Tag: "Caroline Beasley"

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

| August 4, 2020

Beasley Reports Q2 Net Revenue Down 53.7%. The second major radio group to report its second quarter 2020 financial numbers (Urban One reported last week) is Beasley Broadcast Group and the company says that net revenue was $30.4 million – a decrease of 53.7% from the same period in 2019. It reports an operating loss of $17.6 million, compared to Q2 2019’s operating income of $10.7 million, and a net loss of $18.2 million, compared to Q2 2019’s net income of $4.3 million. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley states, “While Beasley had a strong start to the year, a sharp decline in commercial advertising occurred in the second quarter with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Beasley’s financial results for the three-month period ended June 30, 2020 reflect the economic pressures we experienced across our business as local and national advertisers adapted their media plans to meet the unique challenges of the pandemic. While we saw sequential month-over-month improvement in our commercial advertising revenue performance from April to May, and from May to June, our total net revenues for the second quarter decreased nearly 54%, which is in line with reported overall industry levels. To address the reduction in traditional advertising revenue that has occurred as a result of the pandemic, during the second quarter, we quickly implemented several changes across the company, including reducing operating expenses and corporate overhead and realigning our company-wide cost structure to preserve cash. As a result, Beasley’s second quarter total operating expenses declined by 12.7%, and year-to-date, we have taken approximately $26 million out of our cost structure. In addition to these actions, as part of our response, we have taken proactive steps to accelerate our digital transformation initiatives and revenue diversification strategies, and to become a leaner and more efficient organization, with the goal of growing our market leadership position across our stations, our digital operations, and our esports interests.  We believe these steps will allow us to emerge from the pandemic as a stronger company. In addition, during the second quarter, Beasley entered into an agreement to amend the financial covenants and other provisions under our credit agreement to support our liquidity and capital structure as we manage the business through the pandemic.”

Round One of July PPM Ratings Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s July 2020 survey period covered June 18 – July 15. You can see all the 6+ data from subscribing stations here. Also, today TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets. Both of Entercom’s New York all-news outlets lose ground. WINS dips four-tenths to a 3.8 share and the #7 rank in the market and WCBS-AM is off six-tenths and finishes ranked #14. In Los Angeles, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI gains three-tenths to finish the July 2020 survey with a 4.7 share and the #2 rank. Entercom’s Chicago all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM adds one-tenth for a 7.0 share and finishes at #1 for the sixth straight survey. Across town, Nexstar’s WGN-AM drops eight-tenths to a 3.3 share and ranks #9 in the market. Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta adds two-tenths for a 10.6 share and takes the #1 rank for the 13th straight survey. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

Former KNBR, San Francisco Host Ralph Barbieri Dies at 74. Bay Area sports talk radio legend Ralph Barbieri died on Monday (8/3) at age 74 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. The San Jose Mercury News reports his passing at his home in Novato, California. Barbieri – dubbed “The Razor” for his raspy voice – worked with Tom Tolbert in afternoons as “The Razor and Mr. T” for 15 of the 28 years he served with KNBR, San Francisco. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2005 and kept it to himself until 2011. He was let go by Cumulus Media in 2012 and sued the company complaining that he was fired because of his age and his health condition. The suit was later settled confidentially.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections/Mask Debate, Stimulus Package, Presidential Race/Primary Elections, BLM/Portland Protests, Microsoft-TikTok Deal, Manhattan DA’s Trump Investigation, Isaias/Apple Fire, and Pro Sports Leagues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/3). The rising number of positive COVID-19 cases in numerous U.S. states, projections for future cases, and the ongoing debate over wearing masks in public; the status of the GOP-crafted stimulus bill; the November presidential election and today’s primary races in five states; the Black Lives Matter movement and the ongoing clashes in Portland; the battle over the app TikTok and the potential sale to Microsoft; the Manhattan DA’s investigation into the Trump Organization; Tropical Storm Isaias makes landfall and Southern California’s Apple Fire; and U.S. pro sports leagues navigate positive COVID-19 tests from players and coaches were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post reports that ESPN’s NYC O&O WEPN-FM’s new program schedule will include the first three hours of the ESPN Radio morning drive show “Keyshawn, Jay and Zubin” starring Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams, and Zubin Mehenti. The local show hosted by Rick DiPietro, Chris Canty, and Dave Rothenberg moves to the 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot, followed by the local Bart Scott and Alan Hahn show from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. WEPN will air the second hour of Mike Greenberg’s network show, “Greeny,” from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm and the first hour of the network’s Max Kellerman show from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm. The Michael Kay show remains from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm and Chris Carlin continues hosting the evening show…..FOX Sports Radio is launching a new iHeartRadio original daily podcast called, “Straight Fire with Jason McIntyre” on the iHeartPodcast Network. The podcast features FSR weekend host and FS1 contributor Jason McIntyre “providing bold opinions on the biggest stories in sports, including the day’s major sports betting topics.” McIntyre says, “I’m beyond thrilled to have this podcast opportunity. I can’t wait to bring my unique enthusiasm and passion to the platform at a time when America’s appetite for sports is at an all-time high.”…..Cox Media Group’s WOKV-AM, Jacksonville “ESPN 690” – via rightsholder Learfield IMG College – solidifies its place as the official Jacksonville station for Florida State University sports play-by-play. The new deal means “ESPN 690” will broadcast live all football and men’s basketball games for the upcoming 2020-21 athletics season…..Entercom’s Cadence13 unveils an exclusive podcast partnership with veteran NBA star JJ Redick and his new podcast company ThreeFourTwo Productions that will launch his new show, “The Old Man & the Three,” from the NBA bubble in Orlando. The weekly show is being co-hosted by writer and producer Tommy Alter…..Talk host Tom Donahue announces that his program is now a weekly show and is being aired on new affiliate WFYL, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania…..iHeartMedia is working with FlynnPictureCo., Psychopia Pictures, and UpperRoom Productions to produce the original, 10-part sci-fi podcast “There Be Monsters” that will be available on the iHeartPodcast Network. The podcast stars John Boyega and Darren Criss. Boyega plays Jack Locke, the mysterious hero with a vendetta who infiltrates a Silicon Valley body-hacking startup run by an enigmatic CEO Max Fuller, played by Criss, whose highly secretive creations promise to enhance human biology in incredible ways – but every drug has a side effect…..SiriusXM announces it is airing comprehensive play-by-play and talk coverage of the 2020 PGA Championship, taking place August 6-9 at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco. It will be golf’s first major championship played in 2020 due to schedule adjustments made necessary by the COVID-19 pandemic and SiriusXM will bring listeners inside the ropes with a team of broadcasters calling the action both from remote studio locations and on site at TPC Harding Park.

