Pending Business: Rules. Sales pro Steve Lapa says the great “disruptors” of our time have one thing in common: they break the rules but in doing so deliver a clear benefit. Lapa says he encounters rules in the radio sales business that appear to be there to benefit only the seller – not the advertiser. “Makes you wonder if those rules are impacting the two R’s that help guide sales management: Revenue and Recruitment. Where are the sales disruptors in those organizations? Maybe those organizations stopped listening to the customer and just went with convenient old-school thinking.” Read his column here.
Monday Memo: Play the Hits. “If the last year-and-a-half has taught us anything,” consultant Holland Cooke reckons, “it’s that anything could happen, at any time, and disrupt the life routine of which we want our work to be the soundtrack.” So, barring the unforeseen, this week’s column recommends “four topics of extreme relevance.” Read it here.
COVID-19 Cases, Vaccinations & Mask Mandates/Obama Birthday Bash, Climate Change/Western Wildfires, Andrew Cuomo Harassment Allegations, Infrastructure Bill, 2020 Election Denial, and Taliban Surges in Afghanistan Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The fast-rising rate of COVID-19 cases in numerous places in the U.S., the issue of vaccine hesitancy, controversy over mask mandates for school kids, and former President Barack Obama’s 60th birthday bash on Martha’s Vineyard; the UN’s IPCC issues a report indicating the planet is heating up at a rate that’s pushing us closer to a “point of no return” and the wildfires in the Western U.S. and in Greece; the sexual harassment allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo keep getting more intense as his top aide Melissa DeRosa resigns; the U.S. Senate shuts down debate and preps for a vote on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill; the continuing denial of the results of the 2020 presidential election by Donald Trump loyalists; and the Taliban seizes control of a number of cities in Afghanistan in the wake of the U.S. military’s exit were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Conservative Florida Media Personality Dick Farrel Dies of COVID at 65. According to a number of media reports, conservative media personality Dick Farrel – a native New Yorker who worked on air at WVIP-FM, Westchester, New York; WIOD-AM, Miami; WPBR, Palm Beach; WFLN-AM, Arcadia, Florida (now WCXS-AM); and as a fill-in host on Newsmax TV – has died at the age of 65 after contracting COVID-19. Farrel’s partner Kit Farley wrote on Farrel’s now-private Facebook page, “He was known as the other Rush Limbaugh. With a heavy heart, I can only say this was so unexpected. He will be missed.” Farrel was an unabashed critic of the vaccines. He called them “bogus,” referred to the pandemic as “scamdemic,” and spoke of Dr. Tony Fauci as a “lying freak.” His attitude changed after contracting the virus and he urged friends to get the vaccine.
Harrison Weighs in on Cumulus Studies Showing Radio Listeners More Likely to Be Interested in Sports Betting Saying They’re ‘More Serious Fans of the Sports.’ A piece written by Jeff Edelstein at Sports Handle addresses the recent studies commissioned by Cumulus Media that suggest radio listeners are more interested in sports betting than TV viewers. Released in synch with the news of Cumulus’ partnership with WynnBET, the studies find that “42% of radio listeners have placed an online sports bet, compared to 28% of TV viewers. Furthermore, 52% of radio listeners say they’re interested in online sports betting, compared to 28% of television watchers.” TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison is quoted extensively in the piece and says, “There’s probably a great overlap between the two, but the person that goes out of their way to listen to a game on the radio… well, you don’t see what’s going on. They are obviously, by nature, more interested in the information about the game than necessarily the pleasure of just watching it. And if you are more interested in information, you’re probably more prone to bet. A person who listens to sports is probably more prone to bet than a person who watches sports because they’re more interested in the data and the details than the eye candy of watching the game.” As the story notes, that fact that more than half of the people surveyed in states where betting is legal could not name a betting operator such as DraftKings or BetMGM means those operators need to promote themselves. Harrison adds, “I just think radio can do everything it possibly can to get in on the business of sports betting, using its influence over people as a communications medium as its leverage and its wedge to get into that business. Everybody who knows anything about human nature, the law, and business knows that this is going to continue to be a growth area. From a business standpoint, the legalization of sports betting is perfect for radio to be involved with, and radio is at a time now where it is seeking new streams of revenue to go beyond the standard advertising paradigm.”
