Talk Radio/Media Industry News

Friday, March 27, 2020

| March 27, 2020

 

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  The new episode titled, “Lives versus Livelihood?” looks back at this past week of March 23-27, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSMike Gallagher, talk show host, Salem Radio NetworkCurtis Sliwa, talk show host, 77WABC, New York; Dr. Daliah Wachs, physician/talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkSteve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston/webmaster, scamicide.com; Trevor Smith, radio content producer, Aloha Productions, Australia; Bobbie Winston (La Femme Bobbie), American ex-pat/artist, Brazil; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio CompanyDavid Clayton-Thomas, musician, songwriter/former lead vocalist, Blood, Sweat & Tears.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Adams Radio Reducing Salaries to Avoid Layoffs. In his announcement that Adams Radio Group staffers have agreed to take a temporary 10% pay cut in order to avoid layoffs, CEO Ron Stone says, “I could not be prouder of our employees.  Every employee of Adams Radio stepped up to do their part to ensure that no Adams employee would lose their position.  We are a family. Our goal is singular.  To ensure everyone in our company gets through this crisis with the least amount of harm.  This test of our country’s ability to weather a storm is unlike anything any of us have seen, but we will get through this together, and be stronger for it.  What seems like a huge sacrifice today, is miniscule compared to what our fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers sacrificed.  At least we are not weathering winter without coats or boots like Washington’s army at Bunker Hill.  We are not killing our brothers in a civil war.  And we are not living for weeks in foxholes in horrible winter conditions during the Battle of the Bulge. Things could be much worse.  I sincerely hope that any company, media or otherwise, will consider overall reductions in compensation on a temporary basis rather than terminate employees.  Our most important asset is our people, and we should do all we can to keep them whole.  I am so thankful for a staff that not only wants to participate in helping our company weather this storm, they are working tirelessly in our communities to keep our local businesses front and center in the minds of listeners.”

Backbone Offers Broadcast from Home Capability Free for 45 Days. In order to help the radio industry serve the public, digital remote broadcast provider Backbone is offering its Backbone CoHost with LUCI Global apps to radio stations for free for 45 days.  The company says, “We need to stay safe, and we need to stay on the air.  Working from home is no longer just a futuristic perk, it’s our current duty.  This should be easy and affordable, and it can be.  There is no need to outlay capital to survive, thanks to our unique, integrated Virtualization in the Cloud.  Backbone CoHost PL is a fast and easy way for stations to create an always-available ‘Party Line’ conference room for one or more hosts, guests, and correspondents to contribute live audio for your broadcasts.  These two-way conversations are enabled by using the groundbreaking LUCI Global service from Technica del Arte and their free, downloadable apps for iOS, Mac, Android, and Windows platforms.  LUCI enables these phones, pads, and computers to communicate with and using the same standard formats used by commercial hardware, including COMREX and TIELINE.  CoHost PL is a simplified, unswitched version of Backbone CoHost, allowing users to instantly join the broadcast with the touch of a finger.  There are no IT settings to configure, no port selections to worry about, and no equipment to purchase or forget in the car.  It all works with whatever device you’re carrying, and over any decent Internet access you can find.”  Backbone is offering a fully functional, unlimited demo of CoHost PL and LUCI Global to our existing phone and radio customers, as well as U.S.-based call-letter radio and TV stations, for 45 days, starting March 30.  Find out more here. To start a free 45-day trial, email your contact information and a brief note about your organization to: info@backbone.com

Dom Giordano Launches “Home Learning Tips” One-Minute Feature on WPHT, Philadelphia.  Recognized throughout the state of Pennsylvania as a master teacher prior to beginning his stellar, decades-long radio career on some of Philadelphia’s leading news/talk outlets, WPHT mid-morning host Dom Giordano has launched a series of one-minute tips on home schooling for parents to utilize in productively keeping their kids busy while they are home during the coronavirus crisis.  The feature runs once per hour between 1:00 pm and 7:00 pm every weekday.  Giordano tells TALKERS, “After hearing from listeners about the challenges of working with their kids at home due to schools being closed, I offered my station a one-minute daily combination pep talk and ideas to help their kids at home for parents.  The theme is you are your child’s first and best teacher.  I’m tapping into my credibility with listeners and my years as an education/parenting analyst and columnist.”

Cumulus’ Dallas Talk Stations Hosting Special Mark Cuban Broadcast Today. Dallas news/talk stations WBAP and KLIF-AM are presenting an on-air town hall with businessman and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, titled, “Assisting DFW Businesses During the Coronavirus.”  The Cumulus Media stations will simulcast the program from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm CST.  The WBAP/KLIF Town Hall will be hosted by Brian Estridge and Rick Roberts and topics addressed will include: How can businesses survive during these times?; How would the government’s Coronavirus Spending Package assist?; and How can consumers help their local community businesses?

Weighing the Economy Versus Lives Is Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 23-27.  The ethical dilemma of whether to save the country’s economy by reopening businesses or keep them shut to limit the deaths and the toll on the health care system was the most-talked-about story on news/talk this week and sitting atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the stimulus deal being crafted in Congress and the activity on the world’s financial markets.  Coming in at #3 is the status of the U.S. health care system, followed by the presidential race and politics at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

