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Monday, July 12, 2021

| July 12, 2021

TALKERS 2021 Conference Video Posted – Panel Discussion, “What Radio Must Do to Survive and Thrive.” The eighth video, under the direction of Art Vuolo, from the TALKERS 2021 Conference that took place at Hofstra University on June 11, is posted. This installment features the panel discussion, “What Radio Must Do to Survive and Thrive.” Moderated by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison, introduced by Dr. Ira Nash, senior VP/executive director, Northwell Heath Physician Partners, and sponsored by The Ramsey Show, the panel featured (in alphabetical order): Bruce Avery, GM, WRHU Radio, Hofstra UniversityVince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media GroupGary Krantz, CEO, Krantz Media Group;  Chris Oliviero, senior VP/market manager, Audacy, New York; Walter Sterling, talk show host, Sterling on Sunday; and Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks.  TALKERS will be posting a new video from TALKERS 2021 each business day until all 10 are archived and available for on-demand viewing.

Monday Memo: But what IF…? Consultant Holland Cooke reckons that “there’s too much argument and too little assessment for political talk radio to remain habit-forming.” He says that as radio programmers and performers we have a specific goal: to repeat occasions-of-listening, same-time-tomorrow (what the ratings people call “horizontal recycling”). If today sounds like yesterday, would they feel they’re missing something by not coming back tomorrow. Calling it “a grim Groundhog Day,” his column this week suggests a simple pivot. You can read it here.

Pending Business: Old Habits. Sales pro Steve Lapa asks if your sales department’s old habits are preventing it from working efficiently? “My marketing work requires working with sellers and managers in 50 to 60 markets annually. No matter what market size, when a proposed schedule is finally delivered, nine out of 10 times we see CPP presented, not CPM as specifically outlined, requested, maybe ignored. Too much work to change that overused template? The selling and buying dialogue is brought to a cold standstill as we correct schedule parameters two, maybe three times before a submission is possible. Momentum swings from positive to frustrated, because that’s the way we’ve always submitted: CPP not CPM. What you’re transmitting to the advertiser is, ‘I’m not listening, and my habits are in control.’” Read more here.

Radio Hall of Fame 2021 Nominees Announced. The nominees for the Radio Hall of Fame class of 2021 have been announced. Twenty-four people and shows in six categories have been selected by the Radio Hall of Fame nominating committee, with input from the radio industry and listeners. A panel of 600 industry professionals will begin voting today in four of six categories – Longstanding Local/Regional (20 years or more), Active Local/Regional (10 years or more), Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more), and Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more). On July 26, listeners nationwide will vote on the other two categories, Music Format On-Air Personality and Spoken Word On-Air Personality. The winners in those categories will be determined by the public and the Radio Hall of Fame Nominating Committee. The outcome of the listener vote will count as one vote among the committee votes. Listeners may vote once beginning Monday, July 26 at: www.radiovote.com. 2021 Radio Hall of Fame inductees will be announced Monday, August 16, and honored in-person at the 2021 Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Thursday, October 28, 2021, at Chicago’s Wintrust Grand Banking Hall. The nominees are:

Longstanding Local/Regional (20 years or more)

John & Ken – KFI-AM, Los Angeles

Melvin Lindsey -Washington “The Quiet Storm”

Matt Siegel – WXKS-FM, Boston

Brother Wease – WAIO-FM, Rochester

Active Local/Regional (10 years or more)

Laurie De Young – WPOC-FM, Baltimore

Mercedes Martinez – KMXB-FM, Las Vegas

Elliot Segal – WWDC-FM, Washington

Bob Stroud – WDRV-FM, Chicago

Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more)

Dr. Bobby Jones – “The Bobby Jones Radio Show”

Dan Patrick – “The Dan Patrick Show”

“Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” – NPR

Suzyn Waldman – New York Yankees Network

Active Network/Syndication (10 years or more)

Bob & Sheri – “The Bob & Sheri Show”

