Tag: "Chicago"

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

| March 31, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday Memo: Smart Advertisers Relate

| March 30, 2020

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Sales managers: Come down off the ledge!  While nervous sales reps are REACTING to cancellations as the economy dives, smart sellers are PROACTIVELY turning-lemons-into-lemonade.  And canny clients are using radio to sound relevant, helpful, and like we’re-all-in-the-same-boat…

“We want to keep our people working.”

This is a commercial copy point we’re using at client stations, in spots for local service retailers.  Another empathy message pertains to restaurants, increasingly restricted to take-out and drive-thru business.  They’re really hurting; and I’ve heard several offering gift cards “that never expire.”

Read More

Thursday, March 19, 2020

| March 19, 2020

WGN, Chicago Parts Company with Evening Personality Justin Kaufmann.  As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, evening talk host Justin Kaufmann leaves Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM after the company elected not to renew his contract.  Kaufmann joined WGN in 2015 after spending 21 years as a show producer at Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM.  Feder says his sources expect Ji Suk Yi to move from her position as host of the “Wintrust Business Lunch” noontime program to host of the evening show.  Since Nexstar took over operation of the station from Tribune Media, on-air changes have included the exit of morning host Steve Cochran – replaced by Bob Sirott – and midday duo Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder – whose former daypart was filled with a combination of the move of John Williams’ show to late mornings and Anna Davlantes leaving the Roe Conn afternoon drive show to host her own early afternoon program.

WNIR-FM, Akron Host Jim Isabella Out with Coronavirus. According to a report at CantonRep.com, WNIR, Akron evening talk show host Jim Isabella is off the air after contracting COVID-19.  Isabella tells the news organization he had flu-like symptoms last week and was hospitalized for pneumonia.  It was there he was tested for coronavirus and two days later learned the test was positive. He’s quoted saying, “Obey what the people are telling you.  I don’t know where the hell I got it.  You have to be smart… this is not a drill.”  Isabella says he has a cough and a rattle in his chest that makes it hard to talk for very long.

The Coronavirus Pandemic, Financial Markets Activity/Recession Fears, Coronavirus Relief Package, and Democratic Primary/Presidential Race, Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/18).  The status of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S and across the globe; the world’s financial markets endure another sell-off on Wednesday and economists express fear of a global recession as a result of the coronavirus; the coronavirus relief package and potential stimulus packages being considered by the Trump administration; and Joe Biden’s growing lead over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary race were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Round Three of Nielsen’s February PPM’s Posted. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2020 PPM survey is released for 12 markets, including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus.  The February PPM survey covered January 30 through February 26.  You can see all the weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian posts his Ratings Takeaways from the second round.  Positive movement from these markets include: Cumulus Media’s WMAL-FM, Washington adds four-tenths to finish the ratings period at a 7.3 share and the #3 rank in the market; Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington also added four tenths to wrap the month at a 7.8 share and tied for the #1 rank; Entercom’s all-news WWJ, Detroit tacks a half share onto January’s four-tenths to finish the February survey at a 4.8 share and the #6 rank; iHeartMedia’s conservative talk KDFD, Denver “Freedom 93.7” adds another three-tenths, posting a 3.6 share and the #13 rank; and Hearst’s WBAL, Baltimore puts another half share on top of seven consecutive ratings gains for a 4.4 share and the #8 rank in the market.  See all of Mike Kinosian’s Takeaways here.

New York Festivals Radio Awards Announces 2020 Finalists. The 2020 New York Festivals Radio Awards International Grand Jury has selected the finalists in this year’s competition.  All finalists move on to the medal round of judging.  New York Festivals Radio Awards will announce the 2020 award winners on Tuesday, April 21.  The Grand Jury selected the finalists based on the following criteria: production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity, and use of the medium. New York Festivals says prominent broadcasters that took the lead include: RTÉ Ireland, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBS News Radio, and Radio New Zealand. You can see the complete list of finalists here. Meanwhile, other U.S. broadcasters of note to make the medal round include: in the Podcast category – “30 for 30 Podcasts: Season 6,” ESPN Films, “Amy Schumer Presents: 3 Girls, 1 Keith” Spotify; “Dolly Parton’s America,” OSM Audio/ WNYC Studios; and “Sleepwalkers,” iHeartMedia.  In the Breaking News, Feature and Investigative categories: “75th Anniversary of D-Day,” Westwood One; “Protests Grip Hong Kong,” Bloomberg LP; “CBS World News Roundup” and “Notre Dame,” CBS News Radio.

TALKERS News Notes. The New Jersey Broadcasters Association announces it is canceling this year’s Annual Conference & Gala, originally scheduled for June 16 and 17 in Atlantic City.  President and CEO Paul Rotella says, “That’s not something we wanted to do, because we enjoy that event and we were very much looking forward to it.  Like you, we treasure the opportunity to shine a spotlight on our magnificent industry, especially this year when we were going to celebrate the century of service provided by broadcasters.  But our number-one priority at this time is health and safety, and the CDC’s guidelines make clear that gatherings over 50 people should be avoided for at least the next eight weeks, and of course that makes our planning futile. (It was going to be great too!) But, the show will go on my friends, if not this year, then next year.”…..John FredericksDisruptor Media LLC buys WNTW-AM, Chester, Virginia and translator W224EB, Chester at 92.7 FM in the Richmond market from Nancy A. Epperson’s Delmarva Educational Association for $240,000.  This pair will become part of the John Fredericks Radio Network based at his WJFN-FM, Goochland, Virginia…..Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois-based Big Radio is creating an online directory connecting consumers with the innovative ways that local businesses are continuing to serve them during the COVID-19 emergency.  The directory provides information on local restaurants, retailers, and other businesses that are offering services while still complying with the health emergency directives.  Listings are updated on a regular basis and are being provided free of charge to businesses in the Big Radio family of stations coverage area.  Big Radio co-owner Ben Thompson says, “Local businesses are the biggest supporters of our community and we wanted to find a way to help them publicize changes in their operations so that community residents could lend a hand by continuing to shop local.”  Big Radio is the business brand of Scott and Ben Thompson who own 10 stations and other businesses throughout Wisconsin and Illinois.

KMZQ, Las Vegas Morning Host Heidi Harris Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Although every corner of the nation and world have been hit hard by the coronavirus, Las Vegas has been particularly impacted due to the preponderance of hospitality and travel-oriented industries that make the market tick.  KMZQ, Las Vegas morning host Heidi Harris is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Harris, a 22-year veteran of Las Vegas broadcasting, and Harrison take a conversational deep dive into the coronavirus-era machinations of the “gig economy” as well as state of the convention, travel, hospitality, and gambling industries in a fascinating, fast-paced program with lots of takeaways.  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 of every page on Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the New York market Mediaco Holdings appoints Jonathan Bates vice president of brand partnerships for hip hop WQHT “Hot 97” and urban contemporary WBLS.  Bates has been serving as executive vice president for The Shadow League, a “website dedicated to presenting journalistically sound sports coverage through the lens of culture.”  Mediaco SVP of revenue Victor Giacomelli says, “Jonathan is an exceptional digital sales and marketing leader whose 20 years of digital experience will enable us to accelerate opportunities for clients to benefit from the wide array of authentic ‘Hot 97’ digital content opportunities.  Jonathan is expected to recruit a team of multicultural digital marketing specialists to partner with clients on a variety of ‘Hot 97’ digital and social opportunities.”…..iHeartMedia’s WXKS-FM, Boston “Kiss 108” is presenting a Billie Eilish experience this evening to offer fans who would have attended Eilish’s canceled concert in town tonight (3/19).  At 7:30 pm, the station will play Eilish’s music, interview clips, and listeners sharing their Billie thoughts and stories.  Station PD Dylan Sprague states, “Since her show at the Garden has been postponed, it’s the best way for fans to join together in our love for Billie Eilish.  If we were at the show, we’d be all singing these songs together.  Why not belt ‘em out at home?”

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

| March 18, 2020

iHeartMedia to Operate KFMB-AM, San Diego in Aftermath of Tegna-Local Media San Diego Deal. The sale of San Diego stations adult hits KFMB-FM and news/talk KFMB-FM from Tegna to Local Media San Diego for $5 million closed yesterday (3/17).  Immediately, LMSD and iHeartMedia revealed a deal in which the latter will operate KFMB-AM under a local marketing agreement.  The station began airing a simulcast of iHeartMedia’s news/talk KOGO-AM, San Diego.  iHeartMedia expects to file an asset purchase agreement with the FCC this week and new programming should launch on the signal this week as well.  Tegna acquired the two radio stations as part of its acquisition of KFMB-TV and KFMB-D2 from Midwest Television in 2018.  That deal was for $325 million.  Tegna continues to operate sports talk WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus as its only radio properties.

TALKERS TIP: The Communist Chinese Connection to the Coronavirus Story Will Remain and Grow as a Major News/Talk Media Issue Going Forward. Although public and media attention is now focused on the immediate and practical challenges being presented by the coronavirus crisis – the breaking story about U.S. journalists from The New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal being ousted from reporting on China from within its mainland borders underscores the consistent repression of news by the Communist government in Beijing.  Those who follow U.S.-China relations know this has been the case for many years.  Since entering into a relationship with The Epoch Times last spring co-producing a series of Talk Media Forums on U.S.-China Relations, TALKERS has found the unique news agency to be an excellent source of truthful information pertaining to issues having to do with China… in this case, the origins and historic context of Covid-19.  The Epoch Times was founded in the United States in 2000 in response to communist repression and censorship in China. Its founders, Chinese-Americans who themselves had fled communism, sought to create an independent media to bring the world uncensored and truthful information to overcome the propagandistic untruths flowing from Beijing including the imprisonment and torture of journalists reporting narratives counter to their official party line and the horrific persecution of those seeking religious freedom such as the hundreds of thousands of Chinese practicing the meditation-oriented spiritual movement, Falun Gong (portrayed by the CCP as a dangerous “cult”).  Since its founding, The Epoch Times has received numerous awards for its reporting and design from the New York Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the Society for News Design, and more.  The Epoch Times media network currently covers 21 languages and 33 countries.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “It is sadly ironic that most of the world’s information about China comes from the official narrative being put forth by the CCP and not a free and open press and includes hit pieces on publications and news agencies such as The Epoch Times that dare to stand up to their distortions.  The Epoch Times has proven to be a critical resource for news/talk media hosts seeking to obtain truthful insights into all things China – which covers a wide range of material in today’s dialogue.  Their investigative reporters are compelling and informative guests who are truly plugged into the front-line sources.  The Epoch Times is proving to be a gift to talk show hosts seeking to stay ahead of the curve on U.S.-China relations and related domestic and international issues.”  Right now, at TALKERS’ suggestion, The Epoch Times is granting full access to its website and firewalls to talk show hosts and news reporters.  To sign up, please click here.  To book timely guests from The Epoch Times to discuss the coronavirus and the Communist Chinese connection to politics and American interests, call Victoria Jones at the DC Radio Company at 202-227-7067.

WFNZ-AM, Charlotte PD Tony DiGiacomo Exits.  Sports talk radio programmer Tony DiGiacomo exited his role as program director at Entercom’s WFNZ-AM, Charlotte last week after his contract was not renewed.  DiGiacomo tells TALKERS magazine that the station had experienced recent ratings growth in both the Men 18-34 and Men 25-54 demos.  The company is handing WFNZ PD duties to operations manager Darrin Ariens.  DiGiacomo says, “It was an honor to be part of WFNZ, working with some of the best talent in the business, and help the station become an important part of the Charlotte sports community.  I want to thank Matt Hanlon, Darrin Ariens, and Entercom for the privilege of programming the radio station the past three years.  I wish them and my former teammates all the best moving forward and look forward to the next chapter in my sports media career.”  DiGiacomo has spent the last 23 years in the sports radio industry, the last 10-plus with WFNZ.  Reach him at digiac22@gmail.com.

First Two Rounds of Nielsen Audio’s February PPM Ratings Released.  The first two rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s February PPM survey have been released for 24 markets: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Long Island (Nassau-Suffolk), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey), Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis-St. Paul, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis.  The February 2020 survey period was January 30 through February 26.  See all the weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Takeaways from the first round of 12 markets.  Some positive ratings moves of note: iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles adds a half share to finish the month with a 3.8 share and the #7 rank in the market; Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago adds four-tenths to wrap the survey period with a 5.8 share and the #1 rank; and Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta adds 1.4 shares to post an 11.4 share for its eighth straight #1 finish.  See all of Mike Kinosian’s Takeaways here.

SRN’s Mike Gallagher Broadcasts from Home. Pictured above is Salem Radio Network talk show host Mike Gallagher broadcasting from the (extremely clean) kitchen of his Florida condo.  Noting that NBC TV’s “TODAY Show” host Savannah Guthrie is broadcasting from her basement, Gallagher tells TALKERS, “Following guidelines and directives from President Trump, I’m happy to hunker down in my kitchen for the foreseeable future.  Today’s radio technology makes it so easy it seems like a no-brainer for all of us in talk radio.”

Working from Home Made Easier. Nationally syndicated talk show host Walter Sterling (pictured above in his home “studio”) offers some tips for broadcasting from home.  With so many who may never have done it before now in the position of doing their radio shows from home, you might take a few tips from someone who’s been doing it for the past seven years.  The good news is you don’t need to spend a ton of cash to get a “studio sound” from some remote corner of your house.  Walter himself prefers the laundry room.  Read his advice here.

Bridgett Knupp to Lead iHeartMedia in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Sales pro Bridgett Knupp is promoted from senior vice president of sales for the iHeartMedia Harrisonburg operations to market president.  The cluster includes news/talk WKCY-AM and five music brands.  Area president for iHeartMedia Virginia community markets Chuck Peterson says, “I am excited to have Bridgett begin her new role as the leader of our Harrisonburg and Staunton group of station brands.  She is already known and respected in the local business community through her previous roles with iHeartMedia Harrisonburg.  She has a proven track record of sales leadership and is outstanding in the area of digital advertising.”  Knupp began her career with iHeartMedia as an account executive in 2001.

The Coronavirus Pandemic, Trump Seeks Stimulus, Markets Activity/Recession Fears, Democratic Primaries/Presidential Race, China to Expel U.S. Journalists, Putin Power Grab Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/17). The status of the COVID-19 pandemic; President Trump’s plan for a fiscal stimulus package including cash for all Americans; the activity in the world’s financial markets and economists fears of a global recession; Joe Biden’s Tuesday victories over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary; China’s move to expel U.S. journalists in retaliation for Trump’s limit on Chinese state journalists; and Vladimir Putin’s move to alter the Russian constitution to allow him to remain in power were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder wonders in today’s “Robservations” column, “What’s up with the new echo effect on WGN 720-AM?”  Feder says the Nexstar Media Group news/talk station has added a reverb to its audio chain like you’d hear on a classic oldies station, as well as some retro station jingles.  WGN general manager Mary Sandberg Boyle tells him, “As a stand-alone on the AM dial, we are committed to delivering the best audio quality.  The use of reverb showcases our 24/7 local content in an enhanced, dynamic way to our listeners.”…..In an effort to provide some relief to basketball fans suffering from the cancellation of this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, Westwood One is re-airing 15 classic games from tournament history.  The three-week run of games begins tomorrow night (3/19) at 8:00 pm ET with the 1979 NCAA championship game between Michigan State and Indiana State, which featured Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.  At halftime, Westwood One will air an interview with Johnson and Bird discussing the game and their long rivalry. The special series will conclude with an encore presentation of last year’s NCAA championship game between Virginia and Texas Tech on Monday, April 6 at 8:00 pm ET…..Public news/talk WGBH, Boston is launching a new, nightly news program titled “In It Together,” hosted by executive editor and host Arun Rath and dedicated to the news of the day about the COVID-019 pandemic.  WGBH general manager Phil Redo says, “In a time of great uncertainty, we want to offer listeners the information and analysis they need to navigate a rapidly changing world.  We know that our programs provide regularity to the upended lives of our audiences.  We’re hoping this new offering builds a sense of community as we face the challenges of this pandemic.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A major move takes place in Los Angeles as Entercom fires the “Kevin in the Morning” show on alternative KROQ and replaces it with afternoon duo Stryker (below, left) and Kevin Klein (below, right).  Megan Holiday moves from evenings to afternoons and the station is searching for a new night personality.  Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “We thank Kevin [Ryder] for his many years of dedication, comedy, and entertainment, alongside Bean, that helped build KROQ into the iconic station it is today.  ‘Stryker and Klein’ have an engaged and loyal fanbase and we look forward to ushering in the future of mornings with them on the ‘World Famous KROQ.’”  Also let go by the station are morning co-hosts Allie MacKay and Jensen Karp…..Max Media announces that programmer Eddie Haskell is joining its Norfolk-Virginia Beach stations as vice president of operations and programming.  In this position, he’ll also serve as brand manager and afternoon drive personality at country WGH “97.3 The Eagle.”  Haskell was most recently SVP of programming for iHeartMedia Fort Collins…..Townsquare Media announces that adult hits WSHK, Portsmouth, New Hampshire “The Shark” brand manager Sarah Sullivan is promoted to operations manager for the cluster.  She’ll retain her WSHK duties.  Also, sister country WOKQ midday personality and assistant brand manager Jess Tyler is upped to PD for the station.  Senior vice president of programming Kurt Johnson says, “We love to recognize and elevate great local performers and these are two of the best.  Sarah and Jess have delivered outstanding results in their positions and are more than qualified and deserving of these promotions.”…..Due to public health and safety concerns, and in accordance with The University of Pennsylvania guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Philadelphia public triple A WXPN-FM has postponed its “NON-COMMvention 2020,” the annual gathering of triple A radio and music professionals that was scheduled to take place May 12-15, 2020 at WXPN and World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.  No decision has yet been made regarding a new schedule.

February 2020 PPM Ratings

| March 17, 2020

Thursday, March 12, 2020

| March 12, 2020

Broadcasting Conferences Postponed/Cancelled; TALKERS Conference on for June 5. Radio industry watchers are by now aware that the National Association of Broadcasters has cancelled April’s NAB Show in Las Vegas.  That convention may be rescheduled for later in the year.  Radio trade publication AllAccess has postponed its Worldwide Radio Summit originally scheduled for later this month in Los Angeles to an unspecified future date.  Obviously, these decisions come on the heels of recommendations by health officials to avoid large crowds in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  At this point in time, the TALKERS magazine conference scheduled for June 5 in New York City will go on as planned, however according to publisher Michael Harrison, “That situation will ultimately be determined within the next month based on the facts at that time.”  The date of the conference is a full 12 weeks from tomorrow, and it is our hope that the coronavirus pandemic will be under control by then, making such a gathering a safe one to attend.  Please continue to monitor TALKERS magazine for new information about the conference agenda.

Saga Communications Reports 2019 Q4 and Full Year Financial Data.  Releasing its financial data for the fourth quarter of 2019 and for the full year of 2019, Saga Communications reports net operating revenue of $31.8 million for Q4, down 3.5% from the same period in 2018.  For the full year of 2019, Saga reports net operating revenue of $123.1 million, a decrease of 1.4% over the full year of 2018.  The company adds that station operating expense decreased $711 thousand to $23.1 million and operating income decreased $575 thousand to $5.4 million.  Net income decreased $454 thousand to $3.8 million for the quarter.  Saga reports it had $44 million in cash on hand as of December 31, 2019 and $47 million as of March 9, 2020.  The company’s total bank debt was $10 million as of the end of the year.

