Talk Radio/Media Industry News

Friday, December 14, 2018

| December 14, 2018

Alpha Media to Sell Biloxi Stations to TeleSouth.  Portland-based Alpha Media announces it has filed to sell its Biloxi, Mississippi cluster to TeleSouth Communications.  The deal includes sports talk duo WANG-AM/WTNI-AM “103.5 The Champ,” (no mention is made of translator W278CE, Biloxi on which the sports format is heard) rock WCPR-FM, hip hop WGBL-FM, adult hits WQBB-FM, and CHR WXYK-FM. TeleSouth already owns news/talk WOSM-FM that airs the company’s “SuperTalk” format heard on 11 other stations across the state.  To comply with FCC ownership caps, TeleSouth will divest of WXYK-FM.  Alpha Media president and CEO Bob Proffitt states, “We are happy our group of great broadcasters in Biloxi/Gulfport are being sold to a good operator located in the state of Mississippi that is dedicated to live and local.  We have a special place for everyone at these stations and wish them the very best.”  Kalil & Co., Inc. is the exclusive broker for this transaction.

ESPN’s Dan Le Batard to Launch Podcast. Next Tuesday (12/18), ESPN Radio’s Dan Le Batard is premiering his new podcast called “South Beach Sessions.” That’s being called a “preview episode” and the show will begin in earnest on Tuesday, January 8.  The program will feature a one-on-one interview each week and it’s the first original podcast from the newly created Le Batard and Friends Podcast Network. The guest for the December 18 preview is former ESPN staffer Jemele Hill, who has worked extensively with Le Batard over the years on TV and radio.  Le Batard says, “This is really exciting for us and for people who inexplicably want more of us.  ESPN has given us a digital podcast network to create and control as part of a ‘Le Batard and Friends’ universe that will be in equal measure a part of ESPN and apart from ESPN.”  Le Batard hosts the “Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” daily from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm as well as the ESPN television show “Highly Questionable” weekday afternoons on ESPN2.

TALKERS News Notes. Public radio pro Jennifer White is named as host of “The Morning Shift” on public radio news/talk WBEZ-FM, Chicago.  She takes over the morning program hosting duties at the NPR member station from Tony Sarabia, who is retiring from the station after almost three decades. White joined WBEZ in 2016 and has been hosting the Friday edition of The Morning Shift, leading its Friday roundtable discussions.  She’s also hosted some of WBEZ’s podcasts, including: “Making Oprah,” “Making Obama,” and “16 Shots.”.….In the Erie, Pennsylvania market, religious broadcaster Inspiration Time, Inc. has re-launched AM signal WZTE, Union City, calling it “Freedom 1530” and is airing “a unique reading of the United States Constitution, mixed with patriotic band music.”  Haydn Tidball, a 2018 graduate of McDowell High School and Jennifer Natalie, 2018 graduate of Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy, have voiced WZTE’s continuous reading of the entire U.S. Constitution, with amendments included and changes noted. Station manager Joel Natalie states, “We are so excited to present these young voices reading this very old document. We are calling it, ‘Madison’s and Hamilton’s Greatest Hits.’”…..Alpha Media news/talk KTSA, San Antonio hosted the 20th annual “Wrappin’ with Jack” event at Six Flags Fiesta Texas on Tuesday (12/11).  More than 800 people turned out to help KTSA talk show host Jack Riccardi wrap thousands of gifts for needy families in San Antonio served by Family Service Association. While listeners wrapped gifts, they enjoyed live music from the Ken Slavin Band, holiday treats, carousel rides, and pictures with Santa.  Riccardi says, “Our 20th ‘Wrappin’ with Jack’ was our best gift drive, wrapping party, and broadcast yet.  I truly believe people in San Antonio and South Texas have the impulse and instinct to give.  Our event just creates a way to help people that is local and real.”

WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta Shifts Show Times. According to Rodney Ho’s report in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the need for more traffic reports in the 4:00 pm hour to better serve commuters is the reason for shifting two drive-time shows on Cox Media Group‘s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM an hour earlier.  WSB program director Pete Spriggs says as the heavy traffic is beginning earlier than in the past, the need for a clock that allows traffic reports every six minutes means bumping the second two hours of Sean Hannity’s show to the 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot is necessary.  Hannity’s 3:00 pm hour will air live, followed by Erick Erickson’s program now airing from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm and Mark Arum’s show moving to the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm slot.

Trump-Russia Investigation and Cohen Sentencing Tie for Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 10-14. The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the related sentencing of former Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen tied as the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was President Trump’s border wall negotiations and the threat of a federal government shutdown.  Coming in at #3 was the migrants amassed at the U.S.-Mexico border, followed by financial markets activity 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.