Kim Komando – “The Kim Komando Show”

Sid Mark – “Sounds of Sinatra”

Chris “Mad Dog” Russo – SiriusXM

Music Format On-Air Personality

Russ Parr – “The Russ Parr Show”

Javier Romero – WAMR-FM, Miami

Alex Sensation – Spanish Broadcasting System

Steven Van Zandt – “Little Steven’s Underground Garage”

Spoken Word On-Air Personality

Alex Bennett

Larry Elder – “The Larry Elder Show,” Salem Radio Network

Preston Elliot and Steve Morrison – WMMR, Philadelphia

Sally Jessy Raphael

TALKERS News Notes. Longtime “Better Lawns & Gardens” host Tom MacCubbin is retiring from the Florida radio show at the end of this month after 33 years. The show that he hosts along with his wife Joan is heard on more than 20 affiliates, including: WFLF-AM, Orlando, WSKY-FM, Gainesville, WNDB-AM/FM, Daytona Beach, WHNZ-AM, Tampa. The new host of the program will be Teresa Watkins, a veteran gardening show radio broadcaster, horticulturist, and UF/IFAS Master Gardener for more than two decades. Jim Poling is director of operations for Florida News Network and he says, “‘Better Lawns & Gardens’ is a heritage name in Florida gardening and the show will continue with Teresa at the helm. The show name will continue and the basic premise of serving Florida gardeners will continue but that’s where the similarity will end. It will be Teresa’s show. We hate to lose a legend like Tom MacCubbin, but with Teresa, the program won’t miss a beat.”…..Beasley Media Group has expanded the signals for its sports talk “ESPN Southwest Florida” emanating from WBCN-AM, Fort Myers. The station is now also heard on WRXK-HD2 (96.1 FM), as well as translators W282BY at 104.3 FM and W251AL at 98.1 FM…..The Society of Broadcast Engineers announces the results of its sixth annual compensation survey to determine salary levels and benefits among broadcast and media technology engineers. The SBE says the survey provides a wealth of useful information, and it adds to the baseline being developed for subsequent surveys to establish compensation trends. SBE president Wayne Pecena says, “The SBE Compensation Survey garners interest from SBE members and non-members. We provide this information as a service not only to our members, but the industry. We appreciate the support of those who participated in providing data.” The complete results of the survey are available at no charge to SBE members as a benefit of membership. The survey is available here…..Pictured below is Salem Radio NewsLori Tradup interviewing U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) at the CPAC 2021 conference in Dallas this weekend. Gaetz called Donald Trump “our best candidate for president in 2024. I do not believe there’s even a close second.” Other talk radio show hosts addressing the attendees at the three-day conference included: Todd Starnes, Jason Rantz, and Glenn Beck.

COVID-19 Hot Spots, Extreme Heat and Wildfires in the Western U.S., Trump CPAC Speech, Inflation, the Economy and Employee Shortages, Branson Goes into Space, Cuban Protests, and South China Sea Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Rising rates of COVID-19 cases in hot spots in Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri and Nevada; the extreme heat affecting much of the Western U.S. and the outbreak of wildfires; former President Donald Trump’s Sunday speech at CPAC in which he reiterated his claims of a stolen election; inflation’s effect on consumer prices; the soaring U.S. economy and employers’ difficulties hiring enough staff; billionaire Richard Branson makes history as first private individual to launch a space vehicle; the protests in Cuba over the communist country’s shortage of food; and U.S.-China tensions over China’s domination of the South China Sea were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research fromTALKERS magazine.

Monday, May 17, 2021

| May 17, 2021

Monday Memo: Listeners Kidnapped! “They’re being abducted! Snatched-up in our own house,” consultant Holland Cooke warns. In this week’s column: How transmitters are diverting media consumers elsewhere and how smart stations are “riding the horse in the direction he’s facing.” Read it here.

