Category: Industry News

Friday, May 29, 2020

| May 29, 2020

Cox Media Group Names Daniel York President and CEO. The board of directors of Cox Media Group announces Daniel York is the company’s new president and chief executive officer, effective today. York most recently served as senior executive vice president and chief content officer of AT&T and its subsidiary, DirecTV. York assumes the role previously held by Kim Guthrie, who left the company last month. Executive chairman Steve Pruett says, “On behalf of the board of directors, I would like to welcome Dan as the president and CEO of Cox Media Group. He has a background of success in media, content, distribution, operations, and successfully leading large organizations. Most importantly, he embraces contemporary thinking as the media landscape continues to evolve. We have full confidence he is the right person to lead CMG in the next phase of the company’s growth.” York says, “I am excited to lead Cox Media Group, a company that has the most talented team and leadership in the industry. I have always admired and respected the unparalleled quality of CMG’s 90+ TV and radio stations, digital and advertising platforms, and the company’s unwavering commitment to journalistic integrity. The past few months have underscored that there is no substitute for the most important and valuable content in the ecosystem, market-leading local news and entertainment. I look forward to working with the board and the CMG team as we continue to enhance our partnerships with our advertisers, content providers and distribution outlets to best serve our communities and millions of viewers and listeners.”

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.  The new episode titled, “Aside From That Mrs. Lincoln, How Was The Beach?” looks back at this past week of May 25-29, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSJim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood OneBrett Winterble, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte; Joyce Kaufman, talk show host, WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale/Miami/Palm Beaches; Steve Weisman, law professor, Bentley University, Boston / webmaster, Scamicide.com; Lars Larson, talk show host, KXL, Portland / Compass Media Networks; Dr. Sebastian Gorka, talk show host, Salem Radio Network; and Peter King, correspondent, CBS News Radio, Kennedy Space Center.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, 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, Denver “Freedom 93.7”; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN, the Virginia Talk Radio Network, Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA, Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode,  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.

Report: KFNS-AM, St. Louis Morning Host McKernan Leading Group to Acquire the Station. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar reports that KFNS-AM, St. Louis sports talk personality Tim McKernan is leading a group of potential investors to buy KFNS from current owner Randy Markel. Earlier this year, Markel announced he was on track to sell 50% interest in the station to two local businessmen. But the coronavirus pandemic has put that deal on hold. Now, sources tell Caesar that Markel and McKernan have signed a letter of intent for the sale. McKernan hosts the morning drive program “The Morning After” on the station. The report indicates McKernan’s investor group includes former St. Louis Blues player Pat Maroon. Markel tells Caesar he’s in the process of selling the station for “seven figures” but he can’t reveal to whom – just that the deal will happen, or not, by July 1.

POTUS Appears on Buck Sexton Show. Several days after Premiere Networks syndicated talk host Buck Sexton visited the Oval Office for “private, exclusive conversation” with President Trump, the president made good on his promise to appear on Sexton’s radio program. The two discussed America’s approach to the coronavirus pandemic and why we have to move forward before it’s too late; how “Russia Gate” makes Watergate look like small potatoes; why his executive order curtailing the power of social media platforms was necessary; what his administration has accomplished the last three and a half years; what he thinks about running against Joe Biden, and more. Photo by Shealah Craighead

Urban One Reports Q1 Net Revenue Down 3.6%. Reporting its financial data for the first quarter of 2020, Urban One, Inc., parent company of Radio One, revealed net revenue for the quarter was $94.9 million, a decrease of 3.6% from the same period in 2019. Broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $37.6 million, an increase of approximately $4.3 million from the same period in 2019. Urban One is reporting an operating loss of approximately $27.3 million compared to operating income of approximately $14.8 million for the same period in 2019. Urban One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins III says, “We got off to a great start to the year, with robust political advertising pushing same station revenues to +3.2% and +13.2% for January and February respectively. Then the impact of COVID-19 hit our radio markets and March rapidly turned from positive to finish -14.1%. Despite this, we were able to post double digit Adjusted EBITDA growth for the quarter, and this is a testament to both our diversified mix of assets and the dedication and skill of our employees. On a same station basis, radio advertising for April was down 58.3%, and Q2 is pacing -58.1%. Both local and national advertising is impacted by broadly similar percentages. Like many other businesses, we were forced to reduce fixed costs by means of furloughs, layoffs, significant salary cuts, and reduction of all discretionary expenditure. Our diverse mix of assets will help us through this crisis; in particular our cable TV and digital segments are not impacted to the same extent as radio, and due to a combination of strong ratings, deferred programming and marketing expenses plus other cost cuts, we expect the TV segment to deliver incremental EBITDA to help offset some of the declines in radio.  Liquidity remains strong, and I believe we have seen a floor in the revenue declines. As markets begin to re-open state by state, we intend to partner with our clients using all of our platforms to help them re-start their businesses and serve their communities in these unprecedented times.”

TALKERS News Notes. After announcing her retirement from Entercom’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago several weeks ago, morning news anchor Felicia Middlebrooks did her last shift at the all-news station today (5/29). WBBM gave her a “proper send-off” by airing a compilation of audio looking back at her time with the station as well as colleagues saying “good-bye.” Morning editor Zac Weber said, “The news can be ugly and scary and overwhelming sometimes, but you, more than anyone else, served as a constant reminder that we can always be hopeful, and always expect the best from you.”…..Three honors from the Society of Professional Journalists Keystone Pro Chapter were bestowed upon Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” over the Memorial Day weekend. The awards were for work done in 2019. “New Jersey 101.5” deputy digital editor Sergio Bichao and reporter David Matthau won The Spotlight Award for their entry on how judges minimized sexual assault in New Jersey. Afternoon drive host Jeff Deminski won first place in the Blog category for a portfolio of opinion pieces. The team of Eric Scott, director of special projects; Patrick Lavery, afternoon anchor; Louis C. Hochman, digital managing editor; and Dan Alexander, digital news reporter won second place for Web Use, for the station’s on-air and online town hall event focusing on opioid abuse…..Entercom New York all-news outlets WCBS-AM and WINS-AM were honored with 10 2019 New York State Associated Press Association News and Broadcast Contest Awards. The two stations were jointly honored with a first-place award in the Podcast category for their collaboration on “The Breakdown,” a deep-dive into America’s infrastructure crisis. WCBS-AM took home nine other first place awards, including for Outstanding News Operation, Spot News Coverage, and Newscast…..SiriusXM announces that comedian Adam Carolla will host a special, virtual edition of his popular tour show “Adam Corolla Is Unprepared” on Monday, June 1 at 10:00 pm ET. This one-hour special video broadcast will feature Carolla hosting via Zoom. In this “Unprepared” show, Carolla – while sheltering in place from his home – improvises stand-up based on one-word suggestions from audience members pulled at random. Additionally, SiriusXM will also air a separate, exclusive two-hour “Unprepared” special featuring previously recorded comedy club shows from last year…..Pictured below is Salem Radio Network News White House correspondent Greg Clugston at Joint Base Andrews preparing to board Air Force Two for Vice President Mike Pence’s flight to Atlanta for a memorial service honoring evangelist and best-selling author Ravi Zacharias, founder of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, who died on May 19.

Statistics & Projections and 100,000 Deaths Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 25-29. The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., the death toll of more than 100,000 and projections for future cases combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the re-opening process and the state of the economy. Coming in at #3 was health care, tied with antibodies, testing, and the wearing of masks, followed by President Trump vs NC over the Republican National Convention, 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 complete chart here.

 

 

News Anchor. With the retirement of a 35-year morning drive veteran, Chicago’s top-rated station, WBBM Newsradio, has a rare opportunity for a talented news anchor. Solid skills as a journalist are a must, including writing and reporting, along with strong on-air delivery and ability to handle high-pressure, breaking news situations with ease and grace. Requirements and expectations along with an online application can be found here. Entercom is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer.

Great Talk Host Opportunity: WBAL-AM, Baltimore Seeks PM Drive Personality. The Hearst news/talk station says: “Meaningful live and local talk is very healthy at WBAL NewsRadio FM & AM in Baltimore. We have stayed true to our mission for 95 years: a 24/7 local connection and commitment to breaking news and captivating talk. We are also the home of the Baltimore Ravens and Navy Football. This is a rigorous search for a dynamic individual, or team, to host PM drive. Beyond on-air responsibilities, our team is active on social media and in the community. Our presentation aims to be lively, fast, riveting and our hosts understand the pulse of Baltimore, Maryland and the country. We believe you can’t spell ‘Baltimore’ without B-A-L. Your mission is to create a daily PM drive program that transcends all formats as a ‘must listen.’ Be prepared to provide audio samples, but let’s start with your philosophy for local talk in 2020 and your background and life experiences. Your first step is to apply on-line at Hearst Television Careers here. Please know your interest will be held in strict confidence. Check us out at Hearst.com…a dynamic privately held organization with unmatched cable, television, radio, magazines and newspaper platforms.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The nationally syndicated “DeDe in the Morning” show joins the program schedule at Midwest Communications’ urban contemporary WQTX, Lansing, Michigan “Stacks 92.1.” The program is hosted by DeDe McGuire and is syndicated via a partnership between Dallas-based Service Broadcasting Group and Compass Media Networks. Station operations manager Terry Stevens says, “The playlist on ‘Stacks 92.1’ has a very fun, upbeat vibe. We needed a morning show that fits that vibe. All fun and no drama. After listening to ‘DeDe in the Morning’ and seeing the results she delivers in markets similar to ours we are 100% confident that DeDe and her team are the perfect fit for AM Drive on ‘Stacks 92.1!’”

