Tag: "Alpha Media"

Friday, June 10, 2020

| July 10, 2020

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM in Washington, DC.  This new episode titled, “Statues, Statutes, Face Masks and Facebook!” looks back at this past week of July 6 – July 10, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Jim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood OneJennifer Horn, talk show host, Salem Media Group / VP, CRN Digital TalkJamie Metzl, consultant, World Health Organization; 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; WTIC, Hartford; 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; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Westwood One News to Cease Operations on August 30. TALKERS magazine has learned that Westwood One News affiliates have been notified that the company will cease operations of the Westwood One News service after the 11:30 pm newscast on Sunday, August 30 due to “extraordinary circumstances in the current marketplace.” In the memo, Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes states, “As you can imagine, this was an extraordinarily difficult decision not only given the strength and quality of our award-winning news product, but also the depth and experience of the impeccable Westwood One News team.” Westwood One EVP Bart Tessler adds, “Thank you to our 962 stations and the Westwood One affiliate sales team. It has been a pleasure leading this division of great broadcast journalists. In just 5 and ½ years, Westwood One News went from launch to winners of leading industry honors, including Edward R Murrow, Sigma Del Chi, National Headliner, New York Radio Festivals, and Golden Mike awards. We are very proud of the coverage and programming we provided, as well as your support and participation in our success.” The memo further adds that “Westwood One remains enthusiastically committed to our strong portfolio of talk personalities including Mark Levin, Ben Shapiro, Michael Savage, Jim Bohannon, Chris Plante, Dan Bongino, Clark Howard, and Red Eye Radio.”

Outer Banks Rocker WZPR-FM Flips to Talk. WZPR-FM, Nags Head, North Carolina will flip from classic rock to news/talk, effective July 13. Station owner Jam Media Solutions says the station will feature a live and local morning drive show called “The OBX Today” hosted by Sam Walker. He says, “I’m excited to be able to bring to the Outer Banks a news-oriented radio show every morning that will be able to expand on our coverage at OBXToday.com of what’s happening not only locally, but across all of North Carolina.” The rest of the lineup includes: FOX News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade, Westwood One’s Chris Plante and Ben Shapiro, The Dave Ramsey Show, Ramsey SolutionsKen Coleman, and WWO’s “Red Eye Radio.” Jam Media Solutions owner Jonathan Mason adds, “We are very excited to introduce the all-new, news/talk WZPR to the Outer Banks. We believe it is exactly what the market needs. Our on air lineup will be informative and engaging from the time you get up to the time you go to bed.”

Midway Broadcasting Announces Launch of VON-tv. The acquisition of an OTT digital streaming platform by Midway Broadcasting Corporation gives the company a video component when it launches VON-tv in August. Midway says VON-tv “will deliver culturally relevant content to its new television audience. With the launch of VON-tv, the company will conduct a nationwide search for a new morning host. The newly designed live morning show will originate from Chicago and will be simulcast on VON-tv and WVON Radio.” Midway chair and CEO Melody Spann Cooper comments, “We are excited to be in the digital space, originating from our hometown of Chicago. Having earned a reputation for cultivating nationally recognized programs and talent, Midway Broadcasting Company will continue to use its expanding platforms to showcase the many voices throughout Black America.”

Round Three of June PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s June 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 June 2020 survey period covered May 21 – June 17. You can see all the 6+ ratings info from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from this batch of markets. In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM inches up four-tenths to finish ranked #3 with a 6.4 share. Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte sheds three-tenths to finish with a 6.0 share and the #4 rank. iHeartMedia’s WOAI, San Antonio loses six-tenths to wrap June with a 6.5 share and the #2 rank in the market. Although dropping a half share for an 8.9 share finish, iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento remains ranked #1 in the market. As the result of Bonneville news/talk KSL-AM/FM’s half-share dip to a 5.5 share and #6 rank, there’s a close race between it and iHeartMedia’s KNRS-FM (5.3 share, #7 rank). See Mike Kinosian’s complete “Ratings Takeaways” here.

Talk Host Jay Severin Dead at 69. TheBlaze reports that longtime conservative talk radio personality and Republican operative Jay Severin has died at age 69 after a battle with cancer. After years of working as a Republican political consultant, Severin began his talk radio career in the mid-1990s filling in for Gene Burns on the WOR Radio Network, eventually becoming the afternoon drive host, calling himself the “rock ‘n’ roll Republican.” He briefly hosted evenings at WRKO, Boston before joining crosstown news/talk WTKK-FM, where he would work hosting afternoons until 2011. In 2012, he joined Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network where he would host a program until 2016.

TALKERS News Notes. After a 14-hour fundraiser for the families of a fallen officer and a second injured officer Cox Media Group Tulsa, the Tulsa Police Department, and the Tulsa Police Department Foundation announce they raised more than $515,000 dollars for the Johnson-Zarkeshan Family Fund. Cox Tulsa’s news/talk KRMG, its four music-formatted sister radio stations and sister TV station KOKI-TV “FOX23” broadcast live from LaFortune Park on Wednesday to encourage donations…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Midway Broadcasting Company has hired former KADN-TV, Lafayette, Louisiana reporter Hannah Neely as the new morning news anchor for news/talk WVON, Chicago. Neely is a Chicago native who is taking over for Annette Flournoy, who resigned from the position…..ABC Audio announces that in the aftermath of the arrest and charges against Ghislaine Maxwell for her alleged role in facilitating Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse, it is releasing a bonus episode of the podcast “Truth and Lies: Jeffrey Epstein,” featuring details about Maxwell’s arrest and charges. The podcast is hosted by ABC News’ Mark Remillard.

IBA Says It Will Be Active Within Two Weeks. Broadcasters spearheading the foundation of Independent Broadcasters Association say they will officially form the organization within the next two weeks. Adams Radio Group president Ron Stone has been leading the movement to form the IBA. He says that there will be a conference call scheduled for all members in the next few weeks with him and the initial board to discuss the mission and goals. Issues that have already been broached are revenue generation, digital services, shared resources, proprietary systems and services, and group employee benefits. Stone says, “We have 496 owners/operators representing just under 3,000 stations that have signed up supporting the idea of the organization. The next step is the actual formation of the IBA into a legal entity, forming an initial board and getting to work on all the elements we have been discussing that will benefit independent operators choosing to be members of the IBA.” Cromwell Group president Bud Walters says, “Independent broadcasters outside the major markets have a lot in common as we seem to be in a different business than large market broadcasters. There is good reason to explore this idea of working more closely together.” Interested owners/operators can sign up here.

COVID-19 Statistics and Projections Top News/Talk Story for Week of July 6-10. The spiking cases of COVID-19 in many states and projections for future infections remained the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was health care, the mask debate and the search for COVID-19 meds. Coming in at #3 was President Trump’s school opening order and the CDC’s guidelines, followed by the economy and the re-opening of America at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

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 regular 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 includes experts on the Chinese Communist Party, police abuse, race relations, psychology, doing business during the COVID-19 pandemic and much more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

| June 11, 2020

Beasley Media Group Extends Furloughs and Pay Reductions. In a memo to company employees, Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley announced that the furlough and pay reduction program begun in April and set to expire at the end of June is being continued through the end of the calendar year. In early April Beasley eliminated 67 positions, furloughed some staffers, and cut hours for full-time employees. Beasley told her employees, “No one could have ever anticipated that several of our markets would not begin the first phase of the reopening process until June. As a result, we must continue to adapt to the new financial environment we are facing within each of our individual markets.” Beasley herself continues taking her 20% pay cut while the 10% salary reduction and pared-back hours for full-timers continues through December. Beasley did say if circumstances change, some furloughed employees could return to work sooner.

WPHT, Philadelphia’s Dom Giordano Tackles the COVID-19 Education Crisis in Two-Hour Special.  WPHT, Philadelphia “Talk Radio 1210” presented its midday host Dom Giordano’s timely education special titled, “The Looming Learning Crisis.”  The two-hour special talk program, written and hosted by Giordano – a former Pennsylvania public school teacher – aired on June 4 and 6 and featured U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, Philadelphia superintendent of schools William Hite and other top officials debating whether students will return to schools in September and how parents can make up for the lost academic ground experienced this year. A variety of opposing views were presented but all agreed that this is a critical issue that is not being debated and discussed enough in the media. The program received rave reviews from listeners and sponsors alike for its even-handed and highly informational approach to the subject.

Alpha Media to Present Companywide Broadcast on Racial Tensions. Tomorrow (6/12) at 10:00 am, Alpha Media will present “United For Justice – A Day of Discussion” that will air on its 65-plus radio stations as well as on the website UnitedForJustice.com. The company says that “The Day of Discussion” will “address the pain that communities are going through due to racial tensions in America. It will feature prominent national and local voices and figures on the front lines in the fight for equality and justice.” Along with radio personalities in Alpha markets, hosts will include Skyview NetworksNick Cannon and Dana Cortez, Ebro Darden, Laura Stylez, Tino Cochino, Big Boy, Jubal Fresh, and Radio Hall of Fame host Tom Joyner. Joining anchor host Nick Cannon will be Snoop Dogg, T.I., Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), California Governor Gavin Newsom, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Arizona State Senator Martin Quezada (D-29th Dist.), and Black Lives Matter co-founder Dr. Melina Abdullah. Apple Music host Ebro Darden will speak with Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) about how the nation is being impacted and the steps we can take towards progress. Alpha Media president and CEO Bob Proffitt says, “The events of the last few weeks are reminding us that this is not a new problem but one that needs to be addressed right now. We have what many other companies do not have, a real medium for change. We should not and cannot allow it to go unused. We are united in that we love the communities we live in. We are united in our love for broadcasting. We are united in the comfort that we have each other’s support. And today, I’m asking that we are united for justice.”

Round Three of May PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s May 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 Audio’s May 2020 survey period covered April 23 – May 20. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets noting the slight erosion of weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers that so many all-news and news/talk stations built up over the March and April sweeps. In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM lost a full share, finishing the month with a 6.0 share and the #3 rank in the market. Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte loses seven-tenths but remains in the #3 spot with a 6.3 share. In San Antonio, iHeartMedia’s WOAI-AM sheds eight-tenths to wrap the month with a 7.1 share and the #2 rank. iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento falls 2.2 shares to a 9.4 share but remains ranked #1. Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City drops 2.8 shares and falls from #1 to #4 on the strength of a 6.0 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways here.

Police Reform Protests/De-Funding Movement, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Presidential Race/Elections, Recession/Financial Markets, and NASCAR Bans Confederate Flag Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/10). The ongoing police reform protests, the destruction of Confederate and colonial-era statues, Seattle’s “autonomous” zone, and the related de-fund the police movement; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the spike in case numbers in some states; the November presidential election and procedural problems at some primary and local elections; the U.S. officially enters a recession and activity in the world’s financial markets; and NASCAR bans Confederate flag images in all its sanctioned events were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Public media organization WNYC announces that San Francisco Chronicle editor-in-chief Audrey Cooper is named the newest editor-in-chief for WNYC. Corporation chief content officer Andrew Golis tells staffers that in this role, Cooper “will oversee our local news operations: the WNYC newsroom (radio and Gothamist) and our local talk shows, ‘The Brian Lehrer Show’ and ‘All of It.’ News director Sean Bowditch, Gothamist executive editor Jen Chung, and head of live radio Megan Ryan will report to her.” He adds that at the Chronicle, Cooper “guided a 200-person newsroom through dramatic growth in its ambition and audience, all while sharply increasing the diversity of its staff. As CJR wrote a few years ago, under Audrey’s leadership there’s been ‘a near consensus, inside and outside the Chronicle, that the paper is doing its best work in years, perhaps ever.’”…..Hartford, Connecticut outlet WFSB-TV and Connoisseur Media’s radio stations are joining forces to deliver a live broadcast about race and justice featuring community leaders in Connecticut this evening at 7:00 pm.  The program is being co-hosted by WFSB-TV’s Dennis House and urban AC WYBC OM and afternoon host Juan Castillo. Featured on the program will be Chaz from the “Chaz & AJ in the Morning” show that airs on rock WPLR and WFOX “95.9 The Fox.” The conversation will include Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, Connecticut NAACP president Scot Esdaile, Milford police chief and Connecticut Police Chiefs Association president Keith L. Mello, and assistant United States Attorney Ndidi N. Moses. Connoisseur Media CEO Jeffrey Warshaw says, “This is a vital topic for our communities, and profoundly important to Connoisseur Media. We continue to commit resources to helping our society move forward to a brighter future together.”…..ESPN announces it is using Megaphone publishing and ad insertion for its network of podcasts, beginning in July. The Megaphone suite will offer ESPN enterprise-level podcast hosting, publishing, dynamic ad insertion, campaign management, forecasting, and analytics tools in supporting podcasts such as: “Fantasy Focus Football” with Matthew Berry, Field Yates, and Stephania Bell; “The Lowe Post” with Zach Lowe; “The Woj Pod” with Adrian Wojnarowski, “The Hoop Collective” with Brian Windhorst, The “SVPod” with Scott Van Pelt, and “ESPN Daily” with Mina Kimes.

