Wednesday, June 3, 2020

| June 3, 2020

iHeartMedia Fires ‘Kimberly & Beck’ from WAIO, Rochester. The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle has the story today after iHeartMedia took immediate action against classic rock WAIO, Rochester “Radio 95.1” afternoon duo “Kimberly & Beck” – Kimberly Ray and Barry Beck – for racist language used on the show during a discussion of the looting taking place in Rochester. The paper quotes iHeartMedia president Upstate New York Robert J. Morgan issued the following statement, “We made the decision to terminate Kimberly and Beck yesterday as soon as we learned of their comments and informed them early this morning. We will not tolerate this kind of behavior, which is antithetical to our core values and beliefs and to our commitment to our community and everyone in it.” At issue was the duo’s discussion about the viral video of local shop owners being beaten by looters in which they did not use the “N-word” but referred to it in comments such as when Kimberly Ray said, “Okay, let me ask you a question. Were they acting N-word-ish?” And, were they acting “N-word-ly.” The incident quickly blew up on social media and the duo were dismissed this morning (6/3).

Grant Napear and Bonneville’s KHTK, Sacramento Part Ways. In a public statement, Bonneville International announces its sports talk outlet KHTK, Sacramento and longtime Sacramento Kings play-by-play voice Grant Napear have severed their ties. In addition to no longer handling Kings broadcasts, Napear loses his afternoon drive program on KHTK. This comes after Napear, in a Twitter back-and-forth with former Kings player DeMarcus Cousins stated, “all lives matter.” Napear apologized but less than 24 hours later, his status with the radio station changed. Bonneville says, “We were saddened by the comments Grant Napear recently made on Twitter. While we appreciate Grant’s positive contributions to KHTK over the years, his recent comments about the Black Lives Matter movement do not reflect the views or values of Bonneville International Corporation. The timing of Grant’s tweet was particularly insensitive. After reviewing the matter carefully, we have made the difficult decision to part ways with Grant.”

Rudy Giuliani to Host Sunday Morning Show on WABC, New York. Beginning this Sunday (6/7), former New York City Mayor and current personal attorney to President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, will host a one-hour show on Red Apple Media’s WABC “TALKRADIO 77” titled, “Uncovering the Truth with Rudy Giuliani.” The show airs at 10:00 am immediately following “The Cats Roundtable” hosted by Red Apple CEO John Catsimatidis.  WABC says, “‘Uncovering the Truth with Rudy Giuliani’ will take a unique approach to talk radio. Each week, Giuliani will discuss a hot topic with a guest expert and explore all sides of the story as they strive to get to the truth. Giuliani will then take calls from listeners who will act as jurors by sharing their perspective. The show will conclude with a wrap-up and closing argument from Giuliani.” John Catsimatidis adds, “New Yorkers want to hear the truth, and that’s exactly what we’re going to give them on 77 WABC. As U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Rudy prosecuted numerous high-profile cases, and his leadership as Mayor of New York, especially post 9/11, has been unparalleled. I am delighted that he is joining our on-air team.”

PPM Analysis: A Sweep Unlike Any Other. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an “extra” look at the performances of radio stations during Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 PPM survey. He notes that when looking at news/talk radio stations there were nearly four times as many weekly, 6+ AQH share jumps of one full share or more from the previous month than there were in the April 2019 PPM survey. However, that doesn’t mean all-news news, news/talk, or public radio news/talk stations were shoe-ins for the #1 rank in their markets. What appears unprecedented is that 29% of news/talk outlets achieved a rating boost of a full share or more during the April sweep. Interestingly, the format that had the second-best increase was classic rock, with 15% of those stations going up by a full share or more. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

NAB and RAB Cancel 2020 Radio Show. A joint announcement from Radio Advertising Bureau president and CEO Erica Farber and National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon H. Smith reveals the organizations have decided to cancel the Radio Show planned for Nashville this September. Their statement says, in part, “As the radio industry and our entire nation face an unprecedented crisis, the Radio Advertising Bureau and the National Association of Broadcasters commend radio broadcasters for your dedication to serving local communities and advertisers while enduring considerable hardship. Just as you put your listeners’ interests first, your wellbeing is our top priority. With that in mind and considering the circumstances of the ongoing pandemic, we have decided not to move forward with the 2020 Radio Show in Nashville as previously scheduled for September 13-16. Instead, we will produce a digital event incorporating the best of what the Radio Show has to offer… Despite our disappointment at not being able to gather in person this year, we are excited to announce the future locations and dates for the Radio Show, which in 2021 will be held September 21-24 in New Orleans. In 2022, we will return to Nashville October 5-7.”

TALKERS News Notes. WABC, New York midday personality and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa may have suffered a broken jaw last night in a melee with looters in the East Village, according to a piece in the New York Daily News. Sliwa tells the paper he figured the Foot Locker store would be a target. “This was the jewel in the crown. They were looking for the sneakers, limited edition. This neighborhood has everything they want as looters.” He said, “We ran inside and started throwing guys out the door. There was loot on the floor.” He added that “the looters carried aluminum baseball bats, lock cutters, and backpacks with tools to pry off plywood.”…..Brian Kilmeade hosted President Trump on his FOX News Radio nationally syndicated talk show today (6/3). The president and Kilmeade discussed New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision not to call in the National Guard to deal with looters and the president’s experience during Sunday evening’s chaos in Washington, DC in which he said he did not spend any time in the White House bunker that night but inspected it earlier in the day. He also responded to criticism of his visit to St. John’s Episcopal Church saying many religious leaders “loved” his visit but that the “fake news makes everything bad.” Also discussed was the record of his putative Democratic opponent Joe Biden and Trump promised a robust economy by the time of the election in November.

George Floyd Protests, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Trump vs Social Media, and the Presidential Race/GOP Convention Dominate News/Talk Radio Conversation Yesterday (6/3). The continuing protests over the death of George Floyd in cities across America and the destruction from the violence and looting in many places; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections as the country re-opens its economy; President Trump’s war against Twitter and Facebook; and the November presidential election, tied with the Republican National Committee’s moving its convention out of North Carolina were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Joe Madison of SiriusXM Satellite Radio Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Recent Radio Hall of Fame inductee and the highest-ranking African American radio talk show host on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred, Joe Madison is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne presentation, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” In a candid conversation recorded this past Sunday (5/31) as the civil unrest was gaining momentum across America, Harrison and Madison discuss the issue of race relations and the police brutality perpetrated against black people that came to an emotional head with the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. During the discussion, Madison accurately predicted that President Trump would invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807. He also takes a shot at black conservative talk show hosts as well as non-committed fence-sitters regarding the issue of racism. Do not miss this important conversation. 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.

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 weekly 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 include an investigative reporter with inside information about China and COVID-19; as well as several distinguished experts on coping with getting healthy sleep and intelligently handling finances during the pandemic. Speaking of the pandemic and money, check out a dynamic guest who has information making the case that the 1918 Spanish Flu did NOT have that much of a negative impact on the economy of that time. Ever hear of the “Roaring Twenties?” Don’t miss that! 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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A signal swap takes place at iHeartMedia’s West Palm Beach cluster as talk WZZR-FM “Real Radio 92.1” moves to the class C3 FM signal 92.1 and Spanish Hits WRLX-FM “Mia” takes over the class C2 FM signal at 94.3. iHeartMedia West Palm Beach market president Mark McCauley comments, “While both frequencies do a great job of reaching Palm Beach County, 94.3 has better penetration in some of our most southwestern communities and will help serve the growing Hispanic communities there as the new ‘Mia 94.3.’ Naturally, both ‘Mia 94.3’ and ‘Real Radio 92.1’ can be heard anywhere via iHeartRadio, including simply asking your smart speaker to play those stations on iHeartRadio.”…..A new Gospel outlet is launching in Philadelphia from JAMJACKJR ENTERPRISES, LLC on WJBR-HD3/W264BH at 100.7 FM. The station is branded “Favor 100.7.” The station is the brainchild of JAMJACKJR ENTERPRISES, LLC. president and CEO Jonathan A. Mason, Sr. and will feature inspirational music and gospel hits highlighting artists such as Marvin Sapp, Kirk Franklin, Kanye West, Fred Hammond, Travis Greene, Kierra Sheard, and Anthony Brown.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

| June 2, 2020

KFI, Los Angeles Front and Center in Coverage of Chaos. Los Angeles is another American city in which authorities are trying to quell civil unrest in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. KFI, Los Angeles – which, on the strength of a 5.5 share in Nielsen’s April PPM survey, shot to #1 in the market – has been front and center in covering the story. Program director Robin Bertolucci tells TALKERS that KFI “was and will continue to be wall-to-wall on this story. KFI’s news team, led by Chris Little, was all over this, covering the protests and the ensuing chaos. One of our reporters, Kris Ankarlo, was so close to the action in the Fairfax district that his tires were slashed. In addition to covering it for KFI, we covered it with updates all weekend long for all of our iHeartMedia LA stations.” Bertolucci shared with TALKERS the content of a memo to all staffers sent Sunday. “I want to remind everyone that as this situation unfolds, we are in NEWS mode. This goes for all shows, news or talk. This is the time to tell people what’s happening and explain all the sides of the story. This is a dynamic situation and we need to cover it clearly, first and foremost. We should try to refrain from drawing grand conclusions, making pronouncements or adding to the overall tension and confusion. The tone is INFORMATION and CLARITY. There are many different factions at play in this story… business owners, antifa, police, looters, the national guard, and let’s not forget the original focus of this… the protest about race and police brutality that launched this moment in history. This has become something very different and awful, but we need to stop talking about this as if it’s an us/them situation. We are all part of the same community and we need to find a way to talk about what is going on. Let’s get the whole story and let’s talk to different members of our community. No, I’m not condoning any bit of this horror show but I am asking us not to simplify this, not to paint everyone with the same broad brush and to find the nuances and tell the stories.”

