Industry News

Sabo Sez: Make it Bigger

By Walter Sabo
CEO Sabo Media Action Partners
A.K.A. Walter Sterling
Host, WPHT, Philadelphia
Host, Talk Media Network

imWhen a new restaurant opens, smart owners put the phone on busy so would-be diners believe the joint is hot, packed and hard to get in to. At street fairs we are drawn to merchant booths with long lines. Crowds give us confidence.

My mentor, Ed McLaughlin, as president of the ABC Radio Networks had one dictate when presented with a new idea: Make it bigger.

Last week radio hosted a major event. An event so big that it was covered by all media, except… except… radio and most radio trades. After turning down the Washington Post and The New York Times, the President of the United States gave the longest interview of his tenure to a radio star, Howard Stern. A commercial radio interview. Not NPR. Not MSNBC, not The View. Radio. The president, like hundreds of other leaders and businesses believes radio is the best medium to sell his message.

The president’s choice of medium should now be the first slide on every sales deck of every radio pitch. Today!

The damage of small. Many people in our business sell small and it hurts the industry. It’s easy to be dismissive of the Stern interview of Biden… instead, why not own it? Make it your interview because you share the same playing field.

Smart media executives do everything they can to make their stage seem to earn the largest possible audience. Cable, for example sells “homes passed.” Really. Cable sells the number of homes that can receive the advertiser’s message because those homes have cable. Using cable’s selling logic, radio could win every buyer’s analysis by selling “radios installed.”

About 20 years ago radio sellers started showing their station’s “time spent listening” (TSL) data to media buyers. That is the lowest number. While local TV stations sell their “designated market area” (DMA), radio mines the very tiniest delivery number: TSL

Your website’s first name is WORLD WIDE. Shockingly many radio companies strive to make their website “more local.” Stations have federal licenses dictating that their signal is specifically LOCAL. Your website could turn your station into a world-wide business with pristine world-wide delivery. Rather than grow, many broadcasters fought to have permission to geo-fence their signal, they fought to get smaller.

A major ratings week’s results for FOX News or CNN would get the program director of WLTW, KOST, Z100 or WINS fired. CNN had an average of 601,000 viewers in March. What’s your station’s cume? CNN grossed $1.1 BILLION dollars. They aren’t selling numbers. They are selling their brand: CNN or FOX or MSNBC. Cable networks, all with tiny viewership compared with WCBS-AM, WBZ-AM, or KFI’s cume, deliver ancient demos yet they are grossing a billion bucks by selling their brand and their environment. They sell shows. A show is as big as the seller and buyer can imagine. Imagine bigger.

Put simply: 1010 WINS has more listeners in New York City than the “Tonight Show” has viewers in New York City.  There’s your second slide.

Media buyers want a deal. They want radio to bring in the buy. But the CEO of the brand wants an environment for their message that moves product. Your hosts can move product. Your listener can name your hosts, which instills trust and listeners can recall copy points from hosts’ live reads. To an investor, the relationship between your listener and your host is defined as goodwill. Goodwill adds considerable value to your station. Selling the dynamic of listener engagement will justify much higher rates than TSL.

Walter Sabo has been a C Suite action partner for companies such as SiriusXM, Hearst, Press Broadcasting, Gannett, RKO General and many other leading media outlets. His company HITVIEWS, in 2007, was the first to identify and monetize video influencers. HITVIEWS clients included Pepsi, FOX TV, Timberland, Microsoft, and CBS Television. He can be reached at sabowalter@gmail.com. His nightly show “Walter Sterling at Night” is debuting next week on WPHT, Philadelphia. His syndicated show, “Sterling On Sunday,” from Talk Media Network, airs 10:00 pm-1:00 am ET, now in its 10th year of success.

Industry Views

SABO SEZ: Award the Future

By Walter Sabo
Consultant, Sabo Media Implementers
A.K.A. Walter Sterling
Radio Host, “Sterling On Sunday”
Talk Media Network

imWhen reviewing our industry’s awards such as the Crystals or Marconis there are two categories missing. They are: “Best New” and “Best Innovation.” Imagine if winners were announced for these prizes:

“Best New Talent On Air”

“Best New Talent Off Air”

“Most Creative Sales Solution”

“Most Creative Station Promotion”

“Most Innovative DAB or Podcast Format”

“Best New Talent – Podcast”

“Best Innovation In Engineering”

Those awards aren’t fantasy, they are actual awards given annually by Australian Commercial Radio (ACRA). They are presented at a magnificent well-produced event for the entire country – attendance is SRO. The subliminal message to Australian radio personnel is powerful: Innovation is expected and rewarded. NEW is expected and rewarded – no need to wait for you to become legendary (!) to be recognized. “NEW” is a powerful reward and promise to the talent you hope will find a career in radio. Face it, our “on boarding” leaves a lot to be desired. (Hey, work in the promotion department while you live at home, and we’ll let you pick up pizza that you can share!)

The best gift the late PD Al Brady Law gave me was he greeted all new ideas with, “It might work.” Most other executives kill innovative thought with the worst question possible: “Who else is doing it?” The industry has a lame record of assessing new ideas. New ideas are systematically despised:

Bill Drake’s format was damned in jock-for-hire classifieds that warned, NO DRAKE JOCKS. Yes, dozens of stations wanted NO DRAKE JOCKS. Quickly Drake’s strategies slaughtered those stations and revolutionized music formats to this moment. Recorded music on the radio was actually thought to be illegal until WNEW-AM, New York fought that court fight in the 1940s and won. All news on WINS and WCBS certainly was not going to work after the 1960s New York newspaper strike ended. WFAN could never succeed as an all-sports station – soon after launch it became the highest biller in NYC.

When AC was launched in 1978 at the NBC FM and RKO FM stations, it had no future. FM was only for beautiful music and hard rock and besides who else is doing it?

Album rock, AOR, …why we have research to prove young people only want hits! Targeted FM talk – combining a hot format with hot talent would absolutely fail at KLSX-FM, Los Angeles and thanks to Bob Moore became the number one local biller – turn it back to the failed classic rock format please begged one research hit squad! “New Jersey 101.5” has a one million cume talking all week, playing music all weekend. Which award category suits that giant station? “Best New” would have been appreciated.

Todd Storz, the inventor of Top 40, passed away at 38 and his father who owned their stations in Miami, Omaha, and New Orleans couldn’t wait to change his Top 40 format creation to MOR when the kid died. As a result, when Todd died the stations died, too.

Innovators like Bill Drake, Jeff SmulyanAllen ShawBob McAllanAlan MasonL. David Moorhead, and Howard Stern are first ignored, then marginalized, then vilified… then hundreds fight for their credit.