Salem Radio Network Star Larry Elder Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. African American conservative talk show host Larry Elder of Salem Radio Network is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Elder is an LA-based attorney, author, and documentary filmmaker who represents the conservative African American view that, in many ways, runs counter to the popular political narrative that there is systemic and institutional anti-black racism in America in 2020 as so vividly depicted in the disturbing George Floyd video. Elder believes that message is overblown and sensationalized by liberal politicians, the Democratic Party, the mainstream media, and professional lifelong race baiters – and actually keeps African Americans down, casting them in the role of perennial victims. Harrison states, “Last week on the podcast we presented an in-depth conversation with SiriusXM Satellite Radio ‘Urban View’ channel personality Joe Madison who presented a passionate and compelling case for the message of the Black Lives Matter movement. But anyone who listens to news/talk radio knows that is not the only perspective on the topic and not all African Americans are of the same mind when it comes to the issue. Having Larry Elder on the podcast this week rounds out the conversation that exists among African Americans about the issue.” To listen to the podcast with Larry Elder in its entity as well as last week’s conversation with Joe Madison, 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. Singer-songwriter H.E.R. debuted a brand-new song titled, “I Can’t Breathe,” – written in response to racial injustice – on Wednesday evening’s iHeartRadio Living Room Concert Series Presented by State Farm. The performance streamed on iHeartRadio’s YouTube channel and across iHeartMedia urban and urban AC stations across the country and benefitted Meals on Wheels and Urban League…..Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Dede McGuire is hosting a Facebook Live Community Conversation about race in America this evening (6/11) at 8:00 pm ET. She’ll be talking with some of her “DeDe in the Morning” affiliate stations about what is happening in their cities. Representative cities are Dallas; Pittsburgh; Milwaukee; Tyler, Texas; and New Haven, Connecticut…..Next week (June 15-19) the ladies are once again taking over Westwood One Nashville’s “Nights with Elaina” show after a successful first round last month. Maren Morris, Kelsea Ballerini, Hillary Scott from Lady Antebellum, Karen Fairchild from Little Big Town, Maddie & Tae, Lauren Alaina, and Runaway June will each take the mic one evening and take the fans into their living rooms for a night of country music fun. Elaina Smith says, “I am so excited and thankful to be doing this again. The ladies of country continue to prove that they are not only insanely talented with their music, they are also hilarious, brilliant, genuine women that do such an amazing job of connecting on every level with our listeners.”

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

| June 10, 2020

iHeartMedia Extends Furloughs for 90 Days. As first reported by Billboard, iHeartMedia announces to staffers that it is extending the companywide furloughs for another three months due to the coronavirus pandemic that has “had a significant impact on advertising revenue.” The company says it will be some time before radio station staffing levels will return to full status. This extended furlough for certain staffers will now last through September.

Pennsylvania Attorney Targets Townsquare Media with Investigation. Bensalem, Pennsylvania attorney Howard G. Smith announces an investigation “on behalf of Townsquare Media, Inc. investors concerning the Company and its officers’ possible violations of federal securities laws” in which he’s seeking qualified clients. This comes a day after the company filed a Form 8-K with the Securities Exchange Commission in which it disclosed that it had discovered an error in projected cash flows that were utilized in its valuation model. As a result, the company is reporting an impairment charge of approximately $39.4 million for its licenses and an impairment charge of approximately $69.0 million for its goodwill. It reported that certain financial statements for fiscal years 2017, 2018 and 2019 should no longer be relied upon and would be restated due to the error. Townsquare says it is “reassessing its previous conclusions regarding the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures. Based on this assessment, the Company expects to report material weaknesses in the Company’s internal controls and therefore conclude that internal controls over financial reporting and disclosure controls are not effective.”  Smith says in a press release that “on this news, the Company’s share price fell $1.20, or nearly 19%, to close at $5.28 per share on June 9, 2020, thereby injuring investors.”

KXL, Portland Promotes Three, Adds On-Air Personality. At Alpha Media’s Portland news/talk KXL “FM News 101,” spoken word content director Bruce Collins announces the promotion of three news team members and the addition of another. Current morning and afternoon drive news and traffic reporter Brett Reckamp moves to the co-anchor chair on the station’s “Portland’s Morning News” program. He’s joined by co-anchor Veronica Carter. Previously, she’s served as West Coast regional news director for iHeartMedia and news anchor/reporter for Entercom’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM and Nexstar Media’s WGN-AM in Chicago. KXL assistant news director Jim Ferretti is promoted to news director and Jeremy Scott is promoted to full-time morning and afternoon drive traffic reporter. Collins says, “It’s awesome to have such a strong staff and be able to promote from within. With the addition of Veronica Carter and the promotion of key personnel, it puts KXL in an extremely strong position.”

WGN-AM, Chicago Adds ‘Sunday Standards with John Williams’ to Weekends. Chicago heritage news/talker WGN-AM adds a second music program to its weekend programming schedule beginning June 21 with the launch of “Sunday Standards with John Williams.” The Nexstar Media Group station says that following the success of “The Sinatra Hours with Dave Plier,” which ranked #2 with adults 25-54, it’s adding the new program hosted by midday talk personality and Great American Songbook aficionado John Williams to air from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm. The show will feature a wide range of artists, including Sammy Davis, Jr., Nat King Cole, and Burt Bacharach, along with more modern artists like Linda Ronstadt, Barry Manilow and Amy Winehouse covering those songs. Williams comments, “Some of the hits we play go back 85 years, others go back 15 years. The music is really nice to listen to, and that’s the idea. I think there’s something really big about WGN Radio, a 50,000-watt AM station, energizing this music all over again – and getting people something they need right now.” Left out of the new Sunday program schedule is “The Sunday Spin: Politics with Rick Pearson” that’s been airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm weekly. WGN general manager Mary Boyle says, “The success of ‘The Sinatra Hours’ has proven there is an appetite for nostalgia. This music is hard to find, and certainly not on free, over-the-air radio. John Williams has a passion for this kind of music, so it’s a natural fit.”

Kevin Wall Takes Over Afternoons on KMZQ, Las Vegas. Talk show host Kevin Wall is joining Kemp Broadcasting’s KMZQ, Las Vegas to handle the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show. The station says that “together with morning drive host Heidi Harris, the addition of ‘Live and Local with Kevin Wall’ gives Las Vegas Valley radio listeners more local talk than any other Vegas radio station.” Wall – who has served with such talk outlets as KFI, Los Angeles and KSFO, San Francisco – was most recently hosting a talk show on Royce International Broadcasting’s KBET, Las Vegas. Prior to that he was the afternoon personality on Entercom’s crosstown KXNT. Kemp EVP Marty Basch says, “Now more than ever with what’s happening in our country and locally, KMZQ will have Las Vegas’ only live and local morning show with Heidi Harris, and now afternoons with Kevin Wall. It’s Las Vegas radio’s ‘Dream Team,’”

Bob Adams Exits Saga’s Portland Station Group. According to a story in the Portland Press Herald, Bob Adams has exited his general manager role at the Portland cluster of Saga Communications stations that includes news/talk WGAN-AM and seven music brands. The paper says that a memo sent to station staffers from SVP of operations Chris Forgy and Saga president and CEO Ed Christian indicated the reason for Adams’ departure was the need for a “more defined growth pattern” and that “a change was necessary.” The company expects to name a new general manager within the next few days. Adams’ exit comes after a number of high-profile air talent were recently laid off, including WGAN-AM talk host Ken Altshuler and music programmer and jock Randi Kirshbaum.

Round Two of May PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s May 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 May 2020 survey period covered April 23 – May 20. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets and he reports that a number of all-news and news/talk stations that saw their weekly, 6+ AQH shares go up in April as a result of coverage of the coronavirus pandemic are starting to see those numbers fall. Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM, Washington dropped seven-tenths to a 9.3 share but stays in the #1 position in the market. Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM, Washington adds three-tenths and climbs into the #2 spot. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston gives up a half share to finish May at a 4.8 share and the #6 rank. Sister all-news WBZ-AM also forfeits a half share for a 5.9 share finish and the #4 rank. Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle bucks the trend, adding three-tenths to wrap the May survey with a 7.2 share and the #1 rank. Meanwhile, Entercom’s all-news WWJ, Detroit drops seven-tenths to a 5.7 share and falls into the #2 rank in the Motor City. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reports that the status of ESPN Radio personality Trey Wingo is up in the air as the sports media giant mulls its options. He currently co-hosts the morning drive show with Mike Golic. Marchand says ESPN is “reshaping its radio and NFL presentations” and with Wingo’s contract up, it’s not clear what his status with ESPN is. He says the company would like Keyshawn Johnson – who’s currently heard on O&O KSPN, Los Angeles – and Max Kellerman on its national radio platform. Johnson’s contract is up at the end of the summer…..Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR-AM/FM, San Francisco announces it raised more than $100,000 for Bay Area hunger relief partnering with Giving in Motion for last week’s fund drive. The money raised will provide more than 6,500 family meals, plus 1,300 bags of school supplies and household essentials to Bay Area residents impacted by COVID-19. The KNBR staff will deliver the meals to people in need at specific locations in San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland and Walnut Creek…..Cox Media Group Tulsa announces that it has helped its community partners raise more than $2 million in the first half of 2020. The cluster – including news/talk KRMG-FM, four music brands and three TV signals – says that figure does not include non-monetary fundraising efforts it has pushed through its channels. The cluster partnered with the Community Food Bank to collect more than 774 pounds of food for its annual Spread the Love campaign, collected 220 pints of blood through a drive with the Oklahoma Blood Institute, and diverted more than 93 tons of recyclable items from the dump through the inaugural Big Spring Clean. CMG Tulsa market VP Cathy Gunther says, “During times of great uncertainty, like now, people rely more than ever on the support of community partners to help them get through. This is why we have not only upheld our commitments to our current partners but have gone a step further and added a number of new events to try and help our partners jump-start donations to serve more people who are now reliant upon them.”

George Floyd Funeral/Protests, Police Reform, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Presidential Race, Georgia Election Problems, Russia Probe Review, Financial Markets Activity, MLB Negotiations/NFL Racism Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/9). The funeral of Minneapolis police violence victim George Floyd and the ongoing protests taking place across the country; the calls for the reforming and de-funding of police departments; the rising and falling of confirmed COVID-19 cases as states continue the re-opening process; the November presidential election; the troubles Georgia faced holding efficient voting on Tuesday; the review of the Russia probe being led by John Durham; the world’s financial markets react to the coronavirus pandemic and U.S. unrest; and the negotiations between the MLB’s players and the league and the state of racism in the NFL were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

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 includes an expert on how to generate lost revenue due to COVID-19 via online marketing, an author who writes about Islamic matters, and an expert on finance who puts the race-oriented protests, demonstrations, and riots into perspective from an economic standpoint – plus a whole lot more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Seattle classic hits outlet KJR-FM “95.7 The Jet” announces the debut of its new morning show, “95.7 The Jet Mornings with Jodi & Bender.” The iHeartMedia station notes that Bender previously served as a morning host on its KBKS “106.1 KISS FM” where he “became one of the most impactful on-air personalities in the Seattle region.” Jodi has served with KJR-FM since 2011. iHeartMedia Seattle market president Robert Dove says, “Putting Jodi and Bender together gives ‘95.7 The Jet’ a dynamic morning show that will be entertaining and provide civic values to our great city of Seattle. Whether it’s Seafair or Seattle Children’s Hospital, Jodi, Bender, and KJR will be there to shine a light on the good things happening in the Emerald City.”…..iHeartMedia announces that Mark Manuel is the new program director for classic rock KCQQ, Quad Cities. He’s been serving the station as APD and webmaster. He says, “I’m really grateful for the opportunity. After chasing a morning host dream for two decades, I found that I really enjoyed the programming aspect of radio for the past five years. I especially want to thank iHeartMedia for believing in me and giving me this opportunity. I’m happy to continue to be part of the team for years to come.”

April 2020 PPM Ratings Takeaways – Round Four

| May 15, 2020

April 2020 PPM Data – Information for the April 2020 ratings period has been released for Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 survey period covered March 26 – April 22. Managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@TALKERS.com) provides his “Takeaways” from the PPM-markets below.

Austin

Spoken-Word Formats – Advancing from fourth to third, Waterloo Media Group-owned KLBJ-AM “News Radio 590” is +2.8 in four consecutive gains and crosses the six-share level (3.6 – 4.5 – 4.6 – 4.8 – 6.4, 6+). In a bit of a statistical oddity, Entercom’s KJCE has logged either a .3 (6+) or a .4 (6+) in each of the past 15 ratings periods. Flat at #26, “Talk Radio 1370” records a .3 (6+) the third time in a row.

Off one-half share in March/April (1.6 – 1.3 – 1.1, 6+), Genuine Austin Radio sports talk KTXX “The Horn” repeats at #21. Similarly-formatted/iHeartMedia-owned KVET-AM “1300 AM The Zone” is up one-tenth in March/April (.5 – .5 – .6, flat at #25, 6+).

Following three successive spikes for a +2.9 and hitting double-digits for the first time in its PPM-history (7.4 – 8.9 – 9.5 – 10.3, 6+), University of Texas at Austin-owned public radio news/talk outlet KUT forfeits one-half share to 9.8 (6+) but is #1 the fourth month in a row. Recent (6+) fluctuations include: -2.0 (April 2019); -1.6 (June); +.9 (July); +1.2 (August); +2.0 (October); -1.9 (“Holiday” 2019); +1.5 (January 2020); +.6 (February); and +.8 (March).

