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.”

Thursday, May 14, 2020

| May 14, 2020

Entercom Reports First Quarter Net Revenue Down 4%. On revenue of $297 million, Entercom reports a drop of 4% for the first quarter of 2020 compared to Q1 2019 in which net revenue was $309 million. Digital revenue was up 41% year-over-year for the quarter, “propelled by strong audience and revenue growth in podcasting and digital audio advertising.” Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $34.5 million, down 19% compared to $42.7 million in the first quarter of 2019. Whereas Entercom reported a net gain of $3.1 million in the first quarter of 2019, it is reporting a net loss of $9.1 million for Q1 2020. Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “I want to salute the outstanding work and dedication of the Entercom team, which has risen to the unique challenges of these unprecedented times to serve the American public, our customers and our communities. Entercom began the year on a strong note driving revenues up over 7% through February before facing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have taken important actions to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and are well positioned financially to operate effectively through the crisis. Strategically, we are well positioned to fully participate in the recovery and the attractive growth opportunities in the audio space, with strong leadership positions in broadcast radio and podcasting, the fastest growing digital audio platform, unparalleled leadership in news and sports, and strong data and analytics capabilities.”

Round Three of April PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. 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 from this batch of markets and notes some of the following moves of significance: In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM tacks on three-tenths to finish with a 7 share and moves up to the #2 rank in the market; Entercom’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte adds another 1.4 shares to its March total for a 7.1 share and a rise to the #3 rank; iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOAI-AM, San Antonio busts out with a 2.1 share increase, climbing to a 7.9 share and the #2 rank; In Sacramento, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFBK continues its climb adding 1.3 shares to finish #1 for the fourth straight survey with an 11.6 share; Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City rockets up 2.8 shares into first place with an 8.8 share; and iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati also rises 2.8 shares to repeat at #1 with a 12.9 share. See all of Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways here.

Rod Blagojevich to Host WLS-AM-Produced Podcast. Titled, “The Lightning Rod,” former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich begins hosting the weekly podcast for Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago. Blagojevich was sentenced to prison after the feds recorded phone conversations of him trying to “sell” Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat – a charge he denies to this day. President Trump commuted his sentence after serving almost eight years in a Colorado federal prison. The new podcast launches on May 20. Cumulus Chicago vice president and market manager Marv Nyren says, “Blagojevich is a polarizing political figure who served his time and now he’s serving up the truth, only on WLS-AM. It will be messy; it will be raw, and it will be Rod as you have never heard him before.” Blagojevich comments, “After a long exile, I made it home. It’s a brand-new day. I’m finally free and fired up to speak my mind, provide insights from the inside, and share what I’ve learned from the school of hard knocks.”

Michelle Franzen Named Midday Anchor at ABC News Radio. Rising from correspondent at ABC News Radio is news pro Michelle Franzen, who is named midday news anchor, joining Cheri Preston, Daria Albinger, and Rich Cantu in the weekday lineup. ABC Audio director of news programming Scott Goldberg says in a memo to staffers, “Michelle is a trusted journalist with top-notch storytelling skills. Just yesterday she, along with a stellar producing team, won a Gracie Award for their heartwarming story on NICU cuddlers, volunteers who spend time swaddling and hugging newborns when parents or nurses aren’t around. Michelle began her ABC News career in 2014, reporting for all platforms, and joined our ABC Audio family in 2015 as a correspondent. Since then she’s been instrumental in our coverage of so many major stories, including the 2016 presidential election, the tragic mass shooting in El Paso and the impeachment of President Trump. Last year Michelle’s story on organizations working to feed the hungry during the holiday season was featured in our special ‘America’s Bounty.’ She’s currently back in touch with one of those organizations, reporting its shift in efforts to fill the need during the pandemic.”

Radio Hall of Fame Opens Nomination Process. The Museum of Broadcast Communications announces that the Radio Hall of Fame Nominating Committee is now accepting suggestions for 2020 nominees and will continue to accept them until May 29. Inductees will be honored at the annual Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which is returning to Chicago in late October 2020. The exact date of the gala will be announced shortly. Suggestions for Radio Hall of Fame nominees can be made in the following categories: Longstanding Local/Regional (20 years or more), Active Local/Regional (10 years or more), Networks/Syndication (10 years or more), Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more), Music Format On-Air Personality, and/or Spoken Word On-Air Personality. Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig T. Kitchin says, “The annual Hall of Fame ceremony is a traditionally heartfelt event that evokes emotion from inductees and attendees. These talented radio broadcast individuals are honored for accomplishments that most only dream of. Being the 100th anniversary of radio makes this year’s celebration even more special.” The Radio Hall of Fame says that 100th anniversary of the radio industry will be part of this year’s celebration and notes that KDKA, Pittsburgh is often cited as the first commercial radio station in the United States for broadcasting the 1920 presidential election returns. The first national radio network was NBC in 1926, followed by CBS in 1927. ABC became a spin-off of one of NBC’s networks in the 1940s. You can make a nomination suggestion by visiting www.radiohalloffame.com and clicking on the NOMINATE tab.

Raiders Continue Relationship with Compass Media Networks. The Las Vegas Raiders sign a multi-year extension with Compass Media Networks in which the company will continue to produce and broadcast all Raiders’ play-by-play-audio for distribution on terrestrial radio, Raiders.com, SiriusXM, TuneIn, and Verizon Mobile. Raiders president Marc Badain states, “The Raiders are thrilled to continue our decade-long partnership with Compass Media Networks. We look forward to Brent Musburger and Lincoln Kennedy bringing all the action to a passionate audience of Raiders fans nationwide on game day.” Compass says that in this coming season, it will offer expanded pre-game and post-game coverage – in addition to all of the play-by-play action.

