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Insideradio.com - Inside Radio Newsletter
Monday, September 28, 2020

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Media Ownership Lands On The Supreme Court Steps This Week.

The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and expected battle over her replacement, has put the Supreme Court in the headlines in recent days. For broadcasters, the Court will play a pivotal role in the fate of media ownership limits well before Ginsburg’s replacement is confirmed. The Court is scheduled to discuss this week whether to hear an appeal by the FCC and National Association of Broadcasters seeking to reinstate several updates to the ownership rules.

The case is pinned on a 3-2 vote in November 2018 when the FCC decided to abolish the newspaper-broadcast and radio-TV cross-ownership rules, rework the radio AM-FM subcap regulations, and relax several television ownership restrictions, including allowing the same company to own two of the big network affiliates in a single market.

Several public interest groups challenged the moves and, in a 2-1 decision, the Third Circuit concluded the agency had not adequately analyzed the potential effect of the regulatory changes on female and minority ownership of broadcast stations. In their appeals to the Supreme Court, the FCC and NAB have said the court’s decisions have frozen in place decades-old ownership restrictions that have long outlived their competitive usefulness in light of dramatic upheavals in the media markets.

President Trump over the weekend nominated Amy Coney Barrett to fill the Ginsburg vacancy and Senate Republicans have pledged to confirm her before Election Day. Even if that timeline slides, Pillsbury attorney Scott Flick thinks nine justices could ultimately decide the media ownership case.

“We are still some time away from the case being argued before the Court. As a result, there is a good chance a new justice will have been confirmed by then,” said Flick. “The immediate effect of that is it reduces the likelihood of the Third Circuit’s decision remaining in place because of a four-four split.” If there is a tie vote, it leaves the lower court decision in place.

Before then, it will take only four votes by the eight remaining justices to hear the FCC and NAB appeal. The Supreme Court remains one of the few block boxes in Washington, and predictions are notoriously difficult. But Foster Garvey attorney Brad Deutsch said that if they accept the challenge, it would be a good indication the conservative majority has the support to overturn the lower court’s ruling. That’s because if they want to affirm the Third Circuit, the justices would simply allow the appellate decision to stand. “There would be no motivation to take the case,” said Deutsch.

New Justice May Not Cast A Deciding Vote

Ginsburg’s death may further tilt the Court to the right, but there is already a conservative majority that may be willing to overturn the Third Circuit and put the updated media ownership rules back on the books. “On the substance, I’m not sure this is a case that will need another conservative vote to get them to five, especially since you have a nice combo already for the conservatives in upholding government action plus getting rid of regulation,” Deutsch said.

The Third Circuit’s decision may have set up the Supreme Court to decide along such political beliefs. Attorneys say the dissenting opinion of Third Circuit Judge Anthony Scirica offered them a road map. He said the majority failed to consider the realities of a rapidly evolving marketplace. He also said that the FCC’s existing rules are built for a pre-internet marketplace and “no longer serve the public interest” and should be repealed or modified.

But Flick said predicting how any new justice will vote on such an appeal is a speculative venture, as media ownership views don’t always split neatly along liberal and conservative lines.

“To the extent the Third Circuit’s decision blocks ownership deregulation on the theory that the FCC needs to give greater consideration as to how those rule changes would affect media diversity,” said Flick, “many would argue that the likelihood of the FCC’s appeal succeeding increases if a justice aligned with conservative views is confirmed.” Still, he said it will depend on Barrett’s views on media ownership. And it’s a position that broadcasters won’t know until a ruling is in their hands, since it is unlikely media ownership will be one of the issues that come up during a Senate confirmation hearing.

For three times in 17 years, the Third Circuit blocked the FCC’s media ownership revisions from taking effect. Deutsch thinks that morass could help convince the justices to get involved.

“Not to grant cert means this mess just continues forever,” he said. “Whether it’s the court’s fault or the Commission’s fault, nobody seems to know how to get out of this. And so for that reason alone I think the Supreme Court might take the case.”

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Media Ownership Lands On The Supreme Court Steps This Week.