Entercom Partners with Vewd to Expand Smart TV Footprint. The digital platform RADIO.COM is expanding in the smart TV sphere as Entercom enters into a relationship with smart TV OTT software provider Vewd. Entercom says that as part of the partnership, “tens of millions of smart televisions, including Sony, Philips and Hisense, will have access to RADIO.COM, the exclusive digital home for all Entercom content across its leading portfolio of over 230 stations, along with hundreds of affiliate stations, thousands of top podcasts, live and on-demand video, and premium content across local and national news, entertainment, music and sports in markets all across the U.S.” Entercom VP of corporate business development David Rosenbloom says, “Connected televisions and smart home devices are the fastest growing segment of RADIO.COM’s rapidly growing audience, with significant demand from both consumers and advertisers. By partnering with Vewd, who powers tens of millions of leading-brand smart televisions, users now have our robust library right at their fingertips.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Los Angeles, Entercom’s six-station cluster has begun the fundraising campaign called “RADIO.COM’s Feed Our Families,” in partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District. The month-long, text-to-donate fundraiser benefits local students and families in need. Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “Schools are a primary source of meals not only for many students but for their family members as well. We’re delighted to partner with Los Angeles Unified School District to amplify our stations’ collective voice so no child or family member in Southern California goes hungry during these unstable times. We look forward to actively promoting the organization’s selfless efforts over the next month and using our platforms to serve our communities.”…..Atlantic Gateway Communications’ Christian contemporary WGTS-FM, Washington, DC held its popular Summer Concert Series at Tysons Corner Center virtually this year since rule wouldn’t allow listeners to congregate in the outdoor plaza venue. The WGTS team shot part of the concert in advance at the plaza at the mall. Part of the concert came from Matthew West’s “Story House” and the rest of the concert was hosted from the WGTS video studio. WGTS music director and webmaster Rob Conway says, “This was something we’ve never done before, so it made us a little nervous.  Thankfully all of the technical details came together and it turned into a great listener experience.”…..Premiere Networks announces today that “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” is joining American Forces Network (AFN) and will air from 12:00 midnight to 5:00 am.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

| July 30, 2020

Herman Cain Dies After Battle with COVID-19. Business executive, talk radio host, and former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain has died after an almost monthlong battle with COVID-19. Cain, 74, was admitted to the hospital around July 2. He’d traveled from his home base of Atlanta, appearing at President Trump’s Tulsa rally (where he was photographed not wearing a mask) and also visited the Phoenix area. The Herman Cain website states, “We knew when he was first hospitalized with COVID-19 that this was going to be a rough fight. He had trouble breathing and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. We all prayed that the initial meds they gave him would get his breathing back to normal, but it became clear pretty quickly that he was in for a battle.” Cain had a history of cancer. For years, he hosted a radio talk show on Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta — taking over the late morning daypart previously occupied by Neal Boortz — and was in national syndication for a period of time. Recently, he’d been doing a talk show available via his website. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “We in the talk media industry have lost one of our own with the tragic passing of Herman Cain.  He was not only a luminous example of the African American entrepreneurial spirit and largely unheralded conservative political influence, but he was also an accomplished, dedicated talk show host who rose to the heights of the Heavy Hundred for his successful work at WSB and presence in national syndication.  He was on the verge of adding yet another chapter to his talk media career with a new show on Newsmax TV.  It is a shame our industry has lost such an important voice and yet another stark example of why we must take this wretched virus seriously.”

Urban One Reports Second Quarter Net Revenue Down 37.5%. The first big radio company out of the gate with Q2 2020 financial data is Urban One, Inc. – parent of Radio One. The company reports that net revenue was approximately $76 million, a decrease of 37.5% from the same period in 2019. Broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $30.2 million, a decrease of 33.1%. Operating income was approximately $20.4 million compared to approximately $29.1 million for the same period in 2019. Urban One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins, III says, “The economic impact of Covid-19 is fully evident in our second quarter numbers: radio advertising was down 51%, and event revenues were -96% year over year. Our TV and digital businesses fared better, with TV advertising revenue down 4.4% and digital -20%, highlighting the benefits of our diversified media asset base. We had to make tough decisions to reduce costs, and I am proud of how our team, including on-air talent, made sacrifices and worked diligently to keep us operating smoothly through the pandemic. With the issue of racial equality featuring so prominently around the world, it is critical that diverse voices continue to be heard and I thank all our staff and talent for their exceptional work engaging with our audience and clients. The outlook for the rest of 2020 remains uncertain, but I anticipate a similar pattern of strong performance from our TV business offsetting some of the weakness in radio advertising and events. On a same station basis, our Q3 core radio business is currently pacing -41% and we continue to see sequential improvement. Our cost saving measures remain in place, liquidity is strong with $70 million of cash on the balance sheet, and I firmly believe that Urban One will continue to successfully navigate our way through these unprecedented times.”

Good Karma Brands Recognizes Mike Golic’s ESPN Radio Career. Tomorrow (7/31) is the last day of ESPN’s “Golic and Wingo” morning radio program as the company’s new radio programming schedule begins on Monday (8/3). While Trey Wingo’s future with the company is unknown at this time, Mike Golic is transitioning to a position as a college football analyst with ESPN and in recognition of his radio work, Good Karma Brands’ ESPN radio stations are celebrating his 22 years in mornings on ESPN Radio with “22 hours of Golic.” Good Karma Brands’ ESPN stations in Chicago, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Madison, and West Palm Beach will be featuring memories, pictures, videos, and stories from his career. Additionally, Golic will also be interviewed on 850 ESPN Cleveland’s “The Really Big Show” with Tony Rizzo and Aaron Goldhammer today (7/30). Golic played football at St. Joseph’s High School in Cleveland before heading to Notre Dame and the NFL.

CBS Audio and Skyview Networks Renew Partnership. After two years of their network sales and distribution partnership, Viacom’s CBS Audio Network and Skyview Networks announce they are renewing to continue their relationship. In a press release, the companies say, “Since partnering in 2018, the CBS network’s audience and revenue have grown through expanded programming and content integration campaigns that generate enthusiastic support and strong results from the advertising community. In the next phase of the partnership, the companies will further develop the CBS sales strategy that leverages its personalities and influencers in both long-form and short-form programming.”  CBS Audio Network and CBS News Radio vice president and general manager Craig Swagler says, “Our CBS Audio Network partnership with Skyview Networks strengthens our ability to drive sales efforts. This collaboration continues to assure our 23 million weekly listeners that they will continue to get the highest level of quality journalism they are accustomed to, while also providing for new opportunities for growth.”

Industry Mourns Bob McCurdy. Radio sales and management pro Bob McCurdy died yesterday (7/29) after a long battle with cancer. The All-American basketball star at University of Richmond got into radio at WLEE, Richmond in 1976. He joined Katz Radio in Chicago in 1980 and, several years later, moved to New York to lead that office for Katz. In 1990, he was named president of Katz Radio. In recent years McCurdy returned to his roots in local radio taking on a leadership position with Beasley Media Group. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says of McCurdy, “Bob was a trusted confidant, a valued advisor, and an incredible ambassador on behalf of the Beasley Media Group family and the radio industry. His love and passion for the business could be seen and heard in everything he did within our company as well as the industry. Bob will be greatly missed and will be forever remembered as a beloved member of our family.” In a recently completed book about leadership, culture, and sales, McCurdy wrote, “It has often been said that one can never tell where a teacher’s influence ends. The same is true with leaders. As leaders, we are teachers and as with teachers you can never tell where an effective leader’s influence ends. That makes for an amazing legacy.”

Gordon Hastings: McCurdy. Retired Katz Television/Radio president Gordon Hastings writes a tribute to the late Bob McCurdy. He says, “I am not exactly sure why but he was always simply, ‘McCurdy.’  Stu Olds would say, ‘Get McCurdy in here.’  Jim Greenwald, ‘Who’s this guy McCurdy everyone talks about?’  ‘McCurdy taught me,’ said many of the dozens of ‘survivors’ of McCurdy’s legendary sales training program.” Read the complete tribute here.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, School Opening Debate, GOP Stimulus Bill, Tech CEOs Before Congress, Presidential Race, BLM Protests/Federal Troops, and U.S. Pro Sports Leagues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/29). The rising number of positive COVID-19 cases in numerous U.S. states and in other countries, plus the projections for future cases; the debate over opening schools in the fall; the wrangling over what will be in the final Republican stimulus bill; CEOs from Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple appear before the House Judiciary Committee; the November presidential election; the Black Lives Matter protests and the controversial use of federal troops; and the issues pro sports leagues are facing playing games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Sports talk personality Dan Sileo says he’s launching a new, national program on Monday (8/3) via USA Radio Networks that will air 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET. He says it’s debuting on stations in Dallas and Miami. Sileo says he’s also hosting a local show on Cielo Media Holdings’ WNMA, Miami “1210 The Man” from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm….. GCN-syndicated talk radio host Dr. Daliah Wachs tells TALKERS magazine she’s had a busy summer having just published her 7th and 8th books. She says, “Generation Alpha: They’re Alpha for a Reason is a book on the generation that follows Generation Z, temporarily called Generation Alpha. It describes how their generation may be the most challenged when it comes to identity, social interactions, education, and health. The Art of the BooBoo is a guide written by me, some former students who are now physicians, and my own kids, for parents on how to navigate through minor illnesses, or booboos, their children may incur.”…..ESPN Audio says it is collaborating with voice-over artist and host Cayman Kelly “to bring his contemporary sound to the network.” Kelly will work with ESPN Audio on a variety of sound for the network’s programming including updates, promotions, and more. Kelly’s career has included work across ESPN and other TV networks, radio stations of all genres, video games, live concerts and events and corporate presentations.