Thursday, May 28, 2020

| May 28, 2020

PPM Analysis: The Coronavirus Impact. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents augmented analysis of Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 PPM ratings with a look at how spoken-word stations performed (based on weekly, 6+ AQH share data). During the April survey, Washington, DC was the strongest spoken-word market with its stations combining for a 28 share. Boston was close behind with a 27.6 share and San Jose followed in third place with a 25.5 share. PPM markets showing the most improvement from the March survey to the April survey were led by Milwaukee (+4.6 shares), New York (+3.8 shares), and Salt Lake City (+3.6 shares). Conversely, markets that lost the most spoken-word share were Kansas City (-1.6 shares), Hartford (-1.4 shares), and Raleigh (-1.3 shares). See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Re-Opening Across America, Statistics & Projections, Trump vs Twitter, Minneapolis Protests, China’s Hong Kong Policy, and Michael Flynn Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/27). The gradual re-opening of the economy in states across the nation; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, the death toll, and projections for future cases; President Trump threatens executive action against Twitter for ‘fact-checking’ his tweet; protesters clash with police in Minneapolis in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd at the hands of police; China continues its aggressive policies in Hong Kong; and the process of “unmasking” is reviewed in the wake of the Michael Flynn case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Philadelphia online publication Crossing Broad reports that sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” afternoon host Mike Missanelli has been suspended a day after an on-air spat with producer Tyrone Johnson and air personality Natalie Egenolf. Missanelli, explaining his absence from the show, tells reporter Kyle Scott that he’s taking vacation time. Scott further reports that sources tell him fellow staffers at ‘The Fanatic’ are “fed up” with Missanelli and want him fired, but Scott writes that Missanelli’s show is crucial to the station’s bottom line and doubts management would take such a step…..WHAM-AM, Rochester evening host Shannon Joy tells Spectrum Local News that she had a “scary encounter” with a local man while leaving a recent re-open Rochester protest. Joy, who hosts a nightly 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm show on WHAM, says the man blocked her exit from a narrow street with his car, got out and screamed and ranted at her before returning to his car, taking out a large bottle of hand sanitizer and dumping it on her car. Police later arrested 40-year-old Morgan Bida and charged him with menacing…..A new date of June 15 has been set by Townsquare Media as the date it will release its first quarter 2020 financial data. The company says that the new June date will give it, along with its former and current independent accounting firms, the additional time it needs to complete the Form 10-K annual report for 2019 as well as the Form 10-Q for the quarter that ended March 31. Townsquare will hold an earnings call on that date and plans to present updates from its reporting segments for April and May…..WTMJ-AM, Milwaukee producer Rachel Frye is announced as the recipient of the first-ever Results Broadcasting Education Grant. The grant was created to provide student debt relief for broadcasters working in Wisconsin. Recipients get $1,000 for that purpose. Frye has been with WTMJ since June of 2014. She is a 2013 graduate of Western Illinois University. Good Karma Brands VP and market manager Steve Wexler says, “She’s hard-working, sets a very high bar of expectations for herself and our team and sweats the details.”

WBT, Charlotte Afternoon Drive Host Brett Winterble Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the rising stars of news/talk radio, Brett Winterble of WBT, Charlotte is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne production, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” After spending nearly a decade with Rush Limbaugh as a producer, Winterble – a seasoned pro – began his own conservative talk show in 2008. Since then he has been heard on Sirius XM Satellite Radio, plus KFWB, Los Angeles and until recently KFMB-AM, San Diego before joining WBT. He’s a graduate of Emerson College and American Military University with degrees in Political Communication and Homeland Security Intelligence Studies. Among the subjects Harrison and Winterble discuss include the growth and dynamism of the Carolinas, the US military, changes in technology and the radio business, the politics of COVID-19, and the uncertain state of the Republican National Convention scheduled for Charlotte August 24-27. The interview was produced on the eve of Memorial Day Weekend with an addendum recorded immediately following President Trump’s Monday morning threat to move the convention elsewhere if the governor of North Carolina fails to guarantee the arena be opened to full capacity. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located on the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Boston, Entercom flips WODS-FM from CHR to adult hits as “BIG 103 – Music Unleashed.” The company had cancelled “The TJ Show” starring TJ Taormina back in early April. Now, the station goes jockless at least for a while as it transitions to a format focusing on music from the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s with core artists including: Guns N’ Roses, Prince, Journey, Madonna, Pearl Jam, The Notorious B.I.G., AC/DC, Britney Spears, and Blink-182, among others. Entercom Boston regional president and market manager Mark Hannon says, “As we continue living through one of the most challenging times in our country and the world, we are committed to providing comfort by delivering optimistic and entertaining content to our listeners. ‘BIG 103’ will be a straight-forward, no nonsense sanctuary for fans focused on great music and artists, accented with an irreverent tongue-in-cheek approach that reflects the spirit of our city.” The station says it will feature limited interruptions during its on-air programming through the “2-Minute Promise,” which will not stop the music for more than two minutes at any given time…..Beasley Media Group promotes Sherri Powers to chief engineer at its Detroit cluster that includes rock WRIF-FM, classic rock WCSX-FM, urban contemporary WDMK-FM and hip hop WMGC “105.The Bounce.” Powers was most recently assistant chief engineer. She says, “It’s been incredible working in radio over the past 29 years. I’ve had the great fortune and privilege of spending a great majority of my career with the incredible Beasley Media Group stations in the Motor City. I’d like to thank Mac Edwards and the incredible people I work with every day for their support!”…..Key Networks is launching the new country radio show “Shawn Parr’s Across the Country” on Monday (6/1) in 16 markets across the U.S. The program’s inaugural affiliates include: WGSQ-FM, Cookeville, Tennessee; KBCR-FM, Steamboat Springs, Colorado; WAKX-FM, Palm Coast, Florida; and WYOT-FM, Rockford, Illinois. Key Networks says the show is available for stations Monday-Friday via FTP delivery. It is customized to air anywhere in a station’s lineup between 6:00 am and 12:00 midnight.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

| May 27, 2020

Rush Limbaugh Addresses Cancer Battle on Radio Show; Third Wave ‘Kicking My Ass.’ Since being diagnosed with advanced lung cancer back in January, Premiere Networks talk radio legend Rush Limbaugh has not spoken regularly about his battle with the disease as he says he “vowed not to be a cancer patient on the radio.” But he opened his Tuesday show explaining that he felt his listeners were overdue for an update. “There have been many cycles, but this is the third wave, and this current wave, I have to tell you, is kicking my ass. For the last seven days, I have been virtually worthless, virtually useless. I haven’t left the house. I haven’t done much of anything except just try to rest and relax. All of this was told to me; it was gonna be a factor.” If you missed it you can read a transcript at Limbaugh’s website here.

Holiday Weekend Re-Opening, Statistics & Projections, George Floyd Death/Amy Cooper Incident, Trump Twitter Controversy, Presidential Race, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/26). Americans react to the re-opening of economies in states across the country; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, the death toll and the projections for future cases; the death of African-American George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police and the protests that followed, tied with the case of white New Yorker Amy Cooper who called the police on a black man for asking that she leash her dog; President Trump’s tweet alleging that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough killed a woman who died in the then-congressman’s office; the November presidential elections; and the world’s financial markets begin the week on a bullish note were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Westwood One: Drop AM/FM Advertising at Your Own Risk. In this week’s Westwood One blog, the company reveals the results of a case study of a new brand that, after two years of a radio campaign that helped it compete with two established brands, dropped radio and doubled down on TV. You can probably see where this is going as WWO calls this a “cautionary tale.” Westwood One says the Nielsen analysis indicated that TV skews much too old for the consumer category. The brand’s category users are mostly made up of adults 18-49 (73%). When the brand left AM/FM radio for television, campaign impressions skewed much older. Only 36% of the TV impressions were 18-49. The vast majority of TV deliveries (64%) occurred over the age of 50. WWO adds that the demographic imbalance of the TV plan also extended to key targets for the brand. Compared to heavy TV viewers, heavy AM/FM radio listeners are far more likely to be members of the brand’s frequent shopper club, have access to their distribution platform, and are much more likely to be heavy category users. Additionally, dropping AM/FM radio in 2019 caused erosion in awareness, weekly usage, brand consideration, and AM/FM radio ad recall. After strong growth from 2017 to 2018, association to brand attributes stagnated from 2018 to 2019. Finally, dropping AM/FM radio also caused major damage among heavy AM/FM radio listeners. Brand equity suffered greatly down the entire purchase funnel with double-digit losses. See more from the blog here.

