Industry News

Mark Kaye Raises $11k for Charity Selling Gold Sneakers


WOKV-FM, Jacksonville-based, nationally syndicated talk host Mark Kaye (above left) raised $11,000 for his “Kaye’s Kids” charity – a special times program of Dreams Come True, Inc. and provides dream gifts, trips, and vacations to young children battling life-threatening illnesses in the North Florida area. Kaye created his own pair of golden high-top sneakers called “Kaye’s Kicks” after seeing Donald Trump’s new line of “Never Surrender” high-top sneakers. Using some gold metallic spray paint, stencils, and other patriotic accessories, Kaye and his producer Hannah Guile (above right) transformed a pair of old black Pumas into a one-of-kind golden pair of “Kaye’s Kicks.”

Industry News

TALKERS News Notes

Edison Research unveils the Top 25 Podcasts in the UK for Q3 2023. This list ranks the 25 biggest podcasts based on total weekly audience reach as measured by Edison Podcast Metrics UK. Interestingly, the American podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience,” ranks #1 in this chart. Other American podcasts making the top 25 include “Stuff You Should Know” from iHeartPodcasts and “Crime Junkie” from audiochuck.

Programming executive Andy Denemark is stepping away from day-to-day operations at United Stations Radio Networks. Gemini XIII Media acquired the company in July of 2023 and Denemark remained on to assist with transitioning several facets of the business. He’ll continue to advise United Stations on various topics and to develop special projects including content for emerging audio platforms.

Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio, Inc introduces four new members to its board of directors: Becky Brenner, consulting partner at Albright & O’Malley & Brenner Consulting; Dawn Krause, vice president of finance for Midwest Communications, Inc; Maria Laing-Smith, SVP of Mr. Master; and Leslie Scott, VP of digital audio content for Audacy.

Industry News

iHeartMedia Expects $100 Million in Proceeds from BMI Deal

iHeartMedia, Inc announces that in connection with the previously announced acquisition of Broadcast Music, Inc (BMI) to a shareholder group led by New Mountain Capital, LLC, it expects to receiveim approximately $100 million of proceeds related to its equity interest in BMI, subject to approval of the transaction by BMI shareholders and customary regulatory approvals. iHeartMedia says it plans to use the proceeds for general corporate purposes, which may include the repayment of debt. The transaction is expected to close by the end of Q1 2024.

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TALKERS News Notes

Benztown announces that the StudioTexter texting service and contesting and communications platform created exclusively for radio stations has signed 28 new affiliates in Q3 and Q4, bringing the total number of station affiliates to 100. Benztown president Dave “Chachi” Denes says, “More than 50% of American consumers respond to a text within two minutes, checking their messages around 11 times a day. StudioTexter is a powerful tool, enabling more efficient and authentic engagement with your audience like never before.”

Salem Media Group, Inc announces that it plans to report its third quarter 2023 financial results after the market closes on November 13, 2023. The company plans to host a teleconference to discuss its results that day at 5:00 pm ET.

Premiere Networks and media executive and consultant Buzz Knight announced a partnership to bring Knight’s podcast “Takin’ A Walk: Music History on Foot” to the iHeartPodcast Network, effective immediately. The show features “insightful conversations with interesting people who discuss their love of music. In each episode, Knight takes listeners on a journey through music history with guests who share stories and insights about musicians, bands and the music they create.”

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AM Radio Act Gets Support from Rural Organizations

Congressional leadership receives a letter from a coalition of organizations representing rural communities in support of the AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act (H.R. 3413 and S. 1669), legislation that would direct the Secretary of Transportation to ensure consumer access to AM radio in all vehicles because of its critical role in disseminating vital information during emergencies. The groups signing the letter are the Independent Beef Association of North Dakota, Independent Cattlemen’s Association of Texas, Latino Farmers & Ranchers International, Inc., Livestock Marketing Association, National Farmers Union, National Grange, North Dakota Farmers Union, Rural & Agriculture Council of America, U.S. Cattlemen’s Association and Women Involved in Farm Economics. The letter reads, in part: “Whether it be the routine or the unexpected, U.S. farmers and ranchers rely on the information transmitted through AM radio to make decisions that affect their everyday lives. The undersigned organizations urge Congress to prevent rural communities from losing access to their favorite local programming by ensuring that AM radio continues to be a free, standard feature in all vehicles.”