Multi-talented Talk Personality Steve Trevelise Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  He’s a news/talker heard weekday evenings on one of the most innovative radio stations in America – New Jersey 101.5. He’s also a sports/talk host heard weekends on one of the leading radio stations in that genre – WIP, Philadelphia.  And he’s an established stand-up comic who’s opened for some of the greats for the past decade-plus at top clubs and venues all over the Delaware Valley.  Steve Trevelise is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Born and raised in the Garden State, Trevelise is described by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison as being “a real Jersey boy who, although not a member of the Four Seasons, is a man for all seasons.” Harrison and Trevelise take the listener on an insightful tour of today’s politically polarized society, the mask debate, similarities and differences between 1968 and 2020, the long-lasting impact of John Lennon and the Beatles, the state of pandemic-era sports, and the challenges faced by humorists during an age of hyper-political correctness. 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. In Detroit, programming pro Scott Jameson is named director of programming for Beasley Media Group’s cluster there that includes: rock WRIF-FM, classic rock WCSX-FM, hip hop WMGC-FM, urban contemporary WDMK-FM and the Praise Network. Jameson most recently was vice president of classic rock programming, program director of classic rock KQRS-FM and operations manager of KQRS-FM, KXXR-FM & WGVX-FM in Minneapolis for Cumulus Media. He says, “Joining Beasley Media Group in Detroit is a terrific opportunity. The Midwest is home for me, so it’s a natural fit. The legendary WRIF-FM and heritage WCSX-FM, joined with ‘The BOUNCE,’ ‘KISS,’ and ‘PRAISE’ boast exceptional talent across all five brands. Adding Beasley’s commitment to the community, along with an aggressive digital presence, turns listeners into fans. I’m thankful to Justin Chase for approaching me about the Detroit situation and grateful to Mac Edwards and Brian Beasley for their endorsement.”…..Also at Beasley Media Group, the company announces that Al Beck adds evening jock duties at WRXK-FM, Fort Myers “96 K-ROCK.” Beck currently serves as the producer of the “Dave and Chuck The Freak Morning Show” at WRIF-FM, Detroit, is co-host of the Nerd Radio podcast, and can also be heard evenings on WBOS-FM, Boston “ROCK 92.9.” Beasley Media Group Southwest Florida operations manager Adam Star says, “We are excited to add Al Beck to our on-air line up at WRXK. Al’s on-air rock presentation is stellar, plus his connection with our syndicated morning show, Dave and Chuck the Freak, doesn’t hurt either! We felt bringing him on the air made perfect sense to embrace the Fort Myers rock world.”

Monday, June 15, 2020

| June 15, 2020

Monday Memo: Profiting from the Pandemic. “Turning lemons into lemonade,” as consultant Holland Cooke puts it. In this week’s column he lists six retail opportunities his client stations are selling to right now. Read it here.

De-Fund Police Movement/Rayshard Brooks Killing, Seattle ‘Autonomous’ Zone, Trump Health, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Confederate & Colonial-Era Statues, U.S.-China Relations/Outbreak in Beijing, Presidential Race/Trump Tulsa Rally, Financial Markets/Jobless Claims, and MLB Negotiations Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The concept of de-funding police departments as demanded by some protestors and the cop shooting death of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta; the controversy over the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone in Seattle; the health of President Trump after his apparent unsteady gait at the West Point graduation on Saturday; the regions of the U.S. that are experiencing a rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases; the movement to remove public statues commemorating Confederate or Colonial-era figures; the tense U.S.-China relations and a new COVID-19 outbreak appears in Beijing; the November presidential race, concerns about voting practices, and Trump’s planned rally scheduled for Tulsa on Saturday; the activity in the world’s financial markets and the recent jobless claims figure for the U.S.; and negotiations between the players and the league as the MLB tries to salvage its season 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 to Practice. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that “every performance-driven activity you can think of requires some form of practice. Athletics, the performing arts, public speaking, teaching, bar mitzvahs, all require practice. Even your doctor, dentist, and lawyer required practice before they could open their… practice. So, what about the professional sales rep? Sellers, especially in today’s warp-speed changing environment must practice.” Read his column here.

Beasley Reports Flat Q1 2020 Net Revenue; Net Loss of $8.8 Million. Reporting on its first quarter 2020 financial numbers, Beasley Broadcast Group Inc. – parent of Beasley Media Group – announces its net revenue was flat at $57.7 million compared to the same period in 2019. However, after posting operating income of $6.8 million in Q1 of 2019, the company posted and operating loss of $7.1 million in Q1 of this year. Beasley reported a net income of $1.4 million in Q1 of 2019 and this year is reporting a loss of $8.8 million. Beasley’s flat net revenue figure “reflects strong political advertising revenue, an increase in digital advertising, and esports revenue and contributions from the August 2019 acquisition of WDMK-FM, partially offset by a year-over-year decrease in commercial advertising revenue and other revenue related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “Despite these challenges, first quarter net revenue was $57.7 million, primarily reflecting strong performance across our station clusters in seven markets during the months of January and February driven by robust political ad spending and contributions from WDMK-FM, as well as significant growth in digital and esports revenue. However, our top-line growth was not able to fully offset the acute challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic during the three-month period, resulting in a year-over-year decline in first quarter SOI and Free Cash Flow. During the first quarter, we continued to advance our digital transformation and revenue diversification initiatives across the company. In this regard, Beasley generated digital revenue growth of approximately 49% on a year-over-year basis, with digital accounting for approximately 9% of total first quarter revenue, compared to 6% of total revenue in the prior year period. In addition, Beasley launched the first major esports event featuring the Houston Outlaws, which the company acquired in November 2019, securing several new sponsorships as the team began competing in Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch League matches in February. With our focus on quality content production and consumer engagement, we are growing audience share across our digital and esports platforms while delivering multi-platform turnkey marketing solutions to advertisers and brands. Overall, we are pleased with the momentum and trajectory of these digital and esports initiatives, which have been less impacted by COVID-19, and look forward to this growth trend continuing throughout the remainder of the year and beyond.”