Shadoe Stevens Delivers Innovative Podcast Series, ‘MentalRadio.’  Legendary LA-based radio personality and multimedia icon Shadoe Stevens has launched a 10-episode series of 30-minute podcasts collectively titled, “MentalRadio.”  TALKERS founder Michael Harrison describes the podcast series as “one of the coolest audio media extravaganzas to come down the pike since the golden age of radio theater. It’s a rich listening experience.”  Stevens, tells TALKERS, “‘MentalRadio’ is subversive optimism disguised as comedy – each episode is a scripted, 30 minutes of highly produced, immersive audio theater. It’s SNL-style sketches, original music and jingles, and features parodies of everything from conspiracy theories to breaking news and pop culture.”  Stevens adds, “‘MentalRadio’ uses humor, entertainment, and real solutions to try to shift a listener’s mental state away from doubt and gloom and toward optimism and hope, to feel better whether they want to or not.”  Stevens has an extraordinary media background that goes back for decades.  He was an innovative programmer who played a major role in the establishment of iconic LA rock stations KMET and KROQ, hosted “American Top 40” following Casey Kasem, served as announcer and personality on a number of network television game shows and talk shows in addition to appearing as an actor in several major TV series and motion pictures.  To learn more about “MentalRadio,” please click here.

TALKERS News Notes. A piece published in the Pittsburgh alt-weekly CityPaper takes a critical look at the programming on Entercom’s news/talk KDKA-AM. Citing some former and current staffers – all anonymously – writer Ryan Deto explores what he concludes has been a concerted effort to become more aggressively hard right on the part of its talk hosts, specifically late morning host Marty Griffin and afternoon drive personality Wendy Bell…..Nexstar Media Group is producing a COVID-19 special that will air on Thursday from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm from WGN-TV, Chicago and be simulcast on eight other Nexstar TV stations across Illinois as well as on WGN-AM. The program is called “Illinois Town Hall: Responding to COVID-19” and is being hosted by WGN-TV news anchors Tahman Bradley and Julie Unruh along with political analyst Paul Lisnek. Nexstar president Tim Busch says, “Illinois residents interested in hearing about the impact of the pandemic and who want to express their concerns and ask questions regarding the re-opening of the state’s economy can rely on Nexstar’s dedication to local content to provide them the latest news and a connection to their government and community leaders.”…..ABC NewsDan Harris interviewed His Holiness the Dalai Lama for the “Ten Percent Happier” podcast. In it, the Dalai Lama says that while self-isolating for COVID-19, he watches “1 hour or 2 hours” of television, he “sometimes is reading” and he’ll do a daily online meditation for “4 or 5 hours.” The interview will also be broadcast on “Nightline” tomorrow night (5/28), will appear on streaming news channel ABC News Live later this week as well as on “GMA Weekend.”…..AdLarge Media announces it is extending its ad sales agreement for Ashley Flowers’ true crime podcast “Crime Junkie.” The podcast is getting more than 31 million downloads a month.  Adlarge is also lending its support to further grow Flowers’ audiochuck Network with four new shows, all executive produced by Flowers…..The San Jose Spotlight reports that longtime San Jose broadcaster Bob Kieve died on Sunday (5/24) at the age of 98. Kieve owned and operated KLIV-AM since 1967 and served as president of Empire Broadcasting, which also owns country KRTY-FM. Kieve took KLIV-AM dark in 2019 after being unable to sell the station.

NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at “Expert Guests.” Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a weekly basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that include an investigative reporter with inside information about China and COVID-19; an expert on everything you need to know about attending graduate school; a fascinating futurist; an expert on honestly and openly coming to terms with discussing and dealing with death – and more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. New York radio pro Richard Neer posts this piece about the coming 50th anniversary of WLIR-FM, Long Island’s transition to a progressive rock format on June 30, 1970. Neer – author of the 2001 book, FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (Villard) – says he’ll post more pieces on the station as the June 30 date draws closer. The station, long a cultural mecca for teens growing up on Long Island during the station’s rock heyday, is now owned by Univision and plays a Spanish hits format under the new calls WQBU-FM…..In Denver, Max Media re-brands CHR KFCO as “HOT 107.1.” The station made the change prior to the start of the holiday weekend and went commercial free for the three days. Vice president of programming and operations Rick Thomas says, “Our desire is to accurately reflect the musical passion of the marketplace. To that end, we have simply expanded our approach allowing listeners to enjoy a wider variety of rhythmic hit music, re-branding as ‘HOT 107.1,’ Denver’s New Hit Music.’”…..Hall Communications moves midday personality Courtney Kelley to morning drive alongside Brian Mulhern on country WCTK, Providence “Cat Country 98.1.” She takes over for Madelyn Grimaldi who exited the radio biz. Station PD Bob Walker says, “Courtney has been with us since 2013. As long as I have known her, she has wanted to host a morning show. We are beyond excited to have her living out that dream every morning on ‘Cat Country.’”…..Hubbard Radio’s country KNUC-FM, Seattle “98.9 The Bull” awarded 10 listeners the opportunity to take part in a Friday evening Zoom Pizza Party with country star Brad Paisley and “98.9 The Bull” morning host Fitz. Paisley hung out on the Zoom party for more than 45 minutes answering questions, having a quick awkward sing-a-long of his new release, “There’s No I In Beer,” and sharing the amazing scenery of his ranch, including a close encounter with a hawk! The station made arrangements to have pizza delivered to all 10 winners, prior to the 4:30 pm Zoom Party.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

| May 26, 2020

Memo: Copy Copy Like This. While listeners – whom your advertisers want to meet – have been disrupted, NOTHING resonates like empathy, succinctly conveyed. For this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke has collected examples instructive to commercial copy we craft for local retailers, and station imaging. Read it here.

Re-Opening Across America, Memorial Day Holiday, Michigan Protests, COVID-19 Tests/Vaccine Research, Presidential Race, Brazil Travel Ban, and ‘The Match’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. States across the country begin cautiously re-opening their economies; the Memorial Day holiday takes place without the usual parades and observances; Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s battle against lockdown protesters; the number of COVID-19 tests being done in the U.S. and the global work being done to create a vaccine; the November presidential election; President Trump puts a ban on flights from Brazil as the coronavirus sweeps through the South American nation; and “The Match” featuring Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady playing golf were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: What’s All the Fuss About? Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that great sellers have always been built to work remotely. He draws a sports analogy. “High-performing athletes are regularly well-coached and prepared. Then, on their own, away from the head coach – remotely – often with private coaches, they practice. When they return for the next session they are better… the takeaway here is the individual commitment to practicing ‘remotely.’” Read his column here.

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk formatted stations. It appears that radio listeners shifted from wanting straight news about the pandemic in March – when all-news outlets saw their weekly, 6+ AQH shares shoot up – to wanting to hear analysis and discussion about the COVID-19 pandemic in April. Seventy-eight percent of news/talk stations saw their AQH shares go up during the April survey, led by big gainers such as iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM, Milwaukee (+3.5, 9.3 share), Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City (+2.8, 8.8 share), and Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence (+2.3, 6.1 share). It’s important to note that radio cume was down across the board in April and that dramatic increases in time spent listening are driving these AQH spikes. With that said, some impressive year-over year AQH increases happened in April. Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta was up 7.3 shares over April 2019 (13.9 share, #1), iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento shot up 5.6 shares (11.6 share, #1), and Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis was up 5.1 shares (10.3 share, #1). Also, in April there were 11 news/talk outlets that ranked #1 in their respective markets. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Erick Erickson Interviews Mike Pence in Sanitized Space at Waffle House HQ. Pictured above is Georgia talk radio host Erick Erickson (left) conducting an in-person interview with Vice President Mike Pence (right) on Friday (5/22) at Waffle House corporate headquarters in Norcross, Georgia. The interview aired on Erickson’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta afternoon drive show on Friday and on his statewide syndicated late morning show today (5/26). Erickson says of preparing for the interview, “I didn’t have to wear a mask. The Secret Service took my temperature, made me set up all my equipment, then made me leave the room so they could sanitize everything themselves. I was not allowed back to my equipment until the interview. It was a new twist on these sorts of interviews.” The two discussed the progress being made in re-opening Georgia, the what-ifs of a potential flare-up of coronavirus cases, and what might be expected for college football this year.

KOIL, Omaha Launches New ‘Local 1290’ Program. Omaha news/talk KOIL “News Talk 1290” says it is debuting a new, daily two-hour program “focusing on the local community as our friends, neighbors and businesses begin to face the new normal.” The live program is being hosted by Neil Nelkin and will focus on everything “local” in Omaha, Nebraska and Council Bluffs, Iowa as businesses start to re-open and figure out how to go forward. Other NRG Media on-air talent will join the program as co-hosts, including Nikki and Laura from KQKQ-FM “Sweet 98.5,” Mike’l Severe and Damon Benning from KOZN-AM “1620 The Zone,” and Matt Tompkins from KOOO-FM “101.9 The Keg.” Neil Nelkin comments, “Finally a positive show about our listeners, our community and businesses within the Omaha and Council Bluffs area.  We want to highlight the local business and hear their stories about how they are doing and re-opening. It’s a community feel good, as we are all in this together.”

