Tri-State Radio’s WFLI-AM/W262DQ launches a news/talk/sports format, flipping back to spoken-word from the classic hits format it’s been airing. The station’s lineup includes a simulcast of WTVC-TV’s “Good Morning Chattanooga” from 4:30 am to 7:00 am, followed by the syndicated “Rick & Bubba” show from 7:00 am to 10:00 am. Real estate expert Del Walmsley hosts “Lifestyles Unlimited” from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, followed by Premiere Networks’ “The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show” from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, “The Sean Hannity Show” from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm and Outkick’s “Hot Mic” with Chad Withrow and Jonathan Hutton from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Tri-State Radio president Evan Stone says, “We felt like there was a void for more regional and local news, talk and sports – that was the motivation behind putting this lineup together. The ability to add the two biggest shows in conservative talk in Hannity and Clay and Buck was a no-brainer. It’s hard to find a bigger name in news talk than Sean Hannity and Clay Travis with his connection to the state of Tennessee… aligns us very well for success. Throughout the day we’ll feature local and regional newscasts and sportscasts every hour.”
The sports talk program “OutKick 360” is rebranding with the new name “Outkick Hot Mic with Hutton and Withrow.” Produced by Clay Travis’ Outkick, the program stars Jonathan Hutton and Chad Withrow and airs live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET daily on OutKick.com and across all OutKick social platforms. Withrow says, “Our listeners can expect the same brand of honest, authentic, and fearless sports talk we’ve always brought to the table. We are excited to get this new branding rolling as OutKick continues to grow and expand its audience.” Hutton adds, “Hot Mic will be the agenda-free sports talk show for true sports fans. No fake debates. Authentic reactions and analysis that everyone should expect from OutKick.”
Michael Gallagher of the Nashville Post writes about the sports talk trio of Jonathan Hutton, Chad Withrow and Paul Kuharsky – known as “Midday 180” while working at Cumulus Media’s sports talk WGFX-FM – their ultimate decision to join Clay Travis’ Outkick and the effect that had on the Nashville sports talk scene. Hutton says of their decision in 2021 to go with Outkick, “The timing was perfect, but we also had a chance to grow what we were already doing. We didn’t have to leave Nashville. We own our intellectual property; you don’t have that with radio companies. We’re able to form our own show company, so to speak, and we’re part of the much larger grand scheme of Clay’s vision.” Gallagher’s piece looks at the digital frontier the trio began exploring with Outkick and chronicles their return to the Nashville airwaves. Read his complete story here.
WFAN And Yankees Extend Their Partnership. A multi-year extension is announced between Audacy New York sports talk WFAN-FM & WFAN-AM and MLB’s American League East New York Yankees. English-language broadcasts will continue to be heard on WFAN and streamed digitally on the Audacy app for those within the team’s broadcast territory. WFAN will also continue to produce the Spanish-language broadcasts for local radio affiliates, as well as for the Audacy app. Audacy New York market president Chris Oliviero declares, “The New York Yankees are the city’s premier sports franchise and WFAN is the city’s premier sports platform. Together, we form a potent combination for fans and client partners. [This – 2022] is our 21st consecutive season of broadcasting the ‘Bronx Bombers.’ We look forward to continuing to have the honor of being the soundtrack to more memorable and historic pinstripe moments.” New York Yankees chief operating officer Lonn Trost notes, “The Yankees are excited to extend our longstanding relationship with WFAN and Audacy. WFAN has been our flagship station for over two decades, and we look forward to fans continuing to enjoy Yankees baseball over its airways and on the Audacy app.” From 2002 to 2014, Yankees games were heard on WFAN’s sister station, all-news WCBS-AM (currently the flagship of the New York Mets); WFAN has served as the Yankees flagship since 2014. John Sterling, (class of 2022 Radio Hall of Fame inductee) Suzyn Waldman and Sweeny Murti are the English-language broadcasters, while Spanish-language broadcasts will be handled by Rickie Ricardo, Francisco Rivera and Rene Luna. As part of Audacy’s MLB partnership, WFAN and the Yankees will produce co-branded podcasts.
Newsmax, Verizon Sign Multi-Year Carriage Agreement. The deal between Newsmax and Verizon extends distribution of news channel in HD on Verizon Fios. Newsmax Media chief executive officer Christopher Ruddy remarks, “Verizon has carried Newsmax for many years. We are delighted to be extending our distribution through the Fios platform. We have found them to be outstanding partners who have demonstrated a strong commitment to the presentation of diverse, independent voices through their programming. We’re glad that we are continuing with this new agreement.” Newsmax will retain its broad distribution on the Verizon platform, which reaches approximately 3.5 million subscribers in the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions.
