Report: Mike Golic Jr. Exits ESPN Radio. According to a piece in the New York Post, Mike Golic Jr. has left his role as co-host of the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET show alongside Chris Canty. Although the paper says Golic Jr. didn’t respond to a request for a comment, he tweeted, “life update” tweet: yesterday was officially my last day at ESPN. it was 6.5 years of my professional life, but really it’s been all I’ve ever known. simply put, ESPN changed my life in ways I will never be able to properly express my gratitude for.” As the Post notes, Golic Jr. joined ESPN in 2015 and originally contributed to the “Golic & Wingo” show with his father, Mike Golic, and Trey Wingo. Golic Sr. left the company in 2020. The Post report says a source told it ESPN made an offer to Golic Jr. but he chose not to take it. Chris Canty will continue hosting afternoons with rotating guest hosts joining him for now.
WLS-AM, Chicago Adds ‘The Pete McMurray Show.’ Windy City news/talk WLS-AM, is picking up the weekend program starring market media pro Pete McMurray that will air Saturdays from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Cumulus Media says “The Pete McMurray Show” that also features Chicago performer Lisa Kotara and veteran Chicago radio personality Rob Martier and will “serve up two hours of Chicago-style laughter, lifestyle and local content” and “cover entertainment, celebrities, sports, politics, social issues, and everything that is topical and fun in a highly listenable format that feels like an evening spent with friends.” McMurray comments, “We are SO EXCITED to be back on the radio in Chicago, especially the ‘WLS 50,000-watt blowtorch!’ WLS is our 7th station added in six months to our growing Illinois and Northwest Indiana network. We couldn’t be more pumped! We all have enough problems in our lives. We want to make you laugh when you tune into the show.”
RAB: Radio’s Digital Sales Up 33%. According to the 10th annual benchmarking report on the industry’s digital activities from the Radio Advertising Bureau, local radio stations hit the jackpot with digital sales last year, generating $1.5 billion. The report adds that stations are poised to follow last year’s growth of 33% with another strong year, with digital sales forecast to grow 22%, approaching the $2 billion mark. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber comments, “The findings from this report highlight the rewarded efforts of stations’ digital offerings to drive results for local advertisers. The focus on the importance of digital training has produced dividends for stations and sellers alike. RAB continues to provide business and professional development training that will help stations to super-serve their local businesses.” The report was compiled by Borrell Associates whose CEO, Gordon Borrell, says, “I’m happy to report that we underestimated radio’s digital determination when we published last year’s report. We predicted that radio would hit a double by increasing sales 18%. They hit a triple – maybe even a home run. It’s quite impressive, especially when you see that little stat that shows how digitally savvy radio sales reps are in the eyes of local advertisers.” The annual report showed that the average station made $362,250 in digital revenue in 2021, and the average market cluster made $1.6 million. Top-performing market clusters made more than $10 million, even in some of the smaller markets. The report, “Finally, A Digital Bounty: Radio’s Digital Sales Rise 33%,” is available to RAB members.
Cumulus Media and Bulwark Partner for Podcast Distribution. An agreement between Cumulus Media and political news and analysis network The Bulwark will put the latter’s podcast content on the Cumulus Podcast Network. Under the terms of the agreement, Cumulus monetizes all existing and forthcoming podcasts from The Bulwark, a first for The Bulwark shows. Cumulus also markets and distributes the podcasts, which include “The Bulwark Podcast,” “Beg to Differ with Mona Charen,” “The Focus Group with Sarah Longwell,” and “The Bulwark Goes to Hollywood.” Bulwark publisher Sarah Longwell comments, “The Bulwark is committed to building a home for the politically untethered through smart political analysis free from tribal loyalties. Our partnership with Cumulus Media will enable The Bulwark to build on its strong audience growth over the past three years. Cumulus is first class in political podcast advertising and we’re extremely excited to begin this partnership.”
Al Roker and Deborah Roberts to Host BFoA Golden Mike Award. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that husband and wife broadcasters Al Roker and Deborah Roberts will host the charitable organization’s Golden Mike Award dinner and ceremony. The 2022 BFOA Golden Mike Award returns following a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic and will take place Monday, March 14, at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. As previously announced, this year’s BFOA Golden Mike Award honoree will be Hilton Howell, Jr., chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Gray Television and Atlantic American Corporation. The Lifetime Achievment Award will be presented to renowned sportscaster Lesley Visser.
Gordon Smith to Receive NAB’s Distinguished Service Award. Former National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith will receive the organization’s Distinguished Service Award during the 2022 NAB Show in Las Vegas at the NAB Show Welcome session on Monday, April 25. Smith served as president and CEO of NAB from November 2009 until his transition to special advisor at the end of 2021. NAB president and CEO Curtis LeGeyt states, “As the head of NAB for more than a decade, Gordon was instrumental in advancing our agenda to help radio and television stations thrive. Gordon’s leadership, dedication and political acumen have enabled broadcasters to continue serving their local communities in ways no other medium can. It is an honor to present him with the Distinguished Service Award in recognition of the immense impact he has left on broadcasting in our country and around the world.”
Women in Radio to Host Live Event in Atlanta. The organization Women In Radio is holding its 6th annual “Cocktails, Cupcakes, and Conversations” conference on Saturday, March 5, at WeWork Ponce City Market in Atlanta from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. WIR says that RTDNA/Newhouse School at Syracuse University research found women are under 40% of the radio workforce, which is down from last year. WIR founder Meaghan Taylor (who serves as digital content producer for “The Steve Harvey Show”) says, “Women working in the radio industry somewhat decreased over the last year due in part to the pandemic. This event will provide in-depth radio expertise from women working across all platforms in this space including, trends and shifts in the market they may be experiencing.” WIR ambassador Chelsea LeMore will serve as the host. Panelists include on-air personality, Voice of Nights at Q99.7 FM Jade Jones, Cox Media Group integrated sales manager Beth Nifong-Mitchell, “CockTales” podcast host Kiki Said So, “Power 106.1” Atlanta on-air personality Shelby SOS, Pandora hip hop programming curator Dominique Higdon, and iHeartMedia SVP of programming Meg Stevens. You can buy tickets here.
TALKERS News Notes. Houston sports media pro Charlie Pallilo says he’s no longer a host on Gow Media’s KFNC-FM “ESPN 97.5.” He tweeted, “Most things have a shelf life. My tenure hosting daily at 97.5/92.5 is finished. Please wake me when the Astros’ season starts. Or May 1, whichever comes first.”…..Software provider vCreative names Drew Cain senior vice president of technology. Cain joins vCreative to oversee its product development team, platform operations, security and IT, and will report directly to CEO Susie Hedrick. Most recently, Cain held senior engineering roles and oversaw mission critical cloud infrastructure projects at Simpli.fi, helping to design, code and deploy products that optimize workflow and provide omnichannel programmatic advertising solutions across CTV, audio, mobile, display, and other media types.
COVID-19, January 6 RNC Rift, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill, Ukraine Tensions, North Korea Missile Tests, and Beijing Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/8). The numerous states preparing to eliminate mask mandates in schools and other public places and the Canadian truckers’ Freedom Convoy; the January 6 investigation and the rift between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the RNC over the proposed censure of Republicans Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger; the battle for control of Congress in November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announces support for state’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill that would prevent discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in primary schools; diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and Russia over the latter’s military build-up at the Ukraine border; North Korea’s recent test of long-range ballistic missiles; and the Beijing Winter Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.