TALKERS News Notes. The global pandemic can’t keep Stephanie Miller’s “Sexy Liberal Tour” down. Miller’s SM Radio Productions says, “Until it’s safe to travel and gather in large groups again, the hysterically funny ‘Sexy Liberal Tour’ is now set to come into fans’ homes with ‘Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Virtual Tour.’” It will debut virtually on Saturday, June 6 at 9:00 pm ET / 6:00 pm PT and will feature Stephanie Miller, John Fugelsang, Hal Sparks, Frances Callier, and Angela V. Shelton…..Nationally syndicated talk host Buck Sexton interviewed President Trump in the Oval Office for a conversation that aired on his Premiere Networks-syndicated show. Among the topics discussed were the president’s thoughts on the intelligence community, the judiciary, the “deep state,” “Russiagate,” Michael Flynn, and more. The president also told Sexton the country will “never do this again” and will deal with the coronavirus issue by employing the country’s “best resources” to put out any fires as they emerge…..The Times-Union of San Diego reports that Mexican signal XEPRS-AM, Tijuana could be back on the air as “The Mightier 1090” around July 4, to coincide with the return of Major League Baseball. As has been reported, Flagstaff, Arizona-based marketing executive Bill Hagen is leasing the former sports talk outlet and plans to build a lifestyle and sports talk station around afternoon personality – and former longtime “Mighty 1090” personality – Scott Kaplan. The sports talk format on XEPRS ended 13 months ago when Broadcasting Company of the Americas lost its lease on the signal…..GCN-syndicated host Kate Delaney is honored with a 2020 Communicator Award for Excellence from the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts. Her DelaneyMediaGroup won in the Commercial Campaign category for “Her Story.” Delaney tells TALKERS magazine the feature airs on 70 stations and Amazon’s Echo…..Last Friday (5/22), WTKS-FM, Orlando’s “The News Junkie” radio show – hosted by Shawn Wasson, Sabrina Ambra, and Chris “C-lane” Lane – held “the World’s First Live Radio Broadcast With Social Distancing.” Pictured below is the trio at their broadcast booth. They say that fans arrived at staggered times to prevent a large crowd outside and those feeling sick were urged not to attend. Each table was limited to only a few guests and hand sanitizer and optional masks were available for all guests. Wasson says, “The show featured plenty of drinks, plenty of fun and games. What we didn’t do is have people shaking hands and hanging all over each other. We showed that with enough planning and preparation you can juggle being safe and having a blast.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Last week’s WKQX, Chicago radiothon supporting the Chicago Independent Venue League netted $34,000 for the association and its live music venues. The morning show trio of Brian, Ali, and Justin were on air for 34 hours and interviewed artists including Billy Joe Armstrong from Green Day, Grouplove, Silversun Pickups, Cage The Elephant, Local H, KFlay, All Time Low, Powfu, Chip Z’Nuff, and Jerry from JBTV. The event was sponsored by Goose Island Beer Company, supporting Chicago music venues since 1988…..iHeartMedia flips classic hits WJDX, Jackson, Mississippi to hip hop as “The New Real 105.1.” The station’s lineup includes “The Breakfast Club,” with DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlamagne Tha God in morning drive. iHeartMedia Jackson market president Mike Comfort says, “We are excited to launch ‘The New Real 105.1’ in Jackson and bring another choice for hip hop and R&B to the market. Based on our research, we know not only is this going to connect with our market’s audience, but this format is also going to produce a strong listener base for our advertisers – things just got real!”…..iHeartMedia Philadelphia re-brands alternative WRFF as “ALT 104.5.” Station PD and midday personality Amber Miller says, “Who doesn’t love the big reveal at the end of a makeover show. Well, ta-da! Philly’s Alternative Rock station is now sounding bigger and better than ever, combining the music and personalities our listeners love with this fresh, energetic new aesthetic. The station offers listeners the same music and entertainment they crave, just with a fresh new coat of paint.”

Friday, May 22, 2020

| May 22, 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.  The new episode titled “Medicine and Politics!” looks back at this past week of May 18-22, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSDr. Daliah Wachs, physician / talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkBrett Winterble, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte; Richard Neer, talk show host, CBS Sports RadioLarry Elder, talk show host, Salem Radio Network; and Dr. Renee Kohanski, psychiatrist / commentator, MDedge Psychcast. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, 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;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN, the Virginia Talk Radio Network, Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA, Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode,  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.

Cumulus Media Adopts Short-Term Shareholder Rights Plan. The company follows both Entercom (announced on April 21) and iHeartMedia (announced on May 7) in adopting a shareholder rights plan – also known in the financial world as the “poison pill” – to prevent a takeover of the company without the consent of the board of directors. Cumulus Media states, “In adopting the Rights Plan, the Board has taken note of the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on equity market valuations which has led to substantial volatility in the trading of the Company’s stock and a dislocation in Cumulus’ stock price, which the Board believes does not reflect the Company’s inherent value or business performance.  The Rights Plan is intended to promote the fair and equal treatment of all shareholders by preventing a creeping change of control without an appropriate premium and on terms that would not deliver sufficient value for all shareholders. In connection with the adoption of the Rights Plan, the Board declared a dividend distribution of one right (a ‘Right’) on each outstanding share of Class A common stock, share of Class B common stock, Series 1 warrant and Series 2 warrant.  The record date for the dividend distribution is June 1, 2020. Initially, these Rights will not be exercisable and will be attached to the Company’s common shares and warrants, as applicable. The Rights Plan is intended to protect shareholder interests by reducing the likelihood that any entity, person or group  is able to gain control of Cumulus through open market accumulation without paying all shareholders an appropriate control premium or providing the Board sufficient opportunity to make informed judgments and take actions that are in the best interests of all shareholders. The Rights issued pursuant to the Rights Plan would be exercisable only if a person or group acquires 10% (20% in the case of a passive institutional investor) or more of the Company’s outstanding Class A common shares (subject to certain exceptions), including through ownership of the convertible Class B common shares and/or warrants. In that situation, each holder of a Right (other than the acquiring person, whose Rights will become void and will not be exercisable) will be entitled to receive upon exercise of such Right that number of Class A common shares, Class B common shares, Series 1 warrants or Series 2 warrants, as applicable, having a market value of two times the exercise price of $25 per Right. In addition, the Rights Plan contains a similar provision if Cumulus is acquired in a merger or other business combination after an unapproved party acquires 10% (20% in the case of a passive institutional investor) or more of the Company’s outstanding Class A common shares, including through ownership of the convertible Class B common shares and/or warrants. The Board, at its option, may exchange each Right (other than Rights owned by the acquiring person that have become void) at an exchange ratio of one Class A common share, Class B common share, Series 1 warrant or Series 2 warrant, as applicable, per outstanding Right, subject to adjustment.” The Rights expire on April 30, 2021.

TALKERS News Notes. The Buffalo News reports that John Murphy is leaving his role as co-host of the “One Bills Live” program that airs on Entercom’s sports talk WGR “550 Sports Radio” daily from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. Murphy has been co-hosting the program with Steve Tasker. The Buffalo Bills website lists Bills insider Chris Brown and journalist Maddy Glab as Tasker’s co-hosts. Murphy also serves as radio play-by-play voice for the Buffalo Bills and will continue in that role…..UrbanMilwaukee.com columnist Bruce Murphy has a feature piece on Wisconsin progressive radio host and station owner Michael Crute that you can read here. Crute – co-host of the long-running progressive talk radio show “Devil’s Advocate” along with Dominic Salvia – owns progressive talk simulcast WRRD-AM, Waukesha/W269DL, Milwaukee as “Talk 101.7” and operates WTTN-AM, Columbus/W224EG, Madison as “Talk 92.7.” The piece addresses Crute’s decision to drop the “Resistance Radio” brand in Milwaukee of which potential advertisers were leery, as well as his surprise that Wisconsin Democrats have been hostile to his efforts…..ABC Audio’s daily, one-hour radio program “COVID-19: What You Need to Know” is re-launching as “Bringing America Back: What You Need to Know.” ABC says the Aaron Katersky-hosted program “updates the country’s fight against the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic – both medical and economic.  We answer your questions about the latest outbreak numbers and treatment developments and look at the cities and towns that are reopening, and what our new normal looks like. ABC’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton and other experts respond directly to questions submitted by ABC News listeners and viewers, and our team of correspondents and medical contributors keep you up to date on the latest news related to coronavirus.”

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 18-22. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections about future cases combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the state of the health care system and the controversy over the use of hydroxychloroquine to combat COVID-19. Coming in at #3 was a tie between the state of the U.S. economy and the state of education in the country, 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 complete chart here.

iHeartRadio and Mental Health Coalition Partner for ‘How Are You Really?’ Campaign. During National Mental Health Awareness Month, iHeartRadio is partnering with Kenneth Cole and The Mental Health Coalition to end the stigma surrounding mental health and to change the way people talk about, and care for, mental illness. The initiative addresses the most universally and commonly asked, but rarely answered question, ‘How Are You, Really?’ The campaign challenges people to answer this as honestly as they can and inspire many others to do the same to help destigmatize all mental health conditions. As part of the collaboration, iHeartRadio is airing PSAs voiced by on-air personalities Elvis Duran, Ryan Seacrest, Bobby Bones and Steve Harvey, encouraging listeners to answer how they’re really doing and challenge those in their lives to do the same. In addition, iHeartRadio is hosting and airing a 30-minute public affairs show discussing the effects of COVID-19 on mental health. Interviewees include social activist and iconic fashion designer Kenneth Cole; Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz, president of Child Mind Institute; and Dr. Ken Duckworth, chief medical officer of National Alliance on Mental Illness.