The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and expected battle over her replacement, has put the Supreme Court in the headlines in recent days. For broadcasters, the Court will play a pivotal role in the fate of media ownership limits well before Ginsburg’s replacement is confirmed. The Court is scheduled to discuss this week whether to hear an appeal by the FCC and National Association of Broadcasters seeking to reinstate several updates to the ownership rules.

The case is pinned on a 3-2 vote in November 2018 when the FCC decided to abolish the newspaper-broadcast and radio-TV cross-ownership rules, rework the radio AM-FM subcap regulations, and relax several television ownership restrictions, including allowing the same company to own two of the big network affiliates in a single market.

Several public interest groups challenged the moves and, in a 2-1 decision, the Third Circuit concluded the agency had not adequately analyzed the potential effect of the regulatory changes on female and minority ownership of broadcast stations. In their appeals to the Supreme Court, the FCC and NAB have said the court’s decisions have frozen in place decades-old ownership restrictions that have long outlived their competitive usefulness in light of dramatic upheavals in the media markets.

President Trump over the weekend nominated Amy Coney Barrett to fill the Ginsburg vacancy and Senate Republicans have pledged to confirm her before Election Day. Even if that timeline slides, Pillsbury attorney Scott Flick thinks nine justices could ultimately decide the media ownership case.

“We are still some time away from the case being argued before the Court. As a result, there is a good chance a new justice will have been confirmed by then,” said Flick. “The immediate effect of that is it reduces the likelihood of the Third Circuit’s decision remaining in place because of a four-four split.” If there is a tie vote, it leaves the lower court decision in place.

Before then, it will take only four votes by the eight remaining justices to hear the FCC and NAB appeal. The Supreme Court remains one of the few block boxes in Washington, and predictions are notoriously difficult. But Foster Garvey attorney Brad Deutsch said that if they accept the challenge, it would be a good indication the conservative majority has the support to overturn the lower court’s ruling. That’s because if they want to affirm the Third Circuit, the justices would simply allow the appellate decision to stand. “There would be no motivation to take the case,” said Deutsch.

New Justice May Not Cast A Deciding Vote

Ginsburg’s death may further tilt the Court to the right, but there is already a conservative majority that may be willing to overturn the Third Circuit and put the updated media ownership rules back on the books. “On the substance, I’m not sure this is a case that will need another conservative vote to get them to five, especially since you have a nice combo already for the conservatives in upholding government action plus getting rid of regulation,” Deutsch said.

The Third Circuit’s decision may have set up the Supreme Court to decide along such political beliefs. Attorneys say the dissenting opinion of Third Circuit Judge Anthony Scirica offered them a road map. He said the majority failed to consider the realities of a rapidly evolving marketplace. He also said that the FCC’s existing rules are built for a pre-internet marketplace and “no longer serve the public interest” and should be repealed or modified.

But Flick said predicting how any new justice will vote on such an appeal is a speculative venture, as media ownership views don’t always split neatly along liberal and conservative lines.

“To the extent the Third Circuit’s decision blocks ownership deregulation on the theory that the FCC needs to give greater consideration as to how those rule changes would affect media diversity,” said Flick, “many would argue that the likelihood of the FCC’s appeal succeeding increases if a justice aligned with conservative views is confirmed.” Still, he said it will depend on Barrett’s views on media ownership. And it’s a position that broadcasters won’t know until a ruling is in their hands, since it is unlikely media ownership will be one of the issues that come up during a Senate confirmation hearing.

For three times in 17 years, the Third Circuit blocked the FCC’s media ownership revisions from taking effect. Deutsch thinks that morass could help convince the justices to get involved.

“Not to grant cert means this mess just continues forever,” he said. “Whether it’s the court’s fault or the Commission’s fault, nobody seems to know how to get out of this. And so for that reason alone I think the Supreme Court might take the case.”

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Nonprofit Seeks $7 Million Judgement Against Talk Radio Network For Unpaid Loans.

Talk Radio Network, the Oregon-based syndicator run by Mark Masters, has been sued by a nonprofit religious organization founded by his father, Roy Masters, which alleges the network reneged on over $7 million in loans it issued between 2004 and 2011.