Townsquare Media Q1 Down 1.4%; Pro Forma Net Revenue Up 0.5%. The company says it will file its first quarter 2020 report on or before June 25 but issues some preliminary figures and held an investor conference call this morning (6/15). Townsquare Media, Inc CEO Bill Wilson says, “While our first quarter started strong with high single-digit net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA growth in January and February, beginning in March we experienced a significant negative business impact to our Advertising and Live Events segments related to the COVID-19 pandemic, offsetting the momentum we established in 2019 and early 2020. First quarter net revenue increased 0.5% on a pro forma basis resulting in our 9th consecutive quarter of pro forma net revenue growth. In addition, Q1 2020 marked the first time our digital revenue exceeded 40% of our total net revenue, up from 35% in 2019, powered by Townsquare Interactive and Townsquare Ignite. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we experienced a significant decline in our Advertising revenue in March, but we were still able to generate positive first quarter year-over-year Advertising net revenue growth. Our Advertising net revenue declined further in April but has shown sequential improvement in both May and June to date. We also cancelled or postponed our live events scheduled in March, April, May and June, which negatively impacted our net revenue. Thankfully, our Live Events segment is a much smaller component of our company today after we had the foresight to sell our large, out-of-market live event assets, including North American Midway Entertainment and several multi-day music festivals over the past two years. We have taken a number of steps to reduce our cost base in an effort to help mitigate the decline in revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  In total, we have enacted approximately $1.7 million of monthly fixed cost savings and anticipate the reduction of variable costs related to the decline in revenue.  In addition, we have reduced our planned capital expenditures, and our board of directors has elected to cease paying our quarterly dividend moving forward.  All of these actions have strongly bolstered our liquidity position.”

Midwest Communications’ WNFL, Green Bay Airing Content from WRNW-FM, Milwaukee. In a content deal with iHeartMedia’s sports talk WRNW-FM, Milwaukee “97.3 The Game,” Midwest Communications’ WNFL, Green Bay is replacing its daytime programming with the daytime lineup of “The Game.” The new WNFL lineup is: Steve Czaban in morning drive, John Kuhn (from WNFL’s studios) with Brian Butch in late mornings, Ted Davis and Dario Melendez in early afternoons, and “Drew & K.B.” in afternoon drive. Gone from the WNFL airwaves is the statewide syndicated Bill Michaels show. FOX Sports Radio rounds out the evenings, overnights, and weekends. Midwest operations manager Jason Hillery says, “We’ve signed a deal with Milwaukee’s ‘The Game’ and have picked up 12 hours of their amazing Wisconsin-focused programming each weekday. We’re excited about this lineup, and we’re excited about the future of this radio station.”

TALKERS News Notes. The Springfield News-Leader reports that Zimmer Radio has inked a letter of intent to buy the five-station cluster currently owner by Meyer Communications that includes news/talk KWTO-AM, sports talk KWTO-FM “JOCK 98.7,” and two music brands. Zimmer Radio co-owner Don Zimmer tells the paper they are in the early stages of due diligence. “There’s nothing set. We’ll see how things go with regards to the due diligence, and with five stations, it’ll probably take a while.”…..In recognition of the 48th anniversary of the passing of Title IX, ESPN is launching “espnW Presents: When We Play,” a three-day, women’s sport-centric, multi-platform initiative that will be anchored by more than 125 total hours of female-focused programming across ESPN2, ESPNU, ACC Network, SEC Network and Longhorn Network. Additional content will be available on ESPN.com, ESPN Audio and the espnW social handles. “espnW Presents: When We Play” will run from Sunday, June 21 through Tuesday, June 23…..HRN Media Network, a Gen Media Partners company, is expanding its platform and the result is one of the largest Hispanic audio networks in the U.S. All of Gen Media Partners’ Hispanic assets – including Sun Latino and GLR – will now operate exclusively under the HRN umbrella, creating an easy one-source solution for advertisers, agencies, and radio stations for all things Hispanic…..Public media organization WGBH names Pam Johnston general manager for news. Johnston is currently senior director of strategy and audience for “FRONTLINE,” the investigative documentary series produced by WGBH. She will succeed Phil Redo who is retiring at the end of this month. WGBH president and CEO Jon Abbott says, “Pam has deep roots in Boston news, and with her public media and multiplatform experience she is ideally suited to lead the WGBH news team into the digital future. Her expertise across all forms of media will build on the quality and award-winning local journalism WGBH has become known for under the leadership of Phil Redo. We’re grateful for the strong foundation he established and we’re excited about the innovation Pam will bring to how we serve our community.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Norfolk, Virginia hot AC WMVN “MOViN’ 107.7” launches the new “Valentine in the Morning Show” starring Valentine and co-hosts Jillian Escoto and Kevin Manno. Station PD DJ Fountz says, “We’re thrilled to introduce ‘Valentine in the Morning’ to the people of Hampton Roads. The show is polished, the crew has great chemistry, and we know that they’ll be the perfect way to get our listeners movin’ in the mornings.”…..iHeartMedia names DJ Loui Vee program director for hip hop WBZY, Atlanta “105.3 The Beat.” iHeartMedia Atlanta SVP of programming Meg Stevens says, “Very excited to have DJ Loui Vee in Atlanta. He is an exceptional talent who will continue to build the brand of ‘105.3 The Beat Atlanta.’ His creativity and passion along with his incredible leadership skills make him the perfect talent to program ‘105.3 The Beat.’”…..Morning personality Guy David exits Bonneville’s country KYGO, Denver. Co-host Tracy Dixon continues to host mornings along with producer Patrick Knight for now…..On-air pro Scott Fisher announces his retirement from iHeartMedia’s classic hits KODJ, Salt Lake City where he hosted middays. Fisher thanked his listeners in a message on the station’s website. He also notes that his weekend talk show, “Extreme Genes – America’s Family History Show,” will continue to air on the company’s sister news/talk station KNRS-FM.

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.”

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 1, 2020

| April 1, 2020

More Radio Company Furloughs and Job Cuts: Beasley Media Group, Townsquare Media, and JVC Media. Seeing their advertising revenue hit drastically by the COVID-19 pandemic, more radio companies are taking the desperate measures of cutting jobs and instituting furloughs.  Beasley Media Group just announced that it has eliminated 67 positions within the company, it has furloughed almost 20 staffers and is cutting full-time hours for the rest of its employees from 40 hours to 36 hours per week.  CEO Caroline Beasley is taking a 20% pay cut.  The company states, “These are very difficult decisions.  We are confident that the steps we take today will allow us to continue to serve our clients, communities and ensure our company will emerge stronger once the crisis abates.”  Townsquare Media is reporting that is has cut 65 positions – 26 of those at the corporate level.  CEO Bill Wilson and other corporate officers are taking a 10% pay cut.  The company is also warning that other measures will need to be taken if the effects of the pandemic continue to affect its business.  Long Island-based JVC Media is furloughing an unspecified number of staffers and hopes to be able to call them back to work when the crisis abates.  JVC CEO John Caracciolo has eliminated his own position as paid CEO and will operate his company on a voluntary, unpaid basis.

Tra Thomas Exits WPEN-FM, Philadelphia. Former Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Tra Thomas announced via Twitter yesterday (3/31) that he’s one of the victims of cuts being made by Beasley Media Group.  Thomas was co-host of the morning show at sports talk WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “The Fanatic” alongside Marc Farzetta.  He tweeted, “Welp guys it’s been real!  I was just notified that due to cutbacks, I’ve been released from @975Mornings. I want to thank @MarcFarzetta @jelynchjr @BobCooney76 and @samwils18 and our listeners for an amazing ride.  I’ll see you guys on the other SIDE, SIDe, SIde, side.”

Entercom Backs Off 2020 Guidance. Not surprisingly, Entercom Communications follows several other media companies in filing with the Securities Exchange Commission to withdraw its 2020 guidance as a result of the coronavirus pandemic   At the same time, the company reports that it is drawing $96.5 million in cash from a revolver loan that is in addition to the $50 million that it drew earlier in March and marks “substantially all” of the cash available in the revolver.  The company says, “The amounts drawn under the revolver were borrowed as a precautionary measure to preserve financial flexibility and may be used for working capital, general corporate or other purposes as permitted by the Credit Facility.”  Entercom reports it currently has $180 million in cash on hand.

