a proposed advertising tax from the Fiscal 2021 budget. The proposed 3% sales tax would have been added to TV, radio, print, and digital advertising purchases. Urban One CEO Alfred Liggins III says, “We have been partners with the residents of the District for over 40 years and consider ourselves part of the fiber of the city and the DMV. This pandemic has devastated and disrupted all of our lives, and the advertising tax would have been like adding salt in the wound.”…..iHeartMedia announces it has signed Jubal Fresh to a deal to host “The Jubal Show” on CHR KBKS, Seattle “106.1 KISS FM” Previously paired with Brooke Fox for the syndicated “Brooke and Jubal” show based at Hubbard Radio’s KQMV, Seattle, Jubal exited the show earlier this year. He will be joined at KBKS by his wife, Alex Fresh, and additional hosts to be named at a later date. iHeartMedia Seattle market president Robert Dove says, “We couldn’t be more excited to partner with Jubal on his next endeavor and welcome him to iHeartMedia Seattle. Jubal’s ability to cultivate a diverse fan base across America, but most importantly, right here in Seattle, was just something we could not miss. I’m excited to welcome him and Alex to the team!”
iHeartMedia Begins Massive Layoff of Air Talent. The exact number of personalities let go is not known at this point, but as iHeartMedia issued a press release yesterday explaining its new Markets Group management structure designed to “take advantage of the significant investments it has made in technology and artificial intelligence and its unique scale and leadership position in the audio marketplace,” it was firing local air personalities it deems not necessary to the company’s future success. iHeartMedia, like every other radio company, faces intense competition for listeners from digital music services and digital spoken-word platforms. Dayparts that aren’t crucial to a station’s revenue – usually nights and overnights – are often seen as not needing live, local jocks, especially when the company produces quality national programs to fill those hours. As for news/talk and sports talk hosts, the cost of maintaining a show with two or more personalities plus a producer is sometimes more than income from spot sales and other revenue streams can provide. iHeartMedia’s statement on the “employee dislocation” is as follows: “We are modernizing our company to take advantage of the significant investments we have made in new technology and aligning our operating structure to match the technology-powered businesses we are now in. This is another step in the company’s successful transformation as a multiple platform 21st century media company, and we believe it is essential to our future – it continues our momentum and adds to our competitiveness, our effectiveness, and our efficiency with all our major constituencies. During a transition like this it’s reasonable to expect that there will be some shifts in jobs – some by location and some by function – but the number is relatively small given our overall employee base of 12,500. That said, we recognize that the loss of any job is significant; we take that responsibility seriously and have been thoughtful in the process.” Some of those in the spoken-word formats who’ve exited the company include: Kerry Belkin, producer, WFXJ, Jacksonville; Leland Conway, host, WHAS, Louisville and WLPA, Lexington; Big Jim Donovan, host, WSYR, Syracuse; Andrew Downs, program director, KXNO, Des Moines; Jim Fisher, host, WOC, Quad Cities; Seth Harp, programmer and host, WFXJ, Jacksonville; Carl Harris, creative services director, Tampa Bay cluster; Travis Justice and Heather Burnside, hosts, and Sean Roberts, producer, Pete Kaliner, host, WWNC, Asheville, NC; Dave Levora, morning host, WOC, Quad Cities; Mike Lucas, host, WTSO, Madison; Ross Peterson and Chris Williams, hosts, KXNO, Des Moines; Jake Query and Derek Schultz, hosts, WNDE, Indianapolis; Chip Ramsey, weekend producer, WERC, Birmingham; John Ramsey and Mike Rutherford, hosts, WKRD, Louisville.
Brian Sussman Exits KSFO, San Francisco. Eighteen-year KSFO, San Francisco talk show host Brian Sussman announces he’s leaving the Cumulus Media station where he’s been hosting the morning drive show. Sussman says that in April of 2019 he resigned due to an impasse in contract negotiations, but soon thereafter reached a temporary agreement to host the show four days per week through December (his brother, Brad Sussman, hosted the fifth day). But in October, Sussman was required to go on medical leave through the remainder of the year. That affected his plans for continuing into 2020. He tells TALKERS magazine, “Fortunately, I’m feeling great, but clearly all those years of scant sleep and starting show prep at 3:00 am finally caught up with me. The KSFO listening family – both locally and nationally – are such a loyal band of patriots. But what I’ll miss the most about our show is working with the best producer in talk radio, Sheri Yee, and my lovely and super-hilarious sidekick, Katie Green. Thankfully, Brother Brad has been doing a great job filling in for me and I hope he’s the future! Meantime, I appreciate KSFO’s management team for having been so considerate these past few months.”