WSB, Atlanta’s Drew Anderssen: Proud of WSB and CMG News/Talkers. WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta director of branding and programming Drew Anderssen tells TALKERS magazine, “I’m very proud of the work that WSB and frankly all of our Cox Media Group news/talk stations have done in response to local market protests. In Atlanta specifically, our 95.5 WSB news center was staffed around the clock and we aired wall-to-wall coverage of the protests throughout the weekend. ‘The Show’ with Shelley Wynter and Malanikai, which features a predominantly black cast, were integrated into our news coverage and helped facilitate conversations about how we move forward each night as a community while protests continue. We added 22 hours of local programming this weekend focused on the impact of George Floyd’s death at the hands of law enforcement, featuring talk with prominent Atlanta leaders in government, civil rights, entertainment, and faith. We continue to monitor the developments of the historic protests happening across the country and are making real-time decisions on adjusting programming to meet the needs of our listeners and to serve our community.”

KPCC, Pasadena Reporter Shot with Rubber Bullet. As reported by LARadio.com, KPCC-FM, Pasadena reporter Adolfo Guzman-Lopez was shot in the throat (at right) by a Long Beach police officer. LARadio.com notes that the law allows reporters access to protests in order for them to do their jobs and KPCC had “confirmed with officials from L.A. County and the cities of Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Santa Monica that journalists were among those exempt from the curfew.” Guzman-Lopez tweeted that he’d just finished interviewing a man with his iPhone when he saw a police officer take aim and shoot. He tweeted, “The rubber bullet hit stings like a mf, and is starting to hurt, talked to doctor friends, said if not having trouble breathing then ok. Going home.” He later tweeted that an ER doctor confirmed no damage to his windpipe.

New York Landmark Boarded Up. In New York City, WABC talk host and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa tells TALKERS he’s been “leading the Guardian Angels patrols at night to stop the looting in Soho and return in the morning to broadcast on WABC about what I just experienced hours before.” The photo above is a still from video Sliwa shot of the Macy’s flagship store at Herald Square – all boarded up. Sliwa adds, “The NYPD seems unable to address these safety issues.  So, the Guardian Angels have stepped in and are now patrolling these hot spot areas around the clock. It is uncertain how long the mayhem will last but we are in it for the long haul. We have been here since 1979 and we don’t intend on going anywhere.” You can see Sliwa’s eerie video of the Macy’s storefront here.

Rush Limbaugh and ‘The Breakfast Club’ Air Conversation About Race. In a first for the Premiere Networks personalities, conservative talk star Rush Limbaugh and “The Breakfast Club” hosts DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlamagne Tha God had a 30-minute conversation about race relations in America that aired on both of their programs. The point of contention between Limbaugh and the “Breakfast Club” cast was the issue of white privilege. During the conversation Limbaugh said he doesn’t believe in the concept of white privilege, calling it a “construct of today’s Democratic Party.” Charlamagne called Limbaugh “delusional” for his stance on the matter. You can hear the exchange here.

Dimes Media Launches ‘K-NEWS 98.5’ in San Luis Obispo. The San Luis Obispo market has a new news/talk station as Dimes Media unveils “K-NEWS 98.5 The Power of Information” on KWWV-HD2/K253BR. Dimes Media president and CEO Eric D. Fahnoe says, “‘K-NEWS 98.5’ now provides San Luis Obispo county residents with a voice and perspective they didn’t have before. We look forward to enhancing the diversity and dialogue regarding issues ranging from local to national which our resident’s face daily. The importance of hearing and considering other perspectives cannot be overstated during these current times. Our culture will best evolve and compromise through informed discussions and we look forward to ‘K-NEWS 98.5’ contribution to the conversation every day.” The station’s weekday lineup includes: “The Armstrong & Getty Show,” “The Glenn Beck Program,” “The Savage Nation with Michael Savage,” “The Andy Caldwell Show,” “The Larry Elder Show,” “The Dennis Prager Show,” “Red Eye Radio” and “The Hugh Hewitt Show.” Weekend programs include: “Handel on the Law,” “Free Talk Live,” “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” “Townhall Review,” “Meet the Press,” “Armed American,” and “The Christian Outlook.”

George Floyd Protests, Trump vs Governors/Military Threat, Trump Church Visit, Facebook ‘Walkout,’ COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, and Limbaugh-Breakfast Club Conversation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/1). The ongoing violence and looting accompanying the protests over George Floyd’s death; President Trump calls U.S. governors “weak” for failure to stop protests and threatens the call in the U.S. military; Trump’s photo op at St. John’s Episcopal Church in DC; Facebook employees stage a virtual “walkout” over Trump posts; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections for future cases; and the radio conversation between Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh and the syndicator’s “Breakfast Club” hosts were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Salem Media Group Reports Q1 Revenue Down 3.7%. Reporting its financial data from the first quarter of 2020, Salem Media Group says total revenue was $58.3 million, down 3.7% from the same period in 2019. After reporting net income of $322,000 in Q1 of 2019, Salem reports a loss of $55.2 million this year. Breaking down the company by segment, net broadcast revenue decreased 2.0% to $45.2 million. Same Station net broadcast revenue increased 0.6% to $44.3 million. Digital had a tough quarter, dropping 11.1% to $9.1 million.  Speaking during Monday’s investor conference call about the company’s strategy for surviving the economic impact of COVID-19, CEO Ed Atsinger said, “First of all, we’ve reduced discretionary spending such as travel and entertainment, which of course has been easy so far. We’ve eliminated open positions, we’ve instituted a hiring freeze, we’ve made request for discounts or forbearance from vendors and landlords, and we laid off and furloughed about 10% of our employees. We have limited capital expenditures to emergency expenses only, we suspended the quarterly dividend, we suspended the 401(k) match, and we’ve taken advantage of the ability of deferred payroll taxes of approximately 3.6 million under the CARES Act, and we’ve reduced base salary for every employee with salary cuts ranging from between 5% and 10% depending upon the salary levels.” Company EVP and CFO Evan Masyr says the company will not be offering Q2 guidance but delivered some April data. “April revenue is down 24%. I’ll break that decline down in a little bit more detail. Broadcast revenue in total declined 24%; local spot advertising was down 49% and national spot advertising was down 38%; local programs were down 26% while national programs were down 2%; local digital revenue was up 30%; national digital revenue declined 11% and publishing revenue declined 45%; and in May, revenue was down just around 23%.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. You can read the whole conference call transcript here.

TALKERS News Notes. KXTV-TV, Sacramento reports that KHTK-AM, Sacramento sports talk host and Sacramento Kings play-by-play voice Grant Napear has been placed on leave by station owner Bonneville after a Twitter exchange with former King’s player Doug Christie in which Napear said, “all lives matter.” The Sacramento Kings issued a statement saying they are investigating the incident with broadcast partners KHTK and NBC Sports California…..This Thursday (6/4), Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is presenting the latest in a series of COVID-19-related Town Hall broadcasts. This edition is titled, “NJ Back to Business.” The station says, “Even as more New Jersey businesses are permitted to reopen, the road to economic recovery will be long. With unemployment at record levels and the state facing a multi-billion-dollar deficit due to lagging tax collections, critical decisions will be made in the months ahead that will determine how quickly businesses will recover, or if they will recover at all.” Vice president, senior political director and director of special projects Eric Scott leads the discussion with New Jersey State Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. LARadio.com reports that Muerelo Media has let a number of staffers go from classic rock KLOS, Los Angeles. Frosty Stillwell – who had been on furlough from the Frosty, Heidi & Frank morning show – is let go permanently. Joining him are afternoon drive host Gary Moore, as well as Jim ‘JD’ Daniels, Steve Jones, Frazer Smith, and Greg Beharrell.…..On-air pro Matt Ryan – assistant brand manager and afternoon host at Townsquare Media’s hot AC WJLK, Asbury Park, New Jersey “94.3 The Point” is named host of “Pop Crush Nights.” He takes over for Lisa Paige. He’ll continue his role with WJLK.

Monday, June 1, 2020

| June 1, 2020

Talk Radio Faces Challenges After Weekend of Urban Strife Across America. The staffs at news and talk radio stations that are in touch with their communities were pulling extra duty over the weekend as protests over the death of George Floyd in cities across the country exploded into violent and destructive events. TALKERS magazine is in contact with programmers and air personalities whose stations have been covering the events, in some cases adding round-the-clock live programming to keep listeners informed. The violent protests come as the nation attempts to safely emerge from a months-long lockdown intended to fight the coronavirus pandemic, complicating an already difficult time in America and around the globe. Talk stations face the challenge of broadcasting to listeners who are living in a time that some observers have noted is like the Great Depression, the nationalist/fascist movements that preceded World War II, and the race riots of the 1960s all rolled into one. As this day progresses, TALKERS will present comments and thoughts about how they’re handling their broadcasting duties during this unique time in human history. We asked broadcasters to tell us how their station or talent are approaching this time of intense unrest. WABC, New York PD Dave LaBrozzi tells TALKERS that the outbreak of violence is the kind of situation that illustrates why it is so important for great news/talk stations to maintain live and local air talent with strong ties to the community and the trust of its citizens. He says, “When you have the founder of the Guardian Angels, Curtis Sliwa, on the streets every day and hosting a three hour midday talk show and you have the former mayor, Rudy Giuliani, on the air every day from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm you get insight and information that no other New York station can provide.” LaBrozzi adds that it is important to book guests of that same caliber stating, “Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik and former police detective Bo Dietl share their wisdom and insight along with other high profile experts to keep listeners informed  and safe all day long.” Salem Media Group and Salem Radio Network SVP spoken word format Phil Boyce offered the following to his talent: “As you know, the situation in many of our cities is volatile, thanks primarily due to outside agitators. We all looked at the video of the death of George Floyd and were disturbed. We all know that does not represent how most police officers respond. Here are a few pointers about how we can handle this difficult situation: 1) Be very careful what you say about this. Most of our listeners respect the rule of law and want to support law and order candidates. If you know of a candidate who is sympathizing with the anarchists,  point that out. But be careful how we do it. 2) We can be a calming influence in each of our communities. Let the public know that we hear the pain and hurt they are expressing, but further violence is not the way to express it. Let them know that we all should support the efforts of law enforcement to protect our communities, and also deal with this tragic situation. 3) Think through all of your comments and positions. This is not a time to ‘shoot from the lip.’ Be respectful of the other side, while at the same time being forceful in condemning acts of violence that threaten to tear apart our communities.” At Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WFCS-FM, Chicago, brand manager and news director Ron Gleason says, “Because WBBM is all-news around the clock on a daily basis, our staff is ready at any time for major breaking news. But the magnitude of what’s happening, especially on the coattails of the Covid-19 pandemic, means extraordinary times lead to extraordinary measures.  We’ve not only staffed up on reporters, we’ve also increased the role of traffic which is used to watching the streets on a minute-by-minute basis. When something requires non-stop coverage, that’s what we do.  And while we have reporters live from multiple locations, we stress the importance of safety first.  We have had protesters verbally confront a reporter, and we’ve had police redirect reporters, but I’m happy to say everyone is safe. The toughest part of coverage was getting our anchors and behind-the-scenes producers and editors access to our facility, as the city has shut off the main arteries into the downtown area. Eventually we figured out the work-arounds, and nobody listening would know of any issue – except of course, we’re reporting all the closures.” WPHT, Philadelphia midday host Dom Giordano tells TALKERS, “The way I’m handling the crisis on the air is to be covering it in the field and bringing that sound back to my show, allowing more callers on than usual to be able to vent, and highlighting people who are volunteering to clean up attacked stores, or are banding together to peacefully protect stores from looting.”

