Thursday, July 2, 2020

| July 2, 2020

COMING THIS WEEKEND:  Independence Day Weekend Edition of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, will be posted tomorrow (Friday) afternoon at 3:00 pm ET.  This new episode titled “Self-Evident!” will look back at this past week of June 29-July 3, 2020 in addition to paying tribute to the founding of America.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSVince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media GroupJennifer Horn, talk show host, Salem Media Group / VP, CRN Digital Talk RadioMatthew B. Harrison, law professor, Western New England University / VP Goodphone CommunicationsLincoln Ware, talk show host WDBZ, Cincinnati; Dan Yorke, talk show host, WPRO, Providence; Doug Stephan, talk show host, “DJV Show” / talk show host, “American Family Farmer.” This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode (posted Friday 7/3 at 3:00 pm ET),  please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

LiveXLive Closes on PodcastOne Acquisition. The live stream and on-demand platform LiveXLive Media, Inc announces it has closed on its acquisition of PodcastOne. LiveXLive says in a press release, “PodcastOne, which recorded revenue of $27.5 million in calendar 2019, will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of LiveXLive. The acquisition is expected to be accretive and will strengthen LiveXLive’s balance sheet as well as diversifying its business model with a significant advertising component.” PodcastOne’s library includes more than 300 podcasts, including: “The Adam Carolla Show”, “The Big Podcast with Shaquille O’Neal,” A&E’s “Cold Case Files,” “Hotboxin with Mike Tyson,” and more. PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz joins LiveXLive as a significant shareholder and remains executive chairman. Under the terms of the acquisition, LiveXLive acquired 100% of the equity interests of Courtside Group, Inc., the owner and operator of PodcastOne, and issued to stockholders of PodcastOne approximately 5.36 million restricted shares of LiveXLive’s common stock, which are subject to a 12-month lock-up period and certain trading restrictions thereafter.

TALKERS News Notes. Baton Rouge alt-weekly The Advocate reports that Guaranty Broadcasting’s sports talk KNXX-FM “104.5 ESPN” shuffles its programming lineup. Writer Kyle Whitfield says the station breaks up the “Sports Today” duo of Charles Hanagriff and Jimmy Ott with Hanagriff being partnered with former LSU running back Jacob Hester for the new 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm “Hangin’ with Hester and Hanny” show and Ott starting his own “Gametime” program airing from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm…..FOX News announces that after an independent investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace, it has fired “America’s Newsroom” co-anchor Ed Henry. The company sent a memo to staffers written by FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and president and executive editor Jay Wallace explaining Henry’s departure. Henry’s attorney, Catherine Foti, issued a public statement that Henry denies the allegations and “is confident that he will be vindicated after a full hearing in an appropriate forum.”…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that radio producer Carl Amari’s golden age of radio programming is moving from Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM to Salem Media Group’s crosstown WIND-AM. WGN recently announced it is dropping the weekend overnight “WGN Radio Theatre” program. Now, the syndicated “Hollywood 360” – co-hosted by Amari and Lisa Wolf – will air from 8:00 pm to 12:00 midnight on WIND-AM. Salem Chicago RVP and general manager Jeff Reisman says, “We are excited to have ‘Hollywood 360’ and Carl Amari back on AM 560. Carl expertly weaves together a unique mix of content that has continued to attract and entertain listeners for years, and we look forward to welcoming them back.”…..This might fall into the “at least they spelled our name right” category. Daily Herald columnist Jim O’Donnell writes about the state and future of ESPN’s WMPV, Chicago “ESPN 1000” – being operated by Good Karma Brands under the leadership of general manager Mike Thomas. O’Donnell is clearly not impressed with sports talk in Chicago but gives Thomas – who arrived in his home state back in January after leading the programming at Entercom’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” – the opportunity to talk up the changes taking place at WMVP.

‘Mightier 1090’ in San Diego to Use SportsGrid Tech Platform. When the new iteration of talk programming takes to the airwaves of San Diego on XEPRS as “The Mightier 1090” sometime this summer, SportsGrid’s cloud-based automation and live production tools will be used by the station. SportsGrid says its production services will stream the “Mightier 1090” audio feed through a low-latency IP connection from the cloud to the station’s transmitter. Marketing executive Bill Hagen is leading operations of the soon-to-debut station. He says, “I’ve listened to the people and the dream of bringing ‘The Mighty 1090 AM’ back to Southern California has now become a reality. The legendary tradition is back in a Mightier fashion, allowing for carefully thought out, desired programming to once again serve the Southern California region.”

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections/Mask Controversy, Seattle CHOP Ends, Policing in America, Confederate & Colonial-Era Monuments Issue, Russia-Taliban Bounty Report, Facebook Advertiser Boycott, Court Strikes Trump Asylum Order and Vacate Mary Trump Book Restraint, and Status of Sports Leagues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/1). The rise in COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future outbreaks tied with the controversy over the wearing of masks to diminish transmission; the Seattle police clear the CHOP in the aftermath of two killings in the area; the criticism of policing in the U.S.; the movement to remove Confederate and Colonial-era monuments; the report that Russia has been offering bounties to Taliban fighters for killing U.S. servicemen; Facebook deals with an advertiser boycott over its handling of “hate speech” and “misinformation”; a court strikes down the Trump administration’s order denying asylum requests from people from Latin American nations and a court vacates the restraint on Mary Trump’s book; and the status of American sports leagues were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. New York hip hop outlet WWPR “Power 105.1” is presenting “A Celebration of Pop Smoke’s Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon Album Release” starting at midnight tonight (7/3). iHeartMedia’s “Power 105.1” will celebrate the life and works of Pop Smoke by playing songs from Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon at the top of every hour, plus exclusive Pop Smoke interviews with Power 105.1’s Angie Martinez, behind-the-scene photos and performances from Power 105.1’s POWERHOUSE available at Power1051’s website, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, as well as check-ins from 50 Cent, Steven Victor, Lil Tjay, Fivio Foreign, The Breakfast Club and more…..The weekend country radio show “B-Dub Radio Saturday Night” debuts Saturday (7/4) in partnership with its syndication development partner, Skyview Networks. Host Bryan “B-Dub” Washington is throwing a Fourth of July party featuring country radio’s superstar duo LoCash as a special guest to celebrate the show’s re-launch with listeners across the country. The show has added new affiliate stations, including iHeartMedia’s WEBG, Chicago “BIG 95.5,” whose PD Lance Houston says, “B-Dub has added such a great energy to ‘BIG 95.5’ on Saturday nights! If you want your station to sound fun again on Saturday night, while staying true to the format and the sound of country music, then this is the show for you.”…..Programming pro Mike McCoy is named operations manager at Stephens Media Group’s Rochester, New York that includes adult contemporary WRMM-FM “Warm 101.3,” alternative WZNE-FM “94.1 The Zone,” and adult hits WFKL-FM “Fickle 93.3.” He will also program “Warm 101.3” and “Fickle 93.3” SVP of programming Bob Thornton says, “Mike is exactly the kind of person we need in the Rochester market. His relentless pursuit of excellence, leadership qualities and vast experience will take this cluster to new heights.”

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

| July 1, 2020

WABC, New York Begins Simulcasting on WLIR-FM, Hampton Bays. The Red Apple Media-owned news/talk station begins simulcasting on VMT Media’s WLIR-FM, Hampton Bays on Long Island. Red Apple is operating the signal under an LMA. The addition of the signal means listeners on eastern Long Island will now be able to hear the station over the air. WLIR-FM had been airing a classic rock format. Red Apple chairman and CEO John Catsimatidis says, “When we bought WABC, I said we were in radio to stay. Our expansion with this LMA and simulcast is just the beginning. We’re going to deliver news and information that will keep listeners informed with the truth of what’s really going on in New York, Washington, and the world.” Coincidently, this iteration of WLIR-FM, although having gone through ownership and frequency changes over the years, is the artistic and cultural descendent of the original WLIR discussed in this week’s installment of “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Listen to it here.

WFAN, New York Celebrates Sports Talk Anniversary. All weekend long, Entercom sports talker WFAN, New York is celebrating its July 1, 1987 birth as the nation’s first sports-only radio station with programs hosted by former WFAN air personalities. Some of the personalities hosting shows this weekend include: Richard Neer (Sat. 6:00 am to 10:00 am) a WFAN host since 1988; Howie Rose (Sat. 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm) the station’s first evening host in 1987; Ed Coleman and Dave Sims (Sat. 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm), Eddie C is now WFAN’s Mets beat reporter, but Coleman and Sims were WFAN’s midday team in the early-1990s; Jody McDonald (Sat. 11:00 pm) was an original WFAN host back in 1987, and still hosts shows on the station occasionally while also working for CBS Sports Radio; Bob Salter (Sun. 6:00 am to 7:00 am) has been WFAN’s public affairs director since 1994, and hosts this timeslot every Sunday; Ann Ligouri (Sun. 7:00 am to 8:00 am) was also an original WFAN host and now covers golf and tennis for the station; Rick Wolff’s “Sports Edge” (Sun. 8:00 am to 9:00 am) is another Sunday morning staple on WFAN, airing in this timeslot since 1995; Suzyn Waldman (Sun. 9:00 am to 1:00 pm) was the first voice heard on WFAN, giving the first sports update at 3:00 pm on July 1, 1987, and these days she serves as the analyst for Yankees Baseball on WFAN. She has also served as both the Yankees and Knicks beat reporter, and co-hosted WFAN’s midday show with Jody McDonald as well; Steve Somers & Russ Salzberg (Sun. 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm), Somers is the only host who has been on the station full time since Day 1 in 1987! He and Salzberg hosted the midday show as “The Sweater and the Schmoozer” in the mid-1990s; and the Best of Mike and the Mad Dog (Sun. 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm), WFAN’s legendary afternoon team for nearly two decades (1989-2008).

Harry Hurley Marks 29 Years on the Radio. WPGG-AM, Atlantic City morning drive talk host Harry Hurley is celebrating his 29th year at the Townsquare Media news/talk station. It was July 1, 1991 that the “Hurley in the Morning” program launched on the station. Hurley says, “It’s been a privilege in every way. I want to thank our many loyal and faithful listeners, who have made it all possible, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year and decade after decade. I also want to thank our fiercely loyal clients who have been with us for decades. It is still amazing, new and fresh to sign on every day at the same radio station where it all began almost three decades ago. My sincere thanks and appreciation to my employer, Townsquare Media for their incredible support. We still have so much work to do. I’m excited about our continued future together.”