iHeartMedia and Salem Media Group Withdraw Guidance on First Quarter of This Year. Not surprisingly, two of the radio industry’s corporations – iHeartMedia, Inc. and Salem Media Group Inc. – are announcing they are withdrawing their financial guidance originally provided on their 2019 fourth quarter earnings calls.  iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “Given the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the duration and magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the U.S. economy, we believe it is appropriate to withdraw our full-year 2020 guidance.  While we cannot determine the full extent of COVID-19’s impact on our business at this time, we are monitoring this rapidly evolving situation closely and look forward to discussing our business in greater detail as part of our first quarter 2020 earnings results investor call.”  iHeartMedia COO and CFO Rich Bressler adds, “iHeartMedia had a strong January and February before the effects of COVID-19 began to unfold into a global pandemic in early March.  The challenges that COVID-19 has created for advertisers and consumers has impacted iHeart’s revenue in recent weeks, creating a less clear business outlook in the near term.  To maintain maximum financial flexibility during this period, we have drawn $350 million on our $450 million senior secured asset-based revolving credit facility (“ABL Facility”).  We believe that the additional funds from drawing on our ABL Facility, in combination with our cash balance, provides us with a prudent level of liquidity at this time. We fully appreciate the unprecedented challenges posed by this crisis, however, we remain confident in our business, our employees and our strategy. With our experienced management team and our leadership position in the audio sector, we are committed to navigating this period while serving our audiences and other constituents.”  Salem Media Group, Inc. says in a statement, “Based on current indications, Salem expects total first quarter 2020 revenue will be less than previously projected as a result of decreased revenues from advertising, programming, events and book sales.  Due to continuing uncertainties regarding the ultimate scope and trajectory of COVID-19’s spread and evolution, the effects of the pandemic on Salem’s audiences, programmers and advertisers, and current and potential future governmental restrictions that may be adopted in the markets in which Salem operates, it is impossible to predict the total impact that the pandemic may have on Salem’s business.”

TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Michael Savage is appointed by President Trump to the board of directors of the Presidio Trust for a term expiring May 4, 2023.  Along with the National Park Service, the Presidio Trust manages the Presidio of San Francisco, the former military fort that is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  The host of the Westwood One-syndicated “The Savage Nation” holds a doctorate in ethnobotanical research from the University of California and both a Master of Science in botany and a Master of Arts in anthropology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WGN-AM station manager Todd Manley is producing a new podcast via his EarSight Studios that pairs Windy City communications consultants Lissa Druss and Thom Serafin for “The Crisis Cast.”  The episodes will be hosted by former WBBM-AM/WFCS-FM anchor Mariam Sobh.  EarSight expects to produce three to five podcasts per week…..Today (3/27), Cox Media Group’s Atlanta stations – led by news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM – is hosting a virtual food drive to benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank as part of the Stronger Together ATL campaign.  Atlanta Community Food Bank continues to provide meals for children, families and seniors as access to nutritious food throughout the COVID-19 crisis, by working with more than 600 nonprofit partners and the new Text for Help program…..The Cumulus Media news/talk teams at WBAP and KLIF-AM in Dallas were well represented at this year’s Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Contest.   Reporter Clayton Neville won First Place for Spot News by a Reporter for his coverage of the August 2019 El Paso Shooting.  The WBAP news team was awarded Second Place for Spot Coverage by a Station for coverage of the North Dallas Tornadoes in October.  For the 6th year KLIF morning drive anchors Dave Williams and Amy Chodroff won First Place for News Anchor Team and WBAP’s Brian Estridge won First Place for Sports Play-by-Play.

Talkers Convention Postponed Until Friday, October 16.  The 23rd annual presentation of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important annual gathering originally scheduled for Friday June 5 has been officially postponed until Friday, October 16 due to the coronavirus crisis.  This year, the event – held in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of TALKERS – is titled, Talkers 2020: The Rise of the Media Station, and will still take place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the Chelsea district of Manhattan.  In announcing the change of date, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “We are hopeful and optimistic that the circumstances going forward will be conducive for an event of this nature to be feasible slightly more than a half year from now.  We will do our best to hold together the agenda that we’ve already established, but are cognizant that, to a certain extent, we will be rebuilding it to conform to the specifics of the times and events that take place between now and then.  If circumstances are such that this crisis continues through the second half of 2020, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.  All paid registrations and sponsorships already accepted will be honored for the new date.  However, we will cease all promotion and recruitment for new and additional speakers, sponsors and registrants until at least the first week of May out of respect for the urgency and priority this crisis presents to our industry’s dedicated, hard-pressed professionals.”  For more information please call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413 or email info@talkers.com.

PPM Analysis: Classic Rock. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on classic rock.  It was a mixed bag in February for classic rock stations in the PPM markets, with 44% of stations losing weekly, 6+ AQH share and 46% gaining.  Year-over-year, 50% of classic rockers lost share while 43% saw an increase.  Three classic rock outlets – all owned by iHeartMedia – ranked #1 in February: KRFX, Denver “The Fox” (5.7), WRFX, Charlotte “The Fox” (7.9), and WAQX, New York (in the Middlesex-Somerset-Union market) (7.4).  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro AJ Dukette joins Saga Communications’ classic hits WYNZ, Portland “Rewind 100.9” to host mornings, taking over for the recently retired Chuck Igo.  Saga vice president of programming Bob Lawrence says, “When learning that Chuck was retiring, we began an extensive search for the right person to fill his shoes and then – Voila! – AJ appeared late last week.  We could not be more thrilled to welcome such a talented, Portland icon.”…..Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the annual Mountain Jam Festival scheduled for May 29-31 at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel, New York has been cancelled.  Acts scheduled to perform included Gov’t Mule, Trey Anastasio Band, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, The Head and the Heart, Grace Potter, and many more…..Empire State Realty Trust and iHeartMedia announce their partnership to “reach those sheltering at home” with WHTZ, New York Z100’s radio waves and Empire State Building’s world-famous tower lights.  Tonight at 9:00 pm, the tower of the Empire State Building will illuminate the New York City skyline and beam iHeartMedia’s Z100 with a light show synced to the modern era anthem of New York City, Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind.”  The light show will replay on Saturday, March 28, and then again from Monday, March 30 through Thursday, April 2.  On Sunday, March 29, the Empire State Building will “shine in a dynamic heartbeat” from 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm in support of the “FOX Presents the iHeart Living Room Concert for America.”