TALKERS EXCLUSIVE:  Michael Harrison Talks with SirusXM Satellite Radio ‘Urban View’ Channel Morning Host Joe Madison.  TALKERS founder Michael Harrison engaged in a conversation recorded yesterday afternoon (5/31) with Joe Madison of SiriusXM Satellite Radio, the highest-ranking African American radio talk show host on the publication’s Heavy Hundred list, about the race relations crisis in America. Madison says he suspects President Trump is prepping the country to invoke martial law if the violence continues.  He also thinks the violence is being perpetrated by destructive provocateurs and not the peaceful demonstrators. He believes the violence would be curtailed “if the other three officers involved in the killing of George Floyd were arrested tonight.” To listen to an excerpt of the conversation, please click here The complete interview will be posted tomorrow in the podcast, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”

TALKERS EXCLUSIVE:  WPG, Atlantic City Morning Host Harry Hurley Pulls All-Nighter Dispatching Police, Interviewing Officials, and Taking Calls.  Often referred to as the “Morning Mayor of Atlantic City,” talk show host Harry Hurley proved that he is indeed a community leader by demonstrating exactly to what heights radio can rise in the midst of a community crisis.  Listen to him tell his story to Michael Harrison in a conversation recorded shortly after he completed his program and extended stint this morning (6/1) by clicking here.

Monday Memo: June?  So Soon?  Early March seems forever-ago, yet like yesterday. Life under quarantine has blurred the listener routines we need to be part of. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke offers plain talk about radio’s challenges pre-, during, and post-pandemic. And why you want to play a song from 1967 on Wednesday. Read it here.

Protests Across America, Trump vs Antifa, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections and Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The violent protests over the police killing of George Floyd that erupted over the weekend in numerous cities across the country; President Trump’s declaration that the Antifa movement will be classified as a terrorist organization; the tally of COVID-19 cases, death toll, and projections for future cases; and the November presidential election were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Yogi Got It. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that radio sellers used to promising retailers that their ad campaign would “pack the place,” need to come up with a new goal. What is that goal? “What’s new, different, and important today is your new page in the game plan. ‘New’ can be your best marketing friend as you re-focus on the marketing messaging.” Read his column here.

Joe Walsh Back in Talk Radio on GAB Network and WCGO, Chicago. According to a press release from GAB Radio Network, Joe Walsh – former Illinois congressman and former WIND-AM talk show host – is geting back in the talk radio biz after leaving to challenge President Trump for the Republican nomination. Walsh famously left his position with Salem Media Group’s WIND-AM and the Salem Radio Network last summer saying he’s “done with talk radio.” Now, Walsh will host a live 11:00 am to 1:00 pm ET show in national syndication via GAB Radio Network. His program will air delayed on WCGO, Chicago from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm, local time. Walsh says, “I’m excited to be back on the radio. This country is too divided. We need to get folks out of their corners and listening to each other. That’s what I’ve always done with radio, and I think there’s a hunger for an honest voice out there.” WCGO and GAB Radio Network general manager Chuck Duncan says he feels “Joe’s passion and patriotism come at a critical time in our nation’s history, and it’s important for all perspectives on America’s direction be made available to every city in every state. We are honored to present this important forum to Joe at an essential time and look forward to having Joe’s voice heard throughout Chicago on WCGO as well as making ‘The Joe Walsh Show’ available to every concerned station’s lineup through our GAB Radio Network.”

TALKERS News Notes. WIND-AM, Chicago morning news anchor and co-host Amy Jacobson and employer Salem Media Group are suing Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker for banning Jacobson from his then-daily coronavirus pandemic press briefings after Jacobson spoke at a rally protesting Pritzker’s lockdown order. The governor’s office says Jacobson represents a talk show with a “particular point of view” and as a result she forfeits her status as a “reporter.” Jacobson and Salem argue that the governor’s ban violates Jacobson’s First Amendment rights. Salem and Jacobson are asking the court to take action to immediately allow her back into the briefings…..Former KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City talk show host Jay Mcfarland is featured in a piece in the Daily Herald as he runs for a seat in Congress. Mcfarland exited KSL last July and is one of four Republicans in the race for the U.S. Rep. seat in Utah’s 4th Congressional District. Mcfarland says he is positioning himself as someone who can bridge the gulf that separates Republicans and Democrats in Congress…..In another politics-meets-talk-radio story, Minnesota Public Radio reports that former Minneapolis (and nationally syndicated) talk host Jason Lewis secured the Republican nomination to run against U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) in November. Lewis served as a U.S. Rep. for Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District for one term before losing his re-election bid to Democrat Angie Craig in the fall of 2018.…..During times when major news events cause sports talk radio broadcasters to address those issues, they can face criticism from those who tell them to “stick to sports.” Obviously, this is one of those times. Mile High Sports president and CEO Nate Lundy penned an insightful piece that directly confronts that dictate. (Mile High Sports operates KDCO-AM/K248CI in Denver.) In the piece he writes, “I personally do not have any patience for the ‘stick to sports’ crowd. I will never, under any circumstances, tell our team of writers, hosts and staff to do so. Our opinions are not substandard simply because of our job description. And we believe the same about each of you. We may not agree with your opinion about the Rockies, but we support your right to think and share it.”…..Denver is not the only place where sports talk hosts are talking about social and political issues with no apologies. In Buffalo, Jeremy White of the “Howard & Jeremy” show on Entercom’s WGR “550 SportsRadio” told listeners, “I do totally understand someone that says like, ‘I come to you guys to get away from what’s going on.’ But then of course there are going to be times when that is not possible. And today what’s going on in Minneapolis, this is not possible to do, to stay away from all this stuff… There’s just so much that’s built into this. Like, ‘this is a sports station.’ That’s right. We’re also humans on this station. I care about people. I care about a lot of people. What else matters today in the world, right now? The idea that like, ‘Oh it’s just a difference of opinion.’ It’s not anymore. It’s about humanity. It’s not about opinions anymore.”…..A new podcast from Cumulus Media’s Westwood One and spoken media specialty agency Oxford Road is being unveiled called “The Bongino Brief,” hosted by former Secret Service Agent, former NYPD officer and New York Times best-selling author Dan Bongino. WWO says “The Bongino Brief” launches today and is available through smart speakers. Westwood One says it and Oxford Road are partnering to lead the development of personality-driven flash briefing programs in the smart speaker marketplace by offering flash briefings from one of the top podcasters in the world. This marks the next form of short-format streaming media, as personalities and not just news come to the format…..The WRKO, Boston-based “The Financial Exchange with Barry Armstrong, Chuck Zodda and Mike Armstrong” adds a new affiliate station as Townsquare Media’s WBEC-AM, Pittsfield, Massachusetts puts the show in its lineup for the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. The show is heard on 15 stations across New England.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In honor of Black Music Month, iHeartMedia announces it will celebrate with exclusive audio vignettes from some of today’s top urban artists. The company says the celebration will “honor the incredible achievements of Black musicians and their influential contribution to the world of music.” Beginning today (6/1), iHeartMedia will air special audio messages from artists including H.E.R, Flipp Dinero, and Russ and more as they celebrate the impact and  achievements of Black musicians who have influenced their lives such as Beyonce, Dr. Dre, Jay Z, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Lauryn Hill, Ludacris, Michael Jackson, Notorious B.I.G., Prince, Tupac, and many more. iHeartMedia EVP of urban/hip hop programming strategy Doc Wynter says, “With community and personal connection being more important now than ever before, we’re honored to be able to celebrate the significant impact that Black music has had on all of us. We’re thrilled to be able to bring our listeners’ favorite artists together to support one another with inspiring messages from artists like H.E.R. who will pay tribute to the legendary Lauryn Hill, and Russ who will celebrate the important contributions that his fellow Atlanta native, Ludacris has made on Black Music.”…..Radio One launches its “We Are One: Feeding the Community Campaign.” It says it is partnering with the music community to feed hundreds of families as many are feeling the significant financial strain as a result of these tough economic times. Radio One’s 53 stations will come together across its 15 markets to feed families in their localities by giving away meals provided by local minority-owned restaurants.

Friday, May 29, 2020

| May 29, 2020

Cox Media Group Names Daniel York President and CEO. The board of directors of Cox Media Group announces Daniel York is the company’s new president and chief executive officer, effective today. York most recently served as senior executive vice president and chief content officer of AT&T and its subsidiary, DirecTV. York assumes the role previously held by Kim Guthrie, who left the company last month. Executive chairman Steve Pruett says, “On behalf of the board of directors, I would like to welcome Dan as the president and CEO of Cox Media Group. He has a background of success in media, content, distribution, operations, and successfully leading large organizations. Most importantly, he embraces contemporary thinking as the media landscape continues to evolve. We have full confidence he is the right person to lead CMG in the next phase of the company’s growth.” York says, “I am excited to lead Cox Media Group, a company that has the most talented team and leadership in the industry. I have always admired and respected the unparalleled quality of CMG’s 90+ TV and radio stations, digital and advertising platforms, and the company’s unwavering commitment to journalistic integrity. The past few months have underscored that there is no substitute for the most important and valuable content in the ecosystem, market-leading local news and entertainment. I look forward to working with the board and the CMG team as we continue to enhance our partnerships with our advertisers, content providers and distribution outlets to best serve our communities and millions of viewers and listeners.”

