Talk Radio/Media Industry News

Monday, September 24, 2018

| September 24, 2018

Nielsen Audio Announces Monthly Reporting for Diary Markets Starting in July of 2019. This is a move that broadcasters in diary markets have been waiting for.  Ratings giant Nielsen Audio announces it will “transform the measurement of markets that are measured with the audio diary from a quarterly or two times a year view to year-round measurement with monthly reporting.  This more dynamic measurement solution enables clients to see seasonal shifts and react more quickly to marketplace changes.  With this transition, radio will be able to find new insights and tell its reach story to advertisers each month.”  The implementation of Continuous Diary Measurement will begin in phases with the first starting in July 2019 in the markets currently measured four times a year.  The current four-book markets will convert to 12 currency releases that will comprise three months of data starting with the May/June/July 2019 report period.  Effective with July 2019, approximately 70% of radio’s ad spend will be reported monthly by Nielsen Audio.  Company managing director Brad Kelly says, “Big billion-dollar advertisers leave nothing to chance.  Every decision they make is data driven and updated audience data is crucial for timely decisions.  Nielsen Audio is excited to help diary market clients have a better understanding of the audio landscape and respond faster to dynamic market conditions. Continuous Diary Measurement will help radio reinforce its compelling reach story more often and provide fresh radio data to fuel marketing mix models — the decision tools big advertisers rely on to allocate budgets and evaluate the effect of their ad spend.”  Nielsen plans to deliver monthly reports, covering six months of data in markets with at least 1,000 metro in-tab, and monthly reports covering 12 months of data in the smallest markets.  Currently, Nielsen reports larger diary markets four times a year (winter, spring, summer and fall), mid-sized diary markets twice a year in the spring and fall and the smallest markets with two book averages of Spring/Fall and Fall/Spring.

SiriusXM to Acquire Pandora.  Satellite radio broadcaster SiriusXM announces that it is acquiring internet pure-play Pandora in an all-stock deal valued at about $3.5 billion.  According to today’s statement, Pandora owners will get 1.44 shares of SiriusXM stock for each Pandora share they own.  Both companies issued brief financial statements within the announcement. SiriusXM reiterates its previous outlook of 1.15 million new, self-pay subscribers and an adjusted EBITDA of $2.17 billion for the year.  Pandora reports expected Q3 revenue to be $390 million to $405 million.  SiriusXM says of the deal, “The combination creates the world’s largest audio entertainment company, with more than $7 billion in expected pro-forma revenue in 2018 and strong, long-term growth opportunities.”  SiriusXM says it plans no immediate change in listener offerings but adds that it can “capitalize on cross-promotion opportunities” and leverage its “exclusive content and programming with Pandora’s ad-supported and subscription tiers to create unique audio packages, while also utilizing SiriusXM’s extensive automotive relationships to drive Pandora’s in-car distribution.”  SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer comments, “We have long respected Pandora and their team for their popular consumer offering that has attracted a massive audience and have been impressed by Pandora’s strategic progress and stronger execution.  We believe there are significant opportunities to create value for both companies’ stockholders by combining our complementary businesses.  The addition of Pandora diversifies SiriusXM’s revenue streams with the U.S.’s largest ad-supported audio offering, broadens our technical capabilities, and represents an exciting next step in our efforts to expand our reach out of the car even further.  Through targeted investments, we see significant opportunities to drive innovation that will accelerate growth beyond what would be available to the separate companies, and does so in a way that also benefits consumers, artists, and the broader content communities.  Together, we will deliver even more of the best content on radio to our passionate and loyal listeners, and attract new listeners, across our two platforms.”

Beasley Promotes Buzz Knight to EVP of Strategy and Innovation. Programmer Buzz Knight is promoted from his vice president of programming position to executive vice president of strategy and innovation, effective immediately.  Knight came into the Beasley Media Group organization with the company’s acquisition of Greater Media in 2016.  In his new role, he will be responsible for the company’s existing and future strategic initiatives, along with new opportunities that innovate and diversify its portfolio.  Knight says, “These are transformative times in the company and the media industry.  Beasley Media Group is committed to pursuing and embracing strategy and innovation.  I am grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of helping to shape the company’s next exciting chapter!”

WTAM, Cleveland Adds ‘Geraldo in Cleveland’ Program and Begins 106.7 FM Simulcast. Heritage Cleveland news/talk WTAM unveils a number of programming additions that take effect today (9/24), starting with the AM station’s addition of translator W295DE at 106.7 FM to the station’s signal.  Also, American news and talk icon Geraldo Rivera is launching at daily, one-hour program on WTAM called “Geraldo in Cleveland” that airs at 9:00 am.  The iHeartMedia station says the program will address “a range of local and national headlines, including the latest business, political, and pop culture news.”  Rivera says in a press release, “Cleveland is my home now and so is WTAM.  History put me here by random chance and now I am a part of this great city where I fell in love with my wife of 15 years, Erica Rivera.  I will continue to work on a national level with FOX News [as correspondent-at-large], and I look forward to sharing conversations and perspective locally with you every day.  This is just the beginning of what I hope will be a long relationship with WTAM, iHeartMedia, and most importantly – YOU.”  Also at WTAM, the station adds former Cleveland Indians pitcher and current Indians TV broadcaster Jensen Lewis to the afternoon daypart as co-host of the 6:00 pm sports show “Sports Feed 2.0” with Mike Trivisonno and Nick Camino.  Finally, longtime station personalities Bill Wills – co-host of the morning drive show – and afternoon drive personality Mike Trivisonno have once again renewed their agreements with WTAM, both signing multi-year contract extensions.  Wills will continue his 20-year tenure as anchor of morning drive and Trivisonno will extend his 22-year reign as afternoon drive on-air personality.