Edwards Media Launches Sports Talk Station in Waco Market. The station is being branded “CBS Sports Central Texas” and will air on the HD2 channel of hip hop KWBT-FM “94.5 The Beat.” Edwards Media LLC general sales manager and sports director Rich Richardson says, “We look forward to the opportunity to change the sports radio scene in Central Texas with the best in local, national, and play-by-play sports talk. The current situation in the country has changed the sports scene throughout the world, but there are more chances than ever for hosts and listeners to express their opinions, frustrations, even hypotheticals as to what happens next.  As live sports come back, we plan to do our best to keep listeners informed and entertained on a weekly, daily, and hourly basis while still allowing them to voice their opinions.” In addition to programming from CBS Sports, the station’s afternoon drive daypart will feature “Go Big or Go Home” with local host Big Rich.

Bob Long Retiring from GCN’s ‘Auto World.’ Citing health concerns that for the past few months have kept him from hosting the “Auto World” program distributed by Genesis Communications Network, Bob Long announces he’s retiring from his radio hosting duties. Mark Evans is taking over as permanent host of the program. GCN chief Ted Anderson says, “Bob Long has spent his years in broadcasting building the ‘Auto World’ radio show and will be missed by his fans. Bob has been a long friend of the Genesis Communications Network and we wish him success and health.” Mark Evans has been an “Auto World” contributor for many years and is a master technician who holds a patent on an automatic transmission cooler called Transguard that sells world-wide. Evans has filled in for Long over the years.

TALKERS News Notes. WGN-AM, Chicago announces it is adding the program “WGN Showcase” to its Saturday overnight schedule. It will air from 10:00 pm to 5:00 am, beginning July 11 and will feature highlights of weekday shows and excerpts of interviews with celebrities and newsmakers conducted by Bob Sirott, John Williams, Anna Davlantes, and Roe Conn. The Nexstar Media Group station says that it will continue a partnership with “WGN Radio Theatre,” which previously ran in the timeslot and presented classics from the golden age of radio, and the show’s host Carl Amari for special themed times throughout the year. Amari has spent decades licensing and preserving classic radio broadcasts from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s and founded Radio Spirits, the world’s largest marketer and distributor of these programs…..The deal between Mr. Master – the company that produces Automation Import Manager (AIM) – and Cumulus Media is expanded to put the software to use in all of Cumulus’ 424 local stations across 87 markets. Cumulus Media SVP of revenue strategy and operations John Kaufman says, “We were answering a call from our markets, which were looking for a way to improve the network continuity process and save meaningful time. Mr. Master’s AIM software offers a great solution for all Cumulus markets.”…..ESPN announces that it has reached a multi-year contract extension with host and commentator Bomani Jones to continue his ESPN Podcast, “The Right Time with Bomani Jones,” twice per week (Tuesday and Thursday). As part of his deal, Jones will also make regular guest appearances across ESPN Radio sports talk programming. Jones will play a significant role on “Highly Questionable” alongside Dan Le Batard, appearing three or four days each week. He will also continue to be a key contributor across ESPN’s television studio lineup, including “SportsCenter,” “Get Up,” “Outside the Lines” and as a panelist on “Around the Horn.”…..“The Todd Starnes Show” adds new affiliate stations WDMJ, Marquette; WMIQ, Iron Mountain; and WIAN, Ishpeming; all in Michigan. In addition to carrying the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm talk show the stations will also carry the short-form feature “Todd Starnes News & Commentary.”

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Russian-Taliban Bounties Issue, BLM Movement/Public Monuments/Mississippi Flag, China’s Hong Kong Crackdown, Mary Trump Book Blocked, and Sports Leagues Plan Openings Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/30). The rise in COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future infections; the controversy over the reports of Russia offering bounties to the Taliban for U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan; the Black Lives Matter protests, the movement to take down Confederate and Colonial-era monuments, and changes to the Mississippi flag; China begins cracking down on dissent in Hong Kong; a judge issues a temporary block of Mary Trump’s book; and U.S. sports leagues plan to open or restart their seasons were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Legendary Rock/Sports Broadcaster Richard Neer Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Legendary WFAN, New York personality Richard Neer is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Weaving a colorful radio story, Harrison and Neer reminisce about a shared experience they had in the very early days of their long careers that had a tremendous influence on their lives and the history of album rock radio. Tomorrow (7/1) marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of the progressive rock format at WLIR on Long Island.  On that Wednesday in the summer of 1970, the station transitioned from being an obscure suburban FM station that programmed a block format consisting of “beautiful music” and “easy listening” orchestras, along with classical music and show tunes into one of the most ground-breaking and longest-running FM rock giants of the past half century.  The station has been fertile ground for programming innovations, pop cultural evolution and the individual radio careers of countless personalities.  Harrison and Neer were a couple of college kids instrumental in making the historical transition happen and they engage in a remarkably candid conversation reconstructing the events between 1967 and 1971 that led up to and followed that meaningful format flip that changed their lives forever.  Don’t miss this!  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Digital platform RADIO.COM is celebrating Independence Day with two exclusive music events on July 3 and 4 to remind everyone to register to vote. This is a partnership between Entercom and When We All Vote, whose mission is to “increase participation in every election and close the race and age voting gap by changing the culture around voting, harnessing grassroots energy, and through strategic partnerships to reach every American.” Both events are being streamed live nationwide on-air on select RADIO.COM stations and on the RADIO.COM app and website. “Party In Place” airs July 3 at 10:00 pm ET across all RADIO.COM alternative stations nationwide and features exclusive sets from: deadmau5, Disclosure, Major Lazer, ODESZA, RÜFÜS DU SOL, and Toro y Moi, as well as a world premiere and unreleased music from Flume and Rezz, with a special career-spanning mix from Porter Robinson, all performing virtually from their home studios. On July 4, “Summer Bash,” will feature performances by: Marshmello, Black Eyed Peas, Dillon Francis, Diplo, Kygo, Lil Jon, and Steve Aoki. Entercom SVP of programming and music initiatives Michael Martin says, “We’re looking forward to virtually coming together to enjoy incredible performances that will bring the festival experience right to listeners’ homes. We’re especially proud to celebrate Independence Day by supporting When We All Vote’s important mission to increase voter participation, one of the most patriotic acts we can do for our country.”…..TALKERS magazine confirms that Bob Lawrence has resigned his position as vice president of programming for Saga Communications. There’s no word from Saga on his replacement or a timetable for filling the corporate role. Lawrence took over the position in 2015 after Steve Goldstein exited the company.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

| June 30, 2020

iHeartMedia Launches BIN: Black Information Network. This new venture is a standalone unit within iHeartMedia that will be the “first and only 24/7 national and local all news audio service dedicated to providing an objective, accurate, and trusted source of continual news coverage with a Black voice and perspective.” iHeartMedia says BIN: Black Information Network “is focused on service to the Black community and providing an information window for those outside the community to help foster communication, accountability and a deeper understanding.” It is being led by Tony Coles – who also serves as division president of iHeartMedia markets group – as president of the unit. Tanita Myers – most recently with Reach Media – will be director of news operations.  iHM says national founding partners are: Bank of America, CVS Health, GEICO, Lowe’s, McDonald’s USA, Sony, 23andMe and Verizon. Content will be available on the iHeartRadio platform and on “dedicated all-news local AM/FM broadcast radio stations providing local news, weather traffic and sports in addition to national news – all focused on the Black community and from the Black perspective – in markets including Atlanta, Augusta, Charlotte, Cleveland, Columbus, GA, Detroit, Greenville, Macon, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, Norfolk, Riverside, San Francisco and Seattle, with additional local markets being added over the next 60 days.” BIN will also provide the news service for iHeartMedia’s 91 hip hop, R&B, and Gospel stations across the country. iHM says, “BIN’s unique partner supported business model is tailored to its mission of providing comprehensive, accurate and trusted information and news. The national Founding Partners of BIN: Black Information Network will support building this new platform for Black journalism and trusted news, and this partnership support will enable BIN’s focus to be on providing a reliable, responsible, and responsive news service to the Black community without the daily pressure of ratings.” Coles says, “BIN: Black Information Network will fill a void by providing continual news and objective information with full focus on the Black community. We began developing our 24/7 Black news source last year, and events of the last few weeks, especially the senseless and tragic death of George Floyd, highlighted the need for this network. Now is the time for our voice to be heard, and I could not be prouder of our work and the team we are assembling at BIN.”

PPM Analysis: Has Pandemic-Related Listening Peaked? TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian wraps his “extra” ratings reports on the effects pandemic-related radio listening has had on Nielsen Audio’s PPM survey data by asking if pandemic-related listening has peaked after its unusual April spike. He says that in the PPM era, month-to-month gains or losses of a full share or more are noteworthy. “To underscore the genuine rarity of what transpired in the April 2020 survey period, there were nearly four times as many of these swings then as were registered in April 2019. Indexed against April 2020, roughly 70% as many stations notch declines of -1.0 or greater, while only approximately 40% as many stations rack up a +1.0 or more (May 2020 versus April 2020, 6+).” Kinosian says what’s truly amazing is that 75% of sports talk stations were up (weekly, 6+ AQH share) April to May with no live sports play-by-play since March. See Kinosian’s entire report here.

Chicago Radio Host William Kelly Sues Illinois Governor and Chicago Mayor Over COVID-19 Restrictions. Illinois business owner and WCGO-AM, Chicago talk show host William Kelly – along with three other plaintiffs – are suing Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Major Lori Lightfoot, complaining that their acts violated the plaintiffs’ rights under several sections of the station constitution, violated their rights to equal protection under the law, and that both exceed their authority in several instances. Kelly says, “We have filed suit for the people of Illinois. Every other lawsuit has, so far, missed the mark. Lives are being destroyed. People are going bankrupt. If we succeed, Mayor Lightfoot and Gov. Pritzker will pay a price, in the form of legal damages, for the terrible harm they’ve caused to people’s lives and liberties.” See the complaint here.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WGN-AM station manager and VP of content Todd Manley and his consulting company EarSight Studios is working with Crain’s Chicago Business to produce its podcast, “Crain’s Daily Gist.” Crain’s Chicago Business publisher and executive editor Jim Kirk says, “We are thrilled to partner with Todd to help us grow our audience in audio. We’ve had tremendous success with ‘The Daily Gist’ since its debut last year, and we expect even stronger growth with Todd’s production help.”…..According to a story at Crossing Broad, Entercom Philadelphia personality John Barchard is leaving the sports talk WIP-produced podcast “Go Birds” that he co-hosts with Eliot Shorr-Parks and James Seltzer. Citing family and health as concerns he must put to the forefront, Barchard says the decision to leave was his and he calls it one of the hardest decisions he’s had to make…..ESPN promotes commentator Pablo Torre to full-time host of the “ESPN Daily” podcast. This is part of a new, multi-year contract for Torre, who will also make appearances on ESPN shows such as “Highly Questionable” and “Around the Horn.” Current “ESPN Daily” host Mina Kimes is joining the network’s NFL Live team as an analyst and will host “The Mina Kimes Show featuring Lenny” football podcast. She will continue to be a key contributor to “ESPN Daily.”