Pending Business: Elvis Has Left the Building. Sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, has some advice for sellers who are caught short when a host committed to doing endorsement spots up and leaves his (or her) talk host gig with no notice. Obviously, that scenario puts sellers in a tough situation but a little planning ahead of time can ease the burden on the sales department a little bit. Read his column here.

CDC’s Mask Update/COVID-19, Israeli-Palestinian Violence, Rising Consumer Prices/Inflation Worries, Arizona Vote Audit, and Gates Divorce Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The CDC issues new mask guidance for Americans who are fully vaccinated, vaccine hesitancy, and death rate in India; the violence in Gaza as Israel and Hamas continue rocket fire and concerns about an all-out war; the soaring prices for consumer goods in the U.S. and worries about inflation; the 2020 presidential election vote audit taking place in Maricopa Country, Arizona; and the controversy surrounding the divorce of Bill and Melinda Gates and the Jeffrey Epstein connection were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Bloomberg Radio Surpasses 400-Affiliate Station Mark. Syndication firm Key Networks announces that radio business news provider Bloomberg Radio hits a “major benchmark in affiliate growth, with over 400 stations now carrying its business and consumer news programming, a whopping 25% growth rate in the first six months.” In late October 2020, Key Networks entered into an exclusive agreement with Bloomberg Radio to manage all network advertising sales, affiliate sales and marketing. Global head of Bloomberg television and radio Al Mayers says, “The results speak for themselves. In six months, Key Networks has grown Bloomberg’s existing affiliates – including virtually all major radio groups – and added new groups and stations to our portfolio. When you combine the magic of Key Networks’ smart marketing strategies and fresh new approach to affiliations with the high-quality programming that Bloomberg offers, you can take a fully mature network and supercharge its growth.” Bloomberg’s news content includes live, customized reports for stations, “Bloomberg Money Minutes,” and Bloomberg specialty features that appeal to a diversity of audiences and interests, including the “Black Business Report,” “Green Business Report,” “Bloomberg Business of Sports,” and “The Luxury Report,” among others.

‘New Jersey 101.5’ to Present ‘Summer of ‘21’ Town Hall Broadcast. This Thursday (5/20), Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is presenting the latest in a series of Town Hall broadcasts to help New Jersey deal with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. New Jersey 101.5’s Eric Scott leads the news and digital departments in helping New Jersey families stay safe and have fun in the Summer of ’21. Scott says, “Everyone is understandably anxious for a summer of fun. This program will help guide families into making smart decisions so they can enjoy the summer safely.” The program’s on-air expert panel will feature Dr. Margaret Fisher, world-renowned pediatric infectious disease specialist and Jeff Vasser, executive director of the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism. The program will also feature check-ins with the mayors of New Jersey shore towns and representatives from the state’s biggest venues and attractions. Scott and his guests will also answer live, call-in questions from listeners throughout the hour.

KKOB-FM, Albuquerque Joins Multi-Media Effort to Address Literacy. Albuquerque news/talk KKOB-FM is working with The Albuquerque Journal and KOAT-TV to address New Mexico’s low literacy rate through The Literacy Project. The Cumulus Media station and its partners have been meeting for several months on the project after a recent study from the National Center for Education Statistics showed that New Mexico ranks 49th in literacy nationwide. Even more alarming, literacy rates in New Mexico appear to not have made any significant improvements in the last 20 years. As a result, the three newsrooms have pledged 12 months or more of layered, in-depth coverage to identify the gaps, resources and opportunities to create positive, workable solutions. The special coverage kicks off this weekend. Cumulus VP and market manager Jeff Berry says, “I believe we can do this together. As news leaders, we know how to be catalysts for change. We know how to get the attention of government and industry. We know how to rally public opinion and support. We want to use our joint strength and training to serve the state in a way that can truly enhance and assist public and private educational efforts.” Each organization has assigned some it its top reporters to this complex issue. “96.3 News Radio KKOB” operations manager Jared Hart is assigning Haylee Gonzales and is enlisting the talk show hosts in planning featured experts.