TALKERS News Notes. WOR, New York news anchor and reporter Alice Stockton-Rossini is one of the focal points of a Philadelphia Inquirer story about a party thrown for her mother’s 90th birthday and the fallout from that get-together after two guests later died from the coronavirus, including her mother’s best friend.  Stockton-Rossini was in New Rochelle, New York in early March, reporting on the containment zone.  But she was also planning her mother’s party later that week.  Now, she wonders, “did I bring this down there?”  Read the piece here…..According to its own research, iHeartMedia says that new statistics “provide insight into how Americans are consuming a vast array of podcasts as they stay home and practice social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.  In addition to seeing increased podcast listenership, especially in markets with stay-at-home orders, Americans are specifically turning to podcasts covering business, finance, education and entertainment, including shows from several leading iHeartRadio personalities – versus true crime podcast listening, which has seen a slight decline.”  iHM says that across its more than 350 podcasts, listenership for the iHeartPodcast Network is up 6% month-over-month as more Americans began staying at home.  That number is even higher in markets where governors announced shelter-in-place orders, with listening up 13% in California and 8% percent in New York state in just one week…..Bonneville reports that in the Seattle market where it operates the digital news destination MyNorthwest in conjunction with its radio stations – including news/talk KIRO-FM – MyNorthwest saw a more than 200% increase in user growth during the month of March.  Director of digital Tina Sorensen says, “With such a large audience trusting Bonneville Seattle, our social engagement team and the MyNorthwest team have demonstrated their dedication and determination to provide our users with what they need during this unprecedented time.”…..SiriusXM launches “She’s So Funny,” a new hand-curated, full-time comedy channel showcasing a spectrum of female comedic talent.  The channel features artists such as: Tiffany Haddish, Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes, Tig Notaro, Maria Bamford, Whoopi Goldberg, Ali Wong, Kathleen Madigan, as well as legends such as Joan Rivers, Lily Tomlin, and Moms Mabley.

Coronavirus Cases and Deaths Data, Trump’s Tuesday Evening Press Conference, Financial Markets Activity, Churches Violating Social Distancing Directives/Constitutional Rights Debate, Stimulus Package, Recession Fears, and the Presidential Race Among Top News/ Talk Stories Yesterday (3/31). The growing number of U.S. cases of COVID-19 and the death toll; President Trump’s two-hour, Tuesday evening press conference addressing the pandemic; the world’s financial markets again turn bearish; the church pastors in several communities refusing to suspend in-person services and the related debate over constitutional rights; the stimulus package enacted in the U.S.; economists’ fears about a severe recession as a result of the coronavirus; and the presidential race were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In New Orleans, iHeartMedia brings Bailey Coleman south from the company’s Milwaukee station group to serve as the new VP of programming for the eight-station NOLA cluster.  Coleman has been serving as program director and air personality at urban contemporary WKKV, Milwaukee “V100.7” as well as on iHeartMedia’s innovation team that uses technology to create community-based multi-platform listening experiences.  Coleman assumes the position recently held by Uptown Angela Watson-Charles, who was elevated to an executive vice president of programming role within the company’s new Community Division…..Entravision Communications debuts its new CHR KKPS, Brownsville-McAllen-Harlingen, Texas “Fuego 99.5 FM Hot Hits.”  The station will feature core artists such as: Cardi B, Ozuna, Billie Eilish, Daddy Yankee, and Bad BunnyDJ Marky Mark will host the afternoon drive show from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Entravision VP of Audio Nestor Rocha comments, “We are thrilled to heat up the South Texas music scene on Fuego 99.5 FM with the hottest and newest talent across the board.  DJ Marky Mark has a huge presence in the Rio Grande Valley region, and we’re excited to have him anchor our new station.  This is another great opportunity for us to connect and relate to our audience with the music they want.”

Monday, March 16, 2020

| March 16, 2020

CORONAVIRUS PERSEPCTIVE:  RAB President/CEO Encourages Radio Sellers to Proactively Draw Upon Relationships with Clients and Take Leadership Role.  In an exclusive conversation conducted early this afternoon (3/16), TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison tapped into the perspective of Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) president/CEO Erica Farber about the challenges facing radio sales during the current crisis. She tells TALKERS, “This crisis shows just how important relationships are in radio sales.”  Farber advises radio sales reps to take a proactive role in reaching out to clients before they contact the stations and enquire as to their well-being and current business practices during this time when it is no longer business as usual.  Farber also encourages stations to revamp existing production and copy not just to add new messaging but to update the tone of commercials, both live and produced, to reflect the current environment.  She points out that radio has an advantage over TV in this regard because “entire spots don’t have to be re-shot… just re-written which people can do working from home.”  To listen to the entire conversation between Harrison and Farber, please click 

      here
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Monday Memo: Coronavirus, Mental Health Crisis. Because the pandemic story is nearer the beginning than the end, consultant Holland Cooke reckons that “‘Wash your hands’ now sounds old and condescending and remaining political talk media deniers validate a tired caricature.  At this stage, news-your-listeners-can-use most is coping advice.”  HC recommends interviewing a local mental health professional; and in this week’s column, he recommends questions and talking points.  Read it here.

Coronavirus Hits the U.S., Fed Slashes Interest Rates, Trump Flight Ban Effects, Biden-Sanders Debate, Turkish and Russian Action in Syria, and Israeli Government Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The coronavirus pandemic causes states across the nation to limit social contact, closing schools and shutting down bars and restaurants; the Fed cuts interest rates to almost zero to counter the panic selling caused by the coronavirus; President Trump’s ban on flights into the U.S. from Europe and the logjam at airports as incoming international travelers require virus screenings; Sunday night’s debate between Democrats Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders; the coordinated Turkish and Russian military strikes in Syria; and Benny Gantz’s attempt to form a coalition government in Israel were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Townsquare Media Q4 2019 Net Revenue Up 2.9%, Full Year Up 5.7%; CEO Wilson Addresses Coronavirus.  The company reports its 2019 fourth quarter and 2019 full-year financial data and in addition to providing data for the entire company, it also breaks its data into three segments: Advertising, that includes broadcast and digital advertising products and solutions; Townsquare Interactive, the digital marketing solutions business; and Live Events, the company’s live events, including concerts, expositions and other experiential events.  For the company as a whole, Townsquare Media’s Q4 2019 net revenue was $112.1 million, up 2.9% over the same period in 2018.  For the full year of 2019, net revenue was $431.4 million, up 5.7% over all of 2018.  Looking at just the Advertising net revenue, it was $93.9 million, up 0.9% from the same period in 2018.  However, excluding political advertising from the mix, advertising net revenue was up 5.6%.  For the full year of 2019, Townsquare’s advertising net revenue was $352.8 million, up 4% over the full year of 2018.  Ex political, advertising net revenue was up 6.2% over 2018.  Townsquare CEO Bill Wilson says, “As we look forward, we are excited about the future of our company.  We believe that our talented teams, broad multi-platform marketing and advertising product suite and in particular, our robust digital solutions, led by Townsquare Interactive and Townsquare Ignite, our proprietary digital programmatic advertising platform, will continue to differentiate us in the marketplace. We are proud of our broadcast performance, but our overall financial results clearly demonstrate what I have been stating for quite some time: Townsquare has transitioned from being a traditional broadcaster to being a premier local media and digital marketing solutions company with fast growing, profitable digital products and solutions.  We continue to be heavily focused on super-serving our local clients, local listeners and local communities while helping local businesses grow through our ‘Local First’ strategy, while simultaneously delivering results for our stakeholders.  While the specific impact of the coronavirus pandemic to our business is unknown at this time, we know that there will be a negative impact.  However, we are confident and optimistic about the long-term customer demand for our multi-platform products and marketing solutions.  Our primary concern is for the safety and well-being of our employees, their families, our partners and our local communities across the country, and my thoughts and prayers go out to all who have been affected around the world.  We are constantly monitoring the evolving environment in each of our 67 local markets.  As the preeminent local media company in each of our local markets, Townsquare has the additional responsibility, obligation and civic duty to lead from the front, continue to inform accurately and provide comfort.  I could not be prouder of our Townsquare Team and how each day they are serving their listeners, their clients and their local communities during this important time.  Our future remains bright and I am confident that together we will emerge from this challenge stronger than ever before.”