This Year’s Gracie Awards to Be Streamed on September 10. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces the 45th Annual Gracie Awards will be streamed virtually on September 10. The Gracies Gala, originally scheduled for May 19, was intended to be held at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills and the Gracies Luncheon, originally scheduled for June 24, was intended to be held in New York City at Cipriani 42nd Street. The 2020 honorees will now be celebrated through a series of digital acceptance speech montages along with a virtual awards ceremony. AWM/F executive director Becky Brooks says, “The leadership of AWM/F, which annually presents the Gracies as our largest fundraiser, has had one singular focus – to appropriately acknowledge and celebrate our outstanding winners in whatever manner is feasible this year. Therefore, we have made the decision to shift this year’s events to virtual experiences to ensure recognition of all winners in this very important year.”

NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at ‘Expert Guests.’ Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a regular basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV, and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that includes experts on the Chinese Communist Party, the USA gymnastics scandal, presidential race strategy, progressive rock, diversity management, campus safety during police reform, and much more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

SCOTUS Abortion Ruling, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Black Lives Matter Movement/St. Louis Guns Incident, Russian-Taliban Bounty Allegation, U.S.-China Relations, Iran Issues Trump Arrest Warrant, and Sports Leagues Plan Seasons Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/29). The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the Louisiana law that would have limited abortion options; the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in re-opening states and projections about future infections; the protests supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and the case of the St. Louis couple who drew weapons on protesters; the allegation that Russia is offering the Taliban bounties for killing U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and President Trump’s reaction to the story; relations between the U.S. and China as the latter clamps down on Hong Kong; Iran issues an arrest warrant for Trump and numerous other officials in the death of General Qasem Soleimani; and sports leagues making plans to open or re-start their seasons were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the launch of the nationally syndicated “American Top 40” show, Premiere Networks announces that this weekend (7/4-5) host Ryan Seacrest will begin a yearlong celebration that will include his highlighting an iconic artist moment from the show’s archives every weekend – including interviews with the stars and the show’s creator and original host Casey Kasem. Listeners will also have the opportunity to win prizes and one-of-a-kind experiences throughout the year. Premiere president Julie Talbott says, “Over the past five decades, ‘American Top 40’ has become a cultural touchpoint for millions of people around the globe. Casey Kasem created the gold standard that we carry on today, and we’re so proud of how Ryan has expanded that legacy.  He’s taken the show to new heights over the past 16 years with added reach, engagement, and technology, while continuing to drive impressive results for our partners.” The program debuted the weekend of July 4-5, 1970…..Legendary rock bank U2 is getting its own channel on SiriusXM Satellite Radio. The U2 X-Radio channel launches tomorrow (7/1) at 3:00 pm ET.  p.m. ET, exclusively on SiriusXM Channel 32. SiriusXM says, “U2 X-Radio is U2 as you have never heard them before. An extraordinary and unique audio experience exploring the band’s history, idols, influences, and current passions, plus inspiration, conversation, culture, commentary and ideas from the band and guests. All curated by U2. The dedicated and exclusive channel will come to life with music and radio shows that celebrate music from across the globally acclaimed, four-decade career of Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen, including their biggest hits, deep cuts, live concert recordings and rarities, as well as music from artists that are connected to or inspire the band.”

Monday, June 29, 2020

| June 29, 2020

Monday Memo: Curing the Radio Advertising Pandemic. “Local-Local-Local” has been the desperate plea of programmers, as corporate bloodletting whacked station staffs. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke debriefs an independent station owner – in the eye of the storm in Texas – who weathered the coronavirus pandemic better than absentee-owned competitors, with a grassroots sales strategy focused on the service retailers deemed “essential” during the shutdown. Read it here.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Russia-Taliban Bounties Allegation, Presidential Race/Trump ‘White Power’ Tweet, Black Lives Matter Movement, Confederate & Colonial-Era Statues/Mississippi Flag Change, BET Awards, and Sports Leagues Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The spike in COVID-19 cases in Sun Belt states, the total cases around the globe, and projections for future cases; the report that Russia offered bounties to Taliban fighters for killing American soldiers; the November presidential election and President Trump’s tweet including a supporter shouting, “White power!”; the protests organized by and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement; the controversy over the status of Confederate and Colonial-era statues and Mississippi’s state flag change; Sunday’s BET Awards show; and the state of professional and college sports leagues as they attempt to launch or re-start their seasons were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: The Great Ones Have This Trait. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that more important than product knowledge, planning & organizational skills, and a “Rolodex” of contacts, is one trait that the best salespeople share: Enthusiasm. So, how do you stay enthusiastic during these challenging times? Lapa offers three tips in his column you can read here.

FOX News Channel Welcomes Will Cain. As had been predicted, Will Cain’s exit from ESPN and his ESPN Radio show on Friday (6/26) is being followed by his joining FOX News Channel as co-host of “FOX & Friends Weekend” (Saturdays & Sundays 6:00 am to 10:00 am ET). Cain will make his official debut on Saturday, August 15 alongside co-hosts Jedediah Bila and Pete Hegseth. FNC VP of morning programming Gavin Hadden says, “Will has a unique ability to connect with an audience on a wide variety of topics and will make an excellent addition to the ‘FOX & Friends’ franchise.” Cain, who was a political analyst for CNN and co-hosted “In the Arena” with Eliot Spitzer prior to joining ESPN, says, “I am excited to join the team at ‘FOX & Friends Weekend’ and look forward to building upon my experience in sports, news, and politics on the number one morning show in the country.”

Eric Johnson Named Program Director at AC WJBR-FM, Wilmington. Programming pro Eric “EJ” Johnson is named program director for Beasley Media Group’s Wilmington, Delaware adult contemporary WJBR-FM. Johnson was most recently PD at the company’s sports talk WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic,” a position he left last November. Prior to that he spent almost 20 years programming news/talk WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5.” In his new role, Johnson will be in charge of content for WJBR-FM’s on-air and digital platforms as well as hosting the afternoon drive show. He says, “Thank you to Joe Bell, Justin Chase, and Bruce Beasley for bringing me back to the family. I’m looking forward to working with the Beasley management team and the talented staff at ‘Mix 99.5’ WJBR in serving our listeners and the community! The station has such a rich heritage in Wilmington and the tri-state area and has a tremendous signal. We will make it shine!”

Newsmax TV Live on fuboTV. Cable television news channel Newsmax TV joins the channel lineup on fubo Standard – the basic package of live streaming TV platform fuboTV. The package offers subscribers more than 100 sports, news, and entertainment channels. Newsmax TV SVP of content distribution Andrew Biggers says, “fuboTV is offering TV viewers an exciting and growing platform for watching content across genres — news, sports, and entertainment. Newsmax is happy to bring a fresh voice to their subscribers, especially when demand for news is so strong.” fuboTV’s Mihir Shah comments, “Adding Newsmax to the fuboTV platform will give our users access to even more news programming, which is critical during these times as cord-cutters are looking for a variety of both national and local news to stay informed.”

Chris Jones Promoted to SVP of Sales for iHeartMedia Atlanta. Rising from his general sales manager post at iHeartMedia’s Atlanta cluster to senior vice president of sales is Chris Jones. He’ll oversee all sales operations for the Atlanta market and report to iHeartMedia Atlanta market president Justin Schaflander. Jones states, “Atlanta has been my home for 38 years, having grown up in Lithonia, attending UGA and residing in Marietta with my beautiful bride, Shell, and my two amazing daughters, Maggie and Kate Belle. I am blessed to have called Atlanta home. I love everything that is Atlanta — the energy, excitement, and diversity. I am excited to lead the charge for iHeartMedia Atlanta and the incredibly talented group of sellers, support, talent, and leadership I get to work alongside.”

TALKERS News Notes. Former University of South Carolina and NFL player Rick Sanford announces he’s leaving the South Carolina syndicated radio program “SportsTalk” due to worsening effects of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. The State reports that Sanford addressed his listeners on Friday (6/26) saying he’s leaving the talk program he co-hosts with Phil Kornblut and Matt Smith because the neurocognitive disorder from which he suffers makes it difficult to perform his duties on the radio. “I struggle with keeping my train of thought, finding the right words, and remembering how to do things. My fuse has gotten shorter and my filter has lessened… This is a progressive condition and the time has now come for me to step away from the (microphone).”…..Red Apple Media’s TALKRADIO 77 WABC in New York is partnering with the Tunnel to Towers Foundation to present the “All American Weekend” on Saturday, July 4, from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm (and replayed on 7/5 from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm). WABC says, “The show harkens back to the early days of rock ‘n’ roll when 77 WABC was a music station and its catchy jingle was known to every New Yorker.” The show is being hosted by DJ Vinnie Medugno and will feature former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani conducting special interviews with Tunnel to Towers heroes…..Entercom says that its Podcast Network is the “top commercial network for the second month in a row, according to Triton. From May 11 through June 7, the network had more than 22.6 million average weekly downloads… In addition, Triton’s latest four-week ranker featured 22 shows from Entercom’s Podcast Network in the Top 100, the most of any publisher for the third month in a row despite new networks joining the report.” Entercom notes that “Pod Save America” was its highest-ranking show at #9.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Over the weekend, Vuolo Video’s Art Vuolo alerted TALKERS magazine that legendary Boston disc jockey Arnie “Woo Woo” Ginsburg passed away at the age of 93. Vuolo says Ginsburg was a broadcast engineer at both WBOS and WBCN but he is best known for his work as night jock on WRKO and WMEX. Ginsburg’s show was called “The Night Train” and the train whistle sound effect gave him his nickname, “Woo Woo.” Later in his career he was EVP of Pyramid Broadcasting, which owned WXKS-FM “Kiss 108 FM.” Vuolo archived the WRKO reunion that took place in 2017. You can see that video here…..iHeartMedia moves WZEE, Madison “Z104” afternoon host, MD and APD Sean Strife to the company’s Detroit cluster to serve as afternoon host and APD/MD at CHR WKQI “Channel 95.5.”

Friday, June 26, 2020

| June 26, 2020

Chuck Damico Named Program Director for Philadelphia Sports Talker ‘97.5 The Fanatic.’ Six months after programming pro Eric Johnson exited the program director role at Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic,” the company announces it is promoting programmer Chuck Damico to the position, effective immediately. Damico has most recently been serving as PD for sister adult hits WBEN-FM and as APD for rock WMMR-FM. He will continue to serve as the APD at WMMR-FM as well as consult with WBEN-FM until a permanent replacement is announced. Beasley Philadelphia VP and market manager Joe Bell says, “Chuck was the perfect person to take the helm at ‘The Fanatic.’ He is an outside-the-box thinker who knows the market, the listeners, the staff, and is a life-long Philly sports fan! He will do a great job taking the station to the next level and beyond!” Eric Camille, who has been filling in as the interim program director, will continue serving as assistant program director and operations manager of the station.