COVID-19 Declared Pandemic, Trump Suspends European Travel, NBA Suspends Season, Dow Plummets, Saudi Arabia Launches Oil War, and the Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/11). The World Health Organization’s declaration that COVID-19 is a now an official pandemic; President Trump’s address to the nation and his suspension of travel from Europe; the National Basketball Association suspends its season after a player tests positive for the coronavirus; the Dow sinks even further as the world’s financial markets continue to be hit by the effects of the coronavirus; Saudi Arabia’s oil war against Russia and its effect on global oil prices; and the race between Democrats Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders for the nomination were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated “BOB & TOM Show” is cancelling two of its upcoming remote broadcasts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The first cancellation is a live appearance by the ensemble cast of the show – including host Tom Griswold, on March 26 – for the Opening Day of the Cincinnati Reds baseball season.  That appearance was to have featured a live broadcast with Cumulus Cincinnati affiliate WOFX-FM.  The show has also canceled an April 3 live broadcast at a Charleston, West Virginia casino as part of affiliate WKLC-FM’s celebration of its 40th year as a classic rock station…..Talk host and digital media producer Alex Jones was arrested for DWI in Travis County, Texas early Tuesday morning.  This came about four hours after police were summoned to a home for a disturbance being reported by Jones’ wife.  The Austin Statesman reports that Jones’ wife told authorities the two had had a physical confrontation earlier in the day but were at that time having a verbal fight.  After Jones left the house, she called authorities told them he was driving and “was possibly drinking.”  Jones was later released on $3,000 bond…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Good Karma Brands-operated sports talk WMVP, Chicago “ESPN 1000” is adding NBC Sports Chicago anchor/reporter Chuck Garfien to its staff as a White Sox expert.  Garfien will appear on the “Kap & Company,” “Carmen and Jurko,” and “Waddle and Silvy” shows.  Feder also writes today that all next week, Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder will sit in for Big John Howell on Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM afternoon show.  The duo – formerly in middays at crosstown WGN-AM – began producing a podcast for WLS last month.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Through a deal with Canadian syndicator Orbyt Media, Premiere Networks is bringing its hip-hop morning show “The Breakfast Club” to radio in Canada.  The show – hosted by DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlamagne Tha God – debuts on Stingray Group’s CFXJ-FM, Toronto on Monday (3/16)…..On-air pro Taylor Dickson joins Townsquare Media’s alternative WRRV, Middletown, New York (Hudson Valley market) as morning drive co-host and music director.  WRRV brand manager Bill Dunn says, “Taylor was a rock star in our internship program a few years ago and I remember her asking all the right questions.  She’s worked hard to get to this point and has a very bright future ahead of her.”…..Morning personality Stephen Clark announces he’s leaving his position with Entercom’s classic hits WOMC, Detroit to pursue his career in country music.  He tweeted, “Two years ago, shortly after I announced my retirement from Channel 7, WOMC came to me with an offer to do the morning show in hopes of moving into a competitive position.  I had plans to focus more on my music in Nashville….but, hey, I like a challenge.  With the awesome team of JoAnne, Jason, Julia and me, in just two years we are now consistently in the top tier of morning shows… but I still have a music career to focus on and getting up every morning at 4:30 doesn’t mesh well with the late-night nature of live music.”…..Entercom announces the band Local Natives will perform at the RADIO.COM Live event series at the HD Radio Sound Space in Los Angeles tonight (3/12) at 8:00 pm ET.  RADIO.COM SVP and general manager Pam Russo says, “The RADIO.COM Live event series is excited to welcome Local Natives to the stage.  Our listeners from coast-to-coast will get a preview of the band’s performance before they go on tour in May.”

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

| March 10, 2020

More on Talk Radio Covering the Coronavirus Challenge. On Monday (3/9) TALKERS magazine reported on how radio stations and media companies are addressing the coronavirus epidemic.  As TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison wrote, “Fears and near panic have infiltrated the beleaguered heath care systems of our communities, the stock market, and a number of inter-connected industries and public events.  Add to that discourse about the problem in our politically oriented media have included the ‘weaponization’ of issues per the troubling practice of each side tending to seek victory at the expense of truth.  Most talk media broadcasters tell TALKERS that this crisis provides radio both the mission and calling to provide a significant degree of comfort and helpful information to the public – thus showcasing its pertinence as a vital medium in the 21st century.”  On Thursday of this week (3/12), Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” will present a special Town Hall broadcast to confront the worldwide novel coronavirus crisis and how it affects New Jersey residents.  “New Jersey 101.5” special projects director and morning news anchor Eric Scott says, “As a corridor state and international arrival hub, the challenges of dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak are unique in New Jersey.  Unfortunately, there is a great deal of misinformation being disseminated to the public. Our Town Hall broadcast will help New Jersey residents separate fact from fiction and allow them to make the best decisions for themselves and their families.”  The program’s on-air expert panel will feature Dr. Lincoln Miller, infectious disease specialist with RWJBarnabas Health; Ken Kamen, president of Princeton-based Mercadien Asset Management; and a representative from the New Jersey Business & Industry Association.  Scott and guests will answer live, call-in questions from listeners throughout the hour.  At the national level, ABC Audio today begins producing the daily program, “COVID-19: What You Need to Know,” as a podcast.  It’s being hosted by anchor and correspondent Aaron Katersky and features the latest headlines and updates on the coronavirus outbreak as well as chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton answering questions from social media.  Back at the local level, KSCO, Santa Cruz, California general manager Michael Olson says the epidemic is affecting listeners’ lives.  “The situation in our broadcast area (South San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas) is rapidly evolving.  Santa Clara County is now a community spread hotspot, Stanford University has closed its classrooms, and Santa Cruz County now has three confirmed cases.  One of the area’s big fears is the possible consequence of when and if the virus hits the homeless community, which is extensive and vulnerable.”  Olson says from a station operations standpoint, they have taken the following steps to protect the staff so KSCO can continue to serve the public.  “To protect ourselves, we have established a to-the-extent-possible ‘no touch’ policy throughout the station and set up cleaning stations at each broadcast station so hosts can clean their surfaces before use.  We are also reducing the number of people who actually come into the studios – 89 voices at last count – and are employing a remote studio adjacent to the main broadcast facility.  To continue broadcasting should the virus take hold and we are quarantined, we have agreed to establish an ad-hoc KSCO broadcast staff of those able to stay at the station and continue broadcasting.”

Lee Abrams Re-Launches Consultancy. Consultant and media executive Lee Abrams announces he’s relaunching his consulting business under the name MediaVisions.  Abrams has been consulting and working as an executive in the media industry for more than 40 years.  During that time, he’s worked with hundreds of radio stations, major networks, and leading corporate clients.  Abrams says the focus of the firm will be: a new radio format; complete reimagination of video content, news and information; creative driven 40+ music innovation for entertainment and media leaders; innovative podcasting; and working with companies looking for creative direction and new ways to prosper.  MediaVisions’ goal is to generate revenue for what’s on the horizon for media and entertainment entities.  Abrams says, “Not data driven, very creative driven.  I don’t do research, I interpret it…news and information is what is steering our 21st century world – the equivalent of what rock ‘n’ roll was 40 years ago.  MediaVisions will merge this passion for information, knowledge, and insight with the revolution in technology.  We are positioned to help companies navigate and prosper in traditional media, today’s digital landscape, and evolving disruptive technologies.”

Bill O’Reilly Visits Affiliate WCBM, Baltimore. Pictured above is Bill O’Reilly, host of the Key Networks-syndicated program “The O’Reilly Update” (left) along with some of the staff of affiliate station WCBM, Baltimore as they enjoy a private dinner at the Turf Valley Resort and Conference Center in Ellicott City, Maryland.  Seated with O’Reilly are (from l-r):  WCBM morning co-host Bruce Elliott, his wife Vivian Elliott, WCBM midday host Derek Hunter, Robyn Casey, and her husband WCBM morning co-host (and station PD) Sean Casey.

Coronavirus Epidemic/Trump Chief of Staff Self-Quarantines, Financial Markets Sell-Off, Trump Payroll Tax Cut Proposal, Oil Price War, and Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/9). The status of the coronavirus epidemic and incoming chief of staff Mark Meadows self-quarantines; Monday’s stock market sell-off brings Dow down 7%; President Trump’s proposal of a payroll tax cut to help U.S. businesses; Saudi Arabia launches an oil price war putting oil stocks at the top of the sell-off; and the Democratic primary battle between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. There are more primary elections taking place across the country today (3/10) and FOX News Radio is providing hourly updates in addition to a two hour “Democracy 2020” special tonight from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET anchored by FNR national correspondent Jared Halpern.  Joining him will be political analyst Josh Kraushaar and FNR correspondents around the country.  FOX News Podcasts is offering a special edition of the daily morning podcast, “The FOX News Rundown,” as well as new episodes of Brett Baier’s “The Campaign” and “I’ll Tell You What,” hosted by Dana Perino and FNC politics editor Chris Stirewalt…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that DuPage Radio’s WCKG-AM is dropping its FOX Sports Radio affiliation and will re-brand the station as “Sportsbook Radio,” although there’s no word yet on what programming will fill the airwaves.  WCKG station manager Matt Dubiel says, “We’re planning to develop long-form and short-form ‘Sportsbook Radio’ content on WCKG, with local casino and media partners to be announced.  That work is underway, but rather than have sports personalities cover gambling, we’d prefer to have gambling experts on air. Ultimately, we will see our studio inside a Chicago-area sportsbook to get as close to the action as possible.”  Also from Robert Feder, radio news pro John Dempsey is moving to afternoons on WLS-AM for the Big John Howell show.  As a result, anchor Lauren Cohn is moving to the midday slot…..The NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers are sticking with iHeartMedia for their radio play-by-play this season but games will air on alternative KYSR “ALT 98.7” instead of news/talk KFI, where they aired last season.  Some games will be simulcast on the company’s sports talk KLAC “AM 570 LA Sports.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A new adult contemporary outlet debuts in the Shreveport, Louisiana market as Cumulus Media flips KRMD-AM and translator K264AS to “Lite Rock 100.7.”  Cumulus Shreveport VP and market manager Aaron Criswell says, “We’re excited to launch a fresh at-work listening station in the Shreveport metro.  Since he has arrived, operations manager Jay Michaels has done a great job increasing audience levels with our top 40 station KQHN-FM.  With this format flip from sports to the lite rock format, I am anticipating similar results.”…..Yesterday (3/9), TALKERS reported that Brian Zepp is returning to Cumulus Media’s rock KQRS, Minneapolis as a member of the “KQ Morning Show” with Tom Barnard.  Now, we learn that Zepp is filling the role that co-host Michele Tafoya held for the past four years.  Tafoya is exiting the show and tells the Star-Tribune she’s in talks with NBC about more work for the network in addition to her NFL sideline reporting…..On-air pro Kimmie Caruba joins Pacific Media Group to co-host mornings with Keola Lui-Kwan on CHR KDDB, Honolulu “102.7 Da Bomb.”  Caruba was most recently evening personality at Entercom’s country WUSN, Chicago “US99.”…..Programming pro Casey Daniels is named operations manager for Adams Radio’s Tallahassee station group and program director for country WWOF “103.1 The Wolf.”  Daniels was most recently on-air at WSBT-TV, South Bend, Indiana.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

| March 5, 2020

Susan Larkin to Succeed Weezie Kramer as Entercom COO. When Entercom acquired the radio assets of CBS RADIO in 2017, chief operating officer Weezie Kramer put off her planned retirement to help lead the company’s operations “through the integration and critical transformation initiatives to elevate and enhance the company’s competitive position.”  Now, Kramer is leaving her COO position effective May 5 when current New York market manager and regional president Susan Larkin will assume the COO role.  Kramer will continue to serve the company as a senior executive adviser to Entercom president and CEO David Field.  Kramer joined the company in 2000.  The company is already in the process of seeking Larkin’s replacement in New York.  David Field says, “Weezie has been an extraordinary, inspiring leader and a fiercely determined, tireless competitor and strategist who has built an outstanding record of success over the many years in which she has led us forward as our chief operating officer.  She set an uncompromising standard of excellence for all, both professionally and personally, driving us to be our very best while maintaining the highest ethical standards.  She earned the sincere admiration, respect and affection of the entire Entercom team, and much of the industry, for her spirited leadership and decency and for being a full-throated, unapologetic champion for radio.  She has been an extraordinarily successful COO and we are all immensely grateful to her. While she will be deeply missed as COO, I am thrilled that she will be joining the Entercom board where we will continue to benefit from her wisdom and guidance for years to come.”  Speaking about her new role with Entercom, Larkin says, “This is an exciting time for Entercom, and for all audio media.  I am thrilled to be part of Entercom’s forward-thinking strategy as we continue to set ourselves apart as the best operator and creator of audio content in the U.S. and realize the value of our engaged impressions with advertisers.  Weezie has been an incredible mentor and the best leader I could ask for.  I am honored to work with such a strong team and excited about the next phase of Entercom’s continued growth, expansion and strategic vision.”

Emmis/Mediaco SVP Charlie Morgan to Leave for New Opportunity. Senior vice president Charlie Morgan is leaving his role with Emmis/Mediaco for a new opportunity.  Morgan, who served with the company for the past 10 years – six in Indianapolis and the past four years in New York, is credited by the company with “leading the turnaround of Emmis operations in Indianapolis and New York (now Mediaco).  His focus on product quality, operational excellence, innovation and, perhaps most important, on culture and talent development as the ultimate path to winning have been central to our success.  Charlie’s emphasis on building great teams through coaching and development has enhanced the careers of countless colleagues over the years at Mediaco, Emmis, Cumulus, IMS Productions and Susquehanna.  We sincerely thank him for all his efforts and wish him the absolute best in his next endeavor.”  The company says it is beginning a search for a permanent leader for Mediaco New York.  In the meantime, Emmis/Mediaco president Patrick Walsh will serve as interim New York market manager.

George Beasley Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award at Broadcasters Foundation of America Golden Mike Ceremony. New York’s Plaza Hotel was the scene of last night’s Broadcasters Foundation of America 2020 Golden Mike Award Gala.  More than 350 broadcasters and celebrities were there as the BFoA raised more than $400,000 to support broadcasters in need.  At this year’s event, Tegna president and CEO Dave Lougee received the 2020 Golden Mike Award and Beasley Media Group founder and chairman George Beasley received the Lifetime Achievement Award.  Pictured above are (from l-r): BFoA chairman Dan Mason, Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley (accepting for her father George), BFoA president Jim Thompson and event host and “Inside Edition” anchor Deborah Norville.

New York Festivals to Honor the National Press Club.  At the New York Festivals Storytellers Gala taking place on April 21 at the NAB Show in Las Vegas, the National Press Club will be honored with the New York Festivals Lifetime Achievement Award.  NYF says its Lifetime Achievement Award “recognizes prominent industry leaders and driving forces in the broadcast industry whose accomplishment have advanced their field and made a lasting impression on the industry.”  NYF TV & Film Awards/Radio Awards vice president/executive director Rose Anderson says, “For over a century, the National Press Club has upheld responsible journalism, supported freedom of the press worldwide, and provided a forum for the exchange of substantive ideas in our Nation’s Capital.  Their members’ commitment to excellence encompasses all media.  In this year marking the centennial of radio and our inaugural Storyteller’s Gala, we are proud to honor this organization with the New York Festivals Lifetime Achievement Award.”  National Press Club president Michael Freedman will accept the award on behalf of the organization.

Cumulus Nashville Stations to Hold Radiothon for Tornado Relief. The Nashville cluster of Cumulus Media is holding the Cumulus Cares Tornado Relief Radiothon tomorrow (3/6) at Edley’s Bar-B-Que to raise money for the Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund.  It started when Will Newman from Edley’s reached out to WGFX-FM “104-5 The Zone” personality Jonathan Hutton about ways to give back to the community in the wake of the devastating tornados.  The radiothon was born and tomorrow WGFX-FM, news/talk WWTN-FM, and Cumulus’ three music stations will broadcast live encouraging cash donations.  In addition, Cumulus is collecting necessities such as diapers, blankets, baby formula, wipes, gloves, toothpaste, Ziploc bags, tide pods, and feminine hygiene products at accessible areas nearby the broadcast site.

WPHT, Philadelphia to Hold Third Annual Liberty USO Radiothon. In Philadelphia tomorrow (3/6), Entercom news/talker WPHT is hosting the 3rd annual “Talk Radio 1210 WPHT Liberty USO Radiothon” to benefit Active, Guard and Reserve military and their families through programs and services at the United Service Organization of Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey (Liberty USO).  The station will broadcast live from Chickie’s & Pete’s Play 2 from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm ET.  The broadcast will be anchored by on-air personalities Rich Zeoli and Dom Giordano.  Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “We care deeply about serving those who have served our country and I’m proud of the role WPHT plays in supporting Liberty USO.  This annual radiothon aims to raise awareness and funds on behalf of service members and their families right here in our community through the generosity of our listeners.”

Suburban Philly News/Talker to Go Dark. WNPV-AM/W253CA, Lansdale, Pennsylvania “The Talk of the Suburbs” announces it will cease programming on April 30 and go off the air.  WFMZ-TV reports general manager Phil Hunt saying in a press release, “Our mission has always been to serve the public interest by providing top-quality local news, and we have never been willing to compromise on that promise.  In recent years, it has become increasingly difficult to compete for both audience and advertising dollars, and unfortunately it is no longer sustainable to continue to run the business in a way that delivers the service our community expects and deserves.  We are grateful for the support of our loyal listeners, the belief of our advertisers and the commitment from our talented team.  It has been an honor to serve this community.”  The signals are owned and operated by North Penn Valley Broadcasting and serve Bucks and Montgomery counties.

WHO, Des Moines Personality Bonnie Lucas Wraps Radio Career Tomorrow. Des Moines radio personality Bonnie Lucas is retiring from iHeartMedia’s news/talk WHO, Des Moines after tomorrow morning’s show.  She’s been co-hosting the station’s AM drive program with co-host (and station PD) Van Harden since 1994.  Lucas’ final show will take place on the road as she and Harden broadcast live from Meals from the Heartland in West Des Moines for the “2020 Van & Bonnie Hunger Fight,” a non-profit, food-packing event where volunteers package meals for delivery to malnourished people in Iowa, across the United States and around the world.  Beginning Monday (3/9), Van Harden will host the morning show with special feature guests including familiar WHO personalities such as Jeff Angelo, Simon Conway, Emery Songer, and Maxwell Schaeffer as well as prominent central Iowa public figures and entertainers.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM midday anchor – and host of the “Noon Business Hour” – Cisco Cotto is launching “WBBM In Depth,” a weekly podcast that further explores local business news stories.  The podcast will also include interviews plus reports from contributors.  focusing on trending news stories and their impact on the business world. It also features longer interviews with contributors and experts…..Entercom’s Philadelphia radio stations moved into the company’s new RADIO.COM World Headquarters at 2400 Market Street in Philly last month.  All-news KYW-AM, news/talk WPHT, sports talk WIP-FM, adult contemporary WBEB “B101.1,” CHR WDTY, and classic hits WOGL are all now located in the company’s headquarters.  At the KYW site, videographer Holli Stephens presents a two-minute video of the gleaming new studios and offices.  Check it out here…..The Milwaukee Business Journal reports that former Green Bay Packers fullback and fan favorite John Kuhn is being courted by local and national media organizations for a full-time sports talk role. Kuhn began working in the Packers front office last April as an analyst for digital, broadcast, and game presentations.  He was a sideline reporter for radio flagship WTMJ, Milwaukee’s broadcasts last season.  The MBJ cites sources saying iHeartMedia’s sports talk WRNW-FM “The Game” is talking with him about joining its lineup, though nothing is set in stone yet.

Coronavirus Pandemic, Presidential Race, Financial Markets Activity, SCOTUS Hears Abortion Case/Schumer Comments, Israel Election, Syria-Turkey Violence, and Tennessee Tornado Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/4). The status of the coronavirus pandemic and California’s declaring a state of emergency; Joe Biden’s leap to frontrunner in the Democratic primary race; the world’s financial markets react to the coronavirus pandemic; the Supreme Court hears arguments in the Louisiana abortion law case and Senator Chuck Schumer is criticized for threatening Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh; the results of Israel’s most recent election in which Benjamin Netanyahu failed to achieve a majority; the military clashes between Syrian and Turkish forces; and the aftermath of the Tennessee tornadoes were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

‘Inside Edition’ Anchor Deborah Norville Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. “Inside Edition” anchor Deborah Norville is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” The two-time Emmy Award winning broadcaster is celebrating her 25th anniversary as host of the daily news magazine establishing her as the longest-running daily anchor in national television. She is also getting ready to emcee the annual Broadcasters Foundation of America Golden Mike Award Dinner tomorrow evening (3/4) at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. The dinner is the BFoA’s signature fundraising event to help broadcasters who’ve fallen on hard times due to medical crises or natural disasters. Norville is an accomplished broadcaster with outstanding television and radio credentials. She joined “Inside Edition” in 1995 from CBS News where she was an anchor and correspondent. She is the former co-host of NBC’s “Today” and anchor of NBC “News at Sunrise.” During her career she has hosted a primetime show on MSNBC, a national radio show on the ABC Talk Radio Network and has served as an anchor and reporter for WMAQ-TV in Chicago. She began her reporting career at WAGA-TV in Atlanta, while still a student at the University of Georgia, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated summa cum laude, First Honor Graduate with a perfect 4.0 GPA. She is also a prolific best-selling author and active with a number of leading causes and charities. Harrison and Norville discuss the Broadcasters Foundation as well as her career in television, changes in audience attention spans, the state of the media industry, and the #MeToo movement. 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.

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.”

Monday, February 10, 2020

| February 10, 2020

Monday Memo: THIS Time for Sure! A week after Rush Limbaugh’s news stunned us, many affiliates are still asking what to do.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke has a suggestion. Read it here.