Austin Music Formats – A combined +1.0 in March/April (1.2 – 1.3 – 2.2, 6+), Genuine Austin Radio-owned KOKE-FM “Austin’s Country Alternative” reenters the top twenty (#21 to #15). Sinclair Telecable-owned regional Mexican KLZT “107.1 La Z” continues an alternating up/down pattern that began last August and includes its current increase of seven-tenths (4.3 – 5.3 – 4.8 – 4.9 – 4.8 – 5.0 – 4.7 – 4.8 – 4.0 – 4.7, seventh to fifth, 6+). Up four-tenths in March (3.4 – 3.8, 6+) co-owned KROX “101-X Alternative Austin” is down six-tenths to 3.2 (6+) and exits the top ten (#10 to #11). A March increase of one-tenth to 6.4 (6+) by Entercom-owned adult contemporary KKMJ followed its January/February -5.5 (11.8 – 6.7 – 6.3, 6+). In April, however, “Majic 95.5 Better Music for a Better Workday” falters by -1.2 to 5.2 (third to fourth, 6+). KKMJ was a combined +6.7 in December/“Holiday” 2019 (5.1 – 6.3 – 11.8, 6+) and had a “Holiday” 2019-only stay at #1. In that sweep, KKMJ became the first Austin station to record double-digits (11.8, 6+) since it did so in “Holiday” 2017 (12.4). Sinclair Telecable’s similarly-formatted KGSR “Star 93.3” follows “Holiday” 2019’s increase of seven-tenths (2.0 – 2.7, 6+) with four downturns in a row for a -1.2 (2.7 – 2.6 – 2.1 – 1.7 – 1.5, #17 to #18, 6+). In addition to being -2.6 in six straight decreases and falling below a four-share (5.7 – 4.6 – 4.4 – 4.3 – 4.1 – 4.0 – 3.1, 6+), iHeartMedia CHR KHFI “96.7 Kiss-FM” departs the top ten (#7 to #13). Co-owned rhythmic CHR KPEZ “102.3 The Beat” has lost eight-tenths in three straight slips (4.6 – 4.5 – 4.3 – 3.8, sixth to seventh, 6+).

Raleigh

Spoken-Word Formats – Despite being down eight-tenths in March/April (7.6 – 6.9 – 6.8, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WTKK “106.1 Stay Connected” progresses from fourth to third. WTKK was a combined +2.3 in January/February (5.3 – 7.1 – 7.6, 6+). After dropping two-tenths in March, Curtis Media Group’s WPTF answers with a +.9 to 2.7 (#16 to #15, 6+). “News Radio 680” was unlisted in January and reappeared in February with a 2.0 (6+).

As a result of three consecutive slips, Capitol Broadcasting sports talk WCMC “99.9 The Fan” is –2.6 and falls under a two-share (3.7 – 3.0 – 2.2 – 1.1, #15 to #17, 6+).

Following three straight spikes that generated a +1.1 (6.0 – 6.6 – 6.8 – 7.1, 6+), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill news/talk WUNC “91.5 North Carolina Public Radio” falters by -1.0 to 6.1 (second to fourth, 6+).

Raleigh Music Formats – Doubling (+2.1) its 6+ AQH share in five straight sweeps without a loss (2.1 – 2.1 – 2.2 – 2.9 – 3.0 – 4.2, 6+), Educational Information Corporation’s WCPE “The Classical Station” climbs from #14 to #11. Displaying increases of eight-tenths each are Radio One gospel WNNL “103.9 The Light” (eighth to fourth) and Curtis Media Group adult hits WBBB “96.1 BBB Your Life/Your Music” (5.7, ninth to seventh, 6+). “The Light” continues an alternating up/down pattern of 6.2 – 7.0 – 5.4 – 5.7 – 5.3 – 6.1 (6+). Entering the April sweep, WBBB was off one-half share in three losses in a row (5.4 – 5.2 – 5.1 – 4.9, 6+). In the country skirmish, Curtis Media Group-owned WQDR-FM. “Today’s Best Country 94.7 QDR” improves by one-half share (unchanged at #2) and iHeartMedia’s WNCB “B-93.9 #1 For New Country” notches an increase of six-tenths (#12 to #11). WQDR-FM follows February’s loss of six-tenths (5.8 – 5.2, 6+) with a combined +2.4 in March/April (5.2 – 7.1 – 7.6, 6+). Unlisted in January, WQDR-FM was previously a collective -1.9 through five successive decreases (6.8 – 6.5 – 6.3 – 5.8 – 5.2 – 4.9, 6+). Meanwhile, WNCB logs its fifth sweep in a row without a loss for a net gain of +1.3 (2.9 – 3.1 – 3.1 – 3.1 – 3.6 – 4.2, 6+). By posting a +.6 to 4.4 (steady at #10, 6+), iHeartMedia CHR WDCG “G-105 Raleigh’s #1 Hit Music Station” pulls the plug on seven consecutive sweeps without an increase that accounted for a -1.6 (5.4 – 5.1 – 4.8 – 4.8 – 4.5 – 4.4 – 4.2 – 3.8, 6+). In six straight down or flat trends, Curtis Media Group’s similarly-formatted WPLW-FM “Pulse FM” is a collective -2.2 (5.2 – 5.1 – 4.4 – 4.4 – 4.3 – 3.4 – 3.0, flat at #13, 6+). Not only is Radio One urban AC WFXC +2.5 through four consecutive gains (7.2 – 8.7 – 8.9 – 9.2 – 9.7, 6+), “Foxy – Today’s R&B and Classic Soul” is #1 the fourth time in a row. After four straight sweeps on top, WFXC shifted to the runner-up slot in “Holiday” 2019. January 2019’s +1.1 took WFXC to 11.0, its highest 6+-stat in the PPM-era. A combined -2.7 in March/April (7.5 – 6.6 – 4.8, 6+), Capitol Broadcasting adult contemporary WRAL “Mix 101.5 – The Variety That Makes You Feel Good” stumbles from fifth to ninth. “Mix” was +2.2 (“Holiday” 2019) and -1.7 (January). As a result of five consecutive down or flat trends, iHeartMedia Greensboro’s similarly-programmed WMAG is -2.0 (2.2 – 1.9 – .5 – .5 – .5 – .2, #22 to #23, 6+). After being +1.1 in three straight bumps (2.6 – 3.5 – 3.6 3.7, 6+), Curtis Media Group classic hits-oldies WKIX “Carolina’s Greatest Hits KIX 102.9” falters by eight-tenths (2.9, #11 to #14, 6+). Prior to gaining four-tenths in March, Radio One urban contemporary WQOK was an overall -2.5 in four straight downturns (7.5 – 6.8 – 6.3 – 5.1 – 5.0, 6+). In April, “K-97.5” sputters by one-half share to 4.9 (seventh to eighth, 6+). Down one-half share as well is iHeartMedia alternative WDCG-HD2 (.9 – .4, #19 to #21, 6+).

Indianapolis

Spoken-Word Formats – Not quite doubling (+4.9) its 6+ AQH share through four straight upticks, Emmis news/talk WIBC “Indy’s Mobile News 93.1” achieves double-digits (6+) and progresses from second to first (5.4 – 7.6 – 8.0 – 8.8 – 10.3, 6+). Its recent (6+) shifts include: -1.2 (April 2019); +.9 (June); -1.3 (“Holiday” 2019); +2.2 (January 2020); +.8 (March); and +1.5 (April 2020).

Its sports talk cluster-mate WFNI “The Fan – Indy’s Sports Center,” however, is -1.2 via three straight slips (3.0 – 2.8 – 2.7 – 1.8, #14 to #15, 6+). Regaining the two-tenths it lost in March (1.2 – 1.0 – 1.2, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned WNDE “Indy’s Sports Station” repeats at #17.

Three straight improvements by WFYI led to an overall +1.6 (3.7 – 4.6 – 4.8 – 5.3 , 6+), but the Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Broadcasting news/talk station spirals by -1.3 to 4.0 (seventh to ninth, 6+).

Indianapolis Music Formats – The wild ride plays on for Cumulus Media classic hits-oldies WJJK “Classic Hits 104.5,” which boasts an April +2.2 (6.9 – 9.1, fifth to third, 6+). Having occupied the top spot 11 sweeps in a row, WJJK dropped to second in December. Its 11.1 (July and September) represents the highest 6+-share in the station’s PPM-history. Among WJJK’s recent (6+) fluctuations are: +1.7 (April 2019); +1.4 (July); -1.1 (August); +1.1 (September); -2.2 (December); -1.4 (“Holiday” 2019); +1.1 (January 2020); -1.0 (March); and +2.2 (April 2020). Bettering March’s +1.4 with an April +1.5, iHeartMedia-owned WFBQ “Q-95 Rocks” reaches the ten-share level (7.2 – 8.6 – 10.1, third to second, 6+). A combined -1.1 in February/March (6.9 – 6.6 – 5.8, 6+), Cumulus Media-owned WFMS “95.5 The Country Station” erases that deficit with a +1.3 to 7.1 (6+) and continues in sixth-place. Off two-tenths in March (7.5 – 7.3, 6+), WFMS’ format rival – Emmis-owned WLHK “Country 97.1 Hank-FM” – dials up a +1.0 to (8.3, 6+) and remains at #4. Radio One urban AC WTLC-FM purges February/March’s half share decrease (5.8 – 5.4 – 5.3, 6+) with a +.7 to 6.0 (steady at #7, 6+). On top the past five reports, Emmis adult contemporary WYXB “B-105.7” segues to fourth (9.5 – 8.3, -1.2, 6+). WYXB was an overall +10.8 through three increases in succession (7.4 – 8.8 – 10.2 – 18.2, 6+), but was then -9.3 in January/February (18.2 – 9.1 – 8.9, 6+). Its 18.2 (“Holiday” 2019) represents the strongest 6+-performance by any Indianapolis station in the PPM-era. Regressing by eight-tenths and seven-tenths, respectively, are Cumulus Media hot AC WNTR “107.9 The Mix” (#10 to #14) and Sarkes Tarzian triple A “WTTS “92.3 Experience The Music” (#10 to #11). In an alternating down/up sequence that began last August, “The Mix” is 3.7 – 2.9 – 3.3 – 2.9 – 3.4 – 2.9 – 3.1 – 2.7 – 2.8 – 2.0 (6+). As a result of three drops in a row, WTTS is -1.6 (4.7 – 4.0 – 3.8 – 3.1, 6+). Despite being down two-tenths to 4.3 (6+), Entercom CHR WZPL “99.5 ZPL” advances from ninth to eighth. The loss, however, suspends three straight gains that yielded a +1.3 (3.2 – 3.8 – 4.2 – 4.5, 6+). Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian WKLU “Positive & Encouraging K-Love” posted a 3.4 (6+) in June but is unlisted the eleventh time in a row.

Milwaukee

Spoken-Word Formats – The news/talk station on top in this Wisconsin market in April 2020 is iHeartMedia’s WISN. “News/Talk 1130” is an astonishing +5.3 via four straight spikes including April’s mammoth +3.5 and crosses the nine-share level (4.0 – 4.2 – 5.2 – 5.8 – 9.3, fourth to first, 6+). Replicating March’s +.6 (5.1 – 5.7 – 6.3, 6+), Good Karma Brands’ WTMJ jumps from sixth to third. “Wisconsin’s Radio Station” was off eight-tenths in January/February (5.9 – 5.3 – 5.1, 6+). In six straight sweeps without a loss, Alpha Media’s Kenosha-licensed WLIP doubles (+.3) its 6+ AQH share (.3 – .3 – .3 – .3 – .4 – .5 – .6, #20 to 18, 6+).

It’s a mixed-bag for the market’s four sports talkers. On the plus side, iHeartMedia’s WRNW “97.3 The Game – Milwaukee’s Sports Talk That Rocks” is up one-tenth (.6 – .7, #17 to #16, 6+) and Good Karma Brands’ WKTI “94.5 ESPN” is flat at .6 (#17 to #18, 6+). Dropping one-tenth are Entercom’s WSSP “Sports Radio 105.7 The Fan” (.6 – .5, #17 to #20, 6+) and iHeartMedia’s WOKY “The Big 920” (.4 – .3, flat at #22, 6). The latter has lost four-tenths in seven straight sweeps without an increase (.7 – .6 – .5 – .4 – .4 – .4 – .4 – .3, 6+).

As a result of four straight gains, University of Wisconsin news/talk WUWM is a collective +1.0 (4.0 – 4.2 – 4.4 – 4.5 – 5.0, eighth to fifth, 6+). Repeating March’s 1.4 (6+), Wisconsin Public Radio news/talk WHAD climbs from #13 to #12.  

