Talk Radio/Media Industry News
Entercom’s Furst Choice to Program KC Talk Combo. Self-described “freelance programming advisor/consultant” Alan Furst is tapped to program Entercom Kansas City siblings KMBZ-AM “Talk 980” and KMBZ-FM “News/Talk 98.1.” Entercom Kansas City vice president and market manager Dave Alpert remarks, “We are very pleased to welcome Alan. He brings with him a wealth of experience, possesses a passion for the on-air product, and a passion for winning.” Furst – who begins his new duties next Monday (2/15) – comments that he is “very excited to join one of the truly great news talk brands, KMBZ.” He went on to thank Alpert and Entercom president of programming Pat Paxton “for the opportunity to be part of the outstanding staff at Entercom Kansas City. I look forward to helping both stations continue to grow.” Prior to opening his programming consultancy in October 2014, Furst spent nearly two years as program director of Radio One Houston’s KROI. His varied resume includes hands-on operations manager and PD experience at San Antonio country and CHR duo KAJA “KJ-97” and KXXM “Mix 96”; WLW, Cincinnati; and WIBC, Indianapolis. In addition, he was senior vice president of content for DMX Music; Cumulus Media’s country format director; group program director for the Australian Radio Network; senior vice president of programming for Clear Channel, AMFM, and Capstar Broadcasting; national program director for NewCity Communications; and a programming consultant for Shane Media Services. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s “Holiday” 2015 PPM report, both KMBZ-FM (3.3, #14) and KMBZ-AM (2.6, #18) were down one-half share from December 2015.
Michael Harrison and Tom Leykis Chat About the Past, Present and Future of Audio Media. Legendary broadcast radio performer and pioneering online radio entrepreneur Tom Leykis joins TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison as this week’s guest on PodcastOne’s international hit, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” The two engage in an extensive, one-on-one discussion about Leykis’ colorful career that spanned decades as a talk show host on some of America’s highest-profile radio stations and during which time his on-air persona ranged from outrageous “shock jock” to edgy “progressive” political news/talker. Today, Leykis approaches the fourth anniversary of his successful online radio enterprise, The New Normal – a multifaceted platform upon which he streams his daily, live, listener call-in program, “The Tom Leykis Show,” as well as a podcast for radio talents Gary & Dino. A separate iteration of The New Normal delivers two streaming music channels – pop and rock – personally curated by Leykis. Leykis discusses his leading-edge business model that includes a mix of advertising, subscriptions, merchandising and live events – now generating upwards of $600,000 annual gross revenue. The two venerable pros talk about targeting Millennials, the nature of “authenticity” as it applies to today’s younger demos, the scope of non-traditional revenue and various aspects of media theory as it applies to 21st century communications. To listen to this entire uninterrupted conversation, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Howard Tuuri Named VP/GM for Genesis Communications. Radio executive Howard Tuuri joins Genesis Communications to serve as vice president and general manager for the company’s four Florida stations – news/talk WWBA, Tampa; sports talk WHBO, Tampa; Spanish WMGG, Tampa; and sports talk WHOO, Orlando – as well as its two Internet publications. Tuuri, who will report to Genesis president and CEO Bruce Maduri, previously served with Cox Media Group as a VP/GM for its Tampa operations. Maduri states, “Howard’s background and quality of experience are a tremendous fit for our organization. He has been a valuable member of our Leadership Team, and this appointment confirms our commitment to grow and realize the vision of a truly integrated media content company.”