Presidential Race, Wuhan Coronavirus/Economic Impact, Attacks on Cops, Trump Budget-Border Wall Funding, and the Oscars Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The aftermath of the Iowa Caucuses and the buildup to Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary; the status of the Wuhan coronavirus and its effect on the Chinese economy and the world’s financial markets; the two planned attacks on New York City police officers; President Trump’s budget proposal that includes heightened military and border wall spending and reduced foreign aid and safety net spending; and Sunday night’s Academy Awards show were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Cox Media Group to Sell Ohio Papers to Cox Enterprises Inc. The Apollo Global Management-controlled Cox Media Group is agreeing to sell its Ohio dailies – the Dayton Daily News, the Springfield Sun-News, and the JournalNews to its former owner, Cox Enterprises Inc. (CEI is a minority owner of Cox Media Group).  If you recall, CEI sold the majority of CMG to Apollo in a deal that closed in December.  However, the courts reversed the FCC’s ruling to rescind the cross-ownership ban, forcing CMG to either sell the newspapers or take them off a daily print schedule in order to comply with the ban.  Apollo Global Management co-lead partner of private equity David Sambur says, “Apollo is committed to strengthening local media.  When faced with the unfortunate requirements of an antiquated regulation, we would not accept an outcome that reduced local news coverage for the people of Dayton, Springfield and Butler County.  We applaud the FCC for working with us and providing us the flexibility to find a stable, long-term buyer who is committed to providing the citizens of Ohio with award winning journalism.”  Following the sale, Rob Rohr will continue his role as vice president and general manager of CMG broadcast outlets news/talk WHIO-AM/FM, country WHKO, and rock WZLR plus WHIO-TV.  Following the sale, the Ohio newspapers will be under the interim operational leadership of Jana Collier, who currently serves as vice president of content at CMG Ohio.  The sale of the papers to CEI is expected to close in the coming weeks.

Eclectic Gathering.  A diverse group of communications figures gathered last night (2/9) for a dinner symposium on media and politics organized by Newsmax at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida.  Among the topics discussed were the 2020 presidential race, the state of talk radio, and the history of tabloid journalism in Western culture.  Pictured (l-r): Bernadette Duncan, author/professor; Michael Harrison, founder TALKERS;  Cable Neuhaus, legendary journalist/correspondent; Christopher Ruddy, CEO, Newsmax; Iain Calder, former president/editor, National Enquirer; Steve Lapa, president, Lapcom Communication Corp.; Herb Mallard, international issues blogger; and Nicole DiCocco, executive director, H.O.P.E. Foundation for a Better Tomorrow.

Entercom and NBC Agree to Share Content in Philly.  This content-sharing partnership between Entercom’s all-news KYW-AM and NBC’s WCAU-TV “NBC 10” and WWSI-TV “Telemundo62” is multiplatform across all broadcast channels, websites, and social media.  As part of the agreement, KYW Newsradio and WCAU and WWSI “will work together to better serve the community via improved access and coverage of live, local breaking news, general news, weather, sports, politics and entertainment in both English and Spanish languages.”  Content from the partnership will also be shared across Entercom Philadelphia sister stations WPHT-AM, WIP-FM, WTDY-FM, WOGL-FM, and WBEB-FM.  Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “We’re thrilled that the region’s most experienced and innovative radio team is joining forces with the most forward-thinking team in local television.  This strategic partnership will provide the Philadelphia area with the most immediate, accurate, and compelling news, weather, traffic, and entertainment reports.”

WWO Blog: Agencies Want More Reach and Better Attribution from Podcasting. According to the latest blog post from Cumulus Media | Westwood One chief insights officer Pierre Bouvard, a new study of advertisers and agencies suggests that in order for podcasting to become a $2 billion per year advertising medium, it will have to achieve 44% reach and improved attribution.  In the study, agencies and brands say the responses from the 95 executives surveyed centered around improved measurement and attribution.   Besides that, “Some indicate content will need to step up: ‘Larger scale content…a big breakthrough in the content space.’ Others note podcast discovery and search needs improvement.  A number feel big marketers coming into the podcast space will be a major accelerator.  Several point to the major opportunity to monetize ‘the longer tail shows which are being relatively ignored.'”

TALKERS News Notes. Former Illinois U.S. Representative Joe Walsh has ended his race for the Republican nomination for president.  Walsh was hosting the evening program for Salem Radio Network and a local afternoon show at Salem’s WIND-AM “AM 560 The Answer” prior to his late-August announcement he’d challenge Donald Trump for the nomination.  As Chicago media writer Robert Feder notes in his column, Walsh has no plans to attempt to return to the talk radio business.  He told the Daily Herald, “I don’t like President Trump, so I have no home on conservative talk radio.”  Steve Cortes took over the WIND-AM show and WIND-AM morning drive co-host Dan Proft is hosting the syndicated evening show…..Legendary actor Robert Conrad – who hosted a talk radio show on the Southern California-based CRN Digital Talk Radio network in his later years – died on Sunday (2/8) at the age of 84.  His radio program was called “The Lounge with Robert Conrad.”  Of course, he starred on such television hits as “The Wild, Wild West” and “Baa Baa Black Sheep.”

Post Impeachment, Steve Bannon Transitions Radio Show. With the impeachment trial of President Trump behind the nation, Stephen K. Bannon transitions his “War Room: Impeachment” radio program into the new two-hour daily radio show “War Room: 2020” and “War Room: Pandemic” on The John Fredericks Radio Network.  Joining Bannon on the programs are former Trump for President campaign communications director Jason Miller and Brexit comms chief Raheem Kassam.

PPM Analysis: AC Part 2. In this second look at the adult contemporary Holiday 2019 PPM survey results, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his analysis of data from the past six Holiday PPM surveys from Nielsen Audio.  See the story here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. The NAB announces that top 40 radio legend John Records Landecker will be inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame at the 2020 NAB Show during the April 20 Achievement in Broadcasting Dinner at the Encore in Las Vegas.  NAB EVP of industry affairs Steve Newberry says, “John Records Landecker has had a profound impact on radio and has inspired generations of new talent.  His induction into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame symbolizes the personal connection between DJs and their audiences and how innovative personalities can influence radio programming.”…..At the Buffalo operations of Townsquare Media, Chris Crowley adds operations manager for the cluster to his duties.  Crowley will continue to serve as brand manager for country WYRK and adult contemporary WMSX.  Simultaneously, urban AC WBLK afternoon personality Yasmin Young is promoted to brand manager for the station…..Pacific Media Group announces David Baronfield is the new market manager for its Oahu station group, beginning February 18.  The Oahu cluster includes CHR KDDB “102.7 Da Bomb,” rhythmic AC KUMU, alternative KPOI “ALT 105.9,”and Hawaiian KQMQ “Da Pa’ina.”  He was most recently director of sales and Hagadone Media Group Hawaii.  Pacific Media Group president and CEO Chuck Bergson says, “After an extensive nationwide search, David was the perfect person to step in as the leader of the Honolulu stations.  He is a proven and accomplished leader who has extensive experience in the radio business, has excelled in medium and large markets across the country serving in all aspects – programming, engineering, promotions, and sales.  David has been successful in the Hawaii business community, developed key relationships, and has an understanding of what makes Hawaii such a special and unique place to live and do business.  In the end, what made David different from the rest is his understanding of what makes radio ‘magic,’ and that is when it is live, local, and community-based.”

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

| January 29, 2020

Talk Hosts Cover Trump’s Wildwood Rally. Talk radio hosts from the Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York areas were in attendance at last night’s Trump rally at the Wildwoods Convention Center at the Jersey Shore.  Above at left is WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley with a front row view as President Trump speaks.  At top right is WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Rich Zeoli (right) talking with the first person in line to get a ticket for admission, Duke (left).  At bottom right is WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” afternoon personality Kevin McCullough (right) with Republican National Committee spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany (left).  Rally organizers say some 175,000 tickets were requested for the event although the venue holds 7,000.  McCullough tells TALKERS magazine campaign officials are considering another rally at a future date in Northern New Jersey at the Meadowlands Sports Complex.

Staffs of News/Talk KFMB-AM and Adult Hits KFMB-FM in San Diego Given Notice.  Some 45 staffers at Tegna’s two radio stations in San Diego have been given their two-week notice in advance of the stations’ transfer of ownership to Local Media San Diego after February 7.  The San Diego Reader reports that the staffers were told that new owner LMSD is keeping four salespeople and one commercial production person.  Tegna says that it’s now up to LMSD to decide if it wants to hire any of the dismissed employees back.  From news/talk KFMB-AM, local talk personalities Brent Winterble, Mike Slater, and Mark Larson are among the casualties.  It’s unclear at this time what LMSD’s format plans are for the two stations.  The hosts are still working through February 7 at which time all employees will receive their severance packages.  Tegna acquired the radio stations in 2018 along with two television stations from Midwest Television for $325 million.

PodcastOne Partners with Spotify for Podcast Distribution. Podcasts by such stars as basketball icon Shaquille O’Neal, WWE legend Steve Austin, bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe, and comedian Adam Carolla will soon be available worldwide via Spotify.  Spotify’s Lauren Jarvis says, “We are thrilled to bring PodcastOne’s 400-plus hours of fresh, weekly content to Spotify’s global listeners.  From longtime-running favorites like ‘The Adam Carolla Show,’ ‘Ladygang,’ and Kaitlyn Bristowe’s ‘Off the Vine,’ to shows from superstars like Shaquille O’Neal and T.I., we know that we are adding podcasts for diverse listener tastes to Spotify’s catalogue.”  Spotify listeners worldwide will be able to enjoy each of PodcastOne’s 300-plus programs, including original content produced by PodcastOne Global.  Eventually, Australian fans will be able to stream PodcastOne’s content as well, with the addition of PodcastOne Australia content in partnership with Southern Cross Austereo.  PodcastOne CEO Peter Morris comments, “PodcastOne is thrilled to make our extensive catalogue available to the Spotify audience.  Combining the power, talent, and reach of the leading ad-supported podcast network, PodcastOne, with Spotify’s best-in-class technology, and listening and user experience is a can’t miss.  This partnership creates new cross-promotional opportunities for us both and increases the accessibility of PodcastOne’s hundreds of programs for our listeners.  It’s been great to work with Lauren Jarvis and the Spotify team, as we launch our new partnership.”

Erika Beasley Promoted to VP of Digital Content for Beasley Media Group. At Beasley Media Group, Erika Beasley rises from her corporate digital content director position to vice president of digital content.  In this new role, she’ll be responsible for overseeing content creation on the company’s many digital platforms.  Beasley Media Group chief content officer Justin Chase says, “Erika’s outstanding work throughout the years, in a variety of different roles, speaks for itself.  Her many contributions to the company’s digital transformation has moved us forward in profound ways.  I look forward to Erika partnering with our vice president of digital market, Jennifer Williams, and the company’s highly talented digital content team to further expand our digital footprint.”

Impeachment, Trump Wildwood Rally, Presidential Race, Coronavirus, and Trump’s Middle East Plan Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/28). The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump; the large crowd gathered at last night’s Trump rally in Wildwood, New Jersey; the Democrats battling to challenge President Trump in November; concerns about a global epidemic of the Wuhan coronavirus; and the Trump Administration’s unveiling of its Middle East peace plan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Cable news/talk outlet FOX News Channel is celebrating its ratings success.  In an internal memo, FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and president and executive editor Jay Wallace say, “We passed CNN at the end of January 2002 in viewership in the key 25-54 demo in both Today Day and Primetime and never looked back.  There is no other network in cable that can lay claim to this level of consistent dominance with one of the most loyal and passionate audiences in the country.”…..WSCR, Chicago morning drive personality David Haugh has exited his gig with the Chicago Tribune where he was a sports columnist.  Haugh, who co-hosts the “Mully & Haugh” show with Mike Mulligan, spent 17 years with the Tribune – the last 10 as a sports columnist – according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder…..Trenton, New Jersey-based Penn National Gaming is acquiring a 36% interest in the sports media firm Barstool Sports for $163 million – $135 million in cash and $28 million in non-voting convertible preferred stock.  Kennedy Rose has the story in the Philadelphia Business Journal.  In addition to its digital content that enjoys 66 million unique visitors per month, Barstool broadcasts radio shows via its own channel on SiriusXM…..Pictured below is KQTM-FM, Albuquerque “101.7 The Team” afternoon drive personality Jim Villanucci (right) with KQTM personality Sam Hauser (left) and Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Zach Gentry (center).  Gentry — a star high school football player in Albuquerque and a big fan of the station — stopped by the studios to say hello.  “101.7 The Team” airs a regular slate of high school football games during the season.

Legendary Jock Harry Harrison Dies at 89.  Top 40-era New York radio legend Harry Harrison died yesterday (1/28) after complications from numerous health issues.  Harrison worked on air at WMCA – one of the WMCA Good Guys – and at WABC, as well as later at WCBS-FM.  He retired from the latter in 2003.  He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame last fall.  Photo: Art Vuolo Jr.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. An administrative law judge with the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that Stephens Media Group violated labor laws when it let a number of air personalities go from its Watertown and Massena, New York stations in 2018.  Judge Charles J. Muhl ruled that not only must Stephens hire the fired staffers back but must compensate the affected workers for financial losses and tax consequences.  Stephens tells NNY360 that it plans to appeal certain aspects of the ruling…..The entire staff – both on-air and off – of adult hits KFMB-FM, San Diego was given its two-week notice as owner Tegna prepares to close on the sale of the station (and sister news/talk KFMB-AM) to Local Media San Diego.  Out of work are Chris Cantore, Meryl Klemow, Cha Cha Harlow, Robin Roth, and Rick Lawrence.  They are working through February 7, at which point they will receive their severance packages.  It’s not clear what LMSD’s plans are for the station, which as part of the sale contract, must give up the KFMB-FM call letters…..In Duluth, Minnesota, Patti Banner joins J.D. Justice as co-host of the morning show on Midwest Communications’ country KTCO-FM “Kat Country 98.9.”  She was most recently with Cherry Creek Radio’s adult contemporary KONA, Tri-Cities, Washington as morning drive co-host.  She takes over for Brookie the Rookie, who leaves for a gig outside the radio business…..This year’s iHeartCountry Festival taking place on May 2 at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin will feature the following acts: Dierks Bentley, Sam Hunt, Lady Antebellum, Dustin Lynch, Kelsea Ballerini, Kane Brown, Jon Pardi and Chase Rice, plus Hot Country Knights, Bobby Bones and more.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

| January 14, 2020

iHeartMedia’s New Markets Group Structure. The company says that the changes are being enacted as it modernizes “to take advantage of the significant investments it has made in technology and artificial intelligence (AI) and its unique scale and leadership position in the audio marketplace.”  iHeartMedia adds that it has “made significant technology investments to change everything from how it sells advertising to how it utilizes data and builds new businesses like its digital platform, podcast platform, and robust data platform.”  iHeartMedia explains it is now grouping “its markets by common needs and characteristics into three distinctly different divisions to make sharing of resources and experiences easier and more targeted.”  Greg Ashlock will continue to serve as president of the iHeartMedia Markets Group.  Now, the group breaks down as follows: The Region Division comprises the company’s largest markets, like New York and Los Angeles, that each reach hundreds of cities, communities, and trading areas for local businesses.  It will be led by division presidents Kevin LeGrett and Scott Hopeck; The Metro Division houses markets that are large areas that still encompass multiple communities – but are not regional hubs like the company’s largest markets.  The Metro Division will be led by division presidents Tom McConnell, Tony Coles, and Linda Byrd; The Community Division includes markets that focus on the shared needs of one community and one trading area for most businesses and advertisers and will also group markets into areas which are geographically close and culturally similar.  The Community Division will be led by division presidents Shosh Abromovich, Nick Gnau, and Dan Lankford.  iHeartMedia also says it will use “its new technology- and AI-enabled Centers of Excellence – which consolidate functional areas of expertise in specific locations to deliver the highest quality products and services – for every market, enabling each to take advantage of the company’s scale and shared resources across programming, marketing, digital, podcasts, sales and sales support to provide a better experience for listeners and business partners and a more efficient process for all of its employees.”  Additionally, the company is creating a new division “that cuts across all markets – the very successful Multi-Market Partnerships (MMP) Division headed by Julie Donohue, who is elevated to president of MMP with responsibility for this business.”  As part of these moves, the company’s Integrated Revenue Strategies group, led by president Hartley Adkins, will be merged into the iHeartMedia Markets Group and Adkins will become chief operating officer of the Markets Group working closely with Greg Ashlock.

Newsmax TV Launches ‘Greg Kelly Reports’ in Evenings. Former U.S. Marine and television news broadcaster Greg Kelly joins Newsmax TV as the network debuts his “Greg Kelly Reports” program at 7:00 pm ET.  After leaving the Marines, Kelly became morning news anchor at WIVT-TV, Binghamton, New York.  He worked for several years at FOX News before spending almost 10 years as co-host of “Good Day New York” on WNYW-TV “FOX 5.”  Newsmax TV EVP of programming Elliot Jacobson says, “Greg Kelly comes with compelling new skill sets to our network.  His military experience and his years as a frontline TV journalist differentiate him from prime-time hosts on other channels and allow him to examine the day’s news from a unique and insightful perspective.”  Kelly – the son of former New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly – says, “I am very curious.  I find that many people in the media have lost their curiosity.  They just want to let you know what they know.  I like to take a different approach.”  The “Greg Kelly Reports” show debuts tonight (1/14).

Entercom’s Buffalo Market Manager and Sales Administrative Manager Exit. The Buffalo News has the story of the sudden departure of longtime Entercom Buffalo market manager Greg Reid and sales administrative manager Lynn Hooper.  The paper reports the two were fired suddenly – Reid was reportedly called while on vacation and let go – and wonders if their dismissal is related to the company’s admission that it inadvertently failed to post required political advertising information on its website in a timely manner, prompting the FCC to broaden its look into the company’s public file practices.  However, Entercom has been reducing expenses at local clusters for several months via downsizing and it’s possible Reid and Hooper were simply victims of budget cuts.  The News reports that general sales manager Tim Holly is serving as interim market manager.

Report: WGN-AM Cuts Ties with Crain’s Chicago Business. Windy City media reporter Robert Feder has the story here.  He writes that Nexstar’s WGN-AM, Chicago “abruptly severed its longstanding partnership” with Crain’s Chicago Business after the publication wrote a speculative piece about Nexstar prepping the radio station for a sale.  Nexstar acquired WGN-AM along with Tribune’s television stations and it is its only radio property.  Crain’s reporters made regular appearances on WGN shows and WGN’s website hosted the “Crain’s Daily Gist” podcast.  That has been removed.

TALKERS News Notes. Ratings and research giant Nielsen Holdings plc announces the hiring of two executives as it moves to separate into two publicly traded companies.  David Rawlinson is named chief executive officer of the consumer behavior analysis division Global Connect.  He was most recently president of global online business at Grainger.  Also, Linda Zukauckas is named the chief financial officer for Nielsen.  Both appointments become official on February 3…..Four of Alpha Media’s Chicagoland stations are expected to move into new digs at the Gurnee Mills mall in the far northern suburbs in February.  News/talk WLIP-AM, Kenosha and rock WIIL, Union Grove in Wisconsin and Spanish sports WKRS and hot AC WXLC in Waukegan, Illinois are moving as part of a deal to bring foot traffic to the mall.  The village of Gurnee is paying Alpha $200,000 to assist in the transition and the radio stations will host 32 events at the mall each year and provide $129,000 per year in radio ad time to the mall…..QUU – a company specializing in RDS/HD in-car stereo display technology – names Steve Newberry chief executive officer, effective April 1.  Newberry has been serving as EVP for industry affairs and strategic planning at the National Association of BroadcastersBeasley Media Group is among QUU’s investors.

Impeachment/Russians Hack Ukrainian Gas Co, 2020 Presidential Race, Iran Tensions, Pensacola Base Shooting Ruled Terror Attack, Megxit, and NFL Playoffs/College Football Championship Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/13). The articles of impeachment against President Trump and the allegation Russia hacked the Ukrainian gas company central to the impeachment issue; the rift between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and tonight’s debate in Des Moines; the domestic tensions in Iran and the White House’s rationale for killing Iranian general Qassem Soleimani; Attorney General William Barr rules the Pensacola naval base shooting was an act of terrorism and seeks Apple’s helping opening the assailant’s phones; the Sussex’s meeting with Queen Elizabeth over their stepping away from royal life; and the weekend’s NFL games and last night’s College Football Championship 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. The Westwood One nationally syndicated “Rick and Sasha Show” adds programmer and production pro “Smokin” Tony Richards to the team of the urban AC morning show now heard on more than 25 stations.  Richards has worked as a drive time personality and programmer in markets including New York, Houston, Philadelphia, DC, and Chicago.  He says, “This show is going to the moon, and I want to be a part of it.  Rick and Sasha are two people who I feel are the future of radio.  I am here unselfishly to help the team make it happen.”…..In Dallas, Entercom’s alternative KVIL “ALT 103.7” names Ian Camfield afternoon drive personality.  Camfield was most recently midday personality at Hubbard Radio’s alternative KDKB, Phoenix “ALT AZ 93.3.”  As a result of Camfield’s arrival, Mark moves from afternoons to AM drive.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

| January 7, 2020

Good Karma Names Jacobsen PD for ‘ESPN Madison.’ Sports talk and news/talk radio pro Mike Jacobsen is named program director for Good Karma Brands-owned sports talk outlet WTLX-FM, Madison “ESPN Madison,” effective January 13.  Jacobsen has served with WGN-AM, Chicago as producer of the morning drive show, as well as sports talk shows hosted by David Kaplan and David Haugh.  He was most recently the director of education at Illinois Media School.  Good Karma Madison vice president and market manager Keith Williams says, “We’re excited to have Mike Jacobsen join the ‘ESPN Madison’ team to lend his expertise and ear to an already exciting and growing lineup.  His previous leadership roles and passion for the radio industry make him a perfect fit to lead the team to new heights.”  Jacobsen comments, “I couldn’t be more excited to help lead such an incredibly talented lineup and teammates in one of the best sports towns in the country.  It’s truly an honor to be a part of the innovative and ambitious Good Karma Brands team as we continue to grow the ESPN Wisconsin brand.”