SiriusXM Q2 Revenue Increases. While revenue was up 4% year-over-year to $2.25 billion in this year’s second quarter, SiriusXM’s net income declined from $433 million to $292 million (11 to 7 cents/basic share, 10 to 7 cents/diluted share). Adjusted EBITDA was off 3% to $679 million. SiriusXM chief executive officer Jennifer Witz notes, “We are pleased with our results in the second quarter, and while we continue to navigate an uncertain economic environment, we delivered strong financial performance and continued to make strategic investments in our business that will set us up for an exciting new era. We remain committed to creating compelling experiences for our listeners by investing in innovative technologies to deliver best-in-class, curated, comprehensive audio entertainment. Most recently, [we expanded] our relationship with the NFL to deliver the most extensive sports lineup in audio entertainment; we will continue to enhance our platform to ensure broad appeal.” Executive vice president/chief financial officer Sean Sullivan adds, “[Our] churn was steady at approximately 1.5% in the quarter, underscoring the strength of our business, products, and loyalty of our customers. In the second quarter, we delivered focused expansion in key streaming offerings and maintained a strong balance sheet. This quarter, we returned over $300 million in capital to stockholders, comprising $217 million in common stock repurchases and $86 million in dividends, and ended the quarter with net debt to adjusted EBITDA of 3.6 times.” Self-pay subscribers increased by 23,000 and paid promotional subscribers increased by 54,000. Satellite and streaming division totaled 34 million subscribers at the end of the quarter; self-pay churn was flat at 1.5%. The division’s revenue rose 5% to $1.7 billion, and gross profit rose 6% to $1.1 billion.
Marketron Releases Political Advertising Toolbox. Per BIA Advisory Services, political advertising will raise $8.6 billion for local media companies. Marketron’s collection of online resources combines all the political advertising content the company has developed at a single location for companies interested in increasing their share of political advertising. Marketron senior vice president/client success Christian Kligora opines that, “Political advertising is an important category for local media. It’s much different than any other and that requires a unique approach. We’ve been developing content on the topic all year long with a focus on how to support media sellers. Bringing it together in one spot makes it easier to learn from and access.” Each resource will reportedly provide media salespeople with tips, strategies, and insights for political advertising. Included are specialized considerations such as the “overall trends in the advertising ecosystem; the need to reach different demographics; the objective of persuading people to vote; and the regulatory compliance requirements” for how media companies price/offer inventory to candidates.
TALKERS News Notes. Changes at Audacy Philadelphia sports talk WIP “Sports Radio 94” find the station’s fill-in host Jody McDonald and Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Mike Sielski co-hosting weekend shows with Glenn Macnow. McDonald will partner with Macnow on Sundays (10:00 am – 1:00 pm), while Sielski joins Macnow in the same time slot each Saturday. According to Macnow, “I have a comfort level with Jody. He’s the guy I broke in with [and] the guy our listeners heard me with from 28 years ago. Working with Jody is like an old pair of shoes – it’s easy and I like it. The Saturday show will now be me and the best damn sports columnist in town, Mike Sielski.” … Former Baltimore Ravens defensive back Rod Woodson will join play-by-play voice Gerry Sandusky this season on the NFL team’s broadcasts on Hearst Baltimore news/talk WBAL “News Radio 1090 AM & 101.5 FM.” According to Sandusky, “Rod brings the unique perspective of someone who has both played and coached at the highest level of the game. He does it in a down-to-earth way that is approachable, likable and just plain fun. It’s a privilege to work with a broadcast partner like Rod.” Woodson states that, “Being a part of the Ravens’ gameday broadcast team is a blessing. To be back with the team that I won my only Super Bowl with will be fun.” … After eleven years with Nashville’s WPRT-FM, midday co-host Darren McFarland departs the Cromwell Radio Group sports talk outlet. Program director Chase McCabe confirms to The Tennessean that “Sports Radio 102.5 The Game” decided to part ways with McFarland, who formerly worked at Cumulus Media’s cross-town/similarly-formatted WGFX “104.5 The Zone.” McCabe, Willy Daunic, and Derrick Mason continue in middays on “The Game.” … Effective August 22, Cheddar News Washington bureau chief Megan Pratz will join NPR as political editor. In addition, NPR promotes congressional correspondent Sue Davis to political correspondent and interim congressional correspondent Dierdre Walsh gets to remove “interim” from the title. … Skyview Networks’ sports talk program “OutKick 360” picks up three Withers Broadcasting-owned affiliates: KYRK, Marble Hill, Missouri; WGKY, Wickliffe, Kentucky; and WFRX, West Frankfort, Illinois. Skyview Networks is the exclusive distributor, affiliate sales representative and network sales partner of Jonathan Hutton, Chad Withrow & Paul Kuharsky-hosted “OutKick 360.”
Triton Digital Releases Streaming Metrics Ranker for April. The monthly rankings of streaming properties in the U.S. for the month of April have been released by Triton Digital. The ranker is based on Average Active Sessions (calculated by dividing Total Listening Hours by the number of hours within the reported time period). The following is based on listening in the U.S. for 6am-12am Mon-Sun. This month, iHeartRadio is #1 with 300,843 AAS, followed by NPR Member Stations at #2 (73,677 AAS), and Audacy at #3 (67,798 AAS). Other radio-related companies finishing in the top 25 include Cumulus Streaming Network at #4 (42,061 AAS), Beasley Broadcasting Corporate at #7 (19,207 AAS), Hubbard Broadcasting at #8 (15,095 AAS), Salem Communications at #11 (8,816 AAS), Urban One at #12 (8,456 AAS), and Bonneville International at #13 (7,358 AAS). See the complete ranker here.