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, “Aside From That Mrs. Lincoln, How Was The Beach?” looks back at this past week of May 25-29, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSJim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood OneBrett Winterble, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte; Joyce Kaufman, talk show host, WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale/Miami/Palm Beaches; Steve Weisman, law professor, Bentley University, Boston / webmaster, Scamicide.com; Lars Larson, talk show host, KXL, Portland / Compass Media Networks; Dr. Sebastian Gorka, talk show host, Salem Radio Network; and Peter King, correspondent, CBS News Radio, Kennedy Space Center.  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; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver “Freedom 93.7”; 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; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN, the Virginia Talk Radio Network, Pioneer 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.

Report: KFNS-AM, St. Louis Morning Host McKernan Leading Group to Acquire the Station. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar reports that KFNS-AM, St. Louis sports talk personality Tim McKernan is leading a group of potential investors to buy KFNS from current owner Randy Markel. Earlier this year, Markel announced he was on track to sell 50% interest in the station to two local businessmen. But the coronavirus pandemic has put that deal on hold. Now, sources tell Caesar that Markel and McKernan have signed a letter of intent for the sale. McKernan hosts the morning drive program “The Morning After” on the station. The report indicates McKernan’s investor group includes former St. Louis Blues player Pat Maroon. Markel tells Caesar he’s in the process of selling the station for “seven figures” but he can’t reveal to whom – just that the deal will happen, or not, by July 1.

POTUS Appears on Buck Sexton Show. Several days after Premiere Networks syndicated talk host Buck Sexton visited the Oval Office for “private, exclusive conversation” with President Trump, the president made good on his promise to appear on Sexton’s radio program. The two discussed America’s approach to the coronavirus pandemic and why we have to move forward before it’s too late; how “Russia Gate” makes Watergate look like small potatoes; why his executive order curtailing the power of social media platforms was necessary; what his administration has accomplished the last three and a half years; what he thinks about running against Joe Biden, and more. Photo by Shealah Craighead

Urban One Reports Q1 Net Revenue Down 3.6%. Reporting its financial data for the first quarter of 2020, Urban One, Inc., parent company of Radio One, revealed net revenue for the quarter was $94.9 million, a decrease of 3.6% from the same period in 2019. Broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $37.6 million, an increase of approximately $4.3 million from the same period in 2019. Urban One is reporting an operating loss of approximately $27.3 million compared to operating income of approximately $14.8 million for the same period in 2019. Urban One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins III says, “We got off to a great start to the year, with robust political advertising pushing same station revenues to +3.2% and +13.2% for January and February respectively. Then the impact of COVID-19 hit our radio markets and March rapidly turned from positive to finish -14.1%. Despite this, we were able to post double digit Adjusted EBITDA growth for the quarter, and this is a testament to both our diversified mix of assets and the dedication and skill of our employees. On a same station basis, radio advertising for April was down 58.3%, and Q2 is pacing -58.1%. Both local and national advertising is impacted by broadly similar percentages. Like many other businesses, we were forced to reduce fixed costs by means of furloughs, layoffs, significant salary cuts, and reduction of all discretionary expenditure. Our diverse mix of assets will help us through this crisis; in particular our cable TV and digital segments are not impacted to the same extent as radio, and due to a combination of strong ratings, deferred programming and marketing expenses plus other cost cuts, we expect the TV segment to deliver incremental EBITDA to help offset some of the declines in radio.  Liquidity remains strong, and I believe we have seen a floor in the revenue declines. As markets begin to re-open state by state, we intend to partner with our clients using all of our platforms to help them re-start their businesses and serve their communities in these unprecedented times.”

TALKERS News Notes. After announcing her retirement from Entercom’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago several weeks ago, morning news anchor Felicia Middlebrooks did her last shift at the all-news station today (5/29). WBBM gave her a “proper send-off” by airing a compilation of audio looking back at her time with the station as well as colleagues saying “good-bye.” Morning editor Zac Weber said, “The news can be ugly and scary and overwhelming sometimes, but you, more than anyone else, served as a constant reminder that we can always be hopeful, and always expect the best from you.”…..Three honors from the Society of Professional Journalists Keystone Pro Chapter were bestowed upon Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” over the Memorial Day weekend. The awards were for work done in 2019. “New Jersey 101.5” deputy digital editor Sergio Bichao and reporter David Matthau won The Spotlight Award for their entry on how judges minimized sexual assault in New Jersey. Afternoon drive host Jeff Deminski won first place in the Blog category for a portfolio of opinion pieces. The team of Eric Scott, director of special projects; Patrick Lavery, afternoon anchor; Louis C. Hochman, digital managing editor; and Dan Alexander, digital news reporter won second place for Web Use, for the station’s on-air and online town hall event focusing on opioid abuse…..Entercom New York all-news outlets WCBS-AM and WINS-AM were honored with 10 2019 New York State Associated Press Association News and Broadcast Contest Awards. The two stations were jointly honored with a first-place award in the Podcast category for their collaboration on “The Breakdown,” a deep-dive into America’s infrastructure crisis. WCBS-AM took home nine other first place awards, including for Outstanding News Operation, Spot News Coverage, and Newscast…..SiriusXM announces that comedian Adam Carolla will host a special, virtual edition of his popular tour show “Adam Corolla Is Unprepared” on Monday, June 1 at 10:00 pm ET. This one-hour special video broadcast will feature Carolla hosting via Zoom. In this “Unprepared” show, Carolla – while sheltering in place from his home – improvises stand-up based on one-word suggestions from audience members pulled at random. Additionally, SiriusXM will also air a separate, exclusive two-hour “Unprepared” special featuring previously recorded comedy club shows from last year…..Pictured below is Salem Radio Network News White House correspondent Greg Clugston at Joint Base Andrews preparing to board Air Force Two for Vice President Mike Pence’s flight to Atlanta for a memorial service honoring evangelist and best-selling author Ravi Zacharias, founder of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, who died on May 19.

Statistics & Projections and 100,000 Deaths Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 25-29. The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., the death toll of more than 100,000 and projections for future cases combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the re-opening process and the state of the economy. Coming in at #3 was health care, tied with antibodies, testing, and the wearing of masks, followed by President Trump vs NC over the Republican National Convention, the presidential race, and politics 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.

 

 

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.

Great Talk Host Opportunity: WBAL-AM, Baltimore Seeks PM Drive Personality. The Hearst news/talk station says: “Meaningful live and local talk is very healthy at WBAL NewsRadio FM & AM in Baltimore. We have stayed true to our mission for 95 years: a 24/7 local connection and commitment to breaking news and captivating talk. We are also the home of the Baltimore Ravens and Navy Football. This is a rigorous search for a dynamic individual, or team, to host PM drive. Beyond on-air responsibilities, our team is active on social media and in the community. Our presentation aims to be lively, fast, riveting and our hosts understand the pulse of Baltimore, Maryland and the country. We believe you can’t spell ‘Baltimore’ without B-A-L. Your mission is to create a daily PM drive program that transcends all formats as a ‘must listen.’ Be prepared to provide audio samples, but let’s start with your philosophy for local talk in 2020 and your background and life experiences. Your first step is to apply on-line at Hearst Television Careers here. Please know your interest will be held in strict confidence. Check us out at Hearst.com…a dynamic privately held organization with unmatched cable, television, radio, magazines and newspaper platforms.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The nationally syndicated “DeDe in the Morning” show joins the program schedule at Midwest Communications’ urban contemporary WQTX, Lansing, Michigan “Stacks 92.1.” The program is hosted by DeDe McGuire and is syndicated via a partnership between Dallas-based Service Broadcasting Group and Compass Media Networks. Station operations manager Terry Stevens says, “The playlist on ‘Stacks 92.1’ has a very fun, upbeat vibe. We needed a morning show that fits that vibe. All fun and no drama. After listening to ‘DeDe in the Morning’ and seeing the results she delivers in markets similar to ours we are 100% confident that DeDe and her team are the perfect fit for AM Drive on ‘Stacks 92.1!’”

Thursday, May 28, 2020

| May 28, 2020

PPM Analysis: The Coronavirus Impact. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents augmented analysis of Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 PPM ratings with a look at how spoken-word stations performed (based on weekly, 6+ AQH share data). During the April survey, Washington, DC was the strongest spoken-word market with its stations combining for a 28 share. Boston was close behind with a 27.6 share and San Jose followed in third place with a 25.5 share. PPM markets showing the most improvement from the March survey to the April survey were led by Milwaukee (+4.6 shares), New York (+3.8 shares), and Salt Lake City (+3.6 shares). Conversely, markets that lost the most spoken-word share were Kansas City (-1.6 shares), Hartford (-1.4 shares), and Raleigh (-1.3 shares). See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Re-Opening Across America, Statistics & Projections, Trump vs Twitter, Minneapolis Protests, China’s Hong Kong Policy, and Michael Flynn Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/27). The gradual re-opening of the economy in states across the nation; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, the death toll, and projections for future cases; President Trump threatens executive action against Twitter for ‘fact-checking’ his tweet; protesters clash with police in Minneapolis in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd at the hands of police; China continues its aggressive policies in Hong Kong; and the process of “unmasking” is reviewed in the wake of the Michael Flynn case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Philadelphia online publication Crossing Broad reports that sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” afternoon host Mike Missanelli has been suspended a day after an on-air spat with producer Tyrone Johnson and air personality Natalie Egenolf. Missanelli, explaining his absence from the show, tells reporter Kyle Scott that he’s taking vacation time. Scott further reports that sources tell him fellow staffers at ‘The Fanatic’ are “fed up” with Missanelli and want him fired, but Scott writes that Missanelli’s show is crucial to the station’s bottom line and doubts management would take such a step…..WHAM-AM, Rochester evening host Shannon Joy tells Spectrum Local News that she had a “scary encounter” with a local man while leaving a recent re-open Rochester protest. Joy, who hosts a nightly 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm show on WHAM, says the man blocked her exit from a narrow street with his car, got out and screamed and ranted at her before returning to his car, taking out a large bottle of hand sanitizer and dumping it on her car. Police later arrested 40-year-old Morgan Bida and charged him with menacing…..A new date of June 15 has been set by Townsquare Media as the date it will release its first quarter 2020 financial data. The company says that the new June date will give it, along with its former and current independent accounting firms, the additional time it needs to complete the Form 10-K annual report for 2019 as well as the Form 10-Q for the quarter that ended March 31. Townsquare will hold an earnings call on that date and plans to present updates from its reporting segments for April and May…..WTMJ-AM, Milwaukee producer Rachel Frye is announced as the recipient of the first-ever Results Broadcasting Education Grant. The grant was created to provide student debt relief for broadcasters working in Wisconsin. Recipients get $1,000 for that purpose. Frye has been with WTMJ since June of 2014. She is a 2013 graduate of Western Illinois University. Good Karma Brands VP and market manager Steve Wexler says, “She’s hard-working, sets a very high bar of expectations for herself and our team and sweats the details.”