The Presidential Race, Low Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity, Battle Against Islamic State/Syrian Civil War, North Korean Missile Launch, Zika Virus, and Super Bowl 50 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/8). Today’s New Hampshire primary and the activities of the candidates for president; low oil prices and the effects on the world’s financial markets; the battle against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the effects of the ongoing Syrian civil conflict; North Korea’s weekend launch of a satellite missile; concerns over a potential pandemic of the Zika virus; and Sunday’s Super Bowl 50 and controversy over the Doritos commercial were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
RAB/Borrell: Radio Digital Revenue to Rise 14%. According to a study by Borrell Associates on behalf of the Radio Advertising Bureau, the radio industry’s digital ad revenue rose 11.4% in 2015 to more than $550 million. The study also predicts radio’s digital revenue will improve by 16% this year. This fourth annual report is titled, “Benchmarking: Local Radio Stations’ Online Revenues,” and concludes the average market cluster made $951,756 in digital sales last year, with the average station making $231,210. Borrell Associates CEO Gordon Borrell summarizes, “All signs point to the radio industry mobilizing even more in the interactive space. Eighty-two percent believe there is strong potential – the highest we’ve ever seen; 62% believe that their sales teams’ ability to sell digital products is solid – up from 52% a year ago; and 37% believe their digital strategy is headed in the right direction – up from 27%.” The full study is available to RAB members, but here are some of the juicier takeaways: One-third of stations surveyed believe their sales reps are talking to the wrong buyers when trying to sell digital products. Three years ago, two-thirds believed that was the case; Only 16% believe that radio sales suffer because reps are forced to sell digital advertising. That’s down significantly since 2014, when more than half felt that way; Conversely, 24% believe that digital sales suffer because reps focus on radio advertising. Three years ago, twice as many felt that way; And the average radio cluster received 0.26% of all locally spent Internet advertising. There were some, however, achieving 15 times that – up to nearly 4%. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “Digital continues to be radio’s fastest growing sector. Stations that are laser focused on increasing revenue beyond their core broadcast business are experiencing the benefits. The results from this study provide us with insights of where efforts are paying off and what additional training is needed for radio to continue with this trajectory. The RAB is here to help with that knowledge and training.”
Service King and Motel 6 Win Westwood One Super Bowl Sound Awards. This was the third annual Westwood One Super Bowl Sound Awards designed to recognize excellence in audio creativity and celebrate brand advertisers and radio creative. Westwood One asked listeners to vote on their favorite audio commercials airing in the Westwood One Super Bowl 50 broadcast. In addition, Westwood One commissioned a Nielsen study of 3,030 consumers who rated all 45 commercials on a series of key attributes. Listeners voted for Service King’s “Mission 2 Hire” ad as their favorite Super Bowl commercial. The ad promotes Service King’s Mission 2 Hire program, which is dedicated to hiring 500 veterans at Service King locations around the country. Hear the ad here: http://thesoundawards.com/service-king/. Motel 6 was rated the most likeable ad in the Westwood One-commissioned Nielsen study. The brand’s “Designer Dogs” ad features long-time Motel 6 narrator Tom Bodett, who promotes Motel 6’s great rooms and low rates while poking fun at trendy dog breeds with silly names. The Motel 6 ad also received top consumer ratings for relevance, engagement, and memorability. Here is a link to hear the ad: http://thesoundawards.com/motel-6-3/ .
Bill Bennett to Give Up Daily AM Duties; Hugh Hewitt Moves to Morning Drive at SRN. Ending an 11-year run as host of Salem Radio Network’s morning drive program “Bill Bennett’s Morning in America,” Bennett will step back a bit from the mic as of April 4 when he becomes senior correspondent. He’ll produce a daily feature titled, “Making America Work,” that will also be formatted as a one-hour weekend program. In the series, he’ll interview successful American business owners and entrepreneurs. Moving to the morning drive daypart (6:00 am to 9:00 am ET) will be current early evening host Hugh Hewitt. Hewitt will re-locate to Washington, DC for the new program. Salem Media Group notes Hewitt’s “radio career has taken off in the last year with a new-found love for breaking news and what to think about it. He was given an opportunity to expose his great knowledge and talents to the country when he was selected as a panelist on the CNN presidential debates. He has already conducted more interviews with the presidential candidates than any other host, and has become the ‘go to’ show for this campaign.” Hewitt comments, “In 25 years of broadcasting on television and radio I have never been as excited as by this opportunity to build on the enormous platform Bill Bennett has constructed. It is already a show for influencers across the country, and I plan to maintain that influence, making this a ‘must listen’ for every mover and shaker in America, from a stay-at-home mom or dad to CEOs and government leaders.” Bennett says of his time on the radio, “Engaging in an illuminating and entertaining conversation with the American people has been one of the most enjoyable and rewarding episodes of my career. I now look forward to another phase of work with the Salem Radio Network. The seminars and in-depth discussions in our new ‘Making America Work’ series that we are planning for 2016 and beyond will write a new chapter in radio. I simply want to express my gratitude to Salem for its continued confidence in me and to my audience – the greatest radio audience in America – for its loyalty and its candor, intelligence and goodwill.”