The only way radio stays relevant and grows its place on the media landscape is with a constant flow of “Best New” and “Best Innovation.” That’s when younger listeners are attracted to radio – the same way they are attracted to everything – if it’s NEW. The radio you and your friends were drawn to, talked about at school, listened to constantly was saturated with new contests, new daring DJs, new promotions, new hits, new energy.

The delicious daily challenge of on-air talent and management is what can we put on the air today that has never been done before? If it’s new, even if it doesn’t work forever, generates buzz, attention, youthful audiences.  Of course, 20-year-olds will listen to radio, it’s at the end of their arm! But they are not going to salivate at the promise of “20 of your favorites from the 80s, 90s and today.” Or a national contest.

Why not test a NEW award in just one awards category? “Best Innovation in Engineering” The Marconi Award.

Walter Sabo is a leading media industry consultant and syndicated talk radio personality.  He can be emailed at Walter@Sabomedia.com. Website: www.waltersterlingshow.com

Industry Views

SABO SEZ: Howard Stern Deserves a Big Thank You

By Walter Sabo
Consultant, Sabo Media Implementers
A.K.A. Walter Sterling
Radio Host, “Sterling On Sunday”
Talk Media Network

imNO ONE has done more to elevate the status and improve the working conditions of on-air talent as much as Howard Stern.

Howard turned 70 this month and he has been on the air for 50 years – half of the time of the existence of radio. During his brilliant career, he has elevated the capabilities of radio to a scientific, pristine art. His success is neither an accident nor luck. It’s not even God-given talent. It’s all work. Nobody has ever worked harder on their radio show than Howard and, as a result, no radio star has ever earned as much money or deserved as much acclaim.

Several important notes:

— For Howard, radio always comes first. When he made the movie Private Parts the production fit around his radio show.

— “America’s Got Talent” ended taping at the pre-agreed times to accommodate Howard’s radio show.

— I made the first call to his agent to recruit Howard to SiriusXM Satellite Radio. He was already making a lot of money… his motivation for moving was to give his radio show the support and freedom necessary to see just how great he could make it.

— He loves radio.

Whatever you’ve heard Howard earns, it’s probably close. That’s good for everybody on the air in the world. He earns more than any TV star. He earns more than 99.9% of all movie stars. I think it’s pretty much Taylor SwiftPaul McCartney and Howard. A radio star is actually in that conversation!

When he started in the 1980s, he was suspended for saying douche bag. Now you can say douche bag. Thank him for winning that fight.

Thank him for proving that radio stars do better with real writers and producers. Radio stars can create four hours a day of magic with little help. (TV Sitcoms produce 22 minutes a week, for 22 weeks a year with 11 writers.) Thank him for moving millions of dollars of products a week with his live reads, enhancing the value of your live reads.

Thank him for being harassed by the federal government. Thank him for not blinking. Thank him for raising the profile and stature of American radio. Thank him for being funny.

I just don’t think he’s been thanked enough…

Walter Sabo was a founding architect of SiriusXM Satellite Radio and began the recruitment of Howard Stern. He has consulted RKO General, PARADE magazine, Hearst BroadcastingPress Broadcasting, and other premium brands. He launched the first company to engage online video influencers, Hitviews. As an executive, he was EVP of NBC FM RADIO giving Dr. Ruth Westheimer her first media job and fostering the creation of adult contemporary. As VP ABC Radio Networks, Sabo hired Ringo Starr to be a DJ for a 24-hour special.

Industry Views

SABO SEZ: City to Town – A Perspective on Trump Voters

By Walter Sabo
Consultant, Sabo Media Implementers
A.K.A. Walter Sterling
Radio Host, “Sterling On Sunday”
Talk Media Network

imAcknowledging that this publication is fiercely non-partisan and that I – in my role as a broadcaster – am basically the same, I offer the following, not as a political opinion piece, but rather a personal observation based on experience that might shed light on the deeper nature of a large segment of the American population prone to listen to talk radio.

A few years ago, I moved from Manhattan to Shaker Heights, Ohio. Geraldo Rivera made the same journey for the same reason; our wives went to Shaker High. In our brides’ minds, that’s enough reason to return.

During the period of the Donald Trump presidency, a new phenomenon was sweeping the East and West Coasts: People who did not vote for Trump demonized and marginalized those who did. Lifelong friendships were ended by anti-Trump individuals who merely suspected a friend was pro-Trump, often with little evidence. Celebrities threatened to leave the country if Trump became or remained president. They would flee to Canada, without any consideration of whether or not Canadians wanted them!  

At first, I would ask anti-Trump people if they had actually voted for Hillary Clinton? That question was inevitably met with an icy glare, but no answer. They hadn’t. Anti-Trumpers were seething, ignited by their guilt that they assumed Clinton would win and therefore making their voting participation unnecessary. What else could explain the fevered emotion against a president – on his FIRST day in office? Trump hadn’t done anything to anger Scarlett Johansson into leading an angry insurrection mob. But she did. Day one.

Living in Ohio, I have spent time with hundreds of Trump voters and learned something valuable. Trump supporters do not match the level of passion in support of the president as those who hate him. Not even close. The disparity is stunning.

No Trump voter has threatened to leave the country if a Democrat wins. No Trump voter has said, “I hate all Biden voters, I wish they would die,” as Howard Stern has said about them. No Trump voter refuses to befriend a Joe Biden voter just because, hey, if we’re friends we are friends.

Yes, Trump voters go to the polls for him because of – his policies. And what are those? The Ohio parents and workers I know matter-of-factly want Trump first and foremost so they can afford gasoline and heating oil. When the price of gas went up, parents had to cut down on after school activities, school competitions and distant playdates, they just couldn’t afford the trip. They can’t hop on the bus to Chelsea Piers. They don’t care if it’s Trump specifically, they just want cheaper gas – sir can you do that?

Next, they vote for the candidate who will support safe neighborhoods, cheaper meat, cheaper milk, their kid in the Marines home for the holidays, Israel, better schools.

I learned this from parents waiting for dance class and band practice to end. Patient parents proud of their kids. They weren’t chanting for Trump or bashing Biden. They just want enough gas to get home.

I’ve learned that many people who hate Trump voters do so while getting into an Uber, a taxi, bus, or subway. They don’t own a car. They buy food for one, not for five times seven days a week. They don’t have to go to three different food stores to get the cheapest items… they just hit Food Emporium ($6.98 a gallon of milk). In Ohio, $2.29 a gallon, Walmart.

Of course, there are other issues swirling around Trump and Biden – but right now most deplorable Ohioans have to pick up the kid at school on time, let their child buy one toy at Dollar Tree, I said one, and hope there is enough spaghetti for dinner.

