Industry News

TALKERS News Notes

WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” afternoon co-host Hunter Brody and assistant program director Eric Camille have exited the Beasley Media Group Philadelphia sports talk outlet. Former Phillies relief pitcher Ricky Bottalico; Tyrone Johnson; and Jen Scordo remain in WPEN-FM’s afternoon slot. Commenting to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Beasley Media Group notes, “The post-COVID months have been a particularly challenging time in our industry. Like other media companies, our markets have been directly impacted due to these uncertain economic conditions. As a result, we have proactively adjusted our operations accordingly to reflect the current financial climate.” Via a social media post, Brody indicates he will continue streaming on YouTube.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and SiriusXM expand their relationship that will enhance connectivity of FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS) National Public Warning System. SiriusXM will give FEMA access to secure bandwidth on SiriusXM’s proprietary satellite radio system to provide additional connectivity between FEMA and the National Public Warning System (NPWS) network. SiriusXM senior vice president/general manager, signal distribution engineering Bridget Neville states, “By supplying this satellite-based backup for FEMA’s backbone communications system, SiriusXM helps to strengthen FEMA’s ability to respond quickly and effectively to weather-related crises and other emergencies. SiriusXM has worked extensively with FEMA over the years and we are proud of our efforts that aid in delivering critical emergency messages to the public. We look forward to deepening and expanding upon our relationship with FEMA through this program and additional opportunities to leverage our satellite network in the future.” Director of FEMA IPAWS Antwane Johnson adds, “A secure, trusted, capable and reliable technology ecosystem is the foundation of the IPAWS NPWS capability. IPAWS embraces innovative technologies and platforms, and SiriusXM’s satellite network helps reinforce our capabilities.”

In a pair of newspaper-related items, The New York Times announces plans to close its sports desk, while The Los Angeles Times sells the San Diego Union-Tribune to Alden Global Capital-owned MediaNews Group. The New York Times will rely on coverage from the Athletic, the subscription sports website it purchased last year for $550 million. In a letter to staff yesterday (Monday, 7/10), New York Times Co. chair A.G. Sulzberger and chief executive officer Meredith Kopit Levien write, “Though we know this decision will be disappointing to some, we believe it is the right one for readers and will allow us to maximize respective strengths of the Times’ and the Athletic’s newsrooms.” The paper’s sports writers and editors will be moved to different roles in the newsroom and – reportedly – no layoffs are planned. The Athletic lost $7.8 million in the first quarter of 2023, although subscribers have grown from one million in January 2022 to three million as of March 2023. Meanwhile, Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong and his family spent $500 million in June 2018 to buy that paper and the Union-Tribune from Chicago-based Tribune Publishing. While Soon-Shiong’s primary interest was in the Times, he pledged support for both newsrooms. A memo to the Union-Tribune staff announcing the deal said the Union-Tribune will need to “make some difficult staffing decisions. Reductions will be necessary to offset the slowdown in revenues as economic headwinds continue to impact the media industry.”