Sports Talker Jeff Cameron Moves Down the Dial in Tallahassee. The Tallahassee Democrat reports that “The Jeff Cameron Show” begins airing on Magic Broadcasting II’s news/talk WVFT-FM, Tallahassee “Real Talk 93.3” today (8/9) in the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm daypart after having been heard on crosstown WTSM-FM “ESPN Tallahassee” since 2012. Horizon Broadcasting recently agreed to sell WTSM to religious broadcaster Radio Training Network Inc, prompting the move. Cameron tells the paper his program will also be heard at the Florida State University fan site Warchant.com. Continuing with the program will be producer/broadcaster Tom Lang and Matthew Hutchinson is resuming his co-production work with the show. Cameron says, “I’ve always wanted to do multi-media stuff where I can do a podcast, host the show, and do something on YouTube. Warchant and 93.3 agreed to take me on. We can take all of our advertisers to Warchant and 93.3.”
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Windy City media legend Garry Meier is hosting a weekly, Sunday night show on Cumulus Media’s KABC-AM, Los Angeles. His program airs at 10:00 pm and KABC program director Drew Hayes tells Feder, “Nobody tells a story — or views the world — like Garry. It’s great to be together again, now for a third time, on L.A.’s first talk station, KABC.”…..Today (8/9) at 9:00 am PT, KBLA, Los Angeles “Talk 1580” host and owner Tavis Smiley is scheduled to interview gubernatorial recall candidate (and Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host) Larry Elder, who is currently leading the polls to recall and replace California Governor Gavin Newsom…..Media personality Stephanie Miller announces she’s bringing her “Sexy Liberal Survivors’ Tour” back to the stage at the Barrymore Theater in Madison on October 23. Miller, along with John Fugelsang, Hal Sparks, and Frangela, will perform at the event. She’s also making the performance available to those who can’t make it in person via pay-per-view through Meathook.
Cumulus Media Q2 2021 Net Revenue Rises 54%. Reporting its financial data for the second quarter of 2021, Cumulus Media says net revenue was $224.7 million, an increase of 53.9% from the same period in 2020. During the second quarter of 2020, Cumulus posted a net loss of $36.3 million. That loss shrank almost 84% to $5.8 million in the second quarter of 2021. Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary G. Berner says, “This quarter’s results clearly reflect the success we are having in accelerating our positive revenue trajectory. In addition to the continued improvement in the core radio business, total digital revenue grew by 55% year-over-year, with each of our digital channels posting new all-time highs. Additionally, we enhanced our considerable stronghold in the news/talk ecosystem with ‘The Dan Bongino Show,’ now on over 300 radio stations – the largest launch ever for a new and original syndication. We also significantly deepened our position in the fast-growing sports betting space with an innovative and expansive multi-year, multi-platform marketing and content partnership with WynnBET, which is poised to become one of our largest clients through this new relationship.” Cumulus breaks down its revenue into Broadcast and Digital segments. The Broadcast segment is further divided into Spot and Network (Westwood One) divisions. For the second quarter of 2021, Spot revenue was $120.8 million – up 67% from Q2 of 2020 – and Networks revenue was $55.3 million – up 32.5% from Q2 of 2020. Digital segment revenue was $31.4 million, an increase of 54.5% compared to the same period in 2020.
CMG Promotes Kris Hackett to Director of Sales for Atlanta Cluster. Radio sales pro Kris Hackett is promoted from general sales manager to director of sales for Cox Media Group’s Atlanta station group that includes news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM and three music-formatted outlets. In this new and expanded role, Hackett will be responsible for the oversight of all multimedia sales efforts for CMG Atlanta’s radio cluster. Hackett joined CMG Atlanta in 2013 as GSM. Prior to that, she spent seven years as GSM for the company in Richmond. Cox Media Group VP and market manager Jaleigh Long says, “Kris is a proven leader with a keen ability to grow market share, deliver enhanced revenues and develop high caliber sales teams while building relationships with key partners that fit perfectly with our customer-centric sales culture. I’m thrilled to have such a visionary and talented leader inside CMG to promote into this critical role.”