Foundation of Human Understanding (FHU), a California nonprofit headquartered in Josephine County, OR, is seeking a $7 million judgement against TRN for a loan it granted the radio network in September 2004 that came due on Sept. 2, 2014. The suit claims TRN “has failed to pay any amounts due to the plaintiff” under the note. In addition to the unpaid principal, the nonprofit is seeking unpaid interest and collection and legal costs, along with post-judgement interest.

FHU was founded in 1963 by Roy Masters, an author, talk show host and the creator of a form of meditation. His eldest son David is a director of the nonprofit and Roy’s son Mark is a board member.

The $7 million loan isn’t the only promissory note TRN has allegedly defaulted on. The suit claims FHU made several smaller loans to TRN from 2008-2011 that total $21,220. TRN hasn’t made any payments on the smaller notes, which also matured on Sept. 2, 2014, according to the suit.

Originally filed Aug. 24 in Oregon State Circuit Court in Josephine County, TRN on Sept. 24 filed to have the suit moved to U.S. District Court in Medford, OR.

The suit suggests TRN’s troubles may run deeper, claiming the Oregon Secretary Of State revoked the authority of TRN to transact business in Oregon as of June 9, 2016.

No stranger to the courtroom, TRN in April 2016 filed a sensational, 44-page lawsuit against Cumulus Media and Westwood One, alleging antitrust violations, unfair competition, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty, among other claims. The allegation was that the companies monopolized the independent syndication ad rep market and abused their position as a rep firm to advance their own syndicated programming at the expense of TRN’s. Compass Media Networks, WYD Media Management, WYM Media Management, former Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey and former Westwood COO Charles Steinhauer were also named as defendants.

A U.S. District Court tossed the antitrust complaint and TRN in 2017 appealed the decision. In 2018, when Cumulus was undergoing Chapter 11 reorganization, TRN asked the bankruptcy judge to allow it to proceed with its appeal. After the judge granted the request, TRN took its case to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Medford, OR, appealing the lower court ruling in February 2018. But TRN later joined with the other radio networks in voluntarily asking the court to dismiss the appeal in August 2018. Terms of the out-of-court settlement weren’t made public beyond the parties telling the court that each side paid its own legal expenses.

At its height, TRN had 350 affiliate stations nationwide and was home to some of talk radio’s most popular conservative personalities, including Michael Savage and Laura Ingraham.

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OK, Boomer: Why Aren’t You Being Targeted By Radio Advertisers?

According to a new blog post by Annette Malave, Senior VP for Insights at the Radio Advertising Bureau, marketers are missing a big opportunity when it comes to baby boomers, or those born between 1946 and 1964.

“According to Deloitte,” she writes, “boomers will be the wealthiest generation in America through 2030. As of 2019, boomers were among the most affluent households, yet this group is rarely targeted. In fact, only 10% of marketing budgets are allocated to boomers, despite them outspending every other generation by $400 billion annually.”

Malave’s post analyzes the collective profile of the 55- to 64-year-old segment and notes that 91% of them are reached by radio weekly. Those who tune in end up listening for 15.4 hours weekly, which exceeds the adult average of 12.8.

Radio listeners in the 55-64 age group, the post says, are 32% more likely to spend $1,000-$2,000 in home improvements; 54% more likely to spend $7,500 or more on remodeling; 22% more likely to spend $120-$149 weekly on groceries; 26% more likely to purchase or lease a $40,000-$50,000 vehicle; and 46% more likely to own a vacation home, farm or investment property.

“Despite the pandemic,” Malave writes, “boomers are still financially stable. Based on a Gfk-MRI survey (August), 59% believe they are in the same shape financially as they were a year ago despite the pandemic. Advertisers should take note to continue to target this group as they are brand loyalists. Based on this same survey, 77% plan on returning to their favorite brands.”

They’re also likely to be spending once the COVID-19 pandemic is finally over —and they’re likely to be doing it in physical brick-and-mortar locations. According to the post, they’re 32% more likely to purchase shoes; 30% more likely to purchase clothing; 23% more likely to purchase groceries; 16% more likely to purchase home improvement supplies; and 15% more likely to purchase furniture.

