Tuesday, January 28, 2020

| January 28, 2020

Talk Radio Plays Role in Build-Up to Jersey Shore Trump Rally. Local talk radio has been front and center during the two days leading up to President Trump’s rally tonight (1/28) in Wildwood, New Jersey.  Pictured above is WNTP, Philadelphia “AM 990 The Answer” morning drive personality Chris Stigall – who broadcast his Tuesday morning show from Wildwood – posing for a selfie with some members of the large crowd gathered near the convention center hoping to get tickets to attend tonight’s event.  WPGG, Atlantic City morning drive host Harry Hurley hosted Lara Trump – wife of Eric Trump – on Monday’s program to talk about the president’s rally and the intense demand for tickets.  Hurley also had the opportunity to interview “Duke” – the man with the unique designation of being the first person in line at the convention center to get a ticket.  Hear that interview here.  WPHT, Philadelphia late morning talk host Dom Giordano says, “Due to Wildwood being a small resort town, this became Trumpstock.  This became a town taken over by Trump supporters.  On air, there was a feeling that this was a once-in-a-lifetime event that resulted in huge crowds in Wildwood.”

Senator Sherrod Brown Seeks Answers About iHeartMedia Layoffs. U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) penned a letter to iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman last week asking for information about the recent “employee dislocation.”  In the letter, Brown tells Pittman – after pointing to Pittman’s $9 million bonus in 2017 and $9.3 million incentive bonus in 2018 – “It is difficult enough to understand the decision to continue the hollowing out of local media outlets by laying off disc jockeys in smaller communities.  But it is particularly difficult to make sense of this decision given that it came after a significant increase in the company’s executive compensation over the last few years.”  Pittman is not bound by law to answer Brown’s questions, but TALKERS suspects he’ll do Brown the courtesy of a reply of some sort.  Here are the four questions he’d like answered by February 14:  1) How many workers were affected by iHeartMedia’s recent layoff announcement?  Of those workers, how many are in Ohio?  2) The company is reportedly giving severance to the affected workers.  Please provide details about the severance provided, including whether it includes severance pay and if so, how much and whether it includes health care benefits, and if so for how long.  3) Is the company giving affected workers priority consideration in the hiring process for any currently open positions in the company?  Is the company going to give affected workers priority consideration in the hiring process for any positions that become open in the future?  If so, for how long will affected workers be given hiring preference?  4) Is the company offering or paying for any training affected workers might seek to help them find new employment? If so, please provide details about the training offered or paid for, including the type of training, the length of time a worker can pursue such training, and, in the case of training paid for by iHeartMedia, the amount the company will pay for the worker to obtain such training.

FCC Close to Dismissing Renewal Applications for Entertainment Media Trust’s St. Louis Market Stations. An FCC administrative law judge is giving Entertainment Media Trust’s Dennis J. Watkins, trustee, until February 18 to comply with a request for information and an order to show cause why the applications for license renewal for four AM stations and an FM translator construction permit should not be dismissed for failure to prosecute.  In an Order to Show Cause, Judge Jane Hinckley Halprin outlines the numerous failures to comply with FCC requests on the part of Trustee Watkins – including not showing up for a December 5, 2019 prehearing conference.  This comes almost eight years after petitioner Mark Kern challenged the license renewals of KFTK-AM, East St. Louis; WQQW, Highland, Illinois; KZQZ, St. Louis; and KQQZ, DeSoto, Missouri alleging that Robert Romanik – a convicted felon – is illegally controlling the stations.  Kern alleges that Romanik – who operates the stations d/b/a Insane Broadcasting Company – helped fund the Trust’s acquisition of the stations although he’s not part of any FCC applications.  Romanik hosts a daily show on KQQZ from 10:00 am to 11:00 am.  The website says of his show, “‘The Grim Reaper of Radio’ is not politically correct or politically incorrect, he’s politically insane!!”

Round Four of Holiday PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2019 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford.  The survey period was December 5 through January 1.  Perhaps on the strength of the Green Bay Packers playoff run and the performance of the first-place Milwaukee Bucks, flagship WTMJ – owned by Good Karma Brands – adds two-tenths to its 6+ weekly AQH share for a 5.9 share and the #4 rank.  Cox Media Group’s news/talk WOKV-FM, Jacksonville halts a three-survey slide with a two-tenths increase to finish the Holiday survey at an 8.3 share and the #2 rank.  See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways here.

Impeachment/Bolton Manuscript, Presidential Race, Pompeo-NPR Spat, Coronavirus, Kobe Bryant Death, SCOTUS Immigration Ruling, and Grammy Awards/Race Relations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/27). The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump and the manuscript penned by former national security adviser John Bolton; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s anger with NPR over Ukraine line of questioning; concerns over the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus; the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant and eight others in a helicopter crash; the Supreme Court overrules a lower court’s stay on the Trump Administration’s “public charge” rule for low income immigrants; and Sunday’s Grammy Awards and allegations of bias against black artists 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. On-air pro Jayn is promoted to the role of music supervisor for Entercom’s hot AC KLLC “Alice @ 97.3” and alternative KITS “ALT 105.3.”  She continues as afternoon drive personality and APD for KLLC.  Entercom San Francisco SVP and market manager Greg Nemitz says, “Besides being the musical muse behind ‘Alice’ for the past 16 years, Jayn has been an integral part of the ‘ALT 105.3’ music team alongside APD and music director Aaron Axelsen.  Jayn and Aaron together are an unstoppable force and will continue to make these two stations leaders in this market.”  Jayn joined “Alice @ 97.3” in 2004 as assistant program director and music director.  She expanded her role to midday host in 2006 before transitioning to afternoon drive in 2014…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One announces six new affiliate stations for the nationally syndicated urban AC show “Rick and Sasha.”  They include: WGNU-AM/FM, St. Louis; WMXU-FM, Columbus/Starkville, Mississippi; WKZJ-FM, Columbus, Georgia; KVMA-FM, Shreveport; WQVE-FM, Albany, Georgia; and WBXB-FM, Edenton, North Carolina…..On-air pro Kathy Vogel is moving from Rubber City Radio’s classic rock WONE-FM, Akron where she hosted middays to the company’s new adult contemporary WNWV, Cleveland “107.3 JenY FM” as morning drive personality…..Air personality Tim Burger announces via a Facebook post that he’s exited SummitMedia’s country KFDI-FM, Wichita after three years as part of the morning show.  He says, “I am so grateful I was able to be part of a heritage radio station that the people in Wichita have turned to for over 50 years.”…..In the Scranton/Wilkes Barre market, Mark Hoover is promoted to program director for Shamrock Communications’ classic rock WEZX “Rock 107.”  Hoover has been serving as afternoon host and promotions coordinator.  He’ll continue to handle the afternoon shift and manage the promotions department.

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Category: Front Page News, Industry News