Report: Gargano Off Mornings at WPEN-FM.  According to a report by Rob Tornoe at Philly.com, Beasley Broadcast Group’s sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” is removing Anthony Gargano from his post as host of the morning show and set to replace him is NBC Sports Philadelphia (and former crosstown WIP) personality Marc Farzetta. The story says it’s unclear if current morning show cast members Bob Cooney and producer Jamie Lynch will remain with the new lineup. WPEN has not responded publicly to the report.  Gargano left Entercom’s crosstown sports talker WIP in 2015 to take the WPEN gig.  Gargano is still listed as morning host on the station’s website and spots with his voice are still airing.

‘Savage Nation’ Reinvented for the New Year; One-Hour Radio Show and One-Hour Podcast to Replace Current Show. Starting in January, Michael Savage and Westwood One transition his current three-hour, syndicated talk show into two separate entities – a one-hour version of “The Savage Nation” radio show and a new, original podcast (that will also be available for radio broadcast).  Savage currently releases a podcast version of his radio show.  This new podcast will be original content.  Savage states, “As I move into the next phase of my 25-year radio career I hope to bring even more listeners to the medium of audio with ‘The Savage Nation.’  I will be free to innovate in unique ways on my podcast.  The flexibility of the platform will permit me to expand my storytelling and insights into politics, books, food, cars, and rock and roll.  I’m going to change the way talk radio is spoken and consumed.”  WWO adds that the combination of podcast and broadcast will fuel the audience for both shows, saying Savage will cross-promote across “The Savage Nation” radio show and podcast, which will also be heavily promoted by Westwood One Podcast Network.

Westwood One to Produce New, Two-Hour Ben Shapiro Radio Show. A lot has been made about making conservative media figure and Daily Wire editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro’s podcast available to broadcast radio stations. But, the real innovation in today’s news about Westwood One’s new, two-hour radio show being made available to news/talk stations is that the national spots will be restricted to a “limited number of powerful live reads” just as Shapiro does on his podcast.  The new Ben Shapiro show will air live from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET and debut in January. Shapiro says, “I grew up on talk radio and cut my teeth there.  There’s no medium that allows the exchange of ideas and the explanation of detailed narratives better than talk radio and I can’t wait to bring two more live hours to listeners across the country.  And we’re going to bring the values of podcasts – islands of advertising surrounded by oceans of content – to talk radio, too, merging the best of both worlds. Westwood One is a tremendously innovative partner, and I can’t wait to get started!”

RAB/NAB Radio Show Gets Underway This Week in Orlando.  The 2018 Radio Show opens in Orlando tomorrow (9/25).  Radio consultant Holland Cooke offers a little teaser about Edison Research’s “Share of the Ear” study that will be released at the Radio Show this year.  He also has some insight on the new Echo Auto.  Read his piece here.  Among the numerous happenings at this year’s confab is a live broadcast of “The Bob & Tom Show” Wednesday through Friday.  The broadcasts will take place in the North Foyer of the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek and will feature special guests; Frank Caliendo, Drew Hastings, Pat Godwin, and Greg Hahn.

Kavanaugh Assault Allegations, Trump-Russia Investigation/Rosenstein Status, Midterm Elections, New Illegal Population Study, U.S.-China Trade War, Deadly Iran Parade Attack, NFL Action, and MLB Playoff Push Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.This week’s scheduled testimony from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, and the new allegation from Kavanaugh’s Yale years; President Trump’s attacks on the Russia investigation and speculation about Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein’s job security; the coming midterm elections; a new illegal population study that declares real illegal population is 22 million – double previous estimates; the escalating placement of tariffs on goods by the U.S. and China; the attack on an Iranian military parade being blamed by Iran on the U.S. and Israel; the weekend’s NFL Action and the Major League Baseball playoff push were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Las Vegas, Beasley Media Group names Kris Fisher the new brand manager for rhythmic oldies KOAS “Old School 105.7” and hot AC KVGS “STAR 107.”   Fisher was most recently PD at the company’s hip hop WCHZ.  Beasley Las Vegas vice president and general manager Dennis Gwiazdon comments, “We’re thrilled that Kris will be joining our team in Las Vegas.  After a lengthy nationwide search, it is especially gratifying to be able to promote someone from within our company.  “HD98.3” and “Hot 95.5/ 93.1” have achieved some of their highest ratings under his direction.  I’m looking forward to watching Kris work his magic for us here!”…..The nationally syndicated “DeDe in the Mornings” show is being added to the program schedule at iHeartMedia’s WHTY-FM, Columbus, Georgia “Hot 100.”  Compass Media Networks officially launched “DeDe in the Mornings” in partnership with Service Broadcasting’s “K104” in Dallas on July 16.  The program is also heard on WJMR-FM, Milwaukee; KATJ-HD2/K242CS, Victorville, California “HD 96.3”; and more…..Chicago on-air pro Brian Peck is named evening personality on Cumulus Media’s classic hits WLS-FM.  Peck has recently shared evening hosting duties with fellow WLS personalities Tom O’Toole and Danny Lake.  They will continue with their weekend shows along with Erin Carmen and Abby Ryan. Peck arrived in Chicago in 1992 as a morning co-host on WKQX “Q101.”  He’s also worked at WTMX, WSHE, and WJMK.