Hochman and Entercom Strike Contract Extension Deal. South Florida sports talk radio personality Marc Hochman renews his deal with Entercom to continue his role on its Miami sports talk stations WAXY “AM 790 The Ticket” and WQAM “560 The Joe.” He co-hosts the “Hochman and Crowder” program with Channing Crowder that airs from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm on WAXY and from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm on WQAM. Entercom South Florida SVP and market manager Keriann Worley says, “Marc is a staple in the Miami sports media scene and brings a dynamic repertoire to our weekday sports talk programming on both ‘The Ticket’ and ‘The Joe.’ With four flagship partnerships between the two stations, the lack of live sports has created a unique challenge in programming, but Marc and Channing have continued to inform, entertain and engage with listeners. We look forward to more in the years to come.” Hochman joined WQAM as an afternoon drive host in 2013 after spending the previous 10 years as executive producer of “The Dan Le Batard Show” on AM 790 The Ticket. “Hochman and Crowder” has been heard on both stations via simulcast since 2019.

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted.  The new episode titled “Masking the Truth!” looks back at this past week of June 22-26, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSJoe “Pags” Pagliarulo, talk show host, Compass Media NetworksRobyn Walensky, talk show host, KWAM, Memphis; Holland Cooke, media consultant/talk show host, RT AmericaRon Hartenbaum, broadcast talent manager/marketing executive; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode,  please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post reports that ESPN Radio has inked a deal with Keyshawn Johnson – currently co-hosting the “Keyshawn, LZ & Travis show on ESPN O&O KSPN, Los Angeles – to take over the morning show daypart on the ESPN Radio network. That would mean the end of the “Golic & Wingo” morning show co-hosted by longtime morning personality Mike Golic and Trey Wingo. Andrew Marchand’s piece in the Post indicates ESPN has not decided on co-hosts or cast mates for Johnson yet but says the show should launch in August…..Townsquare Media’s news/talk WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is honored with three awards from the New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists. Reporter Dino Flammia won third place for the Herbert Morrison Award for best audio story, for his series on child mental health, giving parents actionable information about options for getting their children help. Eric Scott, director of special projects, afternoon anchor Patrick Lavery, digital operations specialist Dan Alexander, and digital managing editor Louis C. Hochman shared second place for the Gabe Pressman Award for best news video for 2019’s “Opioids and Addiction” town hall. Statehouse correspondent Michael Symons won third place for the Tim O’Brien award for best use of public records, for “New Jersey’s incredibly shrinking property tax relief program.”…..ESPN reports that during the month of May, ESPN Podcasts experienced 44.2 million downloads, the seventh month in the last eight with a total of 40 million or more.  The number represents an 11% increase over the previous month and a year-over-year increase of 32%. In addition, the average ESPN listener downloaded 8.62 podcast episodes in May, up 40% over last year. ESPN’s unique podcast audience is verified by Podtrac and download totals by Rawvoice…..iHeartMedia and youth media company VICE Media Group announce the launch of a weekly investigative series “covering critical news subjects from around the world” titled “VICE News Reports.” The series is being co-produced by iHeartRadio and VICE News. The companies say, “The year-round weekly series will feature in-depth, on-the-ground reportage, tapping into VICE’s extensive global network of diverse, award-winning journalists, offering rare access audio that brings the listener directly into the story unlike any other program.”…..Entercom-owned podcast producer Cadence13 unveils C13Features, “a groundbreaking podcast feature studio focused on creating a wide-ranging slate of compelling feature-length stories of all genres that appeal to a wide audience.” It goes on to say, “C13Features will use a traditional Hollywood blockbuster movie creative approach to construct audio features at scale. The objective is to develop a brand-new experience of storytelling to the podcast listening universe, while also creating an incubator for a new kind of IP, attractive for film and television.”…..iHeartMedia Tampa Bay announces an agreement with the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee to be their exclusive local radio partner for Super Bowl LV in February 2021. As part of the broadcast agreement, iHeartMedia Tampa Bay will work with the Super Bowl LV Host Committee to support and promote Super Bowl LV initiatives and activations, including events and fan experiences as well as distribute news and information across all nine locally owned-and-operated iHeartMedia radio stations, digital platforms and social media channels…..“Tell Me What to Do with Jaime Primak Sullivan,” the seventh weekly podcast series from the Lemonada Media podcast network, launched yesterday (6/25). Sullivan, star of Bravo’s “Jersey Belle” and bestselling author of The Southern Education of a Jersey Girl (Touchstone, 2016) offers advice to listeners in what Lemonada calls an “edgy audio advice column” delving into topics such as “marital stressors and parenting challenges to developing self-love and taking ownership of our sex lives.”

COVID-19 Statistics and Projections Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 22-26. The rising number of COVID-19 cases in some states and projections for future outbreaks of the illness combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the state of health care during the pandemic and the debate over the efficacy of wearing masks in public. Coming in at #3 is a tie between race relations, police reform, the removal of Confederate and Colonial-era statues, and the NASCAR ‘Noose” case, followed by the presidential race, President Trump’s rallies, the primary elections, and former national security adviser John Bolton’s book all tied at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at ‘Expert Guests.’ Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a regular basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV, and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that includes widely acclaimed Germany-based Hungarian progressive jazz-rock musician Leslie Mandoki and The Epoch Times leading edge investigative reporter on Communist China, Joshua Philipp. There are also guest commentators on diversity management, school and campus safety, as well as keeping Zoom events secure and private – plus a whole lot more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

 

 

Saga Seeks News/Talk Programmer. Saga Communications holds every one of our news/talk stations in extremely high regard. Our 11 AM/FM news/talkers have been and remain a most important part of Saga’s large portfolio of stations. They are near and dear to Saga president/CEO Ed Christian’s heart with a love and passion for the format that is truly eternal. Saga has a rare opening for a focused and skilled news/talk program director at WHCU in Ithaca, New York. The Cayuga Radio Group has a total of 10 outstanding radio stations in virtually every format and is led by president/GM extraordinaire Chet Osadchey and our terrific operations manager Chris Allinger. Check out Ithaca! It’s home to some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the nation such as Ithaca College and Ivy League member Cornell University. Looking to make a difference in one of the most beautiful parts of the country? We want to hear from you. Send your materials, including cover and resume, to operations director Chris Allinger at callinger@cyradiogroup.com. Join one of the premiere broadcast companies in the world. Saga is an EOE. No calls please.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A virtual, fundraising event designed to honor the community and benefit first responders who have withstood and continue to endure through the COVID-19 pandemic is being presented on July 2 at 7:00 pm ET by Reach Media and Radio One. Titled, “A Night of Inspiration,” it’s being hosted by Reach Media personalities Erica Campbell, Willie Moore Jr., and Darlene McCoy. Radio One EVP of business affairs and entertainment Gary Bond says, “‘The Night of Inspiration’ at its essence is about taking an inspirational moment and turning that into hours, days, weeks, and years of positive action during these unprecedented times. In this COVID-19 climate of social distancing and limited gatherings, we’re coming to people where they are, right in the living room, by bringing a spectacular night of entertainment to uplift, edify, and renew us all as agents of change.”…..Tonight (6/26) at 8:00 pm ET, more than 60 affiliate stations that air Premiere Networks’ “The Sweat Hotel” with Keith Sweat, will hear R&B legend Brian McKnight give a special, remote performance for fans as part of the “Keith Sweat Presents the iHeartRadio R&B Live Concert Series.”.….Non-commercial triple A WYMS-FM, Milwaukee announces that its Backline grant and educational initiative for local musicians is continuing its 12-week accelerator program with the $20,000 grants despite the challenges of the pandemic. It announces the four Spring 2020 Backline artists are: Bisca Rae (FKA Liza Jane), an Anti-pop singer-songwriter; Cameron Jarrell Henderson, better known as Lorde Fredd33 (pronounced “Lord Freddy”), who’s made a name for himself by releasing a fusion of work that touches the bases of folk, alternative, and hip hop; Cameron Williams, also known as Cam Will, is a rap/hip hop artist who left behind his full-ride D1 athletic scholarship to channel his work ethic and determination into his passion for music full-time; and So Zuppy who is the solo music project from multimedia artist and producer Micah Foust…..Key Networks nationally syndicated country radio host Shawn Parr is pictured below with the staff of Jasper on the Air Inc’s country WQKZ, Jasper, Indiana, the newest affiliate station for his “Shawn Parr’s Across the Country” program.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

| June 25, 2020

BIA: Local Radio Advertising to Fall by 10.7% in 2020. Revising its beginning-of-the-year projection that U.S. local radio advertising revenue (consisting of AM/FM, digital, and streaming) would be $14.3 billion, BIA Advisory Services reports that projection to now be $12.8 billion – a decrease of 10.7%. BIA breaks it down this way: $11.4 billion is expected to come from over-the-air sales and $1.4 billion should come from digital sales. BIA says, “By comparison, in 2019 local radio stations generated $12.8 billion in over-the-air revenue and just over $1 billion in digital. This was a 1.6 % decrease in total revenue from 2018.” BIA SVP and chief economist Mark Fratrik comments, “In 2018, we projected that radio’s digital platforms would reach $1 billion by 2019 and last year the industry hit this mark. For 2020, our ad forecast shows that digital sales, including streaming, will stay steady. Then by 2021, Radio online revenue will start to climb back up again. On the over-the-air side, we see a bigger COVID hit, with a steep drop in 2020 and some recovery back by 2021.” What sectors will make up the bulk of radio’s revenue? BIA says the finance/insurance industry will make up $2 billion, retail will account for $1.97 billion, automotive will contribute $1.5 billion, and technology accounts for $1.3 billion. BIA explains, “These industries may benefit from the continuing shift in radio listening from the car to the home as at-home audio environment features give consumers multiple opportunities to consume promotions. Streaming has become a major growth opportunity for broadcasters to maintain existing audiences and attract new, younger listeners. BIA’s revenue estimate drops to $12.5 billion when streaming ad revenue is not included.”

Suit Challenges USAGM Exec Michael Pack’s Firing of Agency Organization Heads. In a suit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Open Technology Fund and four individual members of its board of directors are asking the Court to declare null and void U.S. Agency for Global Media chief executive Michael Pack’s recent firing of Open Technology Fund and news outlet leaders. The complaint argues that “Although funded by Congress through grants administered by the Agency, the four organizations targeted by Mr. Pack are not part of the government. Their employees are not government employees. They are private, nonprofit organizations with their own leadership and independent boards of directors. That is by design. Their mission, collectively, is to promote the free flow of information worldwide, especially in countries where authorities restrict freedom of expression. They do this through global efforts to combat online censorship and news broadcasts in 61 different languages, reaching 400 million people each day. But they can only be effective in countering disinformation and censorship if they are rightly perceived as independent, professional, and fact-driven—not as official mouthpieces for some partisan agenda.” Open Technology Fund chief Libby Liu tendered her resignation to take effect at the end of July but was terminated immediately by Peck. Also fired were: Bay Fang of Radio Free Asia, Jamie Fly of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Alberto M. Fernandez of Middle East Broadcasting Networks, and Emilio Vazquez of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting.