Beasley Issues Statement on Company Coronavirus Policy. On Friday (3/13), Beasley Media Group issued the following public statement about its policy for doing business during the coronavirus pandemic.  Chief executive officer Caroline Beasley said, “After careful deliberation, we have taken precautionary measures that are currently being implemented across all of our markets.  The challenges we face are extraordinary, but the moment is not unique.  At our core, our company exists to serve our employees, advertisers and our communities and keep them safe and informed during times exactly like this.  Broadcasters are at our best during uncertain times.  We will continue to strive to be at our very best in the coming days, weeks and months.”  Through March 31, the company is enacting the following: Over the next two weeks, most full-time employees will be asked to telework.  While some full-time employees will be needed in the office, they will be expected to follow CDC guidelines (attached) in an effort to maintain a safe and clean work environment. In addition, the company has instituted a “no work-related travel” policy.  To limit public traffic at the radio stations, the stations will not be allowing listeners to pick up contest prize awards.  Market managers will have the discretion to make limited exception instances where prizes are time limited.  Beasley Media Group will be cancelling and/or postponing events and appearances for the next two weeks to ensure not only the safety of its employees but the communities they serve.  The company will continue to evaluate and update policies as circumstances dictate.

Adams Radio Implements Coronavirus Policy. Broadcaster Adams Radio Group is putting its coronavirus work plan into effect and is mandating that all personnel that can work from home do so starting immediately.  Adams CEO Ron Stone says, “I want to thank my general managers, engineers and others within our company for being very proactive in guiding the planning for our company.  Incredible talent always steps up when faced with a crisis and our management has done just that.  We are committed to supporting our workforce family and their families as well as the communities we serve.  The time for us to act is now.  In taking these actions, our priorities are to ensure the well-being of our work family and clients and to continue delivering the messages of our clients to help minimize as much as possible the disruption of their businesses, and ours, by providing the communities we serve with up to date information on the virus.  We have taken appropriate steps to provide our employees with the assets required to work from home without disruption to the excellent broadcast products we deliver to our listeners and communities.  Sales, programming, administrators and engineers will all be following this guidance as implemented by local management.  This policy is effective immediately and will continue until it is safe for our employees to return to normal activities.  We have not received notice that anyone employed by Adams Radio has been in contact with the virus and we are doing our part to keep it that way.”

Skyview Networks Reports 95% Ad Retention Rate in Wake of Coronavirus Pandemic. In a public release issued on Friday (3/13) in the aftermath of the NBA, NHL, MLB and other sports leagues announcing they were postponing or cancelling their games and related activities because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Skyview Networks said it “continues to serve its many sports partners during the COVID-19 pandemic.”  Skyview EVP and general manager Jeanne-Marie Condo says, “Skyview Networks has been able to retain 95% of its sports dollars.  This has been a remarkable 24 hours, at a time of caution, advertisers one after the other stood strong either building new campaigns with Skyview or choosing to keep the revenue in place for when the leagues commence.  It was a tribute to the power of on-air radio and how it delivers for advertisers.”

TALKERS News Notes. In San Diego, KOGO-AM afternoon drive personality Carl DeMaio is back on the air on the iHeartMedia news/talk outlet after losing in the Republican primary for California’s 50th Congressional District seat.  DeMaio came up short in a three-way race that was won by Carl Issa, who will face Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar for the seat vacated by Duncan Hunter, who resigned after being convicted of misusing campaign funds. DeMaio hosts “The DeMaio Report” along with co-host and political consultant Lou Penrose…..Cox Media Group agrees to set aside its contractual retransmission dispute with DISH Network in 10 markets in order to allow the local news, as well as network content from ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX that has been blacked out by DISH since mid-January to air so citizens can get news and information about the coronavirus.  CMG’s Kim Guthrie says, “We are pleased to be able to restore these channels on DISH so that our viewers in these communities can be informed and able to make the right decisions for the safety of their families.  We appreciate DISH’s cooperation in agreeing to suspend our dispute so that we can help our viewers navigate through this uncertain time.”…..The nationally syndicated “America’s First News with Matt Ray” is added to the program schedule at iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFXR, Dallas in morning drive…..According to surveys of local radio buyers by BIA Advisory Services, if local radio could offer an over-the-air, zoned advertising product like local TV stations can, 54.6% say they would be “very interested.”  BIA and Advertiser Perceptions will present that data and more during a webinar being held on March 24 at 2:00 pm ET.  It’s titled, “Main Street Versus Madison Avenue on Geotargeted Advertising and Local Radio” and will feature BIA’s Rick Ducey and Advertiser Perceptions’ Justin Fromm, who will highlight the Main Street and Madison Avenue research.  They are joined by Kathy Doyle, EVP local investment from MAGNA Global and George Leon, chief strategy officer at Hawthorne Advertising, who will explain why they think zoned radio ads would be valuable to their clients.  You can register here.

Former, Longtime TRN Exec Greg Doyle Dies.  Family and friends are mourning the death of Greg Doyle, who died Sunday (3/15) after a long battle with liver disease.  His wife of 39 years, Lynn Finley Doyle, posted news of his passing on social media.  Doyle was a longtime executive with the Oregon-based radio syndicated firm Talk Radio Network.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Baltimore radio personality Matt Davis joins Times-Shamrock’s classic rock WZBA “100.7 The Bay” as midday host.  Davis previously served with Hearst’s crosstown rock WIYY-FM; WXRK, New York; and WYSP, Philadelphia.  Station general manager Jefferson Ward says, “In a world of increasingly nationalized radio, being local matters more than ever. Matt has been a part of Baltimore radio for many years and is passionate about our town, music, and creating great content on all platforms.  He is the perfect fit for our team.”…..As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Academy of Country Music has decided to postpone “The 55th Annual ACM Awards,” originally scheduled for April 5 at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Arena.  The show, set to air on CBS Television, is being rescheduled for September.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

| February 18, 2020

Beasley Broadcast Group 2019 Q4 Net Revenue Dips 4.6%; Full Year Net Revenue Up 1.6%.  In reporting 2019 fourth quarter financial results, Beasley Broadcast Group states that “the $3.5 million, or 4.6%, year-over-year decrease in net revenue during the three months ended December 31, 2019 reflects the cyclical impact of strong political advertising revenue recorded in the prior year period, partially offset by fourth quarter 2019 revenue increases in six of the company’s market clusters.”  The decrease in operating income in Q4 reflects “the year-over-year decrease in station operating income, in addition to higher corporate expenses related to digital growth investments and a $12.4 million non-cash impairment charge related to Beasley’s AM stations in Boca Raton and Atlanta and a $1.3 million impairment loss on an investment, partially offset by a $17.1 million gain from land and tower sales during the period.”  Net revenue for all of 2019 was $261.1 million, an increase of 1.6% over 2018.  Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “Fiscal year 2019 was an active and productive period for Beasley as we continued to make significant progress rolling out our digital expansion and transformation initiatives across the company, while advancing our revenue diversification strategies and actively managing our local radio platform to drive long-term SOI growth and margin expansion. Beasley’s fourth quarter net revenue decline of $3.5 million primarily reflects a $2.8 million reduction in political advertising revenue compared to the prior year period. While we were not able to fully offset the cyclical impact of political revenue, the fourth quarter radio advertising environment remained healthy with six of our markets generating year-over-year revenue increases.  By opportunistically divesting several non-core land and tower assets in 2019, Beasley generated a 31% increase in full year free cash flow over the prior year period, which enabled us to complete several strategic growth and diversification investments in our broadcast, digital, technology and esports platforms throughout the year.  Our fourth quarter results highlight the value we have begun extracting from our digital transformation strategy investments.  In the fourth quarter, Beasley generated digital revenue growth of approximately 44% on a year-over-year basis, with digital now accounting for 9.2% of total revenue, compared to 6.1% of total revenue in the prior year period.  With our focus on quality content production and consumer engagement, we are growing audience share across our digital platforms while delivering multi-platform turnkey marketing solutions to advertisers and brands. Overall, we are pleased with the momentum and trajectory of our digital initiatives and look forward to this growth trend continuing in 2020.”

