Industry News

TALKERS News Notes

The Weather Channel Radio Network and Skyview Networks announce the renewal and expansion of their audio network partnership. Starting January 1, 2024, The Weather Channel Radio Network will expand its existing sales partnership Skyview Networks to include short-form terrestrial radio inventory and podcasting inventory.

SiriusXM signs multiple active NFL players to host a new, entirely player-helmed show on its SiriusXM NFL Radio channel. Miami Dolphins running back Alec Ingold, Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Allen Robinson and veteran tight end Colin Thompson serve as rotating hosts of “The Players’ Point,” which airs Tuesdays from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET. The program teams two of the players up each week to host their own show, conduct interviews and drive the weekly conversation from an active player’s perspective. Robinson, Ingold and Thompson are former participants in the NFL’s Broadcasting and Media Workshop, a program created by the league and run with the help of several veteran media executives and broadcasters, including those from SiriusXM, to help players develop careers in media.

KUT and KUTX Public Media deputy general manager Sylvia Ponce-Carson announces she’ll retire on December 31 after 22 years of service to the station and more than three decades in public media. The organization says, “When she arrived in January 2002, KUT was a hybrid news and music station, carrying a mix of NPR, BBC and other programs, as well as locally hosted music. She strengthened the station’s revenue model – both underwriting and membership, helping the station grow at a rate beyond similar-sized operations.”

Industry News

Donovan McNabb Joins Outkick

Sports media platform OutKick today launches a new video podcast starring former NFL star Donovan McNabb titled, “The 5 Spot with Donovan McNabb,” (co-hosted by OutKick senior NFL writer Armandoim Salguero) that will drop every Tuesday and Friday during the NFL season. Outkick founder Clay Travis states, “Donovan McNabb is an NFL legend who I always enjoyed watching, except when he played against the Titans. I’m ecstatic to have him as a teammate now and he will be a great addition to OutKick, where we are continuing to build a unique home for the most insightful personalities in sports media who are free to speak their minds.”

Industry News

Compass Media Networks Enters 15th Year of NFL Broadcasts

Compass Media Networks began its 15th season of NFL coverage last weekend. In addition to a slate of Sunday afternoon games, the company continues to present the full season of games for the Dallasim Cowboys and the Las Vegas Raiders. Compass SVP and general manager for sports Michelle Salvatore says, “Wow! What an incredible way to open our 15th season of NFL coverage with a quadruple header! Our schedule gets even better this coming weekend with the Chiefs at the Jaguars followed by Jets at the Cowboys. Thank you to all our affiliates and sponsors for supporting us all these years.”

Industry News

TALKERS News Notes

CBS News is presenting the Labor Day special “Workers Across America,” hosted by Gil Gross. The three-hour show investigates the future of organized labor, the re-thinking of the importance of a college degree, toxic co-workers, how AI will radically change the workplace and more.

Bonneville’s news/talk KTAR-FM “News 92.3 FM” and sports talk KMVP-FM “Arizona Sports” hosted the 15th annual Phoenix Children’s Give-A-Thon August 14-18 and raised $2,168,483 to support care at Phoenix Children’s. Bonneville Phoenix SVP and market manager Ryan Hatch states, “It is incredible to see $2.16 million raised through powerful storytelling that inspires our generous community to step up for the kids in Arizona. We are so grateful for our caring audiences, sponsors, team partners, and the hundreds of volunteers for their wonderful support of Give-A-Thon.”

iHeartMedia and the NFL announce an exclusive multi-year deal to bring “The Fantasy Footballers Dynasty Show” podcast to the NFL Podcast Network. A spin-off of the “Fantasy Footballers Show” started in 2014 by hosts Andy Holloway, Jason Moore and Mike Wright, the recently launched podcast dives into the Dynasty world of fantasy football including NFL rookie scouting, NFL draft coverage, Dynasty draft advice, player breakdowns and more.

Industry News

FOX Sports Radio Announces Second Season of “Countdown to Kickoff”

FOX Sports Radio is bringing “Countdown to Kickoff” back for another season. The weekend show, presented by BetMGM, launches this weekend (8/19-20). The Saturday show airs from 9:00 am – 12:00 noon ET as aim lead-in to the weekend in college football and is hosted by FSR weekend personality Brian Noe who’s joined by former All-American Penn State left guard Rich Ohrnberger and betting analyst Jared Smith. The Sunday show airs from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm ET, also hosted by Noe and features feature NFL veteran Geoff Schwartz, along with professional sports bettor and KrackWins.com founder Bill “Krack” Krackomberger.

Industry News

The New York Giants and WFAN Extend Play-by-Play Deal

The NFL’s New York Giants and Audacy sports talk WFAN, New York announce an extension to their play-by-play partnership. WFAN will continue as the flagship station of the team, airing all pre-season, regular season and postseason games. The deal also includes expanded programming for the 2023 season, plus theim launch of a new weekly preview show called “Big Blue Kickoff Live” to be hosted by Giants.com’s John Schmeelk and WFAN’s Shaun Morash airing on Saturday mornings during the regular season. In addition, all three WFAN daily shows will broadcast live from Giants training camp on Monday (8/14), beginning at 6:00 am with “Boomer & Gio,” followed by “Brandon Tierney & Sal Licata” and “Evan & Tiki.” Audacy New York market president Chris Oliviero says, “WFAN is proud to grow our long-standing partnership with the New York Football Giants. More opportunities for fans to connect with Big Blue is our commitment, one that goes beyond Sunday and extends year round.”

Industry News

Museum of Broadcast Communications Launches Auction to Fund Move

The Museum of Broadcast Communications announces its first-ever online auction and fundraiser commemorating the organization’s 40th anniversary. The museum’s current space is being sold to a developer, so it is seeking a new location and anticipates being able to re-open the museum within the next 18 to 24im months. This auction to raise funds includes fun experiences on which to bid, including: lunch with Emmy award-winning actor Henry Winkler; tickets to CBS’ “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”; sit with sports radio host Jim Rome in-studio or on-site at NFL’s Radio Row the week leading up to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas; and more. MBC board chair David Plier says, “It’s an exciting time for the museum and our future. The enthusiasm and generosity we have received for this fundraising effort from the broadcast community and celebrities – not just in Chicago but nationwide – has been tremendous. This fundraiser is about creating access and memorable experiences – from being a producer for a day at a major network, touring a live working newsroom or even having your voicemail greeting personalized by TV and comedy great Bob Newhart – ‘Forty for 40’ is not to be missed.”

Industry News

Dr. Asa Andrew Partners with NFL Alumni Health

Rising multi-platform talk media star and talk radio personality Asa Andrew, M.D. (known to his fans as Doctor Asa) is partnering with the newest division of the NFL, called NFL Alumni Health. Doctor Asa’s parent full-service media company, Asa Media is now the official media partner, outlet, and overall voice for NFL Alumni Health. Under the new agreement, Asa Media will create exclusive content for all digital, social media, reality docu-series, radio, television, and podcasts for NFL Alumni Health to tell their story. Doctor Asa, whoseim syndicated radio health-based talk show continues to gain affiliates, was recently appointed the role of “ringside physician” for Impact Wrestling which doubles as a serious medical position as well as an entertainment position. Doctor Asa tells TALKERS, “The NFL, just like combat sports, includes years of high-impact play, raising concerns for long-term wellness. Concussions, joint injuries, cardiovascular health, obesity, and neurological complications are the norm as the average career for iman NFL player is very short.” Doctor Asa will be speaking and educating as the leading health and wellness voice for NFL Franchises and Alumni with strategies for optimal health, performance, and longevity. He continues, “The NFL is a worldwide sports giant with some of the greatest athletes. The players are the ones we need to make sure are in the best position to enter the sport well and exit with their greatest win, their health. NFL Alumni Health has a passion to educate the players for better current play health and longevity choices which creates a better post-play outcome. Many former NFL Alumni Players are losing quality of life and facing serious health challenges. NFL Alumni Health is on a mission to create a better way. I’m here to be the voice, the storyteller, and catalyst to inspire the NFL and its Alumni, and influence others to reach their potential and becoming the best version of themselves.” Dr. Asa Andrew will be speaking on “The Big Picture” panel at TALKERS 2023, June 2 at Hofstra University.

Industry News

Westwood One Unveils NFL Postseason Audience Data

Cumulus Media | Westwood One’s Audio Active Group releases its comprehensive analysis of the NFL postseason audience using 2022 data from Nielsen Scarborough USA+ and MRI Simmons USA. WWO says, “The data revealed that the AM/FM radio audience is far more passionate about football compared to the more casual sports fan found in the TV audience.” Westwood One is the official network radio partner of theWestwood One - Westwood One NFL, and this year’s Super Bowl coverage marks the 50th time that the network will broadcast the game. Some of the key takeaways from this study are: 1) NFL postseason AM/FM radio listeners are a desirable group of consumers: They are more likely to work full time and have higher disposable incomes compared to NFL postseason TV viewers; 2) The NFL postseason AM/FM radio audience is more engaged with sports: MRI Simmons finds NFL postseason AM/FM radio listeners attend more sporting events, seek out sports information on their phones more often, and play more fantasy sports than NFL postseason TV watchers. The higher levels of engagement translate into greater advertising effectiveness; and 3) NFL postseason AM/FM radio listeners are more likely to make purchases across key consumer categories: Compared to the NFL postseason TV audience, AM/FM radio delivers more consumers who are likely to buy a new or used vehicle, start a new business, or hire a financial advisor.  You can see the complete report here.