Cumulus Closes on $74.1 million Bethesda Land Sale. The deal to sell a 75-acre parcel of land in Bethesda, Maryland to developers Toll Brothers has been in the works for some time and yesterday (6/24) Cumulus Media was finally able to announce the $74.1 million deal has closed. Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner says, “Given the difficult operating environment, our ability to continue to strengthen our balance sheet with the proceeds of this deal is particularly meaningful, and we greatly appreciate the efforts of Toll Brothers in working with us to bring this five-year effort to completion.” Net proceeds from the sale are expected to be $71.3 million after transaction fees and expenses. Cumulus anticipates achieving minor expense savings from the elimination of real estate taxes after the closing and does not expect any tax liability as it relates to the transaction. Net proceeds from the sale are required to be used to pay down debt, unless otherwise reinvested in the company’s business over the next 12 months.

PPM Analysis: Coronavirus Cume Factor (Part 2). TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian continues his analysis of Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey, today presenting part two of his look at cume changes for news/talk stations. In this report, Kinosian presents charts showing news/talk stations ranked from highest cume to lowest, cume increases from the April 2020 PPM survey to the May 2020 PPM survey, decreases from April to May, and a chart displaying the cume for all stations on our panel in the all-news, sports talk, and news/talk radio formats. See it all here.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, BLM Movement/Confederate & Colonial-Era Statues, Seattle CHOP Situation, Second Stimulus, Financial Markets Activity, Presidential Race, Flynn Charges Dismissed, Bubba Wallace Case, and MLB Season to Open Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/24). The explosion of new COVID-19 cases in some states and projections of future cases and deaths; the protests supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and the related move to take down statues of Confederate and Colonial-era statues; Seattle asks CHOP protesters to leave the area and local business consider suing the city; the debate over a possible second COVID-19 federal stimulus package; the world’s financial markets react to COVID-19 data; Democrat Joe Biden enjoys positive poll news in his race against Donald Trump; the DOJ officially dismisses the charges against Michael Flynn; the FBI concludes the Bubba Wallace “noose” incident was not a hate crime; and the MLB prepares to open on July 1 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Today (6/25) at 2:00 pm ET, Cumulus Media | Westwood One is presenting a live webinar to release “brand new insights and studies on the state of the American consumer.” Covered in today’s event will be: Just-released J.D. Power automotive sales data for the week ending June 21 indicating it was one of the strongest auto sales performance weeks for new sales; new “Share of Ear” data from Edison Research on the audience duplication between AM/FM radio and Pandora and Spotify; how advertising can help businesses recover and reopen using a powerful new visual from marketing pro Les Binet; and more…..“The Money Pit Home Improvement Program” – syndicated nationally via Talk Shows USA – announces the addition of Free Fire Media’s KCNR-AM, Shasta/K243CT, Redding, California and WCJU Incorporated’s WCJU-AM, Columbia, Mississippi to its roster of affiliates…..Cox Media Group’s news/talk KRMG-FM, Tulsa and KOKI-TV “FOX23” are partnering with the American Red Cross in a two-day “Red, White and You” Blood Drive today and tomorrow (6-25/26). KRMG director of branding and programming Levi May comments, “This is one of our favorite events every year because it unifies our listeners in Green Country to work as a group to help people who live and work in their communities. Every pint donated to the American Red Cross can help save three lives. That’s a pretty impressive return on 30 minutes of your day.”

International Rock Musician/Impresario Leslie Mandoki Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Munich, Germany-based, Hungarian rocker Leslie Mandoki is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Mandoki is a seasoned professional forged by experience, passion and life, who is keeping the spirit and quality of the progressive, jazz rock era alive and well for generations old and new. His ensemble, MANDOKI SOULMATES, is a long-running loosely knit association of some of the greatest big-name musicians on the planet. Their brand-new release, “Living in the Gap & Hungarian Pictures,is a double album that expresses their ideals of socially aware lyrics and complex musical arrangements – basic tenets of the progressive and jazz rock era. In his youth, Mandoki escaped from communist Hungary to West Germany where he built one of the finest studio complexes in Europe, produced and performed on records, became friends with a wide network of great musicians including the legendary Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull and launched a progressive rock juggernaut. Countless gold and platinum records decorate his walls. He also wrote, produced, and performed the superb charity song dedicated to the heroes of the coronavirus titled #WeSayThankYou with Ian Anderson that has garnered positive attention on international radio and on YouTube. Harrison and Mandoki discuss the music, social issues and politics that make Leslie Mandoki a fascinating individual – largely unknown to Americans. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Entercom Partners with Analytics Firm Deep Root. In what Entercom calls part of its “commitment to data-driven capabilities,” the company announces a partnership with audience-powered analytics company Deep Root that will allow Entercom to offer advertisers expanded targeting options. Entercom says, “This partnership will enable agencies, advocacy groups, and political campaigns to identify and reach Deep Root’s custom voter audience segments when advertising throughout Entercom’s robust portfolio of broadcast and digital assets. This includes access to Deep Root’s issue advocacy and political audience segments such as swing voters, blue collar voters, and environmentalists.” Entercom VP, data and analytics Dan McKinney adds, “Expansive reach and national scale allow radio and digital audio to serve as a reliable platform for brands and political campaigns to reach engaged consumers. Now more than ever, it is our responsibility to support these advertising partners with increased targeting to accomplish their specific goals. Partnering with Deep Root will allow us to better serve our trusted partners and enhance their capabilities when leveraging our audio assets to reach voters nationally and locally.”

New RAB ‘Open for Business’ Series Announced. The RAB announces that as part of its Business Unusual initiative, a new Open for Business live-video series titled, “Getting Your Billing Back On Track,” hosted by RAB SVP of professional development Jeff Schmidt takes place on July 14 at 11:00 am ET (a repeat viewing is available July 16 at 4:00 pm ET. RAB says, “As businesses across the country are reopening, it is time for sellers to rebuild their selling strategy. In this live-video presentation, Schmidt will share proven tools and resources account executives and managers can utilize to increase stations’ revenue and income at their stations and radio companies.” Registration is free to RAB members. To register, click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Nationally syndicated urban contemporary “The Deja Vu Show” adds five new affiliates including: KBXT-FM, Bryan, Texas; KISX-FM, Tyler, Texas; KSSM-FM, Waco, Texas; KMJI-FM, Texarkana, Texas; and WRKA-FM, Louisville. The WBLS-FM, New York based afternoon drive show is syndicated via ABC Audio, whose executive director of business strategy Heidi Oringer says, “Throughout her career, Deja has drawn high ratings in every market where she’s heard. We’re thrilled that in syndication ‘The Deja Vu Show’ followed suit and is experiencing the same level of success and rapid growth. Deja’s insightful content and her standout personality draw large, diverse audiences. We’re excited that stations are adding ‘The Deja Vu Show’ to their lineups and equally excited that she is so favored by advertisers as well.”…..The Tom Kent Radio Network announces new affiliation deals with more great radio stations. Adding Tom Kent’s “Ultimate Party” is Midwest Communications classic hits WBOW, Terre Haute, Indiana; Draper Communications classic hits WTDK, Salisbury, Maryland adds “My 70s Show” and “Super 60s with Steve Kent”; and Delta Media’s urban AC KFXZ, Opelousas, Louisiana adds “Sweet Soul Weekend with Jeff Foxx.”

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

| June 24, 2020

Former WFAN Star Craig Carton Released from Prison. Former WFAN, New York morning drive personality Craig Carton was granted early release from a federal penitentiary yesterday morning (6/23) after serving a little more than a year of his three-and-a-half-year sentence on a fraud conviction. The New York Post reports that Carton will serve the remainder of his sentence in home confinement or a halfway house. Of course, this gets the speculation going about a return to the WFAN airwaves for Carton and the Post’s Andrew Marchand writes about a possible scenario today. Marchand suggests in his column that while a return to mornings alongside Boomer Esiason is not likely, he can see Carton in afternoons facing ESPN’s crosstown WEPN-FM star Michael Kay. He writes, “Carton has what [current WFAN afternoon hosts] Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts lack — Carton is an entertainer, first and foremost.”

CMG Moves News/Talk WDBO to Translator; Spanish Music Format Airs on 96.5 FM. A series of programming moves by Cox Media Group takes news/talk WDBO off the class C FM signal at 96.5 and returns it to its original AM 580 signal – bumping the ESPN Radio sports format that’s been airing there – and simulcasts WDBO on translator W297BB at 107.3 FM that had been simulcasting urban contemporary WCFB-FM, Daytona Beach. CMG sees a bigger revenue upside to a Spanish-language music format than the news/talk format. CMG Orlando VP and general manager Jason Meder says, “With two dominant TV stations, six radio brands, and various digital platforms, Cox Media Group Orlando delivers the largest audience in Central Florida. This move strengthens our portfolio of radio brands and reflects our commitment to serving the diverse community of audiences and advertisers in the market.”

PPM Analysis: Coronavirus Cume Factor (Part 1). TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian continues his analysis of Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey, today pivoting to the cume for all-news and sports talk stations. As Kinosian notes, when referring to a station’s ratings, AQH share is most often cited. But cume is just as important (if not more), so today he examines the performances of all-news and sports talk stations based on cume. He lays out charts showing cume increases and decreases from the April 2020 survey to the May 2020 survey for both formats. See it all here.

