iHeartMedia Unveils New ‘Talkback’ Feature. The company has launched a new feature that allows listeners to engage with iHeartRadio personalities by recording themselves via the iHeartRadio mobile app and sending to the host or station. Dubbed “Talkback,” iHeartMedia says this “first-of-its-kind feature also makes it simple for listeners to pause their listening, join in the conversation or make a request using their voice, and then seamlessly unpause and return them back to the content they were listening to.” iHeartRadio chief product officer Chris Williams says, “We’re excited to give listeners a truly groundbreaking new way to engage with their favorite iHeartRadio hosts and personalities. Talkback is a direct line for our listeners to connect, join in the conversation and help shape what you hear across iHeart platforms like never before.” The company adds that soon Talkback will be expanded to include podcasts as well, giving podcast fans access to their favorite hosts, as well as the opportunity to influence future episodes.
Cumulus Promotes Keith Liesmann to RVP, Arkansas. In Arkansas, Cumulus Media promotes Keith Liesmann to the newly created position of regional vice president, in which he’ll oversee the company’s 16 stations in the state. Liesmann will continue to serve in his current role as market manager for the Cumulus Little Rock station group that includes news/talk KARN-FM. He’ll add responsibility for the oversight of Cumulus radio stations in Fayetteville and Fort Smith, Arkansas with the vice president/market manager of those markets reporting to him. Cumulus Media president of operations Bob Walker says, “Keith is a strategic and focused leader who has done a wonderful job in Little Rock, especially given the challenges all of us have had to overcome in the last two years. We are eager to see the positive impact all of our Arkansas stations will have working together under Keith’s leadership.”
Ostrowski Promoted to Executive Producer for White Sox Radio Network. Radio production pro Eric Ostrowski is promoted by Good Karma Brands and WVMP, Chicago “ESPN 1000” to the executive producer position for the White Sox Radio Network. Ostrowski has been with the station since 2014 and most recently was producer of the evening “Bleck & Abdalla” program starring Chris Bleck and Adam Abdalla. Ostrowski takes over the role from Ryan Maguire, who recently moved to Good Karma’s Milwaukee operations as director of content for WTMJ, WKTI-FM, and WGKB-AM/W269DL “The Truth.” Maguire says of Ostrowski, “I can’t think of a better person for this role because he understands every aspect of our broadcasts, is extremely organized and is very creative. His passion for White Sox baseball and positive energy were infectious during the 2021 season. Len Kasper, Darrin Jackson, Connor McKnight, our fans, partners and growing network of affiliates are in good hands.”
Triton Digital Releases January Streaming Rankers. The Streaming Metrics Monthly Rankers for January 2022 are released by Triton Digital. The rankers are computed based on Average Active Sesions (AAS), with Session Starts (SS), and Average Time Spent Listening (ATSL) also included. In the U.S., #1 publisher of streaming content (6am-12am, Mon-Sun) based on Average Active Sessions is iHeartMedia. Following in order are NPR Member Stations at #2, Audacy at #3, and Cumulus Streaming Network at #4. Other broadcasting companies ranking in the top 25 include Beasley Broadcasting Corporate at #7, Hubbard Broadcasting at #8, and Salem Communications at #11. See the complete report here.
ABC News Promotes Stacia Philips Deshishku to Executive Editor and SVP. Rising from her role as leading the ABC Audio division is Stacia Philips Deshishku, who is named executive editor and senior vice president for ABC News. In this new role, she’ll lead the editorial, strategic and creative cross-platform direction across the news division. She’ll also collaborate with the leaders of “Good Morning America,” “World News Tonight with David Muir,” “The View,” “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” “20/20,” “Tamron Hall” and “Nightline,” as well as bookings and integrated content strategy. ABC News president Kim Godwin says, “Stacia steps into this role after leading our ABC Audio team for nearly three years as vice president and general manager. At Audio, Stacia’s leadership and journalistic skills helped re-brand ABC Radio to ABC Audio within six months of her appointment. She spearheaded new business opportunities, including growing its award-winning podcast library and designing a suite of digital audio, text and video businesses. During her tenure ABC Audio won a groundbreaking five Edward R. Murrow Awards in 2021, including Overall Excellence, Breaking News Coverage, Continuing Coverage, News Series, and Investigative Reporting.”
Multimedia Firm Rebrands as The Mediacasters LLC. Media firm The Femcasters, led by Corinna Bellizzi and Julie Lokun, rebrands as The Mediacasters, LLC. The company says its goal is to elevate the voices of an underserved entrepreneurial community by offering tools, guidance, mentorship, and resources to those that don’t have access due to financial limitations. Bellizzi and Lokun say they saw a need for small business support with the migration of dissatisfied employees resigning from their corporate jobs to the entrepreneurial space as an effect of the 2021 Great Resignation. Their strategic growth plan for their clients harnesses the intersection of publishing, podcasting, and presenting – the 3Ps – as a tactical approach to leveraging expertise and distinguishing small businesses from their competition. Lokun adds, “We saw a deficit in the skill set of entrepreneurs and creatives as they maneuvered their business growth plan. We know the power of leveraging your brand and expertise can be overwhelming, we also are certain that publishing, podcasting, and presenting on stages is critical to carving out your industry niche.”
Russia’s Ukraine Invasion, State of the Union, COVID-19, The Economy/Inflation, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, UN Climate Report, and MLB Lockout Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/1). Russia’s continued attacks on the Ukraine and the rest of the world’s response; Tuesday evening’s State of the Union address by President Joe Biden; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the relaxing of mask mandates; financial markets activity and the high retail prices for consumer goods and gas; the battle for control of Congress in the November midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the dire warning on the effects of climate change from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; and Major League Baseball cancels Opening Day games as negotiations between owners and players stalls were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.