Mike Rhyner Retires from ‘The Ticket’ in Dallas. After 26 years with Dallas sports talk radio station KTCK-AM/FM “The Ticket,” afternoon drive personality Mike Rhyner is retiring from the station immediately.  Rhyner made his announcement via a YouTube video in which the 69-year-old broadcaster told fans the decision to retire was entirely his.  He said, “The time is right. It has been my life for 26 years, probably more than it should have been.  I loved everything about the radio station.  I loved being on the air, being with the guys, the road trips with the guys. I will miss it terribly, no doubt.”  Rhyner has been co-host of the afternoon drive show, “The Hardline,” since the station launched in 1994.  Rhyner notes that the station has been through four owners, numerous general managers and yet has consistently achieved phenomenal ratings.  “We’ve seen it grow into something that none of us could have possibly imagined.”  The Dallas Star-Telegram quotes Rhyner’s co-host, Corby Davidson, saying, “He’s very happy with his situation.  This has everything to do with a guy who has decided it’s time.  We should all be so lucky.  We all owe everything to him.”

Chris Berry Promoted to EVP of News, Talk and Sports for iHeartMedia. Radio executive Chris Berry is promoted from SVP to executive vice president of news, talk and sports programming for iHeartMedia.  Berry will continue to provide strategic guidance for the company’s spoken-word formats and connect key advertisers with iHeartMedia’s news, talk, and sports audiences.  Since 2011, Berry has managed iHeartMedia’s 24/7 News Source and was upped to SVP in 2017.  He’ll continue as format brand manager and provide oversight for NBC News Radio and the 24/7 News Network, reporting to Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott.  She says, “Chris has tremendous programming experience and he’s been a valuable asset to our team for nearly a decade.  As the spoken-word format continues to grow, his leadership and vision will help ensure we’re strategically positioned to provide the best content across multiple platforms, while delivering unparalleled results for stations and advertising partners.”

Little Rock Sports Talker Exits Station in Wake of Theft Accusation. KATV-TV, Little Rock reports that sports talk radio host Eric Sullivan has exited Signal Media’s KABZ-FM, Little Rock “103.7 The Buzz” after a staffer at a local restaurant accused him of taking $409 from her purse.  KABZ confirmed to KATV-TV that Sullivan, host of the early afternoon “Out of Bounds” show, is no longer with the station.  Sullivan has not been charged.  Authorities say the money was returned to the restaurant staffer and it’s now up to her whether she wishes to file charges or not.  Sullivan issued the following statement to KATV-TV: “I need to address something to you all: I’ve made a monumental career mistake & I take full responsibility for it, I let many people down as well as the listeners and great people at 1037 the Buzz and I will own that for the rest of my life.”

Cumulus Toledo Names Dana DiModica VP and Market Manager. Radio sales pro Dana DiModica is promoted from director of sales and local sales manager to vice president and market manager for Cumulus Media’s Toledo station group that includes sports talker WTOD “The Ticket ESPN 106.5 FM” and six music brands.  DiModica says, “I am honored and excited to be able to lead this wonderful group of people in Toledo.  I appreciate the opportunity that has been given to me by our CEO Mary Berner and executive vice president Bob Walker.  Having spent my entire radio career in the area, I know the impact our radio stations have in our community, with our listeners, and the relationships with our clients.  I am grateful for the opportunity to continue that impact as vice president/market manager of Cumulus Toledo.”

TALKERS News Notes. The National Association of Broadcasters announces that it is accepting entries for the NAB Crystal Radio Awards, honoring outstanding community service, to be presented during the We Are Broadcasters Celebration on April 21 during the 2020 NAB Show in Las Vegas.  Finalists will be announced next month.  Entry submissions must be received by January 31.  You can submit entries here…..Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports that Entercom all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM is promoting two staffers to full-time positions.  Jennifer Keiper becomes the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm anchor.  Her duties include reporting into the early evening as well as a Sunday shift.  Andy Dahn moves into the anchor role Sunday through Thursday evenings.  He’s also charged with boosting the station’s social media presence in late nights and overnight.  WBBM director of news and programming Ron Gleason says, “Jennifer and Andy have shown tremendous reporting ability both in the field and in the anchor chair.  Their flexibility and talents will enhance our news coverage, helping make WBBM even stronger as election season approaches.”…..Boston public media organization WGBH is beefing up its news department with a news bureau in the Central Massachusetts city of Worcester.  The bureau will house a fully equipped broadcast studio providing easy access for interviews and will be equipped to stream digital video to platforms such as Facebook Live.  WGBH News says it plans to collaborate with local colleges to develop internship opportunities with the new bureau and will use it as a convening space for local organizations…..Entercom’s KILT-AM, Houston “SportsRadio 610” announces it is airing “live and local programming 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for as long as the Texans are in the postseason.”  Program director Armen Williams adds, “Coming off the most amazing Texans victory in franchise history, the city of Houston is buzzing.  We’re proud to be able to feed their hunger for this franchise by talking Texans around the clock.”…..On the national level, Entercom’s RADIO.COM is presenting weekly, live two-hour broadcasts of “You Better You Bet” (in partnership with The Action Network) to preview the NFL playoff games.  Entercom president of sports Mike Dee comments, “As the NFL postseason gets underway, our listeners can turn to their favorite sports betting show for all of the insight and advice they need leading right up to kickoff.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is presenting live play-by-play coverage of all four NFL playoff games this weekend.  Ryan Radtke, Tony Boselli, and Scott Kaplan will call the Vikings at 49ers game; Brandon Gaudin, Ross Tucker, and Laura Okmin have the Titans at Ravens game; Kevin Kugler, Trent Green, and James Laurinaitis are working the Texans at Chiefs game; and Kevin Harlan, James Lofton, and Hub Arkush are calling the Seahawks at Packers game…..The Utica Comets hockey club and Galaxy Media Partners extend their broadcast partnership for another six years.  As part of the deal, in addition to airing all 76 regular season and playoff games on rock WKLL-FM, Utica “94.9 KROCK,” a new and extended 30-minute pregame show has been added to gameday coverage with hosts Rainman and Scoop.

Saga Communications Strikes Deal with Aptivada for Online Promotions. Radio operator Saga Communications signs a company-wide, multi-year agreement with Aptivada for it to provide online contesting, marketing, revenue, and promotions.  Saga director of digital strategies Eric Christian says, “In 2020, Saga is focused on creating unique and innovative solutions for audiences and clients within 120 of our local stations.  Aptivada’s offering of multiple products on one platform will allow us to provide cutting-edge ideas to our partners with the confidence that all audience and client data is stored securely and privately – which is also a top priority for us.  We look forward to this partnership and all the success it will bring.”

Iran General Killed/Middle East Tensions, Trump Impeachment, 2020 Presidential Race, Facebook Bans Deepfakes, Harvey Weinstein Case, Australian Bushfires/Global Warming, and Golden Globe Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/6). The aftermath of the U.S. killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and tensions in the Middle East; the articles of impeachment against President Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November; Facebook announces a ban on deepfake videos; embattled movie mogul Harvey Weinstein – with a trial set to begin in New York – is charged with sexual assault in Los Angeles; the bushfires ravaging southeastern Australia and questions about whether climate change is a factor; and Sunday evening’s Golden Globe Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

PPM Analysis: Contemporary Christian. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s December 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the contemporary Christian format.  See how those stations performed compared to the November survey, the December 2018 survey and more here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. The Long Island morning radio duo “Roger and JP” are celebrating 20 years together on Cox Media Group’s classic rock WBAB, Babylon, New York.  Roger Luce (right) and John “JP” Parise (left) began working together in 2000.  Luce had years of radio experience in the market and served as PA announcer for New York Islanders games.  Parise was a van driver for the station before they got together on the radio.  In addition to their WBAB morning gig, they also host an 11:00 am to 2:00 pm show on CMG’s WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone.”…..iHeartMedia names Mike McCabe program director for CHR WZFT, Baltimore “Z104.3,” effective January 20.  McCabe was most recently PD and afternoon drive personality at the company’s CHR WERZ, Portsmouth, New Hampshire “Z107.”   iHeartMedia Baltimore SVP of programming Mike Preston states, “McCabe’s extensive programming background combined with his passion for the pop music landscape makes him the perfect fit for this position.  We are thrilled to welcome him to Baltimore as we kick off Z104.3’s 11th year as Baltimore’s number one hit music station.”…..Compass Media Networks’ “Free Beer and Hot Wings” program is added to the schedule at Townsquare Media’s rock WGBF, Evansville, Indiana as the new morning show.  WGBF brand manager Kat Mykals comments, “We are excited to start the new year and the new decade with a new era in morning rock radio as we welcome the ‘Free Beer and Hot Wings’ morning show to WGBF-FM.  With their amazing chemistry and authenticity, the show is a natural fit as we continue to be Evansville’s and the Tristate’s home for ‘Everything That Rocks.’”…..Magnum.Media unveils the new classic country format on WBOG, Tomah, Wisconsin.  Magnum staffer Robin Jon Olson is returning to the airwaves to host the morning drive show.  He says, “After two years focused on the sales and production side of radio, I’m excited about adding back to my duties being on the air.  Hard to believe I played those 80s country songs as current hits, and now I get to play them again.  A lot of great country music came out in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s.  By focusing on this era of country music, ‘BOG Country’ isn’t in direct competition with another station in our market.”…..CMT and iHeartMedia announce their renewed partnership and multi-year extension that includes the two syndicated radio programs, “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” and “CMT Radio Live with Cody Alan.”  Pictured below are (from l-r): Cody Alan, Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott, MCA Nashville recording artist Sam Hunt, and executive producer of CMT Radio content and programming partnerships Ashlee McDonald.

Monday, January 6, 2020

| January 6, 2020

Mike Broomhead exits KFYI, Phoenix.  In a social media post yesterday (1/5), morning drive talk show host Mike Broomhead told his listeners he will not return to the air after his holiday vacation and is leaving his talk host duties at iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFYI, Phoenix.  Broomhead had been KFYI before moving into the morning drive slot 10 years ago after Barry Young retired from the station where he’d been on air for decades.  Broomhead says in his post, “After 10 amazing years I have decided to leave KFYI.  As sure as I am that God put me there I am as sure that this is the right decision for me.  This is 100% my decision Thank all of you who have listened. I have some time to figure out what is next. Will keep you posted God Bless.”  AZCentral reports that news anchor and morning show staff member Rob Hunter appears to be handling the morning show duties for now.

Steve Cortes to Host Afternoons on WIND-AM, Chicago. According to a report by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, CNN political commentator Steve Cortes – also a member of Trump’s Hispanic Advisory Council – is the new afternoon drive host at Salem Media Group’s WIND-AM, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer.”  The 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm show had been hosted by former U.S. Rep Joe Walsh (who also hosted the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show on the Salem Radio Network) who left his post to run for president as a Republican.  In a statement, Salem Media Group RVP and general manager Jeff Reisman says, “The insight and political acumen that Steve will bring to our audience each day will be second to none.  As we enter this election year, Steve will provide an inside perspective on what’s happening on the campaign trail.”

WPGG Talk Radio Host Harry Hurley Signs Multi-Year Contract Extension to Remain with Townsquare MediaTALKERS magazine Heavy Hundred member Harry Hurley signs a multi-year contract extension with Townsquare Media to continue to host his long-running “Hurley in the Morning” program.  Hurley also serves as the senior programming consultant for WPGG.  Hurley, who has been with Townsquare Media since July of 1992, says, “I am pleased to have enjoyed such rare longevity with one company.  It’s a blessing that I have never taken for granted.  I love the people that I have the privilege to work with at all levels of the company for nearly three decades.  We are presently living history.  I appreciate the opportunity to continue to be a part of the vital spoken-word format in our country.” Hurley presently serves as one of the rotating hosts for the FOX News Radio nationally syndicated radio show, “FOX Across America,” that airs from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET and fills in on other FOX News Radio programs.

Mike Francesa’s ‘Mike’s On’ Show Debuts on RADIO.COM Today at 5:00 pm ET. We knew that New York sports talk radio star Mike Francesa was destined for Entercom’s RADIO.COM platform in addition to his half-hour show airing on WFAN.  Now, Entercom reveals that his “Mike’s On” show will stream live from 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm daily, with the 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm portion also airing on WFAN.  Entercom chief digital officer J.D. Crowley says, “Mike Francesa is a pillar in sports radio who has played an integral part in driving sports conversations in New York.  We’re excited to continue our partnership with Mike and offer the same unrivaled sports content our New York listeners love to a broader audience on RADIO.COM.”  Francesa says, “I’m looking forward to working with RADIO.COM in a variety of new ways and continuing my tenure on WFAN.  This new opportunity will allow me to connect with loyal listeners all over the country on both broadcast and digital and I’m looking forward to making this new show a success.”

Cumulus Flips Classic Country KBZU to FM Simulcast of KKOB-AM, Albuquerque. Albuquerque news/talk KKOB-AM already has a 50,000-watt “blowtorch” AM signal.  That signal is getting an FM partner as Cumulus Media drops the classic country format on KBZU-FM and adds the class C signal to the KKOB broadcast.  KKOB had been heard on FM translator K233CG at 94.5 FM.  Cumulus says the station “will cover all of Albuquerque, as well as Santa Fe and the adjacent suburbs.”  Cumulus Albuquerque VP and market manager Jeff Berry says, “KKOB is approaching its 100th year of serving New Mexico and what better way to celebrate than to expand our platform to a full-strength 100,000-watt FM signal?  The KKOB News Radio ‘blowtorch’ will be blasted on both AM and FM signals, giving New Mexicans easy access for news, information, UNM football and basketball, and the best on-air talent in the business.  This is a huge win for our listeners, advertisers, and partners.”  In addition to the new FM signal, KKOB is upping the news programming with a new, 30-minute morning newscast called, “The KKOB Morning Briefing,” at 5:00 am starting next Monday (1/13).  Spoken-word operations manager Jared Hart adds, “I feel fortunate to be a part of such an important moment for one of New Mexico’s biggest brands.  There are so many potential listeners who never sample AM stations, so we can now put our amazing programs in front of the largest possible audience.”

PPM Analysis: Sports TalkTALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s December 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk.  The period leading up to the holidays usually does not help spoken-word stations in the ratings battle and this year was no different, with 67% of sports stations in PPM markets faltering from the November survey to the December survey while just 20% improved.  Stations showing increased weekly 6+ AQH shares were linked to successful football campaigns. Entercom’s WJZ-FM, Baltimore (the NFL’s Ravens) was up by six-tenths; iHeartMedia’s KFXN, Minneapolis (the NFL’s Vikings) rose five-tenths; and Tegna’s WBNS-FM, Columbus (Ohio State Buckeyes) was also up five-tenths.  However, comparing year-over-year ratings, 65% of sports talkers improved, led by KFXN, Minneapolis (up 2.1 shares); Entercom’s KWFN, San Diego (up 1.5 shares); and Cumulus Media’s KNBR, San Francisco (up 1.1 shares).  KFXN was the only sports station to rank #1 in its market in December.  WBNS-FM ranked #2 and Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia ranked #3.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Monday Memo: Pay Attention (They don’t).  Broadcasters have never had more competition for listener mind-share.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke offers some NEWS Year’s Resolutions.  Read it here.

U.S.-Iran Tensions, Trump Impeachment, 2020 Presidential Race, Financial Markets and the Economy, Weinstein Trial, and 2020 Golden Globe Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The aftermath of the U.S.’ killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani; the impeachment articles against President Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November and the rise of Michael Bloomberg in the polls; financial markets activity and the state of the U.S. economy; today’s start of the trial of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein; and Sunday night’s Golden Globe Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated Chad Benson show announces it is moving its live broadcast time to 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET, effective Monday. January 20.  Radio America says that a re-feed at 6:00 pm ET will continue.  Radio America says, “Since launching Chad into national syndication in 2015, the show has increased in popularity and audience growth and has been a major factor in building audience growth on its affiliates in the A25-54 demo.  As a result, many stations have requested the show’s live feed time be earlier in the day going into this important election year.”  Stations wishing to upgrade to the new time slot may contact Radio America at affiliates@radioamerica.com…..It appears as if President Trump tipped America that Rush Limbaugh and syndicator Premiere Networks have agreed to a new, four-year deal to continue the nationally syndicated “Rush Limbaugh Program.”  At his Miami rally, Trump told the crowd that Limbaugh had signed the new deal.  Premiere confirmed to CNN Business that there is a new contract but did not specify its length…..PodcastOne is announcing that three of its podcasts are reaching the 100-episode milestone.  Celebrity/influencer-headlined podcasts, “House of Kim” with Bravo star Kim Zolciak; “Make Speidi Famous Again” with the reality TV couple Spencer and Heidi Pratt; and “Cold Case Files,” in partnership with A&E, all hit the 100-episode mark this month.  PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “PodcastOne’s great strength has always been picking the hits and future hits while building our network and creating financial success for our partners.  Congrats to Kim, Spencer and Heidi, and A&E on this terrific achievement.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Philadelphia, Beasley Media Group names Matt Cord host of the midday show at classic rock WMGK, taking over for Debbi Calton, who retired last month after 26 years on the station.  Cord has been on air in Philly on rock WMMR-FM and WBEN-FM.  He says, “I’m so thrilled to continue Debbi Calton’s incredible legacy with the WMGK workplace audience.  I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to work side-by-side with Philly radio legend John DeBella and longtime afternoon drive personality Andre Gardner!”…..Entercom ups Orphan Andrew to assistant program director and music director for CHR KUDL, Sacramento “106.5 The End.”  He’ll continue to host the station’s midday show.   Entercom Sacramento SVP and market manager Stacey Kauffman says, “Since joining ‘106.5 The End,’ Orphan Andrew has demonstrated his passion for the station and our listeners, and his promotion to APD and music director is a direct result of that.  His long-standing relationship with his audience and broad understanding of pop culture makes him the ideal candidate.  I’m excited to continue to see his positive energy and spirit in the hallways and hear what he can add to one of America’s most successful top 40 brands.”…..Cumulus Media announces a new air talent lineup at country KRMD, Shreveport, Louisiana that includes morning show “Melinda and Mason” – with Melinda Coyer and Mason Stanfield.  Stanfield joins Coyer and Cumulus Shreveport from Adams Radio Group in Las Cruces, New Mexico where he was afternoon personality and music director at country KGRT and morning host for classic rock KSNM.  Current morning co-host Mike Martindale is moving to afternoon drive on KRMD…..WSYR-TV, Syracuse news anchor Christie Casciano is providing news updates three times each morning on Galaxy Media’s adult contemporary WZUN, Syracuse “Sunny 102.”  Casciano will join morning host Rick Gary at 7:00 am, 7:30 am, and 8:00 am each day.  She says, “Even though I anchor the late-night news on television, I still have a passion for morning radio – which is where I got my start in this business, thanks to Rick.  Rick and I will be committed to delivering you up to date local news and events that touch our community, keeping you informed, and hopefully giving you a reason to smile on your way to work and school.”…..Reach Media launches the hip hop morning radio show, “The Morning Hustle,” now available in syndication.  Reach calls it “the freshest program in broadcasting with an entertaining, humorous, and informative take on urban pop culture from the Millennial and Generation Z point of view – meant to wake up its audience to the beat of today’s hip hop.  The talent lineup includes: HeadKrack, Angie Ange, “On-Air” Jordan, Lore’l, and Billy Sorrells.