Impeachment, Presidential Race/Democratic Debate, Iran Protests, U.S.-China Trade Negotiations, Royal Family Controversy, Philippine Volcano Eruption, and MLB Sign Stealing Scandal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/14). The impeachment articles against President Trump set to move to the Senate; the Democrats hoping to challenge Donald Trump in November and last night’s debate in Des Moines; the protests in Iran over the Islamic Republic’s accidental shooting down of the Ukrainian International Airlines flight PS752; the Trump Administration’s progress in trade negotiations with China; the controversy over Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s stepping back from royal life; the deadly eruption of Taal Volcano in the Philippines; and the MLB’s handling of the sign stealing scandal were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Comrex Announces New Firmware in Conjunction with ACCESS MultiRack. News from Comrex Corporation reveals that the company has released firmware version 4.5p2, a new update for its line of IP audio codecs. This new firmware version is being released in conjunction with ACCESS MultiRack – a new multi-instance codec that provides seamless integration of all functions with legacy single-instance ACCESS codecs. This new firmware simplifies CrossLock connections between the new ACCESS MultiRack and legacy Comrex IP audio codecs. It replaces an older Adobe Flash-based GUI with an HTML5 web-based GUI as the default user interface. This new interface avoids the security risks posed by Adobe Flash, and is supported by all browsers. Users can upgrade their Comrex IP audio codecs using the free Device Manager application which can be downloaded here. If a user is updating a device from FW version 2.7.1 or earlier, they can contact Comrex Support for assistance.
TALKERS News Notes. Pictured here is Westwood One News correspondent Steve Kastenbaum covering last night’s Democratic presidential debate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder notes that the hosts of WSCR, Chicago’s weekly golf show, “The Scorecard on The Score,” – Ed Sherman and Steve Olken – are leaving the station. The two have hosted the show at the Entercom sports talk station for the past 10 years. WSCR is expected to name new hosts for the show before it returns to the air in March…..KTBB, Tyler, Texas is the newest affiliate of FOX News Radio, subscribing to the FOX 5 Minute News Service on January 6…..FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio star Brian Kilmeade visited affiliate station WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta in December and senior operations and program manager Drew Anderssen says, “Few syndicated hosts, if any, create the kind of impact with affiliates and their communities that Kilmeade does. Brian participated in our 29th annual drive to provide Georgia foster children with gifts at Christmas. His impact helped us fulfill wish lists for over 9,000 foster kids, in partnership with St. Vincent de Paul Georgia and the Georgia Division of Family & Children Services!” Pictured below (clockwise from top left) are: Anderssen, “Kilmeade & Friends” senior producer Alyson Mansfield, Kilmeade, WSB traffic anchor Ashley Frasca, and WSB-FM “B95.5” morning personality Tad Lemire.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Beasley Media Group’s urban contemporary WDMK, Detroit “105.9 KISS-FM,” the nationally syndicated “Rickey Smiley Morning Show” is now heard in the 6:00 am to 10:00 am slot. Station program director John Candelaria says, “We are thrilled to have Rickey Smiley join ‘105.9 KISS FM.’ I have watched Rickey ascend to national superstar over the past 20 years and we are excited to have him leading the lineup for the ‘All New 105.9 KISS FM.’ Detroit is ready for a fresh new morning show!”
Marske Named PD at WOC, Quad Cities. Moline native Kirk Marske is named program director for iHeartMedia’s Quad Cities news/talk WOC. Marske has served with the cluster for 17 years, producing programs on WOC, classic rock WCQQ “Q106.5” and CHR KUUL “101.3 Kiss FM.” In this position, Marske will program WOC and be part of the “AM Quad Cities” morning show hosted by Dave Levora with contributions from Dan Deibert. Marske takes over for Dan Kennedy, who retired from the station in May after 20 years there. iHeartMedia SVP of programming Jim O’Hara says, “Kirk is just the guy to program WOC. Born and raised in Moline – and with more local connections than anyone – he has a real passion for news/talk radio.”