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‘The MJ Morning Show’ Returns To Tampa On Beasley’s WRBQ.

MJ (Todd Schnitt) is bringing his “crotchety old man” calls and other bits from his historic run in Tampa morning radio back to the market starting Monday, Oct. 5. Only this time “The MJ Morning Show” will air on Beasley Media Group classic hits “Q105” WRBQ, the stations that MJ and his former “Power Pig” co-conspirators competed with in one of radio’s most infamous format wars.

Schnitt’s return bumps longtime “Q105” morning personality Mason Dixon to afternoon drive and Geno Knight to middays.

“I am thrilled to bring back the MJ Morning Show on Q105, a radio station rich with Tampa Bay history,” Schnitt said in the announcement. “I look forward to joining Beasley Media Group in delivering engaging and entertaining morning radio.”

Rich history, indeed. WRBQ was the top 40 station that Scott Shannon programmed before taking “Z100” WHTZ New York “from worst to first.” It’s where the “Morning Zoo” concept was invented and it dominated the Tampa market for years. Until Randy Michaels’ Jacor introduced “The Power Pig” on WFLZ in 1989, taking radio wars to a new level of gamesmanship and depravity.

A native New Yorker, Schnitt arrived at WFLZ in 1994, joining B.J. Harris for “The MJ and BJ Show.” The historic radio battle repositioned “Q105,” ultimately forcing it out of format. Harris left in 2001 and Schnitt hosted a retitled “MJ Morning Show” that ran for 18 years on WFLZ before it ended in February 2012.

“For nearly two decades, the people of Tampa Bay welcomed this show into their lives and made it one of the most successful content franchises in the history of the market,” Beasley Tampa VP and Market Manager Steve Triplett said. “I can’t think of a better time to return this first-class entertainment experience back to the people of Tampa Bay.”

Schnitt has kept a presence in the market, on talker WFLA and with a podcast. In late 2019, Schnitt partnered with the Tampa-based digital media company Radio Influence to produce a podcast version of “The MJ Morning Show” that reunited him with two other former cast members: Dom “Fester” Siciliano and Michael “Froggy” Cusamano.

Now Beasley Chief Content Officer Justin Chase says Schnitt is “bringing back some of the classic benchmarks that listeners will remember as well as adding new content that will build upon the already huge ‘MJ Morning Show’ fan base.”

Schnitt will continue to host his nationally syndicated afternoon show for Compass Media Networks. He earlier co-hosted mornings on talk WOR New York.

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Podcast Listeners More Likely To Roll Out Of Rock Radio, Infinite Dial Data Shows.

What do rock radio and new technology have in common? Young males. And so it should come as little surprise that just-released results from the annual Infinite Dial study rock radio listeners are most likely to listen to podcasts. Edison Research says eight-in-ten alternative rock radio listeners and three-quarters of hard/rock heavy metal listeners have given podcasting a try. But it is age more than musical preference that matters. The data shows the older-skewing classic rock format has a lower rate of podcast consumption, with just 62% of that format’s listeners having ever listened to a podcast. It is also why the young-skewing hip-hop and top 40 formats are among those with the highest rates of podcast test-drives. But with more women listening to those formats, especially Top 40, the overall rate of podcast listening is lower. In the case of top 40 it is a 12% gap with alt rock.

“Over half of the alternative rock listeners are weekly podcast listeners, with sports, top 40 and hip-hop right behind them,” said Laura Ivey, Director of Research at Edison. The Infinite Dial data shows alternative rock radio has the best conversion rate among any format. Of the 81% that reported they had ever listened to a podcast, 51% said they listened to a podcast in the past week.

Another male-heavy radio format — sports — had the second best conversion rate. Edison said 69% of that format’s listeners said they’d listened to a podcast and among that group, 40% had done so in the past week. Hip-hop and top 40 listeners weren’t far behind, with 38% of each format’s listeners saying they had heard a podcast in the week leading up to the survey.

The survey also asked the radio listeners what types of podcast content they were listening to. The results showed that rock and hip-hop listeners were more likely to gravitate to music-related podcasts while country and R&B radio listeners embraced True Crime. Sports radio listeners stuck to sports on podcasts. And classic rock radio listeners’ interest in older music translated to an internet in History podcasts above all other.