‘ESPN Cleveland’ to Honor Super Fan Stan the Man. Today (5/17), Good Karma Brands’ sports talk WKNR-AM “ESPN Cleveland” is producing a special tribute to local super fan Stan the Man, a.k.a. Leonard Stanislaus Lisewsky, who passed away last Wednesday at the age of 77. The station says it was saddened to learn of the longtime fan and caller’s passing. “Stan was a lifelong Browns fan who also loved golf. His regular calls to ‘The Really Big Show’ became a highlight of that day’s program. He even had his own produced open that was played to introduce each of his calls into the show.” Today’s tribute will air live from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm “850 ESPN Cleveland.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new collaboration between Bloomberg Media and iHeartMedia is an exclusive multiyear agreement for the two companies to produce and distribute more than a dozen new original podcasts, and will also include the distribution of Bloomberg Media’s existing slate of over 20 podcasts through the iHeartPodcast Network. iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group CEO Conal Byrne says, “Bloomberg Media continues to be one of the first, most-trusted destinations for high-quality content – from market news to business trends, to deeper financial backstories on what’s moving the economy overall. We are excited to partner with Bloomberg, not only to grow the audience of their existing slate of great shows, but to develop a whole new list of titles across the next several years, combining their editorial expertise with our mass reach and monetization.”…..ABC Audio, ESPN Audio and National Geographic presented on the final day of the last week’s IAB Podcast Upfront and announced upcoming podcast projects, including ABC’s launch of LZ Granderson’s LGBTQ+ focused “Life Out Loud with LZ Granderson.” National Geographic’s Tara Roberts previewed a new six-part series as she sets off on the journey of a lifetime, traveling with divers to investigate the lost stories of the slave trade — both to expand the historical record and to honor the estimated 1.8 million unsung souls who perished during the Middle Passage…..KQED-FM, San Francisco announces that journalist Alexis Madrigal is named co-host of KQED’s long-running public affairs radio program, “Forum.” Madrigal arrives at KQED from The Atlantic, where he was a staff writer. Madrigal will take over the 9:00 am hour of “Forum” while Mina Kim continues to host the 10:00 am hour, which is shared with stations statewide and explores current affairs through the lens of race, justice and equality. Madrigal was selected after a national search to fill the 9:00 am slot of “Forum” vacated by Michael Krasny, who retired in February after a distinguished 28-year career at KQED.

Dr. Jack Casey Leaving Emerson College’s WERS, Boston. Veteran radio executive and educator Dr. Jack Casey is leaving Emerson College’s WERS-FM, Boston later this month to expand his media career as a consultant. Casey, who has been general manager of WERS for the past 16 years, says, “I am grateful that Emerson College sees the potential of WERS, both as a real-world training ground for students and, just as importantly, as a vibrant and robust fundraising stream. This has truly been a team effort and I appreciate all the hard work done by our professional staff, as well as by student managers and volunteers. I hope the higher education community takes note of what can be accomplished by professional management and willing students. College and university radio stations don’t have to be sandboxes. They can be competitive, revenue producing, major market media outlets. In addition, I couldn’t be happier to be passing the baton to our longtime operations manager Howard ‘D’ Simpson.”