Washington Examiner Editorial Director Hugo Gurdon Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The Washington Examiner, located in the nation’s capital, has built a growing reputation with increasing influence for its coverage of politics, public policy and the federal government from an independent, moderate conservative perspective.  It has evolved through various platform iterations both in print and online since its roots as a group of suburban DC news outlets collectively known as the Journal Newspapers, Inc. which was purchased in 2004 by entrepreneur and philanthropist Philip Anschutz.  Anschutz combined them into a single news entity, the Washington Examiner in 2005 under the umbrella of his holding company Clarity Media Group, which in turn operates the publishing company Media DC.  Today, Media DC owns and operates the Washington Examiner, which has grown into a full-service online news organization, along with its weekly print arm, the Washington Examiner Magazine, that has been functioning effectively as a DC insider’s close up look at the workings of the federal government.  It also owns the separately operated national conservative political opinion print magazine, the Weekly Standard.  The Washington Examiner is currently in the process of boldly expanding its weekly magazine to take on a larger scope both in its subject matter and geographic distribution.  Beginning in 2019, it will remain in print, but be nationally distributed and targeted to political observers across America interested in the goings on in Washington, DC.  Washington Examiner editorial director Hugo Gurdon is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”   Gurdon is a distinguished journalist with an international background.  He joined the Washington Examiner after serving as editor-in-chief of The Hill.  Before that, he was an editor and reporter at the Daily Telegraph of London and the National Post of Canada.  His writing has also appeared in such publications as the European edition of the Wall Street JournalFinancial Times and The Guardian.  In this conversation, Harrison and Gurdon discuss the general state of print journalism in the ever-expanding digital era as well as the inner ideological struggles and debates that impact the media within the American conservative movement during the turbulent Age of Trump.  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 of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

Save the Date! TALKERS Convention Set for Friday, June 7, 2019 in New York City. Save the date and register as an “early bird” to save on the cost. The 22nd annual installment of the longest-running, most-important national talk media convention has been set for Friday, June 7, 2019 in New York City. Talkers 2019: Telling the Story will take place again at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan. The conference will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, one-on-one conversations and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. Like its predecessors, Talkers 2019: Telling the Story will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch, and a closing cocktail reception — all in a single, power-packed day! Full agenda details, speaker roster and hotel information will be posted in TALKERS during the days and weeks ahead. As is customary with TALKERS conventions, Talkers 2019: Telling the Story is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students. Because seating is limited, and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments, costs $329 per person. However, those registering before 5:00 pm ET on December 21, 2018 pay only $279. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Boston country outlet WKLB “Country 102.5” names Ayla Brown (left) co-host of “The Jackson and Ayla Brown Show” alongside Jackson Blue (right), effective Monday (12/17).  Brown is a former Boston College basketball star and was a finalist on season five of “American Idol.”  She’s been living in Nashville performing and writing music the past few years.  About joining the Beasley Media Group stations, she says, “Country music has brought me all around the world and back to Boston again.  Many have seen me perform, but I am so excited for our listeners to get to know me in a whole new way.  Thank you to the ‘Country 102.5’ team for this incredible opportunity!”…..In Seattle, Sinclair Broadcast Group flips morning and afternoon talent on hot AC KPLZ “Star 101.5.”  Program director Kent Phillips moves to afternoons with cast members Jen Pirak and Marina Rockinger.  However, his longtime partner Alan Budwill retires from the morning show after more than 30 years.  Moving to mornings on January 2 is the current afternoon team “Curt & Corine” with current AM show producer Leonard Barokas…..iHeartMedia nationally syndicated personality and KOST, Los Angeles morning host Ellen K is named the first-ever TCL Chinese Theatre ambassador and permanent master of ceremonies for its famed celebrity handprint-footprint ceremonies. Her first emcee gig is today (12/14) as musical artist Pitbull is honored with a hand and footprint ceremony…..Pictured below is Chicago hit radio legend John Records Landecker with the “Bob & Tom” show.  The Radio Hall of Famer appeared at the show’s Indianapolis studios to surprise cast member Chick McGee on his birthday. From left to right are: Grace Yinger, Tom Griswold, Kristi Lee, Josh Arnold, Landecker, and McGee. (Photo: Art Vuolo)

Thursday, December 14, 2018

| December 13, 2018

FCC to Commence 2018 Quadrennial Review of Ownership Rules. At its open meeting yesterday (12/12), the Federal Communications Commission adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to launch the 2018 Quadrennial Review of the Commission’s media ownership rules.  The rules subject to this quadrennial review obligation are the Local Radio Ownership Rule, the Local Television Ownership Rule, and the Dual Network Rule.  In this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Commission seeks comment on whether these three rules continue to serve the public interest or whether they should be modified or eliminated in light of changes to the media marketplace.  Republican Chairman Ajit Pai and GOP commissioners Michael O’Rielly and Brendan Carr approved. Democratic commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel approved in part and objected in part.  She wrote in her statement, in part, “Newspapers have collapsed, and stations are increasingly owned by national companies with limited ties to the communities they serve. What is emerging are news deserts – areas of the country where national news dominates but local news is disappearing. Competition matters.  It is axiomatic that more owners in more markets can mean more ideas.  It can mean more news.  The converse is also true.  Too much consolidation can reduce the number of voices, jobs, and the newsgathering that results…We seek comment on a proposal allowing a single company to own an unlimited number of FM and AM radio stations in most communities in this country.  That could mean one company controls every radio station in the town where you live…To the extent this rulemaking offers thoughtful reform, I approve.  But in other aspects, I dissent.  It fails to honestly assess the impact of too many changes we propose on the values of localism, competition, and diversity that have informed this agency’s media policies in the past—and I believe should still inform our efforts in the future.”