Statistics and Projections, Re-Opening Controversy, Financial Markets/The Economy, Bright Testimony, Michael Flynn Case, Presidential Election, GOP Special Election Victories, Burr Investigation, and Sports Leagues’ Plans Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/13). The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections for future infections; the controversy over re-openings in various states; the financial markets react to coronavirus news and Fed chair Jerome Powell’s warning about the effect on the U.S. economy; Dr. Rick Bright’s Thursday testimony before a House panel; Judge Emmet Sullivan’s oversight of the case of former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn; the November presidential election and the allegation of sexual assault against Joe Biden; the GOP wins seats in California and Wisconsin in special elections; the investigation into Senator Richard Burr’s sale of stocks; and the various sports leagues’ plans to play games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

WHP, Harrisburg PM Drive Host Ken Matthews Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The afternoon drive host on iHeartMedia’s heritage station WHP, Harrisburg, PA, Ken Matthews, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”   Matthews, a staunch conservative in the capital of a key battleground state, is also on the select roster of fill-in hosts who sit in for Rush Limbaugh. A member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred, Matthews describes himself as having a passion for people, politics, pop culture, pistols, pianos, and alliteration. He’s a 35-year veteran of radio whose career has been marked by tremendous ups, downs and ups again.  Harrison and his guest candidly discuss the politics of COVID-19, the presidential race, and the years Matthews has spent in the trenches of both music and talk radio. It is a fascinating overview of the times in which we live and the “real world” life of one of the industry’s hardest-working professionals.  Don’t miss it!  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Rock programming pro James Kurdziel is named program director for Cumulus Media’s classic rock KQRS, Minneapolis, taking over for Scott Jameson. Kurdziel serves as regional VP of programming-rock – a position he’ll continue to hold – and PD/midday personality for the company’s alternative WEDG-FM, Buffalo. He’ll continue in that role until a successor is named. He says, “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I’m beyond grateful. Being at the helm of KQRS and working with Tom Barnard and the talented staff there is humbling and I am thrilled.”…..Cumulus Media’s hot AC WNTR “107.9 The Mix” drops the Christmas music it’s been playing for the past month and re-positions as “107.9 The Mix from the ‘80s to Now!” It also unveils a new jock lineup that includes Nikki Reed in afternoon drive…..According to a report by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, a talent shuffle takes place at Hubbard Radio’s hot AC WTMX. Both producer Cynthia DeNicolo and social media manager Melissa Dever exited recently as part of the company’s COVID-19-related cuts. Now, traffic reporter Violeta Podrumedic begins handling social media duties for the morning show as morning personality Melissa McGurren adds traffic duties.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

| May 13, 2020

Dimick Promoted to VP, Programming Operations, Cumulus Radio Station Group. Programming pro John Dimick is upped from his VP, programming operations position with Cumulus Media to the newly created position of senior vice president, programming operations, Cumulus Radio Station Group. In his new role, Atlanta-based Dimick will lead Cumulus’ team of vice presidents, programming operations, and 11 format specialists across the company. He will continue to report to Cumulus EVP, Content and Audience Brian Philips, who says, “In my first year, John has proven himself to be an indispensable partner in the leadership of this programming group. He is gifted with the intuition, pragmatism, and patience to see us to greatness. This move validates the hard-earned trust and confidence John enjoys within our entire company.” Dimick comments, “Cumulus programming professionals are passionate about radio and understand the value of locally programmed and community involved stations. I am honored to assist Brian Philips in leading our team in this new position while continuing to learn from the best minds in our industry. I’m pleased to work with Mary Berner, Dave Milner, Bob Walker, and especially Brian Philips as Cumulus continues to reinvent the audio entertainment landscape.” Dimick joined the company in 2016.

WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago’s Felicia Middlebrooks to Leave All-News Outlet; Will Launch New Multimedia Platform. Morning drive news co-anchor Felicia Middlebrooks announces via a Facebook post that she is leaving Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago on May 29 after almost 36 years in the morning drive position. She says she’s “not retiring, I’m rewiring” and will focus full time on her Saltshaker Productions company developing a multimedia platform that will include “documentaries and feature films, audiobooks and other projects.” Her first project is a podcast titled, “She Matters,” that focuses on empowering women. She says her exit from WBBM is completely her decision and, in fact, is something she’s been planning for “nearly a decade.” She concludes her post saying, “I also could not have imagined announcing this life change in the midst of a global pandemic. That said, I can tell you that I believe newsradio will always be relevant, dependable and necessary as we all navigate what’s next. Those in medicine are at the forefront of battling COVID-19 and journalists are on the frontlines, disseminating vital information to the public. In a constantly changing world, I can promise you I’ll still be telling stories — stories that heal, elevate, enlighten and connect us. Truth matters. Always has, always will.”

Round Two of April PPM Ratings Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. 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. The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to more listening for news/talk – both commercial and non-commercial – and all-news stations and that trend continued during the April survey. In Washington, DC, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM rockets to #1 on the strength of a 2.2 share increase giving it a 10 share. It bested Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM, which backslid to a 7.7 share and the #3 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston adds 2.5 shares for a 5.3 share finish and the #5 rank while sister all-news WBZ-AM, Boston dips one-tenth to a 6.3 share and the #4 rank. Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle adds nine-tenths to rise to a 6.9 share and repeating at #1. In Detroit, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJR-AM jumps 1.9 shares for a 4.8 share and the #4 rank and Entercom’s all-news WWJ-AM tacks on six-tenths to remain at #1 with a 6.4 share. Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix moves to #3 on the strength of a 1.5 share increase that gives it a 6.1 share. And in Baltimore, Hearst’s WBAL-AM rises to #3 after a nine-tenths jump to a 6.0 share. You can see all of TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways from the April PPM survey here.