Friday, September 21, 2018

| September 21, 2018

iHeartMedia’s Fourth Chapter 11 Re-Org Does the Trick. When it comes to eliminating billions of dollars of debt in a Chapter 11 re-organization, someone is not going to be happy with what they get (or don’t get). Certain debt holders are likely to feel they’re not getting what they deserve.  But Houston Bankruptcy Court Judge Marvin Isgur liked what he saw enough to approve iHeartMedia’s fourth crack at its Joint Chapter 11 Re-Organization Plan.  Yesterday’s approval of the adequacy of the disclosure statement sets the stage for more deadlines and court dates as iHeartMedia still hopes to exit Chapter 11 by the end of this year.  The deadline for voting on this plan is set at November 9.  The Plan Objection deadline is November 28.  A pre-trial conference is set for December 7 and the Confirmation Hearing is set for December 11.

Hannity Talks with President Trump in Las Vegas. The screenshot above is from FOX News Channel and the “Hannity” show’s coverage of President Trump’s rally in Las Vegas last night (9/20).  After the president addressed the crowd he spoke with host Sean Hannity about a number of issues, including the allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett KavanaughRobert Mueller’s Russia investigation, and the midterm elections.

iHeartMedia Adds FM Translator to WLAC, Nashville; Expands Steve Gill Reports. Nashville news/talker WLAC has an FM presence now that iHeartMedia adds translator W252CM at 98.3 FM to WLAC’s broadcast.  The station is also being transmitted on WSIX-FM’s HD-2 signal.  As the company says, the 250-watt translator is heard “across the southern portions of the Nashville area, including Williamson County and the Franklin area.” The translator had been carrying country WSIX-FM’s broadcast.  At the same time, the station announces that it is expanding the “Tennessee Star Report” so that the Steve Gill-hosted program now airs from 5:00 am to 8:00 am.  Tennessee Star executive editor Michael Patrick Leahy co-hosts the program with Gill, who comments, “It’s been great being back on the air in Nashville over these last few weeks.  Adding a big booming FM signal on WLAC will be a great opportunity for us to reach voters in the final month of this election season and we will be right in the thick of things.”

Tony Howard Named Interactive Sales Manager for Alpha Media Portland. Digital sales pro Tony Howard joins Alpha Media to serve as interactive sales manager for the company’s Portland operations that include news/talk KXL “FM News 101”and sports talk KXTG-AM/FM “102.9 The Game.”  Howard was most recently with Clip Interactive as VP of sales and affiliate partnerships. He’s also served with TribuneCBS RADIO, and iHeartMedia.  Alpha Portland VP of sales Amy Leimbach states, “I’ve had the opportunity to work with Tony Howard when he was at CBS RADIO and again when he handled affiliate partnerships at Clip Interactive.  Tony is creative, competitive, and has a drive to succeed – all qualities that correlate with Alpha’s core values.  I am looking forward to having Tony join the Alpha Portland team.”

KBOI, Boise’s Paul J Schneider to Retire After 51 Years. Incredibly, Paul J Schneider has been working on the air at KBOI, Boise since June of 1967.  Back then he worked on both TV and radio.  He was a news anchor and voiced the TV replay of Boise State football games. He shifted to radio only in 1976. Now, after 51 years on the station, he’ll retire after his December 14 program to finally sleep in for a change. During his career at KBOI he enjoyed one of the country’s largest radio audience shares as a part of “Dunn & Schneider,” that aired from 1973 to 1993. Since 2001, he’s hosted “Idaho Talks Live” with Chris Walton.   and throughout his career, Paul J and his morning partners have been at the top of station ratings.  Schneider says, “I have been privileged to work with great morning show partners and to be on AM radio in its heyday.  I was able to call the Boise State games through their growth trajectory and when not all the games were broadcasted live on TV.”  Schneider plans to produce weekly features and blog for NewsTalk 670 KBOI as well as continue covering Boise State football for Learfield Sports.

TALKERS News Notes. The San Diego Reader is reporting that local photographer Jesse Cuevas has received a settlement from Entercom over talk host Kevin Klein’s unauthorized use of his photo of San Diego’s Coronado Bridge in the ill-advised social media post that derailed his gig as morning host on what is now sports talk KWFN.  If you recall, Klein’s post teased his debut as the station’s new AM host with the phrase “Jump to a new morning show.”  The Coronado Bridge has been the scene of hundreds of suicides during its existence.  Cuevas can’t reveal how much he was paid but the paper speculates that settlements in cases like this are usually in the five figures…..PodcastOne reports that award-winning investigative journalist and WTOP, Washington national security correspondent J.J. Green recently spoke with a former Russian internet troll named Marat Mindiyarov on his podcast “Target USA.”  Mindiyarov served with the Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg where his job was to “trick Americans on Facebook,Twitter and other social media platforms.”  During the interview Mindiyarov says one of the main objectives was to impact the U.S. presidential election by promoting Russian government views to Americans by pretending to be Americans on social media.  Listen to the episode here…..Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley is launching a brand-new podcast series.  In the premiere episode, Beasley speaks with Dr. Shawn DuBravac, author of the best-seller Digital Destiny: How the New Age of Data Will Transform the Way We Work, Live, and Communicate (Regnery, 2015).  Beasley says, “Podcasting is an area of growth in the audio space that I am personally very passionate about as we continue to grow as a company.  It was such a privilege to speak with Shawn and hear his valuable thoughts about the future role of smart cities, the transformation of automotive industry and more!”  Listen to the podcast here.

Talk Media Public Relations Pioneer Richard Strauss Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The man who literally opened the White House doors to talk radio and gave the medium top tier access to the executive branch of the Federal Government for decades to come, Richard Strauss, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Strauss, the founder and president of Washington, DC-based Strauss Media Strategies was the first-ever White House radio director, appointed at the age of 23 and serving between 1993 and 1996, the first three years of President Bill Clinton’s administration.  During that time, Strauss elevated the burgeoning medium of news/talk radio to equal status with newspapers and television in enjoying access to the presidency.  Prior to that, radio was a second-class citizen in that arena – at least during the modern era going all the way back to the Eisenhower years.  According to Michael Harrison, “What Richard Strauss did for talk radio, while still a kid, is a major piece of the medium’s colorful history and should serve as an inspiration for aspiring youngsters looking to make their mark in this industry going forward.   I am so glad we have a chance to tell his story on this week’s program.”  Media freaks, historians and audiophiles will not want to miss this podcast!  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.