WBT, Charlotte Afternoon Drive Host Brett Winterble Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the rising stars of news/talk radio, Brett Winterble of WBT, Charlotte is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne production, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” After spending nearly a decade with Rush Limbaugh as a producer, Winterble – a seasoned pro – began his own conservative talk show in 2008. Since then he has been heard on Sirius XM Satellite Radio, plus KFWB, Los Angeles and until recently KFMB-AM, San Diego before joining WBT. He’s a graduate of Emerson College and American Military University with degrees in Political Communication and Homeland Security Intelligence Studies. Among the subjects Harrison and Winterble discuss include the growth and dynamism of the Carolinas, the US military, changes in technology and the radio business, the politics of COVID-19, and the uncertain state of the Republican National Convention scheduled for Charlotte August 24-27. The interview was produced on the eve of Memorial Day Weekend with an addendum recorded immediately following President Trump’s Monday morning threat to move the convention elsewhere if the governor of North Carolina fails to guarantee the arena be opened to full capacity. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located on the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Boston, Entercom flips WODS-FM from CHR to adult hits as “BIG 103 – Music Unleashed.” The company had cancelled “The TJ Show” starring TJ Taormina back in early April. Now, the station goes jockless at least for a while as it transitions to a format focusing on music from the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s with core artists including: Guns N’ Roses, Prince, Journey, Madonna, Pearl Jam, The Notorious B.I.G., AC/DC, Britney Spears, and Blink-182, among others. Entercom Boston regional president and market manager Mark Hannon says, “As we continue living through one of the most challenging times in our country and the world, we are committed to providing comfort by delivering optimistic and entertaining content to our listeners. ‘BIG 103’ will be a straight-forward, no nonsense sanctuary for fans focused on great music and artists, accented with an irreverent tongue-in-cheek approach that reflects the spirit of our city.” The station says it will feature limited interruptions during its on-air programming through the “2-Minute Promise,” which will not stop the music for more than two minutes at any given time…..Beasley Media Group promotes Sherri Powers to chief engineer at its Detroit cluster that includes rock WRIF-FM, classic rock WCSX-FM, urban contemporary WDMK-FM and hip hop WMGC “105.The Bounce.” Powers was most recently assistant chief engineer. She says, “It’s been incredible working in radio over the past 29 years. I’ve had the great fortune and privilege of spending a great majority of my career with the incredible Beasley Media Group stations in the Motor City. I’d like to thank Mac Edwards and the incredible people I work with every day for their support!”…..Key Networks is launching the new country radio show “Shawn Parr’s Across the Country” on Monday (6/1) in 16 markets across the U.S. The program’s inaugural affiliates include: WGSQ-FM, Cookeville, Tennessee; KBCR-FM, Steamboat Springs, Colorado; WAKX-FM, Palm Coast, Florida; and WYOT-FM, Rockford, Illinois. Key Networks says the show is available for stations Monday-Friday via FTP delivery. It is customized to air anywhere in a station’s lineup between 6:00 am and 12:00 midnight.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

| May 27, 2020

Rush Limbaugh Addresses Cancer Battle on Radio Show; Third Wave ‘Kicking My Ass.’ Since being diagnosed with advanced lung cancer back in January, Premiere Networks talk radio legend Rush Limbaugh has not spoken regularly about his battle with the disease as he says he “vowed not to be a cancer patient on the radio.” But he opened his Tuesday show explaining that he felt his listeners were overdue for an update. “There have been many cycles, but this is the third wave, and this current wave, I have to tell you, is kicking my ass. For the last seven days, I have been virtually worthless, virtually useless. I haven’t left the house. I haven’t done much of anything except just try to rest and relax. All of this was told to me; it was gonna be a factor.” If you missed it you can read a transcript at Limbaugh’s website here.

Holiday Weekend Re-Opening, Statistics & Projections, George Floyd Death/Amy Cooper Incident, Trump Twitter Controversy, Presidential Race, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/26). Americans react to the re-opening of economies in states across the country; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, the death toll and the projections for future cases; the death of African-American George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police and the protests that followed, tied with the case of white New Yorker Amy Cooper who called the police on a black man for asking that she leash her dog; President Trump’s tweet alleging that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough killed a woman who died in the then-congressman’s office; the November presidential elections; and the world’s financial markets begin the week on a bullish note were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Westwood One: Drop AM/FM Advertising at Your Own Risk. In this week’s Westwood One blog, the company reveals the results of a case study of a new brand that, after two years of a radio campaign that helped it compete with two established brands, dropped radio and doubled down on TV. You can probably see where this is going as WWO calls this a “cautionary tale.” Westwood One says the Nielsen analysis indicated that TV skews much too old for the consumer category. The brand’s category users are mostly made up of adults 18-49 (73%). When the brand left AM/FM radio for television, campaign impressions skewed much older. Only 36% of the TV impressions were 18-49. The vast majority of TV deliveries (64%) occurred over the age of 50. WWO adds that the demographic imbalance of the TV plan also extended to key targets for the brand. Compared to heavy TV viewers, heavy AM/FM radio listeners are far more likely to be members of the brand’s frequent shopper club, have access to their distribution platform, and are much more likely to be heavy category users. Additionally, dropping AM/FM radio in 2019 caused erosion in awareness, weekly usage, brand consideration, and AM/FM radio ad recall. After strong growth from 2017 to 2018, association to brand attributes stagnated from 2018 to 2019. Finally, dropping AM/FM radio also caused major damage among heavy AM/FM radio listeners. Brand equity suffered greatly down the entire purchase funnel with double-digit losses. See more from the blog here.

Shadoe Stevens Delivers Innovative Podcast Series, ‘MentalRadio.’  Legendary LA-based radio personality and multimedia icon Shadoe Stevens has launched a 10-episode series of 30-minute podcasts collectively titled, “MentalRadio.”  TALKERS founder Michael Harrison describes the podcast series as “one of the coolest audio media extravaganzas to come down the pike since the golden age of radio theater. It’s a rich listening experience.”  Stevens, tells TALKERS, “‘MentalRadio’ is subversive optimism disguised as comedy – each episode is a scripted, 30 minutes of highly produced, immersive audio theater. It’s SNL-style sketches, original music and jingles, and features parodies of everything from conspiracy theories to breaking news and pop culture.”  Stevens adds, “‘MentalRadio’ uses humor, entertainment, and real solutions to try to shift a listener’s mental state away from doubt and gloom and toward optimism and hope, to feel better whether they want to or not.”  Stevens has an extraordinary media background that goes back for decades.  He was an innovative programmer who played a major role in the establishment of iconic LA rock stations KMET and KROQ, hosted “American Top 40” following Casey Kasem, served as announcer and personality on a number of network television game shows and talk shows in addition to appearing as an actor in several major TV series and motion pictures.  To learn more about “MentalRadio,” please click here.

TALKERS News Notes. A piece published in the Pittsburgh alt-weekly CityPaper takes a critical look at the programming on Entercom’s news/talk KDKA-AM. Citing some former and current staffers – all anonymously – writer Ryan Deto explores what he concludes has been a concerted effort to become more aggressively hard right on the part of its talk hosts, specifically late morning host Marty Griffin and afternoon drive personality Wendy Bell…..Nexstar Media Group is producing a COVID-19 special that will air on Thursday from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm from WGN-TV, Chicago and be simulcast on eight other Nexstar TV stations across Illinois as well as on WGN-AM. The program is called “Illinois Town Hall: Responding to COVID-19” and is being hosted by WGN-TV news anchors Tahman Bradley and Julie Unruh along with political analyst Paul Lisnek. Nexstar president Tim Busch says, “Illinois residents interested in hearing about the impact of the pandemic and who want to express their concerns and ask questions regarding the re-opening of the state’s economy can rely on Nexstar’s dedication to local content to provide them the latest news and a connection to their government and community leaders.”…..ABC NewsDan Harris interviewed His Holiness the Dalai Lama for the “Ten Percent Happier” podcast. In it, the Dalai Lama says that while self-isolating for COVID-19, he watches “1 hour or 2 hours” of television, he “sometimes is reading” and he’ll do a daily online meditation for “4 or 5 hours.” The interview will also be broadcast on “Nightline” tomorrow night (5/28), will appear on streaming news channel ABC News Live later this week as well as on “GMA Weekend.”…..AdLarge Media announces it is extending its ad sales agreement for Ashley Flowers’ true crime podcast “Crime Junkie.” The podcast is getting more than 31 million downloads a month.  Adlarge is also lending its support to further grow Flowers’ audiochuck Network with four new shows, all executive produced by Flowers…..The San Jose Spotlight reports that longtime San Jose broadcaster Bob Kieve died on Sunday (5/24) at the age of 98. Kieve owned and operated KLIV-AM since 1967 and served as president of Empire Broadcasting, which also owns country KRTY-FM. Kieve took KLIV-AM dark in 2019 after being unable to sell the station.