Walter Sabo was a founding architect of SiriusXM and began the recruitment of Howard Stern. He has consulted RKO General, PARADE magazine, Hearst BroadcastingPress Broadcasting, and other premium brands. He launched the first company to engage online video influencers, Hitviews. As an executive, he was EVP of NBC FM RADIO giving Dr. Ruth Westheimer her first media job and fostering the creation of adult contemporary. As VP ABC Radio Networks, Sabo hired Ringo Starr to be a DJ for a 24-hour special.

Advice

Six Reasons Radio Listeners Ignore Your Morning Show

By Gary Begin
Sound Advantage Media

imYou know the routine.

Your radio station introduces a new morning show, and you sit back and wait for the magic to happen.

And you wait…and you wait.

Still, the audience doesn’t know them, doesn’t care about them, or knows them and still doesn’t care about them.

Why is this happening?

There are six reasons:

One: Because they’re just not that good

It’s true! Radio managers are not famous for spotting and nurturing talent.

And a result: Being good is hard!

There’s a reason why Howard Stern was fired to the top. There’s a reason why it’s a safer bet to plug in Ryan Seacrest than to take a chance on somebody nobody knows (for better or worse). There’s a reason why the freshest young voice with a unique point of view prefers to launch a YouTube channel rather than work its way up the long, hard slog of the radio ladder.

Radio fans know what they like and don’t like, and everything else will likely fall in the vast, bland, vanilla middle. And while that vast, boring, vanilla middle can be tweaked with a bit of coaching or a new producer, there’s an old saying:

“You can’t polish a turd.”

Two: Because they’re not meaningfully different in a crowded field

Guy’s name and Gal’s name in the show title? Check.

Impeccable technical execution? Check.

Show producer/board op? Check.

What about plugging in all the radio morning show best practices? Check.

The problem with formulas for what makes a great morning show is that every station has access to the same procedures. And when every radio station is playing the same morning show game for the same audience at the same time using versions of the same bits, the audience will default to the show they’ve listened to longest, even if it’s not necessarily the best – because it takes a lot of time and effort to find the “best” and no time or effort at all to succumb to habit.

So why should I change the listening behavior that has served me well for years to sample YOUR show?

Three: Because listeners are barely exposed to them

It’s not only about how long a show has been on the air but also about how much exposure that show has had while it has been on.

I have a saying:

Listeners don’t listen to your morning show today; they listen to every episode of your morning show they have ever heard – today.

In other words, listeners bring their relationships with talent to each listening occasion. This makes intense morning shows powerful: They have a longstanding connection with their fans. It’s also why you can stream a market and listen to the dominant morning show without knowing why it’s so successful.

So, when you envelop your show in music, or the host opens the mic to announce a song, do a live read, announce another contest winner, check the weather, or emote some breezy phrase that dissipates into the radio ether within seven seconds, then the audience has less to know and fewer opportunities to realize it.

Why bother?

Four: Because they’re DJs and not humans

While there’s something comforting about a human voice on the radio, not every voice appears human. I’m not talking about voice-tracking here; I’m talking about content.

Humans have three dimensions – strengths and weaknesses, flaws, and blemishes. All on display.

When those dimensions are not displayed in a movie, we call the character “shallow.” And nobody (willingly) makes friends with shallow beings (although we’re happy to laugh at their expense TV).

Five: Because management doesn’t want a great morning show, they want a cheap morning show to be great

Too often, we’re not aiming for greatness; we’re aiming for extraordinary cheapness.

That’s not how Jimmy Fallon got the “Tonight Show” gig or how excellent radio talent is born. We fool ourselves into thinking the cheap voice can be better if only the audience catches on. And then we are disappointed when they never do.

This is not to say you always get what you pay for, but you certainly never get what you don’t pay for.

I recently ran into an old radio friend – a former morning host – now long out of the business. He was approached by a station in his market to do a weekend gig – live. And for this, he would be paid what he described as “the kind of money I made just out of school.”

Either he will say “no,” or the station will get from him what it’s paying for, which is precisely what it wants and much less than it pretends it wants.

Six: Because “liking them” and “listening to them” are two different things

Your new morning host may be a great guy and a model citizen, but if I’ve got 20 minutes of drive-time, I intend to spend it with the most compelling, entertaining, or informative morning show I can find, not with an audio Boy Scout.

Gary Begin can be reached at garybegin10@gmail.com.

Industry Views

SABO SEZ: Seek New Story Sources and Surprise Your Listeners

By Walter Sabo
Consultant, Sabo Media Implementers
A.K.A. Walter Sterling
Radio Host, “Sterling On Sunday”
Talk Media Network

imEarlier this week, Michael Harrison published his top 10 list of suggestions for being a successful talker. Item number three really caught my eye:

“Avoid worn out talking points. Be original. Always bring something new to the table. Otherwise you DESERVE to be replaced by AI.”

 When consulting client stations, the PD and I will take the on-air team through a pragmatic brainstorm session to discover completely unused source material.

First the material should be intriguing to you and appealing to your listener (singular.) New sources mean surprises and the fastest and most economical method of generating word of mouth, phone calls and cume is to present surprises all day.

1. Close to home. Pay foreground attention to incidents at home. Your home. Events that you may view as mundane could bond you with your listener. Consider that water in the basement, check engine light, parent/teacher conference, bad bank behavior, in-law interference. If any of those experiences has happened to you, you honestly know that they are a bigger deal than speeches in Congress.

2. Search the names of locations that you never discuss. Those searches have revealed to me and my listener that the number one fear in Siberia is the vast forest fires and that as the permafrost melts, it could expose million-year-old deadly viruses. One “Siberia news” search. Try this, search “Keith Fons North Pole Alaska” You will discover a bizarre Christmas story.

3. Local morning TV shows have unique fun stories that you don’t see because you’re listening to the radio. Go to their websites and you will see all of their topics, with audio, dated. 

Take a different approach to proven topics. A trait of successful hosts is that they discuss common topics but take a very different tact. Some examples: When TV legend Ann Bishop of WPLG Miami died, fellow broadcaster Neil Rogers mourned Bishop by saying, “She did nothing for me, sir.”

On crime in Cleveland, the late Mike Trivisonno on WTAM declared, “the best thing that could happen is for the Mafia to come back to Cleveland.”

Howard Stern surprises you every time he opens his mouth. It’s the fresh topics combined with surprising POV=Star. 

Walter Sabo has an outstanding track record advising media companies wishing to increase their share of revenue. His weekly syndicated show Sterling On Sunday aims to provide three hours of completely unique topics.  Contact him at walter@sabomedia.com or 646.678.1110

Industry News

NYPost: Mad Dog Backs Out of Stern Stunt

The New York Post’s Christian Arnold writes that it appears SiriusXM sports talk personality Chris “Mad Dog” Russo is backing out of the stunt fellow SXM host Howard Stern created to make up for notim retiring after he promised to do that if the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Philadelphia Phillies. After the D-backs made the World Series, Stern hosted Russo on his show and got him to agree to wear a Diamondbacks-themed bikini and hold a sign saying, “I am a liar and a dope.” Now it seems Russo is reneging on the deal. Stern, who told his audience he’s done with it, shared a text from a listener who suggested Stern refer to Russo as Chris “Mad Fraud” Russo. Read the Post story here.