Starnes Media Group to Syndicate New Sunday Show Starring Jennifer Kerns. The new, Sunday talk radio program “All-American Radio with Jennifer Kerns” is launching on KWAM, Memphis this Sunday and will be offered in national syndication via Starnes Media Group. Kerns served as a press secretary for 15 years in blue states and swing states. She served as an appointee of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as well as spokeswoman and communications director for the California Republican Party, the Colorado Recalls (defending the Second Amendment), and the Prop. 8 initiative in California that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Starnes Media Group says the program will feature Kerns delivering conservative commentary and hard-hitting analysis of Sunday morning news shows, political news of the week, and a look ahead at what’s on tap on the campaign trail across America. Todd Starnes adds, “Jen is one of the top conservative writers in America today and her ability to connect the dots for her audience is going to lend itself well to talk radio. She is a champion for conservative causes who has won millions of votes across America. Her unafraid, outspoken, yet down-to-earth style is going to endear her to our listeners in Memphis.” The program airs live at 5:00 pm CT.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WGN-AM evening talk host Ji Suk Yi is leaving the Nexstar Media Group radio station after her July 10 program to become the breaking morning news reporter for the company’s “News Nation” national news startup at WGN America. Though “News Nation” will be a three-hour, nightly newscast, Ji will appear on NewsNationNow.com and its app. WGN-AM general manager Mary Sandberg Boyle states, “‘News Nation’ is a marquee asset for Nexstar and we were thrilled that Ji got this opportunity.”…..The Buffalo NewsAlan Pergament reveals that Buffalo Sabres reporter Paul Hamilton is being let go by Entercom’s sports talk WGR, Buffalo. Hamilton was one of the company’s staffers furloughed at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, Entercom has made his departure from the station’s airwaves permanent. The story notes that a memo from Entercom Buffalo market manager Tim Holly says “these are difficult times that affect us in ways never considered. That being said, I am sorry to announce after a 25+ year career on WGR, Paul Hamilton will no longer be our resource for the Buffalo Sabres and no longer employed at Entercom Buffalo.” The company also lets promotions department staffer Rosemarie Paternostro go in the financially related move…..A new, daily radio feature is being launched by Marketplace and Westwood One. The “Marketplace Minute” is 60-second economic news report – delivered three times daily – produced in Los Angeles by American Public Media and distributed by Westwood One. Westwood One says this partnership “represents the first time a public media entity has partnered with a commercial audio network to distribute a news product in these formats.” Marketplace SVP and general manager Deborah Clark says, “Now more than ever, it’s clear every American needs to understand the economic realities we face. This partnership will help us realize our mission of raising the economic intelligence of the country by bringing new audiences to our storytelling. We’re in a critical time for smart, nonpartisan, solutions-based journalism, and we want to reach audiences where they are. To that end, commercial radio is a logical distribution extension.”…..SiriusXM announces a new, weekend radio program hosted by Stacy Washington that airs Sundays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon on the Patriot channel. Titled, “Stacy on the Right,” the program features the journalist and conservative commentator interviewing politicians and newsmakers. Washington also offers “her views on the week in politics plus the breaking headlines from the busy Sunday morning news cycle.” Washington is an Emmy-nominated TV personality, podcast host, and documentarian, who is already a familiar voice to the Patriot audience as a regular fill-in host on the channel, in addition to her appearances on FOX News, FOX Business, CNN, The Blaze, and PBS.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Bolton and Mary Trump Books, Presidential Race/Primary Elections, BLM Protests/Statue Removals, Second Round of Stimulus, Bubba Wallace Case, MLB to Open July 1 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/23). The rise of confirmed COVID-19 cases in some parts of the U.S. and projections about future cases as the country continues to re-open; the controversy over former national security adviser John Bolton’s The Room Where It Happened book and the White House’s battle to prevent Trump’s niece Mary Trump from publishing her book; the presidential race between Joe Biden and Donald Trump and this week’s primary elections; the Black Lives Matter protests taking place around the country and the removal of Confederate and Colonial-era figures; President Trump’s desire for a second round of stimulus checks; the “noose” case involving NASCAR’s Bubba Wallace; and Major League Baseball’s plans to open camps on July 1 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, the morning show at Entercom’s country WUSN-FM – Jason Pullman and Katie Bright – is out. The story indicates that after Bright decided to resign her position to focus “on her personal life,” the company also decided to cut ties with Pullman and will execute a search for a new WUSN morning show. For the time being, midday host Drew Walker will be on air from 7:00 am to 1:00 pm…..A four-part, limited series titled, “Motown Countdown with iHeartRadio’s Angela Yee,” will air on FOXSoul.tv each Tuesday in July at 10:00 pm ET, beginning July 7. iHeartMedia, FOX Soul, and Motown Records announce the partnership. FOX Soul head of programming James DuBose says, “As we continue to grow FOX Soul into the premier destination for black culture content, being able to partner with iHeartMedia and Motown to bring this series to the community is the definition of black excellence and I couldn’t be more excited.” Each 30 minute episode will contain one countdown of the “top 5 current torchbearers” in a specific category. The series premiere will focus on hip hop’s best. The second installment will highlight the most impactful songs to encourage change and revolution. The third will discuss Andre Harrell-inspired hits, and the final will consider Motown songs throughout the decades…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One Nashville is airing “Celebrate the USA,” an annual birthday party for America, over the Fourth of July weekend. CMA and ACM award winner Jon Pardi hosts the show with some of his all-star friends including: Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, Thomas Rhett, Carrie Underwood, among others. The four-hour special will be available for stations to air over the holiday weekend beginning Friday, July 3 through Sunday, July 5…..iHeartMedia CHR WRVW, Nashville “107.5 The River” announces the lineup for its virtual music festival “River Under Your Rooftop” on July 9 that will feature performances from: Lewis Capaldi, Finneas, Jojo, Tones And I, AJR, Olivia O’Brien, Alec Benjamin, and Jxdn, with more performers still to be announced. The event will broadcast live on the @1075theriver Instagram page, with each artist participating in a small virtual meet and greet directly after their performance.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

| June 23, 2020

Ramsey Solutions to Expand; Create 600 News Jobs. The Tennessean reports that Dave Ramsey’s Ramsey Solutions is investing $52 million to construct a second office building on its campus in Franklin, Tennessee and will create 600 new jobs. The paper says this project is “part of Ramsey Solutions’ continued expansion, which started in 2015 when the company closed on 47 acres of land in the Berry Farms development.” Dave Ramsey is quoted saying, “We appreciate our partnership with Governor [Bill] Lee and Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development in helping us create another 600 jobs for our state. Tennessee’s low tax environment is causing healthy business growth and migration. It’s helping boost our economy, and we’re honored to be a part of that.” The story goes on to say that in 2019, “the Ramsey team moved into the first six-story office building, which includes podcast and radio studios, more than 200,000 square feet of workspace, a team member cafeteria, a bookstore and coffee shop for guests watching ‘The Dave Ramsey Show’ live in the studio. This latest expansion will accommodate the company’s continued growth. Construction on the second office building began in August 2019 and is expected to be completed in May 2021.”

Joe Pags Celebrates 10 Years as Host of ‘The Weekend.’ The weekly issues-oriented program “The Weekend” has been airing on iHeartMedia stations since the late 1990s. It was created to provide live weekend talk content for the company’s news/talk stations and featured a rotating cast of then-Clear Channel talk hosts. In June of 2010, Premiere Networks named WOAI, San Antonio talk show host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo the permanent host of the three-hour show that is heard on more than 300 stations.  Premiere says, “Each weekend on the show, Joe Pagliarulo – or “Pags” as he’s affectionately known – offers listeners a refreshing break from traditional talk as he covers a variety of stories and topics that affect all Americans – from family, social issues, and pop culture, to news headlines and politics. The relevant, entertaining and often funny program also features playful debate.” Speaking about his 10th anniversary, Pags says, “It is such an honor to be able to crack the mic every weekend and talk to wonderful people across the nation! Time flies when doing what I love. I’m humbled that it’s been a decade!  Looking forward to many more years to come.”

Heidi Glaus Hosts Afternoons on KTRS-AM, St. Louis. With the recent retirement of Guy Phillips from CH Holdings’ news/talk KTRS-AM, St. Louis, the station elevates Phillips’ co-host Heidi Glaus to lead personality. The station says Glaus “debuts her new show ‘The Heidi Glaus Show with Josh Gilbert’ after a short but solid run with radio legend Guy Phillips. Heidi is a former, longtime reporter and host of ‘Show Me St. Louis’ for KSDK television. Glaus is originally from the small town of New Madrid, Missouri. She attended Williams Woods University and played softball and basketball. Following college, she started working at KSDK in 1996 as an intern, then transitioned into working as a production assistant for the network after her internship ended.” KTRS says Josh Gilbert joined KTRS in 2010 handling shifts “nobody else wanted to do.” After producing the “Guy Phillips Show,” Gilbert rises to his new producer/co-host role.

PPM Analysis: COVID-19’s Effect on Spoken-Word Listening. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian looks at the data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM and April 2020 PPM surveys to analyze spoken word listening trends. In this report based on weekly, 6+ AQH share, Kinosian charts listening trends by market, ratings gains by market, ratings losses by market, top 20 gains by spoken-word stations, top 20 losses by spoken-word stations, and more. See it all here.

Jason McCollim Elevated to SVP of Programming for iHeartMedia Austin/San Antonio. Programming pro Jason McCollim moves from iHeartMedia’s Colorado Springs/Pueblo markets where he was SVP of programming to the company’s Austin/San Antonio region to serve in the same capacity. The clusters include legendary news/talk WOAI-AM, San Antonio; sports talk KVET-AM, Austin; and 13 other brands. iHeartMedia Austin/San Antonio president Matt Martin says, “It is terrific to re-connect and work with Jason again. Jason is passionate about leading teams, is a proven winner, and fits our culture perfectly. We are excited to welcome him to our team.” McCollim comments, “Thank you iHeartMedia for this fantastic opportunity to work in not one, but two of the most competitive radio landscapes in the country. I am beyond excited to join forces with the already incredible leadership, sales, and programming teams in the Austin and San Antonio markets.”

Peter Tripi Rises to EVP of Affiliate Sales at Premiere Networks. Affiliate sales pro Peter Tripi is promoted from his senior vice president of affiliate sales/talk and morning shows position with Premiere Networks to executive vice president of affiliate sales. In this new position, Tripi will oversee affiliate sales and affiliate marketing for all of Premiere’s talent, including: Rush Limbaugh, Ryan Seacrest, Delilah, Sean Hannity, Steve Harvey, Glenn Beck, The Breakfast Club, Bobby Bones, Elvis Duran, Mario Lopez, the FOX Sports Radio Network, and many others. Additionally, he’ll manage affiliations for more than 60 prep, production, imaging and research services. In total, Tripi and his team are responsible for more than 7,100 radio affiliations worldwide. Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott states, “I’ve worked with Peter for over two decades and I couldn’t ask for a better representative for our unmatched lineup of national radio personalities and their brands. His extensive industry experience and tremendous insight make him an effective leader and valued member of our team. I look forward to working together for years to come.”