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 weekly 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 include an investigative reporter with inside information about China and COVID-19; an expert on everything you need to know about attending graduate school; a fascinating futurist; an expert on honestly and openly coming to terms with discussing and dealing with death – and more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. New York radio pro Richard Neer posts this piece about the coming 50th anniversary of WLIR-FM, Long Island’s transition to a progressive rock format on June 30, 1970. Neer – author of the 2001 book, FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (Villard) – says he’ll post more pieces on the station as the June 30 date draws closer. The station, long a cultural mecca for teens growing up on Long Island during the station’s rock heyday, is now owned by Univision and plays a Spanish hits format under the new calls WQBU-FM…..In Denver, Max Media re-brands CHR KFCO as “HOT 107.1.” The station made the change prior to the start of the holiday weekend and went commercial free for the three days. Vice president of programming and operations Rick Thomas says, “Our desire is to accurately reflect the musical passion of the marketplace. To that end, we have simply expanded our approach allowing listeners to enjoy a wider variety of rhythmic hit music, re-branding as ‘HOT 107.1,’ Denver’s New Hit Music.’”…..Hall Communications moves midday personality Courtney Kelley to morning drive alongside Brian Mulhern on country WCTK, Providence “Cat Country 98.1.” She takes over for Madelyn Grimaldi who exited the radio biz. Station PD Bob Walker says, “Courtney has been with us since 2013. As long as I have known her, she has wanted to host a morning show. We are beyond excited to have her living out that dream every morning on ‘Cat Country.’”…..Hubbard Radio’s country KNUC-FM, Seattle “98.9 The Bull” awarded 10 listeners the opportunity to take part in a Friday evening Zoom Pizza Party with country star Brad Paisley and “98.9 The Bull” morning host Fitz. Paisley hung out on the Zoom party for more than 45 minutes answering questions, having a quick awkward sing-a-long of his new release, “There’s No I In Beer,” and sharing the amazing scenery of his ranch, including a close encounter with a hawk! The station made arrangements to have pizza delivered to all 10 winners, prior to the 4:30 pm Zoom Party.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

| May 26, 2020

Memo: Copy Copy Like This. While listeners – whom your advertisers want to meet – have been disrupted, NOTHING resonates like empathy, succinctly conveyed. For this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke has collected examples instructive to commercial copy we craft for local retailers, and station imaging. Read it here.

Re-Opening Across America, Memorial Day Holiday, Michigan Protests, COVID-19 Tests/Vaccine Research, Presidential Race, Brazil Travel Ban, and ‘The Match’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. States across the country begin cautiously re-opening their economies; the Memorial Day holiday takes place without the usual parades and observances; Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s battle against lockdown protesters; the number of COVID-19 tests being done in the U.S. and the global work being done to create a vaccine; the November presidential election; President Trump puts a ban on flights from Brazil as the coronavirus sweeps through the South American nation; and “The Match” featuring Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady playing golf were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: What’s All the Fuss About? Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that great sellers have always been built to work remotely. He draws a sports analogy. “High-performing athletes are regularly well-coached and prepared. Then, on their own, away from the head coach – remotely – often with private coaches, they practice. When they return for the next session they are better… the takeaway here is the individual commitment to practicing ‘remotely.’” Read his column here.

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 April PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk formatted stations. It appears that radio listeners shifted from wanting straight news about the pandemic in March – when all-news outlets saw their weekly, 6+ AQH shares shoot up – to wanting to hear analysis and discussion about the COVID-19 pandemic in April. Seventy-eight percent of news/talk stations saw their AQH shares go up during the April survey, led by big gainers such as iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM, Milwaukee (+3.5, 9.3 share), Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City (+2.8, 8.8 share), and Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence (+2.3, 6.1 share). It’s important to note that radio cume was down across the board in April and that dramatic increases in time spent listening are driving these AQH spikes. With that said, some impressive year-over year AQH increases happened in April. Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta was up 7.3 shares over April 2019 (13.9 share, #1), iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento shot up 5.6 shares (11.6 share, #1), and Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis was up 5.1 shares (10.3 share, #1). Also, in April there were 11 news/talk outlets that ranked #1 in their respective markets. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Erick Erickson Interviews Mike Pence in Sanitized Space at Waffle House HQ. Pictured above is Georgia talk radio host Erick Erickson (left) conducting an in-person interview with Vice President Mike Pence (right) on Friday (5/22) at Waffle House corporate headquarters in Norcross, Georgia. The interview aired on Erickson’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta afternoon drive show on Friday and on his statewide syndicated late morning show today (5/26). Erickson says of preparing for the interview, “I didn’t have to wear a mask. The Secret Service took my temperature, made me set up all my equipment, then made me leave the room so they could sanitize everything themselves. I was not allowed back to my equipment until the interview. It was a new twist on these sorts of interviews.” The two discussed the progress being made in re-opening Georgia, the what-ifs of a potential flare-up of coronavirus cases, and what might be expected for college football this year.

KOIL, Omaha Launches New ‘Local 1290’ Program. Omaha news/talk KOIL “News Talk 1290” says it is debuting a new, daily two-hour program “focusing on the local community as our friends, neighbors and businesses begin to face the new normal.” The live program is being hosted by Neil Nelkin and will focus on everything “local” in Omaha, Nebraska and Council Bluffs, Iowa as businesses start to re-open and figure out how to go forward. Other NRG Media on-air talent will join the program as co-hosts, including Nikki and Laura from KQKQ-FM “Sweet 98.5,” Mike’l Severe and Damon Benning from KOZN-AM “1620 The Zone,” and Matt Tompkins from KOOO-FM “101.9 The Keg.” Neil Nelkin comments, “Finally a positive show about our listeners, our community and businesses within the Omaha and Council Bluffs area.  We want to highlight the local business and hear their stories about how they are doing and re-opening. It’s a community feel good, as we are all in this together.”

TALKERS News Notes. The global pandemic can’t keep Stephanie Miller’s “Sexy Liberal Tour” down. Miller’s SM Radio Productions says, “Until it’s safe to travel and gather in large groups again, the hysterically funny ‘Sexy Liberal Tour’ is now set to come into fans’ homes with ‘Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Virtual Tour.’” It will debut virtually on Saturday, June 6 at 9:00 pm ET / 6:00 pm PT and will feature Stephanie Miller, John Fugelsang, Hal Sparks, Frances Callier, and Angela V. Shelton…..Nationally syndicated talk host Buck Sexton interviewed President Trump in the Oval Office for a conversation that aired on his Premiere Networks-syndicated show. Among the topics discussed were the president’s thoughts on the intelligence community, the judiciary, the “deep state,” “Russiagate,” Michael Flynn, and more. The president also told Sexton the country will “never do this again” and will deal with the coronavirus issue by employing the country’s “best resources” to put out any fires as they emerge…..The Times-Union of San Diego reports that Mexican signal XEPRS-AM, Tijuana could be back on the air as “The Mightier 1090” around July 4, to coincide with the return of Major League Baseball. As has been reported, Flagstaff, Arizona-based marketing executive Bill Hagen is leasing the former sports talk outlet and plans to build a lifestyle and sports talk station around afternoon personality – and former longtime “Mighty 1090” personality – Scott Kaplan. The sports talk format on XEPRS ended 13 months ago when Broadcasting Company of the Americas lost its lease on the signal…..GCN-syndicated host Kate Delaney is honored with a 2020 Communicator Award for Excellence from the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts. Her DelaneyMediaGroup won in the Commercial Campaign category for “Her Story.” Delaney tells TALKERS magazine the feature airs on 70 stations and Amazon’s Echo…..Last Friday (5/22), WTKS-FM, Orlando’s “The News Junkie” radio show – hosted by Shawn Wasson, Sabrina Ambra, and Chris “C-lane” Lane – held “the World’s First Live Radio Broadcast With Social Distancing.” Pictured below is the trio at their broadcast booth. They say that fans arrived at staggered times to prevent a large crowd outside and those feeling sick were urged not to attend. Each table was limited to only a few guests and hand sanitizer and optional masks were available for all guests. Wasson says, “The show featured plenty of drinks, plenty of fun and games. What we didn’t do is have people shaking hands and hanging all over each other. We showed that with enough planning and preparation you can juggle being safe and having a blast.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Last week’s WKQX, Chicago radiothon supporting the Chicago Independent Venue League netted $34,000 for the association and its live music venues. The morning show trio of Brian, Ali, and Justin were on air for 34 hours and interviewed artists including Billy Joe Armstrong from Green Day, Grouplove, Silversun Pickups, Cage The Elephant, Local H, KFlay, All Time Low, Powfu, Chip Z’Nuff, and Jerry from JBTV. The event was sponsored by Goose Island Beer Company, supporting Chicago music venues since 1988…..iHeartMedia flips classic hits WJDX, Jackson, Mississippi to hip hop as “The New Real 105.1.” The station’s lineup includes “The Breakfast Club,” with DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlamagne Tha God in morning drive. iHeartMedia Jackson market president Mike Comfort says, “We are excited to launch ‘The New Real 105.1’ in Jackson and bring another choice for hip hop and R&B to the market. Based on our research, we know not only is this going to connect with our market’s audience, but this format is also going to produce a strong listener base for our advertisers – things just got real!”…..iHeartMedia Philadelphia re-brands alternative WRFF as “ALT 104.5.” Station PD and midday personality Amber Miller says, “Who doesn’t love the big reveal at the end of a makeover show. Well, ta-da! Philly’s Alternative Rock station is now sounding bigger and better than ever, combining the music and personalities our listeners love with this fresh, energetic new aesthetic. The station offers listeners the same music and entertainment they crave, just with a fresh new coat of paint.”

Friday, May 22, 2020

| May 22, 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 “Medicine and Politics!” looks back at this past week of May 18-22, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSDr. Daliah Wachs, physician / talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkBrett Winterble, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte; Richard Neer, talk show host, CBS Sports RadioLarry Elder, talk show host, Salem Radio Network; and Dr. Renee Kohanski, psychiatrist / commentator, MDedge Psychcast. 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; 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; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN, the Virginia Talk Radio Network, Pioneer 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.

