iHeartMedia announces three executive promotions. Amy Leimbach rises from her SVP of sales position in the Phoenix market to region SVP of sales for the newly created Greater Texas Region. Steve Earnhart is upped from his area president for the Southwest Region to region SVP for the newly created Greater Arizona Region. And Breeanna Malik rises from region SVP of sales for the Greater Texas Region to executive vice president of unified partnerships. Division president Scott Hopeck says, “It’s rewarding when you can promote from within your organization. The strong track records of these leaders combined with their response to ongoing coaching and development have made these promotions easy decisions. I’m excited to see how Amy and Steve transform our organization with their creativity and their commitment to client success.” President of unified partnerships Michael Preacher says, “We’re extremely excited to welcome Breeanna to executive leadership on our team. Given her history of high performance, Breeanna’s creativity, attention to detail and collaborative skills are a perfect fit in our partnerships division.”
Urban One Enters into Deal to Acquire Emmis Communications’ Indy Radio Stations. The price for the four radio stations, two translators and the regional programming network has not been revealed yet, but Urban One, Inc’s definitive asset purchase agreement with Emmis Communications to purchase its Indianapolis radio cluster means Emmis will be effectively out of the radio business. It still owns the licenses to WEPN-FM and WLIB-AM in New York but leases them. Under the terms of this new deal, Urban One will acquire adult contemporary WYXB-FM, country WLHK-FM, news/talk WIBC-FM, sports talk “The Fan” (translators W228CX at 93.5 and W298BB at 107.5), and Network Indiana. Urban One president and CEO Alfred Liggins comments, “These are terrific general market formats and will be a great addition to Urban One in a transaction that is accretive and deleveraging.” Urban One adds that in anticipation of the transaction, it will sell its hip hop WHHH-FM, Indianapolis along with the intellectual property related to WNOW to a third party. Emmis will continue to operate its stations and Urban One will continue to operate WHHH until the transaction closes. Meanwhile, Emmis founder and chairman Jeff Smulyan states, “When Emmis launched our first station, WENS now ‘HANK FM,’ in 1981, I never could have envisioned the journey we would go on. Indianapolis is my hometown, and I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish – we’ve become an invaluable contributor to the Indianapolis community, a leader of radio industry initiative and innovation, and a trusted resource for Central Indiana listeners and businesses.” Emmis notes in its press release that in recent years it “has sold many of its media assets and redeployed capital into new ventures which emphasize its sales and marketing experience including: Lencore Acoustics, a leader in high-quality sound masking solutions for commercial applications; Sound That BRANDS, the Los Angeles-based podcasting studio specializing in branded audio content for national advertisers; and Digonex, a leading provider of dynamic pricing solutions for attractions and live entertainment industries.”
Round One of May PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2022 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s May 2022 sweep covered April 28 – May 25. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In New York City, Red Apple Media’s news/talk WABC slips by three-tenths to a 3.3 share (weekly, 6+ AHQ share) finish good for the #10 rank. Across town, Audacy’s all-news WINS sheds 1.1 shares to finish with a 3.1 share and the #11 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles loses one-tenth, but remains ranked #3 on the strength of a 5.0 share. Audacy’s all-news KCBS-AM/KFRC-FM, San Francisco is up one-tenth, finishing with a 6.2 share that bumps it into the #2 rank. In Dallas, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WBAP posts a seven-tenths increase that pushes it to the #10 rank with a 3.6 share, while Audacy’s crosstown all-news KRLD-AM is steady at a 2.1 share but falls to the #20 rank. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets here.