FOX News Channel and Hannity Finish 2018 on Top of Cable Ratings. A story in The Hill citing Nielsen data reveals that FOX News Channel finished 2018 in first place in the cable TV battle, posting its best prime-time audience ever: 2.5 million average viewers.  Liberal cable newser MSNBC also enjoyed its best year, wrapping the year in second place behind FNC with 1.8 million average viewers in prime time.  As far as individual personalities go, FNC’s Sean Hannity had the highest-rated show. His average viewership was 3.275 million.  Over at MSNBC, Rachel Maddow’s program was second behind “Hannity” with 2.881 million average viewers.  While both FOX News Channel and MSNBC enjoyed prime-time ratings increases this year over 2017 (up 3% and 12%, respectively), CNN was down 6% from last year with 990,000 average viewers in prime time.  Following Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow in the list of the top five cable news/talk shows were three more FNC programs: “Tucker Carlson Tonight” with 2.827 million average viewers, “The Ingraham Angle” with Laura Ingraham – 2.61 million, and “The Five” with 2.38 million.

Scripps Media Officially Out of Radio Biz; Lotus Communications, Bustos Media, and Family Life Broadcasting Close. Yesterday (12/12), the closings took place for the sale of stations related to Scripps Media’s exit from the radio station business.  After divesting of the first 26 of its radio station properties earlier in the year, Scripps sold its remaining eight radio properties in the Tucson and Boise markets to Lotus Communications for $8 million.  In order to comply with FCC ownership caps, Lotus spun off news/talk KQTH-FM, Tucson to Family Life Broadcasting and rhythmic oldies KTGV-FM, Tucson “106.3 The Groove” to Bustos Media.  Scripps Media was created in the 2015 merger of Milwaukee-based Journal Communications and Cincinnati-based E.W. Scripps in which the print properties kept the Journal name and the radio stations joined Scripps’ television assets under the Scripps Media banner.

Cumulus to Air Ben Shapiro in PM Drive on WABC, New York.  New York news/talk WABC will air the new Westwood One-syndicated Ben Shapiro two-hour radio show in addition to the one-hour podcast from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm, beginning January 7.  The Cumulus Media station already airs the podcast right after the “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage.  In the New Year, Savage is transitioning to hosting a one-hour, daily live show and a one-hour podcast instead of his current three-hour live show. WABC program director Craig Schwalb comments, “Ben is a fascinating host that completely cuts through the sameness that is political talk radio right now.  It’s the perfect time for us to expand his programming on 77 WABC.”

Paul J Schneider Wraps KBOI, Boise Morning Show Career Tomorrow. As announced earlier this year, longtime KBOI, Boise morning personality Paul J Schneider will leave his morning show duties after his regular broadcast tomorrow (12/14).   Schneider will continue to work with KBOI producing weekly features and a blog as well as continuing to cover Boise State Football for Learfield Sports.  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.”

WFNZ, Charlotte Host Frank Garcia Arrested on Assault Charges.  According to a story in the Charlotte Observer, afternoon drive sports talk host Frank Garcia was charged with misdemeanor assault on a female last Saturday (12/8).  The report indicates Garcia is not related to the 29-year-old woman who suffered minor injuries in the incident.  Garcia – a former Carolina Panthers offensive lineman – co-hosts the afternoon show on Entercom’s WFNZ, Charlotte “The Fan” with Kyle Bailey.  He is also an assistant coach for the Charlotte Catholic High School football team.

Harry Hurley Guests on Brian Kilmeade Show. Pictured above is WPGG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley (left) with FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio star Brian Kilmeade (right) on Monday morning (12/10).  Hurley is a regular fill-in for Todd Starnes on his FOX News Radio syndicated program.

ABC Radio Offering End-of-Year Programming. Affiliates of ABC Radio are being offered five long-form shows and eight short-form programs for year-end programming. The long-form shows include: “Journeys of Faith” featuring the most memorable moments from ABC News senior national correspondent Paula Faris’ popular podcast of the same name; “Playback 2018,” a one-hour special anchored by ABC News correspondents Cheri Preston and Aaron Katersky featuring an in-depth look at the biggest stories of the year; “2018: As It Happened,” a three-hour retrospective of some of 2018’s top stories, as told through highlights of ABC News Radio’s breaking news coverage; “Perspective” is a special year-end edition of ABC News’ award-winning weekly newsmagazine; and “World News This Year” takes a look back at the major news events of the past year in 2018’s final edition of this weekly show.