Edison Research to Present ‘The Smart Audio Report’ Five Years In. On June 16, Edison Research will present a live webinar to reveal the results of its The Smart Audio Report 2022. Edison says that back in 2017, it and NPR went into the homes of smart speaker owners to learn how the new technology was being integrated into people’s lives for the original Smart Audio Report. Five years later, they revisited some of those same families to see how they have grown and how their usage of voice assistant technology has changed. “The 2022 installment of the Smart Audio Report will not only offer an update on some of those original families, but also fresh data from a recent national study that measures attitudes around voice tech among those who use it and those who don’t.” Ahead of the June 16 webinar, Edison reveals that recent data shows (for people 13+) share of time spent listening to audio on a smart speaker breaks down as follows: Streaming Audio (Spotify, Pandora, etc.) 41%, AM/FM Radio 13%, YouTube (music and music videos only) 11%, SiriusXM 11%, Owned Music 8%, Podcasts 8%, Audio Books 7%, and Other 1%. You can get more information about the webinar and register here.
Conservative Commentator Tomi Lahren to Host Outkick Programs. Conservative media figure Tomi Lahren is joining OutKick Media to host the evening program “Tomi Lahren is Fearless,” premiering on June 20. New episodes will air every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 7:00 pm ET and will be available on demand on YouTube and social channels as well as outkick.com later this summer. Outkick SVP Gary Schreier says, “Tomi has amassed a loyal following throughout her career, and we are excited to bring her signature style and insights to our highly engaged audience at OutKick where she will be an invaluable addition to our expanding programming lineup.” Additionally, Lahren is being named the exclusive voice of “FOX News Commentary” where she will offer her perspective on everything from pop culture to politics with a 60-second FOX News Audio produced feature. The segment will be syndicated three times per weekday across more than 160 FOX News Radio stations.
Hutton, Withrow, and Kuharsky Return to Nashville Airwaves. According to a report in The Tennessean, the sports talk program “OutKick 360,” hosted by Jonathan Hutton, Chad Withrow, and Paul Kuharsky and formerly known as “Midday 180,” is returning to the Nashville market on the radio. The program has been broadcast digitally on Outkick.com since January of 2021. It originally aired on Cumulus Media’s WGFX-FM “104.5 The Zone.” Beginning on June 13, the show will air from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm on Cromwell Media’s WBUZ-HD3/W235BW “94.9 The Fan” – sister station to sports talk WPRT-FM “ESPN 102.5 The Game.” Station program director Chase McCabe says, “One of my goals as the new PD was to figure out a way to add ‘OutKick 360’ to our talented lineup. Re-imagining 94.9 as ‘The Fa’n made that possible because not only do we add three voices that Nashville knows, but we are able to bring Dan Patrick and Colin Cowherd back to the Music City. It’s a huge win for us and for our city.”
TALKERS News Notes. Today is the beginning of the 2022 Women’s College World Series at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City and Cumulus Media’s Westwood One – the official audio partner of the NCAA – is broadcasting every game of the series…..A new podcast titled “R&B Money” hosted by Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter-producer TANK and his business partner, multi-platinum singer-songwriter-music executive J. Valentine is launching on iHeartMedia’s and Charlamagne tha God’s Black Effect Podcast Network. The series “is for the super dedicated R&B fan, highlighting everything from Marvin Gaye to Pink Sweat$. ‘R&B Money’ has produced an exciting space for artists & executives in the game to reminisce with exceptionally compelling storytelling while building a place of discovery for the fans.”…..Journalist Katie Couric is releasing a new iHeartRadio Original special limited podcast series titled, “Abortion: The Body Politic.” In this series, she speaks with historians, doctors, activists, reproductive justice leaders, everyday women who have had abortions, and others to discuss the realities of a country without Roe v. Wade. Guests on the program will include Gloria Steinem; Mary Ziegler, foremost abortion law expert; Jessica Chastain, Academy Award-winning actress; Busy Philipps, actress and activist; Dr. Warren Hern, abortion doctor; and more.
Tulsa Hospital Shooting/Uvalde Aftermath, Inflation-Recession Fears, Russia-Ukraine War, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Durham Investigation, COVID-19, Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Depp-Heard Verdict Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/1). A shooting at a Tulsa medical center claims the lives of four and the aftermath of the Uvalde, Texas school massacre; the still-rising price of gas & food and concerns about a recession; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, its effects on the global economy and Vladimir Putin’s threats of nuclear force; the primary races for the midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; special counsel John Durham’s probe into the Trump-Russia investigation; the high rates of COVID-19 in parts of the U.S.; Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee; and the verdicts in the Johnny Depp–Amber Heard defamation case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.