Winners of Regional Murrow Awards Named. Yesterday, TALKERS featured some of the stations that won honors in the Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association. Here are some more stations that were recognized: Sinclair Broadcast Group’s all-news KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle won three regional Murrow awards including: Best Newscast (Morning Drive) with Gregg Hersholt & Manda Factor; Breaking News (Lake City Shooting, Afternoon Drive) with Rick Van Cise & Elisa Jaffe; and Best Continuing Coverage (Boeing, Year of Crisis). KOMO-AM/FM program director Rick Van Cise says, “KOMO Newsradio has once again been honored with one of the most prestigious prizes in journalism which is a testament to our news team’s great work every day.” Entercom all-news and news/talk stations won 23 Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards in nine markets: WBEN-AM, Buffalo wins for Overall Excellence, Multimedia, and Newscast (September 5, 2019); WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago wins for Breaking News Coverage (Chicago Teachers Strike), and Newscast (July 16, 2019); KRLD-AM, Dallas wins for Overall Excellence and Newscast; KNX-AM, Los Angeles wins Overall Excellence; WCCO-AM, Minneapolis wins Excellence in Sound (The Power of Music); WCBS-AM, New York wins Overall Excellence and Excellence in Video (The Sweet Spot: Carmine Street Guitars); WINS-AM wins Breaking News Coverage (Jersey City Shootout), Excellence in Social Media (PRIDE), and Newscast; KYW-AM, Philadelphia wins Excellence in Sound (Gone Cold: Jennifer Tong), Multimedia, and Sports Reporting (Living with epilepsy doesn’t slow down Temple lacrosse star Maddie Gebert); KCBS-AM, San Franciso wins Hard News (The High Price Of Housing) and Newscast (9am, 10/24/19); and KMOX, St. Louis wins Excellence in Sound (It’s Your Birthday!), Hard News (Xavier Usanga Has a Name) and Newscast (8:00 am 4/30/19). Hearst Radio’s WBAL, Baltimore wins Breaking News and Excellence in Writing (Josh Spiegel).

EMF Launches Podcast Initiative. Religious broadcaster Educational Media Foundation – parent of K-LOVE, Air1, and WTA Media – is preparing to launch a new podcasting platform called Accessmore that features a growing library of on-demand, faith-based podcasts. It will feature nationally known Christian teachers, authors, speakers, and entertainers sharing content designed to inform and inspire. Some of the podcasts include: “Dare to Be” with Grammy-nominated singer Natalie Grant and Charlotte Gambill; “Equip and Empower” from Christine Caine; “Hey, It’s the Luskos with Levi and Jennie Lusko”; Rebecca St. James Family & Friends; and “Into the Portal” from Elevation eKids. EMF CEO Bill Reeves says, “Since joining EMF last year, we’ve been developing opportunities in new media to reach more people with quality, faith-based content. We were already among the top 10 U.S.-based audio streaming companies. Accessmore is the next major step into that burgeoning segment.”

Statistics and Projections, Re-Opening Controversy/Fauci Warning, $3 Trillion House Aid Bill, Michael Flynn Case, SCOTUS Trump Taxes Arguments, U.S.-China Relations, and MLB Play Plans Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/12). The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the number of deaths, and projections about future infections; concerns about the gradual re-openings taking place in some states and Dr. Tony Fauci’s warning that cases will likely spike; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi files a $3 trillion air bill; a Superior Court judge mulls whether the DOJ can drop the Michael Flynn charges plus allegations of the Obama administration’s role in implicating Flynn; the Supreme Court arguments over President Trump’s efforts to block disclosure of his tax returns; accusations by China and the U.S. that the other is responsible for the coronavirus pandemic; and Major League Baseball announces plans to start season in July were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