MIW Radio Group Adds Four to Executive Committee. The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group adds four new members to the MIW Group executive committee: Angie Balderas, SVP & general manager Entravision; Valerie Blackburn, principal VKB Media Consulting; Tricia Gallenbeck, VP & general manager Reno Media Group; and Beth Neuhoff, CEO and president Neuhoff Media. MIW Group national spokeswoman Denyse Mesnik says, “Seasoned radio pros, these accomplished ladies bring expertise in a variety of areas, years of experience in leadership and well-earned reputations as some of the best in the business. They are perfect additions to the MIW executive committee and, not surprisingly, they’ve already hit the ground running on behalf of the MIWs! We also extend heartfelt thanks to two good friends and long-term MIW colleagues transitioning off of the executive committee, Heidi Raphael, chief communications officer, Beasley Media Group (MIW Spokeswoman from 2008-2014) and Jennifer Williams, VP digital marketing, Beasley Media Group. They leave with our immense gratitude for many years of dedication and service to the MIWs.”

TALKERS Magazine Presents the 2020 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America. The editors of TALKERS magazine, with input from industry leaders, have compiled and published the eighth annual Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America. This list, like its long-established “sister list” – the long-running annual “Heavy Hundred” that ranks talk radio hosts working in the news/talk and general talk genres – the editors of TALKERS magazine have ranked sports talk hosts, duos, or ensembles from 1 to 100 based upon a set of criteria that includes a combination of hard and soft factors. TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey says it’s important to note that this year’s Heavy Hundred comes with an important qualifying statement. “The publication of this year’s list was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic and it is crucial to note that it represents a snapshot of the industry as it was shortly after January 1, 2020 and is based on performances and assessments made prior to that point. Although we were prepared to publish the list in March, we delayed publication in order to focus on the pandemic’s effect on the radio industry. As a result of COVID-19, some of the talent on this list have been victims of unexpected staff reductions and furloughs and are not currently on the air. It is our belief that they deserve to be recognized for their accomplishments, nonetheless. TALKERS salutes the fine broadcasters who made the eighth annual list!” See it here.

PPM Analysis: Classic Hits/Oldies. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the classic hits and oldies formats. See how those stations performed in April compared to March 2020 and in comparison to April of 2019, plus more, here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The City of Chicago is partnering with iHeartMedia Chicago hip hop outlet WGCI for two days of virtual entertainment to encourage residents to stay home while still enjoying themselves and experiencing music and culture over the Memorial Day Holiday weekend. Under the Stay at Home order and CDC guidelines prohibiting gatherings of over 10 people, the virtual entertainment will provide Chicagoans with an online opportunity to engage and celebrate the weekend at home. The 107.5 WGCI Stay at Home Weekend starts Saturday with an Instagram Battle between two of Chicago’s own hip hop artists, GHerbo and Lil Durk. Starting at 8:00 pm, these two rappers will go song-for-song for the title of Stay at Home Weekend Rap King. On Sunday the Stay at Home Weekend continues with a virtual comedy tour hosted by 107.5 WGCI’s Leon Rogers. This virtual show will feature comedians, Just Nesh, Dawn B, Lavar Walker, Correy B, and Damon Williams. iHeartMedia Chicago region president Matt Scarano says, “I am honored to have the privilege of partnering with the City of Chicago in its mission of promoting the health and safety of our community during this critical time. As a broadcaster it is our responsibility to engage in continuous collaboration with Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicagoland community.”

Thursday, May 21, 2020

| May 21, 2020

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 April 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk radio. Obviously, the format has been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic’s cancelling of games. Sports talk radio ratings generally soften after the Super Bowl in early February and tend to pick up once Major League Baseball opens in April. The absence of ballgames combined with the loss of the NBA and NHL playoff stretches allowed only 17% of sports talk stations to see weekly, 6+ AQH share increases and even those were miniscule. Year-over-year comparisons were almost equally as bleak with iHeartMedia’s KXFN, Minneapolis the only sports talk outlet putting up a meaningful gain (+1.6). No sports talk station ranked higher than #5 in its market in April. Top performing stations in April included Entercom’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh (5.9 share, #5), WIP-FM, Philadelphia (5.6 share, #5) and iHeartMedia’s KXFN, Minneapolis (5.5 share, #6). See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence Talk Host Dan Yorke to Pen Weekly Column. Longtime Providence talk show host Dan Yorke is named as a new weekly columnist for Rhode Island’s The Valley Breeze newspaper. Paper publisher Tom Ward is retiring, and Yorke will take over his column in June. He joins former Providence talk radio host Arlene Violet as one of the paper’s two opinion columnists. In addition to Yorke’s radio program on Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, he also hosts “Dan Yorke State of Mind” on Nexstar Media’s “myRITV” and WPRI-TV “FOX Providence.” The Valley Breeze editor Ethan Shorey says, “If there are two things I’ve learned about Dan Yorke over the years, it’s that he seeks out the truth and he does his homework. I look forward to working with him as we continue to build on what Tom has done and hopefully expand our reach on important topics.” See the paper’s announcement here.

Michelle Malkin Joins Newsmax TV as Correspondent/Host. Author and syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin joins Newsmax TV as a prime-time contributor and weekend program host. Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “Michelle is a true conservative, a respected media personality and a powerful voice for millions of Americans that the big media ignore.” The company adds that Malkin “will join Newsmax’s growing list of media heavyweights and commentators where she will deliver her fiercely independent reporting and no-nonsense commentary.” Malkin joins the network as Newsmax TV has signed with all major cable operators and is carried in 70 million cable homes.

Statistics & Projections, States Begin Re-Opening, Vaccine Hope, Financial Markets/The Economy, U.S.-China Relationship, Inspector General Firing/Pompeo Investigation, Michael Flynn Case, Presidential Election, and Sports Leagues Plan for Seasons Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/20). The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections for future cases; most U.S. states begin re-opening; Moderna reports success in first round of coronavirus vaccine trials; the world’s financial markets activity and the state of the economy; China pushes back against U.S. finger pointing; the firing of inspector general Steve Linick and the investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s Saudi arms deal and his use of staffers for domestic chores; the DOJ’s dropping of the case against Michael Flynn and President Trump’s assertion Barack Obama started the Russia inquiry; the November presidential election and the vote-by-mail controversy; and sports leagues’ plans for holding games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. There are three Memorial Day weekend podcasts being made available to partnered radio affiliates from FOX News Audio. FOX Nation host Johnny Joey Jones, a combat veteran and double amputee, hosts “The Proud American Series” special that highlights four people who used personal tragedies as an opportunity to serve others. The “America Together” podcast, co-hosted by FOX News Radio reporters Tonya J. Powers, Eben Brown, Jeff Monosso, and Gurnal Scott features uplifting accounts of diverse communities coming together. A special edition of “The Trey Gowdy Podcast” offers listeners advice for combatting the fear and anxiety that many across the country are facing during the uncertainty created by COVID-19…..There have been a lot of “classic” sports contests aired on radio since the coronavirus pandemic took away live sports. Now, Cumulus Media’s Westwood One – the official network radio partner of the NFL – is going all the way back to January 15, 1967 to present the original CBS Radio broadcast of Super Bowl I at 8:00 pm ET on Monday, May 25. The game broadcast between the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs will feature Jack Drees and Tom Hedrick calling the play-by-play. WWO’s Ryan Radtke hosts the re-broadcast that includes comments from Hall of Famers Bart Starr, Len Dawson, Vince Lombardi, Hank Stram and more…..Premiere Networks personality Amy Brown welcomes Emmy Award-winning “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts to the “4 Things with Amy Brown” podcast. On the show, Roberts and Brown share stories about how cancer has touched their lives and the importance of finding joy every day. They also chat about Roberts’ MasterClass on authentic and genuine communication, and the meaning behind one of her key lessons: “Make Your Mess Your Message.”…..As reported by LARadio.com, radio news pro Reg Laite died on May 12 at age 89 after a battle with cancer. Laite served as news director for KFWB, Los Angeles from 1971-1973. During his career he also served at KYW, Philadelphia; WOR-AM, New York; and NBC TV news.