Thursday, March 26, 2020

| March 26, 2020

Ramsey Network to Host ‘Message of Hope’ Live Stream. Tonight’s free, live stream is being produced by Ramsey Solutions and is being call “A Message of Hope.”  Ramsey Solutions says, “There’s a lot of fear in our country right now.  Ramsey Network hosts Dave Ramsey, Ken Coleman, and Rachel Cruze will share practical money and career advice to spread hope in the middle of national uncertainty through the Message of Hope livestream at 8:00 pm EST.  No matter what’s happening on Wall Street or in the White House, you need to focus on what’s happening in YOUR house.  In a time of great unknowns, we are here to help.”  The program is being made available for free on Daveramsey.com, on The Dave Ramsey Show YouTube page, or Dave’s Facebook page.  It will also be broadcast live on SiriusXM ch. 111 and ch. 132 and AM/FM radio stations across the country.  It will also be made available as a podcast.

Noory and Listeners to Engage the Power of Prayer on ‘Coast to Coast AM.’ Overnight talk radio star George Noory will focus his show’s regular Friday Night Prayer this week on the COVID-19 pandemic.  For more than a decade on Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM,” the show has featured the special segment where listeners submit their names or those of their loved ones to the show and the audience collectively prays for them.  During the first segment of Friday’s show (1:00 am EST), Noory is inviting people worldwide to join in prayer to help end the spread of COVID-19.  Participants will also be encouraged to dedicate their prayers to healing those who have been affected, easing the pain and sorrow of those who have lost loved ones, and supporting the medical care professionals on the front lines.  Noory says, “I have always believed in the power of prayer and the existence of a higher power.  For years now, I have witnessed the positive effect of our Friday Night Prayer on ‘Coast to Coast AM’ and I’m therefore asking that on March 27, people across the globe take a few moments to pray for the eradication of this deadly coronavirus.”

Bonneville and Hubbard Enter Unusual News Partnership in Seattle. In a rare move brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, Bonneville Seattle’s news/talk KIRO-FM and Hubbard Radio Seattle’s CHR KQMV 92.5 FM “Movin’,” adult contemporary KRWM “Warm,” and country KNUC “The Bull” are announcing a partnership in which the three music stations will broadcast hourly local news updates from the KIRO Radio newsroom in order to give their listeners the latest information on COVID-19.  In return, KIRO Radio will encourage listeners to pause from the news and listen to the music stations as a source of encouragement and relaxation in this extraordinary time.  The collaboration begins tomorrow (3/27).  Bonneville Seattle director of programming Mike Salk says, “We are thrilled to partner with the Hubbard stations.  To have KIRO Radio news played on three excellent music stations is an opportunity for us to help our community stay informed in this unique time.  And we can understand the need to take a break and listen to music to avoid feeling overwhelmed.”  Hubbard Radio Seattle market manager Scott Mahalick adds, “Music is a mood elevator and a source of inspiration for people when times are tough.  We’re proud to partner with Bonneville’s news, talk, and sports radio stations in Seattle.  Combined, we are able to offer the perfect balance of information and entertainment.”

PPM Analysis: Public Radio News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on public radio news/talk.  KNOW, Minneapolis; KUT, Austin; and WAMU, Washington led the 39% of stations that gained weekly, 6+ AQH share from the January to February surveys.  KNOW also was the leader comparing year-over-year data, adding 2.7 shares and jumping from #10 to #3 in the market rank.  Close behind is WHYY, Philadelphia, which posted a 1.9 share gain good for a climb from #13 to #7.  WAMU, Washington and KUT, Austin were the only public radio news/talk stations to rank #1 in their respective markets in February.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

The Status of COVID-19 in the U.S., Death Tolls Across the Globe, Senate Approves Relief Package, Financial Markets Activity, Presidential Race/‘Draft Cuomo’ Movement, and Prince Charles Tests Positive for Coronavirus Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/25). The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the death toll across the U.S.; authorities in Spain and Italy report overwhelming conditions at hospitals there; the U.S. Senate passes the $2 trillion relief package and sends it to the House; the world’s financial markets react to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic; the presidential race and the cries for “drafting” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for the Democratic nomination; and Britain’s Prince Charles tests positive for the coronavirus were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Ron Ananian ‘The Car Doctor’ to Celebrate 1,500th Episode. This Saturday (3/28), Ron Ananian will host the 1,500thedition of “The Car Doctor Radio Show.”  The program began in January of 1991 on WFAS, White Plains, New York and aired there through 1997.  It moved to WOR, New York in 1998 and went into syndication via the WOR Radio Network in September of 1999.  The program is currently syndicated by Talk Media Network.  Ananian draws upon his 45 years of repair experience to help listeners with their car issues.  Talk Media Network CEO Josh Leng says, “If you’ve ever met him… you know that God broke the mold when he made Ron Ananian.  No, it’s not just the Jersey in him, it’s his witty personality combined with his unending commitment to doing the right things right, every time… whether he’s in his shop, working with advertisers, or assisting his listeners and fans with their car care questions, radio is a profoundly better place with Ron Ananian The Car Doctor behind the microphone.  Ron’s dedication to his craft and his show is one that is nearly three decades in the making.  Take a victory lap Ron Ananian, you most certainly deserve it.”  The program is heard on almost 100 affiliate stations across the country and airs live from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET on Saturdays.