45th Annual Gracie Award Winners Announced. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces the winners of the 45th annual Gracie Awards. The Gracies recognize exemplary programming created by, for and about women in radio, television, and interactive media. Honorees are selected in national, local and student markets, including both commercial and non-commercial outlets. AWMF executive director Becky Brooks says, “Our leadership is proud to honor the best of the best who embody the spirit and intention of the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation’s Gracie Awards. We want to thank those on the front lines telling the important stories still impacting our world. It is our distinguished honor to recognize the reporters, hosts, producers and media executives who are working to ensure the public is informed. We know everyone in media has been impacted in some way, and we continue to salute this outstanding list of honorees for their award-winning passion, energy and perseverance.” Radio National Honorees from commercial outlets include: Carla Ferrell, “The Steve Harvey Morning Show” Premiere Networks; Elaina Smith, “Nights with Elaina” Westwood One; Jayde Donovan, “The Jayde Donovan Show” Westwood One; Liana Huth, “I’m Listening” Entercom Communications; Michelle Collins, “The Michelle Collins Show” SiriusXM; and Michelle Franzen, “The NICU Cuddler” ABC News.  Radio Local Honorees from commercial outlets include: Angela Martinez, “The Angie Martinez Show” WWPR, New York; Brigitte Quinn, WINS, New York; Carla Rea, “The Mike and Carla Morning Show” Beasley Media Group; Chris Rollins, WPST, Trenton, New Jersey; Cooper Lawrence, “WOR Tonight,” WOR, New York; Deborah Honeycutt, “Jim, Deb & Kevin” Cumulus Media; Heather Hunter, “Mornings on the Mall,” WMAL-AM/FM, Washington; Jenn Hobby, “Jenn & Friends,” WSTR, Atlanta; Katie Neal, WNSH, New York; Mary Walter, WMAL-AM/FM, Washington; Meghan Lane, “The Big Ape Morning Mess,” WAPE, Jacksonville; Nancy Wilson, WHKO-FM, Dayton; Rebekah Maroun, “Matty In The Morning,” WXKS-FM, Boston; and Shannon Farren, “Gary and Shannon Show,” KFI, Los Angeles.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Radio broadcasters Cox Media Group, Alpha Media, Beasley Media Group, Hubbard Radio, Neuhoff Media, and Townsquare Media are joining BMI and some of country music’s top songwriters to present, “A Salute to Songwriters,” a radio concert to benefit the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief fund this Saturday, May 16, at 7:00 pm. The three-hour, commercial free benefit concert will be co-hosted by country superstar Luke Bryan and feature some of the songwriters behind country music’s biggest hits straight from their living rooms and home studios. The lineup includes Dallas Davidson and Rhett Akins, Jon Randall and Jessi Alexander, Luke Dick and Jeff Hyde, Brandon Kinney and Clint Daniels, Barry Dean and Natalie Hemby as well as Dylan Altman and Wynn Varble. Proceeds will benefit songwriters who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund. The concert will be broadcast on more than 100 country radio stations across the six media groups…..The SupeRadio syndicated “Most Requested Live with Romeo” program celebrates its 10th anniversary. The Saturday evening live program is hosted by Tim “Romeo” Herbster. SupeRadio president Eric Faison says, “From the very beginning, ‘MRL’ has been one of SupeRadio’s elite programs, and we’re excited to continue to partner with the most interactive and social media-driven radio show in the world for the next 10 years.”

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

| May 12, 2020

Cumulus Media Reports Net Revenue Decrease of 14.8% in Q1. Reporting financial data for the first quarter of 2020, Cumulus Media’s net revenue was $227.9 million, a decrease of 14.8% compared to Q1 of 2019. After reporting a profit of $451,000 in 2019, Cumulus ends Q1 2020 with a net loss of $7.4 million. Adjusted EBITDA was $27.7 million, a decrease of 33.7% from the first quarter of last year. On a same station basis, net revenue was $226.5 million, a decrease of 11.2%. On the positive side, digital revenue was up 30% to $21.8 million. But spot revenue was down 12.6% and network revenue was down 22.9%. Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner states, “Regardless of the challenge, the Cumulus team has focused acutely on what matters most, moved decisively where it will make a difference, and executed every effort efficiently and with an eye toward creating value. Our reaction to this unprecedented COVID-19 crisis has been no different. We entered March with strong financial performance, a favorable capital structure and significant liquidity, and we’ve taken swift actions that we believe will help us weather the adverse impacts of the pandemic. Over the past few years, we have made meaningful shifts, both culturally and strategically, expanding from our on-air radio foundation to become a multi-platform audio-first media company, delivering premium content to over a quarter billion listeners each month whenever and however they want it. With our robust portfolio of broadcast, digital, mobile and voice-activated media solutions and integrated digital marketing services, we are very well-positioned to provide advertisers with the personal connections, local impact and massive national reach that will help them quickly reconnect with their customers as the crisis wanes.”

Michael Harrison Says the White House Is Now Obsolete.  TALKERS founder Michael Harrison says it is “insane” that no one is questioning the wisdom of continuing to use the White House as the office center for the administration’s upper management while they bemoan the fact that the architecture is dangerously out of step with the perils of COVID-19 transmission.  Harrison floated the concept on the latest installment of his podcast while musing with WHP afternoon drive host Ken Matthews about administration officials and employees suddenly testing positive for the virus. According to Harrison, “One of the many things that the coronavirus is exposing as being out of synch with the new reality is the quaint notion that the West Wing is a viable venue in which administration brass should operate.”  Harrison continues, “Okay, so we learn that the offices in which West Wing workers are squeezed are remarkably tiny and cramped.  So, what should we do?   Get them out of there as quickly as possible!  Surely the government has enough resources to find a modern office building in which the West Wing can be relocated so the administration upper management can stretch out in a workable facility. Perhaps the Executive Office Building can be a temporary space… I’m not sure.  But I do know they should also move the steerage-level White House press quarters into a more modern and healthier environment.  This should be done immediately.  Let the White House be a residence and a museum.  As far as I can tell, the West Wing is obsolete.”

Round One of April PPM Ratings Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 PPM survey have been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Long Island (Nassau-Suffolk), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 survey period covered March 26 – April 22. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to bring listeners to all-news and news/talk formatted stations. In New York, iHeartMedia’s WOR adds 1.1 shares to wrap the April survey with a 3.0 share. Entercom’s all-news WINS tacks on another full share to finish with a 5.7 share and the #3 rank in the market. iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles rises 1.3 shares for a 5.5 share and the #1 rank (its first #1 since March of 2011). Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM, Chicago adds another 1.1 share to finish April with a 5.6 share and the #3 rank, while Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM adds seven-tenths for an 8.4 share and its third straight #1 finish. Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco stays steady with a 9.9 share to remain at #1. Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta tacks on another full share for a 13.9 share and its 10th straight #1 finish. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian has much more ratings analysis for you. Read his Ratings Takeaways here.