Trump-Democrats Meeting, Trump-Russia Investigation, Cohen Sentenced, Immigration Issues, Google Congressional Testimony, May Survives/Brexit Issue, Time’s Person of the Year, Financial Markets Activity, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/12). Tuesday’s White House meeting between President Trump and democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer over funding for the U.S.-Mexico border wall; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen sentenced to three years; the migrants in Tijuana and immigration reform; Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee about political bias; British Prime Minister Theresa May survives a no-confidence vote and the Brexit challenges; Time’s “Person of the Year” are journalists from the U.S., Myanmar, the Philippines, and Jamal Khashoggi; the world’s financial markets activity; and NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Miami, Entercom names Jessie Penate, a.k.a. DJ JPS, evening personality and music director for CHR WPOW “Power 96.”  He’s been with the station since 2016 when he joined as a mixer after winning the station’s “Mix Master” competition.  He says, “I’m thrilled to continue this journey on the station I grew up listening to, working with a talented team filled with passion and energy.”…..iHeartMedia and Fox Broadcasting Company announce the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards will air live Thursday, March 14, 2019 on FOX-TV, from Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.  The event will once again broadcast live simultaneously on iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide and on iHeartRadio.  iHeartMedia president of entertainment enterprises John Sykes says, “This is a show that is truly controlled by music fans, because it celebrates the artists and songs that they listened to all year long on our 850 broadcast radio stations and the iHeartRadio app.  FOX has established itself as a premier television destination for music fans, which has made it a natural home for our Awards.”…..February’s 61st GRAMMY Awards will once again include Westwood One as the official broadcast partner in which radio stations will be offered a comprehensive array of special programming and exclusive content.  Westwood One will welcome select local stations and national programs to its Westwood One Backstage at the GRAMMY Awards, which takes place in the days leading up to the February 10 television broadcast.  It will also offer a two-hour “GRAMMYs Nomination Special” airing February 2-3 in CHR/hot AC, AC, and urban formats; “GRAMMYs Week Highlights,” airing February 4-10; and the “GRAMMYs Red Carpet Countdown.”…..Marker Broadcasting’s adult contemporary KJJZ, Palm Springs “KOOL 95.9 FM” adds Premiere Networks’ Delilah for evenings…..Cumulus Media’s CHR WRQX, Washington announces the winning schools in its 2nd Annual mix107.3 Holiday Choir Competition.  The competition was divided into two categories – kindergarten through 8th grade and high school.  North Bethesda Middle School in Bethesda, Maryland won in the first category and gets $2,500 for its music program and Wootton High School in Rockville, Maryland won the high school division and will receive $5,000 for its music education program…..Entercom’s country WUSY, Chattanooga “US 101” is seeking a midday personality. Find all the information about applying here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

| December 12, 2018

Which Are the Strongest News/Talk Markets in America? TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian looks at the data from Nielsen Audio’s most recent PPM ratings – the November 2018 survey – and presents an overview of the PPM markets with the strongest news/talk listenership based on 6+ numbers.  Whether certain markets just like news/talk radio more than others or whether it’s consistently well-programmed stations that attract and keep listeners who are likely to enjoy news/talk – or a combination of the two – is a matter up for debate.  It’s interesting to note that the top two markets for news/talk listening – Milwaukee and Cincinnati – are in states that played important roles in the most recent elections.  The November PPM survey showed Milwaukee’s two news/talk outlets – Good Karma’s WTMJ and iHeartMedia’s WISN – combined for a 16.3 share (6+).  In Cincinnati, iHeartMedia’s WLW and WKRC combined for a 13.6 share. See the rest of Mike Kinosian’s report here.

Final Open Meeting of 2018 at FCC to Launch Quadrennial Review of Broadcast Ownership Rules. Wednesday’s 10:30 am to 12:30 pm open meeting of the Federal Communications Commission will include, among other agenda items, a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would initiate the 2018 Quadrennial Review of the commission’s broadcast ownership rules and other rules.  As most broadcasters are aware, the Commission “is required by law to review certain broadcast ownership rules every four years to determine whether the rules remain ‘necessary in the public interest as the result of competition’ and to repeal or modify any rule it finds is no longer in the public interest.”  Of the three rules subject to the review, one is the Local Radio Ownership Rule (the other two relate to TV).   Looking at radio, the review will: seek comment on whether the Local Radio Ownership Rule, which limits the total number of radio stations that may be commonly owned in a market, continues to promote competition, localism, and viewpoint diversity in today’s radio marketplace; seek comment on possible modifications to the rule’s operation, including the relevant product market, market size tiers, numerical limits, and AM/FM subcaps; and seek comment on whether to make permanent the interim contour-overlap methodology used to determine ownership limits in areas outside Nielsen Audio Metro markets and on how to treat transactions involving markets embedded within a larger Nielsen Audio Metro market.  Currently, in the largest markets (45 signals or more), ownership is limited to eight stations with no more than five of either FM or AM. Earlier this year, the National Association of Broadcasters proposed the following changes: companies operating in the top 75 radio markets could own up to eight FM stations and an unlimited number of AM signals. Companies in markets 76 and up (and in unrated markets) would be allowed to operate with no limits.  The NAB also added a proposal related to the incubator program that would allow companies in that program to own up to 10 FM signals in the top 75 markets.

iHeartMedia Bankruptcy Court Dates Updated. After the postponement of yesterday’s previously scheduled Confirmation Hearing for iHeartMedia’s Fifth Amended Joint Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization, Judge Marvin Isgur set a series of new hearing dates, starting with the December 17 hearing to address class action issues, including the question of whether the company has the authority to settle such claims.  A hearing on January 10 will focus on confirmation issues; hearings on January 17 and 22 will also address the class action matters, and remaining confirmation issues will be addressed on January 23.  This Plan reduces iHeartMedia’s funded debt by approximately $10.3 billion – to $5.75 billion.  The Plan also provides for the separation of iHeartMedia’s radio and outdoor advertising segments.