Spiking COVID-19 Numbers in South and West, Trump Tulsa Rally/Presidential Race, Black Lives Matter Movement, Confederate & Colonial Era Statues, Seattle Autonomous Zone, and Trump Expands Visa Ban Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/22). The rising number of cases of COVID-19 in states in the South and the West as economies re-open; the aftermath of President Trump’s rally in Tulsa and his race against presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden; the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests at LaFayette Park in DC; the movement to remove statues of Confederate and Colonial-era figures from public land; Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announces the city will take back the Capitol Hill district that’s been an “autonomous zone”; and President Trump’s expansion of the ban on employment-based visas were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. WNYM-AM, New York “AM970 The Answer” announces a new producer for the morning drive “Joe Piscopo Show.” The Salem Media Group station says it recently said “goodbye” to longtime producer Frank Morano and is now welcoming back Joseph Sibilia as the new producer for the program. Sibilia worked on ‘The Joe Piscopo Show’ from 2017 – 2018 as a social media assistant and production assistant. He left the show to take on the executive/associate producer and director of parody development role at Entercom’s WPHT, Philadelphia…..According to data from Edison Research’s May 2020 Share of Ear data, streaming hit double digits for the first time with 10% of AM/FM radio listening coming from streams versus 90% of listening on a traditional radio receiver. This comes as listening patterns have been altered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Edison director of research Laura Ivey says, “Adoption of radio station streams continues to be slow. While it remains an area of opportunity for broadcasters, to date most people in the U.S. listen over the air when they are listening to AM/FM radio content.” She adds, “The statistics here represent the combination of music and spoken-word listening. Our research shows listening via streaming is higher for spoken-word radio stations such as news, public radio, talk and sports, while listening via streaming is lower for music radio stations.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One News will present the special, “Black Lives Matter: From Protests to Police Reform,” over the July 4th holiday weekend. Correspondent Elliott Francis will explore “how the killing of George Floyd by a police officer sparked a national reckoning on racial and social injustice in the United States and fueled a movement years in the making, with massive demonstrations across cities large and small protesting violent police tactics. Francis also will look at the impact the movement is having from the boardroom to the courtroom, and from the sidelines to the big screen.” It will replace “The Week in Review” on July 4-5…..CBS Audio announces its special one-hour, weekend program “Coronavirus: Changed Forever” has evolved into “America: Changed Forever,” allowing it to address “new issues emerging daily from protests to elections to health.” Also, CBS is presenting its three-hour Independence Day special hosted by Gil Gross. CBS says, “From fireworks to the Declaration of Independence, this three-hour block of programming will focus on what makes July 4​th so special to all Americans and how this year’s most patriotic holiday will be so different from celebrations of the past.”…..ABC Audio is providing special programming to affiliates for the July 4th holiday weekend. For talk stations, ABC News Radio correspondent Alex Stone hosts “Turning to Tech,” a show that explores how Americans used technology while sheltering in place. From virtual classrooms and doctor appointments, to exercising at home and remote work, Stone reports on the new role technology plays in daily life…..A podcast production partnership has been struck between iHeartMedia’s iHeartRadio and WarnerMedia Entertainment (HBO, HBO Max, TNT, TBS, truTV, etc) for the parties to co-produce a slate of companion podcasts for HBO Max’s upcoming catalog of original and legacy shows. The first podcasts to debut will include companion podcasts for the comedy thriller series “Search Party” and sci-fi drama “Raised by Wolves.” The new slate of companion podcasts will play as standalone productions in their own right, but will often center around and help promote HBO Max programming…..Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington says that in the wake of the tragic killing of George Floyd and renewed calls for meaningful change and racial equality in America, it is releasing a new podcast titled, “Colors: A Dialogue on Race in America.” The program is hosted by longtime WTOP national security correspondent JJ Green and former WTOP contributor and creator of “Core Values,” Chris Core. WTOP says, “Each week, JJ and Chris – a black man and a white man who have known each other for 30 years – will engage in raw, real, honest and, sometimes, uncomfortable conversations about race. JJ and Chris will also invite guests to offer their knowledge and opinions on issues and give listeners an opportunity to ask questions in a safe place.” The podcast is a “revival” of a similar radio show the pair piloted in 1993 called “Black and White” while they were colleagues at crosstown WMAL…..Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon is honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. Kenyon is one of 31 broadcasters to receive the honor since 1989. Entercom Detroit regional president Michael Doyle says, “Debbie is a relentless leader whose work ethic and breadth of expertise serve as a pillar for our Detroit market. I congratulate her for this distinguished honor and am proud to see her outstanding career achievements recognized through this award.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Classic rock WRKI, Danbury, Connecticut “I-95” program director and afternoon drive personality Tim Sheehan exits the station after a 30-year career. The station’s morning host Ethan Carey reports on the “I-95” website, “It was 3:00 pm on Thursday, June 18, 2020, when I-95’s Tim Sheehan turned on his microphone for the last time to say goodbye to his afternoon classic rock audience. He told me it was time for a new challenge and a new adventure. He graciously thanked his listeners for their support over the last 30 years and handed over the reins as I-95’s afternoon rock jock to I-95 production director and former part-time air personality, Large Dave.”…..iHeartMedia announces its all-new television and radio special, “iHeartCountry 4th of July BBQ” featuring country music artists Kane Brown, Lauren Alaina, and Old Dominion performing live from the backyards of their homes. The program is being hosted by Bobby Bones. It’ll be broadcast as a television event on Friday, July 3 at 8:00 pm ET on The CW Network and ​audio broadcast on iHeartCountry stations nationwide…..Alpha Media’s classic hits KXGL, Amarillo, Texas “100.9 The Eagle” adds the Sun Broadcast Group syndicated “Ashley and Brad” show to air on mornings…..The Tulsa Music Awards names country KWEN-FM “K95.5” morning drive personality Natalie Cash “Tulsa’s Favorite Radio Personality.” Cash co-hosts the “Cash & Bradley Show” on the Cox Media Group station. Station PD Matt Bradley says, “Natalie is bold and vivacious and so much fun – it’s hard not to love her and want to help her on whatever project she is working on. When Natalie tells listeners that we are going to get involved and do something to help others, it is incredible the way they respond. She really knows how to utilize the power of radio to affect change in a meaningful way.”

Monday, June 22, 2020

| June 22, 2020

Monday Memo: ‘Mainstream Media’ Redefined.  “For several decades,” consultant Holland Cooke reckons, “the term has been weaponized, first by scrappy fringe voices railing against legacy networks and newspapers; more recently by FOX News Channel and Rush Limbaugh,” which Cooke finds “ironic, since ratings qualify them as ‘mainstream.’” Now, as Spotify pays former “Fear Factor” host and MMA commentator Joe Rogan a reported hundred million dollars to distribute his podcast, The New York Times pronounces him “the new Mainstream Media.” And after a bystander’s smartphone captured the George Floyd killing, Cooke asks, “Are not We The People now ‘Mainstream Media?’”  In special segment on his TV show, Cooke and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison discuss how the publisher/consumer balance of power has shifted, even during the pandemic. To view the segment, please click here. To read Holland Cooke’s entire column, please click here.

Pending Business: Creative Always Counts. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that “when it comes to selling a personality live read, audience size often takes a back seat. The power of personality reads is based on the trust the audience has in your on-air talent. The trust between them is real because your on-air talent earns that trust with every show. Until you see it at work for your advertisers, you will never truly understand the sell.” Read his entire column here.

NRG Media Names Allyson Hillman Market Manager for Waterloo, Iowa. Radio management pro Allyson Hillman is named market manager for NRG Media’s Waterloo, Iowa cluster that includes news/talk KXEL-AM, rock KFMW-FM, classic hits KOKZ-FM, and classic country KPTY-AM/FM. NRG Media president and CEO Mary Quass says, “We are thrilled to have Allyson join NRG. She brings extensive experience in management and sales to the market. She understands the importance of NRG’s mission to provide great local radio. We are confident with Allyson’s belief that success comes from a positive culture and strength development that she will continue to develop innovative strategies for the market while providing great local radio.”

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk. The weekly, 6+ AQH shares for news/talk stations in our panel are largely coming back down after skyrocketing during the April 2020 PPM survey. Comparing April to May, 65% of news/talk stations regressed while just 24% of news/talk stations improved. Gainers were led by Cumulus Media’s KMBZ-FM, Kansas City (+1.4, 6.8 share) and iHeartMedia’s WKRC, Cincinnati (+0.8, 4.3 share). A year-over-year comparison shows 65% of stations improve while 24% of news/talk stations decline. Stations improving most since May of 2019 include Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta (+4.8, 11.1 share), Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington (+4.1, 9.3 share) and iHeartMedia’s WTVN, Columbus (+4.0, 9.0 share). During the May 2020 survey, six news/talk stations ranked #1 in their respective markets. See the complete report here.

Pittsburgh Play-By-Play Talent Charged with DUI. Radio play-by-play personality Bill Hillgrove has been charged with DUI in Murrysville, Pennsylvania after driving his car through a grocery store’s plate-glass windows. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Hillgrove – the announcer for Pittsburgh Steelers and University of Pittsburgh Panthers football games – went into the store to fill a prescription after hitting the building and drove home in his damaged car. Authorities found him there and arrested him after he failed a preliminary breath test.

Trump Tulsa Rally, NY Prosecutor Fired, Bolton Book, Re-Opening of America/COVID-19 Stats, Police Defunding Debate, Presidential Race, and Deadly UK Stabbing Attack Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Saturday’s Trump campaign rally at Tulsa’s BOK Center; Southern District of New York prosecutor Geoffrey Berman is fired by President Trump; the controversy over the tell-all book by former national security adviser John Bolton; states across the country continue re-opening their economies and the COVID-19 statistics and projections; the debate over protestors’ defund the police demands; the presidential race; and the stabbing in England that took the lives of three and is being investigated as a terrorist attack were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Larry Elder Premieres New Film UNCLE TOM: An Oral History of the American Black Conservative. Pictured above is Salem Radio Network talk host Larry Elder (at center, waving) acknowledging a standing ovation at the Dallas premiere of his new documentary film, UNCLE TOM: An Oral History of the American Black Conservative. Elder is executive producer of the film that explores the personal journeys of black conservatives. Attendees at the premiere included former U.S. Congressman Allen West, 2012 presidential candidate Herman Cain, and media personalities, ministers and civil rights activists. SRN V.P. news & talk Tom Tradup says the film is “a groundbreaking documentary that examines self-empowerment and individualism of black conservatives in a compelling, eye-opening perspective.” Elder will talk about the film on FOX News Channel this evening (6/22) when he’s interviewed on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

Independent Broadcasters Association Momentum Growing. The movement to create the Independent Broadcasters Association (IBA) is continuing to grow and is approaching its stated goal of 3,000 member stations. The IBA announces that an additional 600 outlets have joined during the past week. The movement was launched by Adams Radio Group CEO Ron Stone when he reached out to 4,000 radio stations gauging their interest in the association. Stone says, “The momentum we are seeing is incredible. We are now up to 424 owners and operators and 2,395 stations. It takes time to build any organization as we all know. To see this kind of growth every week it screams volumes of how much independents need the help this association can deliver. We are going to hit our goal for sure… and very few independents will shy away once the organization is formed and they realize the benefits. It would not surprise me to ultimately have most of the 7,000 independents participating. Our future is in our own hands and we have to make the right choices now.” Stone says benefits of membership in the organization could include: Group Employee Benefits – better coverage and lower prices, and potentially add additional benefits for our employees; Revenue Generation – An unwired network & digital platform supported by a national sales team to monetize for us; Digital Services Group – This would enable continuity across independent stations giving us the opportunity to accomplish double digit digital revenue through Web, Mobile, Alexa, & Streaming; Shared Resources – A system that allows sharing of that talent in non-competitive situations and reduces our dependence on national syndication that requires cash, barter and sometimes both; and Proprietary Systems and Services – Under the umbrella of a member owned association, we can create proprietary systems that we control and eliminate some of the costly monthly per station fees for traffic, accounting, CRM, Yield Management, even automation and music scheduling. Interested stations can visit the IBA website here.