TALKERS News Notes. There are two programs being offered to stations from CBS News Radio this weekend focused on the COVID-19 pandemic: “Coronavirus: Changed Forever,” features interviews with experts from various fields hosted by Gil Gross; and “CBS Weekend Roundup Special Report on the Coronavirus” is hosted by correspondent Allison Keyes with reports and discussions from CBS reporters, correspondents, and newsmakers across the country and around the globe…..The Hill reports that Seattle public radio station KUOW is not going to air President Trump’s coronavirus press conferences live because of what it calls “a pattern of false or misleading information provided that cannot be fact checked in real time.”  The station made the announcement via Twitter and added, “KUOW is monitoring White House briefings for the latest news on the coronavirus – and we will continue to share all news relevant to Washington State with our listeners.”.….MyPillow founder and CEO Mike Lindell revealed that his company – whose ads are practically ubiquitous on talk media – is going to be helping in the effort to supply America’s health professionals with surgical masks by manufacturing them.  Lindell made the announcement on Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher program.  The N95 respirator mask is the most sought-after though it’s unclear which type of mask MyPillow will be making…..NRG Media’s news/talk KXEL, Cedar Rapids, Iowa is ending the “On Press Row” sports show hosted by Gary Rima for the past 14 years as of tomorrow (3/28).  The Courier reports that Rima was told in late February of management’s decision and, although he’s upset the show is ending, he holds no grudge against the station or the company…..TransMedia Group is collaborating with Anita Finley, president and publisher of Boomer Times & Senior Life, to produce “Boomer Times Radio” with Finley as host.  The program is now airing Sundays from 6:00 am to 9:00 am on Beasley Media Group’s financial talk WWNN, Pompano Beach, Florida “South Florida’s Money Talk Network.”…..Condolences to the family and friends of Michigan broadcasting legend Bob Allison, who passed away at age 87.   “Radio’s Best Friend” Art Vuolo tips TALKERS to Allison’s passing and writes: “Bob lasted nearly 60 years on radio and TV in Detroit.  A lot of people don’t last 60 days, and a few have flamed out in less than 60 minutes!  Many radio fans surely know who he was and have loved his caring disposition on the ‘Ask Your Neighbor’ program.  Even those who hadn’t heard him lately on WNZK, Detroit, ALL remember him for those legendary ‘Bowling for Dollars’ shows on Channel 4.  He was an iconic member of the broadcasting fraternity and in August of 2018 was inducted into the Michigan Broadcasting Hall of Fame.  He was still on the air regularly on WNZK until about three weeks ago.  He began on WWJ, Detroit back in 1962 with ‘Ask Your Neighbor.’  He worked at a number of Detroit area stations including: WIID, WEXL, WLQV and even WJR.”

Australian Radio Legend Trevor Smith Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the leading content providers in Australian radio and the legendary former PD of such stations as Triple-M in Sydney, Trevor Smith, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Harrison caught up with Smith via Skype at his home/studio in the beautiful coastal town of Byron Bay, located north of Sydney where, like so many Americans, he is practicing social distancing.  Smith discusses how the epidemic is being handled in the “land down under,” including the health, politics, economics, and social aspects of the crisis.  It’s a fascinating look at just how truly small the world is revealed to be as it battles a common enemy that respects no borders, barriers, or distance.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, iHeartMedia’s CHR KIIS-FM, Los Angeles is cancelling the June 6, 2020 edition of the Wango Tango concert.  The station issued the following statement: “Due to the uncertainty regarding COVID-19 and for the health and safety of our guests, employees, artists and partners, we have decided to cancel this year’s iHeartRadio Wango Tango. Refunds are being issued to ticketed guests.  If you purchased your tickets via AXS online, a refund will automatically be issued to the credit card you used to purchase within 30 business days.”

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

| March 25, 2020

‘New Jersey 101.5’ to Hold 2nd Coronavirus Town Hall. The Townsquare Media news/talk station announces it will present its second Town Hall broadcast addressing the COVID-019 pandemic, focusing on health and medical issues Thursday (3/26) at 7:00 pm.  WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” says special projects director and morning news anchor Eric Scott “leads the news and digital departments in linking a statewide audience with New Jersey’s top doctors fighting the pandemic, in a listener-driven, call-in format.”  Scott – who will anchor live from the New Jersey 101.5 studios with guests joining by phone – will speak with: Dr. Margaret Fisher, infectious disease specialist at RWJBarnabas Health (also the medical director at Unterberg Children’s Hospital and chair, Department of Pediatrics, Monmouth Medical Center); Dr. Manisha Parulekar, program director and chief of the Division of Geriatrics at Hackensack University Medical Center; and Dr. Kevin Slavin, director of quality for Hackensack Meridian Health Children’s Services, specializing in pediatric infectious diseases.  The station is streaming the program on Facebook Live and via NJ1015.com.

Triton Digital: News/Talk Gets COVID-19 Streaming Bump. According to data from Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics service, listening to streams of news/talk-formatted radio stations increased 4% from the week of March 2-6 to the week of March 13-19.  The format’s streaming share grew from 29% to 33%, as news of the COVID-19 disruption hitting the U.S. took over the news cycle.  Triton says from the week of March 2-6 to the week of March 13-19, the share of streaming contributed by sports talk radio held constant at 8%, while music radio’s share of streaming declined from 64% to 59%.  The report adds that consumption patterns by device remain very stable, with streaming on mobile devices increasing from 49% to 51% of the total. The share of streaming on desktops/laptops decreased slightly from 27% to 25%, while smart speaker’s share of consumption held stable at 21%.  Triton Digital president of marketing development John Rosso says, “Radio in every form – broadcast, streaming audio, and podcasts – remains a trusted and relied upon medium for news and entertainment in the United States.  Despite the dislocation of many workers, this data shows the remarkable stability of the medium, as well as the importance of radio in delivering information in a time of crisis.”

Connoisseur Media CEO Jeff Warshaw’s Open Letter to the Industry: “We are in the midst of a crisis. It’s incredibly painful to our business, as it is to countless other industries. Our communities are reeling.  This crisis is going to end.  But radio’s troubles didn’t start a few weeks ago, when the coronavirus began its attack on our country. Competition for our audiences has never been fiercer. National revenue had hit a rough patch. Public radio companies were trading at their lows. Deal-making had ground to a standstill. It was harder than ever to grow our radio revenues. Certainly, there are bright spots and pockets of opportunity, and our industry is doing a terrific job tirelessly serving our communities during this unprecedented time. That having been said, I don’t think many of us were looking fondly at the halcyon days of Q4 2019.  As difficult as this crisis is, we have an opportunity to turn this disease into a cure.  Our logs are wide open. What we allow to happen to our product once things return to ‘normal’ is entirely up to us. Although our company has tried to maintain reasonable commercial loads, we can do much better. Let’s take this opportunity to clean up our clocks, maintain lower spot loads, stop incessant bonus commercials, reduce endless promos. Demonstrate integrity for the value of our products and give our listeners more of what they crave.  The universe is doing for us what we would not and could not do for ourselves. We have the opportunity to emerge from this dark time with a brighter flame than we have seen for years. What we do from here may make all the difference.”