TALKERS 2022 Coverage Coming Soon. The 25th annual installment (and second pandemic-era edition) of the talk media industry’s longest-running, largest, and most important national convention – TALKERS 2022 – took place this past Friday, June 10 and by all accounts significantly exceeded expectations. It was widely hailed by many of its longtime participants as “the best ‘TALKERS’ ever!” It was presented by TALKERS in association with Hofstra University’s award-winning radio station WRHU-FM/WRHU.org. Some 275 passionate media professionals from all over the country traveled to the beautiful campus of Hofstra on Long Island to see, hear and meet more than 60 luminary speakers – from talk media programming, management, station ownership, syndication, sales, marketing and technology – tackle the most compelling issues, opportunities and challenges currently at play in the industry. It was a power-packed day of non-stop panels, solo addresses, fireside charts, award presentations, exhibits and networking opportunities. The TALKERS editorial staff is now sifting through hundreds of photos and hours of video preparing extensive coverage of the conference and its enormous treasure trove of content that will be appearing in TALKERS magazine for days and weeks ahead. Pictured at the top of this story is TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (left) interviewing Key Networks-syndicated star Bill O’Reilly (right) during one of three keynote addresses. Pictured in the inset is Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk radio personality Buck Sexton addressing the attendees during the opening session.
Greta Van Susteren Launches on Newsmax TV Tonight. This evening (6/14), news/talk television pro Greta Van Susteren begins her program on Newsmax TV’s evening lineup. “The Record with Greta Van Susteren” airs at 6:00 pm ET. Van Susteren says, “With all that is going on in the world, I am getting back to my roots — a daily live news show with real reporting from the places where things are happening.” At the same time, Newsmax announces the new daily program schedule on the network: “The Chris Salcedo Show,” 4:00 pm; “Spicer & Co.” with Sean Spicer, Lyndsay Keith, 5:00 pm; “The Record with Greta Van Susteren,” 6:00 pm; “Rob Schmitt Tonight,” 7:00 pm; “Eric Bolling The Balance,” 8:00 pm; “Prime News” with Jenn Pellegrino, 9:00 pm; and “Greg Kelly Reports,” 10:00 pm. Newsmax EVP programming Elliot Jacobson comments, “This new schedule will strengthen Newsmax’s ability to deliver hard-hitting news and analysis when Americans need it the most.”
ATTENTION: TALKERS Heavy Hundred Members. TALKERS has been made aware that a trophy and plaque manufacturing company has been contacting talk show hosts who are listed as being members of the Heavy Hundred (The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America) and is soliciting them to purchase a costly plaque or trophy commemorating the honor. Please be advised that this plaque (or a variety of variations of awards and trophies available in their catalogue) is unofficial and the company – SHOWMARK MEDIA, LLC – enjoys no official connection or licensing agreement with TALKERS. According to TALKERS VP/associate publisher Matthew B. Harrison, “TALKERS has never engaged in charging its award recipients for items or products indicating their receiving an honor bestowed by our organization.”
Radio Hall of Fame 2022 Nominees Announced. The nominees for the Radio Hall of Fame class of 2022 have been announced by the Museum of Broadcast Communications. The 24 nominees were chosen by the Radio Hall of Fame Nominating Committee, with input from the radio industry and listeners. Voting for inductees begins Tuesday, June 22 and runs through July 8. The top six vote recipients will gain induction as part of the 2022 Radio Hall of Fame Induction class. The two additional inductees that will make up the eight-person induction class will be selected by the Radio Hall of Fame Nominating Committee. More than 600 industry members will receive a confidential ballot on Tuesday, June 22, to cast votes for up to six nominated individuals. The confidential ballot will be conducted by Votem.com, and overseen by Miller Kaplan’s Andrew Rosen. The nominees in spoken-word radio include: Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, SiriusXM; Dave Ross, KIRO-FM, Seattle; Diane Rehm, WAMU-FM,Washington DC; John & Ken, KFI, Los Angeles; Larry Elder; and Suzyn Waldman, New York Yankees Radio Network. You can see the complete list of nominees here. Radio Hall of Fame co-chairman Kraig T. Kitchin says, “We’ve made changes in 2022, to allow voting participants to vote for up to six nominees for induction, and limit the voting process to knowledgeable industry members. Listeners and industry members alike contributed more than 2,500 suggestions for the Nominating Committee to consider in addition to their own considerations.”