Front Page News Industry News

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Sales vs Customer Service. Longtime radio sales professional Kathy Carr, president of the Howie Carr Radio Network, writes today in an exclusive piece for TALKERS magazine that in radio’s halcyon days of the 1990s, a salesperson could make a good living filling agency avails. “Those were the days of sitting in front of that huge desktop computer and typing out a schedule in Tapscan to make the cost per point. But was that really sales or was it mere customer service?” Carr says real salespeople will always be able to find a job and reveals five questions she asks a prospective seller to determine if they are really a salesperson. Read it here.

Salem Media Group To Boost Power. In a promotion that takes effect at the beginning of next year, Salem Media Group senior vice president Allen Power will be elevated to president/broadcast media. Chief executive officer David Santrella comments, “Allen Power and I have worked and collaborated closely for 18 of my 21 years with Salem. His keen operational experience, combined with his strong hand of leadership, provides a perfect combination to build a better future for the broadcast division.” Power notes, “My years with Salem have been the most rewarding of my career. Our dual focus on doing well – while doing good – provides a culture unique in media. I’m grateful for the leadership of our founders, Edward Atsinger and Stuart Epperson, and to Dave Santrella for the opportunity to play this role as our company continues to grow as a multimedia platform.” In other SMG news, senior vice president of operations Linnae Young is upped to executive vice president of operations & revenue development. “Linnae has been my go-to person every time we’ve had an opportunity to sell multiple marketing elements from several divisions to new clients,” Santrela states. “Her work in our industry on Salem’s behalf with many clients made this an easy decision for me. Linnae brings out the very best from those she works with; I look forward to seeing her touch across the entire division.” Meanwhile, Salem’s Chicago general manager/regional vice president Jeff Reisman is upped to senior vice president/operations, where he will oversee the company’s stations in eastern markets. According to Santrella, “Allen [Power] and I have worked closely with Jeff for many years. His track record in Chicago speaks for itself. He was the first building block to what is now our digital marketing agency, Salem Surround. These three promotions [of Power, Young, and Reisman] are all from within our Salem team, which is further proof that Salem appreciates/believes in our employees and rewards hard work and success.”

Remembering Lowry Mays. The founder and chief executive officer of what is now iHeartRadio, Lowry Mays, died yesterday (Monday, 9/12) at the age of 87. Mays co-founded San Antonio Broadcasting Company with Red McCombs 50 years ago (1972). They purchased their first radio station, San Antonio’s KEEZ-FM; three years later (1975), they bought a second San Antonio outlet (currently iHeartMedia news/talk) WOAI. The company became Clear Channel Communications then iHeartRadio. Born in Harris County Texas on July 24, 1935, Mays graduated with a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from Texas A&M University in 1957 and enlisted in the United States Air Force. Upon his discharge, Mays earned an MBA from Harvard University and became an investment banker. Mays continued his affiliation with Texas A&M by serving two non-consecutive terms (1985 -1991 and 2001- 2007) on the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents, including as chair from 2003 – 2005. In 2002, the school renamed its business school after Mays. Texas A&M University System chancellor John Sharp comments, “A really big tree fell in the Aggie forest. We will never forget what he did for Aggieland.” Texas A&M’s school of business was endowed by Mays in 1996 with a $15 million gift and was renamed the Lowry Mays College & Graduate School of Business. The university renamed the school once more in 2002 to Mays Business School. In 2017, the Mays Family Foundation gifted an additional $25 million, the largest single commitment in the business school’s history. Both gifts were part of an overall lifetime giving of $47 million. A 1999 Texas Business Hall of Fame inductee, Mays served as chair of the United Way of San Antonio and was a member of the associates board at Harvard Business School. In 2003, Mays testified before the Senate that the deregulation of the telecommunications industry had not hurt the public. In an interview that same year with Fortune Magazine, however, he remarked, “We’re not in the business of providing news and information. We’re not in the business of providing well-researched music. We’re simply in the business of selling our customers products.” Mays was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2004, but suffered a stroke the following year. He stepped down as Clear Channel’s chief executive officer and was succeeded by his son, Mark.

Bloomberg Media Chief Mayers Is Retiring. Having joined the company in 2001 as Bloomberg Radio’s station manager, Bloomberg Media global head of radio and television Al Mayers is retiring from the company. Announcing the news in a staff memo, Bloomberg Media chief executive officer M. Scott Havens and Bloomberg editor-in-chief John Micklethwait write, “Al has been a tireless leader at Bloomberg for over two decades, first in radio and now in his wider broadcast role. During COVID, it often seemed as if Al was single-handedly keeping us on the air. His retirement is a prompt for us to redesign the editorial side of Bloomberg Media – both in line with that philosophy and the broader changes in journalism and the media world. The lines between audio, video, print and live events have become ever harder to distinguish, especially as our audience decides when they want to watch, read or listen to our content. We need a unified approach not just to fit this world, but also to reflect the fact that Bloomberg Media is now an integrated global business, which surged almost 50% last year and has just realized another 24% increase in the first six months of 2022. So after Al leaves this month, David Merritt will become head of a new position, Bloomberg Media Editorial. [He] will oversee the editorial side of all of our media platforms – the website, all our audio and video, including BTV, radio, Quicktake, podcasts, events and our magazines. We are forever grateful for what Al has done for this company and wish him all the best in his next chapter on Cape Cod.” Mayers previously was general manager of Bloomberg Radio, overseeing the station’s programming, syndication and business operations. Michael Bloomberg named Mayers chief of Bloomberg’s global TV division in 2015.

Omnipresent air talent/media executive Nick Cannon will host next month’s (10/19) Marconi Radio Awards dinner during the NAB Show in New York. The ceremony returns in-person after a (COVID-caused) two-year hiatus. NAB executive vice president/industry affairs April Carty-Sipp comments, “NAB is excited to be joined by the talented Nick Cannon to honor the on-air voices and local stations that have shined brightest over the past year. We look forward to welcoming the broadcast community to this crowd-pleasing and lively celebration of the best in radio.” Ryan Seacrest will be presented with the NAB “Distinguished Service Award”; Paul and Fred Jacobs will receive the “National Radio Award.” Established in 1989 and named after inventor/Nobel Prize winner Guglielmo Marconi, the NAB Marconi Radio Awards are given to radio stations and outstanding on-air personalities to recognize excellence in radio. Nominees for “News/Talk Station of the Year” include: KNX, Los Angeles; KRMG, Tulsa; KTMY, Minneapolis; WKXW, Trenton (New Jersey); and WLW, Cincinnati. “Sports (Talk) Station of the Year” nominees include: KNBR, San Francisco; WBZ-FM, Boston; WIP, Philadelphia; WMFS, Memphis; and WXYT-FM, Detroit. Finalists for this year’s awards in all categories can be found here.