Cumulus Media Adopts Short-Term Shareholder Rights Plan. The company follows both Entercom (announced on April 21) and iHeartMedia (announced on May 7) in adopting a shareholder rights plan – also known in the financial world as the “poison pill” – to prevent a takeover of the company without the consent of the board of directors. Cumulus Media states, “In adopting the Rights Plan, the Board has taken note of the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on equity market valuations which has led to substantial volatility in the trading of the Company’s stock and a dislocation in Cumulus’ stock price, which the Board believes does not reflect the Company’s inherent value or business performance.  The Rights Plan is intended to promote the fair and equal treatment of all shareholders by preventing a creeping change of control without an appropriate premium and on terms that would not deliver sufficient value for all shareholders. In connection with the adoption of the Rights Plan, the Board declared a dividend distribution of one right (a ‘Right’) on each outstanding share of Class A common stock, share of Class B common stock, Series 1 warrant and Series 2 warrant.  The record date for the dividend distribution is June 1, 2020. Initially, these Rights will not be exercisable and will be attached to the Company’s common shares and warrants, as applicable. The Rights Plan is intended to protect shareholder interests by reducing the likelihood that any entity, person or group  is able to gain control of Cumulus through open market accumulation without paying all shareholders an appropriate control premium or providing the Board sufficient opportunity to make informed judgments and take actions that are in the best interests of all shareholders. The Rights issued pursuant to the Rights Plan would be exercisable only if a person or group acquires 10% (20% in the case of a passive institutional investor) or more of the Company’s outstanding Class A common shares (subject to certain exceptions), including through ownership of the convertible Class B common shares and/or warrants. In that situation, each holder of a Right (other than the acquiring person, whose Rights will become void and will not be exercisable) will be entitled to receive upon exercise of such Right that number of Class A common shares, Class B common shares, Series 1 warrants or Series 2 warrants, as applicable, having a market value of two times the exercise price of $25 per Right. In addition, the Rights Plan contains a similar provision if Cumulus is acquired in a merger or other business combination after an unapproved party acquires 10% (20% in the case of a passive institutional investor) or more of the Company’s outstanding Class A common shares, including through ownership of the convertible Class B common shares and/or warrants. The Board, at its option, may exchange each Right (other than Rights owned by the acquiring person that have become void) at an exchange ratio of one Class A common share, Class B common share, Series 1 warrant or Series 2 warrant, as applicable, per outstanding Right, subject to adjustment.” The Rights expire on April 30, 2021.

TALKERS News Notes. The Buffalo News reports that John Murphy is leaving his role as co-host of the “One Bills Live” program that airs on Entercom’s sports talk WGR “550 Sports Radio” daily from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. Murphy has been co-hosting the program with Steve Tasker. The Buffalo Bills website lists Bills insider Chris Brown and journalist Maddy Glab as Tasker’s co-hosts. Murphy also serves as radio play-by-play voice for the Buffalo Bills and will continue in that role…..UrbanMilwaukee.com columnist Bruce Murphy has a feature piece on Wisconsin progressive radio host and station owner Michael Crute that you can read here. Crute – co-host of the long-running progressive talk radio show “Devil’s Advocate” along with Dominic Salvia – owns progressive talk simulcast WRRD-AM, Waukesha/W269DL, Milwaukee as “Talk 101.7” and operates WTTN-AM, Columbus/W224EG, Madison as “Talk 92.7.” The piece addresses Crute’s decision to drop the “Resistance Radio” brand in Milwaukee of which potential advertisers were leery, as well as his surprise that Wisconsin Democrats have been hostile to his efforts…..ABC Audio’s daily, one-hour radio program “COVID-19: What You Need to Know” is re-launching as “Bringing America Back: What You Need to Know.” ABC says the Aaron Katersky-hosted program “updates the country’s fight against the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic – both medical and economic.  We answer your questions about the latest outbreak numbers and treatment developments and look at the cities and towns that are reopening, and what our new normal looks like. ABC’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton and other experts respond directly to questions submitted by ABC News listeners and viewers, and our team of correspondents and medical contributors keep you up to date on the latest news related to coronavirus.”

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 18-22. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections about future cases 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 the health care system and the controversy over the use of hydroxychloroquine to combat COVID-19. Coming in at #3 was a tie between the state of the U.S. economy and the state of education in the country, followed by the presidential race and politics 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.

iHeartRadio and Mental Health Coalition Partner for ‘How Are You Really?’ Campaign. During National Mental Health Awareness Month, iHeartRadio is partnering with Kenneth Cole and The Mental Health Coalition to end the stigma surrounding mental health and to change the way people talk about, and care for, mental illness. The initiative addresses the most universally and commonly asked, but rarely answered question, ‘How Are You, Really?’ The campaign challenges people to answer this as honestly as they can and inspire many others to do the same to help destigmatize all mental health conditions. As part of the collaboration, iHeartRadio is airing PSAs voiced by on-air personalities Elvis Duran, Ryan Seacrest, Bobby Bones and Steve Harvey, encouraging listeners to answer how they’re really doing and challenge those in their lives to do the same. In addition, iHeartRadio is hosting and airing a 30-minute public affairs show discussing the effects of COVID-19 on mental health. Interviewees include social activist and iconic fashion designer Kenneth Cole; Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz, president of Child Mind Institute; and Dr. Ken Duckworth, chief medical officer of National Alliance on Mental Illness.

MIW Radio Group Adds Four to Executive Committee. The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group adds four new members to the MIW Group executive committee: Angie Balderas, SVP & general manager Entravision; Valerie Blackburn, principal VKB Media Consulting; Tricia Gallenbeck, VP & general manager Reno Media Group; and Beth Neuhoff, CEO and president Neuhoff Media. MIW Group national spokeswoman Denyse Mesnik says, “Seasoned radio pros, these accomplished ladies bring expertise in a variety of areas, years of experience in leadership and well-earned reputations as some of the best in the business. They are perfect additions to the MIW executive committee and, not surprisingly, they’ve already hit the ground running on behalf of the MIWs! We also extend heartfelt thanks to two good friends and long-term MIW colleagues transitioning off of the executive committee, Heidi Raphael, chief communications officer, Beasley Media Group (MIW Spokeswoman from 2008-2014) and Jennifer Williams, VP digital marketing, Beasley Media Group. They leave with our immense gratitude for many years of dedication and service to the MIWs.”

TALKERS Magazine Presents the 2020 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America. The editors of TALKERS magazine, with input from industry leaders, have compiled and published the eighth annual Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America. This list, like its long-established “sister list” – the long-running annual “Heavy Hundred” that ranks talk radio hosts working in the news/talk and general talk genres – the editors of TALKERS magazine have ranked sports talk hosts, duos, or ensembles from 1 to 100 based upon a set of criteria that includes a combination of hard and soft factors. TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey says it’s important to note that this year’s Heavy Hundred comes with an important qualifying statement. “The publication of this year’s list was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic and it is crucial to note that it represents a snapshot of the industry as it was shortly after January 1, 2020 and is based on performances and assessments made prior to that point. Although we were prepared to publish the list in March, we delayed publication in order to focus on the pandemic’s effect on the radio industry. As a result of COVID-19, some of the talent on this list have been victims of unexpected staff reductions and furloughs and are not currently on the air. It is our belief that they deserve to be recognized for their accomplishments, nonetheless. TALKERS salutes the fine broadcasters who made the eighth annual list!” See it here.

PPM Analysis: Classic Hits/Oldies. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the classic hits and oldies formats. See how those stations performed in April compared to March 2020 and in comparison to April of 2019, plus more, here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The City of Chicago is partnering with iHeartMedia Chicago hip hop outlet WGCI for two days of virtual entertainment to encourage residents to stay home while still enjoying themselves and experiencing music and culture over the Memorial Day Holiday weekend. Under the Stay at Home order and CDC guidelines prohibiting gatherings of over 10 people, the virtual entertainment will provide Chicagoans with an online opportunity to engage and celebrate the weekend at home. The 107.5 WGCI Stay at Home Weekend starts Saturday with an Instagram Battle between two of Chicago’s own hip hop artists, GHerbo and Lil Durk. Starting at 8:00 pm, these two rappers will go song-for-song for the title of Stay at Home Weekend Rap King. On Sunday the Stay at Home Weekend continues with a virtual comedy tour hosted by 107.5 WGCI’s Leon Rogers. This virtual show will feature comedians, Just Nesh, Dawn B, Lavar Walker, Correy B, and Damon Williams. iHeartMedia Chicago region president Matt Scarano says, “I am honored to have the privilege of partnering with the City of Chicago in its mission of promoting the health and safety of our community during this critical time. As a broadcaster it is our responsibility to engage in continuous collaboration with Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicagoland community.”

Thursday, May 21, 2020

| May 21, 2020

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk radio. Obviously, the format has been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic’s cancelling of games. Sports talk radio ratings generally soften after the Super Bowl in early February and tend to pick up once Major League Baseball opens in April. The absence of ballgames combined with the loss of the NBA and NHL playoff stretches allowed only 17% of sports talk stations to see weekly, 6+ AQH share increases and even those were miniscule. Year-over-year comparisons were almost equally as bleak with iHeartMedia’s KXFN, Minneapolis the only sports talk outlet putting up a meaningful gain (+1.6). No sports talk station ranked higher than #5 in its market in April. Top performing stations in April included Entercom’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh (5.9 share, #5), WIP-FM, Philadelphia (5.6 share, #5) and iHeartMedia’s KXFN, Minneapolis (5.5 share, #6). See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence Talk Host Dan Yorke to Pen Weekly Column. Longtime Providence talk show host Dan Yorke is named as a new weekly columnist for Rhode Island’s The Valley Breeze newspaper. Paper publisher Tom Ward is retiring, and Yorke will take over his column in June. He joins former Providence talk radio host Arlene Violet as one of the paper’s two opinion columnists. In addition to Yorke’s radio program on Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, he also hosts “Dan Yorke State of Mind” on Nexstar Media’s “myRITV” and WPRI-TV “FOX Providence.” The Valley Breeze editor Ethan Shorey says, “If there are two things I’ve learned about Dan Yorke over the years, it’s that he seeks out the truth and he does his homework. I look forward to working with him as we continue to build on what Tom has done and hopefully expand our reach on important topics.” See the paper’s announcement here.

Michelle Malkin Joins Newsmax TV as Correspondent/Host. Author and syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin joins Newsmax TV as a prime-time contributor and weekend program host. Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “Michelle is a true conservative, a respected media personality and a powerful voice for millions of Americans that the big media ignore.” The company adds that Malkin “will join Newsmax’s growing list of media heavyweights and commentators where she will deliver her fiercely independent reporting and no-nonsense commentary.” Malkin joins the network as Newsmax TV has signed with all major cable operators and is carried in 70 million cable homes.