Brian Kilmeade to Celebrate Paperback Edition Publication Via KRMG, Tulsa. Nationally syndicated radio personality and FOX News Channel “Fox & Friends” morning host Brian Kilmeade is launching the paperback edition of his book Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers via a virtual release party today with affiliate station KRMG, Tulsa and local seller Magic City Books. Dan Potter is the morning host at the Cox Media Group station, and he’ll facilitate the virtual event and allow participants to ask Kilmeade questions. Participants will have access to an online room and will receive a paperback version of Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers as part of their registration fee. Kilmeade’s radio show is syndicated by FOX News Radio and KRMG director of programming and branding Levi May states, “Brian is one of our most popular syndicated hosts and we are always so honored when he chooses KRMG to partner with him when he comes to Oklahoma.” Kilmeade came to Tulsa in November 2019 and broadcast his national show from the KRMG Performance Center when the hardcover book was originally released.

David Wood Promoted to VP of Programming for Emmis Indy. Programming pro David Wood rises from director of programming at Emmis Communications Indianapolis to vice president of programming. The 10-year Emmis veteran works with the program directors of Emmis-Indianapolis’ sports talk WFNI-AM “The Fan,” adult contemporary WYXB-FM “B105.7,” WLHK-FM “Hank FM,” and he’ll continue to serve as the head programmer for news/talk WIBC-FM and Network Indiana. Emmis Indianapolis SVP Bob Richards states, “David’s experience building legendary brands and coaching world-class talent is second to none. This promotion is well deserved recognition for the amazing work he has been doing leading our programming teams for the past 10-plus years.”

Statistics and Projections, States Begin Re-Opening, COVID-19 at the White House, Michael Flynn Case, Presidential Election/Biden Allegation, and Sports Leagues Plan Re-Opening Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/11). The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the number of deaths, and projections about future infections; the re-opening begins in numerous states across the country; the presence of confirmed cases among White House staffers; the DOJ drops the Michael Flynn case and allegations of the Obama administration’s role in implicating Flynn; the November presidential election and the allegation of sexual assault against Joe Biden; and MLB’s and the NFL’s plans to play games this year were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. This past weekend, Premiere Networks-syndicated personalities George Noory, host of “Coast to Coast AM” and sports talk host Colin Cowherd, host of “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” appeared together on Cowherd’s Saturday podcast in which he often talks about issues outside the realm of sports. Noory chatted with Cowherd about the mysterious Navy pilot videos recently declassified by the Pentagon, the conspiracy theories around the origins of COVID-19, the unsolved case of the 1971 D.B. Cooper airplane hijacking, and more.  The two also traded stories about their personal experiences with UFOs…..Cumulus Media’s Dallas sports talker KTCK-AM/FM “Sportsradio 96.7 & 1310 The Ticket” adds several FOX Sports Radio programs to its weeknight and weekend roster. “The Jason Smith Show with Mike Harmon” and “The Ben Maller Show” are being added to the weekend program schedule along with various other FSR weekend programs…..ADX Communications’ news/talk WNRP-AM/W222BR “News Radio 92.3” is honored with five First Place awards from the Florida Association of Broadcast Journalists for coverage of the December 6 shooting at NAS Pensacola. The station won Best Radio Newscast (anchored by Mark Jacobs); Breaking News; Continuing Coverage; Team Coverage; and News Anchor/Anchor Team led by Andrew McKay…..Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington, DC was honored with six Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards today by the Radio Television Digital News Association. The station was recognized in the Overall Excellence category for the 9th time in the past 11 years for its coverage of the D.C. region on WTOP and WTOP.com. WTOP also received recognition in the Best Newscast category for coverage of the July 2019 severe floods in the DC region. Individual WTOP reporters were honored as follows: Feature Report: Mike Murillo – “Answering the Call”; Hard News Report: Megan Cloherty & Dave Dildine – “Rock Creek Rescue”; Podcast: Megan Cloherty & Jack Moore – “22 Hours: An American Nightmare”; and Excellence in Social Media: Tiffany Arnold and WTOP Staff…..Rhode Island talk radio host John DePetro wrote lyrics to a parody of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” about life in the time of coronavirus in the Ocean State. It was performed by local artists Nick Gosselin and Cat Carrick in a video produced by DePetro that you can see here…..Due to the uncertain economic environment as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Salem Media Group announces it is temporarily suspending the regular quarterly cash dividend on its common stock. The company will re-assess the dividend suspension throughout the year, in light of facts and circumstances at that time, whether and when to reinstate the dividend.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro Colleen Carew is the new morning drive host at Shamrock Communications’ classic rock WZBA “100.7 The Bay,” taking over for Stash, a.k.a., Steve Ash, who recently exited. Carew was most recently PD at triple A WOCM, Ocean City, Maryland “Ocean 98.”…..Condolences to the family and friends of San Diego radio personality Steve West who passed away recently at age 68 after a long battle with cancer. Prior to his passing, he’d been handling weekend duties at Entercom’s alternative KBZT, San Diego “ALT 94.9.”…..In celebration of National Nurses Week, Brooke Fox (pictured below, at right), of Hubbard Radio’s CHR KQMV, Seattle “MOViN 92.5” and Famous Dave’s BBQ delivered food and beverages to the nursing and medical staff at Harborview Medical Center yesterday (5/11). Brooke, co-host of the syndicated “Brooke & Jeffery” show, says, “Thank you to all of the amazing nurses, doctors and medical staff. We are so proud of every member of our medical community who have gone above and beyond to keep our community safe during this time.”

Monday, May 11, 2020

| May 11, 2020

Monday Memo: Talkers, Listening. Cable television talk legend Larry King taught us that great talkers are good listeners. So, in this week’s column consultant Holland Cooke asks a quartet of our talk media cohorts what they’re hearing as listeners cope. HC speaks with Westwood One nationally syndicated star Jim Bohannon, Providence radio and TV news and talk pro Gene Valicenti, and two hosts working in recreation meccas – Harry Hurley at WPG, Atlantic City and Heidi Harris at KMZQ in Las Vegas. Read it here.