WYAY, Atlanta’s Michael Graham Offers to Consult Candidate to Oppose Georgia Legislator Who Defended the Klan. According to a piece in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, WYAY, Atlanta “Newsradio 106.7” late morning personality Michael Graham has advertised in the Jackson Herald his willingness to put his political consulting acumen to use for a candidate who will challenge Republican State Representative Tommy Benton. This comes after Benton defended the Ku Klux Klan while discussing proposed legislation he authored to protect institutions named after Confederate military figures and revert street names back to their original names, if they honored such historical people. One street was named after Confederate General John B. Gordon, an early Georgia Klan leader. In discussing the issue, Benton defended the Klan, saying it “made a lot of people straighten up.” He also said it “was not so much a racist thing but a vigilante thing to keep law and order. I’m not saying what they did was right. It’s just the way things were.” Graham’s ad requests any Jackson County resident wishing to challenge Benton’s seat to contact him. Graham promises to donate his time and political consulting expertise as well as help promote fundraising. Read the AJC story here.
Presidential Race, Super Bowl 50, North Korean Missile Launch, Zika Virus, and European Anti-Islam Rallies Among Top Weekend News/Talk Stories. The activities of the candidates for president; the build-up to Sunday night’s Super Bowl 50; North Korea’s launch of a long-range satellite missile; concerns over the Zika virus and a potential pandemic; and the anti-Islam rallies held in Europe over the weekend were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Westwood One Provides Radio Coverage of Super Bowl 50. The exclusive radio play-by-play of Super Bowl 50 was provided by Westwood One. As part of its post-game program, WW1’s James Lofton (right) interviews Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller (left) who was named MVP of the game.
Odds & Sods. The Indianapolis Business Journal reports iHeartMedia Indy market manager Rick Green is being promoted to a regional president post for the Mid-Atlantic region where he’ll be based in Richmond, Virginia. A new Indianapolis market manager should be named soon…..The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman is reporting that John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman just re-signed to broadcast New York Yankees games on CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York for two more seasons……iHeartMedia promotes longtime company sales pro Sherri Griswold Holladay to the regional vice president of sales position for the Mid-South region…..Beasley Media Group names Steve Griesbach director of engineering for the Las Vegas cluster. Griesbach most recently served with Cumulus Media’s Green Bay, Wisconsin station group.
Scheduling Announced in Nielsen v Bubba Suit. Both sides of the $1 million suit by Nielsen against Tampa-based morning personality Bubba the Love Sponge are digging in for a fight. Now, we know the timeline for the legal skirmish. If the matter goes all the way to trial, it’ll start next January 3. Before that, however, there are discovery deadlines, a mandatory attempt to settle via mediation and a pre-trial conference in December. Nielsen probably has lawyers on retainer, but this is still going to be expensive for both parties.
Presidential Race/Iowa Caucuses Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 1-5. The results of the Iowa Caucuses and the activities of the candidates for president were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. Coming in at #2 was Russia’s Syria military operations. At #3 was the controversy over the United States’ $1.7 billion payment to Iran as part of the recently negotiated nuclear agreement, followed by concerns over the Zika virus at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Odds & Sods. At its South Florida cluster, Entercom appoints Katerina Perez general sales manager of alternative WSFS “104.3 The Shark” and sports talk WAXY-AM, “The Ticket.” Perez is a native Canadian who spent most of her life in South Florida. Most recently she was SVP of sales at iHeartMedia’s Seattle cluster. Entercom South Florida VP/market manager Doug Abernethy states, “Katerina has a proven track record of success and will be a valuable addition to our management team. Her experience, relentless focus on the customer and her sales management skills will enable us to develop more impactful advertising campaigns for our clients and substantially grow our business.”…..Hugh Hewitt got some love from USAToday recently. The publication wrote a profile piece of the Salem Radio Network-syndicated talk personality as the result of his increased presence in the national media this election season. As regular TALKERS readers know, Hewitt has been participating in the GOP primary debates produced by CNN (and simulcast for radio by SRN). As the story indicates, Hewitt has also been a much-sought-after political pundit by such program hosts as CNN’s Anderson Cooper, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, and NBC’s Chuck Todd. Read the USAToday piece here.….Beasley Media Group promotes Katy Lollis to director of sales for the company’s Fayetteville, North Carolina station group. Market manager Mac Edwards states, “Katy has been a valued employee of our company for nearly a decade. Her experience, market insight and incredible work ethic have always been highly valued and deeply respected. Now, we are confident Katy will take our sales team to new heights in 2016 and beyond!”