“You might feel like True Crime is the No, 1 podcasting topic for every person in the universe because we hear so much about the genre,” said Ivey. “But you can see it only shows up for country, R&B and alternative rock.”

The Infinite Dial report is based on a national online survey that was conducted by Edison Research of 3,159 Americans aged 12 and older in January and February. The survey was conducted in both English and Spanish and all respondents in the report said they had listened to AM/FM radio in the prior week.

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GfK Sees A ‘Muted’ Holiday Season As Consumers Stay Closer To Home.

The 2020 holiday season will feature less travel, smaller gatherings and a shift from brick-and-mortar stores to online retail, according to the latest report from GfK Consumer Pulse, which collected survey data from 999 U.S. consumers (age 16-65) earlier this month.

That study echoes a 2,000-person survey by Numerator that was released in August, which found that 49% of consumers plan to spend less on the holidays overall this year vs. 2019, 32% plan to spend less specifically for Christmas/Hanukkah, and 65% expect to shop “at least somewhat differently.”

“The latest research shows that consumers’ plans for the winter holidays are ‘muted’ at best and don’t include much air travel,” reports MediaPost.

GfK says that only 35% of U.S. consumers plan to travel outside their communities to celebrate the winter holidays. “Of those who are planning trips,” MediaPost says, “57% will be using their personal cars, while 35% will take a plane.”

According to the report, TSA airport checkpoint statistics show air travel down by more than 70% vs. this time last year. “The TSA logged 812,214 travelers on Sept. 18 compared to 2,571,924 on the same day in 2019.”

In addition to staying close to home, the majority (56%) of GfK respondents are more comfortable with small gatherings (five people or less) than large ones. Only 24% say they’re “somewhat” or “very uncomfortable” attending a holiday gathering of 20 or more people.

Despite these challenges, Stacy Bereck, managing director of marketing consumer Insights at GfK, believes “brands can still meet consumers halfway by keeping a close eye on their concerns and needs,” MediaPost reports. “Products and messaging that speak to a desire for comfort and the things consumers require for their largely home-focused celebrations will stand a stronger chance of success today.”

“The unpredictability of the virus means that consumers today want flexibility — the ability to cancel or change plans as situations evolve,” Bereck said. “They want to find trips that allow for free cancellations, and many people also are considering travel insurance.”

In the GfK study, only 13% of consumers say they’re locked into their winter trip arrangements, while 25% admit they may change travel plans or cancel altogether.

One segment likely to get a boost is online retail. Earlier this week, MediaPost reported that brands will spend $58.6 billion on e-commerce advertising, with researchers attributing “the increase to COVID-19 and the rise in online shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

According to GfK, 44% of U.S. consumers plan to do all their holiday shopping online this season. A similar number plan to have online purchases delivered at home, with 25% of online shoppers opting for in-store delivery and 19% for curbside pickup.

As for traditional retail, 37% of respondents tell GfK they will purchase at least some holiday items in brick-and-mortar stores, but only 17% say they will shop exclusively in such outlets. Perhaps most alarming for retailers: nearly a fifth (19%) say they “will not be shopping” for the holidays.

“The no-shopping level among people with no children was nearly one-third (30%) but just 6% among those with at least one child under age 18,” reports MediaPost, which notes a “surprising” disparity among age groups when it comes to brick-and-mortar shopping.

“Compared to young adults (ages 26 to 35), older consumers (ages 51 to 65) are twice as likely to say that they will shop in stores — 57% vs. 25%. Considering that older adults are more likely to have a less favorable outcome if they contract COVID-19, this number is disturbing.”

However, the two age groups were nearly identical in their attitudes about online ordering with at-home delivery: 48% of older consumers and 45% of young adults say they’ll use this option.

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Minnesota Public Radio Stations KCMP And KSJN Employees Vote To Join SAG-AFTRA.

An intention to unionize has been made by employees of Minnesota Public Radio adult alternative “The Current” KCMP Minneapolis (89.3) and “Classical MPR,” the co-owned network that originates from KSJN (99.5). American Public Media Group is the parent company of Minnesota Public Radio.