iHeartMedia Names AJ Punjabi Market President for San Francisco. Radio sales and management pro AJ Punjabi moves from iHeartMedia’s Charleston market, where he most recently served as the market president and enterprise leader of the Blockchain/Crypto/NFT category, to San Francisco to serve as market president. iHeartMedia’s San Francisco station group includes business talk KNEW-AM “Bloomberg Radio” and KKSF-AM “BIN: Black Information Network. iHeartMedia division president Scott Hopeck says, “AJ is a talent-focused leader with exceptional digital experience, which will serve him well in the Bay Area, where he will lead a talented team of creators and sales professionals. I’m excited for AJ to begin working with his team and our partners!”
Rob Parker Makes Debut at LA’s The Comedy Store. Last week, FOX Sports Radio personality Rob Parker, co-host of “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard and Rob Parker,” made his stand-up comedy debut at the legendary Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. Parker participated in the “Crack’Em Up Comedy” show in the Belly Room, a weekly showcase and workout room featuring rising comedy stars and established comedians. Pictured above are (l-r): Elijah Sebunnya, FOX Sports Radio digital content director; Scott Shapiro, FOX Sports Radio VP of programming; Parker; Jade Kozup, Premiere Networks director of marketing; and Mike Lingard, FOX Sports Radio executive news producer & operations manager.
‘New Jersey 101.5’ to Present Town Hall on ‘Growing Weed in the Garden State.’ This Thursday (6/16) at 7:00 pm,Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” presents the latest in a series of Town Hall broadcasts. “Growing Weed in the Garden State” explores how the legal adult use marijuana industry is impacting New Jersey. The station’s Eric Scott leads a panel that includes law enforcement, legal experts, regulators, growers and dispensary operators. “The sale of legal cannabis products for recreational use generated over $24 million in the first month,” Scott says. “While there is clearly demand for product, unintended consequences are continuing to surface.” The program will explore not only those unintended consequences, but also how legal marijuana sales are positively impacting New Jersey. The program’s on-air panel will feature: Bill Caruso, co-founder of New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform; Rob Nixon with the New Jersey State Police Benevolent Association; New Jersey State Senate president Nicholas Scutari; Chrissy Buteas, chief government affairs officer at New Jersey Business & Industry Association; as well as marijuana cultivators and dispensary operators.
The Economy, January 6 Hearings, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Russia-Ukraine War, COVID-19, White Nationalist Movement, and Western Heat-Drought Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/13). Financial markets hit bear territory, the soaring price of gasoline & food, and concerns about a recession; Monday’s session of the January 6 hearings; the primary elections for November’s midterms and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; Russia’s continuing invasion of Ukraine and the effects of the blockade on Ukraine’s major ports; the rate of infections of COVID-19; the arrest of 30 members of the white nationalist organization Patriot Front in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; and the Western heatwave and ongoing drought were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
iHeartMedia Ups Joe De Angelis to SVP of Promotions. This corporate promotion to SVP of promotions for the iHeartMedia Markets Group for Joe De Angelis comes after serving as director of marketing and promotions for iHeartMedia New York and national event brand manager since 2015. In his new role, De Angelis will “oversee promotions efforts across iHeartMedia’s entire roster of iconic brands and franchises — broadcast and digital — and align promotional efforts across iHeartMedia markets by creating and spearheading iHeartMedia’s Promotions Center.” De Angelis will report to Scott Hopeck, division president for the iHeartMedia Markets Group. Hopeck says, “I’m thrilled to promote Joe to senior vice president of promotions. During his time with iHeartMedia New York, Joe has proven that he is more than qualified for this role. He has extensive experience overseeing all marketing and promotions initiatives for our New York City stations, as well as our national tentpole events. Joe is a natural leader and an exceptional collaborator. I’m confident that he will effectively evolve how we develop and execute promotions for our brands and our partners.”