Milwaukee Music Formats – In the Magnum Radio cluster, WVTY “92.1 VTY Country” more than triples (+1.8) its 6+ AQH share in March/April (.8 – 1.6 – 2.6, #12 to #11, 6+); however, WMBZ “92.9 Buzz Country” surrenders all but one-tenth of March’s +.8 (2.1 – 1.4, -.7, #11 to #12, 6+). The December 2019 through February 2020 topline for WVTY was .9 – .7 – .9 – .8 (6+). Prior to March, “Buzz Country” hadn’t had an increase the previous four sweeps for a net loss of four-tenths (1.7 – 1.4 – 1.3 – 1.3 – 1.3, 6+). An overall -3.0 in three straight setbacks (7.9 – 7.0 – 6.5 – 4.9, 6+), Entercom hot AC WMYX “99.1 The Mix” falls from second to eighth. WMYX had a January-only stay at the top. After posting an increase of seven-tenths in back-to-back sweeps (6.2 – 6.9 – 7.6, 6+), it faltered by -1.5 in “Holiday” 2019 before notching a +1.8 in January (6.1 – 7.9, 6+). Co-owned CHR WXSS “103.7 Kiss FM” is in an alternating up/down pattern which includes April’s -1.1: 4.0 – 4.4 – 3.8 – 4.1 – 3.9 – 4.2 – 3.1 (ninth to tenth, 6+). In March, iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies WRIT “95.7 Big FM Milwaukee’s Greatest Hits” and Milwaukee Radio Alliance adult contemporary WLDB “B-93.3” each plummeted by -1.2. Now in April, both falter by eight-tenths. After spending the past six reports at #1, WRIT segues to #2 (7.7 – 6.9, 6+). Previously, “Big FM” spent four straight months on top before slipping to the runner-up slot in October. “Holiday” 2019’s 11.8 is the strongest 6+-stat for any Milwaukee station since WRIT’s 11.6 in “Holiday” 2017. Its recent (6+) moves include: -1.5 (May 2019); -1.3 (October); +4.0 (“Holiday” 2019); -3.9 (January 2020); +1.0 (February); and -1.2 (March). Meanwhile, in four straight downturns, “B-93.3” has lost roughly 56% (-6.4) of its 6+ AQH share (11.4 – 7.3 – 7.0 – 5.8 – 5.0, fourth to fifth, 6+). “B-93.3” was a cumulative +6.2 as a result of three bumps in a row (5.2 – 5.7 – 6.8 – 11.4, 6+). With their “Holiday” 2019 (6+) AQH share and market rank information in parentheses, the following Saga Communications stations are unlisted the fourth month in a row: WKLH “96.5 Milwaukee’s Hometown Rock” (5.6, fifth, 6+); WHQG “102.9 The Hog Everything That Rocks” (4.7, eighth, 6+); urban AC WJMR “Jammin’ 98.3” (3.2, #13, 6+); and rhythmic CHR WNRG “Energy 106.9” (1.5, #15, 6+).

Nashville

Spoken-Word Formats – Repeating in sixth-place, Cumulus Media’s WWTN “Super Talk 99.7” is up seven-tenths in March/April (4.7 – 5.3 – 5.4, 6+). WWTN was -.7 (December/“Holiday” 2019) and then +.7 (January 2020). Up one-half share in March/April (2.2 – 2.3 – 2.7, 6+), iHeartMedia’s WLAC “Talk Radio 1510” progresses from #16 to #13.

Cumulus Media-owned sports talk WGFX “104.5 The Zone” is an overall -2.8 in three drops in succession (4.7 – 3.2 – 2.0 – 1.9, 6+). In that same timeframe, Cromwell Group-owned/similarly-formatted WPRT “102.5 The Game” has lost more than half (-.6) its 6+ AQH share (1.0 – .6 – .4 – .4, flat at #22, 6+).

Following January’s +1.1 (4.6 – 5.7, 6+), Nashville Public Radio’s WPLN-FM “NPR News and Classical Music” forfeits -1.7 in three straight slips (5.7 – 5.5 – 5.0 – 4.0, eighth to tenth, 6+).

Nashville Music Formats – Not only is Midwest Communications-owned adult hits WCJK an overall +3.0 in four straight spikes allowing it to cross the nine-share level (6.2 – 6.5 – 7.5 – 8.3 – 9.2, 6+), “96.3 Jack FM – Playing What We Want” advances from second to first. The last time Nashville’s version of “Jack-FM” occupied the top spot was November 2019. Knocked out of the penthouse after five consecutive sweeps there is WCJK’s adult contemporary sibling WJXA “Mix 92.9 – Your Life, Your Music” (9.7 – 8.1, -1.6, first to second, 6+). A combined +8.3 in December/“Holiday” 2019 (7.5 – 9.7 – 15.8, 6+), WJXA has been: +1.0 (May 2019); -1.6 (October); +2.2 (December); +6.1 (“Holiday” 2019); -5.5 (January 2020); +1.3 (February); -1.9 (March); and -1.6 (April). Winning ways continue for iHeartMedia’s WNRQ “105.9 The Rock,” which more than doubles (+3.4) its 6+-stat via four successive upticks including April’s hefty +2.1 (3.3 – 3.8 – 4.0 – 4.6 – 6.7, tenth to fifth, 6+). Advancing from fourth to third, co-owned urban contemporary WUBT 101.1 “The Beat” posts its fifth straight spike for a collective +2.2 (5.1 – 5.5 – 5.6 – 5.9 – 6.4 – 7.3, 6+). As a result of three straight boosts, Cumulus Media country outlet WKDF “Nash FM 103.3” is +1.7 (3.3 – 3.5 – 4.2 – 5.0, 6+) and reenters the top ten (#11 to #7).  Middle Tennessee State University’s WMOT “Roots Radio 89.5,” which lost three-tenths in three straight down or flat moves (.7 – .6 – .6 – .4, 6+), triples March’s .4 and enters the top twenty (1.2, +.8, #18, 6+). Three straight down or flat moves by Educational Media Foundation’s WLVU resulted in a -1.0 (2.4 – 1.9 – 1.9 – 1.4, 6+), but “Positive & Encouraging K-Love” is +.9 in March/April (1.4 – 1.8 – 2.3, #18 to #16, 6+). Drifting from fourth to tenth, iHeartMedia CHR WRVW “107.5 The River” is -3.1 in March/April (7.1 – 6.4 – 4.0, 6+), following January/February’s +1.5 (5.6 – 6.5 – 7.1, 6+). Just prior to the December 2019 report, WRVW netted nine-tenths via five straight sweeps without a loss (5.3 – 5.3 – 5.5 – 5.7 – 6.2 – 6.2, 6+), but was then -.6 in December/“Holiday” 2019 (6.2 – 6.1 – 5.6, 6+). Without an increase the past eight reports for a -1.2 (1.3 – 1.1 – .9 – .7 – .5 – .2 – .1 – .1 – .1, 6+), TBLC Media’s Spanish contemporary WNVL “Activa” disappears from print.

Providence

Spoken-Word Formats – In four straight positive or neutral trends – highlighted by April’s +2.3 – WPRO-AM “News Talk 630” has more than doubled (+3.6) its 6+ AQH share. The Cumulus Media-owned outlet  crosses the six-share level (2.5 – 3.7 – 3.7 – 3.8 – 6.1, 6+) and advances from seventh to fifth. Gaining nine-tenths in five straight sweeps without a loss (.4 – .6 – .8 – 1.1 – 1.1 – 1.3, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WHJJ “News Radio 920” progresses from #16 to #14. Cumulus Media’s WPRV “AM 790 Talk & Business” is up two-tenths (.4 – .6, #20 to #19, 6+).

Dropping from ninth to tenth, Entercom sports talk WVEI is a cumulative -1.7 in three straight slumps (4.1 – 3.4 – 3.1 – 2.4, 6+).

Following three improvements in a row for a +1.0 (1.2 – 1.5 – 1.6 – 2.2, 6+), iHeartMedia Boston news-talk hybrid WBZ-AM “News Radio 1030” surrenders 70% of the windfall (1.5, -.7, #12 to #13, 6+).

After three straight up or flat moves yielded nine-tenths (2.3 – 2.8 – 2.8 – 3.2, 6+), WGBH Educational Foundation Boston news/talk WGBH drops two-tenths to 3.0 (eighth to ninth, 6+). More than doubling (+1.2) its 6+ AQH share in March/April (.9 – 1.4 – 2.1, 6+), Rhode Island Public Radio news/talk WNPN progresses from #13 to #11.

Down three-tenths in February/March (.7 – .6 – .4, 6+), The Wheeler School-owned news/talk WELH “89.3 The Public’s Radio” regains two-tenths to .6 (#20 to #19, 6+).

Providence Music Formats – On the heels of regressing six-tenths in March, Hall Broadcasting’s WCTK roars back with a +1.9 (7.9 – 9.8, third to second, 6+). “Cat Country 98.1” was +2.1 in January/February (6.4 – 7.8 – 8.5, 6+), directly after “Holiday” 2019’s -1.9 (8.3 – 6.4, 6+). Up two-tenths in March (2.1 – 2.3, 6+), Townsquare Media CHR WFHN “Fun 107 The Southcoast’s #1 Hit Music Station” adds a +1.0 to 3.3 (6+) and enters the top ten (#11 to #8). After being an overall +2.6 through three successive increases (8.0 – 9.4 – 10.2 – 10.6, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned WHJY drops four-tenths to 10.2 (6+). Nonetheless, “94 HJY Providence’s Home of Rock & Roll” is #1 the fourth time in a row. On top four consecutive months, WHJY segued to the runner-up slot in “Holiday” 2019, when it was -1.3. The three latest shifts by Cumulus Media adult contemporary WWLI “Lite Rock 105” are: -8.3 (16.8 – 8.9 – 8.5, January/February, 6+); +1.3 (8.5 – 9.8, March, 6+); and now -1.9 in April (9.8 – 7.9, second to third, 6+). Sputtering by six-tenths and one-half share, respectively, are WWLI’s rhythmic CHR sibling WWKX “Hot 106” (#10 to #12) and iHeartMedia’s similarly-formatted WJMN “JAM’N 94.5” (#15 to #17). “Hot” is off eight-tenths in March/April (2.6 – 2.4 – 1.8, 6+), while WJMN is down the third time in a row for a -1.0 (1.7 – 1.4 – 1.2 – .7, 6+). Unlisted the 11th month in a row are Red Wolf Broadcasting Spanish tropical WKKB “Latina 100.3,” which posted a 1.2 in June (#16, 6+) and classic hits-oldies sibling WSKP “Good Times … Great Oldies” (.8, #19, June 2019, 6+).

Norfolk

Spoken-Word Formats – Slipping from #11 to #13, Max Broadcast Group sports talk WVSP “ESPN Radio 94.1” is down or flat the seventh straight time for a net loss of nine-tenths (2.2 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 2.1 – 1.9 – 1.9 – 1.7 – 1.3, 6+).

Norfolk Music Formats – Expunging February/March’s -1.0 (7.4 – 6.7 – 6.4, 6+) with an April +1.1 to 7.5 (6+), iHeartMedia’s WOWI “103 Jamz” continues in the runner-up slot. More than five full-shares ahead of WOWI is Entercom urban AC WVKL (13.6 – 12.6, -1.0, 6+), which is #1 the 17th consecutive ratings period. “Smooth R&B from Yesterday & Today” was –1.5 in February and +.7 in March. Just prior to February, WVKL was an overall +2.7 in three straight gains (11.7 – 12.7 – 14.1 – 14.4, 6+). Its August 9.1 (6+) marked the first time since January 2014 (9.8) that WVKL failed to log double-digits (6+). The 15.5 it posted in August 2018 holds the record for highest 6+-performance by any Norfolk station in the PPM-era. After losing more than 60% (-7.7) of its 6+ AQH share through three straight downturns (12.4 – 5.2 – 5.2 – 4.7, 6+), adult contemporary sibling WWDE “101.3 2WD” picks up one-tenth to 4.8 (6+) and continues at #3. Faltering by seven-tenths each are Max Broadcast Group country WGH-FM “97.3 The Eagle” (fourth to fifth) and iHeartMedia rhythmic hot AC WMOV “MOViN’ 107.7” (1.0, #11 to #14, 6+). “The Eagle” is without an increase the third time in a row for a -1.0 (4.2 – 4.2 – 3.9 – 3.2, 6+); WMOV was up six-tenths in February/March (1.1 – 1.3 – 1.7, 6+). Off one-half share each are Entercom rhythmic CHR and hot AC cluster-mates WNVZ “Z-104 Norfolk Rhythmic Music” (fifth to sixth) and WPTE “94.9 The Point” (flat at #7). In March/April, “Z-104” is down seven-tenths (3.9 – 3.7 – 3.2, 6+), while “The Point” has lost nine-tenths in the same stretch (3.9 – 3.5 – 3.0, 6+). In three consecutive increases, Max Broadcast Group CHR WVHT was +1.6 (2.0 – 2.4 – 2.7 – 3.6, 6+) and crossed the three-share level (3.6) for the first time since July (3.1). While down one-tenth in April to 3.5 (6+), “Hot 100 Today’s Hits Now” nonetheless advances from sixth to fourth. These three Saga Communications-owned properties are unlisted the third month in a row: WAFX “106.9 The Fox – Hampton Roads’ Classic Rock”; WNOR “FM 99 Rocks”; and adult standards WJOI “Joy FM – Great Songs/Great Memories.” WAFX was -1.5 in December/“Holiday” 2019 (7.3 – 6.7 – 5.8, #4, 6+); WNOR lost basically half (-4.5) its 6+ AQH share via four consecutive downturns (9.1 – 7.5 – 7.2 – 5.4 – 4.6, 6+), finishing fifth in “Holiday” 2019; and WJOI logged a .2 in “Holiday” 2019 (#17, 6+).