WIBC, Indianapolis Host Tony Katz Goes into National Syndication. Talk radio host Tony Katz is syndicating a three-hour talk show titled, “Tony Katz Today” via his Tomorrow Media and his first affiliate is Star City Broadcasting’s WSHY-AM/W282CJ, Lafayette, Indiana “The Patriot 104.3 FM.”   Katz hosts the morning drive program on Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis as well as the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm show.  He says, “The WIBC morning show has been a massive success and continues to grow.  With ‘Tony Katz Today,’ I’m able to talk about the things that matter most to people across the Midwest and across America.  I’m thrilled to be adding ‘The Patriot’ to the family.”  Emmis Indianapolis director of programming David Wood adds, “I brought Tony in four years ago to build our morning show.  He did it in two.  Over the past 18 months doing middays as well, his numbers have only grown.  He’s more than ready to be a part of the national landscape.  He’s a perfect replacement for Laura Ingraham or for any daypart.”

NPR and Coalition of Podcasters Unveil RAD Ratings Technology. RAD stands for Remote Audio Data, the new podcast analytics technology that shares podcast listening metrics back to publishers, “with extreme care and respect for user privacy.”  NPR.org has the story that explains NPR and close to 30 companies – including Acast, AdsWizz, ART19, Awesound, Blubrry Podcasting, Panoply, Omny Studio, Podtrac, PRI/PRX, RadioPublic, Triton DigitalWideOrbit, and Whooshkaa – worked to develop RAD. Podcast advertisers are naturally leery of download numbers for the obvious reason that downloads don’t equal listens.  So, RAD marks the podcast filed at numerous points throughout the program to determine how long the consumer listened.  The story goes on to say, “One of these working groups was focused on security and data integrity, with the goal of keeping user privacy and measurement goals in alignment.  RAD’s current framework supports an anonymous session ID that persists for 24 hours and the analytics endpoints only receive the RAD events, these session IDs, IP addresses and if configured, user agent.” Acast co-founder and chief product officer Johan Billgren says, “Measurement has been one of the open challenges in the podcast industry for a long time.  As the medium continues to grow, universal metrics will be key to its success.”

TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Glenn Beck paid off $27,000 worth of layaway items at a Walmart in Texas on Saturday (12/8), just two days before the final payments were due.  The good deed of the Premiere Networks personality was reported in the Dallas News.  Beck said he was inspired by actor and filmmaker Tyler Perry, who paid off all the layaway accounts at two Atlanta Walmart stores.  Beck and his family, who were on the way to a Christmas party, broadcast via Facebook live as they walked into Walmart and met with the layaway department to pay each account individually.  In the video, Beck challenged other conservative media personalities, including Mark Levin, Steven Crowder, and Bill O’Reilly to do the same.  Beck said on his radio show, “You don’t have to spend the money that Tyler Perry or I spent. You can just go in and just give $100, or $50, or $10. You are not going to believe what a difference it makes.”…..Comrex announces a new partnership with audioone gmbh.  The latter firm serves Austria, Germany, and Switzerland supplying the latest in technology for digital broadcast, for both television and radio.  Comrex says it is thrilled to partner with a distributor that shares their care for customer support.  Comrex is exhibiting with audioone at “Hamburg Open,” held at Studio Hamburg MCI GmbH on January 17, 2019…..Baseball play-by-play pro Tim Neverett announces he’s not returning to the Boston Red Sox for radio broadcasts next season, exiting Entercom’s radio play-by-play team.  Entercom is now searching for  his replacement to sit alongside Joe Castiglione for the 2019 season…..Howard Stern and SiriusXM announce they will begin presenting “Howard 100: The Best of the Interviews” on the Howard 100 channel on Monday (12/17).  Celebrity interviews that will be re-broadcast include: Cardi B, Jon Bon Jovi, Stephen Colbert, James Corden, Claire Danes, Snoop Dogg, Jennifer Lawrence, Paul McCartney, Mandy Moore, Gwyneth Paltrow, Amy Schumer, Ringo StarrBen Stiller, and many more.

Trump Government Shutdown Threat, Trump-Russia Investigation/Cohen Sentencing, Google Congressional Testimony, France Terror Attack, Time’s Person of the Year, Financial Markets Activity, Brexit Complications, Aquaman Film, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/11). Tuesday’s White House meeting between President Trump and democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer over funding for the U.S.-Mexico border wall; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and today’s sentencing of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen; Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee about political bias, privacy matters and other issues; the terror attack in Strasbourg, France that took three lives; chatter about Time magazine’s “Person of the Year”; activity in the world’s financial markets; the political tensions in Britain over the exit from the European Union; the new Aquaman film; and the week’s NFL action 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 Cat Thomas joins Entercom to serve as operations manager for music outlets hot AC KYKY “Y98,” adult contemporary KEZK, and CHR KNOU “Now 96.3,” effective January 1.  He was most recently with Cumulus Media as vice president of contemporary formats.  During his career he’s also served with CBS RADIO in Las Vegas.  Thomas says, “I can’t tell you how energized I am to be joining the passionate team at Entercom.  I’m looking forward to working with [president of programming] Pat Paxton again, [SVP/market manager] Becky [Domyan] and the entire St. Louis operation.  The dedication and positive culture the staff exude is truly amazing.  We are all playing to win, and I cannot wait to be a part of the great things to come.”…..In Cleveland, iHeartMedia debuts new hip hop outlet “REAL 106.1” on WAKS-HD2/W291BV. iHeartMedia North Ohio Region president Keith Hotchkiss says, “We are extremely excited to add ‘REAL 106.1’ to our diverse portfolio of stations in the Cleveland market.  ‘REAL 106.1’ will play the top songs from the top artists in the urban format.”…..Longtime Atlanta radio personality Christopher Rude returns to the airwaves in the region.  According to a report by Rodney Ho at the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Rude is now handling mornings on rock outlet WJBB-AM/W296CX, Winder, Georgia. Rude, who hosted his “Rude Awakening” morning show on sports talk WCNN for 15 years, says of working with independent owner Jeff Batten, “It doesn’t take a week and five meetings to get a segment or a promotion on the air.  Reminds me a lot of what got me into radio in the first place.  A group of people who are hungry to see the station grow and they all wear several hats doing it.”…..Cami Marlowe is named afternoon personality and APD at Cumulus Media’s CHR WABD, Mobile.  She was most recently with New South Radio’s CHR WYOY “Y 101” in Jackson, Mississippi.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

