Thursday, February 28, 2019

| February 28, 2019

Mike Thompson Named PD for NRG Media’s Omaha AM Stations. Programming pro Mike Thompson is joining NRG Media to serve as AM stations operations manager/program director for the company’s Omaha properties.  He’ll oversee sports talkers KOZN “1620 The Zone” and KZOT “1180 Zone 2,” news/talk KOIL, and regional Mexican KMMQ-AM/K258DC “La Nueva 99.5.” NRG Media market manager Mark Shecterle says, “Mike will be a great addition to our already talented and award-winning staff.  He has an outstanding programming mind as well as a strong sales mentality.”  Thompson has served with ESPN in New York and Los Angeles, in addition to WCNN, Atlanta; KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas and WABC, New York. He says, “I am excited to join a great brand of sports and news talk with NRG Media in Omaha.  NRG Media’s slogan is Great Local Radio – for me that’s what I am all about.  Working with market manager Mark Shecterle and talented hosts and producers, it will be rewarding to always live up to that slogan.”  Thompson has most recently been involved in acting and voice work in L.A. He begins at NRG Media Omaha today.

Scott Vowinkle to Lead Sales Effort at NRG Omaha. Sales pro Scott Vowinkle returns to the Omaha market to take on the director of sales position for NRG Media’s seven-station cluster that includes news/talk KOIL, and sports talk duo KOZN “1620 The Zone” and KZOT “1180 Zone 2.”   Vowinkle was most recently with Cumulus Media as general sales manager in Beaumont, Texas.  He previously worked in the Omaha market with Scripps.

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 January 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk radio. Sports talk bounced back from the Holiday 2018 survey with 68% of stations going up (weekly 6+ AQH share), led by Boston sports talkers WEEI-FM (+1.7) and WBZ-FM (+1.6).  About half the sports talk stations on the panel were up year-over-year and the two biggest gainers benefitted from the Kansas City Chiefs’ playoff success.  Entercom’s KCSP was up 1.1 share and Union Broadcasting’s WHB was up an even 1.0 share.  It’s rare that a sports talk station ranks first in its market, but Entercom’s WIP, Philadelphia accomplished that by riding the Philadelphia Eagles’ playoff run to a #1 ranking with a 7.2 share. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Nielsen Q4 2018 Revenue Down 5.8%; Audio Ratings Segment Dips 2.3%. Financial data from the fourth quarter of 2018 and the full year are being released by Nielsen Holdings plc – the media ratings and consumer behavior research company. Looking at the fourth quarter, revenue for the entire company was $1.66 billion, down 5.8% compared to the same period in 2017.  The company posted a net loss of $952 million in Q4, compared to 2017’s Q4 gain of $84 million.  The audio ratings division operates within the company’s Watch segment.  It earned $128 million during Q4, down 2.3% from 2017’s $131 million. For all of 2018, revenue from the audio ratings segment was off just 0.8% on earnings of $497 million, compared to $501 million for the full-year 2017.  Nielsen CEO David Kenny states, “2018 was a challenging year but we delivered on our key operational metrics for the second half and positioned ourselves for 2019.  I am excited to join Nielsen at such a pivotal time in the company’s history.  Our focus for 2019 is on transforming into a truly product-driven, technology organization, able to make faster, bolder decisions.  We expect these strategies to translate into improved performance in 2019 and beyond as we increase our value to clients.”  Kenny also addresses the strategic review being undertaken that could see the company sold.  “The strategic review is ongoing and the board is working with urgency on this process. As previously discussed, this could include continuing to operate as a public, independent company, a separation of either Nielsen’s Global Media or Global Connect segment, or a sale of the whole company.  The process that we are undertaking will enable us to determine the best path forward in order to maximize value for all of our shareholders.”

Talk Radio Fact-Finding Tour of Ireland Planned.  A group of diverse talk radio broadcasters is getting ready to take a comprehensive tour of Ireland in early April.  The tour will include a six-day, guided visit to some of the Emerald Isle’s most iconic attractions and interview opportunities with some of Ireland’s most important leaders from the fields of politics, international relations, business, the arts, food, technology, and history.  Organized by the DC Radio Company in conjunction with the Irish government’s tourism bureau, the project marks a return to the type of international fact-finding missions that were a talk radio staple in the 1990s and early 2000s.  DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones tells TALKERS, “I am so excited to get the ball rolling again on these trips that provide hosts and their listeners with the opportunity to take a real deep-dive into the culture of other countries around the world.  And now in the age of the Internet, tours like this give stations and networks the opportunity to tease the interviews with short clips on the air and full, long-form programs and specials on their websites.  Plus, they are attractive content packages for local and national sponsorships.”  Jones is a well-known talk radio figure who, in addition to having major market credentials at several top stations in Washington, Boston, Detroit, and Nashville, as well as in national syndication, served more than a dozen years as a senior White House correspondent for the Talk Radio News Service before launching the DC Radio Company last year.  Her live commentaries are familiar to listeners in hundreds of markets.  She has been involved with a number of the successful talk radio fact-finding missions that brought hosts to such diverse countries as Taiwan, Israel, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, and more.  Talk broadcasters signed up for the Irish tour include, Doug Stephan of the syndicated “DJV Morning Show,” Danielle Lin of the syndicated “The Art of Living and Science of Life,” Kate Delaney of the syndicated  “America Tonight” program, Michael Zwerling, owner of KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz, and Scott Thompson, owner of Big Radio, a group of eight radio stations located in Monroe, Wisconsin; Freeport, Illinois; Janesville, Wisconsin; Beloit, Wisconsin; and, South Beloit, Illinois.  Ireland’s 2019 tourism theme is “Fill Your Heart with Ireland.”  According to Jones, more international trips of this nature are being planned as several nations have expressed strong interest in creating communication ties with American talk radio.