Industry News

SXM’s Mad Dog Won’t Retire; Will Do Stern-Engineered Stunt

After saying he would retire immediately if the Arizona Diamondbacks won their two final games againstim the Philadelphia Phillies to make the World Series – which they did – SiriusXM sports talk personality Chris “Mad Dog” Russo said on Wednesday’s “Howard Stern Show” that the retirement statement was a “throwaway line” and he would not retire. Stern then urged him to accept “punishment” in the form of a stunt: Russo would wear a Diamondbacks-themed bikini and walk down the street in Manhattan carrying a sign saying, “I am a liar and a dope.”

Industry News

The Damning Myth of Spoken Word Radio: High Time Spent Listening (TSA) and Low Cume

By Walter Sabo
Consultant, Sabo Media
A.K.A. Walter Sterling
Radio Host, “Sterling On Sunday”
Talk Media Network

imDependency upon a PPM panel to deliver high time spent listening is a bad business model. Would you rather count on one person listening for one hour or four people listening for 15 minutes? Right.

A good music format program director knows exactly how to program talk radio in a PPM environment. Oddly, when a music programmer has the privilege of programming a talk station they seem to forget all of their programming knowledge. Both formats are measured by exactly the same technology and therefore if it “works” in music, it works in talk.

The reason “New Jersey 101.5” quickly became the highest cuming FM talk station in the world – for 20+ years – is because when Bob McAllanJay SorensenPerry SimonJohn Dziuba and I designed it, we had a simple process: Build a music station that takes a lot of phone calls. It was always programmed like a top 40 station and 33 years later it obviously worked.

The reason “Real Radio 104.1 in Orlando” was the only Howard Stern station that did not suffer the expense of having to change format when he was recruited to SiriusXM Satellite Radio was because the station was built as a heavily formatted music station that took a lot of phone calls. Note that Real Radio 104.1 and New Jersey 101.5 both air music non-stop on the weekends for the single purpose of targeting a specific cume demographic. It obviously worked.

What are the key elements of a music format that should be applied to talk in order to build cume?

  • Please, god, don’t flag the “breaks.”
  • Every show had a specific pace based on topic set up time and call length time which gave the station a consistent rhythm and sound.  All day.
  • No “records” from home!  No personal sound effects, jingles or that crap.
  • Constantly sell ahead. No yesterday calls, yesterday references. Sell what’s next.
  • Assume every single listener just tuned in. Explain the topic and give the phone number obsessively.
  • Listener driven not host driven. Every host is valuable and gifted but if a host makes the mistake of quitting, the interest needs and tastes of the listener are constant and can be reflected by the next host. A constant.

Mickey Luckoff, the brilliant president of KGO, San Francisco for decades explained why he hired most of his hosts from top 40  radio because, “I can teach them TALK but I can’t teach them radio.”  BTW yes, even 34-year morning host Jim Dunbar worked at WLS and KQV as a top 40 jock immediately before joining KGO to host a talk show.

Walter Sabo was a pioneer in the concept of targeted talk which allows a station to precisely reach a chosen demographic. He has had a robust list of consulting clients including, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Conde Naste, CBS, Press Broadcasting, RKO General, Hearst, Fred Silverman Productions, and many more. His company HITVIEWS was the first major player to recognize and monetize online video stars known as “influencers.” He is on the nominating board of the Radio Hall of Fame. Reach him at 646.678.1110 or walter@sabomedia.com.  Discover Sabo’s network radio show here: waltersterlingshow.com.

Industry Views

Politeness, Punctuality and Power

By Walter Sabo
Consultant, Sabo Media
A.K.A. Walter Sterling
Radio Host, Sterling On Sunday
Talk Media Network

imFor decades the power-lunch spot in Manhattan was the beautiful Four Seasons restaurant. Check it out: A history of the Four Seasons Restaurant in New York City – Four Seasons new ownership (townandcountrymag.com)

Top clients would host luncheons at the Four Seasons with Sabo Media. These included Walter Anderson, former chairman/CEO of PARADE magazine who was a regular customer. If the lunch was scheduled for 12:30 pm and I arrived at 12:15 pm, Anderson was already there. Next time, I would arrive at 12:05 pm for the 12:30 pm lunch; he was already there.

The restaurant manager/maître d’ explained that, “The most powerful person always arrives first.” Of course. The most powerful person could control where she sat, where she faced and what your view of the room would be. When Walter Anderson hosted future lunches, I arrived at about 11:15 am for the 12:30 pm meet!

If I had any early career success it was not because I knew anything, it was because of Eleanor Ranft, my assistant. Prior to working with me she had been Robert Sarnoff‘s assistant for 20 years. Robert, as-in-son of the General. (Eleanor knew how to address letters to ambassadors.) At the end of the workday, she would go over the telephone call sheet and make sure I had returned every call. Neither of us were going home unless I returned every call.

When addressing emails, the most powerful people return the emails instantly. Test it, send a note to the most powerful people you know, see what happens. Mel KarmazinBob PittmanHoward SternMichael HarrisonChris OlivieroKraig KitchinDavid YadgaroffBill WhiteLee HarrisDan MasonJarl MohnMarc Rowan instant answers. Instant response keeps a person in the deal-flow, the conversation and the action. Instant response makes them powerful.

Conversely, for weeks I tried to have lunch with a local market EVP, no answer. I didn’t want a job; I was trying to place a sales order for an agency friend! No answer. Finally, I asked the market program director why I never heard from his boss. Answer, “He doesn’t think you can do anything for him.” Obviously, the order went to a different company.

A common trait of every star I’ve had the privilege to know is that they are all extremely polite. For example, Randy ThomasCharlie VanDykeBruce Morrow, Howard Stern, the late Casey KasemElvis Duran are kindness and manners personified. They send thank you notes. Their interpersonal attitude is to share experience rather than to say look it up yourself. Many top executives built their entire career by sending thank you notes.

That being said, THANK YOU for being a client of Sabo Media. Thank you for clearing “Sterling On Sunday” on stations like KMOX, KMBZ-FM, WPHT, KDKA and Albany’s Talk 1300.  Have a pleasant Labor Day.

Walter Sterling-Sabo can be contacted at Walter@sabomedia.com or 646.678.1110 mobile. He’ll answer immediately. Sabo Media’s robust client list over the years has included PARADE magazine, Sirius Satellite Radio, The Wall Street Journal Radio Service, RKO, Salem, and CBS. Sabo was the first to monetize online video stars and influencers through his company HITVIEWS.