More than 80% of staff has voted in favor of joining SAG-AFTRA, according to a statement, Bring Me The News (BMTN) reports. “We hope management will choose to voluntarily recognize our unions, thereby avoiding a delay in the important next step of negotiating our contracts,” the statement read. The employees say they are “united in seeking fair and equitable compensation; an actionable and measurable plan to diversify the staff of both of our stations; and consistency and transparency in employee discipline and termination. We know that we will be able to further those goals with a seat at the table as SAG-AFTRA members.”

Staff of MPR News joined SAG-AFTRA in June 2016.

Employees at KCMP and KSJN join the growing number of public media outlets that have recently joined SAG-AFTRA. Among them is Santa Monica College’s KCRW Los Angeles, which recently reached a tentative agreement on its first union contract. Boston University news/talk WBUR-FM (90.9), which also recently reached a tentative agreement on its first contract; KPCC Pasadena (89.3); Minnesota Public Radio; Chicago Public Media WBEZ Chicago (91.5); WHYY-FM Philadelphia (90.9); KUOW-AM/FM Seattle; KNKX Seattle; KQED San Francisco; WNYC New York; and media professionals at NPR.

“We are proud to follow in the steps of other public media stations that have unionized in recent years with SAG-AFTRA, including ... our colleagues at MPR News/APM Reports," the statement says. "We’re calling on MPR and APMG to work with us through our unions to transform our workplaces into ones where everyone feels respected and valued.”

The decision to unionize follows recent turmoil at the public broadcaster. Earlier this month, MPR reporter Marianne Combs resigned after MPR refused to publish a story she produced about the alleged sexual misconduct of a fellow employee at adult alternative “89.3 The Current” KCMP. Overnight host Eric Malmberg was subsequently fired. At KSJN, the only Black air personality, Garrett McQueen, was fired after being told he violated programming guidelines.

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Former Nashville Radio Host Launches Sports-Forced Podcast Network.

Braden Gall, a former morning on-air personality at Cromwell Radio Group’s sports “102.5 The Game” WPRT-FM Nashville, is diving headfirst into podcasting. Let go from the station in February after a four-year stint, Gall has launched a new podcast that will be the basis of a sports-focused podcast network, 440 Sports.

“Nashville sports fans have been underserved by this city’s sports media for far too long,” said Gall in a news release. “440 Sports allows sports fans to pick and choose what they care about and listen whenever they want.”

The network features a dozen podcasts at its launch. The flagship podcast is called The 440, a daily Gall-hosted podcast that will run down the most important Nashville sports stories in less than ten minutes. It will publish Monday through Friday at 4:40am CT. The list also includes The Gold Standard, a podcast that features Gall and The Athletic reporter Adam Vingan in a weekly conversation about the Nashville Predators. There is also the Fringe Element, a weekly podcast hosted by Gall and Erin Dugan that is all about SEC football. And Lamestream Sports, a conversation show about Nashville sports, media and business, will be hosted by Gall and Steve Cavendish.

Gall is positioning 440 Media as an “uncensored sports audio network” that is “not ruled by any FCC overlords or corporate suits.” He also said in a preview that the network will give listeners the freedom to pick and choose the teams and stories they want to hear about.

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Charges Dropped Against KPCC Reporter Josie Huang.

Updated

Charges will not be filed against Josie Huang, a reporter at Pasadena Area Community College news/talk KPCC Los Angeles (89.3), who was arrested earlier this month during unrest that followed the shooting of two sheriff’s deputies in Compton.

At the time of her arrest, the sheriff’s department said Huang interfered with the arrest of another individual and did not identify herself as a reporter. The Los Angeles County’s District Attorney’s Office disagreed and dropped any pending charges saying, “it does not appear that she was intentionally attempting to interfere with the deputies, but merely trying to record” the incident, according to the Associated Press. “Ms. Huang was in a public area filming a protest. When asked to back up, she is almost immediately grabbed by deputies and taken to the ground, giving her little if any time to comply.”