Industry News

John Hope Bryant to Black Effect Podcast Net Board of Directors

The Black Effect Podcast Network, the joint venture between iHeartMedia and Charlamagne Tha God, announces that John Hope Bryant joins its board of directors, effective immediately. Bryant is the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Operation HOPE, Inc, the non-profit provider of financial literacy andim economic empowerment tools and services in the United States. He is also chairman and chief executive officer of John Hope Bryant Holdings, Bryant Group Ventures and The Promise Homes Company, a for-profit minority-controlled owner of institutional-quality, single-family residential rental homes in the U.S. “We are pleased to welcome John Hope Bryant to The Black Effect Podcast Network’s board of directors. John brings a strong track record of business success, broad leadership experience in philanthropy, education, public engagement and innovation, and a deep appreciation for black culture that makes him the perfect choice to help steer and shape the future of the network.”

Front Page News Industry News

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Cindy Rollison to Lead Cumulus Tri-Cities, Tennessee. Sales and management pro Cindy Rollison returns to Cumulus Media to serve as vice president and market manager for the Tri-Cities, Tennessee station group that includes news/talk WJCW-AM and sports talk WXSM-AM plus two music brands. Rollison takes over for Debbie Caso, who is retiring after 43 years in the market. Rollison served as VP and market manager for Cumulus’ former station group in Blacksburg, Virginia from 2007-2018. She’s been serving as regional marketing consultant for Mel Wheeler, Inc. Radio and Digital Advertising since 2019. Cumulus regional VP Mark Sullivan says, “I’m thankful to Debbie Caso for making such a valuable contribution to the community and company for so many years and wish her much happiness in her retirement. At the same time, I’m very pleased that we have someone of Cindy Rollison’s caliber and experience joining our team. I’m excited to have the opportunity to work alongside Cindy again, after many successful years working together with our cluster in Blacksburg. I’m looking forward to many successes together.”


Justin Schaflander Named Director of Sales for ‘ESPN LA.’ Radio sales pro Justin Schaflander is named director of sales for Good Karma Brands’ sports talk KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPN LA 710 AM.”  He was most recently a region president with iHeartMedia. In the early 2000s, Schaflander was a director of sports for CBS, running the Dodgers Radio Network. He says, “I’m thrilled to join ESPN LA and Good Karma Brands. To return to LA, work with some of the most iconic brands in sports and have it wrapped up in Good Karma Brands’ culture makes this a bucket list experience! I would like to thank the team for making this process and transition seamless and fun, and I can’t wait to start learning and working with this special group of teammates.” Good Karma Brands acquired “ESPN LA 710 AM” and “ESPN 1050 AM in New York” earlier this year. The company also took over the agreement to perform ESPN’s obligations under the Local Marketing Agreement for WEPN-FM “98.7 ESPN” in New York.


Kidney Transplant a Life-Changing Event for WHUB, Cookeville’s Brent Carl Fleshman. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian writes today about Cookeville, Tennessee talk radio host Brent Carl Fleshman who recently underwent a lifesaving – and life-changing – kidney transplant. Fleshman serves with Zimmer Broadcasting’s Cookeville station group where he hosts the morning drive show on news/talk WHUB “News Talk 107.7 and 1400 The Hub” and serves as program director, among other duties. In May of 2014, Dr. Barbara Fleming was doing a segment on Fleshman’s program when she noticed something about Fleshman that concerned her. She prompted him to seek treatment at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University and he got into the hospital’s kidney transplant program. Fleshman says, “I’ve been given a second chance with this kidney and am grateful to the man who signed that donor card [making it possible for me to] continue doing what I love every day. I intend to make the most of it. I look forward to getting back on the air soon and have asked Dr. Fleming to be on my first show. If [the host of WHUB’s 30-minute Saturday health program, ‘Your Best Health Connection’] hadn’t noticed my symptoms eight years ago and gone to Vanderbilt with me, I would never have seen this day. Radio saved my life.” Read his story here.


Gordon Smith Joins Beasley Board of Directors. Former NAB president and CEO Gordon H. Smith is nominated by the Beasley Media Group board of directors to be added to the slate of directors to be presented at the annual shareholders meeting on May 25. The official unanimous vote took place during the company’s board of director’s meeting on March 31, 2022. Smith, who served two terms as a Republican U.S. Senator representing Oregon, led the NAB from 2009 through 2021. Beasley board chair and CEO Caroline Beasley says, “It is such an honor and a privilege to welcome Gordon to the Beasley Media Group board of directors. His outstanding leadership, dedication and service to broadcasters and our nation is unparalleled. His understanding of Washington and how to navigate the halls of power will serve our board well for years to come. I look forward to working closely with Gordon and our board as we continue to evolve our company forward.”