Rock Legend Ian Anderson Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most respected singers, songwriters, and musicians of the album and classic rock era, Ian Anderson, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Anderson is the front man, founder, organizer, and driving force behind the historic British progressive rock group, Jethro Tull. Harrison caught up with Anderson who is quarantining at his home in the UK. They engage in a deep-dive conversation about a broad range of subjects including music, politics, COVID-19, and wildlife conservation. Harrison states, “In addition to being a unique and supremely talented musician, Ian is a scholarly man with a golden tongue who can hold his own among the best ‘talkers’ in the English-speaking world. Having long-managed his own case of the breathing disorder, COPD, he is extremely educated and opinionated about everything having to do with the coronavirus – which he amply shares in this interview.” Anderson sings and plays flute on a new recording by Hungarian-born German rock star Leslie Mandoki titled “#We Say, Thank You” (check it out on YouTube) which pays tribute to the frontline heroes of the COVID-19 era and chastises those speculators who are exploiting it for financial gain. To listen to this fascinating 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. On-air pro Randy McCarten is named host of the morning show at iHeartMedia’s hot AC WRVE, Albany “99.5 The River.”  McCarten was one of a number of iHeartMedia Albany staffers to be let go back in January as the company was restructuring. iHeartMedia Albany area president Kristen Delaney says, “It’s great having Randy back. He has connected with so many listeners throughout the years and has really been the heart and soul of ‘99.5 The River.’ Capital District listeners are going to love starting their day with him.” McCarten comments, “‘The River’ and its listeners have been a part of my life for over 20 years, and I’m really excited to help them start their day with great music, information, and entertainment – it feels great to be back.”…..In Chicago, Cumulus Media’s alternative WKQX is presenting the “Save Our Stages Radiothon” to benefit the city’s independent music venues, including Metro, Lincoln Hall, and Thalia Hall. Some 34 venues have formed CIVL – Chicago Independent Venue League – to support each other. 101 WKQX morning team of Brian, Ali, and Justin are broadcasting live for 34 hours to create awareness and encourage donations to CIVL as well as the individual venues’ GoFundMe.com pages…..Westwood One’s Zach Sang is hosting the St. Jude “Prom from Home – Under the Living Room Lights” show tomorrow (5/22) from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET to bring “Prom 2020” to all who missed out on their school proms and aid an important cause – to raise awareness and support for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Artists planning to stop by for “Prom from Home” include: Restless Road, Kane Brown, FINNEAS, Lewis Capaldi, Lauv, Monsta X, Noah Cyrus, CNCO, Ashe, mxmtoon, AJR, Blanco Brown, Bazzi, MAX, Asher Angel, Stephanie Poetri, Loren Gray, Cheat Codes, Loud Luxury, Serf Mesa, Olivia O’Brien and a special appearance by Darren Barnet of the Netflix show, “Never Have I Ever.”

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

| May 20, 2020

Hubbard Radio Promotes Phil Mackey to Brand & Digital Content Director. At Hubbard Radio headquarters in the Twin Cities, it’s announced that sports talk KSTP “SKOR North” brand/distribution director Phil Mackey’s role is expanded to brand and digital content development director for Hubbard Radio. He’ll report to SVP programming Greg Strassell and in this role will be dedicated to assisting Hubbard Radio managers with strategies for creation of new multi-channel content built around the core brands. Mackey will retain his brand/distribution director duties at ‘SKOR North.’ Hubbard says that under Mackey’s leadership over the past 18 months, ‘SKOR North’ grew podcast downloads, monthly app users, YouTube subscribers, and social media followers by double- and triple-digit percentage increases. Hubbard Minnesota VP/region manager Dan Seeman says, “As difficult as the COVID-19 crisis has been, we’ve learned a lot. With radio listening habits disrupted we’ve realized firsthand how important digital platforms are to brand messaging and engagement. The work that Phil has done creating digital brand extensions for ‘SKOR North’ can be utilized by all of the brands in our company. Let’s take the model and support all of Hubbard.”

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format. There are 11 all-news outlets (however, several reach into adjacent markets) on our panel. Entercom operates eight of those, iHeartMedia, Hubbard Radio, and Sinclair Broadcast Group own the others. The format experienced intense weekly, 6+ AQH share increases from February to March, but lost some of its steam from the March to April surveys with 35% regressing and just 47% improving. Entercom’s WINS-AM, New York led the gainers adding a full share to finish with a 5.7 share. Year-over-year, the format fared well as 82% of stations saw AQH share increases, with Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco leading that pack by adding 3.6 shares. Three Entercom all-news stations ranked #1 in the April survey: WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago (8.4); KCBS-AM, San Francisco (9.9); and WWJ-AM, Detroit (6.4). See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

The Re-Opening Begins, Statistics & Projections, Trump vs WHO, Hydroxychloroquine Controversy, Michael Flynn Case, Inspector General Fired/Pompeo Investigation, Pressure on China, and Sports Leagues Plan Seasons Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/19). Numerous states begin re-opening their economies; the number of confirmed U.S. COVID-19 cases, the death toll, and projections for future cases; President Trump threatens the U.S. will leave the World Health Organization permanently; the controversy over Trump’s statement he’s taking hydroxychloroquine; the DOJ’s dropping the case against former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and Trump’s accusing Barack Obama of sparking the Russia inquiry; the firing of inspector general Steve Linick and the reported investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s arms deal with Saudi Arabia and using staff to perform domestic chores for him; the 100 nations pushing China to open the investigation into the origin of the coronavirus; and U.S. sports leagues lay out their plans to play games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. In case you missed it, there’s a great piece by Larry Stone in the Seattle Times on market sports talk radio legend Dave Grosby, who’s fighting a battle against Parkinson’s disease. As you may recall, “Groz” had to leave his daily show on Bonneville’s KIRO-AM, Seattle “710 ESPN” alongside Bob Stelton and Tom Wassell last summer, although he’s still contributing to the station’s shows and digital presence…..Minor changes take place at Entercom’s WFAN, New York according to Neil Best and Newsday. He reports that Mike Francesa’s show will air on WFAN for a full hour from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm, instead of ending at 6:00 pm. Also, Jerry Recco and Al Dukes are getting a full hour from 5:00 am to 6:00 am. Entercom New York SVP of programming Mark Chernoff says in a statement, “By extending the programming time of our trusted hosts, we aim to provide fans with more of the compelling sports and entertainment content they want as they navigate the changes and await the return of live events.” Tweaks to the schedule leave the evenings and overnights as follows: John Jastremski from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, Steve Somers from 11:00 pm to 3:00 am, and Amy Lawrence from 3:00 am to 5:00 am…..Chicago Public Media announces that it has hired Andi McDaniel to serve as president and CEO, taking over for Goli Sheikholeslami, who left in 2019 for the CEO post at New York Public Radio. McDaniel, who has been serving as chief content officer at American University’s WAMU, Washington, will start her new position in September after a maternity leave.

NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at ‘Expert Guests.’ Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a weekly basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV, and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that include an investigative reporter with inside information about China and COVID-19; an award-winning political scientist; an internationally renowned media psychiatrist; a modern era marketing expert; an expert on investing in gold; an expert on global trade; and the former Attorney general of Nebraska. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Rock programming pro Troy Hanson is promoted to vice president/corporate programming-rock formats for Cumulus Media. This promotion adds oversight of the classic rock format for Cumulus to Hanson’s purview. Hanson was previously vice president, operations for Cumulus Chicago; program director, 101.1 WKQX-FM; and vice president, programming, rock formats (active/alternative formats). He will continue in his roles as VP, operations, Cumulus Chicago, and PD for WKQX. Hanson says, “Very appreciative of the continued confidence [EVP, content & audience] Brian Philips and [VP & market manager] Marv Nyren are showing with this new appointment. We have an amazing group of creative and talented programmers and personalities in rock to draw inspiration from daily. A tip of the cap to Brian and Marv, along with Mary Berner, Dave Milner, and Bob Walker for their stellar leadership.”

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

| May 19, 2020

Report: WIND-AM, Chicago’s Amy Jacobson Barred from Governor’s Pressers. A report by Chicago media writer Robert Feder reveals Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has ordered reporter Amy Jacobson barred from his daily COVID-19 press briefings after she was one of the prominent speakers at Saturday’s Freedom Movement USA-sponsored protest of his stay-at-home order. Jacobson is news anchor and morning co-host on Salem Media Group’s WIND-AM. The governor’s press secretary emailed Jacobson saying her participation in a political rally “attended by people holding hateful Nazi imagery” means she’s forfeited her status as an impartial journalist. Salem regional VP and general manager Jeff Reisman told Feder he’s disappointed the governor is trying to limit the scope of questions at the briefings and hopes Pritzker will change his mind.

Entercom’s RADIO.COM Experiencing ‘Double-Digit Growth’; Launches App Updates. According to Entercom, its digital platform RADIO.COM is experiencing “continued double-digit audience growth.” The company says, “Demand for RADIO.COM’s premium audio content continued to grow and in March, time spent listening increased by 22% month-over-month. It also delivered double-digit growth in total listening hours (TLH) for nine straight months continuing in April. And Entercom’s portfolio of all-news and news/talk stations are up 61% year-over-year in TLH. Updates to the app include new personalized recommendation features to the platform. “The update elevates the audio consumption experience by offering users a personalized homepage tailored with additional stations and podcasts based on listening habits. The enhanced experience will allow advertisers the opportunity to target listeners more precisely than ever before and serve more contextually relevant messages. The platform has also added a new discovery experience where users can easily browse hundreds of radio stations and over 15,000 podcasts grouped by themes, category and location, as well as ‘City’ pages for the top 25 U.S. markets that aggregate local news and sports content, local stations and relevant podcasts to the respective city.”

WWO: Five Strategies Using Apple Metrics. If you are a podcast producer using Apple metrics, Westwood One Podcast Network executive editor John Wordock has some tips for you in this week’s Westwood One blog. He says the best way to fight the misperception that podcast consumption is declining is with Apple’s metrics that give you a look at past episodes, duration, devices, total time listened, time per device, and average consumption (a.k.a. completion rates). He boils it down to five strategies: Strategy #1: Focus on storytelling and preparation. If publishing an interview podcast, podcasters should do their homework, know their questions beforehand, and anticipate the answers. If producing a scripted show, podcasters should do table reads with their producer, pick apart their episode, and look for ways to improve their story. Strategy #2: Get creative with pre-roll ads. Because listening decisions are made so quickly, podcasters should avoid starting an episode with ad copy if possible. Strategy #3: Experiment. Podcasters can use Apple metrics as instant insight into how content performs, how listeners react, and how ads are received. Strategy #4: Hold the audience. Podcasters should strive to hold 80% of their audience to the mid-roll position and use it as a draw for advertisers. Strategy #5: Deal with dips. Through the Apple dashboard, podcasters will spot potholes in the listening pattern. How can podcasters stop listeners from fast-forwarding through the ads and leaving large divots on the data screen? The best podcast reads are often seamless and connect with the topics being discussed. See more here.