Jacksonville

Spoken-Word Formats – A whopping +5.3 through five consecutive upticks (8.1 – 8.3 – 9.8 – 10.4 – 11.8 – 13.4, 6+), Cox Media Group news/talk WOKV-FM “104.5 Jacksonville’s News, Weather, and Traffic” repeats at #1.

A combined +.6 in March/April (.8 – 1.2 – 1.4, 6+), iHeartMedia sports talk WFXJ “930 The Game – Jacksonville’s Sports Leader” advances from #17 to #15. After posting a .3 (6+) in February and March, Cox Media Group sports talk WOKV-AM “690 AM ESPN Jacksonville” is unlisted in April.

Public radio news/talk WJCT follows March’s half-share improvement (3.4 – 3.9, 6+) with a loss of seven-tenths and exits the top ten (3.2, #10 to #11, 6+).

Jacksonville Music Formats – Augmenting its March increase of three-tenths (2.5 – 2.8, 6+) with an April +1.0, iHeartMedia’s rock-formatted WWJK “107.3 Planet Radio” enters the top ten (3.8, #13 to #9, 6+). Co-owned urban contemporary WJBT “93.3 The Beat,” which was -1.3 in March (6.1 – 4.8, 6+), rebounds with a gain of six-tenths (5.4, eighth to sixth, 6+). By picking up one-tenth to 1.3 (#17 to #16, 6+), Cox Media Group-owned WXXJ “X-106.5 Jacksonville’s New Alternative” applies the brakes to nine consecutive down or flat sweeps that accounted for a collective -1.7 (2.9 – 2.7 – 2.6 – 2.5 – 2.4 – 2.2 – 2.1 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.2, 6+). The market’s (6+) country share softens by -2.0 as Renda Broadcasting’s WGNE “99.9 Gator Country” is -1.4 (sixth to eighth) and iHeartMedia-owned WQIK “Jacksonville’s Country 99.1 is -.6 (ninth to tenth). WGNE continues its alternating down/up pattern: 4.0 – 5.5 – 5.0 – 5.4 – 4.0 (6+). Without an increase the third time in a row, WQIK is -1.0 in that period (4.6 – 4.6 – 4.2 – 3.6, 6+). Flat in seventh-place, Cox Media Group CHR WAPE “95.1 Jacksonville’s #1 Hit Music Station” is a combined -1.0 in March/April (5.3 – 5.1 – 4.3, 6+).

West Palm Beach

Spoken-Word Formats – An overall +1.9 in four consecutive reports without a loss (2.8 – 3.2 – 3.2 – 3.5 – 4.7, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned WJNO “1290 The Palm Beaches’ News & Talk” progresses from fifth to fourth. Following February’s -1.2 (2.9 – 1.7, 6+), co-owned news/talk WZZR “Real Radio 94.3 – Real Talk For The Palm Beaches” is a combined +.5 in March/April (1.7 – 2.0 – 2.2, steady at #11, 6+). Without an increase the sixth time in a row for a one-third loss (-1.4) of its 6+ AQH share (2.1 – 1.4 – 1.1 – 1.1 – .8 – .8 – .7, 6+), Hubbard Broadcasting’s WFTL “News Talk 850” nonetheless climbs from #21 to #16. Tied with WFTL in a four-way scrum at #16 is iHeartMedia Miami news/talk WIOD “610 News Radio” (.6 – .7, +.1, #22 to #16, 6+).

The November 2019 through April 2020 topline for Hubbard Broadcasting’s WMEN “Fox Sports 640 AM South Florida” is: .4 – .4 – .3 – .4 – .3 – .2 – .2 (#25 to #22, 6+).

Despite being an overall +.9 in four straight reports without a loss (2.0 – 2.5 – 2.9 – 2.9 – 2.9, 6+), Dade County School Board public radio news/talk WLRN backslides from eighth to ninth. WLRN was +.8 (December) and -1.0 (Holiday” 2019).

West Palm Beach Music Formats – The four latest fluctuations by Hubbard Broadcasting urban AC WMBX “X-102.3” are +1.8 (January); -2.3 (February); -1.5 (March); and +.8 in April (5.0 – 6.8 – 4.5 – 3.0 – 3.8, steady at #7, 6+). Nearly doubling (+1.7) its 6+ AQH stat in three straight spikes (1.9 – 2.5 – 2.9 – 3.6, 6+), iHeartMedia Spanish contemporary WRLX “Mia 92.1” continues in eighth-place. Co-owned CHR WLDI “WiLD 95.5 The Palm Beaches’ #1 Hit Music Station” gains eight-tenths in three successive sweeps without a loss and reaches the four-share level (3.3 – 3.5 – 3.5 – 4.0, fifth to sixth, 6+). The three stations deadlocked at #1 in March all experience April erosion. Emerging in sole possession of first-place is Hubbard Broadcasting classic hits-oldies WEAT “Sunny 107.9” (7.7 – 7.2, -.5, 6+). “Sunny” was up three-tenths in February/March (7.4 – 7.6 – 7.7, 6+). It now has a half-share lead over iHeartMedia-owned adult contemporary WOLL (7.7 – 6.7, -1.0, first to second, 6+). Immediately prior, “Today’s Kool 105.5” was +3.1 as a result of three consecutive improvements (4.6 – 6.3 – 7.6 – 7.7, 6+), which directly followed five downturns in succession for an overall -2.8 (7.4 – 6.9 – 6.8 – 5.8 – 5.6 – 4.6, 6+). The third part of that March #1 triangle – Hubbard Broadcasting hot AC WRMF “Variety from the 90s and Now” – falters by -1.2 (7.7 – 6.5, 6+) and falls to third. Off -1.0 in March, WRMF had been on top three straight months. WRMF dropped one-tenth in February, following January’s +1.1. After spending 12 ratings periods at #1, WRMF slid to #2 in “Holiday” 2019 (-1.5). It substituted November’s -.6 with December’s +.6  (9.2 – 8.6 – 9.2, 6+). Plummeting by -1.0 each are iHeartMedia classic rock WKGR “Gater 98.7” (4.3, fourth to fifth, 6+) and Spanish contemporary cluster-mate WZTU “Tu 94.9” (#16 to #20). A collective +1.9 in three bumps in a row (3.1 – 3.7 – 3.9 – 5.0, November 2019 through January 2020, 6+), WKGR erased February’s loss of six-tenths with a March +.9 (4.4 – 5.3, 6+). WZTU continues an alternating down/up sequence: 1.5 – 1.3 – 1.4 – .9 – 1.8 – 1.3 – 1.4 – .4 (6+). Remaining at #10, Hubbard-owned WIRK “New Country 103.1” is down or flat the sixth straight sweep for an overall -2.8 (5.5 – 4.7 – 4.6 – 4.4 – 3.7 – 2.7 – 2.7, 6+).

Greensboro

Spoken-Word Formats – As a result of four straight bumps, iHeartMedia news/talk WPTI “94.5 Your News, Talk, & Sports Station” is a collective +2.6 (3.0 – 3.9 – 4.7 – 5.1 – 5.6, 6+) and pushes up from seventh to sixth.

Unlisted in January, Curtis Media Group sports talk WSJS “Triad Sports” is trending .7 – .8 – -.5 (February – March – April, flat at #15, 6+).

Off four-tenths to 3.0 (6+), Wake Forest University news/talk WFDD exits the top ten (#10 to #11). It had been an overall +1.3 as a result of three successive increases (2.1 – 3.0 – 3.3 – 3.4, 6+). The “Holiday” 2019 through April 2020 topline for University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill public radio news/talk WUNC is: 1.5 – 1.4 – 1.5 – 1.4 – 1.7 – 1.5 (flat at #14,  6+).

Greensboro Music Formats – Off three-tenths in March (3.0 – 2.7, 6+), iHeartMedia’s WVBZ “105.7 Man Up!” answers with an April uptick of eight-tenths to 3.5 (6+) and enters the top ten (#11 to #10). Adding six-tenths to its half-share gain in March (7.2 – 7.7 – 8.3, 6+), Dick Broadcasting’s WKRR “Rock 92” jumps from fourth to second. In addition to being a collective +1.2 in three straight spikes (9.9 – 10.5 – 10.8 – 11.1, 6+), Entercom urban AC WQMG “97.1 QMG The Best R&B and Old School” repeats at #1. This directly follows three consecutive losses that resulted in a -1.1 (11.0 – 10.9 – 10.1 – 9.9, 6+). In 2019, WQMG was #1 in January, February, April, May, July, and December. An overall -1.6 in three successive setbacks (5.7 – 5.5 – 4.8 – 4.1, 6+), Dick Broadcasting CHR WKZL “107.5 KZL The #1 Hit Music Station” falls from eighth to ninth. Meanwhile, iHeartMedia’s similarly-formatted WMKS “100.3 Kiss-FM All The Hits” has lost eight-tenths in March/April (2.8 – 2.6 – 2.0, unchanged at #12, 6+). Forfeiting one-half share each are Entercom adult hits WSMW “98.7 Simon Says We Play Everything” (second to fourth, 6+); iHeartMedia adult contemporary WMAG (flat at #5, 6+); and Entercom’s country WPAW “93.1 The Wolf” (sixth to seventh, 6+). In three straight drops, “Simon” is -2.8 (10.4 – 8.9 – 8.1 – 7.6, 6+). Its recent (6+) fluctuations include: -1.6 (April 2019); +1.1 (May); -1.0 (July); +1.4 (September); +1.0 (November); -1.2 (December); -2.2 (“Holiday” 2019); and +1.9 (January 2020); In November 2019, “Simon” hit the eleven-share level (11.9, 6+) for the first time since February 2018 (11.4). After improving by seven-tenths in February (7.4 – 8.1, 6+), WMAG is -1.0 in March/April (8.1 – 7.6 – 7.1, 6+). Following its “Holiday” 2019-only stay at #1, WMAG plummeted by roughly 54% (-8.8) of its 6+ AQH share (16.2 – 7.4, 6+). Immediately before that, four successive spikes netted WMAG a +9.9 (6.3 – 6.4 – 7.5 – 10.2 – 16.2, 6+). In an alternating up/down pattern that started in December, “The Wolf” is: 4.9 – 5.5 – 5.2 – 5.3 – 4.8 (6+).

Memphis

Spoken-Word Formats – An overall +2.6 via four consecutive spikes, iHeartMedia news/talk WREC “600 AM – Memphis’ News, Traffic, & Weather” hits the seven-share threshold (4.4 – 4.6 – 5.1 – 5.6 – 7.0, fifth to fourth, 6+).

Repeating at #13, Entercom’s WMFS “ESPN Sports Radio” is -1.6 in three straight slips (3.4 – 3.1 – 2.3 – 1.8, 6+). Locked on .3 (6+) in February and March, co-owned WMC-AM “ESPN 790” drops one-tenth to .2 (#20 to #21, 6+).

Memphis Music Formats – In addition to more than doubling (+2.2) its 6+ AQH stat by notching five straight up or flat moves (1.9 – 1.9 – 2.2 – 2.7 – 3.0 – 4.1, 6+), iHeartMedia’s WDIA “1070 The Heart & Soul of Memphis” cracks the top ten (#11 to #8). A combined +1.3 in March/April (6.8 – 7.3 – 8.1, 6+), WDIA’s urban contemporary sibling – WHRK “K-97” – continues in third-place. “K-97” was -1.0 in January/February (7.8 – 6.9 – 6.8, 6+). In six down or flat reports in a row, urban AC cluster-mate KJMS was -3.0 (10.5 – 10.5 – 9.7 – 9.4 – 9.2 – 8.8 – 8.5, 6+); however, “V-101” pulls the plug with a +.2 to 8.7 (6+) and continues at #2. In February, KJMS exited the top spot after 16 consecutive times there. The alternating up/down sequence by Shelby County Schools urban AC WQOX “The Voice of SCS” includes April’s half share increase: 1.3 – 1.0 – 1.5 – 1.1 – 1.4 – 1.2 – 1.7 (#15 to #14, 6+). While adult contemporary endured a very harsh April 2020 sweep, both of Memphis’ ACs notch modest increases: Entercom’s WRVR “104.5 The River” gains four-tenths (5.0 – 5.4, seventh to sixth, 6+), while Cumulus Media’s WKIM “98.9 The Bridge” is up one-tenth (1.2 – 1.3, #15 to #16, 6+). “The River” had been -4.0 as a result of three consecutive downturns (9.0 – 6.3 – 5.7 – 5.0, 6+). The Bridge” was up three-tenths in February and down one-half share in March. In addition to being #1 the third month in a row, Cumulus Media urban-rhythmic oldies WRBO is +2.8 in three straight jumps (8.3 – 9.1 – 11.0 – 11.1, 6+). In March, “103.5 The Best Mix of R&B” hit double-digits (11.0) for the first time since November 2018 (10.7). Entering the January sweep, WRBO was +1.4 in three straight increases (7.1 – 7.3 – 7.9 – 8.5, 6+). A cumulative -3.1 as a result of three successive setbacks (8.3 – 7.8 – 6.2 – 5.2, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned gospel WHAL falls from fourth to seventh. “Hallelujah 95.7 – Memphis’ Inspiration Station” was off six-tenths in December and +1.8 “Holiday” 2019/January 2020. Including its current -.8, Entercom hot AC WMC-FM “FM 100 Today’s Best Mix” continues an alternating up/down pattern: 3.9 – 4.8 – 4.5 – 4.9 – 3.8 – 4.3 – 3.5 (eighth to tenth, 6+). In the country battle, Cumulus Media’s WGKX “Today’s Best Country Kix 106” is down eight-tenths (#9 to #11), while Entercom’s WLFP “94.1 The Wolf” loses seven-tenths (2.2, flat at #12, 6+). The last four moves by “Kix 106” are +.9 (January); -.5 (February); +.6 (March); and -.8 in April (4.1 – 3.3, 6+). WGKX was -1.7 in December/“Holiday 2019.” Meanwhile, “The Wolf” gained one-half share in February and was -.6 in March (3.5 – 2.9, 6+).