Kavanaugh Assault Allegation Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 17-21. The allegation of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 was the investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents. Coming in at #3 was the growing trade war between the U.S. and China, followed by the GOP spending bill and President Trump’s criticism it provides no funding for a Mexican border wall at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.

Noted Record Producer and Social Commentator Robbie Stevens Launches Short-Form Series on TalkersRadio.  TALKERS magazine is pleased to welcome noted record producer and iconoclastic social commentator Robbie Stevens to its experimental talk radio platform, TalkersRadio, beginning today (9/19).  Stevens is launching a series of short-form features titled “I Don’t Do Podcasts” in which he randomly shares his views and experiences about a variety of subjects including politics, media, education, sociology, philosophy, psychology, sports and, of course, music.  He is well-known for decades in the record business for his prolific contributions as a musician, recordist, mixer, and/or producer on records by such artists as Herbie Hancock, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the late Gil-Scott HeronJohn Lydon a.k.a. Johnny RottenAfrika Bambaataaa, the posthumous John Lennon catalog, and many more.  Stevens most recently headed up the production of Yoko Ono’s remarkable run of 13 Billboard #1 dance singles with her EDM band, ONO and just concluded the exciting 2018 surround sound re-mix of key elements from John Lennon’s “Imagine” album called “Raw” as a soon-to-be released box set titled “John Lennon’s Imagine – the Ultimate Collection” (Universal).  A Columbia University graduate, this fascinating raconteur was born in Brooklyn, raised in Queens and now resides in the Bronx.  Bringing what can be described as an “outer-borough” grit to the microphone, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has referred to Stevens as the “Bronx Philosopher” as well as the “Rogue from Riverdale.”  TALKERS general manager of broadcast operations David Bernstein says, “I first became aware of Robbie almost a decade ago when he came to my attention as a successful record producer who liked to dabble in news/talk radio.  He briefly did some interesting work on WNYM in New York and WOR’s short-lived online ancillary talk show platform where his well-informed, ‘streety’ take on hot topics generated a positive buzz.  I am beyond thrilled that he is clearing the time in his busy schedule to get back to trying new things in spoken word programming on TalkersRadio.  This guy is an original and that’s what TalkersRadio is all about.”   TalkersRadio was launched in 2013 as an experimental radio workshop/lab where new ideas in talk programming could be tested and showcased by newcomers to the industry as well as seasoned pros looking to expand their repertoire.  Since then, a number of shows have been developed on TalkersRadio that have gone on to achieve success in terrestrial radio and/or podcasting.  To listen to the first episode of “I Don’t Do Podcasts with Robbie Stevens” please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the Panama City, Florida market, Powell Broadcasting enters into an agreement to sell CHR WPFM-FM to religious not-for-profit broadcaster Educational Media Foundation……….Programmer Candy Cintron is promoted to program director for Entercom’s Spanish pop outlet WLZL, Washington “El Zol 107.9.” She’s been morning show producer and assistant program director since 2015.  SVP and market manager Phil Zachary says, “Candy has invested close to a decade of her career in making ‘El Zol’ a vital, vibrant voice in DC’s Hispanic community.  This promotion honors her past, present and, most importantly, her future contributions to the ‘El Zol’ legacy.”…..Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports on the unexpected death of Chicago radio sales pro Laura Hangren, who died after a heart attack on Saturday (9/15) at age 56.  She’d most recently been an AE at Weigel Broadcasting’s WRME-FM “Me-TV FM.” She’d also worked at such heritage Windy City signals as WLS-FM and WLUP-FM…..The Premiere Networks nationally syndicated alternative morning program “The Woody Show” hosted Foo Fighters Dave Grohl (left) and Taylor Hawkins (right) recently.  They’re pictured below with show host Woody (center).  During their visit, they talked about how they met, the evolution of rock music, the upcoming Foo Fighters-curated “Cal Jam 18” festival, being parents, and more.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

| September 20, 2018

JVC Media’s ‘LI News Radio’ Debuts Sports Betting Programming. The latest broadcaster to announce new programming centered on sports betting is JVC Broadcasting.  The company announces it is partnering with Sports Garten Network to bring that firm’s flagship talk program “Wanna Bet?” – hosted by Tom Barton with Gary Pollakusky – to news/talk WRCN, Riverhead, Long Island “103.9 FM LI News Radio.”  The one-hour program airs at 5:00 pm Monday through Saturday and at 10:00 pm on Sunday.  SGN is also providing the station with sports updates throughout the day.  JVC Media executive vice president and general manager Bruce Shepard says, “Having sports professionals like Tom and Gary with their sports talent and skill set is a complete win for us.  We are in the sports capital of the world and we are the radio home to the NY Islanders and Stony Brook Football.  This is fun live, local and hometown radio the way it is supposed to be.  This is the first show like this on the radio here and we are excited to have them on the team.”  SGN founder Pollakusky adds, “I am thrilled to be part of such a dynamic, live and local radio organization like ‘LI News Radio’ and JVC Broadcasting. The sports betting landscape in America shifted forever on a Monday morning in May when the U.S. Supreme Court released a game-changing ruling that put the nation on a path toward widespread legal sports betting.  We are the first show on the air in this market talking about this exciting, nationwide decision.  Sports betting has made national news – for something other than a controversy – and we are talking about it.”