| December 11, 2018

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on the news/talk format.  The news/talk stations that saw the biggest weekly 6+ AQH share improvement over the October 2018 survey were iHeartMedia’s WISN, Milwaukee (+ 0.9) and Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis (+ 0.7).  On the negative side, Bonneville’s KSL, Salt Lake City was down a 1.8 share, iHeartMedia’s KOA, Denver dipped a 1.1 share and Good Karma’s WTMJ, Milwaukee was off a full share.  Year-over-year, Cox Media Group’s WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville was a big winner, up 3.5 shares.  On the flip side, iHeartMedia’s KOGO, San Diego dropped 1.9 shares since November 2017.  Five news/talk outlets ranked #1 in their markets in November: Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta (8.6 share); iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati (10 share); Good Karma’s WTMJ, Milwaukee (9.4 share); Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton (8.3 share); and Cox’s WOKV, Jacksonville (11.2 share).  See the entire report here.

Latest Settlement Talks May Push Back iHeartMedia Chapter 11 Exit. The latest events in iHeartMedia’s journey through Chapter 11 reorganization may push the company’s exit further into the future, according to a piece in Bloomberg Law.  The story says that as the result of Monday’s court filings indicating objections to the Plan because of iHM’s settlement talks with Gamco Asset Management, the actual exit from bankruptcy protection could move past the anticipated February time frame.  The piece says it appears certain creditors object to iHM and Gamco settling a class-action suit, arguing that such suits shouldn’t be settled in bankruptcy court.  Today (12/11), was the original Confirmation Hearing date that’s been pushed back by the negotiations.

Maxwell Schaeffer to Host Weekend Show on WHO, Des Moines. According to a report in the Des Moines Register, longtime Des Moines radio personality Maxwell Schaeffer is returning to the airwaves hosting the Saturday morning “Maxwell & Friends” program on news/talk WHO-AM, beginning January 5.  Schaeffer has been with the iHeartMedia Des Moines cluster serving as director of promotions and marketing since August.  Previously, he spent 23 years as morning host on Saga Communications’ classic hits KIOA-FM.  Schaeffer tells the paper, “I kind of want the show to feel like we’re having a brunch party.  Maybe without the mimosas — or at least visually.  It is the radio, after all.”  WHO program director Michael Dorwart comments, “It really just seemed like the wise move for us was to let him get settled then find where’s the right place to get him in an on-air role.  Saturday morning seemed like a really good fit.  We’re really not looking for a hardcore talk show.”

KRLA, Los Angeles-Based ‘The Bigger Picture with Timothy Spangler’ Reaches 250th Episode – Now Available for Syndication Distributed via Salem Radio Network.   This Sunday (12/16) will see Los Angeles’ “The Bigger Picture with Timothy Spangler” air its landmark 250th episode on local Salem Media Group O&O KRLA “AM870 the Answer.”  The Sunday night call-in show has been airing on the SRN Southern California affiliate since March of 2013.  The show is hosted by commentator/talk show host Timothy Spangler and co-hosted by Phillip Sparks and David C Fisher.  Spangler tells TALKERS, “We started the show five-and-a-half years ago with a very different view on what live AM radio could and should be.  We wanted our show to appeal to a much broader and younger audience than was currently being engaged by stations across the country – what we like to refer to as the #AltCenter.  Fortunately, Los Angeles is a great inspiration for us.”  Broadcasting live from the studios of KRLA 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight PT, the program covers a wide range of issues both domestic and international, punctuated by a unique blend of humor and wry observation. The show is now also available in other markets through Salem Radio Network (via XDS “SRN2 – The Bigger Picture”).  For more information, check out the website www.biggerpictureradio.com.

KQTH-FM, Tucson Wraps News/Talk Format. Tomorrow, Tucson news/talk KQTH-FM flips from news/talk to a religious format as Family Life Radio closes on its purchase of the station in a divestiture from the Scripps MediaLotus Communications transaction. The FM news/talk format was originally installed on the station in April of 2007 by Journal Communications.  The station transitioned to Scripps Media with the merger of Journal and E.W. Scripps. The station was airing mostly syndicated talk in addition to local morning show “Tucson’s Morning News” with Mike Rapp.