TALKERS News Notes. “Game Time With Boomer Esiason,” the syndicated TV interview show done by Audacy New York sports talk WFAN’s morning co-host, now has a podcast version. Introduced via Audacy’s 2400 Sports podcast studio, the standalone product will feature material not included in the broadcast version. Esiason remarks, “I’m really excited about the opportunity to expand our in-depth conversations with some of the biggest stars in sports through the launch of this new podcast. This show will enable us to dig deeper into what makes these icons tick and will deliver can’t-miss content for listeners across the country.” … Co-host of the podcast “For Colored Nerds,” Brittany Luse, succeeds Sam Sanders as host of NPR’s “It’s Been A Minute.” Vice president of programming & new content development Yolanda Sangweni notes, “Brittany is one of the most exciting and essential voices in pop culture podcasting. She brings deep curiosity, empathy, and joy to the mic and to her storytelling. We are beyond thrilled to be re-imagining ‘It’s Been A Minute’ with Brittany at the helm.” Luse states, “I’ve spent the entirety of my eight-year hosting career helping audiences to connect the dots between culture and current events. I look forward to continuing and expanding that work at my new home.” Formerly host of podcasts “The Nod” and “Sampler,” Luse will begin her new duties next month (10/7). … Following four months of being interim local host for New Hampshire Public Radio’s “All Things Considered,” Julia Furukawa has the job permanently. New Hampshire Public Radio president/chief executive officer Jim Schachter notes, “In Julia, we have a serious journalist in the ‘All Things Considered’ anchor chair. [She] connects with listeners across a broad, diverse spectrum; loves exploring New Hampshire; and understands that reporting the news is both a joy and a responsibility. Everyone at our studios knows she’s fun to be around, and now ‘ATC’ users can hear that.” Furukawa adds, “I came to NHPR [two years ago] thinking I’d mostly be behind the scenes, not behind the microphone. The team here has given me the chance to grow into a role I’ve always dreamt of being in; I couldn’t be more grateful and excited for what’s to come.” … Best known for her many reports from the front lines of world events, NPR international correspondent Anne Garrels has died at the age of 71. When Garrels arrived at NPR in 1988, she already had ten years of experience in television news at ABC, where she was bureau chief in both Moscow and Central America. Her NPR backdrops included the Soviet Union, Tiananmen Square, Bosnia, Chechnya, the Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan. … VSiN launches three-hour (7:00 pm – 10:00 pm) weeknight sports betting content on iHeartMedia Providence news/talk WHJJ “News Radio 920.” In addition, Brent Musburger’s “Action Updates” will air twice a day. Meanwhile in Kansas City, Cumulus Media’s KCMO-AM “Talk Radio 710 AM” is airing short-form VSiN-produced betting features throughout the weekend. VSiN’s betting analysts will breakdown betting lines for the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, the AFC West and other big games on that week’s slate. Elsewhere, Salem Media Group Honolulu sports talk KGU & K236CR “Hawaii Sports Radio Network AM 760 & 95.1 FM” airs VSiN’s “Final Countdown with Stormy Buonantony & Matt Brown” at 11:00 am. … For the second year in a row – and fifth time overall – Syndicated Solutions’ “RMWorldTravel with Robert & Mary Carey and Rudy Maxa” earns the SATW Foundation’s Lowell Thomas Award in the “Travel Audio – Radio” category. The hosts comment, “Week after week, [our team] helps us create the most diverse and engaging network radio program. Collectively, we love the world of travel and all that it encompasses; we’re truly thankful to the wonderful sponsors who are aligned with us. We look forward to continuing to keep engaging, enticing, entertaining and empowering travelers to go explore the world. When that happens, it has such a positive impact on travelers, the travel industry and our society in general. The powerful megaphone we have to successfully impact travel is a blessing that we don’t take for granted.” The program is heard on 495 affiliates.

Nine To Be Inducted Into The Massachusetts Broadcasters Association HOF. Among those to be honored are Eric Jackson from Boston public radio news/talk WGBH; former Boston Red Sox television play-by-play announcer Sean McDonough, most recently doing a select number of games on the Red Sox Radio Network; and one-time Boston Celtics Broadcasting president Gerald Walsh, who helped create Boston sports talk (and Red Sox radio flagship) WEEI. Massachusetts Broadcasters Association chair/Beasley Media Group Boston vice president and market manager Mary Menna remarks, “The Massachusetts Broadcasters Association is thrilled to be able to gather in person to celebrate these individuals’ lifelong achievements and contributions to our broadcasting community and to welcome them into the Hall of Fame.” Other inductees include Mike Baxendale and John O’Brien (“Bax & O’Brien”), who partnered together for over twenty years in Springfield on WAQY “Rock 102”; Laura Carlo, who did mornings for more than 25 years on Boston classical WCRB; Nancy Quill, a 38-year veteran on Boston adult contemporary WMJX “Magic 106.7”; WCVB-TV, Boston journalist Jorge Quiroga; and broadcast executive Paul Kelley, the recipient of the 2022 “Pioneer Award.” Hall of Fame committee chair Peter Brown explains that award is given “to an individual who has distinguished himself/herself over decades for lasting contributions made to the broadcast industry and through a leadership role in his or her particular craft. The award was established to recognize individuals who do not appear on-air, but their role helped influence and inspire the Massachusetts broadcast community to reach a pinnacle of excellence.” The Hall of Fame ceremony will be held next Thursday (9/22) at the Boston Marriott Quincy Hotel.

Front Page News Industry News

Thursday, July 28, 2022

WFAN And Yankees Extend Their Partnership. A multi-year extension is announced between Audacy New York sports talk WFAN-FM & WFAN-AM and MLB’s American League East New York Yankees. English-language broadcasts will continue to be heard on WFAN and streamed digitally on the Audacy app for those within the team’s broadcast territory. WFAN will also continue to produce the Spanish-language broadcasts for local radio affiliates, as well as for the Audacy app. Audacy New York market president Chris Oliviero declares, “The New York Yankees are the city’s premier sports franchise and WFAN is the city’s premier sports platform. Together, we form a potent combination for fans and client partners. [This – 2022] is our 21st consecutive season of broadcasting the ‘Bronx Bombers.’ We look forward to continuing to have the honor of being the soundtrack to more memorable and historic pinstripe moments.” New York Yankees chief operating officer Lonn Trost notes, “The Yankees are excited to extend our longstanding relationship with WFAN and Audacy. WFAN has been our flagship station for over two decades, and we look forward to fans continuing to enjoy Yankees baseball over its airways and on the Audacy app.” From 2002 to 2014, Yankees games were heard on WFAN’s sister station, all-news WCBS-AM (currently the flagship of the New York Mets); WFAN has served as the Yankees flagship since 2014. John Sterling, (class of 2022 Radio Hall of Fame inductee) Suzyn Waldman and Sweeny Murti are the English-language broadcasters, while Spanish-language broadcasts will be handled by Rickie Ricardo, Francisco Rivera and Rene Luna. As part of Audacy’s MLB partnership, WFAN and the Yankees will produce co-branded podcasts.

Newsmax, Verizon Sign Multi-Year Carriage Agreement. The deal between Newsmax and Verizon extends distribution of news channel in HD on Verizon Fios. Newsmax Media chief executive officer Christopher Ruddy remarks, “Verizon has carried Newsmax for many years. We are delighted to be extending our distribution through the Fios platform. We have found them to be outstanding partners who have demonstrated a strong commitment to the presentation of diverse, independent voices through their programming. We’re glad that we are continuing with this new agreement.” Newsmax will retain its broad distribution on the Verizon platform, which reaches approximately 3.5 million subscribers in the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions.

SiriusXM Q2 Revenue Increases. While revenue was up 4% year-over-year to $2.25 billion in this year’s second quarter, SiriusXM’s net income declined from $433 million to $292 million (11 to 7 cents/basic share, 10 to 7 cents/diluted share). Adjusted EBITDA was off 3% to $679 million. SiriusXM chief executive officer Jennifer Witz notes, “We are pleased with our results in the second quarter, and while we continue to navigate an uncertain economic environment, we delivered strong financial performance and continued to make strategic investments in our business that will set us up for an exciting new era. We remain committed to creating compelling experiences for our listeners by investing in innovative technologies to deliver best-in-class, curated, comprehensive audio entertainment. Most recently, [we expanded] our relationship with the NFL to deliver the most extensive sports lineup in audio entertainment; we will continue to enhance our platform to ensure broad appeal.” Executive vice president/chief financial officer Sean Sullivan adds, “[Our] churn was steady at approximately 1.5% in the quarter, underscoring the strength of our business, products, and loyalty of our customers. In the second quarter, we delivered focused expansion in key streaming offerings and maintained a strong balance sheet. This quarter, we returned over $300 million in capital to stockholders, comprising $217 million in common stock repurchases and $86 million in dividends, and ended the quarter with net debt to adjusted EBITDA of 3.6 times.” Self-pay subscribers increased by 23,000 and paid promotional subscribers increased by 54,000. Satellite and streaming division totaled 34 million subscribers at the end of the quarter; self-pay churn was flat at 1.5%. The division’s revenue rose 5% to $1.7 billion, and gross profit rose 6% to $1.1 billion.

Marketron Releases Political Advertising Toolbox. Per BIA Advisory Services, political advertising will raise $8.6 billion for local media companies. Marketron’s collection of online resources combines all the political advertising content the company has developed at a single location for companies interested in increasing their share of political advertising. Marketron senior vice president/client success Christian Kligora opines that, “Political advertising is an important category for local media. It’s much different than any other and that requires a unique approach. We’ve been developing content on the topic all year long with a focus on how to support media sellers. Bringing it together in one spot makes it easier to learn from and access.” Each resource will reportedly provide media salespeople with tips, strategies, and insights for political advertising. Included are specialized considerations such as the “overall trends in the advertising ecosystem; the need to reach different demographics; the objective of persuading people to vote; and the regulatory compliance requirements” for how media companies price/offer inventory to candidates.