TALKERS News Notes. In Seattle, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM is producing a daily podcast addressing the COVID-19 pandemic titled, “COVID-19: Seattle Podcast.”  Longtime station personality Dave Ross and ‘KIRO Radio’ reporter Aaron Granillo will “condense the most important updates of the day into a short podcast format for the benefit of our community.  Together they will follow government officials, healthcare workers, business leaders, and local residents who are making crucial, early decisions … decisions that will soon guide, or warn, the rest of the country.”  It will be released each afternoon.  Station program director Bryan Buckalew says, “I think Dave Ross, with his decades of news experience, and Aaron Granillo, with his reporter’s sensibility, are uniquely capable of examining the effects of the coronavirus pandemic as it expands in Washington state and across the nation.”…..FOX News Radio launches a new weekday evening edition of the daily podcast “The FOX News Rundown” dedicated to the latest developments of the coronavirus pandemic.  The newly re-titled program “The FOX News Rundown Podcast: Global Pandemic” is being hosted by FNC foreign correspondent Trey Yingst and debuts on March 30.  On the program, Jerusalem-based Yingst will be joined by medical experts and fellow reporters to discuss the wide-ranging impacts of COVID-19 around the world…..The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reports that Entercom sports talker WFAN, New York is giving weekend show hosting responsibilities to its daily stars in lieu of the usual weekend hosts, presumably to save some payroll expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic.  He says that “Boomer & Gio,” “Moose & Maggie,” and “Joe & Evan” are hosting Saturday and Sunday programs and Mike Francesa – currently only hosting the 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm show on WFAN – is doing a 9:00 am to 1:00 pm show on Sundays.  However, longtime WFAN weekend host Richard Neer will be heard hosting the Sunday night 10:00 pm to 2:00 am show via CBS Sports Radio Network on “The Fan.”…..Cadence13 – a division of RADIO.COM – is unveiling the second season of the podcast “Gangster Capitalism” that it says “offers an unflinching look at white collar corruption and the dark side of the American dream”  This season explores the NRA.  Cadence13 chief content officer Chris Corcoran says, “As we further develop and expand our C13Originals slate, we’re prioritizing impactful and ambitious documentaries geared around culture, business, moments in time, music and more.  Our objective is about finding the right stories, and how we tell and express them, so that the audience can immerse itself in what we believe will create conversation and engagement.”…..AdLarge Media signs a deal with Remote News Service (RNS) to serve as its exclusive ad sales representative.  Remote News Service is owned and led by senior anchor Lesley Lotto…..Pictured below is Westwood One News White House correspondent Bob Costantini in the radio pool seat in the newly re-designed social distancing briefing room awaiting yesterday’s coronavirus task force news conference.  The pink sticker on his lapel is confirmation that the White House took his temperature and it is normal.

Coronavirus Status in U.S., Stimulus Package Debate, Global Stocks Surge, U.S.-China Relations, India Locks Down Entire Country, and Olympics Postponed Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/24). The latest numbers on confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S.; the negotiations in the U.S. Senate to craft a coronavirus stimulus package; global stocks surge on news that the Senate is close to a stimulus package; relations between the U.S. and China as the COVID-19 blame game ramps up; Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi orders lock down of 1.3 billion citizens; and the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo are postponed among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

NEED CONTENT TO FILL SPORTS GAPS?  ‘Our American Stories’ Reaches Out to Sports Talk Stations with Programming to Temporarily Fill Holes in Their Schedules.  The producers of the highly popular syndicated spoken-word program “Our American Stories” tell TALKERS, “We are pleased to announce we are making ‘Our American Stories’ available to sports stations on a temporary basis with no contract to fill holes in their schedule resulting from the shut downs in the sports industry due to Covid-19.  No strings attached.”  The statement continues, “We have had several sports stations reach out to us and ask if they could use our content temporarily to fill holes in their lineup as so many sporting events have been cancelled.”  A number of the episodes in the archives of the program directly address sports-oriented themes including: “The Heart of Kobe Bryant’s Memorial Service,” “He Made A Wood Bat For His Son… Now He Outsells Louisville Slugger,” “The Bird and Magic Story: Love, Friendship, and Basketball” and “I Shall Not Fail Those With Whom I Serve.”  “Our American Stories” host and founder Lee Habeeb adds, “At this time in our country, Americans need to be encouraged and reminded that our nation is one that has persevered through tumultuous times and have hope that we will again prevail. We can help with that encouragement through the power of storytelling.”  Interested stations should click here or contact Bryan Dawson at 720-737-2950 or bdawson@oanetwork.org.