Industry News

ViceTV’s Dark Side of the 2000s Looks at “Shock Jock” Wars

The ViceTV series “Dark Side of the 2000s” delves into the rivalry between radio personalities Howard Stern, Erich “Mancow” Muller and Opie & Anthony in episodes 5 and 6 titled, “Shock Jocks Part 1: The Rise” andim “Shock Jocks Part 2: The Fall.” Through interviews with major players in the radio and entertainment industries, including TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison, the story of the growth of male-targeted “FM talk” along with the vicious battles that took place between the major players is told. ViceTV is on a number of on-demand services. The episodes are also behind a paywall at vicetv.com.

Industry News

Howard Stern to Open SiriusXM’s Miami Studios

SiriusXM announces that Howard Stern will bring his program to Miami to officially open SiriusXM’s newestimage state-of-the-art broadcast complex that will operate from the heart of South Beach. Stern will broadcast live May 1-3 from Miami in what SiriusXM calls “a star-studded week of programming live from SiriusXM Miami.” Stern will be joined live in the studio by special music and celebrity guests. The new SiriusXM Miami studios features a 50-seat performance space and several artist-first radio and recording studios, in addition to office space.

Front Page News Industry News

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Mark Davis is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Today is the 40th anniversary of Dallas radio legend Mark Davis’ career as a professional broadcaster. What better way to celebrate it than being a guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview?” Davis is one of the most successful and respected local news/talk radio hosts in America. For the past decade, this self-described libertarian-conservative has hosted the 7:00 am – 10:00 am CT morning show on Salem’s AM 660, The Answer – KSKY-AM – in the vibrant Dallas/Fort Worth market. Prior to that, he did a long stint at WBAP – also in the Dallas Metroplex. Along the way, he’s served as a regular fill-in for the late Rush Limbaugh and other national hosts in addition to having written two well-received books about politics published by Regnery. Harrison and Davis engage in a lively chat about the radio veteran’s career including changes over the past four decades in journalism, broadcasting technology, radio localism, the military (Davis grew up in a U.S. Air Force family) and partisanship in the national conversation. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

WIP-FM, Philadelphia Names Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie New Morning Hosts. The Audacy sports talk station reveals that it will move the current midday team of Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie to morning drive early next year when Angelo Cataldi retires from his historic run as SportsRadio 94WIP’s morning drive host. The new show will continue to feature longtime WIP morning anchor Rhea Hughes and producer James Seltzer. Audacy says it will name a new midday show in the coming months. WIP-FM brand manager Rod Lakin says, “We are very excited to announce Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie will be leading the WIP morning show. For the last three decades Angelo Cataldi set the standard for morning drive in Philadelphia and helped define the sports narrative of this great city. Joe and Jon, along with Rhea Hughes and the other talented members of the WIP morning show, will adhere to the standard that Angelo created and develop a connection with the Philadelphia sports audience for years to come.” DeCamara comments, “I am ecstatic for the opportunity to host mornings on WIP. There is a remarkable tradition of success long established by the legend, Angelo, and the entire current morning team, and my aim is to continue to uphold that level of excellence. I feel a tremendous sense of gratitude to WIP and Audacy management, to Angelo, and to WIP listeners and callers whose intense passion drives the heartbeat of Philly sports. We look forward to assembling the full team that will comprise our show as we move to mornings. And I look forward to multiple parades down Broad Street over the next four months!” Ritchie adds, “I’m grateful and honored that Joe and I have the opportunity to follow in Angelo Cataldi’s footsteps on WIP’s morning show. We’ll work hard to uphold the station’s tradition of emotional connection with the greatest sports fans in the world.”

Radio Observers Reminisce and Analyze as Rock Gives Way to All-News on 92.3 FM in New York. Today’s move by Audacy that begins the simulcast of all-news WINS-AM on WNYL-FM (soon to become WINS-FM) was preceded by coverage of the change in the New York media that included reminiscing about the old “K-Rock” – for 20 years the flagship station of Howard Stern’s program – as well as the rock music and talk shows that also occupied the frequency over the years. In Verne Gay’s story on the change in Newsday, Audacy New York president Chris Oliviero is quoted saying, “Why now? That question has been bandied about for many years, but one of the major issues is that we’re still governed by FCC cap rules. Any time we wanted to add something to FM, we had to take something away. We had to make a choice [and] news and sports is what we do really well.” This change also comes at the same time as Audacy finalizes the newsroom merger of WINS and WCBS-AM. Audacy New York VP of news Ben Mevorach is quoted in the Newsday piece saying that “both stations will retain their separate identities, but that the merger ‘removes the redundancy of coverage’ and frees reporters up at each station to cover different stories. Mevorach added that there will be no layoffs but ‘actually the opposite: This is an all-out assault on becoming the dominant [radio] news leader here.’” Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison was asked about the changes and replied, “As natives of the 20th century, you and I still think there’s a difference between AM and FM but to natives of the 21st century, these are irrelevant facts. The flip doesn’t mean anything other than Audacy is doing the best it can to keep up with the times.” Regarding the end of rock music on 92.3 FM, Harrison adds, “It’s sad to see it go on a certain level, but radio gave up ownership of music years ago. It’s been a slow fade and this is another one of the lights going out. It doesn’t indicate anything beyond that.”

Alpha Media Names Tim Spence Director of Sports Operations in San Antonio. Radio programming pro Tim Spence joins Alpha Media San Antonio as the new director of sports operations for KTFM-FM/KZDC-AM, San Antonio “Sports Star, 94.1 FM, 1250 AM.” Spence comes to Alpha from iHeartMedia Denver where he most recently served as program director for KHOW and KCOL and as APD for KOA. He was also affiliate relations manager for the 140-station radio network for the Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies. Spence says, “I’d like to thank Lance Hawkins, Dax Davis and Greg Martin along with the entire Alpha Media family for this opportunity in San Antonio. This is a tremendous group of stations with a great staff, and I’m ready to get to work.”

WABC, New York Names Studios in Honor or Bernard McGuirk. Yesterday (10/26), Red Apple Media Group’s news/talk WABC, New York dedicated its main studio to the late Bernard McGuirk, who died earlier this month after a battle with prostate cancer. Yesterday would have been McGuirk’s 65th birthday. Pictured above are (from l-r): Sid Rosenberg, on-air morning show co-host of “Bernie & Sid in The Morning”; Margo and John Catsimatidis, owners of Red Apple Media and 77 WABC; Carol McGuirk, Bernie’s wife; and their two children, Brendan and Melanie.