Audacy’s Bennett Zier Honored with MLK Jr Community Leaders Award. Radio executive Bennett Zier – who serves as Audacy Virginia SVP and market manager – was honored by The Urban League of Hampton Roads at its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Leaders event with the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Leaders Award. Zier says, “I am honored to receive this award on behalf of the Audacy stations in Hampton Roads. It’s our goal every day to embrace our local communities and partner with local leaders to build awareness in key areas like education, health and job growth…all while promoting compassion in our daily lives.” The award is presented to individuals or groups who exemplify service, demonstrate the values modeled by Dr. King, and make significant contributions to the Hampton Roads community. This year, Pharrell Williams served as the keynote speaker for the virtual event to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and recognize dedicated leaders in the Hampton Roads community.
Compass Media Networks Promotes Doug Ingold. Eight-year Compass Media Networks staffer Doug Ingold is promoted to vice president of affiliate sales for entertainment & music programming, effective immediately. Ingold will continue to be based out of the company’s Los Angeles office and will continue to spearhead distribution of some of the company’s entertainment shows, including “Big D & Bubba,” “Dave & Mahoney,” “Free Beer & Hot Wings,” “Rick Dees,” “Pop Crush Nights,” “Taste of Country,” “Ultimate Classic Rock” and many others. Ingold comments, “Compass Media Networks commitment to music & entertainment programming is strong and I’m grateful to be contributing to its long-term growth. It’s a privilege to serve our affiliates and partners with a tremendous roster of talent, shows and digital assets. Many thanks to our team for their support and much gratitude to Peter Kosann, Hiram Lazar, and Adam Wilbur.”
‘Today’s Homeowner’ Announces Backyard Makeover Promotion. The nationally syndicated home improvement television show “Today’s Homeowner” announces the 2022 edition of the “Backyard Paradise” promotion is now accepting entries through February 13. The winner of this contest, sponsored by Pavestone and Quikrete, will receive a backyard makeover and be featured on “Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford.” Lipford’s Today’s Homeowner Media also syndicates a weekly radio program of the same name. Lipford says, “You can’t go wrong when developing an outdoor living area for your home. This contest is a highlight for me every year because it’s rewarding to work with homeowners who want to improve and invest in their homes. My team and I get to help bring a dream to reality, plus share some creative, practical inspiration with our audience.”
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that public radio WBEZ-FM’s parent company “is moving forward on plans to acquire the Chicago Sun-Times — a merger designed to assure survival of the money-losing newspaper while creating one of the nation’s largest nonprofit local news organizations.” Feder says that the “financial terms were not disclosed, but major funding is expected from Michael Sacks, lead investor in the Sun-Times, along with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Pritzker Traubert Foundation…..PodcastOne announces the launch of the “Cobra Koves” podcast and vodcast with beloved “Cobra Kai” star Martin Kove. The podcast will make its debut tomorrow (1/20) and will feature Kove and his children, fraternal twins Jesse and Rachel, as they recap episodes of the Netflix global hit television series, share stories from the original Karate Kid trilogy of films and give insight into their close-knit family bond…..Today’s episode of ABC News’ flagship daily podcast “Start Here,” is the 1,000th episode of the program hosted by Brad Mielke…..The PGA TOUR and SiriusXM sign a multi-year extension of their broadcasting agreement, which will continue to deliver extensive tournament coverage on the SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio channel for subscribers nationwide through 2024. The deal provides for live coverage of every round of 38 PGA TOUR events throughout the season.
COVID-19, Midterm Elections/Trump & the GOP, Biden Press Conference, Violent Crime, Inflation/Supply Chain, Ukraine Standoff, Trump Organization Investigation, and Synagogue Attacker Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/18). The high rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad, SCOTUS on Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate, and mask purchase; the battle for control of Congress in the midterm elections and Donald Trump’s relationship with the GOP; today’s President Biden press conference; the rise of violent crime in America’s major cities; high retail and oil prices and the effect of the broken supply chain; relations between the U.S. and Russia over the Ukraine; the New York AG’s investigation into the Trump Organization; and the prior criminal record of Texas synagogue attacker Malik Faisal Akram were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.