QGoLive RV Radio Road Trip Seeks Affiliate Stations. The RV pictured above is the vehicle QGoLive’s James Copeland is using to tour the country visiting radio stations offering demos of the QGoLive software that enables studio-quality audio from anywhere on any smartphone or computer. AdLarge Media is serving as affiliate sales rep for the service and it notes that QGoLive is already serving more than 100 stations around the country and recently added affiliates such as Cenla Broadcasting of Alexandria, Louisiana; Jam Media; and classic hits WATH-AM and CHR WXTQ-FM, Athens, Ohio. AdLarge’s Jessica Sherman says, “Our QGoLive team are experts in remote broadcasting software. James is on the road to get the word out and to help all operators, large and small, equip their entire team and contributors with remote capabilities. The pandemic has taught us all that radio needs easy solutions for broadcasting from home that sounds great. QGoLive delivers just that, but we can be so much more as broadcasters open up to our new reality”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On Saturday, June 27, Global Citizen and the European Commission will present “Global Goal: Unite for Our Future – The Concert” hosted by Dwayne Johnson and featuring performances by Shakira, Coldplay, Usher, Jennifer Hudson, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and Quavo, J Balvin, Chloe x Halle, Yemi Alade, and Christine and the Queens. The concert will air on 150 iHeartMedia radio stations as well as on the iHeartRadio app. The purpose of the event is to “combat the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on marginalized communities and to call on world leaders to make COVID-19 tests, therapeutics and vaccines available for everyone, everywhere.”…..Bonneville’s classic rock KUFX, San Jose “98.5 KFOX” officially announces its new morning show “San Jose’s Great Radio Experiment” featuring Joey V, Chris Jackson, and Karina Farias. Station director of programming operations Brian Figula says, “Congratulations to Chris Jackson, celebrating 30 years of rock radio excellence on KFOX.  Joey, Chris and Karina’s unique chemistry has already resonated with rock fans all over the South Bay.”…..Reach Media nationally syndicated radio host D.L. Hughley is in quarantine in Nashville after passing out on stage during a performance. While being treated, Hughley was tested for COVID-19 and the result was positive. Hughley said via social media that he was asymptomatic….. Beasley Media Group Detroit radio personalities Mason and Angie Star (WDMK “105.9 KISS-FM), Gello (WMGC “105.1 The Bounce”) and Randi Myles from “The Detroit Praise Network” are hosting a Zoom conference call with community leaders to discuss ways to bridge the gap between residents and the police department to create “Solutions Not Slogans.” The event will take place on Thursday (6/25) at 7:00 pm and will feature Detroit Police Chief James Craig, Washtenaw Sheriff Jerry Clayton, Detroit City Councilwoman Mary Shiefield, Inkster Mayor Patrick Wimberly, and Southfield Police Chief Elvin Barren.

Friday, June 19, 2020

| June 19, 2020

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted.  The new episode titled “Plots and Subplots!” looks back at this past week of June 15-19, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSMichael Riedel, talk show host, WOR, New York; David Horowitz, commentator/author; Sean Spicer, talk show host, Newsmax TVMartha Zoller, talk show host, WDUN, Gainesville, GA; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Bill Brady, talk show host/owner, KFNX, Phoenix; and Heidi Harris, talk show host, KMZQ, Las Vegas. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode,  please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Terry Foxx Moves from Atlanta’s ‘The Game’ to Charlotte’s WFNZ. Sports talk programming pro Terry Foxx is named brand manager for Entercom’s WFNZ-AM/W273DA, Charlotte. He’s been brand manager for the company’s WZGC-FM, Atlanta “92.9 The Game” since the station launched. Prior to that, he helped launch and programmed Entercom’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “93.7 The Fan.” Entercom Charlotte SVP and market manager Matt Hanlon says, “Terry brings a wealth of experience architecting leading sports radio brands and will help usher in a new era of growth for WFNZ. The station serves as an extremely important sports and lifestyle brand for the people of Charlotte, who rely on us to be informative, timely, relevant and entertaining. Terry’s leadership will be instrumental and we’re looking forward to adding him to the team.” Foxx adds, “I’m very excited to join Entercom Charlotte and the great team at WFNZ. Charlotte is a great city full of passionate sports fans and I look forward to enhancing their sports radio home with unparalleled content and in-depth discussion. I want to thank Matt for this incredible opportunity, along with [regional president] Doug Abernethy.”

Salem Radio News to Provide Complete Coverage of Trump Tulsa Rally. When President Trump’s campaign rally gets underway at Tulsa’s BOK Center tomorrow, Salem Radio News and TOWNHALL News will be there providing comprehensive coverage. SRN says White House correspondent Greg Clugston will travel aboard Air Force 1 and will provide “advancers” beginning early Saturday and will file reports from the BOK Center during and following the rally. SRN will provide live, unanchored audio from the event on Saturday evening on both the SRN News “longform” channel and via its SRN Westwood One XDS channel.

Townsquare Media Files 10-Q Form with First Quarter Financial Data. A week ago, Townsquare Media Inc provided preliminary first quarter 2020 financial data and said it would officially file its 10-Q Form with the Securities Exchange Commission “on or before June 25.” Today, the company delivers that report. Net revenue for the first quarter was basically flat at $93.4 million compared to Q1 2019’s net revenue of $93.7 million. However, in the first quarter of 2019, the company posted operating income of $11.9 million and this year ended up posting an operating loss of $72.1 million. In the first quarter of 2019, Townsquare reported a net loss of $4.6 million compared to the net loss of $59.6 million for the first quarter of 2020.

TALKERS News Notes. The board of director of Saga Communications, Inc announces that the company is temporarily suspending the quarterly cash dividend in response to the continued economic uncertainty of the impact of COVID-19.  It says, “Additional actions being taken to conserve the company’s cash position include reducing planned capital spending and seeking discounts from vendors.” It adds, “By preserving the company’s cash position, the company believes market conditions may present attractive acquisition opportunities. The company will consider the resumption of quarterly cash dividends in the near future as economic conditions permit.”…..Tulsa sports talk outlet KRXO-AM/K300CY “The Franchise” is no more as Tyler Media flips the duo to a Spanish music format according to a reports from the Tulsa World…..The nationally syndicated “Todd Starnes Show” announces the addition of more affiliate stations as WMKT-AM, Elk Rapids, Michigan and WATT-AM, Cadillac, Michigan add the program in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart…..Today (6/19), ESPN Radio and The Undefeated – ESPN’s multiplatform content initiative exploring the intersections of sports, race and culture – presents the debut of “The Intersection” at 8:00 pm ET on ESPN Radio. ESPN says the two-hour, weekly show “will feature in-depth discussions that will continue the conversation around the impact of social justice on sports and society.” Following its premiere episode on Friday in recognition of Juneteenth, the show will move to its regular time slot, Thursdays at 8:00 pm ET.  The program is hosted by “SportsCenter” anchor Elle Duncan and The Undefeated columnist, commentator, and host Clinton Yates. The duo will regularly be joined by other commentators from across the network.

John Bolton’s Book, Trump’s Tulsa Rally, and the Presidential Race Top News/Talk Stories for Week of June 15-19. The controversy over former Trump national security adviser John Bolton’s The Room Where It Happened book, President Trump’s planned Tulsa rally, and the presidential race tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Black Lives Matter movement and protests and the police killing of Rayshard Brooks. Coming in at #3 was the COVID-19 pandemic, the health care system, and virus statistics & projections, followed by the reopening of America and the economy at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.

NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at ‘Expert Guests.’ Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a regular basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV, and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that includes widely acclaimed New York Times best-selling conservative author David Horowitz available to discuss his new book BLITZ: Trump Will Smash the Left and WIN (Humanix Books, 2020) and The Epoch Times leading edge investigative reporter on Communist China, Joshua Philipp. There are also guest commentators on post-Michael Vick dogfighting, as well as the process of opportunistic media manipulation – plus a whole lot more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

 

 

News Anchor. With the retirement of a 35-year morning drive veteran, Chicago’s top-rated station, WBBM Newsradio, has a rare opportunity for a talented news anchor. Solid skills as a journalist are a must, including writing and reporting, along with strong on-air delivery and ability to handle high-pressure, breaking news situations with ease and grace. Requirements and expectations along with an online application can be found here. Entercom is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer.

PR Gigs. In response to the recent layoffs of approximately 300 public relations pros by the giant PR firm Edelman due to the COVID-19 crisis, Jerry McGlothlin, president of talk media-oriented PR company Special Guests, tells TALKERS he is interested in talking to ex-Edelman employees about contracting with his Hickory, NC-based firm stating, “One man’s floor is another man’s ceiling, and if Edelman is laying off productive, experienced PR pros, Special Guests is interested in providing them with an income in their new agency home. Our generous straight commission offer gives publicity professionals exiting Edelman the opportunity to earn more commission money from Special Guests than from than their former paycheck.” Any PR professional from Edelman is welcome to apply by emailing McGlothlin directly at jerry@specialguests.com.

PPM Analysis: Urban AC. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on urban AC. In this report you can see comparisons of station performances (weekly, 6+ AQH share) based on April 2020 survey to May 2020 survey data, May 2019 to May 2020 data, how urban AC stations ranked during the May survey and more. See it all here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former adult contemporary WSHE morning hose and producer Robb Rose is joining Townsquare Media’s Midland-Odessa, Texas cluster as director of content and operations manager for the five-station cluster. Rose exited the Hubbard Radio Chicago station back in May. At Townsquare, Rose will also program and serve as morning host for country KNFM-FM “Lone Star 92.”…..The Westwood One-syndicated “BOB & TOM Show” says it is not letting restrictions brought on by COVID-19 curtail its full production. Yesterday (6/18), the show’s “The BOB & TOM Show House Band” featuring Duke Tumatoe & The Power Trio, became the “The BOB & TOM Show Out-House Band” when the band’s staging was moved from the Performance Studio at iHeartMedia Indianapolis to the show’s parking lot. As you can see in the photo below, “outhouse” band was set up near the show’s dumpster and a portable toilet.

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