Statistics & Projections, States Begin Re-Opening, Vaccine Hope, Financial Markets/The Economy, U.S.-China Relationship, Inspector General Firing/Pompeo Investigation, Michael Flynn Case, Presidential Election, and Sports Leagues Plan for Seasons Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/20). The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections for future cases; most U.S. states begin re-opening; Moderna reports success in first round of coronavirus vaccine trials; the world’s financial markets activity and the state of the economy; China pushes back against U.S. finger pointing; the firing of inspector general Steve Linick and the investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s Saudi arms deal and his use of staffers for domestic chores; the DOJ’s dropping of the case against Michael Flynn and President Trump’s assertion Barack Obama started the Russia inquiry; the November presidential election and the vote-by-mail controversy; and sports leagues’ plans for holding games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. There are three Memorial Day weekend podcasts being made available to partnered radio affiliates from FOX News Audio. FOX Nation host Johnny Joey Jones, a combat veteran and double amputee, hosts “The Proud American Series” special that highlights four people who used personal tragedies as an opportunity to serve others. The “America Together” podcast, co-hosted by FOX News Radio reporters Tonya J. Powers, Eben Brown, Jeff Monosso, and Gurnal Scott features uplifting accounts of diverse communities coming together. A special edition of “The Trey Gowdy Podcast” offers listeners advice for combatting the fear and anxiety that many across the country are facing during the uncertainty created by COVID-19…..There have been a lot of “classic” sports contests aired on radio since the coronavirus pandemic took away live sports. Now, Cumulus Media’s Westwood One – the official network radio partner of the NFL – is going all the way back to January 15, 1967 to present the original CBS Radio broadcast of Super Bowl I at 8:00 pm ET on Monday, May 25. The game broadcast between the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs will feature Jack Drees and Tom Hedrick calling the play-by-play. WWO’s Ryan Radtke hosts the re-broadcast that includes comments from Hall of Famers Bart Starr, Len Dawson, Vince Lombardi, Hank Stram and more…..Premiere Networks personality Amy Brown welcomes Emmy Award-winning “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts to the “4 Things with Amy Brown” podcast. On the show, Roberts and Brown share stories about how cancer has touched their lives and the importance of finding joy every day. They also chat about Roberts’ MasterClass on authentic and genuine communication, and the meaning behind one of her key lessons: “Make Your Mess Your Message.”…..As reported by LARadio.com, radio news pro Reg Laite died on May 12 at age 89 after a battle with cancer. Laite served as news director for KFWB, Los Angeles from 1971-1973. During his career he also served at KYW, Philadelphia; WOR-AM, New York; and NBC TV news.

Rock Legend Ian Anderson Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most respected singers, songwriters, and musicians of the album and classic rock era, Ian Anderson, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Anderson is the front man, founder, organizer, and driving force behind the historic British progressive rock group, Jethro Tull. Harrison caught up with Anderson who is quarantining at his home in the UK. They engage in a deep-dive conversation about a broad range of subjects including music, politics, COVID-19, and wildlife conservation. Harrison states, “In addition to being a unique and supremely talented musician, Ian is a scholarly man with a golden tongue who can hold his own among the best ‘talkers’ in the English-speaking world. Having long-managed his own case of the breathing disorder, COPD, he is extremely educated and opinionated about everything having to do with the coronavirus – which he amply shares in this interview.” Anderson sings and plays flute on a new recording by Hungarian-born German rock star Leslie Mandoki titled “#We Say, Thank You” (check it out on YouTube) which pays tribute to the frontline heroes of the COVID-19 era and chastises those speculators who are exploiting it for financial gain. To listen to this fascinating 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. On-air pro Randy McCarten is named host of the morning show at iHeartMedia’s hot AC WRVE, Albany “99.5 The River.”  McCarten was one of a number of iHeartMedia Albany staffers to be let go back in January as the company was restructuring. iHeartMedia Albany area president Kristen Delaney says, “It’s great having Randy back. He has connected with so many listeners throughout the years and has really been the heart and soul of ‘99.5 The River.’ Capital District listeners are going to love starting their day with him.” McCarten comments, “‘The River’ and its listeners have been a part of my life for over 20 years, and I’m really excited to help them start their day with great music, information, and entertainment – it feels great to be back.”…..In Chicago, Cumulus Media’s alternative WKQX is presenting the “Save Our Stages Radiothon” to benefit the city’s independent music venues, including Metro, Lincoln Hall, and Thalia Hall. Some 34 venues have formed CIVL – Chicago Independent Venue League – to support each other. 101 WKQX morning team of Brian, Ali, and Justin are broadcasting live for 34 hours to create awareness and encourage donations to CIVL as well as the individual venues’ GoFundMe.com pages…..Westwood One’s Zach Sang is hosting the St. Jude “Prom from Home – Under the Living Room Lights” show tomorrow (5/22) from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET to bring “Prom 2020” to all who missed out on their school proms and aid an important cause – to raise awareness and support for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Artists planning to stop by for “Prom from Home” include: Restless Road, Kane Brown, FINNEAS, Lewis Capaldi, Lauv, Monsta X, Noah Cyrus, CNCO, Ashe, mxmtoon, AJR, Blanco Brown, Bazzi, MAX, Asher Angel, Stephanie Poetri, Loren Gray, Cheat Codes, Loud Luxury, Serf Mesa, Olivia O’Brien and a special appearance by Darren Barnet of the Netflix show, “Never Have I Ever.”

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

| May 20, 2020

Hubbard Radio Promotes Phil Mackey to Brand & Digital Content Director. At Hubbard Radio headquarters in the Twin Cities, it’s announced that sports talk KSTP “SKOR North” brand/distribution director Phil Mackey’s role is expanded to brand and digital content development director for Hubbard Radio. He’ll report to SVP programming Greg Strassell and in this role will be dedicated to assisting Hubbard Radio managers with strategies for creation of new multi-channel content built around the core brands. Mackey will retain his brand/distribution director duties at ‘SKOR North.’ Hubbard says that under Mackey’s leadership over the past 18 months, ‘SKOR North’ grew podcast downloads, monthly app users, YouTube subscribers, and social media followers by double- and triple-digit percentage increases. Hubbard Minnesota VP/region manager Dan Seeman says, “As difficult as the COVID-19 crisis has been, we’ve learned a lot. With radio listening habits disrupted we’ve realized firsthand how important digital platforms are to brand messaging and engagement. The work that Phil has done creating digital brand extensions for ‘SKOR North’ can be utilized by all of the brands in our company. Let’s take the model and support all of Hubbard.”

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format. There are 11 all-news outlets (however, several reach into adjacent markets) on our panel. Entercom operates eight of those, iHeartMedia, Hubbard Radio, and Sinclair Broadcast Group own the others. The format experienced intense weekly, 6+ AQH share increases from February to March, but lost some of its steam from the March to April surveys with 35% regressing and just 47% improving. Entercom’s WINS-AM, New York led the gainers adding a full share to finish with a 5.7 share. Year-over-year, the format fared well as 82% of stations saw AQH share increases, with Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco leading that pack by adding 3.6 shares. Three Entercom all-news stations ranked #1 in the April survey: WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago (8.4); KCBS-AM, San Francisco (9.9); and WWJ-AM, Detroit (6.4). See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

The Re-Opening Begins, Statistics & Projections, Trump vs WHO, Hydroxychloroquine Controversy, Michael Flynn Case, Inspector General Fired/Pompeo Investigation, Pressure on China, and Sports Leagues Plan Seasons Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/19). Numerous states begin re-opening their economies; the number of confirmed U.S. COVID-19 cases, the death toll, and projections for future cases; President Trump threatens the U.S. will leave the World Health Organization permanently; the controversy over Trump’s statement he’s taking hydroxychloroquine; the DOJ’s dropping the case against former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and Trump’s accusing Barack Obama of sparking the Russia inquiry; the firing of inspector general Steve Linick and the reported investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s arms deal with Saudi Arabia and using staff to perform domestic chores for him; the 100 nations pushing China to open the investigation into the origin of the coronavirus; and U.S. sports leagues lay out their plans to play games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. In case you missed it, there’s a great piece by Larry Stone in the Seattle Times on market sports talk radio legend Dave Grosby, who’s fighting a battle against Parkinson’s disease. As you may recall, “Groz” had to leave his daily show on Bonneville’s KIRO-AM, Seattle “710 ESPN” alongside Bob Stelton and Tom Wassell last summer, although he’s still contributing to the station’s shows and digital presence…..Minor changes take place at Entercom’s WFAN, New York according to Neil Best and Newsday. He reports that Mike Francesa’s show will air on WFAN for a full hour from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm, instead of ending at 6:00 pm. Also, Jerry Recco and Al Dukes are getting a full hour from 5:00 am to 6:00 am. Entercom New York SVP of programming Mark Chernoff says in a statement, “By extending the programming time of our trusted hosts, we aim to provide fans with more of the compelling sports and entertainment content they want as they navigate the changes and await the return of live events.” Tweaks to the schedule leave the evenings and overnights as follows: John Jastremski from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, Steve Somers from 11:00 pm to 3:00 am, and Amy Lawrence from 3:00 am to 5:00 am…..Chicago Public Media announces that it has hired Andi McDaniel to serve as president and CEO, taking over for Goli Sheikholeslami, who left in 2019 for the CEO post at New York Public Radio. McDaniel, who has been serving as chief content officer at American University’s WAMU, Washington, will start her new position in September after a maternity leave.

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 weekly 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 include an investigative reporter with inside information about China and COVID-19; an award-winning political scientist; an internationally renowned media psychiatrist; a modern era marketing expert; an expert on investing in gold; an expert on global trade; and the former Attorney general of Nebraska. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Rock programming pro Troy Hanson is promoted to vice president/corporate programming-rock formats for Cumulus Media. This promotion adds oversight of the classic rock format for Cumulus to Hanson’s purview. Hanson was previously vice president, operations for Cumulus Chicago; program director, 101.1 WKQX-FM; and vice president, programming, rock formats (active/alternative formats). He will continue in his roles as VP, operations, Cumulus Chicago, and PD for WKQX. Hanson says, “Very appreciative of the continued confidence [EVP, content & audience] Brian Philips and [VP & market manager] Marv Nyren are showing with this new appointment. We have an amazing group of creative and talented programmers and personalities in rock to draw inspiration from daily. A tip of the cap to Brian and Marv, along with Mary Berner, Dave Milner, and Bob Walker for their stellar leadership.”

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