KFBK, Sacramento Celebrates 100 Years on the Air. News/talk KFBK-AM/FM, Sacramento recently celebrated 100 years since its first on-air broadcast on September 17, 1922 with a Centennial Celebration. Hosted by sister iHeartMedia station Talk 650 KSTE morning show and former KFBK staff “Armstrong and Getty,” KFBK’s Centennial Celebration featured appearances by many former staff along with current personalities Cristina Mendonsa and Sam Shane of the “KFBK Morning News,” nationally syndicated and 12:00 noon-3:00 pm host Tom Sullivan, John McGinness and Kitty O’Neal of the “KFBK Afternoon News” and night host Pat Walsh. KFBK program director Bill White says, “The founding principle of KFBK News Radio remains the same today as it did in 1922, to provide relevant local news and information. Through the generations, KFBK’s team of talented news anchors, reporters, and talk hosts continues to proudly uphold that mission, to serve the listeners of Sacramento and Northern California.” Pictured above at the celebration are: Back row (l-r): Gregg Fishman (former anchor, now at City of Sacramento and SMUD Board), Rick Eytcheson (former GM), Dave Williams (former PD and anchor, now anchor at KLIF, Dallas), Beth Duncan (former anchor, now singer), Andy Friedman (former reporter, now CMO at Specifi), John Butler (former ND, now digital PD at Salem Media Group), David G. Hall (former reporter, now media specialist/consultant). Front row (l-r):  Roger Hamlyn (former editor, now retired), Steve Telliano (former reporter/anchor, now with UC Davis Health), Don Andrews (former reporter/anchor, now with CA State Assembly), Vicky Moore (now with KNX-FM, Los Angeles), Mike Sicilia (former reporter, now deputy press secretary, CA Dept of Corrections and Rehabilitation).

FOX News Audio to Launch Bret Baier’s ‘Common Ground’ Podcast. This new podcast from FOX News Audio titled, “Common Ground,” – hosted by Bret Baier, FOX News Channel chief political anchor and executive editor and anchor of “Special Report” – will feature Baier speaking with lawmakers, business leaders and public figures from different perspectives coming together to discuss issues of the day and how Americans can find common ground in a polarized world. FOX News Audio says the new podcast will drop two episodes weekly.

SRN’s Tom Tradup Honored by Christian Relief Agency. The Christian non-profit international relief agency Food for the Poor this week honored Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup for “10 years of dedicated passion and partnership through radio fundraising” which the agency says has resulted in 67-million meals for families in 17 countries in the Caribbean and Latin America, as well as SRN’s October campaign raising funds for survivors of Hurricane Ian in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. Pictured above are (from l-r): KSKY, Dallas morning host Mark Davis, Tradup, Diana Corrales and Paul Jacobs of Food for the Poor.

Debates/Midterm Elections, Russia-Ukraine War, The Economy, Immigration-Border Security, January 6/Trump Legal Issues, Iran Protests, British Politics, Musk-Twitter Deal, and Ye Controversies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/26). The numerous debates ahead of the November midterm elections and speculation about which party will control the House and Senate beginning in January; Vladimir Putin’s attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure as winter looms; the battle against inflation and the up-and-down financial markets; the migrant and illegal drug issues plaguing the U.S.-Mexico border; the subpoenas issued to former President Donald Trump’s attorneys relative to the January 6 investigation and Trump’s other legal battles; the ongoing protests in Iran; Britain’s newest Prime Minister Rishi Sunak assumes his role; the fate of Twitter and Elon Musk’s bid for the social media giant; and the crumbling business empire of Ye in the aftermath of his anti-Semitic rants were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Front Page News Industry News

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

New York All-Newser WINS An FM Signal. Beginning two weeks from this Thursday (10/27), Audacy New York’s WINS “1010 – All News/All The Time” will begin simulcasting on 92.3, a frequency currently occupied by alternative WNYL “Alt 92.3.” At the same time, WINS’ longtime brand manager Ben Mevorach is boosted to vice president of New York news, overseeing WINS and co-owned/similarly-formatted WCBS-AM “News Radio 880”; Ivan Lee is promoted to brand manager of both stations. As noted here yesterday (TALKERS, Monday, 10/10) WCBS-AM news director/brand manager Tim Scheld indicated in a staff memo that he’d be exiting the all-news outlet before the end of the year. A new agreement with SAG-AFTRA will allow cross-utilization of anchors and reporters for WINS and WCBS-AM. Audacy New York market president Chris Oliviero comments, “At a time when quality journalism and local reporting is so critical, it was the ideal moment to make a strong investment in our news creation and distribution capabilities. Audacy New York’s news organization, anchored by both WINS and [WCBS-AM], is the premier audio news outlet in the city. Now more than ever, we remain committed to serving our audiences as we have done so for over the last 50 years.” Mevorach states, “We are standing at the edge of an exciting new era for news in New York for our team,  advertisers, and – most importantly – our listeners. [WINS and WCBS-AM] will be in more places, covering more stories, creating more original content, expanding our digital footprint, and now offering listeners a crystal-clear FM audio experience. Both brands will retain their distinct identities but will now harness resources with the single mission of better serving our communities and reaching the next generation of news consumers.” Mevorach began his career in Boston as a magazine writer/editor for The Library Scene. Lee previously was operations manager at Talk America, which rebranded to Liberty Broadcasting; became WCBS-AM’s operations coordinator in 2004; WINS’ news editor in 2010; and was promoted to assistant news director in 2012. From November 1985 – December 2005, WXRK (now WNYL) was Howard Stern’s flagship station. The station flipped from CHR “Amp Radio” to alternative in February 2017. Recording its third consecutive down trend (1.6 – 1.5 – 1.3 – 1.2, 6+), WNYL ranks #21 in Nielsen Audio’s September 2022 sweep. WINS (3.0, 6+) and WCBS-AM (2.9, 6+) rank #11 and #13, respectively.

Round Four of August PPMs Released. The fourth round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s September 2022 PPM survey has been released for Austin; Raleigh; Indianapolis; Milwaukee; Nashville; and Providence. Nielsen Audio’s September 2022 sweep covered August 18 – September 14. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from this group of markets. News/talk is again #1 and #2 in Milwaukee – but – with a +1.1 from August (8.9 – 10.0, 6+), Good Karma Brands-owned WTMJ “Wisconsin’s Radio Station” advances from second to first, while iHeartMedia’s WISN “News Talk 1130” drops seven-tenths (10.3 – 9.6, 6+) and shifts from first to second. In Raleigh, iHeartMedia’s WTKK “106.1 FM Talk” notches a +1.5 (7.3 – 8.8, 6+), progressing from third to first. Simultaneously with Cumulus Media Providence’s WPRO-AM & WEAN “News Talk 630 AM & 99.7 FM” gaining seven-tenths (4.8 – 5.5, seventh to sixth, 6+), cross-town iHeartMedia-owned WHJJ “News Radio 920” dips eight-tenths (1.2 – .4, #15 to #16, 6+). Not only does Cumulus Media Nashville sports talk WGFX vault from #13 to #5, “104.5 The Zone” ties Columbus’ similarly-formatted WBNS-FM for the largest (6+) August 2022 – September 2022 increase of any station from the 42 PPM-markets analyzed thus far (3.5 – 6.1, +2.6). In Austin, Genuine Austin Radio sports talk KTXX “The Horn” posts a +1.1 from August (1.4 – 2.5, 6+), inching up from #19 to #16. See Mike Kinosian’s complete “Ratings Takeaways” from this group of markets (as well as the first three groups) here.  His overviews of Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford will appear tomorrow.