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk.  February is not traditionally a good month for the sports talk format, but the February 2020 PPM survey was especially bad as only two stations in our panel showed any weekly, 6+ AQH share gain from January 2020.  And even there Entercom’s WMC-AM, Memphis (0.1 to 0.3) and iHeartMedia’s WYGM-AM, Orlando (1.1 to 1.2) showed increases that were essentially meaningless.  Year-over-year, about as many stations shows ratings increases (45%) as saw decreases (42%), with big gainers including iHeartMedia’s KXFN, Minneapolis “The Fan” (+2.4), Capitol Broadcasting’s WCMC-FM, Raleigh (+1.3), and Entercom’s KGMZ-FM, San Jose (+1.1) leading the pack.  The highest-ranking sports talk station during the February survey was Entercom’s WFAN in the Long Island market, finishing the month at #3.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Hotwire Communications Adds Newsmax TV to Video Service. Southeastern U.S. telecom firm Hotwire Communications and Newsmax Media announce a new distribution deal to deliver Newsmax TV to basic tier video service in seven major Florida markets – Miami/Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach/Fort Pierce, Fort Myers/Naples, Jacksonville/Brunswick, Tampa/St. Petersburg/Sarasota, Orlando/Daytona/Melbourne and Tallahassee/Thomasville – as well as the Atlanta and Savannah markets in Georgia, the Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville and Charlotte markets in North Carolina, and the Greenville/Spartanburg/Ashville/Anderson markets in South Carolina.  Newsmax TV SVP of content distribution Andrew Biggers says, “Newsmax is excited to have Hotwire on board as our newest affiliate, and we look forward to working together to deliver what its customers have been asking for — an alternative voice within news media.  And with Hotwire’s reach throughout these markets, Newsmax will be exposed to a broad audience seeking news they can trust.”  Hotwire Communications is an all-fiber service provider that has been providing triple-play telecommunication services since 2000.  Hotwire offers a full suite of services to residential, commercial, hospitality, government, smart city, and educational customers in 14 states, primarily concentrated in the Southeast.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Taking place in Sunday’s 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET timeslot on FOX Television originally for the iHeartRadio Music Awards, iHeartMedia and FOX announce “FOX Presents the iHeart Living Room Concert for America” to provide entertainment relief and support for Americans to help fight the spread of COVID-19 and to celebrate the resilience and strength of the nation during this pandemic.  Hosted by Elton John, the event will feature performances by Alicia Keys, Backstreet Boys, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mariah Carey, Tim McGraw, and more, from their own homes, filmed with their personal cell phones, cameras, and audio equipment, to ensure the health and safety of all involved.  In addition to airing on FOX, the program will air across iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide, as well as via the iHeartRadio app. The benefit special will be broadcast commercial-free and, in addition to the music, will pay tribute to the front-line health professionals, first responders, and local heroes who are putting their lives in harm’s way to help their neighbors and fight the spread of the virus.  It also will encourage viewers to support two of the many charitable organizations helping victims and first responders during the pandemic: Feeding America and First Responders Children’s Foundation…..On-air pro Jeff Lewis Neal joins the WHZT, Greenville, South Carolina-based “Dex & Barbie T Morning Show.”  SummitMedia also airs the program on rhythmic CHR WKHT “Hot 104.5” in Knoxville and rhythmic CHR KPHW, Honolulu “Power 104.3.”  SummitMedia Greenville operations manager Mike Klein says, “I’m excited to welcome Jeff Lewis Neal to ‘Dex & Barbie T Morning Show.’  He’s the missing piece of the puzzle to take us to the next level on air and online.”…..Music director Kendall Stewart is promoted to program director for Saga Communications triple A WCNR, Charlottesville, Virginia.  She makes the jump after Jeff Sweatman resigned from the position.  Stewart says, “The last four-and-a-half years at ‘106.1 The Corner’ have been the most formative in my career so far and I can’t express how grateful I am to Jeff Sweatman for everything that he has taught me.  I love this station and the amazing music town that I get to live in – Charlottesville – has been through a lot in recent years, but the tragedy that we faced in 2017 has only made us stronger as a community.  I am honored to be a part of it and to have the opportunity to further serve the people of this city and I can’t wait to hit the ground running.”

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

| March 24, 2020

CLARIFICATION: WABC, New York Adds Bannon’s ‘War Room: Pandemic’ Show TFN; Local Expert Guests Throughout Week.  Clearing up some confusion from an earlier press release sent out by Red Apple Media, news/talk WABC, New York announces it is adding Stephen K. Bannon’s “War Room: Pandemic” syndicated program to its daily lineup at 5:00 pm until further notice.  The station is also bringing in a series of expert guests for special local coronavirus programs between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm.  On Monday (3/23), former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani hosted with Tony Carbonetti for an hour. Today (3/24), famed attorney Arthur Aidala hosts at 3:00 pm and Bill O’Reilly does a customized hour for WABC at 4:00 pm.  Tomorrow (3/25), “Curtis & Juliet” extend their show until 4:00 pm, when FOX NewsBrian Kilmeade hosts a customized hour for WABC.  Thursday, its former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm and New York Governor George Pataki hosts from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

iHeartMedia Announces KFMB-AM, San Diego Lineup.  Six days after taking over operation of San Diego news/talk KFMB-AM under an LMA from Local Media San Diego, iHeartMedia announces the lineup for the talk station that it intends to buy for $1.2 million.  Local talk hosts Mark Larson and Mike Slater have been hired to continue their programs on the station as the station retains most of its programming.  The KSTE, Sacramento-based “Armstrong & Getty” show will hold down morning drive, followed by Larson from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, Slater from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, Premiere NetworksBuck Sexton in PM drive, followed by Westwood One’s Mark Levin in evenings, “Red Eye Radio” in overnights, and “America in the Morning” in early mornings.  Local host Brett Winterble left KFMB-AM and recently was named afternoon personality at Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte.  iHeartMedia San Diego market president Melissa Forrest states, “We are proud to add this iconic talk station to iHeartMedia San Diego’s portfolio of market-leading brands.  We look forward to working with AM 760’s talented, well-respected hosts and their listeners.”

WTZA, Atlanta Talk Station Folds Under Weight of Coronavirus Pandemic. According to a report by Rodney Ho in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, entrepreneur Will Regan has ended the talk format on WTZA-AM/W271CV, Atlanta “Talk of Atlanta” because interested investors pulled out due to the coronavirus and advertisers putting a halt to campaigns.  Regan was building the station around afternoon drive host Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson – formerly with Cumulus’ crosstown WYAY-FM – prior to its sale to Educational Media Foundation – and a longtime host at iHeartMedia’s WGST – now airing all syndicated programming.  Also let go from WTZA are Peterson’s co-host Pete Davis, Mike Brooks, Shannon Burke, and Kara Stockton.