Comprehensive Holiday PPM Overview. RadioInfo and TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2015 PPM survey. The move to all-Christmas or Christmas-intensive music playlists on the part of AC, hot AC and CHR stations brings about an annual “anomaly” to the radio ratings. Kinosian has detailed the performances of AC, hot AC and country stations recently but this report also shows the effects on other radio formats – including sports, news/talk and all-news. Kinosian writes, “Among other tidbits, this comprehensive analysis summarizes all stations that finish #1 and #2 in Holiday 2015; differential between the top two spots; and perhaps most vital of all – formats most dramatically/negatively influenced by all-Christmas music programming. For that, we have broken it out by format and by each PPM-market.” See the entire report here.
National Radio Talent System’s Student Initiative Heads to Pacific Northwest. The Dan Vallie-founded National Radio Talent System heads to the Pacific Northwest in conjunction with Hubbard Radio. Four previous institutes have taken place in the South and the East but June 13 -22 the Hubbard Radio Talent Institute will take place at Central Washington University in Washington State. Hubbard Radio chair and CEO Ginny Morris comments, “Compelling and relatable on air talent is what separates local radio from all other audio entertainment services. Our investment in the National Radio Talent System at Central Washington University is an extension of Hubbard Radio’s commitment to do our part to nurture and grow the talent pipeline for the industry. We are proud to partner with Dan Vallie and his team in this important initiative.” The school’s assistant dean of student development Keith Champagne says, “Having a nationally award winning college radio program in KCWU-FM, the partnership with Hubbard Radio and the National Radio Talent System was simply a perfect match. Giving student broadcasters opportunities they can’t find anywhere else is a cornerstone of Central Washington University. The Hubbard Radio Talent Institute will be another great example of that.” The Radio Talent Institute says its curriculum builds upon “the already quality education students are receiving at the university and through working at their college radio station. All sessions in the Institute are taught by professional broadcasters in each of their areas of expertise.”
Alliance for Women in Media Announces New Board Members. New board members have been announced for the Alliance for Women in Media and its Foundation. Kristen Welch, SVP of global content operations at Discovery Communications will continue the role of chair for both organizations. Continuing as chair‐elect of AWM/F is Sarah Foss, vice president of product management and media at Imagine Communications in New York City. The treasurer of AWM/F is Keisha Sutton-James, vice president, Inner City Broadcasting Corp. in New York. The treasurer‐elect of AWM/F is Christine Travaglini, president of Christal Radio/KRG Partnerships in New York City; and past chair of AWM/F is Kay Olin, principle of Kay Olin and Associates, in St. George Island, Florida. Serving directors at large of AWM are: Robin Alston, director of business & legal affairs, A&E Television Networks; Karla Ballard Williams, founder and CEO of YING; Heather Cohen, EVP at The Weiss Agency; Sandy Girard, vice president of entertainment at SiriusXM; Susie Hedrick, SVP sales, North America at Wide Orbit, Inc.; Annie Howell, founder and co-president at The Punch Point Group; Jill Luckett, SVP program network policy, National Cable & Telecommunications Association; Kimberly Maki, corporate vice president, corporate communications & public relations, Bright House Networks; Laura Martinez, senior director, affiliate sales, Cumulus/Westwood One; Christine Merritt, president, Ohio Association of Broadcasters; Deborah Parenti, publisher, Radio Ink/RBR-TVBR; and Josie Thomas, EVP & chief diversity officer, CBS Corporation. Serving as directors at large of AWMF are: Karla Ballard Williams; Valerie Blackburn, project manager, CBS Radio; Heather Cohen; Michelle Duke, vice president, NAB Education Foundation; Sandy Girard; Annie Howell; Jill Luckett; Kimberly Maki; and Christine McLaughlin, of counsel, Sciarrino & Shubert, PLLC.