Friday, January 3, 2020

| January 3, 2020

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s December 2019 PPM survey with a focus on all-news stations.  As the calendar inches closer to the holidays each year, listening to spoken-word radio usually dips to some extent and the end of 2019 was no different.  Fifty-three percent of all-news stations saw their 6+ weekly AQH share decline from the November survey to December, with 33% going up and 13% staying flat.  More concerning for all-news operators was the year-over-year decrease.  Seventy-three percent of all-news stations were down from December 2018 to December 2019 with just 27% improving.  The lone big gainer there was Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco in which it put together a 2.1 share increase.  KCBS-AM was also the only all-news station to rank #1 in its market in December.  WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago ranked #3, as did Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

 

 

 

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (1/3).  The new episode titled, “Roaring Not Boring Twenties!” looks back at this past week of December 30, 2019 – January 3, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Curtis Sliwa, talk show host, WABC, New York; Gary Sutton, talk show host, WSBA, York, PA; J.D. Hayworth, radio-TV talk host / former US Representative (R-AZ); Christopher Ruddy, CEO, Newsmax / Newsmax TV; Graham Mack, talk show host / program director, FIX Radio, London, UK; and Don Imus (1940 -2019), legendary talk show host.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing on the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

Entercom Announces New CBS Sports Radio Lineup; ‘The DA Show’ to Mornings. The CBS Sports Radio network has a new lineup for 2020, Entercom announces. Entercom SVP of programming Jeff Sottolano says, “Our new CBS Sports Radio lineup will provide enhanced programming for fans and further cement our place as a leader in national sports coverage.  Damon Amendolara – “DA” – has continued to demonstrate that he is a rising star in the format and will excel with his move to mornings.  We are thrilled to add the Westwood One-produced Pat McAfee program to the network lineup and happy to introduce our audience to Zach Gelb at night.”  Westwood One remains the exclusive sales and distribution partner for the network.  The daily lineup is as follows: “The DA Show” in AM drive; “The Pat McAfee Show” from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon; “The Jim Rome Show” from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; “Tiki and Tierney” from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Zach Gelb from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm: “Ferrall on the Bench” from 10:00 pm to 2:00 am; and Amy Lawrence from 2:00 am to 6:00 am.

Mary Dixon Appointed WBEZ-FM, Chicago Morning Anchor. Former triple A WXRT-FM, Chicago morning drive co-host Mary Dixon – recently let go by the Entercom station as part of a number of air talent moves – is signing on with public outlet WBEZ-FM as morning news anchor and local “Morning Edition” host.  The Chicago Tribune says Dixon begins training next week and takes to the air in February.  She takes over for Lisa Labuz who is moving to the midday anchor position.  Dixon had co-hosted the morning show on WXRT with Lin Brehmer for the past 20-plus years.  Brehmer moves to the midday show on WXRT.

TALKERS News Notes. New York sports talk personality Bart Scott will not begin his radio show with Alan Hahn on ESPN’s WEPN “ESPN New York” until January 20.  According to Andrew Marchand in the New York Post, Entercom threatened legal action to keep Scott from starting on time – he was expected to start yesterday (1/2).  But an ESPN spokesperson says WEPN GM Tim McCarthy wanted to give Scott some time off since he finished his stint with WFAN by working right up until Christmas…..iHeartMedia Erie launches a new station airing podcasts available on the iHeartRadio platform.  The station WLTM-FM (just across the state line in Mina, New York) is branded “iHeartPodcast 95.9 FM” and showcases “today’s most popular podcasts,” allowing listeners to discover them through the radio. iHeartMedia Erie SVP of programming Joe Lang says, “We’re thrilled to welcome the iHeartPodcast Channel to the Erie community.  Now our local listeners have even more access to a variety of their favorite iHeart podcasts, while helping them discover new podcast content all through the power of radio.  From true crime to history, comedy to food, this station will offer a wide variety of topics every week.”…..iHeartMedia North Dakota launches the new “Dakota Farm and Ranch Report” – a three to four-minute report that airs five times on weekday mornings on news/talk KFYR and country KBMR in Bismarck, North Dakota; country KLTC-AM, Dickinson, North Dakota; and country KCJB-AM in Minot, North Dakota.  North Dakota rancher and broadcaster Scott Bachmeier joins iHeartMedia Bismarck as farm and ranch director and host of the “Dakota Farm and Ranch Report.”   iHeartMedia North Dakota market president Charlie Thomas says, “We realize farming and ranching in the Dakotas is unique and we wanted to offer a custom informational show that would focus on international, national, and state agricultural issues, but also dedicate a fair amount of time to the issues that affect farms and ranches a little closer to home.”…..Newsday’s Neil Best reports that John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman will return to call New York Yankees games on Entercom-owned radio flagship WFAN, New York for the 2020 season.  This will be the duo’s 16th season behind the mics together…..Condolences to the family and friends of former Montgomery, Alabama talk host Mark Montiel, who passed away recently.  Montiel, also a practicing attorney in the area, worked at Cumulus Media from 2011 through 2017, hosting his own program on news/talk WLWI-AM.  Cumulus Montgomery operations manager Rick Hendrick tells the Alabama News Network, “Working with Mark Montiel was awesome.  He was very outspoken.  He’s like me, just very outspoken and very opinionated which makes good radio for us here at Cumulus.  It was awesome to work with him.”

U.S. Embassy in Iraq Protests and Middle East Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories This Week.  The violent protests at the U.S. embassy in Iraq and the subsequent killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in a U.S. air strike was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 on this week’s chart is the impeachment of President Donald Trump.  Close behind at #3 is the 2020 presidential race, followed by the New York City Hanukkah attack and the related rise of anti-Semitism and race relations at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Pennsylvania’s Lancaster-York-Harrisburg market, programming and on-air pro Ronnie Ramone is upped to program director for Hall Communications’ hot AC WROZ “Fun 101.3.”  He’ll continue hosting the evening show on the station.  Cluster VP/general manager Billy Baldwin says, “Ronnie has been instrumental in building the ‘Fun 101.3’ brand in Central Pennsylvania.  He has been our go-to guy on so many things for so long and we are excited to give him this opportunity.”…..At iHeartMedia’s Wichita cluster, senior vice president of programming Jim Dorman takes over the program director role for adult contemporary KRBB “B98.”  He also is PD for country KZSN.  Additionally, alternative KTHR, Wichita program director Manny Cowzinski adds PD duties for sister CHR KZCH “Channel 96-3.”  Dorman says, “Manny has shown he has the passion and skills to not only program alternative ‘ALT 107-3,’ but also program ‘Channel 96-3.’

Friday, December 20, 2019

| December 20, 2019

WGN, Chicago Names Bob Sirott Morning Drive Host.  The legendary Chicago media personality Bob Sirott will take over for Steve Cochran on Nexstar’s news/talk WGN-AM, effective January 6.  At the same time, Mary Sandberg Boyle is promoted to general manager.  She’s been acting GM since September 20 in addition to her director of news and operations position.  WGN notes that Sirott started as a morning radio show personality in 1971.  “His acclaimed broadcasting career has spanned nearly five decades and has included stints at WMAQ, WBBM-FM, WLS, WGN and various television stations.  In 2015, Sirott was recognized for his achievements in the media industry and inducted into the Silver Circle by the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.”  This move is the latest in a series that finalizes the station’s programming going into 2020.  Sirott’s 5:00 am to 9:00 am show is followed by John Williams (9:00 to 12:00 noon), the “Wintrust Business Lunch with Ji Suk Yi” (12:00 noon to 1:00 pm), Anna Davlantes (1:00 pm to 3:00 pm), Roe Conn (3:00 pm to 7:00 pm), Justin Kaufmann (7:00 pm to 11:00 pm), Nick Digilio (11:00 pm to 4:00 am), and a WGN Radio simulcast of WGN-TV “Early Morning News” from 4:00 am to 5:00 am.

Dan Proft Named Night Host on Salem Radio Network. Chicago-based talk host Dan Proft is the new host of the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show on the Salem Radio Network.  Proft, who has been co-hosting the WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer” morning show with Amy Jacobson since 2015, fills the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot that opend up when Joe Walsh entered the 2020 presidential race.  Prior to joining WIND in 2015, Proft co-hosted a talk show on crosstown WLS-AM with Bruce Wolf from 2010 through 2014.  SRN SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “Dan Proft is incredibly intelligent, insightful, and full of knowledge.  We are delighted to have a host of his quality available to take over the night slot on the lineup.  I think stations will love having his wit and humor every night.”  Proft, who has a JD from Loyola University, Chicago Law School, will continue his morning drive duties on WIND.

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”  The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (12/20).  The new episode titled, “Peace on Earth, Goodwill Toward Persons!” looks back at this past week of December 16-20, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  John Caracciolo, president/CEO, JVC BroadcastingJoe Madison, talk show host, SiriusXM Satellite Radio;  Casey Hendrickson; talk show host, WRTC, South Bend, IN; Trevor Smith, president, Aloha Media Productions, Byron Bay, Australia; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm.  It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network, and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing on the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

KMJ, Fresno Unveils New Afternoon Team ‘Philip & Skip.’ Fresno news/talk KMJ-AM/FM brings Frances “Skip” Echeverria (right) aboard to co-host the afternoon drive show with Philip Teresi (left).  Echeverria was most recently morning drive personality at One Putt Broadcasting’s crosstown rock outlet KFRR.  Teresi moved into the afternoon drive slot at the Cumulus Media station after talk host Chris Daniel resigned from the show in early September after a 10-year stint.  “Skip” says, “You’d be hard pressed to find someone in this valley that doesn’t know the legend that is KMJ.  When I started radio in 2001, I didn’t anticipate this opportunity.  But having been born and raised in Fresno, a graduate from Fresno State, and having chosen to raise my own family and base my mental health practice locally, I have a vested interest in the continued success of my community.  I absolutely love this valley and its people.  I’m honored and excited to join the KMJ team and am looking forward to conversations about topics that are important to us.”  Teresi adds, “I’m elated to be a part of the next step at KMJ.  Skip makes a brilliant, powerful addition to the station.  Bringing Skip to KMJ benefits the audience, the sponsors, and the station as a whole.”

Will Sterrett Joins KMBZ’s ‘Kansas City’s Morning News’ as Co-Anchor. On-air pro Will Sterrett makes the move to morning drive co-host on “Kansas City’s Morning News” alongside Ellen Schenk.  He takes over for E.J. Becker, who dials back his responsibilities with the Entercom news/talk stations.  The “Kansas City’s Morning News” program airs on both KMBZ-FM and KMBZ-AM.  Both stations air separate programming outside of AM drive.  Sterrett had been a contributor to the afternoon drive “Dana & Parks” show on KMBZ-FM.  He says via Twitter, “I have big shoes to fill as outgoing anchor E.J. Becker will stay on with the show as a special contributor.  My final day with ‘Dana & Parks’ is Friday and I can’t thank Dana and Scott enough for their votes of confidence earlier this year and their support as this new opportunity took shape.  Many thanks, too, to [PD] Alan Furst for the opportunity and for putting up with all the back and forth that comes with it.”

Hobnobbing for Charity. Pictured above are Weiss Agency EVP Heather Cohen (right) and RC Communications Marketing owner Renee Cassis (left) with Red Apple Media chief John Catsimatidis (center) at the NYC Police Athletic League Luncheon.  The monthly luncheon – chaired by Catsimatidis – raises money for the PAL Kids charity.  Catsimatidis hosts the weekly “Cats Roundtable” talk show (heard on 14 affiliate stations) and his media company is in the process of purchasing WABC, New York from Cumulus Media.

TALKERS News Notes. Former Arizona Congressman and radio talk show host J.D. Hayworth (left) chats over a meal in Phoenix with Salem Radio Network v.p./news & talk programming Tom Tradup (right) about SRN’s strategy for covering the upcoming impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate.  Tradup says Hayworth offered perspective from his six terms in Washington on what is likely to unfold in the historic Senate trial scheduled to begin in January…..WPG, Atlantic City morning drive host Harry Hurley scored a coup as he interviewed New Jersey Congressman Jeff Van Drew on his radio show today.  Van Drew made headlines recently after promising to switch parties from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party.  Hurley says, “Van Drew becomes only the 24th congressman in American history to switch political parties and my initial research indicates he’s the first to switch from the majority party to the minority…..iHeartRadio and Tenderfoot TV announce the third installment of the “Monster” podcast series, “Monster: DC Sniper,” premieres on January 2, 2020.  “Monster: DC Sniper” takes listeners back in time to the tragic killing spree of the D.C. Sniper, “one of the most tangled, intricate true-story killing sprees to ever take place.”  The podcast also fast forwards to the present as the Supreme Court considers whether or not to amend the sentence of one of the two men convicted for the crime…..SiriusXM is giving sports fans a “comprehensive and in-depth look back at the Defining Moments of the Decade in their favorite sports” via a series of specials that examine the memorable moments and trends in professional and college sports from the last 10 years.  SiriusXM will present these specials across 11 of its dedicated 24/7 sports channels.   SiriusXM SVP of sports programming Steve Cohen says, “Over the past 10 years, SiriusXM has aired so many of these great moments live, and we’ve covered all of these important stories and trends across our channels more extensively than anyone else in radio.  We’re proud to be the place where all fans can not only hear all about their favorite sport but can call in and talk about it as well.”…..Last Friday (12/13), Sinclair Radio’s Seattle stations all-news KOMO-AM/FM, news/talk KVI, and hot AC KPLZ “Star 101.5” – along with Sinclair TV outlets KOMO-TV and KUNS-TV – held their annual Toy Drive benefitting the Salvation Army. The campaign resulted in the collection of $125,000 – including a $50,000 matching donation from the Wold Family Foundation – and more than 7,000 toys.   Sinclair Radio Seattle station manager Gary Greenberg says, “The toy drive has been a nine-year tradition for our stations.  Our team builds an amazing campaign every year and our listeners continue to come out to support the Salvation Army in a big way.  It’s what local radio is all about.”

The Articles of Impeachment Against Donald Trump Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 16-20. The U.S. House’s vote to levy articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the 2020 presidential race and last night’s Democratic debate.  Coming in at #3 was the Australian heat wave-drought-bushfires and the related topic of climate change, followed by the Obamacare mandate ruled unconstitutional and health care reform at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Triton Digital to Issue Podcast Reports. There will be another firm rating the performances of podcasts in the New Year as Triton Digital announces it is launching Podcast Reports in the U.S., powered by its Podcast Metrics measurement service.  Triton says, “The reports will provide a ranking of the top networks and top podcasts in the U.S., as measured by Podcast Metrics.  Reported entities will be ranked by Average Weekly Downloads, in accordance with the latest IAB Podcast Technical Measurement Guidelines.”  Podcast publishers signed up for the new service so far include: NPREntercom’s RADIO.COM, Stitcher, and Cumulus Media.  Triton Digital president of market development John Rosso adds, “We are pleased to leverage our 10-plus years of digital audio measurement expertise to provide reliable and informative data around podcast consumption in the U.S.  Our Podcast Reports will provide buyers with the trusted, third-party podcast measurement they need to make informed decisions around podcast advertising.  Furthermore, our reports will provide podcast networks with the reputable consumption data they need to grow their podcast strategies, gain a better understanding of their listening audiences, and increase their advertising revenue.”  The first U.S. Podcast Report will debut in March 2020.  Triton currently publishes Podcast Reports in Australia and Latin America and has announced that the Netherlands will follow in early 2020.

 

 

Two News Positions Open at FOX News Radio and FOX News.  There are two news posts that FOX News is seeking to fill.  The first is Overnight Freelance Anchor for FOX News Radio in Washington, DC or New York City.  FOX says, “As a radio news anchor you will work under tight deadlines and deliver top notch newscasts.  You have a passion for breaking news and the flexibility to work on a days’ notice.”  See more about that position and apply here.  The second position is a Freelance Writer for FOX News Headlines 24/7.  The company says, “We are looking for a freelance writer to join the FOX News Headlines 24/7 team.  As a writer, you will be a crucial member of our broadcast team.  You will write news for our national news network, conceptualizing, writing, compiling enterprise stories, fact checking, and building show content newscasts for FOX News Headlines 24/7.  You may be the right candidate if you have the right attitude and understand the level of commitment required to be successful in this role. Your passion for national and international news is bar none!  See more and apply for this position here.

WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Seeks News Anchor. Charlotte news/talk WBT-AM/FM has an immediate opening for a full-time news anchor. The Entercom station says, “You’re an engaging, experienced on-air personality. You’re a great storyteller. You know how to get to the heart of a story and make it relatable to the listener. You’re never satisfied with knowing just the “Who?, What?, Where?, and When?” of a story; you always seek to know “Why?” If this sounds like you, News Talk 1110 & 99.3 WBT/Entercom Charlotte would like to hear from you. We are seeking a full-time news anchor for our programming team. Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to: Writing and on-air delivery of news reports based on programming clock; editing and preparation of news audio; filing of two to three recorded reports per day to be aired outside the live daypart of the shift; on-air interaction with the talk show host and personnel; and coverage and reporting of breaking news events in real-time. Interested candidates should visit the Entercom site here. EOE.

Cool Job Opportunity. An experienced guest booker/researcher is needed to find/book four to five top-tier guests per week to do telephone/Skype interviews for a top-ranked podcast. This is a work-from-home job with a great potential for advancement. This person will also research other interesting content for the podcast “Something You Should Know,” primarily a self-help, news-you-can-use program. This is an excellent opportunity for someone with experience producing/booking talk radio programs. Resumes should be sent to: info@somethingyoushouldknow.net.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In St. Louis, Marty Linck is named brand content manager for Hubbard Radio’s adult hits WARH “106.5 The Arch” and rock KSHE.  Linck previously served in the market as OM for Entercom’s hot AC KYKY, AC KEZK and CHR KNOU.  He’s most recently been brand director for the JACK-FM format.  Hubbard St. Louis VP and market manager John Kijowski says, “Marty is a dedicated leader whose professionalism and experience has achieved outstanding results.  He also brings many years of success in managing high-performance radio brands that focus on live and local talent.  We are excited to add him to our team.”…..On-air pro Alex Waters is joining Max Media’s CHR WVHT, Norfolk “Hot 100” as afternoon drive personality, effective January 6. He’s been serving as the evening jock at Bahakel Communications’ CHR WDOD-FM, Chattanooga “Hits 96.”

Monday, December 16, 2019

| December 16, 2019

Former Mega-Church Pastor Sues Mancow Muller for Defamation. In a complaint filed in Cook County Circuit Court in Illinois, WLS-AM, Chicago morning drive personality Erich “Mancow” Muller is being sued by James MacDonald, the former pastor of the Harvest Bible Chapel church.  MacDonald is seeking $50,000 in compensatory damages and punitive damages to be determined at trial.  The back story is that Mancow and MacDonald were once close, with Mancow a fan who publicly lauded MacDonald’s Chicagoland megachurch.  Over time, Mancow became disenchanted with MacDonald and ultimately recorded conversations in which MacDonald allegedly spoke of planting child porn on the computers of his enemies.  That got MacDonald fired from his position with the church.  MacDonald argues that Mancow used his radio show to destroy him and his surreptitious recordings were illegal.  The complaint also targets Cumulus Media for allowing Mancow to broadcast his speech about MacDonald and for “negligent hiring” – implying the history of defamation allegations against Mancow should have been enough to prevent him from being hired.

Monday Memo: Don’t list To-Do. “Assume that your listener is busier than you are,” cautions consultant Holland Cooke.  In this week’s column, he notes how some radio talkers seem to be over-estimating listeners’ attention.  Read it here.

Impeachment, 2020 Presidential Race, IG’s FBI Report, Chinese Diplomats Expelled, U.S.-China Trade Talks, Dem Congressman Flips, India’s Citizenship Rule, UK Election Aftermath, and Richard Jewell Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The impeachment proceedings against President Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the criticism of the FBI in the wake of the inspector general’s scathing report; two Chinese diplomats are expelled from the U.S. after suspicion of espionage; the trade talks between the U.S. and China; plans by New Jersey Congressman Jeff Van Drew to leave the Democratic Party for the Republican Party; the controversy over India’s citizen rule that doesn’t apply to Muslims; the aftermath of Boris Johnson’s UK prime minister victory; and the poor weekend box office for the Richard Jewell film were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

FOX News Talk Superstar Brian Kilmeade Is Guest on Harrison Podcast. Cross-platform, multi-media personality Brian Kilmeade is the guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” He is co-host with Ainsley Earhardt and Steve Doocy of the very popular daily ‘FOX & Friends” show on FOX News Channel from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET. Then he runs down the hall to host his daily 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET nationally syndicated “Heavy Hundred” talk show on FOX News Radio. Both of his shows are famously among the favorites of the President of the United States and, of course, politically controversial. Kilmeade is the 2019 recipient of the prestigious TALKERS Freedom of Speech Award. As a best-selling author, he is proving himself to be an extremely contemporary and communicative storyteller of great events in American history. With co-author Don Yaeger, he penned George Washington’s Secret Six, followed by Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates and then Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans – all published by Sentinel. These three history books have already gone well past the million mark in sales. Now he has another book about American history, and it is extremely exciting and informative. It’s titled, Sam Houston & the Alamo Avengers: The Texas Victory that Changed American History (Sentinel, 2019). Harrison and Kilmeade engage in a lively dialogue about the nature of leadership, past and present as well as the rigors of hosting a live, three-hour radio show while major news – such as the impeachment hearings – is breaking in real time. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box that appears in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Joey Hudson’s ‘Breakfast Broadcasts’ on WGTK, Greenville Benefit the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign.  Morning drive talk radio personality Joey Hudson (pictured above at the mic) is making the rounds in Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina broadcasting his show from breakfast restaurants while ringing the bell and asking listeners to donate to the Salvation Army.  To date, Hudson’s listeners have raised more than $30,000.  Hudson’s show is based at Salem Media Group’s WGTK-FM, Greenville, South Carolina “94.5FM The Answer.”  He says, “I have this wonderful platform to ask people to give generously and why not spend some time out in the communities we serve to raise funds and awareness of the wonderful work being done by the Salvation Army.”