Beasley Media Group Files with SEC Announcing Sale of Up to $250 million in Stock. In an S-3 filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, Beasley Media Group announces its intent to offer securities for sale on the Nasdaq Global Market using a “shelf” registration process that allows the company to “sell securities from time to time and in one or more offerings up to a total dollar amount of $250,000,000 …” This is Class A common stock has one vote per share. Class B common stock is owned only by the Beasley family and enjoys 10 votes per share. What would Beasley use the influx of cash for? Acquisition of more radio stations is the popular bet. Although iHeartMedia – currently in Chapter 11 reorganization – has said it’s not in sale mode, the company has been willing to deal in recent years. And then there’s the Scripps stations currently on the block. Stay tuned.
Doug Hall Named Digitial PD for iHM San Francisco. There are just two spoken-word stations in iHeartMedia’s San Francisco cluster – progressive talker KKSF “Real Talk 910AM” and KNEW-AM “Bloomberg Radio” – but the company says that its San Francisco cluster has “been an innovator in podcast content creation, generating 30 podcasts locally with nearly 100 episodes each week published.” It will be part of new digital program director Doug Hall’s charge as he moves from iHeartMedia Miami to the Bay Area for his gig. iHeartMedia San Francisco SVP of programming Don Parker says, “After an extensive search inside and outside of the industry, Doug stood out as the clear choice to lead our digital and social efforts in the Bay Area. With Doug’s knowledge of our goals and priorities along with his sense of urgency and enthusiasm, I’m confident he will grow iHeartMedia San Francisco.” Hall takes over for Matty Staudt, who was recently elevated to vice president of podcast programming at iHeartMedia.
TALKERS Continues Posting Videos Today of the Recent TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Convention – Today’s Post: Fireside Chat Between Michael Harrison and Brian Kilmeade. Today (6/27) TALKERS magazine continues posting individual events from the recent TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! convention held in New York City on June 8. Each day, another session will be posted in the order that they originally took place. Today’s third installment features the Fireside Chat between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel mega-star Brian Kilmeade with an introduction by Westwood One syndicated host Walter Sterling and special remarks by Sean Hannity. Yesterday’s post presents opening remarks by the convention’s co-emcees, TalkersRadio GM, David Bernstein and Good Day Networks/DJV Show CEO/host, Doug Stephan. In addition, KGO, San Francisco host, Ethan Bearman delivers the event’s welcoming remarks and Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host, Brad Shepard introduces Bearman. Already posted this week: the presentation of the Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech (“Freedom of Speech Award”) by TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian to SiriusXM Satellite Radio host, book publisher, Hunter College professor, and former New York Daily News/Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, Karen Hunter. To view the page, please click here.
Going for the Gold. The fourth annual fundraising dinner for the Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation took place last night (6/27) at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The sold-out event featured FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel personality and best-selling author Brian Kilmeade as keynote speaker, with TALKERS founder Michael Harrison warming up the crowd with special remarks. Kilmeade delivered an inspirational speech discussing the ups and downs of his career as well as a number of others making the point that facing the challenges that life throws at you head on while remaining humble and grateful is one of the keys to achieving and maintaining success. Harrison discussed the importance of education in preparing future generations of broadcasters to live up to the responsibility of preserving the First Amendment and the vibrant free marketplace of ideas in the rapidly evolving digital era. The Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation is a dynamic non-profit working to raise funds to support the education of young broadcasters. It has been instrumental in helping develop the outstanding program offered at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan, including the building of the school’s award-winning radio station WRFH. Pictured at the event (l-r): Harrison, Kilmeade and Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation president Vince Benedetto. Benedetto is also the CEO of the Bold Gold Media Group, with a growing roster of news/talk, sports talk and music radio stations in Northeast Pennsylvania and Upstate New York.
Report: Colin Cowherd Renews Deal with iHeartMedia and FOX Sports. According to Andrew Marchand’s column in the New York Post, sports media personality Colin Cowherd has inked a renewal deal with iHeartMedia and FOX Sports that will pay him in the neighborhood of $6 million per year. Marchand’s piece reports that Cowherd’s three-hour radio show will continue (and remain simulcast on TVs’ FOX Sports 1), but he will exit the “Speak for Yourself” television program co-hosted by Jason Whitlock. Cowherd is expected to continue hosting the “FOX NFL Kickoff” TV show that returns in September.
iHeartMedia and Anna Faris Strike Deal for Expansion of ‘Unqualified’ Programming. Actress and podcaster Anna Faris – who produces her “Anna Faris Is Unqualified” podcast via her Unqualified Media production company – is partnering with iHeartMedia to bring her show to CHR broadcast radio and the iHeartRadio Podcast Network. “Unqualified” features interviews with celebrities and cultural figures who tackle a variety of topics such as dating and relationships, in addition to taking phone calls from listeners seeking relationship advice. Faris created the podcast with her longtime friend and co-host Sim Sarna, who produces the show and runs the production company. The deal will have Unqualified Media produce a long-form “Anna Faris Is Unqualified” radio program that will air weekends across CHR broadcast radio stations nationwide. In addition, iHeartMedia will create short-form content that will air weekdays promoting “Anna Faris Is Unqualified” nationwide.