Hartford

Spoken-Word Formats – Unchanged at #4, Entercom-owned WTIC-AM “News Talk 1080” is a collective  +1.9 through four consecutive increases (5.7 – 6.1 – 6.2 – 7.2 – 7.6, 6+). After doubling its 6+ AQH share in February/March (.6 – .8 – 1.2, 6+), Red Wolf Broadcasting news/talk WDRC-AM “AM 1360 The Talk of Connecticut” forfeits one-half share to .7 (#13 to #14, 6+). It is tied with iHeartMedia’s WPOP  (.2 – .7, +.5, #15 to #14, 6+).“News Radio 1410” logged a .1 (6+) 21 straight times and then posted a .2 (6+) in back-to-back reports.

In three straight slumps, WPOP’s sports talk cluster-mate, WUCS “97.9 ESPN Hartford,” loses eight-tenths (1.9 – 1.8 – 1.6 – 1.1, #12 to #13, 6+).

A combined +1.1 in January/February (3.5 – 4.1 – 4.6, 6+), Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network news/talk WNPR “Connecticut’s Public Media Source for News & Ideas” is -1.6 in March/April (4.6 – 4.3 – 3.0, #9 to #10, 6+). As a result of three straight sweeps without an increase, University of Massachusetts-owned WFCR “New England Public Radio” loses half (-.2) is 6+ AQH share (.4 – .3 – .2 – .2, #15 to #16, 6+).

Hartford Music Formats –  A combined -.5 in February/March (7.9 – 7.5 – 7.4, 6+), iHeartMedia’s WWYZ “Country 92.5” explodes with a +2.4 to 9.8 (6+) and storms from third to first. As a result, it ends at 46  Entercom adult contemporary WRCH’s consecutive string of #1 finishes. A combined -2.1 in March/April (11.0 – 9.9 – 8.9, 6+), “Lite 100.5” segues to the runner-up slot. WRCH was a combined +8.6 in December/“Holiday” 2019 (9.8 – 11.5 – 18.4, 6+) and -7.7 in January; 18.4 is the best 6+-showing of any Hartford station since WRCH’s 18.0 in “Holiday” 2018. Recent (6+) WRCH shifts include: -1.3 (April 2019); +1.0 (May); -1.0 (July); +1.2 (September); +1.7 (December); +6.9 (“Holiday” 2019); -7.7 (January 2020); -1.1 (March); and -1.0 (April 2020). Off three-tenths in February (6.8 – 6.5, 6+), Red Wolf Broadcasting classic rock WDRC-FM “102.9 The Whale” counters with a +2.4 in March/April (6.5 – 7.6 – 8.9, 6+) and is tied with WRCH at #2. Unchanged at #8, Entercom-owned hot AC WTIC-FM “96.5 TIC-FM” continues an alternating up/down pattern that includes April’s -1.5 (6.2 – 7.3 – 6.2 – 6.4 – 5.5 – 5.6 – 4.1, 6+). Three drops in succession by iHeartMedia CHR WKSS “Kiss 95.7 – All The Hits” result in a -2.6 (7.4 – 6.1 – 5.9 – 4.8, flat at #7, 6+). Reaching the market from New Haven, co-owned/similarly-formatted WKCI “KC-101” is off six-tenths in March/April (2.1 – 2.0 – 1.5, #12, 6+). Without an increase the tenth time in succession for a net loss of three-tenths (.5 – .4 – .3 – .3 – .3 – .3 – .3 – .3 – .3 – .3 – .2, 6+), Red Wolf Broadcasting classic hits-oldies WNTY “Kool Radio – Good Times/Great Oldies” drops from #14 to #16.

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.

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.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

| April 29, 2020

iHeartMedia Orders Employees to Take Two Unpaid Weeks of Vacation. Audio giant iHeartMedia is taking another step to help reduce the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on on its business by requiring certain staffers to take two week’s unpaid vacation this year.  Here’s an excerpt from the memo sent to all company employees by CEO Bob Pittman and CFO/COO Rich Bressler: “We’re sure you have seen news stories about states’ extended stay-at-home orders and questions about the continuing impact of COVID-19 on businesses across the country, and that includes our business as well. We’ve had to make some difficult decisions which you’re aware of to address the economic impact on our company, and we have done our best to find ways to reduce that impact while avoiding layoffs. Unfortunately, the longer than anticipated shutdown of businesses means that we must do more, with the goal of keeping our business healthy while still avoiding permanent layoffs. Therefore, after reviewing all of our options, we are taking a difficult step but one that we hope will be our last action impacting employee compensation: Requiring that employees who make over $50,000 a year in base compensation – excluding bonuses, overtime or commissions — and who have not already volunteered to take a salary reduction of 5% or more, to take two weeks of unpaid vacation in calendar year 2020, with the first vacation week taking place between now and June 30 and the second vacation week taking place between July 1 and September 30. These two unpaid vacation weeks in total are the equivalent of an approximately 4% salary reduction for the year and must be scheduled with your manager to ensure appropriate staffing at all times.”

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the news/talk format. As its cousins all-news and public radio news/talk have done, commercial news/talk stations have for the most part earned more listening credit due to the coronavirus pandemic. Fifty-four percent of news/talk stations on our panel saw their weekly, 6+ AQH shares go up and 20% were unchanged compared to the February 2020 survey. Big gainers included: iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento up 1.9 shares for a 10.3 share and the #1 rank in the market; Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland up 1.8 shares for a 6.7 share and the #3 rank; and iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati up 1.8 shares for a 10.1 share and the #1 rank. Looking at year-over-year changes, 64% of news/talk stations were up from March 2019 with a number of outlets making huge gains.  They include: Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta adding 5.8 shares to finish March 2020 with a 12.9 share; KFBK, Sacramento rising 4.1 shares for a 10.3 share; iHeartMedia’s WTVN, Columbus climbing 3.9 shares for a 9.4 share in March 2020; and Entercom’s KFTK-FM, St. Louis going up 3.3 shares to a 5.5 share. There were five news/talk stations that ranked #1 in their PPM markets in March, see which ones in Mike Kinosian’s report here.

NRG Media’s Omaha Stations Presenting Live COVID-19 Town Hall. News/talk KOIL-AM and sister sports talk stations KOZN “1620 The Zone” and KZOT “1180 Zone 2” are presenting a COVID-19 town hall broadcast titled, “Omaha – The New Normal,” this evening (4/29) from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  The program will feature key figures in politics, education, athletics, the medical field, and the non-profit industry.  NRG Media says company personalities Mike’l Severe and Matt Tompkins “will take a deep dive into the new normal with Nebraska Congressman Don Bacon; Governor of Nebraska Pete Ricketts; Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert; Omaha Public Schools superintendent Cheryl Logan; University of Nebraska Medicine chief of internal medicine Dr. Mark Rupp, director of athletics at Creighton University, Bruce Rasmussen; and more.” NRG Media Omaha general manager Mark Shecterle says, “As broadcasters, it’s our job to keep our listeners and the community informed. Our town hall guests did not hesitate when to participate and we are so appreciative. Providing the answers to the questions we are all asking is very much needed in Omaha. I’m just thankful we were able to put this together.”

‘Radio Cares: Feeding America Emergency Radiothon Takes Place Tomorrow.  Radio stations wishing to take part in tomorrow’s radiothon can do so by visiting RadioCares.org here. It’s being organized by Cumulus Media and Westwood One.  The “Radio Cares: Feeding America Emergency Radiothon” will benefit Feeding America and its 200-member network of food banks.  It will air across Cumulus’ 424 stations as well as on Westwood One’s programming.  Cumulus EVP, content & audience Brian Philips and Adams Radio Group president Ron Stone spearheaded the organization of the event.

U.S. Coronavirus Statistics & Projections, States Begin ‘Re-Opening,’ Health Care System/Testing Capabilities, Pence at Mayo Clinic, China’s Role in Pandemic, Presidential Race/Biden Accusation, and Trump Orders Meat Plants to Stay Open Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/28). The tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections for future cases; several states begin “re-opening” their economies; the preparedness of the health care system to deal with the pandemic and the country’s testing capabilities; Vice President Mike Pence is criticized for not wearing a mask during a visit to the Mayo Clinic; questions about China’s role in the coronavirus becoming a pandemic; the November presidential election and the accusation of sexual assault by Joe Biden’s former senate staffer; and President Trump’s ordering meat processing plants to remain open were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Cox Media Group Unveils New Employee-Designed Logo. The new corporate logo for Cox Media Group that you see here is the result of the company’s Design Our Logo Challenge. Hundreds of entries were submitted by employees, before the field was narrowed to three. The finalists were thoroughly vetted through a rigorous series of internal and external research studies, before the winning logo designed by CMG-TV Jacksonville art director Kim Colombero.  CMG president and CEO Kim Guthrie says, “The Design Our Logo Challenge was a great success and we were amazed at the level of participation from our people.  While we had hoped to launch our new logo in a bigger, public celebration – we simply could not wait any longer to unveil it and share the news with our winning designer.”  Colombero adds, “I was both thrilled and humbled to learn that my submission had made it to the final three, let alone that it had been chosen as the winning logo.  I am so proud to work for a company that is so inclusive and actively celebrates employees and their work.”

TALKERS News Notes. Research firm Jacobs Media announces it is doing a second national tracking study the week of May 11 on how the ongoing COVID-19 crisis is impacting Americans’ lives, “from the way they shop, to how they are working (or not), to how they consume media.”  The first such study took place in mid-March. Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs comments, “The impact of COVID-19 has disrupted broadcast radio, but timely data is key to the industry understanding the new landscape and adapting to it. This second tracking study will provide broadcasters with the quantitative ‘radar’ they need to shape their tactics and strategies.”…..The Society of Professional Journalists is sponsoring a “Day of Giving Back” tomorrow (4/30) in which it is soliciting donations to its fund to support journalists affected by the coronavirus pandemic.  The SPJ says, “In these days of COVID-19 exacerbating an already volatile time for the news industry, many journalists are finding themselves furloughed, laid off and left to wonder how they will make ends meet and what will be left of their careers. This is at a time when the news they provide not only informs our lives but saves lives as well.”  The Journalists Emergency Fund will provide assistance of up to $500 to help with bills and other living expenses and as this fund is supported through generous donations, these grants do not have to be paid back. You can donate here.…..The Connecticut stations owned by iHeartMedia have launched a website with dedicated resources to help residents navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. WeAreConnecticutStrong.com provides community resources, a listing for local businesses and their hours, hiring and job postings, exclusive interviews with Connecticut leaders, as well as a listing of local nonprofits and charitable causes.  The portal is available across all 11 radio station websites.  iHeartMedia president for the Hartford region Steve Honeycomb says, “We want to be as accessible as possible to help convey local business messaging through our local radio stations.  Small businesses across Connecticut are the cornerstone of the state’s economy and we want to be able to help spotlight them on WeAreConnecticutStrong.com as well as on our airwaves.”…..Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago was honored with four 2019 Illinois Associated Press Broadcasters Association Contest awards.  The station won the following: Outstanding News Operation; First Place for Best Spot News for “Chicago Public School Teachers Strike”; First Place for Best Sports Report for “69 Cubs”; and First Place for Best Newscast…..iHeartMedia announces it is holding its Annual Meeting of Stockholders on Monday, June 15, 2020, at 2:30 pm ET virtually via live webcast.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Buffalo oldies outlet WECK-AM adds another FM frequency to its multicast.  Radio One Buffalo says translator W261EB at 100.1 FM joins the feeder signal 1230 AM and fellow translators W263DC, Tonawanda at 100.5 FM and W275BB, Cheektowaga at 102.9 FM.  WECK president and CEO Buddy Shula says, “WECK has always been a stand-alone AM radio station, and as we all know, AM radios have had issues with static and interference over the past decade with more electronic devices vying for frequency space. Our third FM signal in metro Buffalo is truly unique.  I am not aware of any AM station in the U.S. that has three FM translator frequencies in the metro, along with the main AM station. It is our chance to provide Buffalo’s #1 oldies station on FM just about everywhere in the Buffalo DMA.”

Monday, April 20, 2020

| April 20, 2020

Monday Memo: The Trump Show. There’s lots of buzz about that New York Times report that the president told the coronavirus task force “he wanted to start a White House talk radio show.”  To which Rush Limbaugh invited him to guest host.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke asks “What if…?”  Read it here.