Buck Sexton Gets Facetime with the President. Pictured above is Premiere Networks nationally syndicated personality Buck Sexton (far right, blue tie) in the Oval Office interviewing President Trump.  During the 45-minute interview, Trump talked about immigration policy, the Mueller probe and its negative affect on his presidency, his disappointment with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, his regret for not immediately firing FBI Director James Comey, and more.

Westwood One to Collaborate with AP for Ad Representation. This deal for Westwood One to provide ad sales representation for The Associated Press’ short-form news network is being termed a collaboration.  WWO will rep the AP’s bartered breaking news wire service, photos, video, web content, sports scores, datasets, audio bites, and more.  AP president of local media Michael Fabiano says, “AP is very pleased to have our diverse content set and affiliate list represented by Westwood One in the advertising marketplace.  Westwood One has a rich history of providing consumers relevant news/talk, entertainment, and sports programming.  Westwood One COO Charles Steinhauer adds, “Westwood One has had a long relationship with the AP and with our entry into the short-duration ad market they were a natural partner.”

Radio News and Sports Pro Dave Barrett Dies at 63. The industry is mourning the death of award-winning radio pro Dave Barrett, who died unexpectedly yesterday (9/19) at age 63.  Barrett was serving with CBS News Radio at the time of his death.  CBS News Radio general manager Craig Swagler says, “Dave Barrett was a special kind of broadcaster – one who could transport you to the scene of the story in just a few words.  He will be dearly missed – both in this newsroom and across the country.”  The obit from CBS notes that Barrett “was a lover of his medium who was especially interested in utilizing natural sound as well as words to tell stories better.  He was CBS News Radio’s go-to reporter for outdoor events such as music and sports and reported from 10 Olympic Games.  Barrett received one of the highest honors in electronic journalism, the Edward R. Murrow Award, in 2011 for his insightful report that brought to life for listeners how kids occupy their time, illustrated by the sounds of their activities.”  Barrett also won a Murrow for a report on the 200th anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner in 2015.  He won his first Murrow for a 1998 profile of Tiger Woods.  Barrett joined CBS News Radio in February 2001 from the Fox News Radio Network, where he was news director beginning in 1998. He spent 15 years at ABC Radio News, covering everything from political conventions and hurricanes to the Olympics.

BFoA Tops $250,000 Raised at Celebrity Golf Tourney.  The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that it raised $250,000 to help broadcasters in need during its Celebrity Golf Tournament on Monday at the Westchester Country Club in Rye, New York.  The BFoA says this annual event is one of its biggest fundraisers – with 100% of the proceeds going to broadcasters in need.  BFoA chairman Dan Mason says, “For the second year in a row, we have seen an unprecedented increase in applications for emergency aid due to the devastation from natural disasters.  Additionally, more broadcasters are reaching out for monthly grants as people live longer but do not always have the means to pay for life-sustaining medications and medical care.  The Broadcasters Foundation is often the last refuge for these broadcasters whose lives have been severely affected by unforeseen circumstances.  It is incumbent on us to help every broadcaster who qualifies and we need the support of everyone in our industry to make that happen.  We are grateful to the broadcasters, celebrities, and sponsors who came to the golf tournament and supported our mission.”  Celebrity golfers included: WCBS-TV’s Maurice Dubois, Otis Livingston, and Chris Wragge; WCBS-FM’s Scott Shannon; actress and philanthropist Rachel Grant; NBA All-Star Ray Allen and NBA Star Donny Marshall; 1980s Miracle on Ice Star Mike Eruzione; ESPN’s John Anderson and Anita Marks; NY Jets’ Greg Buttle; Voice of the NY Jets Bob Wischusen; and more.

TALKERS News Notes. According to a report at Cleveland.com, Cleveland Browns sideline reporter Nathan Zegura has been barred from the next eight games for yelling at an NFL official during last weekend’s loss to the New Orleans Saints.  Zegura also works for Good Karma’s sports talk WKNR, Cleveland co-hosting the “Cleveland Browns Daily” program from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. The piece states that Zegura has been suspended from that gig for two weeks.  Zegura will be replaced on the game day broadcasts by WKRK-FM, Cleveland “92.3 The Fan” personality Dustin Fox…..Sports talk WMAX-FM, Grand Rapids “96.1 ESPN” air personality and APD Jim Costa is promoted to program director of the iHeartMedia station…..The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Buzzfeed is eliminating its audio podcast division in order to focus on video.  It will still produce some podcasts but is eliminating the production team that worked on its stable of in-house programs…..FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel is the first commissioner to launch a podcast.  She’s debuting “Broadband Conversations,” focusing on women in technology.  A press release says each episode will feature Rosenworcel talking to women who are “breaking new ground and forging new paths in technology, media, and innovation about what they’re working on, what’s on their minds, what they think is next for the future.”  Rosenworcel adds, “Women are almost half the labor force in this country yet only hold barely a quarter of jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math fields.  I’m reminded of this fact when I go into boardrooms, classrooms, or meeting rooms — there are not enough women at the table. Because there are just too few, it’s time to amplify women’s voices from across the technology and innovation sectors.”…..Jo Anne Wallace is retiring from her position as vice president and general manager of public radio news/talk KQED, San Francisco, effective in late November.  The press release says Wallace “shepherded KQED Public Radio’s massively successful transition of format from music to news and public affairs and she led the development of KQED’s long-running and popular programs “Forum” and “The California Report.”  Previously, while working at NPR, she helped bring “Car Talk” and “Fresh Air” to the network for national distribution.  They would become two of the network’s most iconic and listened-to programs.  Wallace began her radio career in 1969 as a volunteer at WYSO, Yellow Springs, Ohio where she rose to station manager in 1973.  She served with KPFA, Berkeley, California and was station program manager for WGBH, Boston from 1978 to 1980.