Promptly after the Sept. 12 arrest, SAG-AFTRA issued a statement strongly objecting to the arrest, saying Huang was visibly credentialed as a working journalist and was verbally identifying herself, yet was still tackled, held down, handcuffed and arrested. The union, which represents employees at KPCC, said the incident is “another deeply troubling interaction in a string of police arrests and often violent attacks on working journalists.”

“These unconstitutional attacks on the rights of a free press are appalling and must stop now,” SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said at the time. “SAG-AFTRA champions the U.S. Constitution and the work of our journalist members, whose primary role is to provide citizens with the information they need to effectively govern a democracy.”

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Charges Dropped Against KPCC Reporter Josie Huang.

Updated

Charges will not be filed against Josie Huang, a reporter at Pasadena Area Community College news/talk KPCC Los Angeles (89.3), who was arrested earlier this month during unrest that followed the shooting of two sheriff’s deputies in Compton.

At the time of her arrest, the sheriff’s department said Huang interfered with the arrest of another individual and did not identify herself as a reporter. The Los Angeles County’s District Attorney’s Office disagreed and dropped any pending charges saying, “it does not appear that she was intentionally attempting to interfere with the deputies, but merely trying to record” the incident, according to the Associated Press. “Ms. Huang was in a public area filming a protest. When asked to back up, she is almost immediately grabbed by deputies and taken to the ground, giving her little if any time to comply.”

Promptly after the Sept. 12 arrest, SAG-AFTRA issued a statement strongly objecting to the arrest, saying Huang was visibly credentialed as a working journalist and was verbally identifying herself, yet was still tackled, held down, handcuffed and arrested. The union, which represents employees at KPCC, said the incident is “another deeply troubling interaction in a string of police arrests and often violent attacks on working journalists.”

“These unconstitutional attacks on the rights of a free press are appalling and must stop now,” SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said at the time. “SAG-AFTRA champions the U.S. Constitution and the work of our journalist members, whose primary role is to provide citizens with the information they need to effectively govern a democracy.”

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Deal Digest

Deal Digest – September 24, 2020

Updated

STATION SALES

Austin, TX – Educational Media Foundation has filed a $6 million deal to buy contemporary Christian “Spirit 105.9” KFMK from Crista Media. EMF already owns contemporary Christian “K-Love” stations KLLR (91.9), KVLR (92.5) and KYLR (92.1). EMF also airs its “Air 1” format on the Dell Valle, TX-licensed translator K225CA at 92.9, fed by the HD2 channel of KVLR. EMF will begin operating KFMK under a local marketing agreement on Nov. 1. Seattle-based Crista Ministries is exiting the Austin market to focus exclusively on its radio presence in the Pacific Northwest.

Miami – Salem Media Group has reached a deal to sell its last station in market No. 11. Nelson Votaire’s Radio Piment Bouk has filed a $3.5 million deal to buy Spanish Christian “Radio Luz” WKAT (1450) and the Miami-licensed translator W270CV at 101.9 FM. Salem earlier sold two other AMs to Immaculate Heart Media. Radio Piment Bouk already owns religious WQVN (1360) in the Miami market which it bought from Salem in 2018, also for $3.5 million. Beginning Oct. 1 it will operate WQVN under a local marketing agreement until closing. Broker: Jorgenson Broadcast Brokerage

Alabama – Frank Lee Perryman’s Marble City Media has filed a $775,000 deal to by classic hits “Wings 94.3” WGZZ, Waverly, AL and “News Talk 1400” WANI, Opelika, AL from Auburn Networks. The deal also includes three FM translators including the Auburn, AL-licensed W254AY at 98.7 FM; the Auburn, AL-licensed W242AX at 96.3 FM; and the Auburn, AL-licensed W294AR at 106.7 FM. Marble City Media already owns five stations in the area including AC “AU-100” WAUE, “Fox Sports 98.3” WFXO, classic hits “The Lake 105.1” WRFS, and country “Kix” WSGN/WYEA (1050/1290). Hubbard is a former member of the Alabama House of Representatives who was sentenced to four years in prison for felony violations of state ethics laws in 2016. He began his prison sentence on Sept. 11 after losing an appeal of his conviction. Marble City Media will operate WGZZ and WANI under a local marketing agreement until closing.