Trump-Russia Probe, Migrant Caravan/Border Wall Issue, Clean Water Act Changes, Google CEO to Testify, Financial Markets Activity, Brexit Complications, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/10). The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the migrants amassed at the U.S.-Mexico border and the battle in Washington over funding for the border wall; the EPA’s proposed changes to the Clean Water Act; Google CEO Sundar Pichai to testify before a House subcommittee about bias allegations and China’s Project Dragonfly; the recent stock selloff and concerns about a bearish 2019; the Brexit complications dogging British Prime Minister Theresa May; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the San Diego market the executive management team operating Local Media San Diego has entered into an agreement to acquire the company operating alternative XETRA “91X,” CHR XHITZ “Z90,” and rhythmic oldies XHRM “Magic 92.5.”  The management team consists of vice president and general manager Gregg Wolfson, chief financial officer Norm McKee, and director Steve McNeely.  Wolfson says, “LMSD has always operated locally and the transition to local ownership is the final step to firmly plant our flag as San Diego’s local media provider.”…..More cuts at Hubbard Radio-owned stations as the KRWM “Warm 106.9” drops morning team Allan Fee, Ashley Ryan, and producer Kevin Justik.  At sister country KNUC, evening personality Michael Kraig Mason exits…..Urban One flips Gospel WPPZ “Praise 107.9” to rhythmic oldies as “Classix 107.9” while keeping the Gospel format on WPPZ-HD2…..Pictured below is WHTZ, New York “Z100”-based, Premiere Networks syndicated morning personality Elvis Duran (left) on the December 7 episode of NBC’s “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon (right).  The two discussed Duran’s taking care of his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and his getting engaged on the unluckiest day of the year – Friday the 13th.

Monday, December 10, 2018

| December 10, 2018

Report: Cumulus Interested in WGN-AM, Chicago.  According to a report by Chicago media writer Robert FederCumulus Media – owner of news/talk WLS-AM, classic hits WLS-FM and alternative WKQX – is interested in buying legendary news/talk WGN-AM.  Television station company Nexstar has bid to acquire Tribune Media – 42 TV stations, numerous digital properties and cable channel WGN America – for $4.1 billion.  A report in Crain’s Business Chicago indicates that although Nexstar is “in no hurry” to sell WGN-AM, it is not planning to build out a  radio division and will likely sell the station.  None of the major radio operators are up against the AM ownership cap in Chicago so Cumulus, Entercom, Hubbard or iHeartMedia could be contenders to acquire the station.  Feder says that Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner told staffers Cumulus would be interested in the station.

John Hanson Named Program Director for WCCO-AM, Minneapolis.  Taking over after the departure last month of station OM and PD Andy Bloom as program director for news/talk WCCO-AM is John Hanson.  He joins the station from the company’s Kansas City sports talk duo KCSP “610 Sports Radio” and KWOD “1660 The Score.”  Entercom Twin Cities SVP and market manager Shannon Knoepke says, “John brings extensive knowledge of the Minneapolis community to his new role with 830 WCCO. I trust our listeners will enjoy the innovative and exciting programing that he will add to the station.”  Prior to joining Entercom in 2013, Hanson co-hosted “Twin Cities Live” on KSTP-TV, Minneapolis.

Jeff Styles Returns to the Air in Chattanooga. Former WGOW-FM, Chattanooga morning drive personality Jeff Styles is back on the air in the market today on Brewer Broadcasting’s news/talk WPLZ-HD4/W224AZ “NoogaRadio 92.7 FM” for a daily show in the 8:00 am to 10:00 am slot.  Styles was let go from WGOW by Cumulus Media after being arrested during a road rage incident in which he was shot in the arm by the other motorist.  The case was bound over to a grand jury but the charges against him were dropped.  WGOW subsequently named midday host Brian Joyce host of “The Morning Press” with co-hosts Jim Reynolds and Kevin West.  Styles’ new program is called “Fred the Show” – Fred stands for Free Radio Every Day – and Styles says, “I’m excited to have a platform to listen, and talk to, listeners again…I’m chomping at the bit, excited to stir things up!”

Doug McIntyre to Exit KABC, Los Angeles. Longtime KABC-AM, Los Angeles personality Doug McIntyre announces he’s leaving the Cumulus Media news/talk station after his contract expires at the end of this month.  McIntyre is also a columnist for the Los Angeles Daily News.  In a Tweet, McIntyre says, “Time for me to say goodbye.  After 22 years, I will do my last show at KABC this Friday, December 14th.  What a great run and wonderful experience it has been.  This was a tough call, but I appreciate KABC management for for respecting my decision.”

Nielsen Audio: News/Talk Top Format in PPM Markets.  According to data from Nielsen Audio, overall (Persons 6+), news/talk is the most-listened-to radio format of 2018 to this point with 10% of the AQH audience. Looking at the 25-54 demographic, CHR was again the dominant format with 8% of the AQH audience.  Although news/talk’s audience skews older, it still was the third most-listened-to format (tied with adult contemporary) with 7% of the AQH audience.  Keep in mind that Nielsen lumps public radio news/talk in with its commercial brethren and that certainly adds some youth to that figure, as it likely does with the 18-34 demo, in which news/talk scores 4.3% of the AQH share.