COVID-19 Statistics and Projections, the Re-Open the Country Debate/Stay Home Protests, Trump vs Governors, U.S.-China Relations, Deadly Nova Scotia Shooting, Financial Markets Activity/Oil Prices Crash, and Celebrities with Coronavirus Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The tally of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and the death toll as well as the projections for future cases and deaths; the debate over “re-opening” the country and the organized protests against “stay home” directives; President Trump’s war of words with some of the country’s governors over the breadth of his powers; the pressure on the Chinese Communist Party as calls for an investigation into the coronavirus’ origins mount; a lone shooter posing as a police officer kills 16 people in Nova Scotia; the world’s financial markets’ reactions to the coronavirus pandemic and the glut of oil; and global celebrities with COVID-19 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Time Is of the Essence. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column about adjusting to the new dynamic of deadlines and timeliness.  “Adjusting to working from home, with limited access to the people and resources you rely on is a daily climb.  More than likely you are now participating in (multiple) online meetings that eat the clock.  Still, you are paid on performance and need to keep the dynamics of the sales process moving forward in a timely fashion.  Like it or not, for today, you need to own this new dynamic.”  Read his column here.

SmartTalk Radio Network Distributing ‘The Hard Question.’ The daily talk radio program “The Hard Question” with host Blanquita Cullum is now being made available to stations across the country via the SmartTalk Radio Network.  Cullum says, “‘The Hard Question’ is all about trying to help the audience to be empowered, to be able to hear a deeper level of a conversation on an issue that may impact them and change their life.”  The network says, “With decades of experience in broadcasting and government service, Cullum knows the decision makers and her guest list routinely includes the names you hear in the headlines: governors, senators, ambassadors, foreign heads of state, as well as regular citizens.”  SmartTalk Radio Network general manager Chuck Duncan says, “Occasionally in network radio, a diamond emerges from the clutter of ho-hum.  Blanquita Cullum is a woman of worldly experiences and a deep participant of the inside rail, allowing her to ask and offer sensible solutions to the hard questions.  With unique clarity and above-the-fold guests, BQ covers the critical issues with a compassion, intellect, and understanding that evidences her emergence onto the national scene. She’s got a voice that must be heard.”

KXL, Portland’s Steve Leader Retires. Longtime morning news anchor Steve Leader retired from his role with Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland on Friday (4/17).  Leader had been a news anchor on KXL for 34 years.  His KXL news colleague Pat Boyle posted photos and a tribute to Leader on Facebook, writing: “Legendary news guy Steve Leader’s last day! Thanks Steve for keeping Portlanders informed for more than 30 years.  You are a huge talent and will be greatly missed.  Enjoy your retirement; you deserve it.”

Round Three of March PPMs Released.  The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s March 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.  The survey period covered February 27 – March 25.  You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  The intense coronavirus news consumption since the pandemic was declared in mid-March has driven listening to all-news and news/talk radio stations.  Some of those seeing increased weekly 6+ , AQH share increases include: Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland which added 1.8 shares in March to finish with a 6.7 share and a leap to the #3 rank in the market; iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento rises 1.9 shares from February to March for a 10.3 share and its third straight month at #1; Entercom’s news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh climbs 1.3 shares to finish with a 5.6 share and the #5 rank in the Steel City; Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City rises to the #3 rank by adding 1.1 shares to end the survey with a 6.0 share; and iHeartMedia’s WLW-AM, Cincinnati tacks 1.8 shares onto its February 8.3 share to finish March with a 10.1 share and the #1 rank in the market.  You can see all of TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways here.

‘New Jersey 101.5’ Presents Next Coronavirus Town Hall. This Thursday (4/23), Townsquare Media’s news/talk WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is presenting the next in its series of coronavirus Town Hall broadcasts.  The station’s senior political director Eric Scott leads the news and digital departments in highlighting the sacrifices being made by the front-line workers dealing with this health crisis.  He says, “Nurses, EMTs, and police officers are among the many frontline workers who are putting their own health at risk during this crisis.  We will both highlight their stories and offer them the resources they need to deal with the overwhelming stresses of their jobs.”  This edition’s on-air expert panel will feature: Debbie White, president, Health Professionals and Allied Employees; Pat Colligan, president, New Jersey Police Benevolent Association; Barbara Platt, president, New Jersey EMS Council; and first-responder crisis councilor Michael Bizzarro, PhD, LCSW, BCD.

Legislators Seek Paycheck Protection for Local Journalists and Broadcasters. A bi-partisan effort to assist local journalists and broadcasters suffering with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic is being spearheaded by U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), John Kennedy (R-LA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and John Boozman (R-AR).  They sent a letter to senate leadership urging them to ensure any future legislation make thousands of local newspapers, TV, and radio stations around the country eligible for small business assistance under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).  In the letter, the senators called for waiving the Small Business Administration’s affiliation rule to allow local media outlets to access funding, pointing to the critical role these outlets play in keeping communities healthy and informed.  The senators say in their statement, “Ensuring that local news outlets remain viable at this critical time is not only a matter of fairness but is essential to public health.  Local newspapers, radio, and television stations provide important local content that keeps their communities informed.  People rely on local newspapers and broadcasters to cover school and business closures, to widely communicate public health guidance, and to combat life-threatening misinformation.”  National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith comments on the move, “NAB is grateful to Senators Cantwell, Kennedy, Klobuchar and Boozman for their leadership in supporting expanded access to Small Business Administration loans for local radio and television stations under the Payroll Protection Program.  America’s broadcasters are providing trusted and credible lifesaving coverage to keep citizens safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, yet local stations are suffering advertising losses of historic proportion that will undermine this critically important service.  We urge congressional leaders to support this proposal to provide immediate SBA loan eligibility to more local radio and TV stations.”

TALKERS News Notes. WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway signs a new deal with the iHeartMedia news/talk station that runs through 2022, with an additional one year option.  Conway’s program is also heard on the company’s WMT, Cedar Rapids and WOC, Davenport, Iowa.  Conway says, “WHO Radio was and remains the gold standard for local talk radio in America.  I’m delighted to have signed this contract and look forward to many more years broadcasting on these heritage stations.”…..Indianapolis-based news/talk personality Tony Katz, who hosts “The Morning News” on Emmis’ WIBC-FM as well as his own syndicated late morning show, is putting his flagship station together with local businesses and sponsors to feed first responders across Central Indiana.  He says, “‘Hoosiers Helping Heroes’ does weekly deliveries of meals, snacks, and drinks to local hospitals.  It’s our way of saying, ‘thank you.’  And businesses across the area have been great to work with.  They want to help.  People want to help.  We’re getting calls from restaurants all over the area.  All types of businesses and individuals are asking if they can be a part of it.”…..NPR president and CEO John Lansing tells company staffers in a memo that the organization is preparing to cut costs due to a budget shortfall of between $35 million and $40 million due to the coronavirus pandemic.  He says, “We do not have any position eliminations on the table now, and it is our goal to avoid them as much as is reasonably possible.  However, I don’t have a crystal ball so I can’t guarantee anything other than that is my intent.”…..JVC Media is airing the “Florida Man Radio”-based Shannon Burke afternoon drive program on its Long Island news/talk outlet WRCN “103.9 LI News Radio”  JVC Media’s EVP for Florida Shane Reeve says, “Now more than ever, our community needs to come together and stay at home to keep their families and loved ones safe.  With that being said, as humans we have the need to socialize and feel like we are still part of the society that we love.  The ‘Florida Man Friday Happy Hour with Shannon Burke’ is that bit of relief and laughter you need to keep some sense of normalcy in your life.”…..The nationally syndicated “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney adds two new affiliate stations as Seehafer Broadcasting’s WFHR-AM, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin and Rck 1 Group’s WVLY, Wheeling, West Virginia add the show to their program lineups.

Wheeler Morris Named Hubbard Seattle VP/Market Manager. In Seattle, Hubbard Radio names Wheeler Morris vice president and market manager for the five-station cluster.  Scott Mahalick, who’s been serving as interim market manager, is named operations manager for the Seattle station group.  Morris has been serving the company as manager of corporate podcasting strategy.  Wheeler says, “I’m excited to join the great team at Hubbard Radio Seattle and to help continue the success that the strong brands have built over the years.  I’m especially excited to have an experienced and accomplished partner like Scott Mahalick to lead content and brands. He’s the right person to lead operations.”  Mahalick comments, “It brings joy to my heart that we will have the good fortune of Wheeler at the helm of Hubbard Radio Seattle.  Our team deserves a dedicated full-time manager focused on our success. I’ve had the advantage of getting to know and work with Wheeler this past year in his capacity as the head of our podcasting efforts. I can tell you he is a people person with great charm, empathy, wicked smart, driven and innovative as they come.  Bring it Wheeler!”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Country radio personality Shawn Parr is launching a new, daily syndicated program via Key Networks titled, “Shawn Parr’s Across the Country” on June 1.  Key Networks says the four-hour, localized country music entertainment program features Parr’s trademark warmth, wit and love for country music, and is available for stations Monday-Friday via FTP delivery.  The show is customized to air anywhere in a station’s lineup between 6:00 am and 12:00 midnight.  Key Networks adds, “Known as ‘The Ambassador of Country Music,’ Shawn Parr is one of country radio’s brightest and most familiar voices.  With nearly 30 years in country radio, including 10 years as a nationally syndicated on-air host, Parr takes country fans front row-center to country’s biggest stars and hottest music.”  Parr says, “My entire career has always been about the country listeners and they will lead the way with this show as well!  Teaming up with Key Networks is like a dream come true.  Together we have worked so hard to get this show on the air and trust me when I say I am fired up and can’t wait for you to feel the energy ‘Across The Country!’”…..Air personality Corey Dillon exits Hubbard Radio’s country KNUC, Seattle “98.9 The Bull” after a two-year stint.  Dillon says via Facebook, “There are no hard feelings on my end.  It’s business, and I understand that.  I have learned so much over the past two years here at ‘The Bull’ and feel more confident in my craft than ever.”…..Cumulus Media names Paul Williams director of programming for Westwood One Nashville.  In this role, Williams will oversee the marketing, content, and operations for Westwood One’s nationally syndicated country programming.  Williams was most recently vice president of marketing & artist development for Reviver Entertainment Group in Nashville…..iHeartMedia Atlanta announces the Spanish hits format is moving from WBZY at 105.3 FM to WRDA at 105.7 FM.  iHeartMedia SVP of programming Meg Stevens says, “This is a tremendous opportunity to move the signal where more of the Hispanic audience can enjoy the music, information and the top-rated ‘Tu Mañana Con Enrique Santos’ show.”

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

| April 15, 2020

Alpha Media Makes Cost Saving Moves. In a press release, Alpha Media announces that as a result of the coronavirus pandemic’s effects on the radio industry’s advertising revenue, it “has taken painful steps similar to those of other media companies and announced temporary furloughs, the elimination of some positions, and a reduction of hours for certain employees. Prior to these actions, the members of Alpha’s executive leadership team proactively reduced their own compensation.”  Alpha Media CEO Bob Proffitt states, “Alpha Media continues to work through many difficult decisions to cope with the current challenges we all face brought about by COVID-19. We are positioning the company to weather this challenge while trying to keep our valued team members safe and be poised to recover quickly once the crisis has passed.”

RAB’s ‘Business Unusual’ Online Presentation to Feature Dave Ramsey. In a special, live presentation on Tuesday, April 21, the Radio Advertising Bureau, as part of its “Business Unusual” initiative, is hosting a live, online presentation called “Leading for Success During and After COVID-19” featuring nationally syndicated financial talk media superstar Dave Ramsey.  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber will speak with Ramsey for this leadership-through-unprecedented times session focused on what broadcasters need to be thinking about to weather the storm while serving their communities of listeners and advertisers.  The session starts at 1:00 pm EST and registration is free to RAB members.

Special Interest Groups Appeal to DOJ to Prevent Liberty Media Acquisition of iHeartMedia. Six special interest groups – American Economic Liberties Project, Artist Rights Alliance, Center for Digital Democracy, Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Open Markets Institute, and Public Citizen – have appealed to Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim to reject a possible acquisition of iHeartMedia by Liberty Media.  Liberty has not made any offers to iHeartMedia but it’s been widely reported in recent months that Liberty – which has a controlling stake in SiriusXM and Pandora and a minority stake in Live Nation/Ticketmaster – is interested in adding iHeartMedia to its portfolio of media companies.  The artist rights and consumer groups say, “With just its current holdings, including Pandora and SiriusXM and a major stake in Ticketmaster/LiveNation, Liberty Media already has far too much control over the music ecosystem.  With artists, performers, and consumers already facing unprecedented uncertainty and risk, DOJ should put the brakes on this dangerous threat to creative livelihoods and consumer options.”

Brian Lang to Lead Townsquare Media’s ‘New Jersey 101.5.’ With the departure of Ron deCastro from the president and chief revenue officer position at Townsquare Media’s news/talk WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5,” the company promotes Brian Lang to the market president and chief revenue officer position.  Lang was most recently regional market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare’s Portland, Portsmouth, and Augusta, Maine operations.  Townsquare SVP of operations Rob Williams says, “Brian has distinguished himself as a leader since joining Townsquare in 2014.  By building a team of exceptional managers and talent, Brian’s markets have been among our top performers year after year.  When the opportunity arose, Brian was the natural choice to lead the exceptional team at ‘New Jersey 101.5,’ which represents the best in live and local media.” Local media chief operating officer Erik Hellum adds, “‘New Jersey 101.5’ is a very special and powerful news/talk station, keeping New Jersey informed and connected in a way that no other media outlet can.  A brand like ‘New Jersey 101.5,’ and the very talented team behind that brand, deserve a strong and experienced leader who can help protect, lead, and evolve it, and there is no one better prepared to do that than Brian.”  Meanwhile, back in Maine, the company promotes regional VP of sales Christine Sieks to regional market president of Northern New England.  She’ll continue her RVP of sales duties.