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WBBM-AM/WFCS-FM weekend news anchor Dave Marsett is retiring from the Audacy station after 20 years. Marsett is also an ordained minister and he’s retiring from that calling as well. The 74-year-old radio pro served with Satellite Music Network as news director for many years prior to joining WBBM…..Cumulus Media and Imperative Entertainment announce the new true-crime series “Fox Hunter” joins the Cumulus Podcast Network. Host Sean Kipe investigates the mystery surrounding the murder of 18-year-old Rhonda Sue Coleman in 1990 which has been a thorn in the side of the small community of Hazlehurst, Georgia, for over 30 years…..The content creators at New Hampshire Public Radio have voted to form a union and are being represented by SAG-AFTRA. NHPR is an NPR member station based in Concord, New Hampshire and covers nearly the entire state, as well as portions of Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine. The new 31-member bargaining unit of content creators includes producers, hosts, editors and reporters…..Pictured below are WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” air personalities Hardy, a.k.a. Rob Poole, Scott Zolak, and Marc Bertrand broadcasting live from Gillette Stadium for the start of the New England Patriots’ training camp. WBZ-FM is the flagship station for broadcasts of Patriots football games and Bob Socci and Zolak will once again call all preseason and regular season games. The duo will also get back on the road this season, traveling to each away game broadcast.
Former KYW, Philadelphia Reporter Ed Kasuba Dies at 74. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that former KYW, Philadelphia reporter Ed Kasuba died on August 1 of heart failure at the age of 74. Kasuba was the longtime South Jersey bureau chief for the station. He retired from the all-news outlet in 2008 at a time when the Great Recession was forcing then-owner CBS Radio to make cuts. He served as a shop steward and president of the local chapter of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and left the radio station voluntarily so others would not be laid off during company cutbacks.
COVID-19 Delta Variant and Masks, Biden’s Eviction Moratorium, Cuomo Allegations, Pentagon Officer Slain, January 6 Investigation, Infrastructure Bill, and Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/3). The fast-rising rate of COVID-19 Delta variant cases in some parts of the U.S. and the battle over vaccination mandates and mask policies; President Joe Biden extends the eviction moratorium and critics question its legality; the numerous allegations of sexual improprieties against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and calls for his resignation; a Pentagon officer is slain by an attacker; the committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol; the bi-partisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill; and Simone Biles wins bronze in the balance beam at the Tokyo Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WSB-AM & WSBB To Host Its 21st Annual Care-A-Thon. Beginning tomorrow (Thursday, 7/29) at 5:00 am and extending through 6:00 pm Friday (7/30), Cox Media Group Atlanta news/talk WSB-AM & WSBB’s 37-hour event benefits the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The “Care-A-Thon” helps fund family support services and research at the facility’s fellowship program. It will feature stories of hope and inspiration from patients, families and staff from throughout Georgia. WSB-AM & WSBB director of branding & programming Drew Anderssen comments, “Community service is at the heart of what we do at WSB-AM & WSBB. Our entire team looks forward to this event year after year because of the uplifting and emotional positivity it generates in all of us – including our generous listeners.” On-air talents including Scott Slade, Clark Howard, Erick Erickson, Eric Von Haessler, Mark Arum, and Brian Kilmeade will focus on the positive impact the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center has on patients and their families. Listeners can donate by phone (888-750-2772); texting WSB-AM & WSBB “Atlanta’s News & Talk” (24587); or online (wsbradio.com/careathon/).
