Thursday, June 9, 2022
Mike “Bax” Baxendale, Morning Talk Show Co-Host at ‘Rock 102,’ Springfield is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Often referred to by Michael Harrison as a “talk radio pound-for-pound champion” Mike “Bax” Baxendale – who has reigned over Western Massachusetts radio ratings and revenue for the past 27 years on an extraordinary level – is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Known to his loyal legion of listeners simply as “Bax,” Baxendale has been enormously successful as a key member of the evolving WAQY “Rock 102” morning team since 1995 and is still going strong. First, he enjoyed an amazingly long run with talented co-host John O’ Brien (Bax & O’ Brien) and now the momentum continues with co-hosts Steve Nagle and Dave Coombs (“Bax, Steve and Dave”). See photo (l-r) Bax, Steve Nagle and Dave Coombs. Bax has become, according to Harrison, “a quintessential example of the notable breed of radio talker operating within the context of a duo or team on a music FM station where politics is mostly local, unpredictably non-partisan and not the only focus of interest.” Harrison continues, “This hard-working broadcaster talks politics, music, sports, and a wide scope of day-to-day issues and his range covers silly to serious, irreverent to respectful.” Harrison and Bax talk about the business realities faced by duos and teams on radio as well as the differences between how talk show hosts on music radio stations approach their audiences in terms of subject matter and attitude and those who perform on traditional news/talkers. Harrison refers to his own talk roots in FM music radio. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.
Podtrac Releases Top Podcast Publishers and Podcasts for May. Releasing its Top Podcast Publishers and Top Podcasts for the month of May based on U.S. unique monthly audience, Podtrac reports that iHeartRadio is #1 with a unique monthly audience of 29.4 million. NPR comes in at #2 with a unique monthly audience of 18.9 million. Other publishers in the top 20 include Daily Wire at #7 (repped by Cumulus Podcast Network), PodcastOne at #8 FOX Audio Network at #11, Blaze Media at #13, and Cumulus Podcast Network at #16. For the top 20 podcasts based on unique monthly audience, Podtrac ranks “The Daily” from The New York Times at #1, followed by “NPR News Now” at #2. “The Ben Shapiro Show” is ranked #5. Other radio-related shows include iHeartRadio’s “Stuff You Should Know” at #8, “FOX News Radio Hourly Newscast” at #11, and “The Dan Bongino Show” at #13. See the complete charts here.
Glades Media Names 25-Year Rush Limbaugh Engineer as Chief Operating Officer. Radio pro Brian Johnson – who served for 25 years as the radio broadcast engineer for “The Rush Limbaugh Show” – is the new chief operating officer for Glades Media. The company co-founders – Robert Castellanos, chairman and chief executive officer, and James Johnson, chief financial officer – will continue their roles. Castellanos says, “For the past year, I’ve had the privilege of working closely with Brian and seeing first-hand what an outstanding broadcaster he’s become. Brian’s passion for radio and people is evident in how he approaches every opportunity and challenge. I look forward to building upon our business partnership as we continue navigating the broadcast media landscape.” Johnson spent 25 years as Limbaugh’s personal engineer, a role that began when the conservative radio icon moved to Palm Beach in 1996. Johnson comments, “It was a blessing to work side by side with the greatest broadcaster in our business. I’m eager to apply that experience and insight into my new role at Glades Media.” Johnson also owns BMZ Broadcasting, LLC and leases WLMX-FM to Glades Media.
Bret Burkhart Joins Audacy’s All-News KCBS-AM, San Francisco. Bay Area news pro Bret Burkhart is joining Audacy’s all-news KCBS-AM as a news anchor. Burkhart joins the station after spending the last 23 years at Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk KGO-AM and most recently was an anchor during the station’s morning and midday shows. Audacy San Francisco SVP and market manager Stacey Kauffman states, “We are incredibly fortunate that Bret is continuing his already illustrious career as an anchor for his hometown KCBS. He brings to KCBS a comprehensive and complex skill set that we will all benefit from. Bret knows politics, the Bay Area, what makes a good story and how to tell it, and we look forward to welcoming him aboard.” Burkhart comments, “KCBS is the gold standard for news around the Bay Area and beyond and I feel so fortunate to be joining an amazing group of broadcasters and storytellers.”
Adams Radio Launches Voluntary Employee Donation Drive to Benefit the Broadcasters Foundation of America. The company says that this voluntary employee donation drive is designed to “help create awareness and raise funds for the Broadcasters Foundation of America, a 501(c)3 charity that provides aid to fellow broadcasters in acute need from life-altering illness, accident, or other disaster.” The plan allows all Adams Radio Group employees the opportunity to set up automatic payroll deductions, in any amount, as donations to the Broadcasters Foundation. Adams president Ron Stone states, “When I learned that the sole mission of the Broadcasters Foundation is to provide financial assistance to our colleagues who, through no fault of their own, are in desperate need, I knew we had to get involved. These broadcasters are our colleagues. I would ask every radio group to consider helping the only charity that is dedicated solely to helping our colleagues.” BFoA co-president Jim Thompson says, “We’re very grateful to Ron for launching a voluntary employee donation drive to benefit the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation. With help from broadcasters like Ron, we can continue to provide aid to those in our industry who need it most.”
Cumulus Media Extends ABL Credit Facility. The company states that its indirect wholly owned subsidiary – Cumulus Media New Holdings Inc. – is entering into an amendment of its existing $100 million revolving credit facility. The amendment, among other things, extends the maturity from 2025 to 2027 subject to certain springing maturity conditions. As of June 8, 2022, there were no amounts outstanding under the Revolving Credit Facility. Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary G. Berner says, “By extending the ABL through 2027, we are locking in a long-term, favorable source of liquidity – enhancing our already strong balance sheet and increasing our financial flexibility as we continue to evolve from a one-dimensional radio broadcaster to a multi-dimensional audio media company. This action follows the expiration of the $25 million tender offer pursuant to our $50 million share buyback program and demonstrates our continuing commitment to making operational and financial decisions that enhance shareholder value.”
iHeartMedia Rebrands WBZT-AM, West Palm Beach as “1230 The Gambler.” The West Palm Beach sports talk station is rebranding as “Sports Radio 1230 The Gambler” and is using content from VSiN, The Sports Betting Network iHeartMedia’s WBZT-AM will air 22 hours of live VSiN programming daily in addition to Miami Marlins baseball games and University of Florida football and basketball matchups. Additionally, ‘The Gambler’ will feature “The Greek Zone” live from South Florida, weekday afternoons from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Station PD Brian Mudd comments, “We’re thrilled to bring this informative and entertaining brand of sports talk to local sports fans. Sports betting as a 24/7 format, and specifically the expert analysis from VSiN and our very own Greek, is a perfect choice for ‘The Gambler.’”
Primary Elections/Trump & the GOP, January 6 Hearings, the Economy, Attempted Kavanaugh Attack, Gun Violence-Legislation, Russia-Ukraine War, Extreme Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/8). The results of Tuesday’s primary elections, the ouster of San Francisco’s liberal DA, and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; today’s beginning of the January 6 Committee hearings; the soaring price of gasoline & food and concerns about a recession; a California man is arrested near Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s home intending to do him harm; the recent spate of gun violence and attempts to craft gun control legislation; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and is effect on the global economy; and the severe heatwave forecast for the Southwest were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.