Jim Louth Rises to APD at Boston’s ‘98.5 The Sports Hub.’ Eleven-year station programming staffer Jim Louth is promoted from midday show executive producer to assistant program director at Beasley Media Group’s sports talker WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub.”  During his career, Louth produced New England Patriots broadcasts for 16 seasons, spent six years as a producer at sports talk WSKO-AM, Providence “790 The Score,” and two years at ESPN in Bristol.  The APD position opened after Rick Radzik was promoted to program director following Mike Thomas’ departure for WMVP-AM, Chicago “ESPN 1000.”  Radzik says, “Jim has been with the station since day one.  He’s done a great job, not only producing our midday programming, but also overseeing our New England Patriots game day broadcasts over the past decade.  His institutional knowledge of the Sports Hub’s operation and relationships with the staff make Jim the perfect choice for the APD position.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new report from marketing firm Claritas and sales force Market Enginuity concludes that “podcast advertising campaigns result in an average 10 times lift relative to print, digital, and TV.”  The white paper reports that “new marketing tools are allowing advertisers and marketers to gain deeper insights into the effectiveness of podcast channels.  In November 2018, Claritas acquired the omni-channel attribution platform Barometric and has since collected and reported on campaign results across more than 100 advertisers, which drove a deeper analysis in the channel’s effectiveness as compared to non-podcast channels.  This analysis, across industries such as consumer packaged goods, automotive, direct brands, finance and insurance, shows that while non-podcast channels historically result in a 2.6% lift in conversions – with common channels such as digital display at 1.1% lift, print at 2.4% and linear TV at 3.1% – podcast channels are driving 34% lift on average.”  See more here…..Cadence13 announces an exclusive partnership with The Dolan Twins – brothers Ethan and Grayson Dolan – for the launch of their first-ever podcast, “Deeper with The Dolan Twins.”  The Dolan Twins have a combined following of over fifty million followers across all platforms, have won five Teen Choice Awards in three years, and earned a spot on Time magazine’s list of Most Influential Teens.  The weekly podcast debuts on Tuesday, February 25…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One News has once again won the Golden Mike Award from the Southern California Radio Television News Association.  Pictured at right is Los Angeles-based correspondent Jim Roope, who traveled to Normandy for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.  This is the fifth consecutive year that Westwood One News and Roope have won the Golden Mike award.

Presidential Race, Covid-19 Pandemic/Locust Plague, DOJ Contoversy, Boy Scouts File for Bankruptcy, and U.S. vs Huawei Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/17). The Democrats battling to take on President Trump in November and tomorrow night’s debate in Las Vegas; the coronavirus pandemic and the locust plague that affected East Africa moves to China; the controversy over Attorney General William Barr’s administration of the Justice Department and accusations it’s reducing Roger Stone’s sentencing recommendation under pressure from President Trump; under financial pressure from sex abuse lawsuits, the Boy Scouts of America files for bankruptcy; and the U.S.’s battle against China’s Huawei over its 5G platform were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Girls Night Out.  A great conversation between longtime radio pals took place along the waterway in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida as Compass Media Networks senior director of news/talk affiliate sales Susan O’Connell visited TALKERS South during her travels through the Sunshine State.  Pictured (l-r): Former ABC Radio Networks executive Gloria Briggs, O’ Connell, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, and author/professor, Bernadette Duncan.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Detroit’s “Mojo in the Morning” show is celebrating its 20th anniversary at iHeartMedia’s WKQI “Channel 955” with a special broadcast on Friday (2/21). The program, hosted by Mojo and Spike with co-host Shannon, will be broadcast live on WKQI as well as sister stations WSNX, Muskegon, Michigan and WVKS-FM, Toledo “92.5 KISS-FM.”  Also appearing on the special broadcast will be original cast members Sara Fouracre, Chad Mitchell, and Eric Harthen.  iHeartMedia Detroit SVP of programming Tony Travatto says, “‘Mojo in the Morning’ is the Mount Rushmore of Detroit radio.  The talented cast and show are continually striving to do bigger and better things than before and have evolved over the years to connect even more with the Detroit community.  ‘Mojo in the Morning’ is one of the most accessible, cutting-edge, and successful shows in Detroit and we’re honored to have it on our program lineup.”

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

| December 17, 2019

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk (Part 2). TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a second look at the performances of sports talk stations in Nielsen Audio’s PPM markets during the November 2019 survey.  This report ranks sports talk listening by market and details the increases and decreases in 6+ ratings by market.  Which PPM markets registered the most sports talk listening during the November survey?  The top three are all East Coast markets: Philadelphia (11.2 share), Boston (11.1 share), and Long Island (9.3 share).  See how the rest of the markets stack up here.

NYPost: Benigno and Roberts for WFAN, New York Afternoons. Sportswriter Andrew Marchand says in his December 16 New York Post column that the new, permanent program schedule for Entercom’s sports talk WFAN, New York “The Fan” will indeed be Evan Roberts and Joe Benigno in afternoon drive (2:00 pm to 6:00 pm) and Maggie Gray and Mark Malusis in the midday slot (10:00 am to 2:00 pm).  It’s already public knowledge that current WFAN midday personality Bart Scott is heading across town to work at ESPN and its radio outlet WEPN-FM “ESPN New York.”  These changes come after Mike Francesa’s transition from afternoons to a daily 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm show.

Programmer Buzz Knight Leaving Beasley for Consultancy Venture. Programming pro Buzz Knight is leaving his post with Beasley Media Group as executive vice president of strategy and innovation to launch his consultancy, Buzz Knight Media.  Beasley says, “In his new role, Knight will continue to advise Beasley Media Group’s various brands on multiple projects and initiatives as well as focus on enhancing brand health for other media companies, with an eye on maximizing audience and revenue.”  Knight says, “I’m very grateful to Caroline Beasley, Bruce Beasley, Brian Beasley, and Justin Chase for providing me with the incredible opportunity to join the company three years ago.  The great teams in the markets continue to perform at the highest level and I’m very proud to be able to continue to be associated with them. Special thanks to Caroline for providing me with the privilege of extending my relationship with Beasley Media Group as I fulfill a lifelong dream of launching my own consultancy firm.”

WABC, New York Raises $200,000-plus for Children’s Hospital. Pictured above at the recent “Radiothon for the Kids” broadcast from TALKRADIO 77 WABC are (from l-r): WABC program director Dave LaBrozzi, talk host Curtis Sliwa, Joshua Berg, and talk host Juliet Huddy.  During the radiothon broadcast live from Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York on Friday (12/13), a total of $205,213 was raised for the Children’s Miracle Network hospital.