Report: iHeartMedia Considering Securities Sale to Retire Debt Due in 2019. According to a report from Bloomberg News, iHeartMedia is looking at a plan to offer up for sale securities in one of its units to help retire some $1.4 billion in bonds. The report states that the company would create a subsidiary called Broader Media LLC. Existing debtholders would be offered the opportunity to exchange for the new obligations. According to Bloomberg, $8.3 billion in debt is coming due in 2019 for iHeartMedia. “iHeart’s plan would erase $192.9 million of 5.5 % unsecured notes due December 2016 that are already considered current,” a source told Bloomberg. “The proposal is also intended to retire the company’s $190 million revolving loan due December 2017, the $850 million of 10% unsecured notes due January 2018 and the $175 million of 6.875% unsecured notes due June 2018.” Read the Bloomberg piece here.
Greater Media Promotes Buzz Knight to SVP of Program Development. Fourteen-year Greater Media staffer Buzz Knight is promoted to SVP of program development for the company. Knight’s new duties include responsibility for “overseeing programming development for all of Greater Media’s radio properties and collaborating with the individual stations to build winning content, digital and brand management strategies.” Greater Media CEO Peter Smyth comments, “Buzz has done an outstanding job overseeing our programming brands across the company over the past 14 years. His insight and leadership plays an important role in the continued success of our company.”
Iowa Caucuses Aftermath/Presidential Race, Battle Against Islamic State, $1.7 Billion Iran Payment Controversy, Zika Virus Concerns, Bill Cosby Sexual Assault Case, Ken Stabler CTE Issue, and Run-Up to Super Bowl 50 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/3). The aftermath of the Iowa Caucuses, the focus on the New Hampshire Primary and the activities of the candidates for president; the U.S. military policy on defeating Islamic State; the controversy over the United States’ $1.7 billion payment to Iran as part of the nuclear agreement; fears about a potential pandemic of the Zika virus; the status of the sexual assault case against Bill Cosby; the results of the post-mortem on NFL great Ken Stabler and its effect on football’s CTE problem; and the week’s activities leading up to Sunday’s Super Bowl 50 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
MIW: Women Gaining in GM and SM Roles; Stagnating in Programming Management. According to data from the most recent Gender Analysis Study from the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group (culled from data from M Street Publications), since 2004 the number of women serving in general manager positions has risen from 14.9% to 17.3% in 2015. However, a tally of women in program management positions shows a negligible increase of 10.9% in 2015 compared to 10.7% in 2004. MIW spokeswoman Kay Olin states, “Tracking the leadership roles of women in media brings awareness to the continued need to reach back and lift up. There is an incredible talent pool of strong and capable female leaders and they stand ready to make a difference. It is the responsibility of all of us in the media industry to make sure that we are conscientiously and consistently practicing inclusion.”
Odds & Sods. After just a year hosting afternoon drive at iHeartMedia’s news/talk simulcast KALZ-FM/KRZR-AM, Fresno “PowerTalk 96.7 and AM 1400,” Christopher Gabriel exits the station. On his Facebook page, Gabriel states, “Hey folks, here’s a little news: PowerTalk 96.7 and I have parted ways as of this morning. I want to thank them for the opportunity to come to Fresno, work with a ton of talented radio artists and have some fun California adventures. So… what’s next? I guess we’ll see!”…..Former NBA star Dennis Rodman will appear as a special guest at WIP, Philadelphia’s “Wing Bowl 24” tomorrow (2/5) at the Wells Fargo Center. The competitive eating event is pitting last year’s champion, Patrick “Deep Dish” Bertoletti, former champ Molly Schuyler, and the infamous LA Beast, against the field of local eaters. Philadelphia Eagles long snapper Jon Dorenbos will act as the commissioner of Wing Bowl 24. Local rock legend Tommy Conwell will perform the National Anthem. Rodman will also be appearing at the WIP/SugarHouse Casino official after party of Wing Bowl 24. WIP’s Michael Barkann and Ike Reese will broadcast from SugarHouse Casino from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and the casino will feature food and drink specials all day long.