TALKERS News Notes. Changes at Audacy Philadelphia sports talk WIP “Sports Radio 94” find the station’s fill-in host Jody McDonald and Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Mike Sielski co-hosting weekend shows with Glenn Macnow. McDonald will partner with Macnow on Sundays (10:00 am – 1:00 pm), while Sielski joins Macnow in the same time slot each Saturday. According to Macnow, “I have a comfort level with Jody. He’s the guy I broke in with [and] the guy our listeners heard me with from 28 years ago. Working with Jody is like an old pair of shoes – it’s easy and I like it. The Saturday show will now be me and the best damn sports columnist in town, Mike Sielski.” … Former Baltimore Ravens defensive back Rod Woodson will join play-by-play voice Gerry Sandusky this season on the NFL team’s broadcasts on Hearst Baltimore news/talk WBAL “News Radio 1090 AM & 101.5 FM.” According to Sandusky, “Rod brings the unique perspective of someone who has both played and coached at the highest level of the game. He does it in a down-to-earth way that is approachable, likable and just plain fun. It’s a privilege to work with a broadcast partner like Rod.” Woodson states that, “Being a part of the Ravens’ gameday broadcast team is a blessing. To be back with the team that I won my only Super Bowl with will be fun.” … After eleven years with Nashville’s WPRT-FM, midday co-host Darren McFarland departs the Cromwell Radio Group sports talk outlet. Program director Chase McCabe confirms to The Tennessean that “Sports Radio 102.5 The Game” decided to part ways with McFarland, who formerly worked at Cumulus Media’s cross-town/similarly-formatted WGFX “104.5 The Zone.” McCabe, Willy Daunic, and Derrick Mason continue in middays on “The Game.” … Effective August 22, Cheddar News Washington bureau chief Megan Pratz will join NPR as political editor. In addition, NPR promotes congressional correspondent Sue Davis to political correspondent and interim congressional correspondent Dierdre Walsh gets to remove “interim” from the title. … Skyview Networks’ sports talk program “OutKick 360picks up three Withers Broadcasting-owned affiliates: KYRK, Marble Hill, Missouri; WGKY, Wickliffe, Kentucky; and WFRX, West Frankfort, Illinois. Skyview Networks is the exclusive distributor, affiliate sales representative and network sales partner of Jonathan Hutton, Chad Withrow & Paul Kuharsky-hosted “OutKick 360.”

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Wednesday, July 27, 2022

This Massachusetts “Marathon” Is Forced To Run Elsewhere. In what TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as “one of the most knuckle-headed public relations mis-steps” he’s ever witnessed in a local situation, the Springfield, MA-based Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has kicked up a dust-storm of bad will for itself.  (Note: TALKERS headquarters are also based in Springfield, MA.) For over two decades, a charitable Thanksgiving initiative known as the Mayflower Marathon has held its November charity event to raise money for the Open Pantry at the famed  hoops museum in the Western Massachusetts city where basketball was invented. A consistent partner and main engine for the event over the years has been Saga Communications’ WAQY “Rock 102 – Springfield’s Classic Rock,” which does its own “marathon” by broadcasting from the venue for 52 consecutive hours. The long-running goodwill synergy though seems to have hit a speedbump. Citing “capacity issues,” the Basketball Hall of Fame says the event will no longer be held at its location. Declaring he’s in “shock” by the HOF’s decision, “Rock 102” morning talk show co-host and local radio legend  Mike Baxendale (“Bax”) points out that – for 28 years- the station has helped the Mayflower Marathon raise several million dollars for the Open Pantry. Mirroring Baxendale’s astonished sentiment is Open Pantry executive director Terry Maxey who elaborates, “We are the largest food pantry in Western Massachusetts.” Not having the Mayflower Marathon in Springfield, he laments “would be truly disappointing.” Replying in a prepared statement to Western Mass News, Basketball Hall of Fame president/chief executive officer John Doleva notes, “The Hall of Fame has been pleased to offer this space at no charge for over 20 years for the Mayflower Marathon. As a ‘landlord,’ the Hall of Fame’s first obligation is to make certain that [the needs of our tenants], including adequate and convenient parking, are met. The growth in our tenant base and the very positive organic growth of existing tenants has made this change necessary.” Things further escalated in the last several days when Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno sent a letter to the Basketball HOF, asking Doleva to reconsider. Part of Sarno’s letter reads, “This event has been held for over 25 years and has caused no prior disruptions and/or complaints from your establishments.” It’s Doleva’s contention that the choice to pull the plug on housing the event was actually made nine months ago. To show support for the event as it establishes a new home, Doleva responded on behalf of Hall of Fame board chair Jerry Colangelo and Colebrook Realty’s Jack Dill by writing that the HOF is “happy to commit a gift of $5,000 to the Marathon. Our property management group, Colebrook, has committed an additional $2,500 for a total of $7,500 to the event.” Meanwhile, Baxendale maintains to Western Mass News that the Mayflower Marathon “is going to happen one way or another. We are looking at alternative sites [and] have a lot of suggestions. [Unfortunately], this shows that there’s a disconnect between the Hall of Fame and the community.”

GCN Vindicated in Sandy Hook Case. A defendant in Alex Jones’ Connecticut defamation case – Ted Anderson-owned Genesis Communications Network – was vindicated when the plaintiffs unilaterally withdrew all legal claims against GCN. The action was taken one month prior to jury selection and effectuated without settlement, release, or other consideration by GCN. According to Anderson, “This means we can continue to serve the hundreds of radio programs as we have over the years, programs from a wide array of political viewpoints. Including us in the suit was an attack on talk radio as an institution. It was totally unjustified. My heart breaks for those families – but yes – I feel this was the right result.” GCN attorney Mario Cerame states, “We are, of course, pleased with the recognition that GCN was not a proper defendant. Genesis does not monitor the content of the radio shows it works with. These are the sound engineers, ensuring professional sound quality, balance, and the like. They make space in the recording for commercials. They do not factcheck the words any more than your phone company does, or the people who sell you a keyboard check to see what you type. They just deliver the sound, like a radio version of the United States postal worker. We had to vigorously litigate the case up to the eve of jury selection but, the plaintiffs ultimately acknowledged this and walked away on their own, without a dime from GCN. We were caught in a battle between two Goliaths [but] after a lot of hard work, we managed to come out unscathed.”

 

Ippolito In As iHeartMedia San Diego Market President. Concurrent with iHeartMedia San Diego market president Melissa Forrest transitioning to a consultant role on August 1, senior vice president of sales Noreen Ippolito becomes her successor. Ippolito will report to division president Tom McConnell who comments, “Noreen is an incredible talent with an outstanding track record. She has strong business acumen and understands how to build and cultivate high performing teams. She is the perfect choice to lead our San Diego and Riverside markets.” In addition to San Diego news/talk outlets KOGO “News Radio 600” and KGB-AM “AM 760”; sports talk KLSD “Fox 1360”; and Riverside Black Information Network news outlet KFOO “BIN 1440”, Ippolito will oversee San Diego classic rock KGB-FM; rock KIOZ; CHR KHTS; hot AC KMYI; and rhythmic CHR KSSX.

Steele To Receive MIW’s Annual Airblazer Award. Five-year cancer survivor/Audacy New York classic hits-oldies WCBS-FM morning drive co-host Patty Steele is the recipient of the eighth annual Mentoring and Inspiring Women’s Airblazer award. Steele will be honored during next month’s (8/18) Morning Show Boot Camp in Chicago. MIW board president Ruth Presslaff comments, “It’s such a privilege to be the conduit for this very special award recognizing top on-air talent. Congratulations to Patty Steele, a wonderful talent and an even better human.” As is tradition, the “Airblazer” is carefully selected by the prior year’s honoree. The recipient is recognized for her dedication/contributions to the broadcast industry and to the communities she serves. Syndicated “DeDe in the Morning” host/2021 MIW “Airblazer” DeDe McGuire remarks, “It is my honor to select Patty Steele as the next recipient of the MIW Airblazer award. Patty has worked on some of the most successful radio shows alongside some of the biggest names in our industry. Her voice, humor, and insights were key to the successes of these shows on some of the country’s most legendary stations. So many of us in the industry admire her ability to always be the best and work through difficult times, both personally and professionally. She always comes out on top.” Steele adds, “I can’t tell you how proud and delighted I am to be chosen as this year’s recipient of the Airblazer award. My passion for radio and for the young women coming up in this business make this a truly special honor. Being chosen by DeDe is icing on the cake – she’s a survivor and [thrives] in our ever-changing business.” At WCBS-FM, Steele is reunited with Scott Shannon. She has also worked with Elvis Duran, Danny Bonaduce, and John Lander at a number of other well-known New York City stations, including news/talk WOR, news WCBS-AM, WHTZ, and WPLJ. In April, Steele was one of thirteen podcasters to receive a 2022 Gracie award for her “Deep Six” series. The two-part episode featured Steele’s interview with her 26-year-old son, Jake, about his heroin addiction and his journey to recovery. Three other Audacy-owned stations aired the show. Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio (MIW) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to the advancement of female leadership in radio broadcasting. In addition to DeDe McGuire, previous “Airblazers” include: Angela Yee (2020); Kellie Rasberry (2019); Mercedes Martinez (2018); Roula Christie (2017); Angie Martinez (2016); and class of 2022 Radio Hall of Fame inductee Ellen K (2015).

iHM Portland Boosts Burgess To Market President. The promotion of iHeartMedia Portland senior vice president of sales Marshal Burgess to market president for the company’s eight-station Oregon cluster is effective immediately. He will report to iHM Multiplatform Group division president/Black Information Network president Tony Coles, who states, “It has been incredible to witness Marshal’s growth and success over the years. Few leaders [have] the kind of experience, integrity, and vision that Marshal brings to the table. We look forward to Marshal building upon our history of success in Portland.” University of Oregon alum Burgess notes, “I’ve spent my entire life in Portland and grew up listening to [several stations in this iHM cluster]. The support and positive energy I’ve received from Tony Coles and the entire team here in Portland have been unbelievable. I’m very excited for the future and am truly humbled by the opportunity.” Burgess began his career at CBS Radio in 1996. He joined iHeartMedia the following year and has been with the company (then known as Clear Channel) ever since. In that time, he has progressed from being an account executive; local sales manager; general sales manager; and vice president of sales. In addition to news/talk KEX “News Radio 1190” and sports talk KPOJ “Rip City Sports Radio 620,” iHeartMedia Portland consists of adult contemporary KKCW; classic hits-oldies KLTH; classic rock KFBW; CHR KKRZ; alternative KKRZ-HD2; and rhythmic CHR KXJM.