Taylor Leads Townsquare’s Rochester, Minnesota Cluster. Management and sales pro Ben Taylor is named market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media’s Rochester/Preston, Minnesota station group that includes news/talk KROC-AM and sports talk KLOM-AM “1520 The Ticket” and seven music brands.  Taylor was most recently VP of sales for iHeartMedia in Minneapolis.  Townsquare regional VP Kelly Quinn says, “Ben’s vast experience in radio and digital, both on-air and in sales, combined with his leadership experience as a coach and volunteer firefighter, make him an ideal fit to lead our team in Rochester/Preston.  We’re poised for a strong 2020, building on the growth we had in 2019, with incredible on-air ratings and digital content, and by continuing our ‘Local First’ focus.”

Townsquare Media Execs Receive New Contracts. In a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, Townsquare Media reveals it has entered into letter agreements that amend the employment deals with CEO Bill Wilson, CFO Stuart Rosenstein, COO Local Media Chief Erik Hellum and executive chairman Steven Price.  The agreements extend the terms of their deals through October 16, 2023 for Wilson and Rosenstein and through October 25, 2023 for Hellum. The letter agreements also provide that in the event of the executive’s termination by the Company without cause or by the executive for good reason, all outstanding, vested stock option awards will remain exercisable for 24 months following the executive’s termination date or, if earlier, until the original expiration date of the stock option award, and that all outstanding equity awards will fully accelerate and vest upon a change in control of the Company.

TALKERS News Notes. The best interviews from this year’s Howard Stern programs on SiriusXM are being packaged in a 19-episode podcast series on Pandora.  Titled, “Howard Stern: 19 from 2019” includes interviews with: Jennifer Aniston, Russell Crowe, Robert Downey Jr., and Kristen Stewart; musicians including The Black Crowes, Def Leppard, Billie Eilish, and Adam Levine; comedians including Jimmy Kimmel, Tracy Morgan, Seth Rogen, and Adam Sandler; and newsmakers such as Hillary Clinton…..There’s a webinar on Wednesday (12/18) from Edison Research that focuses on moms and social media.  Edison says, “The Infinite Dial study estimates that there are 15 million fewer Facebook users in the U.S. today than there were in 2017.  However, among Moms in the U.S., Facebook remains strong year over year.”   The webinar will “debut data from this study that explores moms’ usage, perceptions, and sentiments of all social media.  This is a new survey conducted in the second half of 2019 among a sample of moms in the U.S.  It includes why they use social media, what they use it for, and how they feel about using it – and how their feelings and actions don’t always align.”…..WTKN-FM, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina “Talk 94.5” is airing “The Jared Dillian Show,” hosted by self-made millionaire Jared Dillian.  He says, “I’m proud to be a part of the WTKN family and I couldn’t be more impressed by everyone’s professionalism in producing this show.”  The Jared Dillian Show is part of the 24/7 Smart Talk Radio Network, based in Chicago and distributed by Envision Networks…..Pictured at left is Salem Radio Network East Coast affiliate relations manager Jim Bligh in a still shot from Netflix’s The Irishman in which he plays a mob supporter of Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa.  He tells TALKERS, “As someone who grew up in Brooklyn and Staten Island, I literally jump at any chance to be in a Martin Scorsese movie… it’s an offer you can’t refuse. LOL.”…..Entercom sports talker WSSP, Milwaukee “105.7 FM The Fan” helped raise more than $200,000 in cash and the value of toys to benefit Children’s Wisconsin and Robyn’s Nest during its 13th annual “WSSP Toy Drive.”  This marks a record-breaking year for the fundraiser, topping the $160,000 that the station raised in 2018…..Pictured below is Westwood One talk host Jim Bohannon reprising his role as Santa Claus for the Collins Children’s Home of Seneca, South Carolina.

Internationally Noted Artist Inspired by TALKERS Panels.  A world-renowned artist living and working in South America who is a fan of American talk media and reads TALKERS regularly has created a painting titled “Talking Heads” that she says was inspired by the convention and workshop panel discussions that she sees in this trade journal.  Clearly, this is an abstract work subject to interpretation.  Bobbie Winston (a.k.a. La Femme Bobbíe) is a multi-award-winning American artist living and painting in Rio de Janeiro since 1988.  She has a world-wide following that enjoys her highly identifiable style.  She paints wildly abstract portraits, full human figures, and imaginative, surrealistic scenarios marked by dramatic features and bold, striking colors.  Her perspective on the human condition is cosmic, inclusive, and evolved. Bobbie Winston’s Facebook page can be accessed here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programing pro Kelly Gueno is promoted from programming assistant to assistant program director for iHeartMedia Chicago’s urban programming.  In this role, Gueno will assist with brand support for all urban programming and digital operations for “V103,” WGCI and “Inspiration 1390.”  She reports to VP of urban programming Derrick Brown.  He says, “I couldn’t be more thrilled with Kelly’s expanded role.  She literally grew up at our stations and it has been absolutely gratifying to see Kelly’s progress from our promotions department, to being a programming assistant, and now, assistant program director for our iconic urban brands.  Kelly’s passion, skill and insight will be invaluable as we navigate our ever-changing media landscape.”…..Pictured below are the staff of Beasley Media Group’s country WKLB-FM, Boston at the Secret Superstar Holiday Jam last Thursday (12/12) at the House of Blues.  The station officially announced the show about six weeks ago and sold the venue out without divulging the names of the talent (Dan + Shay and Lauren Alain) that would be performing until the day before the show!  Pictured below are (clockwise from l-r): Summer Harlow, director, Northeast promotion, Mercury Nashville; Lauren Alaina; Dan Smyers; Shay Mooney; Dawn Santolucito, music and marketing director, WKLB; Kristen Williams, SVP radio & streaming, Warner Music Nashville; Heather Propper, regional manager, radio & streaming, WAR; and WKLB PD David Corey.

Friday, December 13, 2019

| December 13, 2019

Report: Liberty Media Seeks Control or Ownership of iHeartMedia.  According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Liberty Media is asking the Department of Justice for permission to up its stake in iHeartMedia.  Currently, Liberty owns 4.8% of iHM.  The WSJ’s sources say the deal that Liberty is seeking permission for would give it control or “outright ownership.”  One source says Liberty has not decided “what kind of transaction, if any, it would proceed with should it receive permission.”  Liberty Media currently owns 33% of Live Nation – the concert business that then-Clear Channel spun off in 2005 – and 71% of SiriusXM Holdings.  The WSJ piece notes that Justice Department officials are asking “interested parties” how they’d be affected by a major live events business and a leading radio company being co-owned.

Radzik to Program ’98.5 The Sports Hub’ in Boston. At Boston sports talker WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Rick Radzik is named the station’s new program director, effective immediately.  Beasley Media Group announces Radzik is assuming the role being vacated by Mike Thomas, who heads to Chicago to become market manager for the ESPN-owned and Good Karma-managed WMVP “ESPN 1000.”  Radzik has been the station’s assistant program director since the station signed on in August of 2009.  Prior to that, he’d served for 15 years as a producer at all-news WBZ-AM, overseeing Boston Bruins broadcasts.  He began his career at crosstown WEEI-AM (when it was a news station) producing the Bruins and Boston Celtics broadcasts, as well as various talk shows.  Beasley Media Group Boston director of programming Cadillac Jack says, “Rick has been a key member of the ‘Sports Hub’ programming team since the station’s inception.  The knowledge he has amassed over the past decade, coupled with his relationships and passion for continuing our winning history, make him uniquely qualified to lead the ‘Sports Hub’ into the 2020s and beyond!”

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (12/13).  The new episode titled “Meddling and Muddling!” reviews the week of December 9-13, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Sebastian Gorka, talk show host, Salem Radio Network; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City;  Joan Michelson; Executive producer/host, GreenConnectionsRadio.com; Bob Lonsberry, talk show host, WHAM, Rochester/WSYR, Syracuse; Doug Stephan, talk show host, Stephan Multimedia; and Scott James Matheson, Mayor-elect, Valdosta, Georgia. This acclaimed news/talk radio show first airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm. It then airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA. It also appears on the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

‘Cats Roundtable’ Show Joins ‘Florida Man Radio.’ The weekly “Cats Roundtable” show hosted by Red Apple Group president and CEO John Catsimatidis is being added to the program schedule at JVC Media’s WDYZ-AM/W288CJ, Orlando and WYGC-FM, High Springs (Gainesville market) “Florida Man Radio.”  Catsimatidis’ company Red Apple Media recently entered into a deal to acquire venerable WABC-AM, New York from Cumulus Media for $12.5 million.  That deal has not closed yet.  JVC president and CEO John Caracciolo says, “‘The Cats Roundtable’ radio show is perfect for ‘Florida Man Radio.’  John’s unique take on the news and his A-list celebrity interviews are fascinating conversations that keep listeners coming back for more.  We have been very successful with his show on our Long Island station and know this is a great fit for our growing ‘Florida Man Radio’ network.”

The Trump Impeachment Proceedings Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 9-13. The articles of impeachment against President Trump were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing in the top spot on the Talkers TenTM.  Tied at #2 this week was Russia’s meddling in the U.S. elections and the inspector general’s report on the FBI’s surveillance practices.  At #3 was Time magazine’s selection of Greta Thunberg as Person of the Year and the greater topic of climate change, followed by the deadly Jersey City shooting and the rise of anti-Semitism at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio this week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

TALKERS News Notes. The WGBH, Boston and PRI-produced program “Innovation Hub” takes a look at the rise of conservative talk radio and its influence on the America political scene on its most recent episode.  Joining host Kara Miller is author and University of Pennsylvania scholar-in-residence Brian Rosenwald.  His book, Talk Radio’s America: How an Industry Took Over a Political Party That Took Over the United States (2019, Harvard University Press) examines the theory.  The teaser of the radio show says, “When Rush Limbaugh’s conservative talk radio program began in Sacramento in the 1980s, no one could have guessed that he would not only reinvigorate AM radio but also create a new format that would help remold the American political landscape.”  Check out the program here…..The WFAN watch continues as Newsday’s Neil Best writes that the odds-on replacement for Mike Francesa in afternoon drive on the Entercom sports talk station is midday team Evan Roberts and Joe Benigno.  He also says that Maggie Gray and Mark Malusis are “favorites” to serve as the midday personalities.  Francesa left his regular full-time role with the station a couple of weeks ago but will contribute to The Fan’s on-air content with a nightly, half-hour show at 6:00 pm.  WFAN has made no announcements about its plans for the station as of today (12/13)…..Chicago media maven Robert Feder writes today about longtime Chicago radio personality Turi Ryder’s new podcast that takes its name from her fictionalized memoir, She Said What?  Ryder co-hosts the show with Kathryn Lake and she tells Feder she’ll drop two podcasts each week, no longer than 15 minutes in length.  You can check it out here…..Condolences to the family and friends of longtime radio journalist Pete Combs, who died in Atlanta after a three-month battle with lung cancer at age 61.  Combs had been working at Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta since May of 2018.  He previously worked for WSB from 2006 through 2015 but left for KOMO-AM, Seattle before returning last year.  During his career, he worked at stations including: WGST-AM, Atlanta; KRLD-AM and the Texas State Network, Dallas; USA Radio News, Dallas; WINK-AM Fort Myers; and WBT-AM, Charlotte.  He also reported for TV station in Charlotte and Tulsa during the early 1990s.  See the rest of WSB’s tribute to Combs here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Sales pro Dawn Girocco is named director of sales for Cumulus Media’s country KSCS “New Country 96.3,” country KPLX “99.5 The Wolf,” and CHR KLIF-FM “Hot 93.3” in Dallas.  She was most recently vice president/market manager for Cumulus Los Angeles.  Cumulus Dallas/Houston RVP Dan Bennett comments, “Being able to get someone of Dawn Girocco’s experience and success back in our company to join our Dallas team as a key sales management leader is a great plus for Dallas and our company.  Dawn’s past success in Los Angeles speaks for itself and we can’t wait for her to get started here in Texas.”…..Alpha Media promotes Danny Dwyer to assistant program director for country KUPL, Portland “98.7 The Bull” and inks him to a new, multi-year deal.  Dwyer will continue to host the midday show and continue his role as music director.  Alpha Portland SVP and market manager Lisa Decker states, “The energy and dedication Danny brings on and off the air to our ‘Bull Nation’ listeners, musicans, artists, labels, advertisers’ and community partners are an incredible asset to our station.  His leadership with station events and promotions including our St. Jude Radiothon and Countryfest concert are irreplaceable.”…..Seven-time GRAMMY Award-winning singer/songwriter Alanis Morissette, who is planning a 31-date North American tour next year, performed a special acoustic set of the album Jagged Little Pill in its entirety on December 2 at New York’s legendary The Apollo.  That show will be broadcast exclusively on SiriusXM today (12/13) through December 22…..Air personality Brittany Rose joins Townsquare Media’s CHR WJBQ, Portland as co-host alongside Lori Voornas and Jeff Parsons on the “Q Morning Show,” effective January 2.   She was most recently with Townsquare Media’s WEBB-FM, Augusta “B98.5.”…..Cumulus Media’s alternative WWWX, Appleton, Wisconsin “96.9 The Fox” announces the nationally syndicated “The Dave and Mahoney Morning Show” takes over the morning slot, effective Monday (12/16).

Monday, December 9, 2019

| December 9, 2019

Monday Memo: Start in the Middle?  If you’re a radio newscaster, consultant Holland Cooke warns that “this week’s column is like a solar eclipse.  Look away!”  But for DJs, hosts, and commercial copy writers, he has a curious suggestion.  Read it here.

More Than $500,000 Raised in WMAL Fisher House Radiothon. Commenting on Cumulus Media Washington DC’s just-concluded two-day radiothon for the Fisher House, WMAL PD/Cumulus Media vice president of news/talk, Bill Hess, remarks, “Wow, listeners once again have come through with their support for the wonderful work of the Fisher House Foundation, donating $523,866 to this year’s radiothon. I say ‘thank-you’ from the bottom of our hearts. The Fisher House is recognized as one of the premiere nonprofits working to support quality-of-life for our military and their families. Ever since its inception (30 years ago next month), it has saved military and veterans’ families an estimated $451 million in out-of-pocket costs for lodging and transportation; more than 32,000 families were served in 2018. Over the past 17 years, WMAL listeners have donated more than $7 million to the Fisher House Foundation. Pictured left to right are Hess, WMAL on-air talents Larry O’Connor, Chris Plante, and Vince Coglianese, and Fisher House president Dave Coker.

Cumulus Media Transfers Howell To Little Rock. Inbound from Oklahoma City where he was an on-air talent at Cumulus Media sports talk WWLS “98.1 The Sports Animal” and executive producer of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s radio broadcasts, Toby Howell arrives as program director at co-owned Little Rock news/talk KARN-FM “News Radio 102.9,” sports talk KARN-AM “920 The Sports Animal,” and the Arkansas News Network. He will also program religious KAAY. Cumulus Media Little Rock market manager Keith Liesman remarks, “We are very happy to get a guy like Toby with his radio background and look forward to watching him grow [our brands] across the Little Rock community.” Howell notes, “I’m very lucky to be able to work with the Cumulus Media group in Little Rock. To be in the news format at a time like this with 2020 on the horizon is very exciting.” He replaces Peter Thiele who exited roughly nine months ago.

Hubbard Radio Talent Institute Coming To Northern Arizona University. Along with support from the Arizona Broadcasters Association, the Hubbard Radio Talent Institute is set to launch next summer (July 13 – 22) at Northern Arizona University. Hubbard Radio chief executive officer Ginny Morris comments, “All of us at Hubbard are proud to partner with Dan Vallie and the Arizona Association of Broadcasters on bringing this proven program to Northern Arizona University. The program is a great asset for the industry and a wonderful and expansive experience for the students that participate.” Vallie founded the National Radio Talent System in 2013 so radio stations can recruit young talent from their own region or nationally. Arizona Broadcasters Association President/CEO Chris Kline states, “There’s nothing more important to the future of broadcasting than helping to build the next generation of media leaders. The Hubbard Radio Talent Institute is exactly what we need in Arizona to ensure that new ideas continue to flood into the radio industry from young broadcasters. We couldn’t be more excited to support this program, to meet the participants, and to build new relationships.” NAU Media Innovation Center director Brian Rackham remarks, “We are delighted to be part of this prestigious opportunity for our students. There are jobs out there waiting for our graduates and the Hubbard Talent Institute is a great pipeline to the industry. We look forward to partnering with a great radio group like Hubbard, and the experts at the National Radio Talent System.” Sessions during the ten-day talent institute include on-air, production, news, sports, social media, podcasting, promotions, videography, sales, engineering, and includes the RAB’s radio marketing professional course. Applications are being accepted from college students/young talent from all universities in the region. Final application deadline is March 6, 2020; only 25 students will be accepted.

TALKERS News Notes. After an 11-year run on WTOP-FM “Washington’s Top News,” Chris Core will retire from the Hubbard Broadcasting DC all-news operation one week from Friday (12/20) following his “Core Values” commentary. He previously spent approximately 25 years at cross-town news/talk WMAL as a newscaster and sports anchor ….. This week, former Arizona congressman and Newsmax anchor JD Hayworth is doing his first live and local Phoenix news/talk show in approximately ten years. Guest-hosting today (Monday, 12/9) through Wednesday (12/11) for Seth Leibsohn in afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm) on Salem Media Group-owned KKNT “AM 960 The Patriot,” Hayworth was Mike Huckabee’s “designated guest-host” and has filled in for Michael Savage, Mark Levin, Mike Gallagher, and Laura Ingraham ….. Tomorrow’s (Tuesday, 12/10, 6:00 am – 7:00 pm) 12th annual Toy Field presented by Cumulus Media Nashville and Planet Fitness will benefit The Salvation Army’s “Forgotten Angels” program. Toys collected at Nissan Stadium will help fulfill the dreams of many “forgotten children” this holiday season. The Salvation Army will reach nearly 8,500 “angels” – less fortunate children and elderly. According to Salvation Army Nashville area commander Ethan Frizzell, “Thousands of toys have been donated throughout the years and we hope to see the same enthusiasm this year. We would not be able to provide for all these children, without the support of Cumulus Media and our community.” In addition to news/talk WWTN “Super Talk 99.7 WTN” and sports talk WGFX “104.5 The Zone,” Cumulus Media Nashville consists of country outlets WSM-FM “Nash Icon 95.5,” and  WKDF “103.3 Nash FM,” and urban AC WQQK “92-Q.” ….. According to The Des Moines Register, former Des Moines sports talk host Marty Tirrell (KBGG, KXLQ, KXNO) has pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud in federal court. Indicted this past February, Tirrell accepted a plea deal Friday (12/6) and faces a maximum of 20 years in prison when he is sentenced at a hearing April 7; nine other counts were dismissed. He was charged of scamming victims out of $1.5 million in a sports ticket reselling scheme …. The Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters is accepting entries for its annual “Excellence in Broadcasting Awards” competition, which recognizes outstanding performance among radio and television stations. All entries must be submitted electronically – the deadline is January 6 (2020). Winners will be showcased during the “Excellence in Broadcasting Awards” luncheon March 30 at The Hotel Hershey. Meanwhile, the Colorado Broadcasters Association is inviting radio and television stations in that state to compete in over 50 categories; entry deadline is (Friday) January 10 (2020). The “Awards of Excellence” celebration will take place (Friday) April 17th in downtown Denver at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.

iHM Charleston Fundraiser Brings in Over $176,000. The 12th annual iHeartMedia Charleston “Cares for Kids” radiothon raised over $176,000 to benefit Medical University of South Carolina Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital. According to iHeartMedia Charleston area president Alene Grevey, “We’ve anticipated broadcasting from the brand new MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital for 12 years. Seeing this labor of love come to fruition thanks to the generosity of iHeartMedia Charleston’s listeners and advertisers is so inspiring.” This year’s two-day, fundraising “Cares for Kids” broadcast was held last Thursday (12/5) and Friday (12/6) from 6:00 am – 7:00 pm. The event featured iHeartMedia Charleston on-air talents Ric Rush, Brian Cleary, Kelly Golden, and Gary Goldman, as well as WCSC-TV personalities Justin Biegel, and Kaitlin Stansell. The radiothon featured more than 40 stories from MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital patients and their families. In addition to WSCC “94.3 The Lowcountry’s News Station,” iHeartMedia Charleston is comprised of adult contemporary WXLY-FM “Y-102.5 Better Music For A Better Workday,” and WEZL “103.5 Charleston’s #1 Station for New Country.”