Morning Radio Opportunity at KFAQ, Tulsa. Thirteen-year KFAQ, Tulsa morning host Pat Campbell is not returning to his show in order to focus on health challenges. As a result, Griffin Communications is seeking his successor. Director of operations and programming Steve Hunter says, “We are looking for someone to fill his big shoes. We need someone that is plugged into current events, sports and community events. This is a rare opportunity to work for a locally owned company in brand-new, state-of-art studios in the heart of downtown Tulsa. Griffin Communications Tulsa Radio/Talk Radio 1170 is looking for an on-air talent that can do a daily morning show that speaks to our 35-54-year-old demo. Digital/Social Media skills are a must. We are seeking a great communicator and a fun storyteller with a keen sense of how to create excellent content that will be displayed across all our platforms. The perfect candidate is exceptional on the air, excellent digitally and has worked in various formats including talk radio, news radio or sports radio. This is a very active radio group, heavily involved in the community and requires someone who is fearless and willing to get out of the studio and meet listeners. If you are ready to work in a building full of incredible talent with a family atmosphere and a must-win attitude, we would love to hear from you. Must be willing to work a flexible schedule including nights, weekends and holidays. Qualified candidates can contact me or Talk Radio 1170 PD Jeremie Poplin at Jeremie.poplin@griffin.news.

EWTN Seeks Producer/Call Screener. Religious broadcaster EWTN Global Catholic Network is seeking an associate producer/call screener. EWTN says, “As the first point of contact for listeners during live call-in programs, [the associate producer/call screener] utilizes excellent knowledge of the Catholic Faith and customer service skills to prep callers for on-air broadcast. Executes assigned duties of recording, editing, mixing and transferring audio to and from specific media. This position is also responsible for exceptional production and promotion of live and recorded programs to EWTN standards. What does EWTN offer? Career with Purpose; Family-oriented working environment; Competitive salary; Benefits Package (Health, Dental, Vision, Life and Retirement); 11 Paid Holidays and Paid Time Off; Online continuing education and degree programs through Catholic Distance University.” Get more information here. Please send cover letter, resume and salary requirements here. EOE.

Promotions Positions Open at Audacy. There are two positions open on the Promotions + Experiences team at Audacy. The company says it is “looking to add two talented, versatile promotions pros to our central Promotions + Experiences team. These individuals will focus on promotional partnerships with concert partners, activating select live performance venues, and play a vital role in live events across the company’s portfolio of brands.” You can learn more and to apply for the Promotion Director, Concerts & Experiences position here and do the same for the Promotion Manager, Concerts & Experiences position here.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

| May 13, 2021

Mary Walter Exits WMAL-FM, Washington. In a Facebook post, morning drive co-host Mary Walter announces she’s done her last show with Cumulus Media’s WMAL-FM, Washington, DC. Walter says the news that Cumulus is bringing its air personalities back from their home studios to the radio studios forced her to make a lifestyle choice. She writes, “Before COVID I spent 4 years living in an apartment in MD, while my husband lived in NJ. Every Fri after the show, I would go back to my apartment (that had like 3 pieces of furniture), pack my car and drive the 4 hrs back to NJ.  I’d get in, collapse and be in bed by 7p. Saturday was spent unpacking, doing laundry, housework and all the other ‘stuff’ that needs to be done. Sunday morning I would start show prepping, pack and then it was back in the car for the 4 hrs back down to MD. Plus I think it’s the only morning show in the country that starts at 5am instead of 6am and getting up at 3 wears you down. Add in that I missed every funeral, graduation, Confirmation, birthday party or life event that didn’t take place on a Saturday and I decided it was time for a change. Being able to work remotely for the last 14 months really opened my eyes to quality of life and I chose living with my husband in the house I’m paying for, seeing friends again and living as opposed to money. Don’t know where I’m going from here, but for now, I just want to read a NON-POLITICAL book, turn off the news and attend to things that have been ignored for 4 years.”

Dan Bongino to Host FOX News Channel Weekend Show. Nationally syndicated talk radio host and regular FOX News Channel contributor Dan Bongino is getting his own weekend talk show on FOX News Channel. Bongino – whose 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET radio show is syndicated by Westwood One – will host a 10:00 pm ET Saturday show on FNC beginning June 5. Bongino is a former Secret Service agent who’s been serving as an FNC contributor since 2019. Additionally, Bongino’s Westwood One radio program will be streamed by FOX Nation beginning May 25.