National Signing Day Remote for WQAM, Miami. Remote broadcasts can present any number of technical and/or programming challenges, but the afternoon drive air staff at CBS RADIO’s sports talk WQAM, Miami was able to put on a brave face and forge ahead as it broadcast on Wednesday (2/3) at a local Twin Peaks restaurant. The “Hochman, Crowder, and Krantz” show broadcast live for National Signing Day – the day when top high school athletes announce which college they’re going to attend. Surrounded by the hard-working service staff at Twin Peaks are (from l-r): Channing Crowder, Zach Krantz, and Marc Hochman.
Former Talk Host Benjamin Dover Dead at 57. Former Texas talk show host Benjamin Dover died back on January 1 after complications from pneumonia, according to an obituary published in the Dallas Morning News. Dover was born Lance Blumen. As his obit states, he got into the consumer advocacy business after a near-fatal motorcycle accident in 1989. He not only hosted a radio program on such signals as KLIF and KRLD-AM in Dallas and KFI, Los Angeles, he was a columnist for the Dallas Morning News from 1998 through 2004.
Michael Harrison Interviews Television Historian Jim Benson, Host of Radio’s Syndicated ‘TV Time Machine.’ In a wide-ranging conversation that covers everything from “What’s My Line?” to the future of television and time travel, TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison discusses the role and impact of television in our society with historian Jim Benson. Benson is the host of the long-running KCBQ, San Diego radio show “TV Time Machine” that has just gone into national syndication. Since 2003, Benson has been exploring TV’s past, present and future on radio and has tremendous insights into how the medium has impacted generations of Americans and how each generation – from the Boomers to the Millennials – approach it differently. To hear this conversation in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
2015 a ‘Remarkable Year’ for SiriusXM. Those were the words of SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer from yesterday’s investor conference call on the satcaster’s fourth quarter financial report. Meyer said, “2015 was an incredible year for SiriusXM. We exceeded all of our original operational and financial goals, and we are predicting continued growth in subscribers and all of our financial metrics this year. Last January, we told you to expect 1.2 million net new subscribers. We actually delivered 2.3 million, taking our paying subscriber base to an all-time high of approximately 29.6 million. Lower-than-expected churn and higher auto sales were the primary drivers, and both new and used car conversions set new records for the fourth quarter and the full year. We told you that we would do approximately $4.4 billion of revenue in 2015, and we actually reached nearly $4.6 billion. We told you we would attain $1.6 billion of adjusted EBITDA and our final result was $1.66 billion. And we told you we would deliver $1.25 billion of free cash flow, and we exceeded that, too, with $1.3 billion. Quite frankly, 2015 was a remarkable year, and we did what we said we would do and more. And this year, you should expect more of the same. We expect continued growth, even as we make substantial investments across many areas of our business. We expect to end 2016 with about 31 million subscribers and about $4.9 billion of revenue.” Though Meyer didn’t offer how much SiriusXM is paying for Howard Stern or the recently re-signed NFL deal, he noted that those – along with Major League Baseball, the NBA, and FOX News – are now secured at “a fixed rate” for years to come. Meyer also talked up the company’s SiriusXM17 platform with investors. “Some of you may have seen our demonstration in Las Vegas at CES…For those of you who don’t know, SiriusXM17 is our next-generation platform for audio services that combines the benefit of satellite radio with two-way LTE connectivity in future cars. It enables the seamless mixing and matching of satellite and IP-delivered content. It allows us to obtain usage data from the radio in the car and let the users have a more personalized experience, including search and recommendations. All of this will make our world-class content more discoverable and accessible in the car while maintaining ease of use. Today, we’re doing significant in-field user testing and working with the engineering teams at various OEMs to implement SiriusXM17. Believe me, we know better than anyone the changes in the OEM world take a long, long time and to build up meaningful numbers in the fleet of enabled vehicles for SiriusXM17 will take many years.”