PPM Analysis: Urban Contemporary. The music-intensive format in the spotlight this month is urban contemporary. Based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November 2019 PPM survey period, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian notes that approximately half the stations on his urban contemporary panel improve (49%) October 2019 – November 2019 (6+). Meanwhile, a virtually identical 51% of urban contemporary panelists show November 2018 – November 2019 growth. Five urban contemporary stations ranked second (6+) in November 2019; the typical format finish was #11.41 (6+). See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Beasley Media Group Holiday Soiree Features Lady Antebellum. As part of the company’s third annual “Holiday Soiree” client party last Thursday (12/5) in New York City, Beasley Media Group welcomed performances by Lady Antebellum; Joe King and Issac Slade from The Fray; and actor/musician David Duchovny. Beasley Media Group chief executive officer Caroline Beasley, president Bruce Beasley, and chief operating officer/executive vice president Brian Beasley thanked guests for their ongoing support. Shown from left to right are Big Machine Label Group senior vice president of promotion Mathew Largis; Dave Haywood (Lady Antebellum); Beasley Media Group national country brand manager/country WKLB, Boston program director David Corey; Hillary Scott (Lady Antebellum); Beasley Media Group executive vice president of programming Justin Chase; and Charles Kelley (Lady Antebellum).

 More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Twenty-six year WMGK “Classic Rock 102.9” midday personality Debbi Calton officially retired from the Beasley Media Group Philadelphia outlet last Friday (12/6). Prior to joining WMGK in 1993, Calton spent 10 years at cross-town rocker WYSP ….. Per The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, morning host Courtney Landrum and evening talent Jill Devine have departed Entercom St. Louis hot AC KYKY “Y-98.” A member of the station’s morning show the past 20 years, Landrum was promoted to top billing (“Courtney & Company”) two years ago when Guy Phillips left the station after a 38-year run. Jen Myers, Kevin Berghoff, Lance Hildebrand, and Tim Convy remain at the retitled “Y-98 Morning Show.” Devine joined “Y-98” eight years ago. She previously worked in the market for CHR KSLZ “Z-107.7”; country KSD-FM “93.7 The Bull”; and hot AC WVRV “101.1 The River” ….. In celebration of their 20th year in radio syndication, “Big D & Bubba” were treated to a surprise party last Friday (12/6) at Silverfish Media’s Nashville studios where company president Patrick Thomas recalls that, “On December 6, 1999, The Big D & Bubba Morning Show first aired in Amarillo [Texas]. That marked the beginning of syndication for the show, which was based at WYNK, Baton Rouge. Syndicated mornings in the country format was widely known to be an impossible task.” According to Patrick, it is the country’s longest-running syndicated morning show and has more than 75 affiliates. Helping to note the occasion in person were Compass Media Network chief executive officer Peter Kosann, and fellow syndicated country talents Lorraine Crook & Charlie Chase (“Crook & Chase), Evan Paul, and Amber Atnip ….. Wrapping up last week’s (12/2 through 12/6) “Stuff-A-Bus” toy drive to benefit the Marine Corps “Toys for Tots” program, iHeartMedia Pittsburgh CHR WKST “96.1 Kiss FM” collected 70 school buses worth of new unwrapped toys. Senior vice president of programming David Edgar notes, “[This] is one of our biggest events throughout the year. The overwhelming response from ‘Kiss’ listeners and the Pittsburgh community will help many children have a great holiday this year.” ….. Through the Smiley morning show’s 23rd annual, 36-hour “Make-A-Wish Request-A-Thon,” Cumulus Media Indianapolis CHR WZPL “99.5 ZPL – Indy’s Number One Hit Music Station” raised $839,638 for central Indiana children with life-threatening illnesses. Listeners called in last Thursday (12/5) and Friday (12/6) to request their favorite songs in exchange for a Make-A-Wish Foundation donation. Throughout the broadcast, WZPL shared inspiring wish stories from local Make-A-Wish kids and their families. Cumulus Media Indianapolis vice president/market manager Chuck Fredrick comments, “What a great way to head into the holiday season helping so many kids’ wishes come true in our community.” Operations manager JR Ammons adds that, “Thanks to the generosity of listeners and sponsors, we were able to surpass last year’s record total of $736,298. As a result, Make-A-Wish will be able to grant 83 wishes for kids here in central Indiana with life-threatening illnesses.” Over the course of the last 23 years, WZPL has helped raise more than $7.5 million for Make-A-Wish ….. Rosemont, Illinois’ Allstate Arena was the site of this past Saturday’s (12/7) 20th annual “B-96 Pepsi Jingle Bash” presented by Entercom Chicago CHR WBBM-FM. Katy Perry headlined the event. Entercom Chicago senior vice president and market manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “The ‘B-96 Jingle Bash’ has been a must-see holiday event in Chicago for two decades and has become a highly anticipated night of pop music and a beloved holiday tradition.” ….. Concluding today (Monday, 12/9) is iHeartMedia Atlanta CHR WWPW’s fourth annual “House of Toys,” a six-day “Power 96.1” fundraising event to help collect toys for the “Toys For Tots” program. Morning drive personality PK notes, “We want to be sure every child has the best holiday they can. We are thrilled to team up with our listeners once again and help underprivileged children receive the joy of a new gift this holiday season.” WWPW’s fundraiser is presented by Delta Community Credit Union ….. Filling the midday spot at Adams Radio Group Fort Wayne, Indiana’s country WBTU “US-93.3” is Erica Gray, who most recently had the same responsibilities in Gainesville (Florida) at Gillen Broadcasting CHR WYKS “Kiss 105.3.” ….. The inaugural “Not So Silent Night” benefit concert featuring local artists will be held this Friday (12/13) at Panama City, Florida’s Salty Hobo. Proceeds from the event – sponsored by iHeartMedia Panama City’s WDIZ “96 Rock” – will benefit the Toys for Tots Program. Program director Paco notes, “We look forward to an evening filled with music and holiday giving.”

Thursday, December 5, 2019

| December 5, 2019

San Francisco 49ers Suspend Ryan For “Dark Skin” Comments. The radio analyst for the San Francisco 49ers Tim Ryan – has been suspended by the NFL team for statements he made earlier this week on Cumulus Media San Francisco flagship KNBR “The Sports Leader.” During his weekly appearance on KNBR’s “Murph & Mac” morning show, Ryan remarked of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, “When you consider his dark skin color with a dark football with a dark uniform, you could not see that [fake]. I mean you literally could not see when he was in and out of the mesh point. If you’re a half-step slow on him, in terms of your vision, forget about it – he’s out of the gate.” A 49ers-issued statement reads, “We are disappointed in Tim Ryan’s comments. We hold Tim to a high standard as a representative of our organization and he must be more thoughtful with his words. Tim has expressed remorse in a public statement and has also done so with us privately. We know Tim as a man of high integrity and are confident he will grow and learn from this experience. We have reached out to the Baltimore Ravens organization to extend our apologies and assure them the matter is not being taken lightly.” Ryan’s statement notes, “I regret my choice of words in trying to describe the conditions of the game. Lamar Jackson is an MVP-caliber player and I respect him greatly. I want to sincerely apologize to him and anyone else I offended.” Ryan, a former University of Southern California and Chicago Bears lineman, will be kept out of the San Francisco radio booth for this Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints.

SB Nation Radio’s “Above It All” Set To Debut Next Month. The weekday three-hour (10:00 am – 1:00 pm) sports talk “Above it All with Candace Cooper and Tiffany Marshall” program will launch in January and succeeds Brian Barrett’s “The Break.” According to SB Nation Radio chief operating officer/program director Craig Larson, “After listening to the demo shows, I was absolutely blown away. I’m proud to be a part of a company that is always at the forefront of diversity and inclusion. This show will be groundbreaking on several levels and I can’t wait for everyone to hear it.” Raleigh sportscaster/former University of North Carolina swimmer Cooper remarks, “I am elated to be joining SB Nation Radio and [having] the opportunity to be working with Tiffany. The time is now for strong, female- driven shows; I’m eager to begin this new adventure.” Marshall, who has worked in sports management and marketing, most recently with the NBA’s Houston Rockets, comments, “ Candace and I are thrilled to be able to represent women in the sports radio industry. We are ready to break down barriers.”

PPM Analysis: All-News. Based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November 2019 PPM survey period, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at performances in the all-news format. Two all-news outlets ranked on top (6+) in their respective markets in the November sweep – Entercom Chicago’s WBBM-AM and its San Francisco sibling, KCBS-AM. While 72% of all-news stations improved from October to November (6+), precisely half as many (36%) showed year-to-year (November 2018 – November 2019) gains. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Frontado Joins KUT as Executive Editor. It is a newly-created position at University of Texas at Austin news/talk KUT and it will be filled next month by Teresa Frontado, who most recently was digital director for Miami news/talk WLRN-FM. KUT general manager and public media executive director Debbie Hiott states, “Teresa is going to be a dynamic leader for the newsroom as we increase our coverage. She is a proven innovator in digital strategy, a tough journalist, and someone who is well-attuned to what it takes to cover a community and state undergoing major growth and demographic change.” Frontado notes, “I am very excited about the opportunity to work with the KUT newsroom to find new ways to inform and engage with communities in central Texas. Through distinctive coverage of the city of Austin, or serving the whole state with Texas Standard, the journalists in this newsroom are committed to inspire dialogue and understanding indispensable for a strong, civil society.” Frontado previously worked for Univision and the Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald.

Fox News Radio Content To Become Available on RADIO.COM. The digital partnership between Fox News Radio and RADIO.COM is an extension of the existing broadcast agreement which includes FNR affiliates on Entercom news/talk stations in St. Louis (KFTK “News Talk 97.1”); Charlotte (WBT); Greenville-Spartanburg (WYRD “Word 106.3”); Wichita (KNSS), and Gainesville (WSKY “News Talk 97.3 – The Sky”). Entercom vice president of business development Corey Podolsky remarks, “Fox News Radio is an essential source of information and entertainment for audiences nationwide and we are pleased to extend our broadcast partnership to our digital platform. RADIO.COM continues to build its library of premium live and on-demand audio news, entertainment, music, and sports content and we are proud to have Fox News Radio included among our roster of industry-leading streaming and on-demand content providers.” The network features five-minute, hourly newscasts, along with one-minute newscasts, business updates, breaking-news coverage, and on-demand original podcasts. Fox News Talk provides weekday programs hosted by Brian Kilmeade and Guy Benson.

TALKERS News Notes. Former associate dean of External Relations at the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education, Carla Wohl, is appointed senior vice president of development for Southern California Public Radio, which includes Los Angeles news/talk outlet KPCC. Prior to her decade in development at USC, Wohl was assistant dean of External Affairs at the UCLA School of Public Health; a west coast correspondent for ABC News; and was a news reporter for Los Angeles’ KCBS-TV …. General sales manager of iHeartMedia Tampa, Jason Fulmino, transfers to iHeartMedia Kentucky-Indiana as regional vice president of automotive sales. Regional senior vice president of sales for iHeartMedia Kentucky-Indiana Kristy Beebe remarks, “We are so excited to welcome Jason to iHeartMedia Kentucky-Indiana. We trust that a marketing veteran like Jason will eagerly share his years of automotive sales knowledge with those in the Louisville, Indianapolis, Lexington, and Somerset markets.” Fulmino notes that, “iHeartMedia continues to create exciting new assets and tools in automotive radio advertising. I look forward to using these assets with a talented team of professionals to present opportunities for the automotive industry in Kentucky and Indiana.” Twenty-seven (27) news/talk and music-intensive stations comprise iHeartMedia Kentucky-Indiana ….. Effective January 21, Jess Clark will join Louisville Public Media news/talk WFPL as education reporter. WFPL director of news and programming Erica Peterson notes, “Jess is an experienced education reporter and also has first-hand experience with Jefferson County public schools. She has a track record of telling deeply-reported stories about students, teachers, and educational systems. I’m really excited for her to do that work at WFPL.” Clark previously had similar responsibilities at University of New Orleans news/talk WWNO ….. As part of Salem Radio Network’s “Stand with Israel Tour,” SRN host Mike Gallagher (right) is doing his show from Jerusalem. Joining Gallagher all this week are 615 SRN listeners.

Viacom-CBS Merger Is Now Complete. Fourteen years ago, Viacom and CBS Corp. went their separate ways, but they are officially back together. After three years of on-again/off-again talks, the all-stock merger between the companies has been completed, with the result being ViacomCBS Inc. The new company will have more than $28 billion in revenue and 4.3 billion cumulative TV subscribers. The combined company’s stock starts trading today (Thursday, 12/5) on the NASDAQ exchange under the symbols, “VIAC” and VIACA.” Viacom chief executive officer Bob Bakish leads the merged company as president/chief executive officer, while CBS Corp. acting CEO Joe Ianniello is now chairman/CEO of CBS, overseeing all CBS-branded assets. According to Bakish, “This is an historic moment that brings together two iconic companies to form one of the world’s most important content producers and providers. Through the combination of complementary assets, capabilities, and talented teams, ViacomCBS will create and deliver premium content for its own platforms and for others, while providing innovative solutions for advertisers and distributors globally. I am excited about the opportunity we have to serve our audiences, creative and commercial partners, and employees, while generating significant long-term value for our shareholders.” The deal brings Viacom’s Paramount Pictures and cable channels such as MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, and BET together with the CBS broadcast network, Showtime, 28 owned and operated television stations, CBS All Access, and Simon & Schuster.

WABC, New York Morning Show Co-host Sid Rosenberg Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.   One of the most colorful radio talk show hosts in America, “Heavy Hundred” member Sid Rosenberg, is this week’s guest on the PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Rosenberg is co-host with Bernard McGuirk of “The Bernie & Sid Show” – soon to mark its fourth anniversary in mornings on WABC, New York.  In addition to the daily news/talk show, Rosenberg hosts a weekend sports/talk show on WABC, tapping into his years of experience in that genre.  Harrison and Rosenberg discuss politics, sports, pop culture, and the state of radio as well as the inspirational progress the talk show host continues to make in his winning struggle with addiction issues.  According to Harrison, “Sid is one of the most authentic voices in American media today and living proof that a human being can overcome their demons.  We’re both a couple of Brooklyn boys who speak the Kings English (Kings County, that is).  The section of this podcast that depicts Rosenberg’s New York City street-level view of ‘local’ billionaires Donald Trump and Michael Bloomberg is worth the price of admission alone – must-listening for talk show broadcasters around the country.”  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 of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

Cool Job Opening. There is an immediate opening for an afternoon drive host at Entercom Charlotte news/talk WBT AM & FM. The station is looking for someone with a media brand with national reach and a passion to have a local impact; an experienced, authentic storyteller on-air and in the digital space. The candidate should be able to deliver news and lifestyle topics with a strong point-of-view, while always entertaining the listener. All candidates should have three years of hosting experience; possess producer and content creation skills; strong organizational, audio editing, writing, and social media proficiency; and, preferably, a college degree. A candidate must be an “all-in” team player with a positive attitude and an excellent work ethic. To apply, click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Recently voted one of the world’s eleven best soccer players, 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup champion U.S. women’s national soccer team midfielder Julie Ertz will be honored as “Remarkable Woman of the Year” at Entercom Philadelphia classic hits-oldies WOGL’s annual luncheon. The station’s morning host, Marilyn Russell, will emcee next Tuesday’s (12/10) 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm event. Ertz, who plays midfield for the Chicago Red Stars of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), will be honored for her soccer accomplishments, as well as her charitable efforts with the Ertz Family Foundation. She comments, “I am extremely honored and humbled to accept this award on behalf of the 100-plus women in the Philadelphia community who have been featured this year on Marilyn Russell’s ‘Remarkable Woman’ program on WOGL. There are so many amazing women doing remarkable things in our community. [My husband, Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz, and I]  are proud to call Philadelphia our community. I have to thank all the volunteers and donors of the Ertz Family Foundation. It is their commitment that makes it possible to make an impact in Philadelphia – we are just getting started here.” Russell notes, “What an honor and privilege it is to showcase truly remarkable women each and every week. From physicians to cancer survivors, to artists, authors, teachers, moms and everyone in-between, each woman has a fascinating story whose contributions to the world invariably moves us. Julie Ertz is the embodiment of a remarkable woman [and] we’re thrilled to celebrate her accomplishments.” ….. Los Angeles city officials honored LBI Media’s Don Cheto yesterday (Wednesday, 12/4) by proclaiming “Don Cheto Day” for his work in supporting the Latino immigrant community. The syndicated “Don Cheto Al Aire” morning show originates from Liberman Broadcasting Los Angeles regional Mexican KBUE “La Que Buena 105.5/94.3.” LBI Media chief executive officer Peter Markham comments, “We are extremely proud to have Don Cheto as an essential member of our LBI Media family. His unique sense of humor and cultural connection to the U.S. Latino population is second to none. His standing as a leading voice in immigration advocacy and his prowess in addressing and bringing attention to pressing issues that affect the Latino community using his multimedia platforms is the essence of LBI Media’s ‘community first’ approach.” Ceto states, “I am honored to receive this recognition from the City of Los Angeles, a city that my family and I call home and where I have been fortunate enough to do what I love. For me, it’s an honor to be the voice of our hard working Latino community and also represent our cultural heritage and pride.” Fourteenth district city councilman Jose Huizar presented Cheto with a proclamation at the Los Angeles city council’s chamber. Huizar celebrated Cheto’s contributions to the city’s Latino immigrant population and his work in providing education and resources through his morning radio show, which this year celebrates its 20th anniversary. In addition to his daily radio show, Michoacan, Mexico native Cheto is a celebrity judge on EstrellaTV’s “Tengo Talento, Mucho Talento.” ….. Performances by Sam Hunt, Dustin Lynch, Chris Janson, Blanco Brown, Runaway June, Gone West and Matt Stell highlighted last night’s (Wednesday, 12/4) annual country music concert “Stars and Strings,” which benefitted the American Cancer Society. Entercom New York’s WNSH “Country 94.7” hosted the show at Barclays Center. Entercom senior vice president of programming and music initiatives Michael Martin remarks, “It was amazing to have this level of star power on stage. We are thankful to the artists for an unforgettable evening. There is no better way to get in the holiday spirit than with great music and by supporting American Cancer Society’s mission of helping those affected by cancer.” ….. With the immediate goal of raising money to support families in town to receive care for a sick child, Bonneville Denver adult contemporary KOSI will hold its annual Ronald McDonald House Charities of Denver radiothon today (Thursday, 10/5). The station will broadcast from 6:00 am – 6:00 pm from the Ronald McDonald House. Vice president/market manager Bob Call states, “The Ronald McDonald House relieves the worry and stress of where to stay so moms and dads can focus on the best medicine of all – the love and care of their child. I know KOSI listeners will once again step up to support this year’s ‘Light The House’ radiothon.” KOSI program director Jim Lawson notes, “We are very proud to partner again this year and join our incredibly generous listeners to help assist families with housing while they focus on the health of their child.” …..  Six-year iHeartMedia McAllen on-air talent Lauren Campbell exits to start a Rio Grande Valley-based social media consultancy, Top-of-Mind RGV … Earlier this week (Tuesday, 12/3), Cumulus Media Fort Walton Beach (Florida) country outlet WYZB “105.5 Nash FM” afternoon personality Skip Davis lost his fight against cancer. During his time at the station, Davis was program director, midday host, and the cluster’s production director. Per a posting on the station’s Facebook page, “With hearts full of sadness, we have lost a son. Skip Davis passed away in his sleep. He moved on in peace and without any distress. Skip has been a radio presence on the Gulf Coast for decades. We ask that you keep Skip’s wife, his family, and friends in your hearts.”

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

| November 26, 2019

Round One of November PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of November 2019 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Long Island (Nassau-Suffolk), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey).  The November 2019 rating period covered October 10 – November 6.  Some 6+ ratings gains of note for spoken-word stations during the November survey include: Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM, Chicago adds another 0.5 share to its two previous increases for a 4.0 share and a #8 ranking in the market while Cumulus Media’s crosstown WLS-AM is flat at a 2.3 share; Cumulus’ WBAP, Dallas continues its upward trend, posting a 4.4 share good for #5 in the market; iHeartMedia’s KTRH, Houston posts its third consecutive ratings gain with a 4.1 share, keeping it at #11 in the market; Cox Media Group’s Atlanta juggernaut WSB-AM/WSBB-FM is up 3.0 full shares over the past five surveys with November’s 9.3 share keeping it locked at #1 for the fourth straight month; and Entercom’s sports talk WIP-FM, Philadelphia lands at #1 in the market for the third straight month after finishing with an 8.2 share.  See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Takeaways” from each market here.

Eric Johnson Exits WPEN-FM, Philadelphia.  Programmer Eric Johnson exits Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 FM The Fanatic” after two years with the station.  Numerous Philly news outlets have picked up on the story but there’s little to report beyond Johnson’s own post to his Facebook page that simply says he left the station yesterday (11/25).  Johnson joined “The Fanatic” in 2017 after serving for many years as program director for Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5.”