RTDNA/Newhouse School Study: More Local Radio News in 2020. The first installment of this year’s RTDNA/Newhouse School at Syracuse University study has been released as it focuses on the quantity of local news in television and radio. With regard to radio, the study finds, “More radio stations report running local news in 2020, with an increase among AM stations offsetting a slight decrease among FM stations. 70.4% of radio survey respondents overall report airing local news, though stations with news may be more likely to participate in the survey.” Going a bit further in depth, the study finds that “the average number of weekday minutes of news went up overall by less than four minutes, with all market sizes except medium markets going up modestly. Last year, medium markets led a small overall increase in local news. Weekday median – or typical – number of minutes is now fairly close from one market size to the next… The reason that the average weekday minutes in major markets is so much higher than all others is because that’s where most of the all-news stations are. Note that those stations have little effect on the median or typical number of minutes. The percentage of stations that increased the amount of local news rose by more than 10 points compared to a year ago. The percentage decreasing local news stayed about the same. The bigger the staff and the bigger the market, the more likely that local news content increased. Non-commercial stations were twice as likely to increase the amount of local news (44.1% to 21.1%) compared to commercial ones. Stations in the West were more likely to increase local news than any other region. Otherwise, no other variable made any consistent difference one way or the other.” See more here.

IAB: Podcast Revenue to Exceed $1 Billion This Year, $2 Billion by 2023. This is the fourth annual IAB U.S. Podcast Advertising Revenue study, prepared for IAB by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (and sponsored by audio firms including Audacy, Cumulus Media, and iHeartMedia), and it predicts that podcasting revenue will “grow as much in the next two years as it did in the past decade.” The medium had a strong fourth quarter of 2020 (up 37% year-over-year). In 2020, podcast revenue was $842 million compared to $708 million in 2019. The study results in the prediction that podcast revenue will hit $1 billion by the end of this year and $2 billion by 2023. Among the study’s findings: dynamic ad insertion is growing rapidly – it accounted for 48% of revenue in 2019 and 67% in 2020. It also reveals that annual buys decreased by 5% from 2019 to 2020 while remnant buys increased by 6%. Cost-per-thousand is still king as 93% of podcast revenue was based on CPM while series ownership dipped from 10% of revenue in 2019 to 5% in 2020 (flat fee accounted for 2%). When it comes to podcast genre, news is still the top dog accounting for 22% of revenue in 2020. However, the genre of science jumped from just 3% of podcast revenue in 2019 to 12% in 2020. See the complete study here.

iHeartMedia and Catalina Partner for Measurement of Offline Sales. This partnership between iHeartMedia and Catalina will help the former “measure and attribute the impact of podcast advertising on offline sales in physical stores, which continue to represent the majority of CPG (consumer package goods) purchases.” Catalina describes itself as “a leader in shopper intelligence and omni-channel media solutions that personalize the shopper journey.” In a press release, the companies say, “To date, podcast measurement capabilities have helped advertisers understand the impact of an ad campaign on brand lift metrics like purchase intent or message recall, as well as attribution of digital user activity such as website visits from those listeners exposed to that campaign. Now, CPG partners will also gain visibility into the true offline sales impact of their marketing dollars within podcasting.” In addition, as part of this data partnership Catalina will provide iHeartMedia with audiences and measurement services within iHeartMedia’s SmartAudio platform, for CPG ad campaigns that air on the latter’s linear and streaming radio programming. iHeartMedia EVP of national research David Shiffman says, “We have been impressed with Catalina’s ability to deliver highly-scaled, extensive data and insights for CPG advertisers, enabling them to measure the effectiveness of their brand messaging on in-store sales. We continue to focus on cross-platform measurement and attribution capabilities for advertisers and now in partnership with Catalina we can provide CPG advertisers tools to maximize their podcast campaigns’ ROI, with measurement and attribution solutions to more effectively plan and execute their multi-platform audio campaigns.”