TALKERS News Notes. On Monday, news/talk WGOW-FM, Chattanooga released a statement regarding the status of morning drive personality Jeff Styles, who was arrested on June 15 after a road rage incident left Styles with a gunshot wound to the arm and the other party with damage to his car left by Styles’ weapon – a military-grade tomahawk. Cumulus Media has placed Styles on paid leave while the incident is investigated. Meanwhile the station says, “Gary Mac has filled in for Styles in the past and did so last week and he will continue to do so. He has other obligations, however, for the next two weeks and afternoon host Brian Joyce will be hosting ‘The Morning Press’ along with Jim Reynolds.”…..Talk show host Tom Donahue is returning to the radio airwaves on July 1 as he launches a weekly, Sunday evening program available via Talk Stream Live and distributed to radio stations by Salem Radio Network. The program will air live at 11:00 pm ET. Donahue says, “I am thrilled to have this broadcast opportunity that has eluded me for some time. I will independently syndicate my show distributed by SRN and TSL, thus allowing me to reach a broader audience with satellite access and delivery to so many radio stations and markets. To be an impactful player in talk radio, your game plan must include broadcast stations. In recent years, my program has been confined mostly to online streaming, digital, and podcasting platforms, with the exception of a few independent stations. I plan to make the most of my airtime each week! I will be open to show expansion based on demand.”…..Boston morning show duo Fred Toucher and Rich Shertenlieb, a.k.a. “Toucher & Rich,” were honored by readers of Boston Magazine with the “Radio Personalities of the Year” award in the 2018 Best of Boston poll. Toucher & Rich anchor mornings on Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub.” Beasley EVP of programming Justin Chase comments, “We are so proud to have Toucher & Rich on our team in Boston. They are so amazing at all of the things that we truly value at Beasley – community and top quality local content. I’m thrilled that Boston Magazine recognized them!”…..Two sale closings to report that involve Salem Media Group. First, the International Church of the Grace of God closes on the $1.73 million acquisition of WBIX, Boston from Salem. Since Salem bought the signal in 2015 it had been airing its syndicated conservative talk programming on the station with not a lot of success. Second, Salem closes on its purchase of KDXE-FM, Cammack Village, Arkansas from Flinn Broadcasting for $1.1 million. The station serves the Little Rock market and Salem airs much of its Salem Radio Network conservative talk programming on the station branded “101.1 FM The Answer.”…..Cumulus Media appoints radio management pro Chuck Poet vice president and market manager for its Erie, Pennsylvania cluster that includes four music outlets and sports talk WRIE-AM/W242CU.