iHM WPB, Florida Panthers Announce Broadcast Agreement. The pact between iHeartMedia West Palm Beach and the National Hockey League’s Florida Panthers is effective through the 2024 – 2025 season. As part of the deal, Florida Panthers games will be aired on sports gambling-formatted WBZT “Sports Radio 1230 The Gambler.” iHeartMedia market president Mark McCauley states, “We’re excited to partner with the Florida Panthers and provide listeners great play-by-play action on ‘1230 The Gambler.’” Meanwhile, Panthers chief revenue officer Shawn Thornton adds, “We’re excited for iHeartMedia West Palm Beach to join the Florida Panthers radio network. With the refresh of their sports radio station ‘1230 The Gambler’ this past summer, we look forward to working with the leading audio media company in America to broadcast Panthers games to our fans in Palm Beach County.” In addition to Panthers play-by-play coverage, WBZT will air a one-hour Florida Panthers weekend show. The eight-station iHeartMedia West Palm Beach cluster includes WBZT, news/talk WJNO “News Radio 1290,” and news/talk WZZR “92.1 Real Radio.”

“The Book of Joe” Podcast Debuts. In their iHeartMedia/Fox Sports Radio “Book of Joe” podcast, three-time MLB “Manager of the Year” Joe Maddon and three-time “Sportswriter of the Year” Tom Verducci provide insight, commentary and discussion on the MLB postseason. According to Maddon, “We are here to tell you what we think, not what we’ve heard. No regurgitation and original thoughts are valued.” Maddon managed in the big leagues for 19 years. He famously led the Chicago Cubs to their first World Series title in 108 years and the Tampa Bay Rays to their first-ever World Series. Five-time Emmy Award winner Verducci is the lead baseball writer for Sports Illustrated; lead analyst/reporter for MLB Network and Fox Sports; and a member of the National Sports Media Association Hall of Fame. He comments, “Like its namesake [forthcoming] book, the podcast will be full of surprises and insight. From game strategy to baseball history to leadership lessons – and maybe to some rock & roll and classic cars – we’ll cover more ground than a gold glove shortstop on the most illuminating and interesting podcast in baseball.” The podcast launched yesterday (Monday, 10/10) and will air through the World Series.

TALKERS News Notes. Tomorrow at 7:00 pm (Wednesday, 10/12), Hearst Television Baltimore news/talk WBAL “News Radio 1090 AM & 101.5 FM” (and sister NBC affiliate WBAL-TV) will air a Maryland gubernatorial debate between Democrat Wes Moore and Republican Dan Cox. WBAL president/general manager Dan Joerres comments, “The production and broadcast of this debate on both WBAL ‘News Radio’ and WBAL-TV is an important part of our ‘Commitment 2022’ political coverage. Putting all of our broadcast and digital sources to work to bring voters across the state this gubernatorial debate is a major part of our continuing effort to help them make informed decisions on election day. The debate will be moderated by WBAL-TV anchor Jason Newton. … The first episode of ESPN’s “The CJ McCollum Show” was posted last Thursday (10/6). The guard of the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans had teammate Brandon Ingram as the inaugural guest on the podcast, which will post episodes each Thursday. McCollum formerly hosted Cadence 13’s “Pull Up With CJ McCollum.” … Elsewhere in NBA-themed podcasts, Jam Street Media introduces 15-year-old Sloane Weinstein hosting the bi-weekly “Sloane Knows.” She’ll interview some of the NBA’s biggest names, including the Boston Celtics’ newly-signed Blake Griffin; free agent Dwight Howard; and former NBA players Richard Jefferson and Baron Davis.

 

Supreme Court Sides With KQED On Prop 8 Trial Video Release. The ruling concludes a 12-year effort by a media coalition guided by San Francisco public radio news/talk KQED that paved the way for the release of videotapes from the 2009 – 2010 Prop 8 trial, leading to legalization of same-sex marriage in California. Proposition 8 passed in 2008 and banned same-sex marriage in the state. The subsequent trial, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, questioned whether Prop. 8 violated the U.S. Constitution. Judge Vaughn Walker ruled in favor of the right to same-sex marriage, but said at the time that videotapes of the trial would remain sealed for 10 years. KQED “Political Breakdown” podcast co-host Scott Shafer spearheaded the effort to make the tapes public. Shafer states, “As someone who sat through the entire Prop. 8 trial, I witnessed some very dramatic and moving testimony, as well as riveting cross-examinations. I’m glad others will now get to view this important part of the historical record.” KQED chief content officer Holly Kernan notes, “If our systems work behind closed doors, with no press or public access, we have no idea how decisions are made, nor what arguments are leading to these decisions. KQED wants more sunlight on our legal system, and we will fight on behalf of the public to get that access.”

Front Page News Industry News

Thursday, October 6, 2022

WABC, New York’s Bernard McGuirk Dies from Prostate Cancer at 64. Longtime New York City radio personality Bernard McGuirk – most recently co-host of the “Bernie & Sid” show on WABC, died on Wednesday evening (10/5) after a battle with prostate cancer. WABC calls McGuirk “the brains of the 77 WABC ‘brains and muscle’ team of ‘Bernie & Sid in the Morning.’” McGuirk had been with WABC since 2007 as executive producer of the “Imus in the Morning Show,” where he was also featured as the program’s quick-witted, on-air contributor. McGuirk added color to local and national news updates with his own take on the serious and not-so-serious news of the day. McGuirk was with the “Imus In the Morning” show since its latter days at WNBC Radio. He made the move with Imus to WFAN, New York in 1988 and remained there until 2007. McGuirk was also part of the Imus team when the show became nationally syndicated in 1993. WABC says that McGuirk, who had been co-host of its “Bernie & Sid in the Morning” with Sid Rosenberg since April of 2018, helped bring WABC back to the top in New York, reaching #1 in share of the 12+ audience in morning drive in the August Nielsen ratings. The station says there will be a tribute and moment of silence for McGuirk on 77 WABC today, during the morning drive program. A special tribute for McGuirk, including memories and thoughts from the WABC staff, will air on Tuesday, October 11. Red Apple Media Group chief John Catsimatidis says, “We are all devastated by the loss of Bernie. He was a true New Yorker whose talent and intelligence propelled him to the top of New York morning radio. He had incredible insights on local, national, and world news that his listeners respected. He will be missed by everyone at WABC and his fans around the world.” Sid Rosenberg says, “Bernie was my partner and my friend. He was always the smartest guy in the room, and I was fortunate to be the guy next to him. I know our listeners join me in grieving the loss to radio and to New York.” Born in the Bronx in 1957, McGuirk was a graduate of the College of Mount St. Vincent. He is survived by his wife Carol, and their two children, Brendan and Melanie.