Statistics and Projections, Re-Opening and Second Wave Threats, COVID-19 at the White House, U.S.-China Relations, Ahmaud Arbery Slaying, Michael Flynn Case, and Jerry Stiller Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the number of deaths, and projections for future infections; some U.S. states cautiously begin re-opening amid concerns about a second wave of infections; the reports of White House staffers testing positive; the war of words between the U.S. and China over the origin of the coronavirus; the arrest of Gregory and Travis McMichael in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery; the DOJ drops the Michael Flynn case and allegations of the Obama administration’s role in implicating Flynn; and comedian Jerry Stiller dies were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Masks, Appointments, and Social Distancing. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that it’s important to be smart about what and how you are selling. “As local business categories slowly come back to life, dealing with restrictive guidelines never before anticipated, marketing dollars may take a more cautious path to recovery. Some of your advertisers are dealing with the logistics of government-funded loans to bridge the gap and the new challenges that will arise. Will hours and operations ever be the same as before the coronavirus pandemic?” Read his column here.

Beasley Media Group Announces Re-Opening. The company says that today (5/11) it is beginning the approved gradual Phase One implementation of re-opening its radio properties in states that have reopened for business.  Beasley Media Group states that “both the timing and safety measures for these re-openings will be based upon approved CDC, individual state, and local government recommended guidelines. During Phase One, no more than 25% of each cluster’s individual workforce will be in the workplace at any given time.” Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley adds, “We have taken a very conservative, thorough and thoughtful approach to our company’s gradual reopening plan to provide, first and foremost, a safe and healthy work environment for our employees. Our market managers have done an incredible job working closely with their individual state and local governments to ensure a safe transition process as we all continue to navigate these unprecedented times.”

Evening Show Change at WLS-AM, Chicago. Windy City media personality Jenniffer Weigel leaves her early evening talk show on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM and a sports-themed show hosted by Rob Martier debuts in its place. Chicago media writer Robert Feder breaks the story here. Martier has been with WLS-AM since joining as evening news anchor in 2018. He also hosts a weekend auto show and Illini football broadcasts. Weigel came aboard last March as a part of the Mancow Muller morning show before transitioning to late night host and then early evening personality.

Bob Matthews Retires from WHAM, Rochester. The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle reports that longtime WHAM sports talk host Bob Matthews did his last show for the legendary iHeartMedia signal on Friday. Matthews tells the paper he was not fired nor furloughed but that at age 73 and after serving with the station for 35 years, he admits “the coronavirus got the best of me.” He adds, “It’s been very difficult the last two months. It’s been tough talking sports for two hours when there’s no sports. I’ll be OK.” Matthews, a longtime columnist for the Democrat & Chronicle who left the paper in 2012, says he’s recently been diagnosed with diabetes and knows he’s susceptible to the virus. The station will replace Matthews’ 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show with Westwood One’s “The Savage Nation” with host Michael Savage.

iHeartMedia Adds New Voices to ‘Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020’ Podcast. A podcast addressing students graduating this year titled, “Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020” is being produced by iHeartMedia and will be published on Friday (5/15) ahead of National Graduation Day on the 17th. The company announces that Bill and Melinda Gates; singer, songwriter and actor Becky G; actor and gender equality ambassador Freida Pinto; stand-up comedian George Lopez; director and actor Henry Winkler; New York Times bestselling author John Green; Mary J. Blige; T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert; actor, producer, singer and songwriter Rita Wilson; acclaimed singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson; T.I.; Apple CEO Tim Cook; and Emmy award-winning news anchor Tom Brokaw have joined the podcast event featuring commencement addresses from some of the most inspiring and accomplished thought leaders impacting culture today. “Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020” will also feature speeches from iHeartRadio personalities Ryan Seacrest, Enrique Santos, Angie Martinez, Bobby Bones, Jake Brennan, Angela Yee, Woody, and J Cruz. The speeches will be produced specifically for the podcast, through the iHeartPodcast Network, and are dedicated to all the graduating classes of 2020 who will miss their commencement celebrations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The podcast will be available on iHeartRadio and everywhere podcasts are heard.

Alpha Media Presents ‘Tools for Difficult Times’ for Staff and Clients. Last Thursday (5/7), Alpha Media held a virtual keynote titled, “Now What? Tools for Difficult Times,” featuring author and Ted Talk alum Greg Bell and special guest Meghan Trainor. Alpha CEO Bob Proffitt states, “The goal of the event was to offer our employees and clients positive and actionable planning strategies to maximize personal and professional opportunities as we begin the re-entry phase of this crisis.” Close to 1,000 guests virtually attended to hear motivational speaker Greg Bell provide key insights and incredible tools for moving forward in this new era. Grammy Award winner Meghan Trainor discussed with Skyview Network host Dana Cortez how she is using her platform positively to help feed those in need at this time. They also tackled how to handle the pressure and fatigue from the constant influx of social media during the pandemic. Alpha Media says that it believes that innovation, creativity and connection are important now more than ever. To meet that need, the company says its Virtual Keynote series will continue throughout the year with new speakers and guests to be announced.