Greensboro-Winston-Salem-High Point, NC – Entercom has filed a $400,000 deal to sell gospel/religious WPET (950) and gospel WEAL (1510) to Stuart and Nancy Epperson’s Truth Broadcasting. Truth will operate the stations under a time brokerage agreement until closing. Once the sale is finalized, Entercom will still own country “93.1 The Wolf” WPAW, adult hits “98.7 Simon” WSMW, and urban AC WQMG (97.1) in the market.

Mississippi – Kevin Cox has filed a $65,000 deal to buy the 45% stake in Radio Cleveland held by Clint Webster. In a separate deal valued at $5,000 Cox will buy the 10% share in Radio Cleveland held by minority shareholder Greg Shurden. The two deals will give Cox a 100% ownership interest in Radio Cleveland. The company owns urban “Jammin 104” WCLD-FM, gospel “Rejoice 1490” WCLD in Cleveland, MS and urban “Power 106.5” WAID, Clarksdale, MS.

TRANSLATOR SALES

Colorado –Turbo Technical Services has filed a $16,000 deal to buy two FM translators from Proclaiming Christ’s Love Ministries. The deal includes the Alamosa, CO-licensed K225AZ at 92.9 FM and the Monte Vista, CO-licensed K294BO at 106.7 FM.

Birmingham, AL – Avondale Metal Works has filed a $10,000 deal to buy the Leeds, AL-licensed translator W224CN at 92.7 FM from Glen Iris Baptist School.

The filing says Avondale Metal Works is looking for a primary station and it will take the translator off the air if it doesn’t locate one before closing the deal. Glen Iris Baptist School will still own religious WGIB (91.9) and WQEM (101.5) in the Birmingham, AL market.

CLOSINGS

San Jose – Phuong Pham’s Pham Radio Communications has closed a $100,000 deal to buy KLIV (1590) from Empire Broadcasting. KLIV has been primarily off the air since January 2019 when the land where its tower site was located was sold. Empire Broadcasting earlier unsuccessfully tried to donate the station to San Jose State University. Pham Radio Communications already owns the KVVN (1430) in the San Jose market and the Chinese-language KVTO (1400) in the adjacent San Francisco market. Empire Broadcasting still owns country KRTY (95.3) in the San Jose market.

Oklahoma & Arkansas – Edward Vega’s La Zeta has closed a deal to swap Spanish CHR “La Diferente” KETU (1120) in the Tulsa market to Antonio Perez’s Radio Las Americas in exchange for its Spanish CHR Las Americas Radio 1140” KLTK in the Fayetteville, AR market. The deal has given Radio Las Americas two stations in Tulsa where it already owns Spanish CHR “Las Americas Radio 1380” KMUS. No cash was involved as part of the swap.

People Moves

Valentine in the Morning

iHeartMedia soft AC KSOF Fresno (98.9) adds “Valentine in the Morning” to its on-air lineup, effective immediately. Teri-Ann Schlesse moves to middays with the addition of the program, which is based at hot AC sister “104.3 My FM” KBIG Los Angeles. Read more

Freddy Mac

Freddy Mac is added to afternoons at Hubbard hot AC “Q102” WKRQ Cincinnati, where he joins co-host Natalie Jones and succeeds “Jon Jon” Curl, who exited in July. Mac was previously midday host at Wheeler Broadcasting CHR “K92” WXLK Roanoke. Read more

Randy Laffoon

Randy Laffoon, owner of Metro Radio Group sports KREF Oklahoma City (1400) has passed away.  Read more

Job Listings

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VP/GM - SCRIPPS TULSA

Scripps has a rare opening for a VP/GM for our 5-station Tulsa radio cluster.  Read more

Job Listings

Brand/Content Manager - Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina

Capitol Broadcasting Company in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina is seeking to an outstanding individual Brand/Content Manager for our Radio/Audio operation. View details

Engineering Manager - Illinois

Was your engineering or IT role a victim of COVID?  Mid-West Family in Rockford-DeKalb, IL is looking for our next Engineering Manager.  View details

About Inside Radio

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