TALKERS News Notes. Former U.S. Congressman and former Chicago and syndicated talk show host Joe Walsh is promoting his new book, F*ck Silence: Calling Trump Out for the Cultish, Moronic, Authoritarian Con Man He Is (2020, Broadside Books).  Walsh, who hosted a local show at Salem Media Group’s WIND-AM, Chicago and was syndicated via the Salem Radio Network before he left radio to challenge Donald Trump for the Republican nomination, recently was a guest on former WGN-AM morning host Steve Cochran’s podcast…..As part of Beasley Media Group’s ongoing Community of Caring public service campaign, the Boston station group that includes sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 FM The Sports Hub” and four music brands is working in conjunction with Safety Insurance, RCN, and Sam Adams to raise $100,000 in support of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Covid-19 response efforts for Healthcare workers through the newly launched Healthcare Heroes initiative.  Beasley Boston vice president and market manager Mary Menna comments, “We wanted to provide our listeners with the opportunity to recognize and thank our Healthcare Heroes for the extraordinary sacrifices they are making during this crisis through this fund.”…..Entercom’s Pittsburgh station group that includes news/talk KDKA-AM raised funds to provide more than 1.5 million meals for people in need through Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.  Yesterday’s “Feed the Need Radiothon,” directly benefits displaced workers who are utilizing the emergency drive up distribution sites as well as food pantries in and around the Pittsburgh region…..Skyview Networks’ franchise partners are airing “best of” games to provide their affiliate networks with sports content for their listeners.  Skyview says it is important to them that they keep their loyal fans engaged and connected, and the company is proud to provide the distribution and inventory management for these games.  Franchises providing replays and “best of” content currently include: Major League Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers, and the National Hockey League’s Arizona Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Minnesota Wild.

Coronavirus Statistics and Projections, Trump Orders Halt to WHO Funding, Scrutiny of China’s Handling of the Outbreak, Trump vs Governors, CDC/FEMA Reopening Plan, Financial Markets Activity, and the Presidential Race and Voting by Mail Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/14). The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S., the death toll and projections about future cases; President Trump orders a suspension of funding to the World Health Organization, alleging it was slow to respond to the crisis; scrutiny of China’s handling of the initial outbreak of the coronavirus; President Trump’s claim that he had ultimate authority while governors of states form regional coalitions to coordinate actions; the CDC and FEMA reveal they are developing a plan to reopen the economy in the safest possible way; the world’s financial markets respond to the pandemic; and the issue of voting by mail for the November elections were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERSmagazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Sales and management pro Ron deCastro joins MediaCo to serve as the market president for New York, in charge of the company’s hip hop WQHT “HOT97” and urban contemporary WBLS.  He was most recently market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media’s news/talk WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5.”  MediaCo president and chief operating officer Patrick Walsh comments, “Ron is the perfect choice to lead ‘HOT97’ and WBLS.  Our investment plans will enable these iconic brands to impact our audiences and clients in even more meaningful ways.  Ron’s deep experience in building winning digital and broadcast teams in and around New York will be invaluable as we deepen the relationship that our brands and personalities have with our audiences in the tristate area and around the world.”…..SupeRadio is syndicating the Atlanta-based morning show “The Streetz Morning Takeover” hosted by “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta” reality show star and rapper Yung Joc, Shawty Shawty, and Sue Solo.  Program creator Steve Hegwood says, “This is America’s only authentic hip hop morning show and it is highly rated and battle-tested under one of the most difficult and competitive situations imaginable.  ‘The Streetz Morning Takeover’ is built to win in every possible scenario and in every market.  It has all the bells and whistles needed for great morning radio including tested and proven benchmarks backed by a great team who lives and appreciates the hip hop lifestyle.  I’m excited to be working with Eric Faison at SupeRadio, and Gary Bernstein of Oceanic Tradewinds in what we believe will be the birth of the next great urban syndicated product.”…..WAWZ, Zarephath, New Jersey “STAR 99.1” announces that current afternoon co-hosts Dave Moore and Kristen James are moving to morning drive on “STAR 99.1” beginning April 20.  Director of programming Matt Stockman says, “Great radio stations are built on the daily foundation created by an engaging, entertaining morning show and I believe that Dave and Kristen have the talent, experience, and desire to lay that foundation every day.”

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

| March 31, 2020

iHeartMedia Institutes Furloughs; Pittman and Execs Take Pay Cuts. In a company-wide memo issued late Monday (3/30), iHeartMedia chairman & CEO Bob Pittman and COO & president Rich Bressler announced temporary changes in the company’s compensation policies in order to ameliorate the economic blow from the coronavirus pandemic.  Here’s the email:

“Team, Our number one concern in this unprecedented time is the safety and well-being of our employees. In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, our company continues to be a primarily work-from-home operation and we have also added some coronavirus-related resources and healthcare benefits if you should need to take advantage of them.

Last week we wrote to you about the economic downturn our country is facing as the result of the pandemic and the need to respond to it to preserve the health of our company. During this unsettled time, we also know the biggest economic concern among our employees is understandably about preserving jobs – and we want you to know that it’s our main concern as well.

Although we have had to make hard decisions to address the economic impact of the downturn, our management team has found ways to reduce our company’s expenses without resorting to permanent layoffs.

As the CEO of the company, Bob will voluntarily take no salary for the remainder of the year and has given up his annual incentive bonus, and Rich and our senior management team will take reductions ranging from 30% to over 70% of their total compensation for the remainder of the year.

In addition, we have implemented: Reduction of all expenses that can be postponed without impacting our service and commitment to our communities; Temporary suspension of the 401(k) match; No overtime without pre-approval; Temporary suspension of new raises; and Strict limitations on – or complete elimination of – Travel and Entertainment (T&E) expenses.

We believe all of these reductions give us more room to protect jobs.

Given our pullback from live events and our shift to a work-from-home model, there are a few jobs that are not essential until our business operations revert back to usual. This week we are taking the difficult step of implementing a 90-day furlough, or temporary unpaid leave of absence, for jobs affected by these changes. To be clear, while this will involve a small total number of employees, they are valued colleagues and we did not take this step lightly. We look forward to welcoming them back as soon as we can.

This is not a layoff or a reduction in force (RIF). With a furlough, while it is an unpaid leave of absence, the affected employees stay in our employ, allowing us to continue offering these employees full health benefits, and we want to make sure we take care of them as best we can during this time. And with state unemployment benefits, supplemented by the added special benefits that are part of the new federal stimulus legislation, hopefully these employees will not feel any significant financial impact during this limited period of time.

We’ve never lived through anything like this and, as managers, we’ve never had to make more difficult decisions. However, please know we are listening, studying and considering all options before we make the important decisions that affect you and the company. We may miss on some of these decisions – and we will pivot when we find better ones – but throughout it all, we truly appreciate your support for us, for your colleagues and for the company.  Please be safe and take care of your health and your families.  Bob and Rich”

Adams Radio Takes WGL-AM, Fort Wayne Dark. After shutting down the programming on sports talk WGL-AM, Fort Wayne “FOX Sports 1250 The Ticket,” Adams Radio Group files a Silent Special Temporary Authority license request with the FCC.  The filing states: “As an AM radio station, WGL has been unable to generate sufficient financial resources to sustain operations, a situation that has been made even more difficult as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  WGL must suspend operations to allow management time to review options for a resumption of service.”  Adams posted to the station’s website: “We regret to inform you that we will be discontinuing ‘FOX Sports’ on WGL AM 1250.  With the current situation, we must devote all of our efforts to our larger signal stations.  Thank you very much for listening.”

Sports Radio and the Coronavirus Pandemic – Now What? Consultant and radio programming pro Andy Bloom writes today in a piece for TALKERS magazine that in order for sports leagues and teams to “keep their brands pertinent” during the absence of live games, they should work with their local broadcast rights holders (that’s you, sports radio stations) to keep their brands relevant and create revenue opportunities. Bloom says that while eSports is still a niche appealing to a young demo, it could expand as eSports is a live competition that can be executed during mandatory social distancing.  If you are creative, the revenue opportunities are many.  Read his column here.

Podcasts by Federated Media Debuts. A new podcast division is launched by Fort Wayne, Indiana-based Federated Media called, Podcasts by Federated Media.  Director of digital content Krystal Vivian states, “Federated Media has a long history of producing world-class audio on the radio, which provided a great foundation when we started podcasting in 2016.  Since then, we’ve created several successful podcasts with hundreds of thousands of listens. Launching this division is our next step in continuing our mission of creating great audio that’s really fun to listen to.”  The company currently offers 46 podcasts – more than 20 are original, seven are branded shows, and the rest are culled from radio show content.  The division also provides program development and production assistance for businesses wishing to create branded podcasts.

Coronavirus Status in the U.S., Trump’s Handling of Pandemic, Projected U.S. Death Toll, Financial Markets Activity, the U.S. Economy, U.S.-China Relations, and Investigation of Senators Stock Sales Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/30). The numbers of confirmed U.S. cases and deaths from COVID-19; scrutiny of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic; the potential U.S. death toll from COVID-19 from White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx; the world’s financial markets respond to the pandemic; the state of the U.S. economy in the era of social distancing; U.S.-China relations as some American politicians seek to blame China for the pandemic; and the Justice Department investigates four U.S. Senators who executed massive stock sales prior to the market slide were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Entercom Communications Corp. changes its 2020 Annual Meeting of Shareholders from a physical, in-person meeting on May 5 to a virtual one, live via webcast, at 8:30 am ET on the same day…..Starting April 6, WGN-AM, Chicago late morning personality John Williams assumes the role of host for the “Wintrust Business Lunch,” the hour-long business news program heard weekdays at 12:00 noon on the Nexstar Media station.  Williams adds the noon hour onto his current 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  He takes over for current Wintrust host Ji Suk Yi, who assumes hosting duties for the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program…..On-air pro Bill Morgan joins Alpha Media’s news/talk WHBC-AM, Canton, Ohio as host of the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show.  His show is being produced by Jon Bozelka, who will serve as co-host…..Cadence13 announces the debut of a new podcast hosted by entrepreneur and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang called, “Yang Speaks.”  Cadence13 says, “The show will air weekly and feature thought-leaders on a variety of topics, including technology, entertainment, policy, sports, pop-culture and anything on Yang’s mind, with a general outlook towards the future of our economy and society.”  Former Yang campaign manager and senior advisor to the podcast Zach Graumann says, “The ideas of our campaign have always deserved more airtime than a 60-second answer on a debate stage or a 3-to-5-minute TV hit.  We’re excited to launch ‘Yang Speaks’ and have in-depth longform conversations with some of the smartest and most interesting people in the world, and to discuss the ideas that can make our future and society a more human place for all of us.”…..Lemonada Media is launching “In the Bubble with Andy Slavitt,” a weekly podcast series featuring healthcare expert and former Acting Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Andy Slavitt.  Cadence13 says Slavitt will broadcast from his own “bubble,” with production assistance from his teenage son, Zach, and will chat with important guests and friends, including Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban for his premier episode.  Additional early guests will include Chelsea Clinton, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Beto O’Rourke, writer Tina Fey, former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, and former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy…..Nielsen Audio announces it is combining to diary markets in Connecticut.  Effective with this year’s Spring 2020 survey Bridgeport and Stamford-Norwalk markets will be combined into the new Metro Fairfield County market, ranked at #72…..SAG-AFTRA develops a program to provide dues relief for SAG-AFTRA members during the COVID-19 global pandemic.  Under the program, SAG-AFTRA members who are in a position to pay their dues in full are urged to do so upon receipt of their May semi-annual dues bill.  Members experiencing financial hardship resulting from work stoppages related to COVID-19 will be granted a due date extension and an installment plan for those payments.  As part of that relief, no late fees will be assessed and there will be no adverse impact on members’ work eligibility during this time.  SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris said, “As working people, we know the great difficulties our members are facing.  In order to relieve some of the financial stress so many people are dealing with at this time, the finance committee worked to provide much needed relief.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At the Seattle station group of Hubbard Radio – country KNUC, CHR KQMV, adult contemporary WRWM, and talk KKNW – Alex Brewster is the new chief engineer, effective April 15.  He was most recently assistant chief engineer for Entercom Seattle and Portland.  Hubbard Seattle interim market manager Scott Mahalick comments, “It’s wonderful to have a world-class engineering leader join Hubbard Seattle and help make our engineering department shine.”…..Joining Townsquare Media’s classic rock KLTD, Killeen-Temple, Texas as afternoon drive personality and production director is Aaron Zytle.  He comes to Townsquare from his most recent position as morning host at iHeartMedia’s rock KBRQ, Waco…..Programming pro Steve Ardolina exits Townsquare Media where he was New Jersey regional operations manager and brand manager & director of programming for the Monmouth-Ocean stations.

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