Comrex to Debut New Rackmount Audio Codec at NAB Show. This updated version of the popular rackmount Comrex ACCESS – the ACCESS NX Rack – will be unveiled at the NAB Show in Las Vegas taking place from April 6-11.  Comrex says the industry standard Comrex ACCESS Rackmount (first released in 2005) is being updated to incorporate the technical advances from the last decade.  The ACCESS NX Rack features completely new hardware, allowing for AES67, AES3, or analog audio I/O.  ACCESS NX Rack can connect to Wi-Fi and 4G modems and supports a wide range of connection protocols and audio encoders.  It’s driven via a new HTML5-based web user interface.  Further, it is compatible with all Comrex IP audio codecs as well as the Comrex FieldTap smartphone app.  ACCESS NX Rack also includes Comrex CrossLock technology, a proprietary suite of tools that solidify connections over IP networks.  By sending two identical streams through two separate networks (redundancy mode), CrossLock provides a fail-safe in the event that the primary network falters.  ACCESS NX Rack also includes HotSwap, a new function included with the latest version of ACCESS firmware. HotSwap allows users to designate one network as a backup that will only engage when the primary network has failed. Fall-over to backup happens in a matter of seconds, and fallback is seamless.

Broadcasting from CPAC.  Pictured above is Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher (left) posing for a pic with the newest member of the SRN syndicated talk show host family, Dr. Sebastian Gorka (right).  The two are producing their programs live from the American Conservative Union’s Conservative Political Action Conference taking place in National Harbor, Maryland through Saturday.

TALKERS News Notes. WCCO, Minneapolis is getting its new imaging package from noted radio voice-over and imaging legend Sandy Thomas’ new company, CORE Voice Imaging and Sound Design (a division of Thomas Voice Imaging). The Entercom heritage news/talker is re-branding with the assistance of the new imaging package with reportedly positive initial results.  The highly charged package features Thomas and his wife Rebecca.  Check out a demo of the WCCO package here.  Interested stations can reach Sandy Thomas at 800-516-3370 or email CORE@ThomasVoiceImaging.com…..The news of President Trump’s breaking off talks with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un came on short notice and SRN News vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS that their affiliate stations were able to hear it live, thanks to their coverage.  Tradup says that via its longform news channel SNN Right, they were able to go live with the breaking news and deliver audio from the live news conference from Hanoi that had been moved up that included President Trump’s wide-ranging remarks on the summit, political battles facing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his reaction to Michael Cohen’s testimony, new negotiations with China on trade, and other breaking news…..WBUR, Boston produced “On Point” is presenting its first special four-part series from co-host Meghna Chakrabarti that explores the nation’s complicated housing landscape, titled, “Where We Call Home.”  It debuts March 4.  Chakrabarti will investigate the changing landscape of neighborhoods across America and the economic, social, aesthetic, and political forces that factor in to where and how Americans choose to live.

Michael Cohen Testimony, Trump-Kim Jong Un Meeting, India-Pakistan Tensions, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls, Trump-Russia Investigation, Border Wall/Emergency Declaration, Venezuela Unrest, and NBA/NCAA Hoops Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/27). Wednesday’s congressional testimony by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen; President Trump’s Hanoi meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un; the military tensions between India and Pakistan over the disputed Kashmir region; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in the 2020 election; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the U.S.-Mexico border wall project and challenges to President Trump’s emergency declaration; the situation in Venezuela as Nicolas Maduro clings to power; and NBA and NCAA basketball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. This season of ABC TV’s “American Idol” debuts on March 3 and iHeartMedia is joining ABC in promoting the show with a radio special hosted by Ryan Seacrest and broadcast across more than 90 iHeartMedia AC and hot AC radio stations nationwide.  The thirty-minute special will air Sunday, March 3 and feature songs from current “American Idol” judges and past contestants, exclusive content and information about the iconic series…..Cumulus Media announces that Justin Taylor is the new operations manager for its Oxnard-Ventura, California cluster and program director for country KHAY.  He’s taking over for the retiring Chris Cox, who will step down on March 4 after a 45-year career in radio. Taylor says, “I could not be happier to be joining [RVP] Sommer Frisk and her amazing team as the operations manager for Ventura /Oxnard, and even more excited to take over the ACM nominated K-HAY!”

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