WABC ‘The Other Side of Midnight’ host Frank Morano Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Overnight host Frank Morano of WABC, New York is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne production, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Morano is one of the rarest species of on-air talent in the radio business today – he is the host of a live and local all-night radio show. There are several syndicated all-night shows that are heard on hundreds of stations by millions of listeners… but very few live and local for people working all-night or just spending what could be isolated or lonely time comforted by the intimate company of a radio delivering the voices of nearby people, in real time, right there in their local city or community. When business titan, former NYC mayoral candidate and radio broadcasting maverick John Catsimatidis took ownership of WABC in 2019, he began instituting a number of innovative programming changes including, in 2020, restoring the lost tradition of broadcasting overnights with a live, local, and extremely engaged host. Morano is the perfect radio broadcaster to carry out that mission. He’s a relatively young broadcaster with a long history of loving and studying radio and he sounds great on the air. Don’t miss this insightful conversation! To listen to the podcast in its entirety please click here.

GOP vs Cheney/Influence of Trump, COVID-19, Pipeline Hack, Israel-Hamas Fighting, Voting Rights Bill, Stocks Decline/Inflation Fears, and Border Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/12). Republicans oust U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership role in the party and former President Donald Trump’s influence on the GOP; the rate of COVID cases in the U.S., vaccine hesitancy, and CDC guidelines; the hack of the Colonial Pipeline and the resulting gas shortage in the Southeast; the violence between Israel and Hamas and concerns about an all-out war breaking out; the debate in the U.S. Senate over President Joe Biden’s For the People voting rights act; this week’s decline in the stock market and fears of inflation; and the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s immigration policy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

| May 11, 2021

Saga Communications 2021 First Quarter Net Revenue Down 15.5%. The 2021 first quarter financial report from Saga Communications reveals net revenue for the period was $22.3 million, a decrease of 15.5% from the same period in 2020. Net income was $758,000, a decline of 75% from the net income of $1.68 million posted in Q1 of 2020 (although Saga was one of the few audio companies to post income and not a loss). Station operating expense decreased $3.3 million to $18.9 million for the quarter compared to the same period in 2020. Station operating income was $4.7 million for the quarter compared to $5.5 million for the first quarter last year.  Free cash flow increased 21.4% to $1.8 million for the quarter. Saga Communication’s balance sheet reflects $56.3 million in cash on hand as of March 31, 2021 and $57.4 million as of May 3, 2021. The company’s total bank debt remained at $10 million as of the end of the first quarter 2021.

KCBS-AM, San Francisco Sports Anchor Steve Bitker Announces Retirement. After 30 years as morning drive sports anchor for Audacy’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco, Steve Bitker is retiring after the May 14 broadcast. After graduating from University of California Berkeley, Bitker served as a news writer for KSFO, San Francisco. He worked in Tokyo for three years as a news/sports anchor for Japan’s only English-language TV station – Japanese Cable Television. After returning to the States, he worked for seven years at KNBR, San Francisco before joining KCBS in April of 1991.

Wendy Bell Off WJAS-AM, Pittsburgh for Now. According to a story by WPXI-TV, talk host Wendy Bell is off the air of St. Barnabas Broadcasting’s WJAS-AM, Pittsburgh and Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck show is airing in its place. Bell was an anchor at WTAE-TV, Pittsburgh until 2016 when she was let go after making racially insensitive comments in the wake of a shooting that left five dead. She hosted a talk show at KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh and agreed to exit that station after being suspended for suggesting park rangers “shoot on sight” anyone seen defacing park monuments. The story quotes St. Barnabas Health System director of marketing Michele Bradac saying Bell is off the air due to a personnel matter. “Until the company and she resolve their personnel matter, there’s no way to say” when she might return.