The Bob & Tom Show Renews with iHeartMedia for 13 Affiliate Stations. The nationally syndicated “Bob & Tom” show announces it has struck a renewal deal with iHeartMedia to continue being carried by 13 of the company’s radio stations, including home base WFBQ, Indianapolis; WQMF, Louisville; WTUE, Dayton and more.  The program is distributed by Westwood One.  Show host Tom Griswold says, “Thanks to [EVP/GM iHeartMedia national programming group] Brad Hardin and all the folks at iHeart for keeping our long relationship moving forward.  Many of these stations have been with us for years, so they are jewels in the ‘Bob & Tom’ crown.  Actually, we started our syndication at WFBQ and we’re happy to continue our close and unique tie with that special group in Indianapolis.”

Kim Komando Show to Air on Bloomberg TV in January. Beginning on Saturday, January 5, the new, television version of the weekly Kim Komando program will air on the Bloomberg Television Network at 4:00 pm ET.  Komando’s show is produced by her WestStar Multimedia Entertainment firm and the TV show will be produced at WestStar’s $8 million broadcast center in Phoenix.  Komando says, “We’re thrilled to take our content to an international audience.  We’re taking what we’ve perfected on the airwaves over the last 20 years, reaching millions of Americans each week and sharing it worldwide.  How cool is that?”  The press release says that the program “will be expertly produced to speak to Bloomberg’s loyal audience of business executives, industry leaders, investors, and entrepreneurs.”  Komando adds, “We’re all about tech wellness and helping consumers use technology to enrich their lives and improve their businesses.”

TALKERS News Notes. In a report by Paul Farhi in The Washington Post, it’s revealed that NPR employs “an army of temps” that for them creates a “workplace of anxiety and insecurity.”  Farhi writes, “Without temporary workers — who are subject to termination without cause — NPR would probably be unable to be NPR.  Temps do almost every important job in NPR’s newsroom: They pitch ideas, assign stories, edit them, report and produce them.  Temps not only book the guests heard in interviews, they often write the questions the hosts ask the guests.”  Temp workers are covered under NPR’s union contract and they make a base salary as per that contract.  According to the piece, about 20%-22% of NPR’s 483 union staffers are temps…..iHeartMedia and Learfield announce that new Milwaukee sports talk outlet WRNW “97.3 The Game” will serve as the new radio home of the Wisconsin Badger Sports Network in Milwaukee.   iHeartMedia division president Jeff Tyler comments, “We have enjoyed great success with many of our new sports/talk and entertainment brands and are excited about the launch of ‘97.3 The Game’ for Milwaukee and Southwestern Wisconsin.  We are also pleased to continue and expand our longtime partnership with Learfield’s Badgers Sports Properties and the University of Wisconsin with ‘The Game,’ ‘The Big 920’ and all the other Milwaukee stations and of course our iHeartRadio brand.”…..National radio rep firm Gen Media Partners announces its acquisition of  Regional Reps and The Tacher Company.  In a press release, GMP says, “While the newly acquired companies will continue to operate on behalf of the radio stations they represent, Gen Media Partners’ combined roster of 4,000 radio station partners will create more opportunities for national advertisers, particularly when they are looking for scale in radio.”  GMP CEO Kevin Garrity says, “With the increased scale and reach, we can develop more national opportunities and generate more agency business for our independent radio partners, while we continue to provide the exceptional service and support that are our hallmark.”  Regional Reps chairman Stuart Sharpe exits while Greg Tacher and Joe Costello of The Tacher Company and Jeff Slivka of Regional Reps remain with their respective companies and take on expanded roles within the Gen Media Partners organization.

Trump-Russia Investigation, Trump Cabinet, Financial Markets Activity, Charlottesville Murder Conviction, Southeast Winter Storm, Paris Riots, Huawei CFO Arrest, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; changes in the Trump cabinet as William Barr to be nominated for attorney general, Heather Nauert to be UN ambassador; and questions arise about a new chief of staff; the huge stock selloff and the activity on the world’s financial markets; James Alex Fields Jr. is convicted of murder in the death of Heather Heyer at the 2017 Charlottesville protests; a winter storm dumps heavy snow in the Southeast; France continues to deal with violent protests over economic matters; the tense U.S.-China relations after the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver, BC; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

PPM Analysis: Urban Contemporary. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November 2018 PPM survey, today looking at urban contemporary.  Three PPM market urban contemporary stations had improved more than a share over the November 2017 survey: Urban One’s WQOK, Raleigh “K97.5” (up 1.5); iHeartMedia’s WZRL, Indianapolis “Real 98.3” (up 1.4); and Urban One’s WERQ, Baltimore “92 Q Jams” (up 1.1). There are no urban contemporary outlets that rank #1 in their markets (6+), but WQOK, WERQ, and iHeartMedia’s WUBT, Nashville all ranked #2 in their respective markets in the November 2018 survey. See the whole report here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The Toledo Blade reports a major shuffle of morning show talent at the Cumulus Media cluster in Toledo.   Beginning next Monday (12/17), classic hits WRQN morning hosts Cliff and Lyn will join Gary Shores on country WKKO-FM, 99.9 “K-100.”  Denny Schaffer’s morning team moves from hot AC WQQO-FM to WRQN.   Meanwhile Eric Chase, who handles evenings on WQQO, assumes mornings on the station.  The following Monday (12/21), Jeremy “Pyke” Peterson takes over mornings on classic rock WXKR-FM as Mark Benson retires after a 22-year stint with the station…..In Seattle, Michael Kraig exits Hubbard Broadcasting’s country KNUC where he’d been handling the evening show.