Kavanaugh Assault Allegation, U.S.-China Trade War, Trump vs Sessions, Trump-Russia Investigation, Midterm Elections, Florence Aftermath, North-South Korea Summit, Woodward Book, NFL Action, and MLB Playoff Push Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/19). The sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh; speculation about the impact of the tariffs being placed on U.S. and Chinese goods; President Trump’s continuing public criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the battle for control of congress in the coming midterm elections; the effects of the flooding in the Carolinas from Hurricane Florence; the recent meeting between Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in and North Korea’s nukes reduction promises; Bob Woodward’s Fear: Trump in the White House book; the week’s NFL action; and the Major League Baseball playoff push were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Dave Taft is promoted to SVP of programming for iHeartMedia’s West Michigan operations in the Grand Rapids and Muskegon markets.  Taft is program director for country WBCT, Grand Rapids “B93.7.”  Regional SVP of programming Tony Travatto comments, “Dave is an incredible programmer.  He’s got the perfect blend of expertise to grow our listeners and clients and we know he will continue to dominate the media market in West Michigan with our team.”…..At Townsquare Media’s country KUAD, Fort Collins, Colorado, afternoon jock Matt Sparx adds music director duties, taking over for morning host Brian Gary who relinquishes them to focus on his on-air responsibilities…..The radio biz is remembering a legend from 1970s hit radio as news comes that Brother Bill Gable has died in Windsor, Ontario after a battle with COPD at age 69. A legend in the radio business has died. Gable is remembered for his work at Detroit-Windsor CHR powerhouse CKLW “The Big 8.”  Gable enjoyed a 46-year radio career. He retired in 2014.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

| September 19, 2018

New Podcast Featuring Anthony Scaramucci Debuts on Radio.com. Will folks be interested in hearing what Anthony Scaramucci and his wife Deidre have to say?  Entercom is hoping so as it launches a new podcast on its Radio.com platform called “Mooch and the Mrs.”  Remember that Scaramucci was Donald Trump’s White House Director of Communications for 10 days.  He also served as a consultant to Trump’s campaign. Entercom says, “The new weekly podcast…will feature the couple discussing the world we live in from opposite sides of the political spectrum, while offering an intimate look into the strength of their marriage.”  Entercom SVP/GM Pam Russo adds, “Anthony Scaramucci’s first-hand political experience from his time in the White House, combined with his and Deidre’s unique points of view, will provide Radio.com listeners with a compelling podcast experience. We’re committed to providing a forum for diverse points of view and look forward to hearing Anthony’s and Deidre’s differing perspectives on the political landscape, through the unique lens of their personal relationship.”  The two have previously contributed to programming on the company’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles and Entercom says “ based on feedback and interest in these appearances, it’s clear that there is an appetite for a candid and refreshing look inside how this couple manages differing perspectives within their relationship.”

PodcasOne Brings Celebrity Gossip Maven Perez Hilton On Board. Digital celebrity news and gossip columnist Perez Hilton launches a new PodcastOne show called, “The Perez Hilton Podcast with Chris Booker.”  The new podcast delves into the world of celebrity news via “the bold and humorous lens of Hilton and fellow pop-culture expert, Booker.” PodcastOne says, “The pair bring their unique, and often clashing perspective and insight to the microphone, in this audio extension of one of the leading go-to sites for celebrity news. Plus, celebrity guests like to drop by to spill it all!  New episodes of the podcast will be released weekly, in line with the biggest news of the week.”  Hilton adds, “We are finally home!  PodcastOne is the leader in the space!  I’m upset we didn’t get here sooner!  Chris Booker and I have been doing ‘The Perez Hilton Podcast’ for over three years now and each week it gets better and better!  Our chemistry is unlike any other!  People keep tuning in every week and catching up on all the old episodes they’ve missed because they don’t just enjoy what’s hot in pop culture, they also love the two of us together.  That relationship with our listeners is so special to us!  And we are so confident and grateful that PodcastOne will help us get heard by even more people!  Tune in!  We’re trending now!”

Chris Cuomo to Host Daily Show on SiriusXM. Journalist and cable television personality Chris Cuomo is beginning a daily, two-hour talk radio program on SiriusXM, effective September 24.  The host of CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time” launches “Let’s Get After It with Chris Cuomo,” to air from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm ET on SiriusXM’s P.O.T.U.S. channel.   SiriusXM SVP news, talk and entertainment Megan Liberman says, “Chris is a remarkable journalist with a history of tough interviews that have everyone talking the next day.  On his new SiriusXM show, Chris will continue that tradition of fostering important, engaging conversations, while also giving listeners the bigger picture about what’s going on in Washington and beyond.”  During his two-decade career, Cuomo has earned Polk and Peabody awards for team coverage, as well as the Edward R. Murrow award for breaking news coverage.

Former CBS RADIO Stations Unveil New Websites. The web presence for the individual CBS RADIO stations was always part of the company’s local broadcast cluster so that a search for a station brought one to a site from which one could then access any of the radio or TV stations in the cluster.  Now, 10 months after Entercom closed on the CBS RADIO merger deal, the radio stations have their own URL. The sites conform to a template that prominently features their relationship to Entercom’s Radio.com digital platform and features news items relevant to the station’s format.  Back in the CBS days, a number of news and news/talk programmers privately complained to TALKERS editors about their dislike of the cluster website format.  They believed it diminished their station and limited their ability to present content relevant to the format.  Search for your favorite former CBS station and check out the new format.