TALKERS News Notes. WABC, New York personality and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa is front and center in a New York Post piece about the work the Guardian Angels are doing to assist the city’s homeless.  The story says that Guardian Angels have been working at Penn Station and in the subways giving the homeless care packages that include a sandwich, fruit snacks, peanut butter crackers, and hand wipes.  Sliwa is quoted saying that the homeless population is especially at risk because they are not following the advisories. “It’s the only way you are going to get them to follow the guidelines and no one is doing it.  The city acts like they don’t exist, the homeless and emotionally disturbed.”…..Hulk Hogan, a.k.a. Terry Bollea, has agreed to a settlement with Cox Media Group’s WHPT-FM, Tampa and various individuals involved in the release of a sex tape that shows Bollea having sex with Bubba The Love Sponge’s then-wife Heather Clem.  The settlement terms have not been disclosed.  Bollea first sued digital gossip sheet Gawker and won a $141 million judgement (he settled for $31 million) that put Gawker out of business.  This most recent suit named defendants: Cox Media Group, WHPT morning host Mike Calta, former Bubba the Love Sponge cast member Matt “Spice Boy” Loyd, Loyd’s ex-wife Tasha Nicole Caraga, Lori Burbridge, Don Buchwald and Associates, Buchwald agent Tony Burton, and attorney Keith Davidson…..Entercom announces that as part of its annual, yearlong “I’m Listening” mental health awareness initiative it is presenting, “I’m Listening: Stay Connected,” a multiplatform, live daily show focused on mental health in the midst of the global health pandemic.  The program is hosted by licensed therapist Dr. Chris Donaghue, who will offer resources and tips and answer questions from listeners to keep overwhelm at bay.  It airs Monday through Thursday from 8:00 pm to 8:30 pm ET.

Coronavirus Status, Stimulus Package Debate, Trump Considers ‘Reopening’ Economy Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/23).  The spread of the coronavirus, the death toll, and predictions about overwhelmed emergency rooms; the debate in congress over the components of an economic stimulus package; and President Trump’s concerns about the “cure” being worse than the virus and his considering “reopening the economy” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Mayo Clinic and Radio America Offer COVID-19 Info. As syndication partner for Mayo Clinic, Radio America is helping the health organization responding to the coronavirus pandemic clinically and with the latest public information by adding resources for stations.  Mayo Clinic’s News Network is providing free information that stations are welcome to use.  Find it here.  Mayo Clinic offers a daily radio feature called “Mayo Clinic Radio Health Minutes,” as well as an hour-long weekend radio show, both of these are available from Radio America Network.  Stations interested in interviewing a Mayo physician about COVID-19 can request an interview with Dr. Tom Shives (host of Mayo Clinic Radio) by reaching out to Radio America at affiliates@radioamerica.com.

RAB Launches “Business Unusual.”  The Radio Advertising Bureau announces a new section on its RAB.com website to assist radio salespeople during the coronavirus pandemic.  Titled, “Business Unusual: Best Practices for When It’s Not Business As Usual,” the section “includes a newly released white paper titled ‘Advertising During Difficult Times,’ pertinent articles and blogs, Radio It’s On social media campaign, relevant research studies, creative resources, and other marketing and training tools that RAB members can use and share with their advertising clients.”  The section is being updated regularly with new materials posted for RAB members as they become available.  The RAB is also offering a professional development webinar series called Business Unusual featuring three distinct webinars free to RAB members.  The three in the series are: Business Unusual Requires Exceptional Communication – How To Talk To Your Advertisers Now; How To Craft Your Messaging In Times of Uncertainty; and Work From Home (WFH) Strategies To Maximize Productivity In Your New Office.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In order to help entertain and soothe Americans whose daily lives have been upended by COVID-19, Entercom’s RADIO.COM is launching “RADIO.COM Live: And the Beat Goes On,” a new 24/7 channel that will stream and broadcast live epic events for 30 straight days, including new and never-before-seen archived performances from some of the biggest artists in the world.  RADIO.COM SVP and general manager Pam Russo states, “As we practice social distancing, music fans everywhere can stay connected with ‘RADIO.COM Live: And the Beat Goes On’ for live, exclusive performances right in their homes.  We have opened up our archives from a variety of genres and also partnered with new artists to bring fans some of our biggest shows all in one place.  We hope everyone enjoys a nightly couch tour with us.”  Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “Music soothes the soul and as we navigate these unchartered waters our souls have never needed to be soothed more.  Our stations nationwide have partnered with incredible artists for one-of-a-kind performances. We have always wanted to dig deep into our archive and this seems like the absolute best time to do so.”

Monday, March 23, 2020

| March 23, 2020

Monday Memo: Coronavirus Community.  “When normalcy is upended, it is human nature to take comfort hearing how others are faring” and consultant Holland Cooke reckons that “it’s less misery-loves-company than we’re-all-in-this-together.”  And in this week’s column, he cautions that, right now, stations are making a lasting impression.  Read it here.

The State of the Coronavirus Pandemic, Federal Stimulus Package Debate, Global Stock Selloff, Unemployment Rises/Recession Predictions, Summer Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The status of the coronavirus pandemic; the federal stimulus package being debated in congress; the global stock selloff is predicted to continue; the expectations of high unemployment figures to be reported and a recession is being predicted for the U.S.; and the possibility the Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo will be postponed were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Warning, Speed Bumps Ahead. Radio sales pro and president of Lapcom Communications, Steve Lapa, writes in this new TALKERS column Pending Business about how to work in the sales environment brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.  Lapa has tips for planning and prioritizing for sales staffers dealing with limited in-person collaborations, online meetings, minimal studio and talent access, constant price fluctuations, and more.  Read it here.

WABC, New York Adds Bill O’Reilly ‘Morning Edition.’ Conservative commentator and talk show host Bill O’Reilly is joining the daily program lineup at Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York via his Key Networks-syndicated morning drive radio feature, “The O’Reilly Update – Morning Edition.”  O’Reilly’s 15-minute daily radio program, “The O’Reilly Update,” launched in late April 2019 and between the two shows O’Reilly is heard on more than 200 stations.  O’Reilly says, “WABC is the station I listened to as a kid.  It is a legacy radio outlet and I hope I can add to the legacy with honest, no spin daily commentary.”  Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green adds, “Key Networks is so proud to be associated with Bill O’Reilly and ‘The O’Reilly Update.’  The content has been superb and the tremendous response is a testament to Bill and the talent he brings to the airwaves, with a style unmatched in media.  We’re thrilled to welcome the great WABC New York, bringing our affiliate group to over 200 stations in 10 months.”