Newsmax TV to Launch ‘Cortes & Pellegrino’ Prime Time Show; Produce Town Hall with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. There’s a new prime-time program launching on Newsmax TV this evening (5/11) at 9:00 pm ET starring former presidential advisor, commentator, and financial expert Steve Cortes and former White House correspondent Jenn Pellegrino. About the new “Cortes & Pellegrino” show, Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy says, “We were the only major cable news network to see an overall ratings increase from the fourth quarter of 2020 to the first quarter of 2021, and we did it without a full prime-time. ‘Cortes & Pellegrino’ completes our nightly lineup and will continue our unprecedented growth.” Also at Newsmax, “Spicer & Co” co-hosts Sean Spicer and Lyndsay Keith will air an exclusive Town Hall with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis tomorrow (5/12) at 6:00 pm ET. The event takes place at The Villages – the 55-plus community in Sumter County, Florida that boasts almost 80,000 residents – and will feature discussions with a live studio audience of American voters. Sean Spicer says, “Governor DeSantis has proved his resolve and confounded his skeptics over the past year, leading his state to excellence in fostering a thriving economy, rolling out the COVID vaccine, and guarding religious liberty. This Town Hall will give Newsmax viewers deeper insight into the reasons why DeSantis is a true governor of the people.”

TALKERS News Notes. This Memorial Day weekend ABC Audio has the special program “Honor, Hope and Healing,” hosted by correspondent Aaron Katersky, available for affiliate stations. The special honors America’s heroes including military members who died in the line of duty, pandemic front-line workers, grieving families, and others affected by last year’s events. The program dives into the significance of Arlington National Cemetery and features interviews with its regular visitors who come to pay respects to their family and friends…..SiriusXM announces the launch of the “Let’s Get After It with Chris Cuomo Podcast” culled from Cuomo’s SiriusXM show on the P.O.T.U.S. channel that airs daily from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm. The podcast will be available three times a week and features the opening longform segment from the program as a podcast…..Audacy is partnering with independent podcaster Aaron Lammer on today’s release of the first two episodes of his newest project, “Exit Scam: The Death and Afterlife of Gerald Cotten,” a documentary podcast series exploring the 2018 death of Cotten, the founder of Canadian digital currency platform QuadrigaCx. The first episode is available right now everywhere podcasts are available, while the second episode is available exclusively on Audacy. This unique windowing strategy will allow listeners who want more of this thrilling true crime series to get their fix immediately on Audacy where listeners will get early access to episodes before all other platforms…..Blavity Inc., the diversified digital media company behind “AfroTech,” “21Ninety,” “Travel Noire,” “Shadow and Act,” and “Blavity News,” partners with Charlamagne Tha God’s and iHeartMedia’s The Black Effect Podcast Network to distribute its podcast for Black entrepreneurs and moguls in the making titled, “Black Tech Green Money with Will Lucas.” Lucas is an entrepreneur, content creator, and the brand manager at Black tech digital platform AfroTech, the world’s largest Black tech digital platform. The podcast presents the stories of successful Black entrepreneurs and technologists, as well as actionable advice and wealth-building strategies from a Black perspective…..Audacy’s Cadence13 is partnering with bestselling author, activist, and thought leader Glennon Doyle for her “We Can Do Hard Things,” podcast on which she will share stories of her life and explore topics including love, relationships, parenting, mental health, recovery and more.

COVID-19, Cheney vs GOP/Influence of Trump, Pipeline Hack, Gaza Strikes, Gates Divorce Controversy, Golden Globes Troubles Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/10). The rate of positive COVID cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, vaccine hesitancy, and India’s death toll; U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney’s battle with the GOP over the “stolen election” and Donald Trump’s influence over the party; the hack of the Colonial Pipeline Networks by DarkSide and the effect on gas supplies in the Eastern U.S.; the battle between Israel and Hamas over the potential eviction of Palestinians from Jerusalem; the growing controversy over the divorce of Bill and Melinda Gates and the Jeffery Epstein connection; and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Golden Globe Awards lose NBC’s broadcast in 2022 over diversity problems were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.