TALKERS News Notes. As commercial radio celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, CBS News Radio and the National Press Club are producing “Celebrating a Century of Sound,” a 10-part series that marks the role audio has played in the lives of Americans for the past 100 years. The feature is a part of CBS’ “World News Roundup,” anchored by CBS News correspondent Sam Litzinger and consists of 10 one-minute chapters, plus a mini-documentary, chronicling the history of radio from crystal sets to digital platforms, and from soap operas and symphonies to rock-n-roll, all-news, talk, and sports radio…..iHeartMedia produced a series of speech highlights from “Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020” – the special podcast event it created for America’s graduation month that features commencement addresses from some of the most inspiring and accomplished thought leaders impacting culture today. The “Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020” podcast was released last Friday (5/15) and, following its digital release, iHeartMedia’s more than 850 broadcast radio stations across the country aired featured clips from “Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020” every hour, culminating Sunday night with a series of 30-minute on air commencement specials on all music stations and 60-minute specials on all talk stations…..Lemonada Media debuts its sixth weekly podcast series titled, “In Recovery with Dr. Nzinga Harrison, M.D.” Dr. Harrison co-founded and serves as chief medical officer of Eleanor Health, a revolutionary, evidence-based, outpatient approach to treatment. Lemonada says, “From substances to sex to work, each week Dr. Harrison addresses why addiction should be treated like other chronic medical illnesses and the many complex aspects surrounding treatment and recovery.”…..A new study released by AdLarge Media reveals that NASCAR broadcasts stand to attract a significant number of new fans this year. AdLarge says that fans hungry for live play-by-play “are getting their fix from NASCAR races, which are broadcast live on 435 U.S. radio stations from the Motor Racing Network: The Voice of NASCAR and the Performance Racing Network.” AdLarge partnered with radio research firm NuVoodoo Media Services for the study that concluded: 84% of those who intend to tune in to the live broadcasts this season are existing NASCAR fans; 16% are new to NASCAR this year; and 28% of those new to NASCAR this year share positive impressions of sponsors and advertisers associated with a NASCAR event.

Re-Opening Controversy, Statistics & Projections, Michael Flynn Case/Russia Inquiry, IG Firing, Pressure on China, Trump vs WHO, and MLB’s Opening Proposal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/18). The concerns about re-opening states’ economies; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections for future cases; the DOJ’s decision to drop charges against former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and allegations Barack Obama was responsible for the Russia inquiry; the firing of inspector general Steve Linick at the request of Mike Pompeo; some 100 nations pressure China for more transparency on the origins of the coronavirus; President Trump threatens to exit WHO permanently; and Major League Baseball’s proposal to begin the 2020 season in July were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Randi Kirshbaum Exits Saga Portland; Station Disputes Her Use of the Word ‘Terminated.’ According to an account in the Portland Press Herald, programmer and air talent Randi Kirshbaum wrote on Facebook that she’s been terminated by Saga Portland for refusing to resume working from the company’s offices. Kirshbaum was programming triple A WCLZ, hot AC WMGX, and worked on air at WCLZ and country WPOR. Saga says she was not terminated but laid off for not following the terms she agreed to for working remotely. Kirshbaum says her doctor recommends she work remotely to prevent contracting pulmonary fibrosis as the result of coming in contact with COVID-19. She says she’s been able to do everything she needs to from home, but Saga Portland SVP of operations Chris Forgy tells the paper it’s “virtually impossible for her to be a supervisor and not come back.” He says her work-from-home deal required the company assess the situation every two weeks and it would be the company’s call when she was to return. Kirshbaum says she did not agree that her return would be up to Saga.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Nashville, Cromwell Media names Chris “Crate” Atticus program director, brand manager, and midday host for rock WBUZ “102.9 The Buzz.” Atticus has been serving as APD and imaging director at iHeartMedia Indianapolis. Atticus was assistant program director and imaging director for WBUZ from 2010 through 2014. He comments, “I’m stoked to come home to Cromwell Media. It’s a dream come true to return to ‘The Buzz’ and take the reins of ‘Nashville’s Rock Station.’” Cromwell also promotes afternoon personality Hayley St. John to assistant program director…..iHeartMedia Atlanta announces that Spanish Hits WBZY “Z105.7” is now also broadcasting on WRDA-FM at 96.7, a signal licensed to Union City located southwest of Atlanta. The company says the signal expansion will “reach thousands of new listeners in the Atlanta community, allowing a larger audience to enjoy its Spanish contemporary hit radio programming.”

Monday, May 18, 2020

| May 18, 2020

Monday Memo: Weekend Warriors, Battling the Virus. As the cooped-up are coping, radio talkers are listening. In last week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke polled a panel of weekday hosts, who describe the mood they’re monitoring. This week, HC rounds up weekend ask-the-expert hosts, who describe how callers’ questions flesh-out listeners’ lives during the shutdown now easing in phases. Read it here.

Re-Opening Controversy, Statistics & Projections, Trump IG Firings, Michael Flynn Case, Pressure on China, Ahmaud Arbery Case, Presidential Race, and Fred Willard Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The concerns about safely re-opening the economies in states across the country; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections about future infections; the political battle heating up over President Trump’s firing of inspector general Steve Linick; the DOJ’s dropping of the charges against Michael Flynn for lying in court and Republicans’ efforts to involve Barack Obama in the case; some 100 countries pressuring China for an investigation into its coronavirus efforts; the case of murdered Georgia jogger Ahmaud Arbery; the latest poll numbers in the presidential race; and comedian Fred Willard dies at 85 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Get Ready. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that as most parts of the country begin transitioning out of mandated self-isolation, your clients are working through a maze of regulations and protocols completely new to them. Go with the “Three-E Theory” – be empathetic, energetic, and easy. Read his column here.

Mancow Asks Court to Toss Defamation Suit. A story in the Daily Herald by Harry Hitzeman reveals that WLS-AM, Chicago morning host Erich “Mancow” Muller is asking a Cook County Circuit Court judge to dismiss the defamation suit filed against him by former Harvest Bible Chapel pastor James MacDonald. If you recall, Mancow aired on his radio show secretly recorded tapes of MacDonald in which he wonders if child porn could be placed on the computer of a Christianity Today editor with whom he had a beef. MacDonald was subsequently ousted by his church’s board in 2019 and in response MacDonald filed suit against Muller late last year. Now, Muller files the Motion to Dismiss arguing that MacDonald is a public figure and it was Muller’s “duty as a Christian and media member to shine a light on MacDonald’s true character.” MacDonald’s lawyer is saying Muller’s motion comes too late, too long, and also argues Muller’s lawyer has a conflict of interest in the case as he once represented MacDonald. The two sides have a court date of June 12.

Josh Wolff Named VP of Programming for iHeartMedia Harrisburg-Lancaster. Programming pro Josh Wolff is promoted to vice president of programming for iHeartMedia’s Harrisburg and Lancaster, Pennsylvania markets. In this role Wolff will oversee all on-air content as well as music and digital programming operations for all of the Harrisburg and Lancaster brands. He will continue to program CHR WAEB “B-104” and rock WZZO in Allentown. iHeartMedia area SVP of programming Dave Hovel says, “With Josh’s strong leadership skills in Allentown, it was a no-brainer to elevate him to oversee iHeartMedia Harrisburg and Lancaster. The entire Harrisburg/Lancaster team is excited to have Josh in the role to lead and grow our iHeart footprint in the markets.” Before joining iHeartMedia’s Pennsylvania region, Wolff served as the music director and assistant program director for adult contemporary KESZ and adult hits KYOT “95.5 The Mountain” in Phoenix.

Beasley Delaying 2020 Q1 Financial Report. In a May 15 filing with the SEC, Beasley Broadcast Group, parent of Beasley Media Group, says it is unable to meet its Form 10-Q filing deadline due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its business operations. The company notes that an order issued by the Securities Exchange Commission grants a 45-day extension to file certain disclosure reports. Beasley says it intends to file its Quarterly Report no later than June 29. In addition to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on its ability to complete its quarterly review, “the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have caused disruptions to the Company’s business and operations, and the related uncertainty as to when or the manner in which the conditions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic will subside have made it necessary for it to seek an amendment to its credit facility that would, among other things, amend certain financial covenants. For the quarter ended March 31, the Company was in compliance with its financial covenants related to its credit facility. However, at that time the Company was projecting that it was unlikely to be able to comply with its First Lien Leverage Ratio as of June 30. As a result, the Company is seeking and expects to enter into an amendment to its credit facility in the coming weeks, and projects that it will be in compliance with the financial covenants, as amended, over the next 12 months. If the Company is unable to obtain an amendment to its credit facility, it would result in an event of default, which would materially affect its results of operations, liquidity and financial condition.”