Radio One Philadelphia and MyPhillyLawyer Salute Frontline Workers. In an effort to give back to the front-line workers of the COVID-19 pandemic, Radio One Philadelphia joined MyPhillyLawyer for the “Salute on the Front Line” campaign that features video tributes and special lunch deliveries to men and women nominated by members of the community. Listeners to Radio One’s Philadelphia stations can submit video tributes to the radio stations highlighting the work and contribution of friends or family members who are essential workers in the Philadelphia area. The radio stations will feature the videos and each day will have lunch delivered to the workplace of the honorees to thank them and their co-workers for their service. Radio One Philadelphia general manager Ezio Torres says, “This partnership with MyPhillyLawyer recognizes not only the front-line workers who immediately come to mind, but also those who work in the grocery stores and drug stores, along with the delivery drivers, postal workers, SEPTA personnel, and many others. It’s just a great way to acknowledge those who continue to allow us to move forward. We want to send them a big thank you!”

Westwood One: Radio Listening Levels Ramping Up. The data presented in this week’s Westwood One Blog are culled from “a brand-new study of consumer COVID-19 sentiment and spending intentions” as well as “just-released audience data from the 45 Portable People Meter markets. The PPM data covered the period of March 27, 2020 through May 6, 2020.” The PPM data indicates that Americans are listening at a rate of 82% or pre-COVID-19 levels.  A study conducted by Nielsen found that 32% of adult Americans consider themselves in the “ready to go” category and they have a greater intent to resume their spending habits. Read the blog here.

TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated radio program “Our American Stories” begins airing on iHeartMedia’s KTRH, Houston, effective June 1. Lee Habeeb is the show’s host and CEO of program producer American Private Radio. He says, “The Astros, Johnson Space Center, NASA, and KTRH. We are thrilled to join this town of giants. After announcing our partnership with Entercom last week in Dallas on KRLD-AM, and now this partnership with the leading talk station in Houston, we are truly humbled. There are milestones and we have just crossed two really big ones.”…..NPR has struck an agreement with SAG-AFTRA that will allow it to temporarily reduce employee compensation due to an expected budget shortfall because of the coronavirus pandemic. As reported at Current.org by Tyler Falk, employee salaries will be reduced on a sliding scale beginning next week, with a maximum cut of 9%. However, the move does not affect employees making less than $80,000. It will be in effect through the end of NPR’s fiscal year in September. The pact also prohibits NPR from laying off any workers for the rest of the fiscal year.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Detroit, Beasley Media Group’s hip hop WMGC “105.1 The Bounce” promotes J. Steele to assistant program director. He joined the station in April of 2019 and hosts the afternoon drive show. Beasley Detroit director of programming Jerry Tarrants comments, “J. Steele brings extensive programming background to the position and has proven to be a valuable member of the team since joining the station last year as our afternoon drive talent at ‘The Bounce.’ I know J. will bring the same energy and dedication to this role as he does with his very entertaining afternoon show for his listeners in the Motor City!”…..The Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated “Big D and Bubba” show is named the new morning program at country WCLT-FM, Columbus “T-100.” To make room, program director Wild Walley gives up the AM show and becomes host of the afternoon drive program…..At Max Media’s hip hop KFCO “Flo 107.1,” the morning duo of Larry Ulibarri and Kathie J are out. The company has made no official announcement, but the morning show’s info is gone from the station’s website.

Friday, May 8, 2020

| May 8, 2020

LiveXLive Acquiring PodcastOne in All Stock Deal. The digital media firm LiveXLive Media, Inc. has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Courtside Group, Inc., the owner and operator of PodcastOne in an all stock deal. The press release states that the transaction is valued at $18.1 million based on LiveXLive’s closing price on May 7, 2020. LiveXLive will acquire 100% of the equity interests of Courtside Group, Inc. and issue to stockholders of PodcastOne approximately 5.45 million restricted shares of LiveXLive’s common stock, which would be subject to a 12-month lock-up period and certain trading restrictions thereafter. The proposed acquisition is expected to close by June 2020, subject to certain closing conditions. PodcastOne recorded gross revenue of $27.5 million in calendar year 2019. LiveXLive chairman and CEO Robert Ellin says, “We’re excited to expand our business into the fast-growing podcast category, complementing our music platform of streaming audio, on-demand video, and live event performances. The acquisition will add to and diversify our revenue with a strong advertising component. Once acquired and integrated, we will have a significant opportunity to cross-sell and cross-promote to our respective subscribers, advertisers, and sponsors as well as provide our collective artists and on-air talent with an expanded platform to increase their social media and online presence.” PodcastOne founder and executive chairman, Norman Pattiz is joining LiveXLive as a significant shareholder and remains as executive chairman of PodcastOne. Pattiz comments, “All of us at PodcastOne are excited about joining the LiveXLive team and taking advantage of obvious future synergies between our businesses. I look forward to working with Rob Ellin to close the acquisition and achieve the growth we both envision. PodcastOne is a premium producer, distributor, and revenue-generator for audio-on-demand programming. PodcastOne’s well-established podcasting business is an excellent complement to LiveXLive’s  ‘live social music network,’ delivering premium livestreams, digital audio, and on-demand music.”