TALKERS News Notes. The final round judging panel for the 29th Annual Radio Mercury Awards is announced.  The Radio Mercury Awards are governed by the Radio Creative Fund and produced by the RAB.  The RAB says the panel of top-level agency creative leaders represents radio’s top advertising categories, including automotive, communications, financial services, OTC, packaged goods, quick-serve restaurants, retail and spirits.  Robin Fitzgerald, chief creative officer at BBDO Atlanta is 2020 chief judge.  On the panel are: Justine Armour, chief creative officer, Grey NY; Nathalie Brown, executive creative director, VMLY&R New York; Gary Du Toit, VP creative director, BBDO New York; Kevin Jones, creative director, Wieden & Kennedy Portland; John Matejczyk, chief creative officer and co-founder, M/H VCCP San Francisco; Andrés Ordóñez, chief creative officer, FCB Chicago; Alejandro Ortiz, vice president and creative director, Casanova//McCann; and Sherman Winfield, vice president and creative director, Fitzco//McCann…..There are a number of end-of-year programs being made available to affiliates from ABC Audio, including four longform programs featuring top news stories, interviews and major events from the past year and eight short-form series looking at the year in politics, entertainment, health, sports and more.  The longform shows include: “Playback 2019” in which ABC News correspondents Cheri Preston and Aaron Katersky look at the biggest stories of the year; the three-hour “2019: The Year in Review” told through highlights of ABC News Radio’s live breaking news coverage; a special, decade-end edition of “Perspective,” ABC News Radio’s weekly newsmagazine exploring the biggest stories of the 2010s; and “World News This Year” – a special edition of the “World News This Week” program…..SiriusXM announces year-end and decade specialty programming across its music, talk, and entertainment channels.  SiriusXM chief entertainment anchor Jess Cagle will host “Top 100 Interviews of 2019” – a limited-run channel that will launch on Thursday, December 19 and run through Tuesday, December 31.  “Top 100 Interviews of 2019” will feature interviews by SiriusXM hosts including Andy Cohen, Jenny McCarthy, Hoda Kotb, Jess Cagle, Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo, and more…..iHeartRadio is introducing iHeartRadio Family in time for the holiday season, now available on RokuAndroid TV (set to launch later this year) and Facebook Portal’s latest device, Portal TV, with support for new Portal tablets coming this January.  iHeartRadio says, “Some of the cool features included are customized parental controls, artist radio – with the family-friendly versions of their favorite artist songs, animations like a disco ball and a ‘slime drip’ to complement certain audio experiences, and now a variety of fun kid-friendly podcasts to listen to and more.  In addition, iHeartRadio Family fans who use Amazon Fire TV will also be able to enjoy an upgraded experience with the addition of podcasts that are kid-friendly added to the platform.”

JVC Media’s Long Island News/Talk Station Vandalized with Anti-Trump Graffiti. Pictured above is the remote studio for JVC Media’s news/talk WRCN, Riverhead, Long Island “LI NEWS RADIO 103.9,” located at the Long Island MacArthur Airport.  In the inset is an image of the anti-Trump graffiti that staffers found on large stickers affixed to the glass windows of the studio.  JVC uses the studio for live shows during the day and it is not occupied overnight.  JVC Media president and CEO John Caracciolo says, “It is unfortunate that someone took out their expression of anger against our president on our broadcast studio.  We pride ourselves on fair and balanced news reporting.  I understand people are angry, but maybe next time the culprit can call in to our afternoon show and express his or her feelings in a more civilized way.”  Long Island MacArthur Airport police are investigating the incident and are reviewing the many video cameras in and around the radio broadcast center. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison discussed the incident with John Caracciolo.  To listen, click here.

Impeachment, Ukraine Controversy, 2020 Presidential Race, FBI Report Aftermath, Boeing 737 Production Halt, and Record Dow Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/16). The House’s impeachment against President Trump; Trump attorney Rudy Guiliani’s explanation about why Marie Yovanovich was removed as Ambassador to Ukraine; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the aftermath of the inspector general’s report critical of the FBI’s surveillance operations; Boeing’s decision to suspend production on the 737 Max; and Monday’s record-setting Dow were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Second in the Series of Talk Media Forums on US-China Relations Now Posted!   The second installment of the Talk Media Forums on US-China Relations co-presented by TALKERS and The Epoch Times Tuesday morning (12/10) at the National Press Club in Washington, DC is now posted here on Talkers.com as well as other online platforms.  The conversation again focused on the US-China trade war, the Hong Kong protests, China’s human rights abuses, Huawei and the worldwide battle for 5G dominance, the North Korea nuclear threat, China’s ongoing intellectual property theft, and the long term goals and methods of the Chinese Communist Party, plus more. The 90-minute event featured a panel of three experts on the state of US-Chinese relations including Nan Su of NTDTV, and Joshua Philipp and Dr. Dana Cheng of The Epoch Times, plus four leading talk radio hosts – John Fredericks of the John Fredericks Radio NetworkDr. Sebastian Gorka of the Salem Radio NetworkLarry O’ Connor of WMAL, Washington, DC; and Doug Stephan of Stephan Multimedia. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, who again moderated the discussion, “The numerous pressing issues that exist under the umbrella of US-China relations promise to be a major component of talk media conversation for years to come and it is important that its practitioners stay on top of these complex concerns free of the spin and propaganda constantly manufactured by the Communist regime in Beijing.  Our colleagues at The Epoch Times are firmly situated on the leading edge of the Chinese resistance to the Communist grasp on their homeland and serve the culture’s diaspora in the United States and around the world with bold, truthful reporting of the facts.” The Epoch Times was formed in 2000 by Chinese Americans and is now published in multiple languages around the world.  To view the video in its entirety, please click here. Photo: Samira Bouaou/Epic Times

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Entercom’s country KMLE, Phoenix “Country 107.9,” Gunner Jackson and Cheyenne Davis (pictured below) are named hosts of the new “Gunner & Cheyenne” morning show, effective tomorrow (12/18).  They join KMLE from KDBL-FM, Yakima, Washington.  Entercom Phoenix SVP and market manager Dave Pugh says, “We are excited to introduce our audience to Gunner and Cheyenne.  Together, they will bring a ton of energy and positivity to the show and are the perfect hosts to help our listeners begin their mornings.”  The duo were recently honored with a 2019 Yakima Herald-Republic Readers’ Choice Award for Best Radio Personality…..iHeartMedia announces Trevor Morini joins the Raleigh station group as senior vice president of programming, effective January 21.  Morini will also serve as program director for CHR WDCG-FM “G105.”  He’s been serving the company as program director for KHFI “96.7 KISS FM” and alternative KASE-HD/W248CU “ALT 97.5” in Austin…..On-air pro Jeanne Ashley exits Entercom’s adult contemporary KSWD, Seattle “94.1 The Sound” where she was assistant program director and morning drive co-host with John Fisher.  Ashley posts on her LinkedIn account, “Thanks to budget cuts, I’m taking time to take stock while I take the long way from Seattle back to NJ.”…..Caldwell Media’s KERL, Caldwell, Arkansas flips from classic rock to adult hits using Envision Networks’ and Kroeger Media’s BOB FM format…..Spanish-language media company MLC Media is assuming management of XHLNC-FM, Tijuana, Mexico and is launching “Mas Flo” on the San Diego signal tomorrow (12/18).  The company says,”‘Mas Flo’ will feature a blend of the hottest and latest Spanish urban music from the top Latin artists in the industry.  The music genres will include reggaeton, trap, tropical, and urban from artists like: J Balvin, Maluma, Nicky Jam, Rosalia, Bad Bunny, and more…..ABC Audio is making the music special, “2019 Rewind: The Biggest Country Hits of the Year” – hosted by country star Morgan Wallen – available to affiliate stations for year-end programming.  The special rounds up all of the year’s hottest songs and includes interviews with Dan + Shay, Eric Church, Runaway June, Kane Brown, Luke Combs, Jason Aldean, Thomas Rhett, Cole Swindell, Carrie Underwood, Maren Morris, Old Dominion and more.

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