Illegal Immigration Policy, SCOTUS Travel Ban Ruling, Harassment of Administration Officials, Tuesday Primaries, Germany’s Migrant Issues, Tariffs-Trade War Concerns, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/26). The U.S.’s policies in enforcing immigration laws; the Supreme Court upholds President Trump’s ban on travel to the U.S. from predominantly Muslim countries; the aftermath of U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters’ call to harass administration officials when they appear in public; Tuesday’s primary races and the ouster of New York Democrat Joe Crowley at the hands of Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; Germany’s Angela Merkel deals with political pressure to reverse policy welcoming migrants; the Trump tariffs and concerns about a trade war; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
JAM Media Buys Outer Banks, NC and Iowa Radio Clusters. Originally founded as a media planning and buying agency, JAM Media Solutions, LLC is entering the radio station ownership business with the acquisition of two clusters of stations – one in North Carolina’s Outer Banks and one in Muscatine, Iowa. JAM has entered into an agreement to acquire Max Radio’s four music-formatted radio stations in the Outer Banks region, as well as the company’s interest in North Carolina E Paper, LLC, publisher of The Outer Banks Voice. The radio stations are: country WCMS-FM, hot AC WCXL-FM, triple A WVOD-FM, and classic rock WZPR-FM. The price tag for those properties is $1.85 million. In Muscatine, Iowa, JAM enters into an agreement to buy Prairie Communications’ classic rock KMCS-FM and farm news KWPC-AM/K236CF, plus newspaper The Voice of Muscatine for $965,000. JAM Media Solutions president and CEO Jonathan. A. Mason Sr. says “Having worked in radio since 1995, let me state for the record that I believe in the power of local radio. Our goal is to unite local on-air personalities, local salespeople, and local advertisers together in an effort to deliver a first-rate experience for our local listeners. JAM Media Solutions will also be very committed to the local communities in which we exist. A portion of our income will be donated to non-profits dedicated to making a difference in the lives of the people our stations touch. We are thankful for this opportunity and look forward to making the concerns of the listeners our top priority.”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Air staff tweaks at Entercom Las Vegas include the addition of Audrey Lee to CHR KLUC as midday personality, effective July 2. Also, music director and on-air host Yung Jon Que will host KLUC’s afternoon drive from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm, effective immediately. This role is in addition to his current position as assistant program director and music director for KLUC-HD2. Finally, Hector ‘DJ CO1’ Minjarez has been elevated to the role of APD at sister urban contemporary KXQQ “Q100.5” in addition to his role as evening personality. Lee was most recently with iHeartMedia’s Lexington, Kentucky cluster…..The North American syndicated rock radio show and website “IN THE STUDIO with Redbeard: The Stories Behind History’s Greatest Rock Bands” celebrates its 30th year of national radio syndication. “IN THE STUDIO” first launched the broadcast week of June 27, 1988 with rock legends Crosby, Stills & Nash as inaugural guests and program host Redbeard. He says, “When original ‘IN THE STUDIO’ executive producer Stephen R. Smith conceived 30 years ago of bringing the superstars of rock to radio every single week through one-on-one interviews about the stars’ most popular music, he was keenly aware that the rock audience had matured. Now, the audience wanted an intimate, direct relationship with the musicians who actually created the soundtrack to their lives, lifting the curtain on the ‘wizards of rock.’ Over that time, the innate desire of the fans to get closer to the flame of inspiration has only intensified.” The hourlong, weekly show is heard on 35 affiliate stations nationwide.
Ed McLaughlin Dies at 91. The man who founded EFM Media Management and launched Rush Limbaugh into national syndication – and consequently changed the face of radio – has died at the age of 91 after a long illness. Edward F. McLaughlin was in a hospice facility in Palm Beach, Florida. As TALKERS magazine reported earlier this week, the Broadcasters Foundation of America announced it would be honoring McLaughlin with its 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award on March 5 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City during its Golden Mike Award event. During McLaughlin’s 14-year career leading the ABC Radio Networks, McLaughlin oversaw the acquisition of “American Top 40 with Casey Kasem,” launched “American Country Countdown with Bob Kingsley,” and grew the affiliate base of the Paul Harvey programs to some 1,000 stations. In 1984, he formed EFM Media Management and began syndicating the Dr. Dean Edell show. After hearing Rush Limbaugh on KFBK, Sacramento he moved him to WABC, New York and began syndicating his 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET program. It provided the launch pad for Limbaugh’s rise to syndication success. He sold the Rush Limbaugh program to Jacor Media in 1997. McLaughlin’s work in national radio syndication included numerous achievements, including his teaming ABC with CBS and NBC in 1980 to establish the first digital satellite distribution system — Americom Digital Delivery System (ADDS) — which replaced telephone lines in connecting networks with affiliated stations, the antiquated system that had been used since the early 1940s. He also guided the creation and distribution of network music and entertainment programming circa 1979. Prior to that it had largely been news and information. McLaughlin was a chairman emeritus of the Broadcasters Foundation of America. He succeeded Ward L. Quaal as chairman. BFoA president Jim Thompson says, “He was a genius at creating content and talent development.” Whitney Global Media chairman William O’Shaughnessey says, “He was a great raconteur who often held court at the ‘21’ bar where he did a lot of business entertaining out-of-town affiliates.” The McLaughlin family will hold a private service and is planning a memorial celebration in June.