WKXW’s “Help Wanted, Help Needed” Airs Tomorrow Night. That’s the title of the latest in a series of town hall broadcasts by Townsquare Media Middlesex-Somerset-Union news/talk WKXW “New Jersey 101.5.” The one-hour program begins tomorrow (Thursday, 7/29) at 7:00 pm and is presented to help New Jersey deal with the ongoing pandemic. Eric Scott – who hosts WKXW’s early-morning news show “New Jersey’s First News With Eric Scott,” as well as its monthly “Ask the Governor” – will lead the conversation in helping New Jersey businesses and workers navigate the ongoing labor shortage. He states, “The economic recovery is underway, yet many businesses are struggling to hire; many workers face challenges reentering the workforce.” Scott and his guests will explore what can be done to help both businesses and workers who are struggling in a post-pandemic world. The program’s on-air expert panel will feature: Rutgers University professor/economist Dr. James W. Hughes; New Jersey Business & Industry Association chief government affairs officer Chrissy Buteas; and New Jersey Policy Perspective senior policy analyst Peter Chen. In addition, the program will feature experts from New Jersey’s struggling restaurant, hospitality, and daycare industries. Scott and his guests will answer call-in questions throughout the hour.
NPR Boosts Lara To CCO. Executive director/media relations Isabel Lara is elevated to NPR’s chief communications officer. NPR president/chief executive officer John Lansing comments “[Lara] is known across the organization for her deep commitment to NPR’s staff and mission. Her tenure at NPR is evidence of a communications expert who understands the unique needs of a media organization. She is always ready to take on a complex communications challenge and find strategic solutions that will benefit our brand and future.” Lara notes, “NPR and its member stations bring millions of listeners the news they need about the world and their communities, as well as art, music and science stories that enrich and give meaning to their lives. It is a privilege to support the people who work around the clock to ensure this. Transparent, accurate, and timely messaging is vital in a media organization. I am eager to continue working with our very strong and effective internal and external communications teams in this new role.” With NPR since 2014, Lara previously worked at The National Education Association; Smithsonian; and Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation/Univision.
UNC Football and Men’s Basketball Shifting To WPTF. Under a multi-year agreement with Learfield’s Tar Heel Sports Properties, Curtis Media Group Raleigh news/talk WPTF “AM 680 – FM 98.5” will become the flagship for the University of North Carolina radio network. Curtis Media Group president/chief operating officer Trip Savery remarks, “As the largest privately-owned radio group in North Carolina, we understand the power of the Carolina brand. We are very pleased to welcome Carolina alumni and fans to listen to Tar Heel football and basketball on WPTF this fall.” UNC associate athletic director for external communications Robbi Pickeral Evans adds, “We are excited about this partnership with Curtis Media Group, which will help us tell the great stories of Carolina athletics in the Triangle area and across the state. We know that Carolina fans are excited about the year to come; Curtis Media’s wide reach will help us connect and stay connected with our supporters.” The first gameday broadcast on WPTF will be September 3, when UNC plays Virginia Tech. The station will broadcast coaches’ shows for football and men’s basketball, and the weekly show “Primetime in the ACC.” Longtime Tar Heels radio voice Jones Angell will return to call the games. WPTF takes over as UNC’s flagship from iHeartMedia-owned crosstown news/talk WTKK “106.1 FM Talk.”
Top News/Talk Radio Story for Tuesday July 27: January 6 Congressional Committee Hearings. The launch of the January 6 Congressional Hearings dominated conversation on the nation’s news/talk radio stations yesterday (7/27), followed by the COVID-19 Delta Variant, Vaccine Hesitancy/Denial, and debate over mask mandates. This was followed by conversation about the Olympics and U.S.- China Relations. 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 updated and published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.