Townsquare Media Promotes Dobbins to VP. Sales pro Sarah Dobbins is promoted from director of sales for Townsquare Media’s Portland station group to vice president of sales for Northern New England, including the Portland and Augusta markets as well as the Portsmouth, New Hampshire market. She’ll report to regional market president & chief revenue officer Christine Sieks. Dobbins says, “Townsquare Media has an unbelievable combination of local marketing resources designed to help local businesses grow. Now more than ever, our local brands, digital marketing solutions, and attribution tools make Townsquare a powerhouse in Northern New England. I am excited to partner with Christine Sieks in maximizing our resources to drive sales growth throughout Maine and New Hampshire.”

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago morning personality Erich “Mancow” Muller – host at Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM – was one of the high-profile leaders of Saturday’s “Open Illinois Rally” organized and co-hosted by Josh Ellis of American Revolution 2.0. Mancow and a number of politicians and candidates gathered to “address the governor’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic response.” The intent was to demand the state legislature “work on guidance and provisions to safely open Illinois businesses and resume our work lives.”…..WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway tells TALKERS magazine it was a “great honor” to have President Trump call into his radio show on Friday (5/15). Conway says that when Trump was running for office, the two spoke many times but this was the first time they talked with Trump as president. “It doesn’t matter what people think about him, this is the President of the United States who picked up the phone and spoke directly to my audience.” Conway’s show is also heard on WMT-AM, Cedar Rapids and WOC-AM, Quad Cities…..Nexstar Broadcasting is presenting “COVID-19 The Virtual Town Hall” to be aired on its television stations across Connecticut tonight (5/18) at 7:00 pm.  The audio from the event will be carried by iHeartMedia’s 11 Connecticut radio stations. The Town Hall will include: Governor Ned Lamont, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, and numerous state representatives and health care experts…..BIA Advisory Services is presenting a webinar tomorrow (5/19) at 11:00 am called “2020 State of Media Sales Study” that will consist of answering such questions as: What’s on the minds of local media sellers as they operate in a post COVID marketplace? Where do they expect to find ad revenue? What verticals will have the most potential in Q3 and Q4 in 2020? And, which types of accounts will pose the biggest challenges? The webinar will share findings from the April 2020 study of media sales professionals about the past year and current, unusual conditions…..The Talk Shows USA-syndicated “Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk” program adds two new affiliate stations as KBRN-AM/ K280GR, Boerne, Texas and KIVA-AM/ K229CL, Albuquerque, New Mexico add the show to their weekend program schedules…..Westwood One News is presenting “The Summer of COVID-19” as its Memorial Day Weekend special. WWO says, “Barbeques and beaches. Death rates and vaccine hopes. It is going to be a summer like no other. American traditions are under threat, from backstage ball fields to seasonal staples like family vacations and summer camps, while others still plan to hit the road or take to the skies during an unprecedented health and financial crisis… correspondent Christopher Cruise explores how we got here and where we are going, or not going, this summer.” It replaces “The Week in Review” on May 23-24.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On Long Island, Connoisseur Media’s four-station cluster that includes hot AC WALK-FM, rock WWSK-FM “94.3 The Shark,” classic hits WBZO “103.2 MAX,” and adult contemporary WKJY-FM “KJOY 98.3” shined a light on the mental effects of social distancing with a special live stream concert last night (5/17) to benefit The American Foundation For Suicide Prevention Long Island Chapter. The “Be Well Long Island” benefit concert featured performances and appearances by: Johnny Rzenick of the Goo Goo Dolls, Joan Jett, Scott Stapp, DMC from Run DMC, Kevin Martin and Brian Quinn of Candlebox, Fitz and The Tantrums, Vintage Trouble, and more. WWSK music director Brian Orlando says, “There are thousands of people suffering in silence right now. We at Connoisseur Media want them to know that they’re not alone.”

Friday, May 15, 2020

| May 15, 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.  The new episode titled, “Skating Away on the Thin Ice of a New Day!” looks back at this past week of May 11-15, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Brian Kilmeade, talk show host, FOX News Channel / FOX News RadioIan Anderson, musician, Jethro Tull, UK; Ken Matthews, talk show host, WHP, Harrisburg, PA; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, 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, Denver “Freedom 93.7”; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN, the Virginia Talk Radio Network, Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA, Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  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.

Round Four of April 2020 PPM Data Released. Ratings information from the fourth and final round of Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s April 2020 survey period covered March 26 – April 22. You can see all the weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers from subscribing stations here. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets and some movement of note among spoken-word stations includes: Waterloo Media Group’s news/talk KLBJ-AM, Austin adds 1.4 shares in April to finish with a 6.4 share good for the #3 rank in the market; Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis continues its upward trend with the addition of 1.5 shares to move into the #1 position with a 10.3 share; iHeartMedia’s news/talk WISN-AM, Milwaukee takes the #1 rank after adding a whopping 3.5 shares to leap from fourth to first with a 9.3 share while Good Karma Brands’ crosstown WTMJ adds six-tenths to finish at #3 on the strength of a 6.3 share; Cumulus Media’s Providence news/talker WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM shoots up 2.3 shares to a 6.1 share good for the #5 rank; and Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville tacks 1.6 shares on in April to remain at #1 with a 13.4 share. You can check out all of Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways here.

Michael Medved Show and CRN Partner to Expand Distribution. A partnership between CRN Digital Talk Radio and Medved Communications includes the launch of “The Michael Medved Show” on CRN 1 from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.  As part of the deal, CRN will distribute and provide marketing, ad sales, production, social media, and promotional support for Medved Communications. CRN Digital Talk Radio president and CEO Michael Horn says, “I am thrilled to help expand the Michael Medved show. Michael is one of radio’s best storytellers. He provides knowledge, a unique perspective, and truly entertains his listeners every single day.” CRN will distribute “The Michael Medved Show” and the “Medved Entertainment Minute” with Genesis Communications Network on their XDS Satellite.

Josh Innes to Join ‘ESPN 97.5’ Houston. The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron reports that sports talk personality Josh Innes is joining Gow Media’s KGOW-FM “ESPN 97.5” to host the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm show, effective Monday (5/18). He’ll replace ESPN Radio’s Will Cain on the station’s program schedule. Innes has been hosting a podcast since he exited iHeartMedia’s crosstown sports talker KBME in March of 2019.

Adams Radio Group Transitioning Back to Offices. In all of the market in which Adams Radio Group operates, staffers are beginning to return to their offices and studios. Company CEO Ron Stone says employees have been working from home for the past nine weeks. He says, “Adams markets have begun the transition of returning to normal operations at our offices and studios. Each market is staging the return of employees in phases, beginning with on-air staff. We will have 100% of our employees back on all sites by July 15, which allows time needed for some employees that have requested additional time to transition. Our employees have done an incredible job keeping our stations live and local during this health scare. Listening to our stations, one would never have known our people were not in our studios. I can never say enough about our news staff and the incredible job they have done keeping our communities up to date with local information. We have amazing teams and I am extremely proud of every person on our staff. What radio has done all over the country over the past nine weeks certainly proves the value of live and local radio and why it is so important to every community.”

Health & Medicine Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 11-15. The medical aspects of COVID-19, including the drive to develop a vaccine, the push for more testing, and the treatment for infected patients combined for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the statistics on confirmed COVID-19 cases, the death toll, and projections for future cases. Coming in at #3 was the economic repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, followed by the debate over ‘lives vs livelihood’ and concern about the erosion of civil liberties 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 and you can see this week’s complete chart here.

NRG Media Omaha Offices Re-Opening with the Help of Plexiglass and Shower Curtains. Pictured above is Studio 1 at NRG Media Omaha as the company prepares to bring staffers back into the facility. As with many radio stations across the country, on-air personalities have been working remotely or in separate studios. The company says no studio was occupied with more than one on-air personality at any given time in an effort to keep everyone safe.  Now that some of the restrictions are being lifted, NRG Omaha is starting to bring back all on-air personalities and staffers. As you can see in the photo, they are using plexiglass and shower curtains to mitigate movement of airborne particles. General manager Mark Shecterle states, “COVID-19 has challenged every business and made us all stop and think about how we operate. My number one priority during these challenging times has been and will continue to be keeping all of our employees safe. Therefore, we had to get creative and shower curtains are a perfect and safe barrier for our talent, sellers, and employees who share an office. Moreover, during the holidays we can have some fun with it. My promotions department already ordered a Freddy Krueger one for Halloween.” KOZN-AM “1620 The ZONE” personality Damon Benning commens, “I am so ready to get back into the building and work alongside my co-host Mike’l Severe even though there will be a clear shower curtain between us. We have not missed a beat, but nothing beats being in the same studio with your producer and co-host. I’m ready.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The nationally syndicated “Nights with Elaina” program will feature special guest hosts all next week (5/18-22). The ladies are taking over Westwood One Nashville’s “Nights with Elaina” as Gabby Barrett, Ingrid Andress, Ashley McBryde, Carly Pearce, and Lindsay Ell will each guest host an evening from home and provide their fans an update on what they’ve been doing during quarantine. Host Elaina Smith says, “Spending time away from listeners is always difficult, especially in these times. But I am so thrilled that these strong, powerful, talented women will be keeping everyone company while I’m gone! I know they’re gonna crush it and continue spreading positivity all throughout the country! Lord knows we need it.”

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