Cannabis Advertising Legislation Introduced. The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Advertising Act, would clarify that local radio and television broadcasters can air cannabis ads without the threat of FCC administrative action in states where pot is legal. SAFE was introduced by Senator Ben Ray Luján (Democrat-New Mexico) and follows the House passage of FY 2023 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill. Language in that bill would prevent the FCC from taking administrative action against broadcasters that accept cannabis commercials. In a prepared statement, NAB president/chief executive officer Curtis LeGeyt notes, “Due to outdated government regulations, only local radio and television broadcasters face legal exposure for advertising cannabis products permitted under state law. The SAFE Advertising Act would finally level the playing field and create necessary regulatory certainty for broadcasters. We thank Senator Luján for his leadership on this issue and we will continue working with policymakers to ensure there is a permanent resolution to this competitive disparity.” New Mexico Broadcasters Association president/chief executive officer Paula Maes comments, “The members of the NMBA appreciate the efforts of Senator Luján and his staff. Their work on this bill which would allow cannabis advertising to air on New Mexico broadcasting is in step with state law and [is] long overdue. The Senator’s legislation helps remedy this unfair situation by recognizing the importance of state law in addressing cannabis issues.” New York State Broadcasters Association president/Safe Advertising Coalition member David Donovan adds, “We applaud Senator Luján’s efforts to allow local radio and television broadcasters to accept cannabis advertisements consistent with the law of the state in which they are licensed. We look forward to working with the Senator’s office to move this important legislation forward.”

Horowitz Headed To Raiders P-B-P Booth. The search to find a successor for the iconic Brent Musberger as radio play-by-play announcer for the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders concludes: Jason Horowitz is the choice. Horowitz, who will be this year’s game-caller with returning analyst Lincoln Kennedy, reflects that, “As a kid, I used to pretend I was the voice for a team calling an epic interception, or the game-winning touchdown. I want to thank [Raiders controlling owner/managing general partner] Mark Davis and the Raiders organization for making that dream become a reality. I am humbled to join an historic franchise, following in the footsteps of the legends who have called games of the ‘silver and black’ to the sport’s greatest fanbase.” Horowitz most recently has been Westwood One’s NCAA football and basketball studio host and CBS Sports Network’s announcer of Army football games. Musberger signed a contract four years ago (July 2018), making him the radio voice of the Oakland Raiders and the inaugural season (2020) when the franchise relocated to Las Vegas. He continued those duties through the 2021 season. Compass Media Networks syndicates Raiders games which air on Las Vegas sports talk flagship, Lotus Communications-owned KRLV “Raider Nation Radio 920 AM.”

BIN Listeners Offered Free Career Coaching. A “100,000 Careers” service from CareerBuilder will provide Black Information Network (BIN) listeners with a gratis 45-minute session. BIN and CareerBuilder have joined forces to launch the platform created to connect 100,000 BIN listeners looking to advance their careers. As part of the initiative, jobseekers have access to personalized career guidance through a complimentary coaching session. BIN listeners will have the opportunity to meet with an expert within their industry and receive individually tailored advice and actionable feedback to help promote their career growth. According to iHeartMedia Multiplatform group division president Tony Coles, “The Black Information Network and CareerBuilder are committed to giving jobseekers the tools and resources they need to stand out from the crowd. These sessions help match jobseekers and experts to help [them] prepare for [their] interview. We are excited to offer this service to get one step closer to helping 100,000 listeners find the career of their dreams.” CareerBuilder chief marketing officer Kristin Kelley comments, “We are thrilled to offer this hyper-customized experience in hopes that the community will receive practical feedback relevant to their industry to help them either find a job filled with purpose, or grow into their current role. Careers start with mentors and support, which is why expert coaching is one of the many ways that the 100,000 Careers initiative can transform the way job seekers find a role.” Through the use of AI technology and responses from an initial questionnaire, jobseekers will be matched with more than 5,000 available coaches. During the one-on-one session, jobseekers can ask questions, identify strengths, and work to define a career path that fits their needs. Participants will receive an individualized report that includes actionable advice and a video recording following the online session.

Newsmax Signs Multiple International Programming Distribution Deals. Through one of the agreements, Zee Entertainment’s Zee5 will carry Newsmax’s news feed 24/7, as well as VOD content. Zee will also post content from Newsmax.com in its news section. Zee5’s initial distribution of Newsmax content will be in India, with eventual expansion to the Middle East and North Africa. Earlier this month, Newsmax signed a distribution pact with Canal+-owned European satellite, cable, and OTT provider M7 and is now available in The Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Romania, and Hungary. Rounding out Newsmax’s recent global expansion efforts is its July 19 deal in Australia with Foxtel-owned streaming platform Flash News. Newsmax chief executive officer Chris Ruddy states, “The demand for high-quality journalism is growing worldwide as citizens everywhere look for real news to help understand a complex world. We are delighted to be working with Zee, M7, and Foxtel to deliver our content to the world’s largest democracies and we are looking forward to continuing to expand our global reach.” M7 group vice president/platform content services Bill Wijdeveld remarks, “We are welcoming Newsmax on board of our TV platforms, allowing the channel to launch into multiple European markets in ‘one go.’ We thank Newsmax for its trust in our service provisioning and look forward to a fruitful cooperation over the coming years.”

TALKERS News Notes. Former Baltimore Ravens defensive back Rod Woodson will join play-by-play voice Gerry Sandusky this season on the NFL team’s broadcasts on Hearst Baltimore news/talk WBAL. According to Sandusky, “Rod brings the unique perspective of someone who has both played and coached at the highest level of the game. He does it in a down-to-earth way that is approachable, likable and just plain fun. It’s a privilege to work with a broadcast partner like Rod.” Woodson states that, “Being a part of the Ravens’ gameday broadcast team is a blessing. To be back with the team that I won my only Super Bowl with will be fun.”

Front Page News Industry News

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

WKNR Contest Puts $30,000 Ad Campaign Up For Grabs. This marks the third consecutive year that Good Karma Brands sports talk WKNR “850 ESPN Cleveland” will give away a $30,000 WKNR advertising schedule to one local business. To qualify for “Moving Business Forward,” the establishment must be owned by a veteran, minority member, or woman. The promotion runs through this Friday (7/29) and is open to Northeast Ohio businesses incorporated and active for at least two years with annual revenue under $15 million in fiscal year 2021. Entrants must submit an under 300-word statement saying why their business deserves to win. Judging criteria will be on passion for the business; innovation during – and response to – the COVID-19 pandemic; employee loyalty; impact on business’ neighborhood/community; and overall business culture. According to Good Karma Brands Cleveland vice president/market manager Amy Crossman, “We are excited to partner with Keybank and the Cleveland Cavaliers to continue this powerful program for the local business community. We look forward to connecting our passionate sports fans with these deserving Cleveland-based businesses to help them thrive in the future.” The winner will have use of a private suite for one Cavs game at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. WKNR will buy $2,500 in gift cards, divided among veteran, minority, and women-owned businesses, to be given away throughout the year.

NAB Appoints Hall to Leadership Foundation Board. Talk host/journalist/producer/author Tamron Hall is appointed to the National Association of Broadcasters’ Leadership Foundation. In addition, Hall assumes the newly-created position of industry ambassador, where she will work with NABLF on campaigns and fundraising efforts. NAB Leadership Foundation president Michelle Duke comments, “Tamron Hall exemplifies the values of NABLF through her commitment to service, advocacy, and diversity. Her strong record of public service and leadership make her uniquely-qualified to serve as a champion for the Foundation and for broadcasting. We look forward to her partnership and working with her to make our industry better.” Hall adds, “I am so excited to help the NAB Leadership Foundation continue its mission of attracting and developing the next generation of innovative broadcast executives. More than ever, we need to ensure that the broadcast industry has a pipeline of future leaders that reflect our diverse audiences. It’s been an honor to work with the Foundation in the past; I look forward to furthering this work as a member of the Board.” As industry ambassador, Hall will help NABLF honor broadcast radio and television stations’ community service efforts through the Foundation’s annual Celebration of Service to America Awards, which she hosted two years ago.