TALKERS News Notes. Per Robert Feder (RobertFeder.com), changes at Salem Media Group Chicago news/talk WIND “AM 560 The Answer” as of August 16 include Charlie Kirk (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm); Sebastian Gorka (3:00 pm – 4:00 pm); Shaun Thompson (4:00 pm – 7:00 pm); Sean Hannity (moves from 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm – 12:00 midnight); and Sebastian Gorka (12:00 midnight – 2:00 am) … To recognize unique circumstances, the Radio Mercury Awards is presenting two new categories: “Purpose-Driven Spot” or campaign to celebrate efforts that advance cause-related and societal issues, and “Insightful Voices Spots” that portray the values, culture, and lifestyle of specific audiences in an authentic voice. Call-for-entry deadline for all categories is (Monday) August 23; the awards ceremony takes place (Wednesday) November 17 … To be streamed on August 25, “All Audio Is Not Alike: What Each Type Brings To Listeners And Advertisers” is the next webinar in the Radio Advertising Bureau‘s “Business Accelerated” program. To be presented by Signal Hill Insights president Jeff Vidler, the webinar will offer data from the company’s “Radio On The Move 2021 Update” survey of Canadian listeners … Welcoming seven new affiliates, Robert & Mary Carey-hosted “RMWorldTravel” now airs weekly on over 480 stations across the country. As part of its “Let’s Go America Tour,” the show will soon do remote broadcasts from Chicago for the 150th anniversary of the Palmer House Hotel; Washington, DC; and from the Four Seasons Maui. There will be ten stops on the tour through late-February 2022 … Added to the affiliate roster of Radio America’s “The Dana Show” are: WMBD, Peoria, Illinois; WRTA AM & FM, Altoona, Pennsylvania; WNWS, Jackson, Tennessee; WTIB, Williamston, North Carolina; WRHT, Morehead City, North Carolina; and WKST, New Castle, Pennsylvania. She replaces Rush Limbaugh in three Pennsylvania markets: WPSN, Honesdale; WNTI, Somerset; and WNTJ, Johnstown … Former WFSU, Tallahassee state government reporter Blaise Gainey will join Nashville Public Radio news/talk WPLN, Nashville on August 16 as political reporter. WPLN news director Emily Siner comments, “Blaise’s experience covering the Florida legislature, and his reporting interests outside of that, will be a huge asset to WPLN News listeners.” Gainey notes, “I can’t wait to become fully immersed in Tennessee government and start relaying news to Middle Tennessee listeners about what’s taking place at the Capitol.”
Cumulus Media, WynnBET Agree To Multi-Platform Sponsorship Deal. The multi-year advertising and sponsorship pact includes broadcast, podcast, digital, social, and on-site elements. It will enable Wynn Resorts to promote its WynnBET sports betting app on Cumulus Media radio stations and Westwood One. Cumulus Media chief executive officer Mary Berner comments, “With Wynn’s focus on exceptional quality and high-touch customer experiences, we believe WynnBET will be a leader among the sports betting apps. We are excited to deploy our unique assets to grow its business. The sports betting market is now the fastest-growing advertising category – this innovative partnership solidifies Cumulus’ position in this exciting arena.” Wynn Interactive chief executive officer Craig Billings remarks, “This partnership with Cumulus Media provides WynnBET the ability to deliver specific, customized messaging to targeted markets throughout Cumulus’ network of hundreds of stations. In addition, WynnBET will have a significant advertising presence on Westwood One’s nationally syndicated programming, including football pre-game and play-by-play. We will work with Cumulus to create some exciting, branded content over the life of the partnership.” Under the terms of the deal, WynnBET becomes one of Cumulus Media’s largest advertising and marketing partners.
SiriusXM’s NFL Training Camp Tour Kicks Off Today. The annual SiriusXM series will feature 32 two-hour shows, one for each of the NFL’s 32 teams. SiriusXM hosts will interview players, coaches and franchise executives as they deliver breakdowns of every roster. The tour commences today (Wednesday, 7/28) with a visit to New York Jets training camp. Hosts Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan broadcast from Florham Park, New Jersey (4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, ET). Tomorrow, Miller and Kirwan will be in Flowery Branch, Georgia for an update from the training facility of the Atlanta Falcons. This Saturday (7/31) at 1:00 pm (ET), the satcaster will air a special edition of “Training Camp Today: Back Together Saturday.” Hosted by Bill Lekas, it will feature appearances by NFL Network talent and guests from team camps across the country. The show will lead into James Lofton and Alex Marvez broadcasting from the Los Angeles Chargers camp in Costa Mesa, California (4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, ET). Meanwhile, SiriusXM NFL Radio will broadcast induction ceremonies of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Classes of 2020 (Saturday, 8/7) and 2021 (Sunday, 8/8) from Canton, Ohio. Coverage of the Centennial Class of 2020 Enshrinement was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic; an historic class of 20 will be enshrined. Eight more of football’s finest will be inducted in the Class of 2021 ceremony.
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