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 “Demographic Genocide?” looks back at this past week of May 4-8, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSRic Edelman, financial advisor / talk show host; Martha Zoller, talk show host, WDUN, Gainesville, GA; Kate Delaney, talk show host, GCN; Barry Farber, talk show host, CRN; Dick Morris, pundit / author; 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 (“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; 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.

iHeartMedia’s Q1 Revenue Down 1.9%. After a strong financial performance in January and February, the COVID-19 pandemic took its toll in March and iHeartMedia finished the first quarter of 2020 with revenue of $780 million, down 1.9% over the same period in 2019 (and down 4.8% excluding political). The company reports an operating loss of $1.7 billion, “driven primarily by non-cash impairment charges” that “reduce intangible asset and goodwill book values established in May 2019 upon required application of fresh start accounting where the macroenvironment was significantly different than today.” Adjusted EBITDA was $140.3 million, down 10.6% year-over-year. Free cash flow from continuing operations was $69.9 million, a decrease of $43.8 million or 38.6%. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “As America’s #1 audio company, with unparalleled reach both nationally and locally, we play a critically important role in providing companionship, connection and key information to all the communities we serve, and we are incredibly proud of our employees’ commitment to that mission in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although businesses and brands across the country have been impacted, we are working closely with them on their marketing needs and are focused on helping them generate the consumer demand to reopen or ramp up. Our multiplatform offering, our unparalleled reach and our unique data and analytics position us well to benefit as a company from this returning advertising demand.”  Company president, COO and CFO Rich Bressler adds, “Given the current economic environment, iHeart has taken actions that we believe expand the company’s financial flexibility and provide sufficient liquidity to operate effectively even in an extended period of economic weakness. We believe that iHeart’s fundamentally strong free cash-generation model, substantial current cash balances, incremental benefits from our cost savings initiatives, and flexible capital structure will enable us to build effectively on our audio market leadership and position us favorably to capitalize on the eventual recovery in advertising demand. With our experienced management team and our unparalleled assets, we are confident in our business and continue our focus on driving shareholder value.”

Edison Research: U.S. Moms Relying More on Tech. This latest installment of Edison Research’s “Moms and Media 2020” study includes data from The Infinite Dial series from Edison Research and Triton Digital, and a recent online survey conducted during COVID-19 restrictions. The report highlights how moms with kids under the age of 18 in the household continue to hold tight to their tech tools while sheltering at home, and they are relying on their technology and media to get through the day. Edison VP Melissa DeCesare says, “This virus has turned life upside down and parents have the added pressure of guiding children through this unsettling time.  Moms are masters at balancing tasks in normal circumstances, but they have found even more capacity to multi-task in this pandemic. Additional responsibilities like distance learning and managing the family dynamic while in isolation are increasing the need for media and technology in the home. This year’s study shows us that moms are meeting these challenges by relying on media, devices and technology to help them get through this new normal.” Some of the findings are: Moms are using their devices more during the COVID-19 pandemic. Working remotely, helping children with distance learning, and keeping in touch with friends and family are driving heavier use of all digital devices; Moms are facilitating distance learning with 54% of moms saying they are spending a lot of time helping their children with distance learning; Moms are using social media with 39% agreeing that social media is the main source for staying up to date on the COVID-19 pandemic in their community and 56% of moms say that they are grateful for social media during the pandemic; and while it is unknown how long this new normal will last, nearly 4 in 10 moms think their current media habits will stay with them even after it is over. See more here.

Three Entercom Podcasts Nominated for Peabody Awards. The nominations for Peabody Awards have been announced and three podcasts from Entercom’s Podcast Network are included among the nominees. “Headlong: Running from COPS” and “The Catch and Kill Podcast with Ronan Farrow” from Pineapple Street Studios, and “Gangster Capitalism, Season One: The College Admissions Scandal” from Cadence13’s C13Originals studio were nominated. Winners will be announced at a later date. Pineapple Street Studios co-founders Jenna Weiss-Berman and Max Linsky say, “For our small shop to get two Peabody nominations is just an incredible testament to the care, thought, and creativity the entire Pineapple Street Studios team puts into the work. Working with world-class talents like Dan Taberski and Ronan Farrow is an honor and we’re thrilled by the recognition for our incredible staff and these two critically important shows, which we were so proud to put out into the world.” The Peabody Awards honor the most powerful, enlightening and invigorating stories in television, radio and digital media. See all the nominations here.

COVID-19 Statistics and Projections Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 4-8. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. and the projections for future cases was 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 U.S. healthcare system.  Coming in at #3 was a tie between the economy, the debate over re-opening, and criticism of the airlines, followed by the presidential race, politics, and the Michelle Obama film at #4. See the entire chart here. 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.

TALKERS News Notes. A special, virtual town hall meeting produced by SiriusXM is taking place today on the Business Radio channel featuring host Dan Loney of Wharton Business Daily that addresses the questions on Americans’ minds about how and when to safely reopen the economy. Guests on the program include: Hyundai Motor Company’s Jose Munoz, Ford Motor Company COO Jim Farley, Kahn Academy CEO Sal Kahn, Cleveland Federal president Loretta J. Mester, Board of Scientific Counselors chair Dr. Thomas Inglesby, Euro Pacific Capital CEO Peter Schiff, chef and restaurateur Wolfgang Puck, DHL CEO Greg Hewitt, and U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao…..The Talk Shows USA syndicated program “The Money Pit Home Improvement Show” adds new affiliate stations to its roster. They are: WRTA-AM/FM, Altoona, PA; WGNC-AM, Gastonia, NC; WPAY-FM, Garrison, KY; KBST-AM, Big Spring, TX…..Jenn White is named as the new host of the WAMU-FM, Washington-based, NPR program “1A.” White has been serving at Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM, Chicago hosting the midday “Reset with Jenn White” program.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A Memorial Day weekend show from Cumulus Media’s Westwood One Nashville celebrates the start of summertime. “Summer Kickoff with Dustin Lynch” is a salute to the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and some military veterans will join Lynch in the tribute. Fellow artists will share their favorite holiday memories and summer activities throughout the special, including: Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett, Kelsea Ballerini, Little Big Town, Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, and Carrie Underwood. The four-hour-long special will be available for stations to air over the holiday weekend beginning Saturday, May 23 through Monday, May 25, any time between 6:00 a.m. and 12 midnight.

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