KO’s “Countdown” Continues as an iHM Podcast. Beginning August 1, former longtime ESPN and MSNBC anchor; author; and three-time Edward R. Murrow Award winner Keith Olbermann will launch a daily iHeartMedia podcast series. “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” will include a news-driven mix featuring a “Special Comment” political analysis and his popular MSNBC “Worst Person In The World” segment. As part of the podcast, the one time sports anchor at Los Angeles all-news outlet KNX will do a regular sports bit, as well as a daily call to help a suffering dog. In a Wall Street Journal interview this week, Olbermann declares that podcasts have, “replaced radio and to a large part television. Why not present something that is there every day for people? My goal is that you’ll be able to listen and get everything that happened. It won’t be, ‘here we are reacting to last week’s news.’ I’m doing the work for the work. I stopped predicting my next career development around 1997.” Former “Today” anchor Katie Couric and Fox News host Megyn Kelly launched post-television audio broadcasting careers. Meanwhile, Conan O’Brien signed a deal with SiriusXM earlier this year to start a podcasting venture. Olbermann covered the 1980 Olympics “Miracle on Ice” and anchored the 2009 Super Bowl pre-game show.

Hobbs To Helm MundoNow’s Óyenos Audio. Multicultural podcasting veteran Stephen Hobbs is named chief audio officer of MundoNow’s Latino podcast network, Óyenos Audio. Hobbs will oversee the development of new original scripted series and audio entertainment concepts that will focus on topics including true crime and inspirational stories. MundoNow chief executive officer Rene Alegrias remarks, “Latinos expect smart, highly sophisticated podcasts that provide a culturally-accurate connection to their heritage. Óyenos will provide this and it will be driven by the renowned Stephen Hobbs. In the world of multicultural podcasting, Stephen’s caliber and experience is unmatched.” MundoNow chief revenue officer/partner Andrew Polsky notes, “I immediately recognized the impact this platform can make in expanding meaningful podcasting for the underserved bilingual/bicultural market. This impact will be maximized with the hiring of Stephen. I’ve worked with him before on multiple brand partnership executions. I’m excited to collaborate with him again to not only elevate Óyenos, but the offering of Latino streaming content as a whole.” Hobbs states that bilingual digital media company MundoNow, recently rebranded from Mundo Hispanico, is “exceptionally well-positioned to become a leader in multicultural podcasting. It has the audience, it has the growth strategy under superior leadership from Rene and Andrew, and it has the production capacity. My job is to create content that will have listeners on the edge of their seats, or perhaps making an emotional connection.” Hobbs co-founded reVolver Podcasts; was Univision’s vice president of podcasts and experiential; and during his three-year tenure at Spanish Broadcasting Systems launched AIRE Radio Network. MundoNow generates ten million unique visitors each month, along with 70+ million pageviews and more than a quarter-billion served ad impressions.

TALKERS News Notes. In a Facebook post, Sammy Simpson reveals, “I am going to be transitioning out of the brand/content manager role at Capitol Broadcasting [Raleigh]. The company has started the search for a new sports [talk] program director and I would encourage you to apply or help spread the word if interested in a truly great opportunity.” Simpson joined Capitol Broadcasting Raleigh two years ago to oversee sports talk WCMC “99.9 The Fan”; sports talk WCMC-HD2 “Buzz Sports Radio”; and sports talk WDNC “620 The Ticket.” The cluster also includes adult contemporary WRAL “Mix 101.5” and triple A WCLY “That Station.” …  Meanwhile, in another sports talk-related Facebook post, we learn that Waterloo Media Austin flips Spanish contemporary KLZT-HD2 (1.2, #22, June 2022, 6+) to sports talk as “102.7 ESPN Austin.” In addition to ESPN programming, the on-air lineup will include: Jason Dick and CJ Morgan (from alternative cluster-mate KROX); Ed Clements (from co-owned news/talk KLBJ-AM); and Bryan Bymark (from rock cluster-mate KLBJ-FM). … Per USA Today‘s Mike Organ, Nashville media personality Mark Howard has died at the age of 65. In 2004, Howard became co-host of  “The Wake Up Zone” on Nashville sports talk WGFX “The Zone 104.5”; he left the show in 2020. The Connecticut native most recently worked as a part-time host at cross-town Cromwell Group sports talk WPRT-FM “The Game 102.5.” Howard spent several years hosting a Tennessee Titans post-game show and co-hosted Nashville Predators pre-game and post-game programs. … The first five recipients of the Friends of Georgia Radio’s “Georgia Radio Legends” honors are: Media Ventures Partners founder (the late) Charles Giddens; Georgia Association of Broadcasters president/National Alliance of State Broadcasters Association president Bob Houghton; Cox Media Group Atlanta news/talk WSB-AM & WSBB legislative reporter Sandra Parrish; Atlanta Public Schools public radio news/talk WABE host Lois Reitzes; and University of Georgia radio studio host/WSB-AM & WSBB director of marketing & research Neal “Hondo” Williamson. They will be recognized at a Jeff Foxworthy-hosted event next month (8/27) in Alpharetta.

Podtrac Releases Weekly Podcast Data. Tracking data of podcasts for Podtrac-measured shows indicates that downloads are down 9% (July 18 – 24) over the previous week, but up 53% over the corresponding period last year. All categories are down week-to-week, with “History” and “Society & Culture” showing the most significant week-to-week decline (-12%). Meanwhile, “Health & Fitness” registers the strongest year-to-year growth, a robust +179%. Across all Podtrac-measured podcasts, download growth (July 19, 2021 – July 24, 2022) was up 53%, while week-over-week download growth (July 18 – 24, 2022) was off 9%. For the 52-week period (July 19, 2021 to July 24, 2022), “Health & Fitness” is +179%; “Comedy” is +100%; “Sports” is +64%; “True Crime” is +54%; “Science” is +52%; “Business” is +51%; “News” is +43%; “Society & Culture” is +39%; “History” is +32%; and “Arts” is flat. Week-over-week download dips (July 18 – 24, 2022) included: -12% (“History”); -12% (“Society & Culture”); -10% (“News”); -10% (“Sports”); -10% (“True Crime”); -9% (“Science”); -7% (“Business”); -7% (“Comedy”); -6% (“Arts”); and -6% (“Health & Fitness”).

SiriusXM, NFL Extend/Expand Their Broadcast Agreement. Under terms of the new five-year extension, SiriusXM becomes the exclusive third-party audio provider of every National Football League game across North America. NFL chief media and business officer Brian Rolapp remarks, “SiriusXM continues to be an important part of the NFL family. [It provides] fans access to live game audio, as well as all news and information around their favorite teams.” SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein notes, “The popularity of the NFL, and the passion of their fans, is extraordinary. Since 2004, the NFL has been an important component of SiriusXM’s programming lineup as we deliver those fans exceptional access to all their favorite teams. We couldn’t be more pleased to now be expanding our relationship with the league, ensuring our listeners will continue to get comprehensive access to the NFL.” Subscribers will continue getting access to every NFL game through Super Bowl LXI (2027) on SiriusXM radio and on the SXM App. The SXM App offers 32 NFL team channels, each dedicated to carrying the official radio broadcast for each NFL team. The satcaster will offer additional team-focused content, including coaches shows, and press conferences to subscribers.

America Amplified “Election 2022” Launches This Week. Funded by the Corporation For Public Broadcasting, the America Amplified “Election 2022” initiative helps public media stations in 25 states, including Michigan Radio, ensure that citizens are properly informed to participate in this fall’s local, state and congressional elections. Corporation For Public Broadcasting president/chief executive officer Pat Harrison comments, “Voting is the foundation of a democracy. We want to ensure that all eligible citizens have the information they need to exercise their right to vote. With more than 1,500 locally managed and operated stations, public media is ideally situated to engage all citizens. America Amplified’s listening-first approach will help build trust in the process.” Michigan Radio program director Matt Shafer Powell remarks, “Joining America Amplified gives Michigan Radio the chance to build on our long-standing commitment to engaging and informing our community. We are excited to bring additional resources to better understand what our communities need to know about election processes and election security.” Among the initiative’s community engagement activities is an online tool that allows the public to submit questions related to the election voting process. Questions will be answered using nonpartisan election information sources.

Front Page News Industry News

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

iHeartMedia Adds New Talk Radio Outlet to the Seattle Market. Seattle market AM KPTR is now news/talk as “1090 The Patriot, Seattle’s Conservative News Talk.” iHeartMedia announces the new station and reveals it is airing Premiere Networks syndicated programming including: “Glenn Beck,” “Clay Travis & Buck Sexton,” “Sean Hannity,” and “Jesse Kelly” from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. iHeartMedia Seattle SVP of programming Rich Moore comments, “We are proud to be launching a new station in Seattle, seeing an opportunity to bring a powerful conservative talk lineup to the airwaves. This station brings highly engaging content and information with leading talent in the conservative talk space that our listeners will gravitate towards.”

 

Joe Pags Show Gets into Seattle Market on KPTR-AM. WOAI-AM, San Antonio-based talk host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo is part of the new Seattle news/talker KPTR-AM “1090 The Patriot.” Pags’ Compass Media Networks-syndicated “The Joe Pags Show” is airing on the new station from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Joe Pags says, “I am thrilled to bring my show to the great city of Seattle. Being part of this lineup of talk stars is a true privilege. I can’t wait to give the people of the Emerald City a place to come to voice their concerns, have some fun, and take part in important dialogue.” “The Joe Pags Show” is heard in more than 160 markets including Houston, Boston, Minneapolis, Denver, Portland, St. Louis, and Indianapolis.