Tavis Smiley Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Independent radio station owner/operator and longtime multi-platform media commentator Tavis Smiley is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Smiley’s accomplished, three-decade career includes having hosted shows and making appearances on such national television platforms as BET, CNN, ABC, and PBS, as well as radio stations KABC and KGFJ in Los Angeles. He’s a prolific author and dynamic purveyor of the African American perspective in the media with his current radio focus representing the majority liberal side of the nation’s diverse black population. In 2021, Smiley’s company, SmileyAudioMedia, Inc., acquired a radio station in Los Angeles – the former hip hop legend KDAY, and turned it into a brand-new station and format launched on Juneteenth of that year – KBLA Talk 1580 – where he’s assembled an outstanding air staff, including himself, with the passionate mission of “unapologetically” serving people of color and political progressives. Harrison states, “Tavis Smiley is to be applauded for bringing two rare but extremely important entities to America’s talk media universe – an African American-owned-and-operated major market station as well as a commercial talk radio outlet that actually embraces liberalism. Putting his money where his mouth is, his belief in and support of radio itself is needed and inspirational.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

Howard Stern Praises Old Boss Bill Nosal Upon News of His Passing. Legendary radio personality Howard Stern had high praise for former longtime WCCC, Hartford program director Bill Nosal, who died recently at age 77. Stern said on his SiriusXM program that Nosal hired him in a move that brought Stern from a small station to a top 50 market and would give him the visibility needed to become the superstar that he is. Stern said his first audition for Nosal didn’t go well, but he got a second interview anyway. Stern said, “Either he was a genius like on the level of Lorne Michaels … or he was a complete moron who had no idea what he was doing. I choose to think he was a genius. He saw a diamond in the rough in me [when] no other person did.” Nosal would eventually leave WCCC and the radio programming business to launch his own advertising agency. You can read Stern’s comments here.

Report: Audacy Exploring Sale of Cadence13 Podcasting Unit. According to a piece by Axios, Audacy has retained investment firm Evolution Media Capital to explore the sale of its podcast studio Cadence13 in order to “alleviate some of the company’s debt as it faces financial challenges.” The story notes that in addition to Cadence13, Audacy has acquired Pineapple Street Studios, and podcast monetization platform Podcorn. While Audacy is not commenting on the matter, the Axios piece notes that on Audacy’s most recent quarterly conference call, company president and CEO David Field stated that the company’s podcast growth is coming from its local sports and news radio stations – as well as Audacy’s new sports podcast studio 2400Sports. The piece concludes that Audacy is shifting its podcast strategy to programs “based on its own intellectual property from its radio [holdings], rather than bidding on premium podcasts to distribute, which is Cadence13’s specialty.”

Triton Digital Releases August 2022 Streaming Ranker. The August 2022 Streaming Metrics Ranker from Triton Digital is released. Triton ranks streaming publishers based on Average Active Sessions or AAS that represents the average number of sessions at any point in time in the reported time period. iHeartRadio remains ranked #1 with 305,156 AAS. Other radio-related companies making the ranker include: NPR Member Stations at #2 (71,378 AAS), Audacy at #3 (64,858 AAS), Cumulus Streaming Network at #4 (42,893 AAS), Beasley Broadcasting Corporate at #7 (18,144 AAS), Hubbard Broadcasting at #8 (15,154 AAS), and Salem Communications at #10 (8,871 AAS). You can see the complete ranker here
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TALKERS News Notes. The newest podcast from Newsweek is “The Kristal Knight Show,” hosted by Knight, whom the news organization calls “a leading voice on the progressive left.” She most recently served as the political director for Priorities USA, a Democratic super PAC, during the 2020 election cycle. Knight says, “I have worked on elections across the country in big cities and small towns. People vote with their party when their party reflects their values, but if their values aren’t reflected, they either don’t vote or vote third party. The Democratic Party today is bifurcated and on ‘The Kristal Knight Show,’ we want to present both sides in this ‘interparty debate,’ so people can decide for themselves what the party truly stands for at this juncture.”…..The board of directors of the New York State Broadcasters Association announces that Michael Strahan is named its Broadcaster of the Year for 2022. Strahan currently co-anchors ABC’s “Good Morning America.” During the NFL football season, he serves as an analyst of “FOX NFL Sunday,” for which he received a 2019 Sports Emmy Award nomination for “Outstanding Sports Personality – Studio Analyst” and a 2020 Sports Emmy Award nomination for ‘Outstanding Studio Show – Weekly.” Strahan also hosts the top-rated primetime game show favorite “$100,000 Pyramid” on ABC…..ESPN and host and commentator Bomani Jones have agreed to a new contract extension. Jones will continue to lead his popular ESPN Podcast, “The Right Time with Bomani Jones,” three times per week. Jones will continue to make regular guest appearances across ESPN Radio’s sports talk programming. He will also continue to be a key contributor across ESPN’s television studio lineup, including “SportsCenter,” “First Take,” “Pardon the Interruption” and more. Jones says, “I’m very happy to continue ‘The Right Time’ with ESPN. I remain indebted to everyone who has worked to build the podcast, particularly my producer Gabe Basayne.”…..SiriusXM announces that Dave LaGreca, the lead host of the pro wrestling show “Busted Open,” signs a new multi-year extension with the company. LaGreca says, “I am very happy to cement my relationship with SiriusXM. The platform will continue to be the home for ‘Busted Open’ and I appreciate every SiriusXM team member who has made the show a success.”

Russia-Ukraine War, Mar-a-Lago Documents Case, DACA Ruling, Biden Visits Florida/Ian Aftermath, The Economy/OPEC Decision, Midterms/2024 Presidential Race and ‘Rust’ Settlement Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/5). The annexation of parts of Ukraine by Russia’s Vladimir Putin and his attacks near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant; the legal battle over former President Donald Trump’s storing of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago; an Appeals Court rules that the DACA – that provides a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants – is illegal; President Joe Biden visits the destruction in Florida from Hurricane Ian and the search for missing residents; the high rate of inflation, financial markets activity, and OPEC’s decision to cut oil production; the November midterm elections and speculation over the nominees for president in 2024; and Alec Baldwin settles with the family of the cinematographer killed on the set of Rust were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.