St. Louis Talk Host Jamie Allman Has October 22 Mediation Date. As TALKERS reported on August 29, Federal Judge Jean C. Hamilton ordered St. Louis talk host Jamie Allman and Emmis Communications and Entercom into mediation, to be completed by November 1.  This order is relative to Allman’s suit against the two companies for breach of contract stemming from Allman’s dismissal from news/talk KFTK-FM for his social media post about Parkland, Florida shooting survivor David Hogg.  The parties have agreed to use Richard P. Sher of the St. Louis firm Sher Corwin Winters LLC and they’ll begin meeting on October 22.

Kavanaugh Assault Allegations, Hurricane Florence Aftermath, Trump-Russia Investigation, North-South Korea Summit, Woodward Book, U.S.-China Trade War, Emmy Awards, Ernie & Bert Gay Revelation, NFL Action, and MLB Playoff Push Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/18). The sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh; the devastating flooding in the Carolinas caused by Hurricane Florence; President Trump’s efforts to de-classify certain documents related to the Trump-Russia investigation; the meeting between North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and South Korea’s Moon Jae-in; Bob Woodward’s Fear: Trump in the White House sells 1 million copies; the escalating trade war between China and the U.S.; Monday night’s Emmy Awards show; former Sesame Street writer Mark Saltzman reveals he wrote Ernie & Bert as a gay couple; the weekend’s NFL action; and the Major League Baseball playoff push were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Radio exec Alissa Pollack is promoted to EVP of global music marketing at iHeartMedia.  The company says in her expanded role, Pollack will work closely with the company’s brand managers and national programming team to oversee and create custom data-focused roadmaps for artists, brands and advertising partners. She’ll also plan strategic roll-outs with artists, “keeping a strong pulse on what’s connecting with our consumers as well as generating opportunities for music’s current and next superstars in all formats.”  She’ll also retain her current duties and oversight of Mediabase, M-Score, RatetheMusic and BuzzAngle Music…..Geoff Vargo is retiring as president and general manager of Sarkes Tarzian’s triple A WTTS, Indianapolis after a 37-year career with the company.  Rising to the GM post in his place is 16-year station manager Brad Holtz, effective January 1, 2019.  In conjunction with these changes, Laura Duncan rises from APD/music director for WTTS to program director.  (She’s also adding PD responsibilities for sister news/talk WGCL, Bloomington, Indiana.) Holtz comments, “As I move into a new role in my career, I’m delighted that Laura Duncan will take over the programming reigns at WTTS.  As our APD/MD for the past 14 years, Laura has set herself apart as one of the most dedicated and passionate in our business.  She’ll be an outstanding programmer at WTTS.”…..The lineup for this weekend’s iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas includes: Justin TimberlakeFleetwood Mac, Carrie Underwood, Mariah Carey, Imagine Dragons, Jason Aldean, Sam Smith, Luke Bryan, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Panic! At The Disco, Kelly Clarkson, Shawn Mendes, Kygo, Rae Sremmurd, Logic, Childish Gambino and more, plus this year’s Macy’s iHeartRadio Rising Star winner, Heffron Drive.  The annual event takes place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Friday and Saturday night…..Beasley Media Group’s legendary rock station WMMR-FM, Philadelphia was honored by the city of Philadelphia in recognition of its 50 years of service to the city.  Pictured below is the WMMR staff in the Mayor’s Reception Room at City Hall receiving an official Resolution from Philadelphia City Councilman David Oh and other members of the council.  Beasley says WMMR-FM is regarded by the industry as the longest running rock station in America.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

| September 18, 2018

WHO, Des Moines and ‘Our American Stories’ Present Newt Gingrich Live Event.  “Our American Stories” host Lee Habeeb‘s American Private Radio and iHeartMedia’s news/talk WHO, Des Moines are collaborating to present “An Evening with Newt Gingrich” on October 15 at the Iowa Historical Building. The event is being hosted by WHO afternoon drive personality Simon Conway and Lee Habeeb.  Gingrich is quoted saying, “I am very excited to join our listeners for an evening of questions, answers and thought-provoking conversation.  WHO is taking the lead in an important concept of storytelling that rebuilds and provides people with a better understanding of America, which is something we desperately need today.”  “Our American Stories” airs in the evenings on WHO.

FNC to Produce Election Series Hosted by Ben Shapiro. This four-part series to air on FOX News Channel beginning on September 24 is being hosted by conservative media figure Ben Shapiro.  Titled, “The Ben Shapiro Election Special,” FNC says that each Sunday, Shapiro will be joined by a panel of experts along with influential guests to discuss the major headlines of the week and their impact on the upcoming 2018 midterm elections.  The one-hour program will also feature Shapiro’s political commentary and analysis on the major issues affecting the younger voting demographic this election season.  Shapiro is editor-in-chief of The Daily Wire and hosts a daily, eponymous podcast/radio show distributed by Westwood One.

Westwood One: AM/FM Radio Campaign Delivers ‘Significant Impressions.’ The study results are in the latest Westwood One blog post you can see here.  WWO says that it hired Nielsen to study a campaign for a major cable network’s season launch of a scripted drama that included AM/FM radio as well as paid TV spots and promos running on the network.  WWO says this was one of the first TV tune-in ROI studies to examine both TV and AM/FM radio.  The results indicated that although only 5% of the ad budget went to radio, it delivered 20% of total campaign impressions.  Further, with amplified frequency, AM/FM radio drove tune-in conversion: The more frequently consumers were exposed to tune-in ads, the greater the conversion to viewing the premiere.  Tune-in conversion is especially high among consumers who are exposed to ads six or more times.  The study also concluded that AM/FM radio delivered a much younger audience: TV’s audience skews older than AM/FM radio’s audience. 70% of AM/FM radio impressions came from 18-54-year-olds. Conversely, nearly half of all the TV impressions were from 55+.