Sabo: ‘Make It Bigger’ Ed McLaughlin. Consultant Walter Sabo writes today about the qualities that made the late Edward F. McLaughlin the legendary broadcaster that he was. First and foremost, says Sabo, was his mandate that for a project to succeed, one had to “make it bigger.” Sabo says, “Ideas that were big enough for Ed inspired him to become fully engaged in the project. He would marshal every resource of ABC to make a project a success — from legal, to financial, to engineering, to marketing, to the television network. When Ed called, the corporation cooperated. He knew that a key part of his job was to give his team access to the resources of the corporation and he was a genius at persuading all of ABC to support the radio network. When he supported a project, he believed it was his job to find the money. And he always found the money.” Read Sabo’s entire column here.
Cumulus Makes Hard Decisions in Chicago. As reported by Chicago media maven Robert Feder, Cumulus Media has announced it is shedding its unprofitable deals to broadcast Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls play-by-play. It is also choosing not to acquire music-formatted stations alt rocker WKQX and classic rock WLUP-FM from Merlin Media (Cumulus has been operating the duo under an LMA). As Feder notes, Cumulus is working through Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and president and CEO Mary Berner says in a statement, “As part of our operational turnaround, we have been focused on taking proactive steps to address unprofitable areas of our business. We are taking this action because the economic terms of these legacy contracts guarantee that we lose money and, as such, continuing them in their current form is not in Cumulus’s best interests.”
WOC, Quad Cities Names Dave Levora Morning Host. New WOC, Quad Cities morning personality Dave Levora comes to the station from his most recent position as an account executive for WQAD-TV, Quad Cities. He’s hosted morning radio programs in the market in the past on music-formatted stations, including KJOC, WXLP, and KIIK. Levora will co-host the morning show at the iHeartMedia news/talk station with program director Dan Kennedy. He’ll continue to host the half-hour “Quad Cities Brewed” program on WQAD-TV that explores the Midwestern Craft Brew scene. Kennedy comments, “We’re excited to bring Dave into the WOC ‘News Talk 1420’ family. He’s already familiar with radio in the Quad Cities and I have no doubt that our listeners will love him!”
WSKO, Syracuse Adds New Local Show to Lineup. Programmer Tom Mitchell promotes executive producer Paul Esden to air personality with his own afternoon program called “Drive Time Sports” at Cumulus Media’s WSKO, Syracuse “The Score 1260.” Esden has been the executive producer of the station’s “Bud & The Manchild” late morning show for the past two years. Mitchell says, “This is a marvelous opportunity for Paul. His unique and energetic style, opens up a fresh perspective to cover not only local sports, but also the best in the national sports arena every day!” Esden has also covered Syracuse University sports as a senior columnist for Inside the Loud House for the past two years.
SuperTalk Mississippi Adds Country Star Steve Azar to Lineup. The program is called “A Mississippi Minute with Steve Azar” – a reference to his song “Mississippi Minute” – and airs Thursdays and Fridays from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm. TeleSouth Communications says his show airs on the SuperTalk Mississippi format that’s heard on stations covering all of Mississippi’s 82 counties. SuperTalk CEO Steve Davenport says, “We’re excited to add Steve Azar to the lineup. His passion for Mississippi fits right in with our mission – to serve the millions of people who live in our state.” In a press release, the company says, “Spend five minutes with Steve Azar and you’ll see why he is the Music and Culture Ambassador of Mississippi. His love for the Magnolia State is evident in everything he does. This modern-day Renaissance man is a hit songwriter, recording artist, music producer, golfer, philanthropist and now – radio host.”
Trump’s Alleged ‘Shithole’ Comment and Threat of Government Shutdown Tie for Top News/Talk Stories This Week. The allegations that President Trump called certain Caribbean and African countries “shitholes,” and the threat of a federal government shutdown tied for the most talked about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the status of the Obama era DACA, the Trump Administration’s larger immigration policy, and the issue of the Mexican Wall. Coming in at #3 was the Trump-Russia probe and the related testimony of former White House senior adviser Stephen K. Bannon, followed by the report that 2017 was the warmest year on record at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Classic rock WMMZ, Berwick, Pennsylvania is purchased by Vince Benedetto’s Bold Gold Media Group for $700,000. The class A FM’s primary signal covers a region southwest of the Wilkes Barre-Scranton market. The seller is Joseph Reilly’s Columbia FM Inc. The station switched calls from WHLM-FM to WMMZ last year…..In New England, Townsquare Media begins airing “The Big Breakfast” – with hosts Bill Fox and Kira Lew (based at country WOKQ, Portsmouth, New Hampshire) – on sister station country WPKQ, Portland, Maine “103.7 The Peak.” To make room, current WPKQ morning personality Annie Snook moves to the midday show on the station.