Salem and Hugh Hewitt Agree to Contract Extension. This new deal between Salem Radio Network and talk host Hugh Hewitt runs through December of 2028.  Hewitt has been a host on SRN since July of 2000.  In April of 2016, he moved from the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET show on the network, to morning drive, taking over for Bill Bennett who had hosted the “Morning in America” show.  Salem says that Hewitt’s national footprint has grown to more than 450 affiliate stations and he’s also seen on a video simulcast on Townhall.com.  Hewitt appears regularly on NBC News programs, including “Meet the Press,” and is a regular contributor to the Washington Post.  Hewitt says, “I look forward to not only this fall’s presidential election but the next two presidential campaigns and all the news in between them as well.  The past 20 years have been two decades of upheaval and crisis, a sudden devastating attack on America, of war and terror and now a pandemic, of hard-fought elections and massive legislative and legal changes.  It’s been a privilege to cover these breaking news events for three hours a day with the extraordinary team and guest list we have assembled and rely upon.”  Salem Media Group CEO Ed Atsinger states.  “Hugh has been a Salem stalwart since 2000.  He’s one of the most respected voices in American media today, and as Salem continues to grow our national and international footprint, Hugh’s program remains a flagship show for the news/talk format which Salem helped pioneer.”

Ratings Takeaways from Final Round of Nielsen’s February PPM SurveyTALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from the fourth and final round of February PPM data from Nielsen Audio. Some positive weekly, 6+ AQH share movement among spoken-word stations includes: iHeartMedia’s WTKK-FM, Raleigh adding a half share to January’s 1.8 share hike to finish February with a 7.6 share and the #2 rank in the market; Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis tacks four-tenths on during the February survey to land at an 8.0 share and the #2 rank; and Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville piles another six-tenths onto its January share-and-a-half increase to finish the February survey with a 10.4 share and the #2 rank in the market.  See Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways here.

Beasley and Borrell to Present ‘Crisis Marketing for Local Business’ Seminars. This series of complimentary webinars from Beasley Media Group and Borrell Associations takes place tomorrow and Wednesday (3-24/25) as part of Beasley Media Group’s ongoing ‘We Are All in This Together Community of Caring Initiative.’  It consists of five, 30-minute webinars focused on crisis marketing for local businesses impacted by the current coronavirus situation.  Topics addressed will include: valuable tips for communicating with customers & non-customers, how to craft creative & appropriate marketing messages, and common concerns & opportunities faced by local businesses.  Beasley is making the session “open to any interested businesses, however, it is especially relevant for local companies located within Beasley Media Group markets.”  The webinar will be moderated by Beasley Media Group chief digital officer Todd Handy and vice president of digital sales Dan Frisbie.  Local marketing experts Gordon Borrell, Jim Brown, and Corey Elliott of Borrell Associates “will provide valuable guidance on how local businesses can not only survive but thrive and make a difference in times of crisis.”

TALKERS News Notes. Sports talk WKNR, Cleveland “850 ESPN” program director Matt Fishman tells TALKERS that the station has created a new show to get fans ready for the only major sports event on the calendar – the NFL Draft – taking place on April 23.  Beginning tonight from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm, WKNR is presenting “ESPN Cleveland’s Countdown to the Draft” hosted by Tony Grossi…..The South Bend cluster of Federated Media – including news/talk WTRC, Niles, Michigan “Michiana’s News Channel” – is launching “Operation: Restaurant Rescue.”  The stations have produced a digital menu of area restaurants that are offering carryout or delivery options and allows consumers to buy gift cards for some of the establishments…..Racing star Kevin Harvick, driver of the # 4 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing, is resuming his SiriusXM show, “Happy Hours.”  The show airs Wednesday’s at 1:00 pm on the SiriusXMNASCAR Radio channel with Matt Yocum as co-host.  Harvick says, “Matt and I figured it would be good to get back on SiriusXM to talk to the fans and try to entertain folks during this downtime.  Even though we’re not racing, there’s still plenty to talk about, both the things involving our sport as we look ahead to the season, and also what’s happening in our daily lives away from the track.  I hope we can take your mind off other things and maybe make you laugh a little bit along the way.”

iHeartMedia Stations to Play National Anthem.  At 12:00 noon ET today, all iHeartMedia radio stations will play a version of the National Anthem.  The company says, “In these challenging times, we want to take a moment of solidarity to celebrate our collective strength as a nation and recognize the heroic efforts of so many workers on the frontline – including our doctors, nurses, health care professionals, caregivers, and other critical responders who are working night and day to get us through this. Today, iHeartMedia will honor the resilience of Americans by encouraging the masses to unite through the healing power of music as our 850+ radio stations and formats across the country air a version of the National Anthem.  We want to send our heartfelt thoughts, concern and support to any family who may need it as we face these tough times together as a country.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The Academy of Country Music and dick clark productions announce that “The 55th ACM Awards” will take place on Wednesday, September 16 – in a city and venue yet to be announced – and will air on CBS TelevisionKeith Urban will serve as host and the lineup of performers will also be announced at a later date…..iHeartMedia’s rock WJRR, Orlando announces that its Earthday Birthday Number 27 Music Festival set for April 18 at the Central Florida Fairgrounds will be postponed to September 5 at the same venue…..In response to the coronavirus pandemic, iHeartMedia Charlotte is launching “Carolina Cares,” an initiative to help the local community by highlighting local organizations and services necessary during times of crisis.  Across all its stations’ websites, iHeartMedia Charlotte is promoting various local organizations offering services to individuals as well as businesses that are operating on limited hours and restaurants that are offering delivery, pickup or gift cards during this pandemic.  Local organizations highlighted will include Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina, American Red Cross and Classroom Central, with more to be added on a need basis…..Entravision Communications announces “El Show del Mandril” – starring Ricardo Sanchez – is the new morning drive show on Regional Mexican KDLD, Santa Monica “Viva 103.1 FM.”

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