 

iHeartMedia and the NFL’s Washington Commanders Ink Audio Partnership. The NFL’s Washington Commanders and iHeartMedia Washington DC announce a new, three-year partnership deal to be the team’s exclusive radio broadcast partner. Starting this season, the team’s games will air on classic rock WBIG-FM “BIG 100.3 FM” and be featured on the station’s website and on the iHeartRadio app. In addition to the team’s radio gameday broadcast, iHeartMedia says this partnership will offer a “robust lineup of exclusive programming across iHeartMedia D.C.’s radio stations and on the iHeartRadio App. New this season, fans will also be able to access archived radio broadcasts of the team’s games anytime via the Commanders channel on the iHeartRadio App.” iHeartMedia has no broadcast sports talk station in the market, but has four other music brands plus news/talk WWDC-HD2/W284CQ “104.7 WONK-FM” and news WUST-AM “DMV’s Black Information Network.”

 

NAB’s Michelle Duke Honored with MIW’s Trailblazer Award. The recipient of this year’s MIW Frances Preston Trailblazer Award from Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio, Inc. is Michelle Duke, president, NAB Leadership Foundation and chief diversity officer. The MIW Trailblazer Award is presented annually to a woman who, through her leadership and success in the industry, champions and creates opportunities for other women in radio to further their careers. In 2012, it was renamed the “Frances Preston Trailblazer Award” in honor of Frances Preston, longtime president and CEO of BMI. MIW board president Ruth Presslaff says, “What a joy to recognize and celebrate Michelle’s many accomplishments with this Trailblazer Award. I’ve worked with Michelle via Broadcast Leadership Training and know firsthand that her efforts are tireless and her work throughout our industry is meaningful. This award was a long time coming.”

 

TALKERS News Notes. A new study titled, “Exploring The Brand Benefits of Trust and Companionship in Audio,” commissioned by iHeartMedia and PMX (the investment arm of Publicis Media), finds that “consumers perceive radio and podcast personalities as highly relatable, trustworthy and authentic. These findings present rich opportunity for advertisers to build brand affinity and favorability, and drive purchase in audio environments.” The study was conducted by Magid and reveals that “55% of participants said they listen to commercials more often on radio and in podcasts than through any other medium. In addition, 53% found radio and podcast advertisements to be more relevant than on any other medium and 51% said they are more trusting of radio and podcast advertisers than on any other medium. When comparing radio versus streaming music services in nine consumer categories including restaurants, retail, automobiles and more, consumers who purchased a product were more likely to buy from an audio advertisement in every single category.”…..The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Ted Davis, former voice of the Milwaukee Bucks who retired after the 2021-22 season, posted to Facebook that he’s leaving his current gig at iHeartMedia’s sports talk WRNW-FM, Milwaukee “97.3 The Game.” He’ll continue to work with the station in a fill-in capacity. He co-hosted the “Heller & Davis” show with Mike Heller, who will continue to host the program solo…..iHeartMedia Denver announces that veteran sports broadcaster Jerry Schemmel returns to the KOA Colorado Rockies Radio Network, effective immediately. Schemmel shares play-by-play and color analyst duties with Jack Corrigan for all 162 Colorado Rockies games and returns to KOA for his 11th season following a two-year hiatus. He says, “I am elated to be coming back to the KOA Colorado Rockies Radio Network booth. I couldn’t be happier to be working with Jack Corrigan and producer Jesse Thomas. I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and get back at it.”

 

Russia-Ukraine War, the Economy/Inflation, January 6 Committee/Prosecutions, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, COVID-19, Macron-Le Pen Race, and Severe Southern U.S. Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/11). Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the allegations of war crimes, and the implications for U.S. relations abroad; the state of the U.S. economy, soaring inflation, and President Joe Biden’s ethanol authorization; the January 6 committee’s ongoing investigation and the prosecution of those who entered the Capitol; the battle for control of Congress in November’s midterms and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; America’s retreating from COVID-19 protocols, concerns about the BA.2 variant’s spread, and China’s zero-covid lockdown policy; the race for president of France between liberal Emmanuel Macron and far-right Marine Le Pen; and the severe spring weather hitting the U.S. South 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, March 29, 2022

KMOX, St. Louis Talk Host Charlie Brennan to Retire. Longtime KMOX, St. Louis talk radio personality Charlie Brennan announced to his listeners on Monday (3/28) that after nearly 34 years on the station, he will retire from his radio gig after his May 12 program. The Audacy station posted a story about Brennan’s retirement on its website that notes Brennan was hired in 1988 to work evenings and weekends and that, within two years, he was hosting the mid-morning show where he’s been ever since. It also recognizes Brennan’s community efforts, especially his local clean-up projects. In 2020, Brennan launched a four-day KMOX campaign raising $85,000 for Cardinal Children’s Hospital with assistance from actress Jenna Fisher, singer Michael McDonald, talk show host Andy Cohen, Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and comic Nikki Glazer. Over the years he’s helped raise funds and distribute supplies for flood victims both in the St. Louis region and other parts of the country; influenced legislation regarding traffic cameras, medical benefits, and food vendors; plus he’s organized five campaigns sending care packages to troops serving overseas. Brennan is the author of four books. Brennan also is a host of KETC-TV, St Louis’ “Donnybrook” program, among the highest-rated, locally-produced talk shows on PBS, a program he will continue to be a part of.

 

Compass Media Networks Promotes Nancy Abramson to SVP Sales & Content. Radio syndication pro Nancy Abramson is promoted to senior vice president of affiliate sales and content for Compass Media Networks. Abramson, who joined the company in 2014, will continue to be based out of the company’s New York office and will continue to spearhead its affiliate sales and affiliate marketing for select entertainment programming, including “DeDe in the Morning,” “Anna & Raven,” as well as services, including the Yamanair platform. Abramson comments, “The most important part of any job is that you are in a position where you admire, learn, and are stimulated by the people you work with – executives, colleagues, and clients. And if you are in sales, having great products to sell makes the job even more rewarding.  I have all that at Compass Media Networks.” Prior to joining Compass, Abramson served as executive director of the Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal Radio Networks.

 

Mai Martinez Named Morning Co-Anchor at Chicago’s WBBM Newsradio. Television news pro Mai Martinez is named morning co-anchor and reporter for Audacy’s all-news WBBM Newsradio (WCFS-FM/WBBM-AM), effective April 4. In this role, Martinez will spend much of her time in the field, covering the diverse communities of Chicago, while also teaming with Cisco Cotto each morning from 6:00 am to 9:00 am. Audacy Chicago regional president and market manager Rachel Williamson says, “This is a dream team of two experienced, talented journalists. Mai has a knack for uncovering the details that resonate with the people of this city. Together, she and Cisco have a passion for news plus warm and inviting voices that will greet our listeners each and every morning.” Prior to this role, Martinez spent 14 years as a general assignment reporter and weekend anchor at WBBM-TV. She comments, “Like so many Chicagoans, WBBM Newsradio has been a constant in my home and car for years. I’m honored to join such a talented team of hardworking and trusted journalists and continue the important work of informing and serving our community.”

 

Westwood One and NFL Renew Audio Media Partnership. Radio syndicator Westwood One and the National Football League announce the extension and expansion of their partnership with a new multi-year agreement. Westwood One, the official network audio broadcast partner of the NFL for more than 35 consecutive seasons and 50 years overall, will continue to provide play-by-play coverage for “Monday Night Football,” “Sunday Night Football,” “Thursday Night Football,” plus Thanksgiving Day, select international games, and the entire postseason including the Super Bowl. New elements of the deal include: Westwood One’s NFL primetime game broadcasts will be available free to fans on affiliated stations’ primary digital platforms and on the NFL App; Westwood One will offer expanded coverage of NFL tentpole events throughout the year, including NFL Honors, NFL Combine, NFL Draft, and NFL Schedule Release; and Westwood One and the NFL will explore creating new alternate game broadcasts in addition to the traditional Westwood One play-by-play. Westwood One president and Cumulus Media EVP corporate marketing Suzanne Grimes says, “What an honor it is for Westwood One to continue our multi-decade programming relationship with our iconic NFL partners by extending our exclusive network audio broadcast rights. Equally exciting is the opportunity to further grow our NFL fan base by expanding our relationship to include digital distribution rights as well as innovative, new content opportunities.”

 

 

Todd Starnes Show Gets Praise from Donald Trump. Pictured above is nationally syndicated talk radio host Todd Starnes (right) providing commentary from Donald Trump’s Commerce, Georgia rally on Newsmax TV. Starnes, who also spoke at the rally, says Trump, who has been a regular guest on his program, has praised his show.

 

Save a Life, Maybe Your Own. Radio pro and consultant Jon Quick writes in a piece for TALKERS magazine today not about programming talk radio as he’s done recently, but about a simple test he took that likely extended his life. Quick recently underwent quadruple bypass surgery after a heart scan revealed serious blockage in several of his arteries. Thanks to the test, he’s on the mend. And now, he’s an evangelist for this simple heart test. Read more here.