47th Annual Gracie Award Winners Announced. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces the winners of the 47th Annual Gracie Awards which will return in-person on May 24 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles with local and student awards given on June 22 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York. AWMF says the event will honor some of the most talented women in television, radio and digital media. AWMF chair Heather Cohen says, “Throughout this past year we have seen a number of remarkable projects by and about inspirational women.” AWMF president Becky Brooks adds, “We are honored to shine a spotlight on these women, whose stories have driven cultural awareness, offered entertainment that has made us laugh, cry, and everything in between. This year, we will be returning to the Beverly Wilshire Hotel and are delighted to return to an in-person format so that we can properly celebrate together.” Some of the national radio honorees include Allison Keyes, CBS News Weekend Roundup; Cheri Preston, ABC News Radio; Jen Horn, Victoria Keelan, and Jai Kershner, “The DJV Show”; Heather Hunter, WMAL-FM, Washington’s “O’Connor and Company”; Jeana Gondek, WOKV-FM, Jacksonville, “Jacksonville’s Morning News”; Judi Franco, WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5”; Lori Barghini and Julia Cobbs, KTMY-FM, Minneapolis “The Lori & Julia Show”; MalaniKai WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta, “Word on the Street”; and Rita Cosby, WABC, New York. See the complete list of honorees here. Pictured above at the most recent in-person ceremony (2019) are (from l-r): country artist Kelsey Ballerini, Heather Cohen, and Becky Brooks.


Comrex to Unveil Gagl Remote Contribution Solution at NAB Show. The newest remote contribution solution from Comrex will be showcased at the NAB Show in Las Vegas April 23-27.  Dubbed Gagl, this new cloud service delivers conferenced audio from multiple contributors in high-quality. Gagl allows between one and five users to send and receive audio from computers and smartphones. Participants can connect and send audio by simply clicking a link using any common web browser. Their audio is conferenced (if there’s more than one user) and delivered to a Comrex hardware codec such as an ACCESS or BRIC-Link. All participants can hear other participants, and the codec can send audio back to them. Comrex says Gagl could be used as the hub for a round-robin reporting program or for a large-cast radio show to support multiple simultaneous connections at once. Because it offers low latency, it’s appropriate for call-in talk radio. Gagl could also be used to allow a single contributor to connect back to the studio from a computer or smartphone. Designed with audio quality in mind, Gagl provides stable connections with limited bandwidth. Gagl uses the Opus audio encoder, with a bit rate that delivers both voice and music in excellent quality. Gagl also delivers audio directly to a Comrex codec with all the stability enhancements, pro-grade audio connections, and features that hardware codecs provide. With a simple user interface, Gagl is easy for users with any level of technical expertise to use. Gagl works with Comrex hardware IP audio codecs including the AES67-compatible ACCESS NX Rack IP audio codec and ACCESS MultiRack multi-channel IP audio codec as well as the BRIC-Link series – a sneak peak of the next addition to the BRIC-Link codec line will also be featured at the 2022 NAB Show. LiveShot (a bonded IP solution for live video) and other IP audio solutions for IFB and POTS and /ISDN replacement can be found at the Comrex booth C3024 in Central Hall along with a “behind the curtain” look at some new concept products.


Russia-Ukraine War, Hunter Biden/Rudy Giuliani Investigations, Inflation/Recession Fears, Brooklyn Shooter Search, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, COVID-19, Severe Southern Weather, and Gilbert Gottfried Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/12). Russia’s continuing invasion of Ukraine and President Joe Biden’s use of the term “genocide”; the investigation into Hunter Biden’s international business ventures and the investigation into Rudy Giuliani’s potential violation of foreign lobbying laws; high gas and consumer goods prices in the U.S. and fears the inflation will cause a recession; the search for the man who opened fire in a Brooklyn subway injuring 26 people; the battle for control of Congress in November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the reinstating of mask requirements in some places in the U.S. as the BA.2 variant dominates and the brutal lockdowns taking place in China; the severe weather affecting the Southern U.S.; and the death of comic Gilbert Gottfried were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERSmagazine.