Longtime WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta news anchor Marcy Williams is retiring from the Cox Media Group station after a 31-year career there. Williams began her WSB Radio career as an overnight anchor, and quickly rose through the ranks to become the anchor of the “Atlanta’s Morning News” program. She says, “I’ve spent 30 years as the first female co-anchor of ‘Atlanta’s Morning News.’ With a little back-of-the-envelope math, I calculate I’ve written more than 300,000 stories over those three decades. Now it’s time for me to write a new chapter.” Station news director Amanda Moyer comments, “Marcy has been a leader and an example in our newsroom for more than three decades. Her recent Gracie award win is the perfect cap to her long tenure at WSB as the first, and to this day, the only female lead news anchor on ‘Atlanta’s Morning News.’ She will be deeply missed, but our loss is her granddaughter’s gain.”
Dominic ‘Zakk’ Zaccagnini Named PD for WHAM, Rochester and WSYR, Syracuse. Radio programming pro Dominic “Zakk” Zaccagnini is named program director for “NewsRadio WHAM 1180,” classic rock WAIO-FM “Radio 95.1” in Rochester and news/talk WSYR, Syracuse, effective immediately. He will report to Tias Schuster, SVP of programming for iHeartMedia Upstate New York. Zaccagnini joins the iHeartMedia Rochester and Syracuse markets from Cumulus Media’s rock KSAN-FM, San Francisco where he was program director and afternoon drive host while also handling pregame host duties for the Kansas City Chiefs on KCFX-FM, Kansas City. Schuster says, “Zakk is a winner with deep programming knowledge coming from multiple formats and major markets. We look forward to his vision, energy, and leadership that he will bring to our stations.” Zakk comments, “It is a privilege for me to join so many talented professionals and become part of these amazing brands in this management role. I am grateful and very excited for this opportunity. Thanks to everyone at iHeartMedia for making it happen!”
Jeff Austin Adds ‘ESPN 1320’ Sacramento Brand Manager Duties. Programming pro Jeff Austin is named brand manager for Audacy’s KIFM-AM, Sacramento “ESPN 1320.” Austin continues his current role with the company as brand manager for sports talk outlets KFXX-AM “1080 The Fan” and KMTT-AM “910 ESPN” in Portland. He assumes the duties from Danny Freisinger, who was recently promoted to director of sports for Audacy’s 2400Sports podcast studio. Audacy Sacramento and San Francisco SVP and market manager Stacey Kauffman says, “We’re delighted to bring Jeff’s ability to mold local sports brands to our market and have his oversight at the helm of KIFM. His experience managing two favorites in Portland will serve him well as he expands his role with us, and we look forward to watching ‘ESPN 1320’ continue to build on its success.”
WBZ-FM, Boston’s Tony Massarotti Named Color Commentator for NESN’s Red Sox Coverage. Boston sports media personality Tony Massarotti is named the TV color commentator for NESN’s presentation of Boston Red Sox games this season. Massarotti co-hosts the afternoon drive show with Michael Felger on Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub.” Massarotti also hosts “The Baseball Hour with Tony Mazz” on “98.5 The Sports Hub” during the baseball season. He served as the Red Sox beat writer for the Boston Herald from 1994-2008. He’s also the co-author of Big Papi: My Story of Big Dreams and Big Hits, with David Ortiz, and Knuckler: My Life with Baseball’s Most Confounding Pitch, written with Tim Wakefield. Massarotti says, “I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity, but it was obviously a unique circumstance that required the sacrifices and cooperation of many people. I can’t say enough about the support and open-mindedness of the people at Beasley Media Group, The Sports Hub, NESN and the Red Sox for their parts in making this work. In all my time reporting on and talking about baseball, I can’t ever remember being more excited about an approaching Boston baseball season than I am for this one.”
WSB, Atlanta Celebrates 100 Years of Service. Atlanta news/talk WSB-AM is celebrating its 100th anniversary serving the market today (3/15). Cox Media Group says its flagship brand, WSB Radio, broadcast across the airwaves for the first time on March 15, 1922 and was the first radio station in the Southeast. The station’s call stood for “Welcome South Brother.” CMG says the station was soon nicknamed The Voice of the South and today continues delivering the news, weather, sports and traffic that matter to listeners while giving back to the Atlanta community. The company adds, “WSB expanded in 2010 to a full-time simulcast on 95.5 FM, extending its footprint across the metro Atlanta area. With its expanded reach, WSB set its sights on innovating its content, digital platforms, programming, sales, production, promotions and engineering, all contributing to the brand’s ongoing success and longevity.” CMG Atlanta and Athens VP/GM Jaleigh Long states, “As we celebrate this milestone, we are honored to have such a talented and diverse team who have served WSB through the years to help us remain at the forefront of innovation that keeps us connected to our audience and local advertisers. 100 years of community service is in our DNA and if there’s anything we are proud of, it’s the station’s rich history of uplifting the surrounding community. WSB’s never-ending commitment to innovation and embracing change will propel the us into the next century and beyond.”
Media Execs Spencer Brown and Charles Steinhauer Form New Firm Gemini XIII. The new company, Gemini XIII, is described in a press release as “the podcasting and radio industries’ new home for premium audio content, production and marketing services.” The company is being founded by Cadence13 and Dial Global founder Spencer Brown (left) and former Westwood One COO Charles Steinhauer (right). At the same time, Gemini XIII announces it has acquired The Infinite Agency, a full-service digital advertising agency based in Dallas, as well as Phantom Producer, an audio imaging service from Australian audio producer Jeff Thomas that includes web and mobile app user interfaces. Jonathan Ogle is remaining in his president role with The Infinite Agency and Thomas will continue to lead Phantom Producer. Gemini XIII is based in New York, with offices in Dallas and Sydney, Australia. Gemini XIII CEO Spencer Brown says, “We are pleased to announce the launch of Gemini XIII with the acquisition of two of audio and advertising’s most innovative companies, The Infinite Agency, and Phantom Producer. These great companies are a formidable launching pad for what we expect to be Gemini XIII’s growing portfolio of audio’s most exciting brands. We welcome the talented professionals at these organizations to the Gemini XIII family and look forward to serving our partners and customers with the very best in content and services.” Company COO Charles Steinhauer adds, “These two companies represent a solid foundation of talented people from which Gemini XIII will continue to build. We are committed to bringing new resources and capabilities to audio and to offer new and creative ways to tell stories in audio. We are actively exploring opportunities to complement these organizations to once again build and grow a new breed of audio company.”
WWO Audio Active Group: Radio Helps Reach More Swing Voters. According to data from Nielsen VP of cross platform insights Tony Hereau, “the addition of AM/FM radio to a political media plan can generate an extraordinary amount of incremental voter reach.” Hereau recently presented the findings to the American Association of Political Consultants in a report called, “The 10% Solution: Optimizing the Political Media Plan with Radio to Reach Swing Voters.” Some of the key findings in his report include: 1) 45% of voters are zero/light TV viewers who are impossible to reach with TV ads: Nielsen finds there has been a sharp increase in voters who watch little or no TV; 2) The combination of connected TV and AM/FM radio can reach voters who are zero/light TV viewers: AM/FM radio reaches 82% of zero/light TV voters. Connected TV reaches 62% of zero/light TV voters. Combined, CTV and AM/FM radio can significantly supplement the political media plan; 3) Zero/light TV voters reached by AM/FM radio are younger, upscale, and more likely to have kids; 4) AM/FM radio is a rich source of swing voters: 40% to 50% of AM/FM radio programming format audiences are swing voters, according to Nielsen; and 5) AM/FM radio advertising was the untold secret ingredient to Glenn Youngkin’s Virginia gubernatorial victory. See more from this post here.
BIA: Local Audio Ad Spend Forecast for 2022 is $14.7 Billion. According to a new forecast from BIA Advisory Services, $14.7 billion will be spent in ad-supported local audio platforms including broadcast radio and digital audio. BIA says the local audio advertising marketplace is becoming more competitive with more streaming services and podcasts. While the shares of local radio OTA (Over-the-Air) advertising is eroding, radio digital is increasing, providing radio stations an avenue to still increase their sales. BIA’s local audio estimate breaks out advertising revenue forecast for 2022 from each of the following local ad-supported local audio platforms: Radio OTA: $12.7 billion – All revenues generated by local radio stations for sale of time to either national or local advertisers from their over-the-air broadcasts. Does not include any advertising sold by the national radio networks. Radio Digital: $1.7 billion – All revenues generated by local radio stations from national, regional and local advertisers targeting a local market from their online activities. Includes display and streaming advertising revenue other than Pandora. Pandora: $400 million – Audio and display advertising revenue generated by Pandora from national, regional and local advertisers targeting a local market.
TALKERS News Notes. New York City talk radio host Mark Simone tells TALKERS magazine that his 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program on iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOR-AM “has set a new ratings record, getting the largest total audience (Persons 6+) of any radio station in New York, beating all of the 85 other stations – the only talk show to do that in this century.” Simone’s program garnered a 6.7 share for the two-hour period in Nielsen’s January 2022 PPM survey…..WABC, New York talk host Sid Rosenberg has a cool TV gig on the side. As reported by InsideRadio, Rosenberg plays Dave Busco, a soldier in a crime family, in the Amazon Prime series “Gravesend.”…..Salem Radio Network’s 24/7 national news service SRN News is providing live, comprehensive coverage of a rare “virtual” address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tomorrow (3/16). SRN live coverage begins at 9:00 am ET anchored by SRN News White House correspondent Greg Clugston, featuring remarks by Zelensky followed by recap and analysis of the Urkrainian leader’s address. Additionally, the network’s nationally syndicated “Mike Gallagher Show” on Wednesday will not only feature highlights of Zelensky’s remarks but a special “America Reacts” segment as listeners from coast-to-coast weigh in with their instant reaction to the latest development in the four-week Russia/Ukraine conflict…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is again presenting complete coverage of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. Coverage will tip off with First Four action on Tuesday, March 15 and run through the NCAA Men’s Final Four on Saturday, April 2 and the National Championship Game on Monday, April 4 in both English and Spanish. Westwood One is also announcing the expansion of its coverage of NCAA Women’s Championship events. For the first time, both the Women’s Frozen Four and the Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship will be broadcast nationally on radio. Westwood One’s women’s coverage will also include the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament featuring every game from the Sweet Sixteen through the Final Four and National Championship Game, as well as every game of the Women’s College World Series…..Audacy’s Cadence13 podcast studio announces a partnership with creator-focused new media company Puck and the launch of the program “The Powers That Be Daily,” that brings listeners inside the four corners of power in America: Wall Street, Washington, Silicon Valley and Hollywood. Emmy Award-winning journalist Peter Hamby and Puck’s team of founding partners, including Julia Ioffe, Matt Belloni, Dylan Byers, Theodore Schleifer, Tina Nguyen, Eriq Gardner, Baratunde Thurston, and William D. Cohan, “pick up where the news ends to explore the story behind the stories driving the day’s headlines across Wall Street, Washington, Silicon Valley and Hollywood with a digestible and dishy 15-20 minute daily rundown featuring insider insights.”
Chicago Radio Legend Pervis Spann Dies at 89. WGN-TV reports that Chicago radio legend Pervis Spann has died of complications from Alzheimer’s. During his career in radio he served as a DJ and helped build WVON-AM where his daughter Melody Spann-Cooper currently serves as president and general manager.
Russia-Ukraine War, U.S.-China Relations, Gas Prices/Inflation, COVID-19/People’s Convoy, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, January 6, and Urban Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/14). Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and the U.S.’s role in sanctions and arming the Ukrainian military; the U.S.’s relations with China as Russia asks Xi Jinping for military aid; soaring gas prices and the still rising costs of retail consumer goods; the leveling of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the lockdowns in China, and the still-active People’s Convoy protesting mandates in Washington, DC; the battle for control of Congress in November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife Gini’s admission to attending the rally prior to the raid on the Capitol on January 6, 2021; the capture of a man suspected of killing homeless people and the arrest of an NYC man who beat an elderly Asian woman were some of the top stories discussed on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
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WTOP, Washington’s Joel Oxley Testifies on Journalism Competition and Preservation Act. At a Senate subcommittee hearing in Washington, DC on Wednesday (2/2), numerous media executives provided testimony as the subcommittee considers the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act that “creates a four-year safe harbor from antitrust laws for print, broadcast, or digital news companies to collectively negotiate with online content distributors (e.g., social media companies) regarding the terms on which the news companies’ content may be distributed by online content distributors.” Joel Oxley, general manager of Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington, DC testified on behalf of the National Association of Broadcasters. He said, “Quality journalism delivered through our uniquely free service has only been made possible over many decades through advertising revenues. As you all are aware, these revenues have experienced a free-fall in recent years, due almost exclusively to the rapid, often anticompetitive, expansion of the dominant online platforms who have upended the advertising marketplace. The market power of the tech platforms undermines the online advertising model for local broadcast journalism in two important ways. First, the tech platforms’ role as content gatekeepers stifles our ability to generate user traffic. Second, anticompetitive terms of service and a ‘take it or leave it’ approach leave local broadcasters with a below-market sliver of those advertising revenues derived through their products. For local broadcasters and our viewers and listeners who rely on quality journalism, this is a real catch-22: To attract online user traffic, we must be accessible through the major platforms, yet the terms of access dictated by the online platforms devalue our product. For example, not only is WTOP not being compensated by Facebook and Google for its content, WTOP is actually paying to make sure its content is being accessed on their platforms.” He added, “The dominant online platforms have flourished, siphoning off huge amounts of advertising revenues that are the lifeblood of free, local journalism. Consider the big storm that just blew through the Northeast over the weekend – a nor’easter and blizzard conditions. Tons of work at a lot of cost and time for local broadcasters to cover it for millions of people. But not for Facebook, Google and the like. They simply take our coverage and profit from it, and virtually nothing comes back to us. But without local news, my guess is a lot of people would have not evacuated places like Cape Cod last weekend, and lives would have been risked. We just can’t have that.” You can read his complete testimony here.
Erick Erickson Show Adds New Affiliates; Reports Ratings Growth. Nationally syndicated talk radio personality Erick Erickson announces the addition of two new affiliate stations as Audacy’s KXNT, Las Vegas and Willamette Broadcasting’s KYKN, Salem, Oregon add the show to their program schedules. The show says, “In every Nielsen PPM market carrying his show, either live or delayed, Erickson is generating higher ratings than the show he replaced, including Rush Limbaugh’s show in Atlanta, Georgia on Erickson’s flagship station, WSB Radio. Erickson is also seeing robust digital growth. From June to December 2021, Erickson’s live-streaming audience increased 339% and his podcast audience grew 188%.”
Terry Foxx Named to Programming Role at Public Outlet KUT, Austin. Radio programming pro Terry Foxx is joining public radio station KUT, Austin as director of programming and audience. The organization says Foxx will oversee KUT 90.5’s on-air programming and KUT and KUTX Studios’ podcast strategy. He will collaborate with the KUT newsroom and sister station KUTX 98.9, the Austin Music Experience, on developing audience-centered engagement strategies and expanding KUT’s reach. Foxx has most recently been serving as brand manager for Radio One’s sports talk WFNZ-AM, Charlotte and sister AC WLNK-FM. KUT and KUTX general manager Debbie Hiott comments, “Terry has deep knowledge and experience when it comes to identifying and expanding audiences. He grew up in Texas, has always had family in Austin, and understands how KUT can serve our community. With those things he will help us develop and provide programming that reaches into new areas important to Central Texas.” Foxx says, “KUT has a rich heritage and is part of the fabric of Central Texas. I look forward to joining the strong team at KUT and engaging new listeners in creative ways.”
BIN: Black Information Network Names Andrea Coleman News Director; Ramses Ja to Host New Daily Podcast. News pro Andrea Coleman is promoted from news anchor to news director for iHeartMedia’s BIN: Black Information Network. In this new role, Coleman will be responsible for leading day-to-day newsroom operations, reporter and anchor development, and coordinating live news and specialty programming. She’ll be based in Atlanta, reporting to Tanita Myers, VP/news operations for the Black Information Network. Coleman joined iHeartMedia as an anchor/reporter for the Black Information Network in the summer of 2020. She says, “I welcome the opportunity to serve as news director of the Black Information Network and to continue to be a part of the dynamic team of Black professionals who have made the Network a relevant, trusted source of news and information for our community. We look forward to keeping our listeners informed and educated on all matters important to the Black experience.” BIN: Black Information Network also announces that media personality Ramses Ja is joining the Network as the host of the new daily podcast, “Our Daily Story with Ramses Ja.” The program will feature Black journalists from across America telling the most meaningful stories of the day, from their perspective. The daily talk show-style podcast will premiere later this month, with new episodes launching every weekday morning. Ja says, “I’m excited to be partnering with BIN: Black Information Network. This partnership helps show the company’s commitment to helping create a more equitable experience for Black people in this country, and the other projects we have in the works are also sure to continue that trend.” BIN: Black Information Network president Tony Coles comments, “As BIN: Black Information Network continues to grow, I am thrilled to have Ramses Ja and Andrea Coleman as part of our team. They are incredibly talented, with proven track records, and dedication to delivering significant and trusted news coverage to the Black community. I know they will contribute to the network’s mission and ongoing success.”
Newsmax Claims Big Ratings for Trump Rally Coverage. Citing Nielsen data from last weekend, Newsmax says it was the big ratings winner with its exclusive cable coverage of former President Donald Trump’s rally in Texas. Newsmax reports “some 2.9 million cable viewers tuned in to watch the event live from Conroe — and 1.1 million of them were adults ages 35-64, the demographic craved by advertisers… though Newsmax is carried in 20 million fewer homes than FOX, total audience impressions for both networks during Trump’s speech was almost at parity, both drawing around 1.4 million viewers per minute, according to Nielsen.” Newsmax points to a piece in Business Insider that said, “Newsmax’s audience skyrockets during Trump rallies that other networks, including FOX News, ignore.’” Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy comments, “We can’t speak to FOX News’ decisions, but we believe this rally was a significant news event that was worthy of coverage.”
TALKERS News Notes. Former WIBC, Indianapolis talk host Greg Garrison has filed papers to run for prosecutor of Hamilton County, Indiana. According to the Indianapolis Star, the 74-year-old Garrison will face off against three-term Republican prosecutor D. Lee Buckinham in the primary. Garrison, who also had a long career as a personal injury lawyer, retired from his radio program in 2017. He was part of the prosecution team that helped convict boxer Mike Tyson of rape charges in 1992…..Reporter Mara Hoplamazian is named New Hampshire Public Radio’s energy and environment reporter, a role in which they will anchor NHPR’s “By Degrees” climate reporting initiative. NHPR news director Dan Barrick says, “Awareness and dialogue are the best tools we have to fight climate change. The work of journalists such as Mara are crucial not simply to inform but to create awareness of what is at risk, and what we can do together.” Hoplamazian came to NHPR as the Barbara and Dick Couch Fellow. Before joining NHPR, Hoplamazian worked as an investigative reporting intern at The Sacramento Bee and a media intern at the Smithsonian Institution.
Trump & the GOP/Midterm Elections, January 6 Investigation, Ukraine Tensions, COVID-19, Spotify’s Joe Rogan Controversy, Whoopi Goldberg Suspension, Financial Markets/Economy, CNN’s Zucker Resigns, Beijing Olympics, Winter Weather, and Washington Football Team Reveals New Name Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/2). Former President Donald Trump’s influence within the GOP and November’s midterm elections; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and Russia over the latter’s military build-up at the Ukraine border; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad and mask & vaccine mandates; the controversy over artists pulling their music from Spotify because of the conspiratorial tone of “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast; ABC is slammed for suspending Whoopi Goldberg over her holocaust comments; the world’s financial markets and concerns about the COVID-hampered U.S. economy; Jeff Zucker resigns from CNN after failing to acknowledge his romantic relationship with an employee; the political aspects of the Beijing Winter Olympics; severe winter weather affecting much of the U.S.; and reactions to the NFL’s Washington franchise revealing its new Commanders moniker were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.