The Iowa Caucus Results/Presidential Race, Zika Virus Threat, Low Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity, European Refugee Troubles, and Run-Up to Super Bowl 50 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/2). The results of the Iowa Caucuses and the activities of the candidates for president; ongoing concerns about the potential spread of Zika virus; the low price of crude oil and the volatility of the world’s financial markets; the controversy over reports of violence perpetrated by Syrian refugees in European host nations; and the run-up to this Sunday’s Super Bowl 50 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Chad Benson Show Adds Hours for Primary and Debate Coverage. The nationally syndicated Chad Benson show is adding two extra hours of live programming on three days this month for coverage of the upcoming Democratic debate and the New Hampshire primary. Benson’s Radio America-syndicated program airs from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET daily, but on February 4, 9, and 11, the show will air live until 11:00 pm ET for expanded coverage of the debate and primary. Radio America says stations that currently do not carry the show but would like to air debate or primary programming can reach out for information about carriage at 800-807-4703 ext. 250.
New Wayne Allyn Root Show Debuts on KBET, Las Vegas. National talk media personality Wayne Allyn Root’s new daily radio show, “WAR Now: The Wayne Allyn Root Show,” premieres on Monday (2/8) on Silver State Broadcasting’s KBET, Las Vegas “790 AM Talk Radio” at 6:00 pm. Silver State CEO Ed Stolz comments, “2016 has become the year of the DC outsider and ‘power to the people.’ Wayne Allyn Root speaks to those trends. He is the anti-politician, the anti-Obama and a champion of the forgotten middle class. Wayne has enjoyed a remarkable career as a candidate, author, commentator, international business speaker and businessman, while arguing persuasively for a more limited federal government. He is a perfect fiery, dynamic, charismatic and high-energy personality and patriot with a popular agenda for our country’s future.”
Odds & Sods. Re-tooled evening shows launch on ESPN Radio next week. The “Jorge & Izzy” will air from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm ET featuring Jorge Sedano and Israel Gutierrez. Sedano’s been with ESPN hosting a solo show and co-hosting with Mark “Stink” Schlereth. Gutierrez currently hosts a Sunday ESPN Radio show with fellow ESPN NBA reporter Amin El-Hassan. Also on February 8, ESPN Radio reporter and host Ian Fitzsimmons will join the nightly Freddie Coleman show from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am…..Westwood One is presenting an exclusive simulcast of tonight’s “CNN Democratic Town Hall” from Derry, New Hampshire with Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. CNN’s Anderson Cooper moderates the event that airs from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm ET…..At the Athens, Georgia cluster of Cox Media Group’s radio properties, Kisha Hardwick is named the new digital sales manager. The company says she’ll work with the leadership team to “deliver integrated marketing solutions to valued clients while developing new profitable revenue opportunities for the” cluster that includes CHR WPUP “Power 100.1,” adult hits WXKT “103.7 Chuck FM,” sports talk WRFC “960 AM The Ref,” adult contemporary WGMG “Magic 102.1 FM,” news/talk WGAU, and country WNGC…..Beasley Media Group welcomes promotions pro Jeff Hickcox back to its Southwest Florida cluster where he is serving as director of promotions and special events. Beasley Southwest Florida market manager Brad Beasley states, “With more than 25 years of radio experience in our dynamic Southwest Florida cluster, Jeff knows how to pitch, promote and host our events like a pro!”
Cumulus Flips WFAS-AM, White Plains to Sports. Using CBS Sports Radio content, the Cumulus Media news/talk station goes all-sports. Exiting as a result of the change is morning drive personality Bob Marrone. He writes on his NewRochelleTalk.com site that he plans to continue the program and expects to make an announcement about the show’s new home in the very near future. There’s no comment from Cumulus on the change, but usually format flips such as this are budget related.