 

Audacy Launches Two New MLB Podcasts. A partnership between Audacy’s sports podcast studio and Major League Baseball results in the launch of two new programs: “Inside the Monster” and “Beat the Streak Daily: Inside the Hits.” “Inside the Monster” is a collaboration with the Boston Red Sox, hosted by Steve Perrault and Joey Copponi, that will have unprecedented access to Red Sox players, club personnel, reporters, front-office and beyond. Inspired by MLB’s popular “Beat the Streak” fantasy game where fans complete by picking players they think will get a hit each day in pursuit of breaking the all-time hitting streak record of 56 games, “Beat the Streak Daily: Inside the Hits” breaks down each day’s leaderboard and looks at stories that are developing around hitting. It’s hosted by WSCR, Chicago personality Matt Spiegel.

 

Russia-Ukraine War, Gas Prices/Inflation, COVID-19, January 6 Investigation, Midterms/ Trump & the GOP, and Will Smith-Chris Rock Incident Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/28). Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the possible poisoning of Ukrainian negotiators, and blowback over President Joe Biden’s saying Vladimir Putin must not stay in power; high gas prices and inflation pushing consumer retail prices up; concerns about the Omicron BA.2 variant; federal Judge David Carter issues ruling that Donald Trump “more likely than not” tried to subvert the 2020 election; the battle for control of Congress in November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; and Will Smith’s assault on Chris Rock at Sunday’s Oscars ceremony 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

Monday, March 7, 2022

Monday Memo: The Lightning Round. Reader warning: “Grab the arm rest!” In this week’s column, Holland Cooke admits he is “validating the consultant stereotype” by sharing “9-ideas-in-8-minutes” for sales, programming and news. Read it here.

 

Pending Business: King Content. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says the “sports world seems to be redefining how we view value and utilize king content” when we hear about Apple’s reported $2 billion bid for NFL games and media platforms. The NFL brand and its unique content can drive multiple platforms. What does this have to do with selling news/talk radio? Read about it here.

 

Cary Pahigian to Leave WBAL-AM and ’98 Rock’; Dan Joerres to Assume Radio Management. Broadcasting executive Cary L. Pahigian is leaving his role with Hearst Television Baltimore at the end of this month to explore several new professional opportunities. Pahigian has been president and general manager for the company’s two radio stations – news/talk WBAL-AM and rock WIYY-FM “98 Rock” – since 2014. Hearst will assign the radio station management duties to WBAL-TV general manager Dan Joerres. Hearst Television president Jordan Wertlieb says, “When Cary joined us eight years ago, he brought a wealth of experience at many of the nation’s most honored radio stations. His passionate advocacy for local broadcasting and his strong appreciation for broadcasters’ important community service role were hallmarks of his spectacular success in managing WBAL Radio and 98 ROCK to even greater heights. We wish him great success in his well-deserved next chapter.” Prior to joining Hearst Television, Pahigian was president and GM for Saga Communications’ nine-station Portland, Maine station group. He’s also served with WBZ-AM, Boston and WIP, Philadelphia. He comments, “I joined WBAL and 98 ROCK because of the exceptional leadership team and extraordinary culture at Hearst Television. And my longtime teammate and friend Dan Joerres epitomizes that level of managerial acumen. I know he will lead the outstanding teams throughout WBAL-TV, WBAL NewsRadio and 98 ROCK to even greater achievements.  While I plan more adventures for my ongoing career, I leave Hearst with my gratitude for their support and providing me the opportunity of a lifetime.”

 

KRMG-FM, Tulsa Names Jen Townley Co-Host of Morning Show. Television news pro Jen Townley is named the new co-host of the “KRMG Morning News with Dan Potter” on Cox Media Group’s news/talk KRMG-FM, Tulsa. Townley most recently served as a news producer for Cox Media Group’s KOKI-TV “FOX23.” KRMG director of branding & programming Levi May says, “We’re happy to be able to hire someone who is already a part of the Cox Media Group family. We already know Jen’s skill set is top-notch. Her impressive news background and engaging personality will add depth to our content that I cannot wait to get on-air.” Dan Potter comments, “I’m thrilled to be joined by an on-air partner with the energy, experience and personality Jen has. Her connections to newsmakers through her years of experience as a senior news producer coupled with her devotion to family life – not to mention her sense of humor – make JT the perfect choice to co-host the ‘KRMG Morning News’ with me.”

 

Mike Gallagher Covers ‘People’s Convoy.’ Pictured above is Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher in Hagerstown, Maryland as he covered the 1,000-vehicle “People’s Convoy” that converged on the Washington, DC beltway this weekend. Gallagher recorded one-on-one interviews with convoy participants that he’ll air on his program today (3/7). Gallagher says, “My show has always believed that the most important voice we present is our listeners. So, going one-on-one with the People’s Convoy is covering an important breaking news story the mainstream media is virtually ignoring.”

 

New Stephen K. Bannon Show Launches on John Fredericks Media Network. Today is the launch of a new talk radio program on the John Fredericks Media Network. “War Room: Battleground,” hosted by Stephen K. Bannon is his newest daily show and airs from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET that will focus on news, analysis, and the personalities of the 2022 midterm elections. The program is being aired on all eight of Fredericks’ owned and or operated radio stations, including WJFP-AM 740/W277DL/W237EH in Philadelphia, Delaware, and South Jersey “Liberty Radio”; WJFN-AM/FM in Central and Southeast Virginia; and WMLB-AM, Atlanta, and all corresponding streams. Fredericks says, “We are very excited to add Steve Bannon’s ‘War Room: Battleground’ to our radio network lineup. This is the most critical next nine months in the nation’s history, and all of our focus is on the upcoming primaries and nomination conventions. That’s why ‘War Room: Battleground’ is critical to giving our listeners and viewers critical insight into the various candidates and their policy positions.” Bannon comments, “The MAGA movement has a unique opportunity to destroy the Democratic Party as a functioning institution during the coming midterm election on 8 November. This is the moment to relentlessly focus on the America First agenda of President Trump. ‘War Room: Battleground’ will be that platform.”

 

Longtime WHAS-AM, Louisville Morning Host Wayne Perkey Dies at 84. The Courier-Journal reports that former longtime WHAS-AM, Louisville morning personality Wayne Perkey died yesterday (3/6) at age 84 after complications from COVID-19. His family tells the paper that Perkey was vaccinated and boosted so they were surprised when Perkey contracted the virus. Perkey acknowledged his supporters after revealing via Facebook that he’d been hospitalized, saying, “Thanks for all the good wishes. They are taking good care of me. I am so grateful for the good wishes and prayers. These are the times when we are so grateful for our friends and family.” Longtime WHAS colleague Terry Meiners is quoted in the paper saying, “He’s the voice of a generation. The thing I want people to know about Wayne is that his effervescent personality set the tone for the whole staff at the radio station. He was the positive ray of sunshine that everyone else sort of fell in line with.” Perkey joined WHAS in 1969 and worked there until his retirement in 1999. After leaving radio, he worked selling real estate.

 

TALKERS News Notes. The weekend program “Intelligence Matters” from CBS News Radio is setting its sights on the war in Ukraine. This past weekend, host Michael Morell hosted Mike Vickers – former Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, Special Forces officer and CIA operations officer – as the two discussed whether and how Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine may have been a gross strategic miscalculation, how and when the West might have deterred his moves, and what future scenarios for the conflict exist…..Westwood One will present a broadcast slate of 23 NCAA Men’s Basketball games from Conference Championship Week as well as three broadcasts of Women’s Championship games. Westwood One’s postseason basketball coverage began last weekend and continues through Selection Sunday, with the broadcasts of the Ivy League, the SEC, and the American Athletic Championship games…..Cox Media Group Tulsa held its 3rd Annual Big Spring Clean – an annual initiative with the goal of diverting tons of items from the dump into area recycling programs. The CMG Tulsa cluster includes news/talk KRMG-FM. Market VP Cathy Gunther says, “Since the inception of this effort, CMG Tulsa and our partners have diverted more than 155 tons of trash from hitting landfills. The event is open to all Green Country residents, and we are really proud to offer this service to our community.”…..PodcastOne announces that the “Ladygang” podcast has lined up a roster of their famous friends to step up and fill in for podcast founder Becca Tobin while she’s on maternity leave. Guest hosts include Heather Dubrow, Danny Pellegrino, Jackie Schimmell, TINX, Jason Tartick, Garcelle Beauvais, Michael Yo and Josephine Skriver.

Russia-Ukraine War, COVID-19/People’s Convoy, Oil Prices/Inflation, Brown SCOTUS Confirmation Process, and Deadly Iowa Tornado Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The ongoing Russian attack on the Ukraine and the rest of the world’s response to it; the falling rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the loosening of mask mandates, and the convoy of trucks and vehicles protesting mandates around Washington, DC; the soaring price of gasoline at the pump and the continuing high retail prices for consumer goods; the Republican strategy for the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson; and a tornado kills at least seven in Des Moines were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.