TALKERS News Notes. According to the FCC, as of 11:00 am yesterday (9/17) 28 radio stations are out of service – 25 FMs and 3 AMs – in North and South Carolina.  Cell towers have also been affected by Hurricane Florence with 6% of the cell sites in the affected area out of service.  That’s down from the previous report of 7.2%.  Also, as a result of Hurricane Florence, the FCC and FEMA are alerting stations that the national test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA is being moved from this Thursday (9/20) to October 3.  The WEA tests takes place at 2:18 pm ET and the EAS at 2:20 pm ET…..The NHL‘s Los Angeles Kings and iHeartMedia unveil a new media destination for all Kings action this season.  All Kings games – including preseason, regular season and postseason contests – will now stream live on the new official LA Kings Audio Network, a custom station available on iHeartRadio, beginning with tonight’s Kings-Arizona Coyotes preseason game at STAPLES Center.  Additionally, iHeartRadio will feature “Kings Talk,” the club’s call-in radio show, that will stream live after most regular season and postseason home games from inside the Impact Sports Bar & Grill inside STAPLES Center…..Hubbard Radio and its St. Louis sports talk station WXOS-FM “101 ESPN” are presenting the return of the live event Buds & Bourbon at RYSE Nightclub at AMERISTAR Casino Resort Spa in St. Charles, Missouri.  WXOS air personalities will host the event that allows attendees to sample “the finest bourbons from distilleries such as McKenna Henry, Rittenhouse Rye, Bernheim, and more.”…..SiriusXM  announces a new weekly show featuring sports journalist Christine Brennan and former professional tennis player Rennae Stubbs, titled “Game Changers.”  It will air every Wednesday from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm will cover women’s sports as well as examine the headline topics in the larger sports world that affect and interest women and girls everywhere, whether they be fans, professional athletes, or parents and kids involved in youth sports.

Kavanaugh Assault Allegations, U.S.-China Trade War, Hurricane Florence Destruction, Trump-Russia Investigation, Bloomberg Teases Presidential Run, NFL Action, and MLB Playoff Push Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/17). The allegations of a sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh; President Trump ramps up the trade war with China; the destruction in the Carolinas from Hurricane Florence; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; Michael Bloomberg announces he’s mulling a bid for president as a Democrat in 2020; the weekend’s NFL action; and the Major League Baseball playoff push were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Charlotte alternative WEND “106.5 The End” names Maria Palmer music director and evening personality.  Palmer comes to iHeartMedia Charlotte from Washington, DC where she’s been handling weekend and fill-in work on the company’s alternative WWDC and country WMZQ.  WEND program director Chuck “DZL” Thompson says, “I can’t wait for the people of Charlotte to hear Palmer on ‘106.5 The END.’  She has a rare blend of creativity, humor, passion, and drive, but also possesses the administrative and organizational skills needed to assist in running the day-to-day operations of the programming department.  Palmer is definitely one to watch and we couldn’t be more excited to add her to the iHeart and WEND family.”…..Entercom names Jordin Silver host of the morning drive show on alternative KRBZ, Kansas City “96.5 The Buzz.”  She’ll lead the “Mornings with Jordin Silver and Friends” program that features station air personalities Danny Boi and Mark.   Entercom regional president and Kansas City market manager Dave Alpert says, “We’re truly excited about the addition of Jordin to our morning show.  Pairing her with ‘Buzz’ morning vets Danny Boi and Mark will provide our listeners with a fresh show to start their day.” Silver has worked on air at KNDD, Seattle and KYSR, Los Angeles, to name a few…..Cumulus Media announces the five finalists in its rock artist competition neXt2rock.  More than 1,600 rock artists joined the competition from across the U.S.  The winner of the competition will get a record deal with Big Machine/John Varvatos Records, as well as substantial exposure, commensurate with a major label release, on Cumulus radio stations nationwide.  The finale takes place on October 4 at The Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles.  Music personality and longtime radio and TV host Matt Pinfield will host the evening’s festivities.  The five finalists are: Friday Pilots Club representing Chicago (WKQX); The Zealots representing Des Moines (KGGO); Black Rock Revival representing Memphis (WXMX); No Resolve representing Saginaw (WILZ & WKQZ); and Late Night Savior representing Salt Lake City (KBER & KHTB)…..Entercom reveals the lineup for this year’s “We Can Survive” concert to benefit Young Survival Coalition – an organization dedicated to the critical issues unique to young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer.  This year’s event will feature musical performances by Shawn Mendes, Charlie Puth, Ella Mai, G-Eazy, Khalid, Marshmello, Meghan Trainor, NF, and Tyga on Saturday, October 20 at the Hollywood Bowl…..DJ Envy, world-renowned DJ and co-host of the Premiere Networks nationally syndicated morning show, “The Breakfast Club,” has been nominated for a 2018 BET Hip Hop Award in the “DJ of the Year” category. Other nominees in the category include: DJ Khaled, DJ Drama, DJ Mustard, and Calvin Harris.

PPM Analysis: CHR. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s August 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on mainstream CHR.  About half of the stations in this month’s survey saw their 6+ weekly AQH shares dip from the July 2018 survey to the August survey.  The year-over-year trend saw 52% of CHR stations in PPM markets decline from August 2017 to August 2018.  Four CHR outlets ranked #1 in their respective markets (6+) during the August survey.  Three belong to iHeartMedia: KHKS, Dallas “106.1 Kiss FM”; WXKS-FM, Boston “Kiss 108”; and KDWB, Minneapolis.  The fourth is Hubbard Radio’s KQMV, Seattle.  See the whole report here.