Impeachment Testimony, 2020 Presidential Race, SCOTUS Trump Financial Records Ruling, McGahn Ruling, Trump’s Navy Seal Controversy, Hong Kong Election, and German Jewel Heist Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/25). The testimony in the impeachment inquiry against President Trump; the Democrats vying for the nomination to challenge President Trump in 2020 and Democrat Michael Bloomberg’s entrance into the race; the Supreme Court sides with Trump on a request to block a subpoena from House Democrats seeking data from the president’s accounting firm; a judge rules former White House counsel Don McGahn must obey a subpoena for his testimony; the controversy over Trump’s order to remove Navy Secretary Richard Spencer over the Eddie Gallagher case; the results of the Hong Kong elections in which pro-democracy candidates won; and the theft of priceless historical jewels from Dresden’s Royal Palace were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. New York Post sports columnist Andrew Marchand reports that former WFAN, New York personality Chris Carlin appears headed to ESPN’s crosstown WEPN-FM to host the evening show.  Current evening host Alan Hahn is reportedly set to be promoted to middays alongside Bart Scott, who is currently co-hosting middays with Maggie Gray at WFAN.  See Marchand’s column here…..Sports talker Matt Jones – who left his gig hosting the WLAP, Lexington-based “Kentucky Sports Radio” while considering a run for Mitch McConnell’s U.S. Senate seat – announces he’s inked a new, five-year deal with iHeartMedia to return to the show on December 26.  Jones made national news in August when he was let go from his “Hey Kentucky!” TV show on WLEX-TV, Lexington after announcing his plans to publish a political book titled, Mitch, Please!  Earlier this month he was ousted from “Kentucky Sports Radio” after an election rules complaint from the Kentucky Republican Party.  See WLEX-TV’s report here…..iHeartMedia announces chairman and CEO Bob Pittman and president, COO, and CFO Rich Bressler will participate in a question and answer session during the Wells Fargo TMT Summit in Las Vegas on Wednesday, December 4.  Wells Fargo says “senior executives from more than 140 leading public and private technology, media, and telecom companies are already confirmed to attend the third annual” event.

Study Indicates AM/FM Campaigns Can Drive Web Traffic for Retailers.  Data from a study by marketing attribution platform LeadsRx for Westwood One measured the website visitor traffic increases after consumers were exposed to an AM/FM radio campaign by a major jewelry retailer.  WWO says the results offer retailers a way to understand how their advertising performs on a granular level so that plans can be optimized in the future.  Some of the findings include: As a result of the AM/FM radio campaign, the jewelry retailer saw an +11% increase in their site traffic.  The boost was +38% greater than the average for the jewelry category as measured by Analytic Owl’s analysis of 92 AM/FM radio campaigns reported by the Radio Advertising Bureau; throughout the course of the AM/FM radio campaign, the highest rate of conversion occurred in early December.  The greatest share of attributed web sessions (27%) occurred from December 3rd through the 9th, followed by 20% of attributed web sessions taking place the following week; and the jewelry retailer saw spikes in web sessions in the middle of the week and on Sundays.  On Thursdays, ad occurrences comprised 16% of the total impressions of the jewelry retailer’s campaign, while accounting for 19% of the attributed web sessions. On Sundays, 12% of total campaign impressions ran, driving 14% share of the attributed web sessions to the jewelry retailer site.  See more here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In St. Louis, Entercom’s hot AC KZPT “99.7 The Point” announces that Shaylee Henning is promoted to midday personality.  Henning takes over for Leigh McNabb, who exited recently to take on the program director role at Saga Communications’ classic hits KIOA, Des Moines.  Henning continues in her role as production assistant for the station group…..At Cox Media Group’s CHR WFLC, Miami “Hits 97.3,” DJ Laz exits the morning drive show.  Cluster director of operations Jill Strada is expected to announce the plans for the station’s morning show in the near future…..Saga Communications classic rock outlet WAQY, Springfield, Massachusetts “Rock 102” is underway with the 25th Annual Mayflower Marathon to collect nonperishable food donations to benefit the region’s Open Pantry Community Services organization.  Morning show team Mike Baxendale and John O’Brien – “Bax & O’Brien” – along with producer Steve Nagle, will be on the radio for 52 hours broadcasting live from the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.  The goal is to fill three 48-foot Mayflower moving van trailers by 10:00 am Wednesday.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

| November 21, 2019

Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder Out in New WGN, Chicago Program Schedule. Two months after new management ousted station manager Todd Manley from his role at WGN, Chicago and hinted more changes were on the horizon, the Nexstar-owned news/talk outlet announces its new programming lineup and late morning duo Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder are the odd couple out.  After the close of the Tribune-Nexstar deal, Sean Compton became executive vice president and director of news and operations Mary Sandberg Boyle was named interim programming manager.  Yesterday (11/20), Boyle announced the changes via internal email.  Among the changes effective December 2 are: Steve Cochran’s morning show starts an hour earlier, airing from 5:00 am to 9:00 am; John Williams moves from his current 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot to 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Ji Suk Yi takes over hosting the 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm “Wintrust Business Lunch” show; and Anna Davlantes leaves the co-host role on the afternoon drive Roe Conn program to host her own 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm talk show.  Conn remains in afternoons, followed by Justin Kaufmann from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, followed by Nick Digilio from 11:00 pm to 4:00 am.  WGN will simulcast the “WGN-TV Early Morning News” from 4:00 am to 5:00 am.  Read Chicago media writer Robert Feder’s coverage here.

WPHT, Philadelphia’s Rich Zeoli Interviews President Trump. Pictured above is WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive personality Rich Zeoli interviewing President Trump in the Oval Office as part of Tuesday’s White House Radio Row on the United States Mexico Canada trade deal.  The president also talked about the 2020 election and the impeachment hearings.  Zeoli says, “The president was incredibly gracious with his time and said how much he loves talk radio.”  Photo: Andrea Hanks

John Fredericks Show Interviews VP Mike Pence. At Tuesday’s White House Radio Row on the USMCA treaty, Virginia talk station owner and statewide talk radio personality John Fredericks (right) posed for a photo with Vice President Mike Pence (left) and Fredericks’ wife, Anne (center), who serves as CFO of the John Fredericks Network.

Cumulus Inks ‘The Ticket’ Morning Show ‘The Musers’ to Multiyear Extension. Dallas sports talkers George Dunham, Craig Miller, and Gordon Keith – collectively known as “The Musers” – sign contract extensions to continue hosting the morning drive show on Cumulus Media’s sports talk KCTK-AM/FM, Dallas “The Ticket.”  The Cumulus Dallas-Houston regional vice president Dan Bennett says, “For 25 years, the Morning Musers’ George Dunham, Craig Miller, and Gordon Keith have performed at a market dominant level and we are excited that will continue for many more years in Dallas!”  The Musers comment, “We are very pleased to continue our longstanding relationship with Cumulus and the wonderful leadership of the Dallas/Fort Worth market.  This company has made us feel appreciated and we are extremely thankful for their support of such a special station.  ‘The Ticket’ in Dallas/Fort Worth is our home and the bond that we have with our listeners is something we will cherish for as long as we breathe.”

Salem Covers A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Premiere. Above is Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (left) interviewing director Marielle Heller (right) at last night’s premiere of the SONY Pictures film, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.  The film stars Tom Hanks as television icon Fred Rogers.  The premiere took place in Pittsburgh where the “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” TV show was produced at WQED-TV.

Skyview Networks Sponsors Panels at MLB Rightsholders Conference. The photo above shows the participants in this year’s MLB Audio Rightsholders Conference in Las Vegas.  More than 20 teams and organizations participated in panels covering technology, audio sales strategies, and the future of emerging non-terrestrial mediums.  Digital content captured the main focus of the conversations as franchises shared strategies for monetizing this evolving platform.  Skyview Networks president and COO Steve Jones says, “Skyview Networks is proud to return as the title sponsor of this conference, which hosts an innovative group of baseball and broadcast executives as they discuss the critical role radio and digital audio play in fan engagement.  We look forward to developing additional technology to serve our partners in this evolving audio space.”  Additional panel topics included maximizing ad sales with an emphasis on innovative features and creating awareness for franchises’ ancillary digital content, especially concerning podcasts.  As the digital listenership rapidly increases, the franchises are hyper-focused on monetizing the platform.

TALKERS News Notes. The NM Political Report says that KIVA-AM/K229CL, Albuquerque owner Eddy Aragon is considering running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Tom Udall, who is not running for re-election.  Aragon – a staunch conservative – hosts the afternoon show on the station branded, “the Rock of Talk.”  He tells NM Political Report this is something he’s only considering at this point. “You have to imagine the tremendous sacrifice that I have to consider.  Being off [the air] during the year Donald Trump is running in 2020, that’s a sacrifice to my radio station.”…..KIDO, Boise morning drive talk host Kevin Miller is pictured below talking to KTVB-TV, Boise news about his annual Miller’s Mission Turkey Drive to help provide the hungry and homeless in Boise with a warm dinner for the holidays.  The goal is to collect 3,000 turkeys for the Boise Rescue Mission Ministries.  Each year Miller dons his turkey suit and broadcasts live from a local Walmart parking lot to collect turkeys and cash donations.

Impeachment Testimony, 2020 Presidential Race/Atlanta Debate, Epstein Case/Prince Andrew Troubles, U.S.-China Trade Talks/Hong Kong Human Rights Act, and Mexicans Sue Walmart Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/20). Wednesday’s impeachment hearing with testimony from EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020 and Wednesday’s Atlanta debates; the investigation into Jeffrey Epstein’s death and the aftermath of Prince Andrew’s BBC interview; U.S. trade talks with China and the U.S. House’s Hong Kong Human Rights Act; and Mexicans’ suit against Walmart over the mass shooting in El Paso 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. Programming pro Robyn Simone exits Cumulus Media’s urban contemporary WLXC, Columbia, South Carolina “Kiss 103.1” where she’d been serving as program director for the past year.  She says, “Working at Cumulus Media in Columbia was a challenge, but I gained a lot of knowledge in my short time there.  As the program director/air talent for ‘Kiss 103.1,’ I’m a stronger and more knowledgeable PD because the experience.  I would like to thank [VP programming operations] John Dimick and VP/urban programming Kenny Smoov for the opportunity and their commitment to set new standards for urban radio.”

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

| November 20, 2019

WIBC, Indianapolis Talk Host Tony Katz Speaks with VP Pence at White House Radio Row. In the photo above taken at yesterday’s White House Radio Row on the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, WIBC-FM, Indianapolis morning host and syndicated late morning personality Tony Katz (right) interviews Vice President Mike Pence (left).  Katz says he was one of just three talk hosts to interview Pence at the daylong event that featured a number of GOP members of Congress and Trump administration officials speaking with the invited group of radio hosts.  Pence’s comments to Katz on the China-Hong Kong tensions made national news, with the VP saying, “The president has made it very clear; it would be very hard to do a deal with China if there is any violence or if that matter is not treated properly and humanely.”

Lori Lewis Launches Social Media Consultancy. Social media and radio pro Lori Lewis announces the launch of her social media consultancy firm, Lori Lewis Media.  She says her firm offers “brands the most affordable way to finally put a social media strategy in play with proven, winning tactics to drive audience and revenue growth.”  Lewis served for three years as vice president of social media for Cumulus Media and Westwood One.  Prior to that, she was director of digital and social strategy at Jacobs Media.  She’s also worked in the radio industry as a programmer and talent.

FOX Sports Radio Reports October Audience Growth. The sports audio network cites October 2019 data for its radio and streaming ratings as well as podcast listens, reporting record audience totals.  FOX Sports Radio – a division of Premiere Networks – says that “The Herd with Colin Cowherd achieved its “single greatest month in average quarter hour audience, growing +31.4% with Adults 25-54 and +36.2% with Men 25-54.”  “Outkick the Coverage with Clay Travis” “had its best AQH month ever in October, increasing +38.3% with Adults 25-54 and +53.5% with Men 25-54.”  Also, FOX Sports says it posted its largest streaming audience in the history of the network with total listening hours increasing +21% year-to-year in October 2019.  The network also set another record for total monthly podcast listens in October, reaching more than 11 million monthly listens.

Entercom Adds Local News Content on Google Assistant. Leveraging the power of its all-news radio stations, Entercom is adding local news audio content to the new “Your News Update,” on the Google Assistant.  Entercom says that through this partnership, local content from stations including 1010 WINS and WCBS 880 in New York, KNX 1010 News Radio in Los Angeles, WBBM Newsradio in Chicago, Newsradio 1080 KRLD in Dallas, WWJ News Radio 950 in Detroit, KYW Newsradio in Philadelphia, KCBS All News in San Francisco and News Radio 1120 KMOX in St. Louis will be featured as part of the “Your News Update” platform.  This follows the stations’ exclusive participation as part of the platform’s beta-testing phase.  “Your News Update” will showcase a mix of short news stories chosen in that moment based on users’ interests, location, history, and preferences, as well as the top news stories from publishers from around the world including Associated Press, FOX News, Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter and more.

Vanessa Wojtusiak Named VP of Marketing for iHeartMedia Hartford/New Haven. Marketing pro Vanessa Wojtusiak joins iHeartMedia Hartford/New Haven as vice president of marketing.  The markets include news/talk WPOP-AM, Hartford and WELI, New Haven plus sports talker WUCS-FM, Hartford and WAVZ-AM, New Haven.  Wojtusiak joins iHeartMedia from Nexstar’s WTNH-TV, New Haven where she most recently served as the director of audience development and executive digital producer.  She’s also served as national director of social marketing for iHeartRadio, an online marketing manager for WHTZ, New York “Z100” and the marketing assistant for WXKS-FM, Boston “KISS 108.”  She says, “I am thrilled to be back home where I started my media career 18 years ago.  Radio has been my longstanding passion and a medium that still has a meaningful and powerful presence in local communities.  I can’t wait to keep elevating the iconic local brands alongside a very talented team.”

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand is continuing his watch over the sports talk radio scene in New York and reports that current WFAN 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm personality Bart Scott is expected to jump across town to ESPN-owned rival WEPN as co-host of the show in the same time slot.  ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith – currently hosting the ESPN Radio network show in that daypart – is leaving his radio duties with the company for more TV work, leaving that time slot open.  He also says sources indicate current WFAN midday team Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts are odds-on favorites to assume the afternoon drive show on WFAN when Mike Francesa moves to the RADIO.COM platform.  Read his column here…..iHeartRadio launches a new branded podcast in collaboration with T-Mobile for Business, titled “This Time Tomorrow.”  In it, podcast hosts Oz Woloshyn and Karah Preiss look closely at how innovations in 5G connectivity will revolutionize the way people work, socialize, and interact with the world…..Cox Media Group’s news/talk KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa  launches its 14th annual Stories of Light fundraiser to benefit Make-A-Wish Oklahoma.  The goal is to raise $300,000 during the three-day radiothon.  The KRMG team moves its entire broadcast to LaFortune Park in Tulsa for the radiothon and encourages listeners to stop by with donations.  This event has raised more than $3 million since its inception…..SiriusXM and Amazon announce that SiriusXM’s On Demand library is now available to subscribers with Amazon Alexa and Echo devices, as well as several third-party devices with Alexa built-in.  The move allows subscribers with streaming access to simply ask Alexa to play their favorite SiriusXM shows and compelling content whenever they want it.

Edison Research Unveils ‘Podcast Consumer Tracker’ Report. This new report from Edison Research is what the company calls “the first successful endeavor to present a unified look at audience information at the publisher/network level.”  It says the Podcast Consumer Tracker also contains “competitive intelligence, audience demographics, and sales targeting information for podcast publishers and networks.  It currently has 10 charter subscribers, including NPRPodcastOne, Wondery, ESPN, WarnerMedia, and “other significant publishing and agency partners.”  While the comparative rankings of publisher networks are available only to subscribers, Edison offers some of the findings of its first report: “The Joe Rogan Experience” is the leading podcast in terms of reach amongst weekly podcast consumers; there are significant content consumption differences between iPhone and Android users, rendering ‘Top Podcast’ charts derived exclusively from users of either to be unrepresentative of total listening behavior; and while the study tracks the relative reach of the top podcast networks, 54% of weekly podcast consumers have listened to an unaffiliated, independent podcast in the last week.  Edison Reasearch SVP Tom Webster says, “This is the first study in the podcast space to tackle a universal measure of reach.  There are, of course, various charts of downloads that cover parts of the overall universe, but those either reflect only a portion of the podcast audience, or they only measure publishers that opt-in.  The Podcast Consumer Tracker’s goal is a truly inclusive measure of the comparative penetration of the leading publishers and networks.  In that, we have been highly successful.”

Impeachment Hearings/Ukraine Allegations, 2020 Presidential Race/Atlanta Debate, Epstein Guards Charged, Israel-Syria Skirmish, and Hong Kong University Siege Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/19). This week’s impeachment testimony about the allegations of President Trump’s impropriety with regard to Ukraine military aid; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020 and tonight’s debate in Atlanta; the charges being filed against the Manhattan prison guards on duty when Jeffrey Epstein died are charged as the investigation continues; Israel fires at Iranian military targets in Syria; and the Hong Kong University siege were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

The Story of The Fisher House Foundation. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian writes about the birth and growth of the Fisher House Foundation and its harnessing the “power in radio” to raise awareness of the organization’s mission.  As regular TALKERS readers are probably aware, the Fisher House Foundation builds comfort homes where family members of military personnel and veterans can stay while their loved one is in the hospital.  Since its inception, the Fisher House estimates it has saved families $451 million in out-of-pocket costs for housing and transportation.  How the Fisher House Foundation began and how its relationship with radio – especially news/talk radio – is an interesting story.  Read Mike Kinosian’s piece here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  In Los Angeles, entertainment, news & traffic reporter Lisa May announces she’s leaving the “Frosty, Heidi & Frank” morning show at Meruelo Media’s classic rock KLOS, effective December 13.  The longtime Los Angeles radio personality is moving to Palm Springs to work in the personal fitness business…..A surprise on Long Island as longtime adult contemporary WALK-FM morning drive personality Mark Daniels exits the station.  Newsday reports the 63-year-old Daniels has been with Connoisseur Media’s WALK since 1985.  Daniels’s on-air partner Jamie Morris is staying on and will be part of the new morning show set to debut in January…..YEA Networks announces that the “Tino Cochino Radio” show is being added to the programming lineup on hip hop KQKS, Denver “KS 1075,” its first Entercom-owned affiliate station.….On Friday (11/22), the iHeartRadio album release party with Coldplay, celebrating the release of Everyday Life takes place.  The hour-long on air special will feature a performance and an exclusive interview hosted by iHeartRadio on-air personality, Harms.  It airs at 8:00 pm local time on iHeartMedia alternative and triple A stations…..BMI announces the appointment of Nexstar Media Group president and CEO Perry Sook to the BMI board of directors, effective January 1, 2020.   Board chair Michael J. Fiorile says, “We’re extremely pleased to welcome Perry Sook to the BMI board of directors.  Perry has achieved incredible success at Nexstar and we know he will be a valuable addition to the board as we continue our mission of protecting the rights of songwriters, composers, and music publishers and advocating for the value of music.”

Monday, November 11, 2019

| November 11, 2019

2019 Radio Hall of Famers Inducted. On Friday evening at Gotham Hall in New York City, nine radio broadcasters were enshrined in the Radio Hall of Fame.  Inductees Jim Rome, Joe Madison, Sean Hollywood Hamilton, Harry Harrison, Kevin Ryder and Gene “Bean” Baxter, John Tesh, Dr. Ruth Westheimer and Ryan Seacrest represented the class of 2019 at the ceremony that included 2018 Radio Hall of Fame inductee Mike Francesa as Master of Ceremonies.  Fellow RHOF inductees Jim Bohannon, Jim Kerr, and Kid Kelly were in attendance along with celebrity introducers actor Christian Slater (for Hollywood Hamilton), actress Connie Selleca (for husband John Tesh), and “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon (for his friend Ryan Seacrest).  Jim Bohannon served as announcer of the event.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and his wife, professor/author Bernadette Duncan, were among the hundreds of industry luminaries, friends and family in attendance.  “It was a truly memorable evening in a dazzling setting that was a heartfelt celebration of radio and the special breed of talented people who have literally been breathing life into it golden age after golden age,” says Harrison. “We salute the dedicated work of Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig T. Kitchin, vice chairman Dennis Green, and the entire nominating committee for organizing and presenting such a deeply meaningful event honoring an indisputably deserving Class of 2019.”  Harrison adds, “One of the most noble deeds any organization, platform or individual can perform for an artistic community such as our beloved radio industry – especially as it reaches the extraordinary milestone of its 100th anniversary in a rapidly changing world – is to give credit where credit is due.”  Pictured above are (from l-r): Jim Rome, Sean “Hollywood” Hamilton, Ryan Seacrest, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Joe Madison, Kevin Ryder, Gene “Bean” Baxter, Harry Harrison (seated), and John Tesh.  Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Radio Hall of Fame

From the 2019 Radio Hall of Fame Induction. Above, wheelchair-bound Harry Harrison in the audience watches his children Patti and Patrick make an emotional presentation inducting him into the Radio Hall of Fame.

From the 2019 Radio Hall of Fame Induction. Inductee Joe Madison of SiriusXM Satellite Radio with his old friend, TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison.

Louisiana Judge Denies Felony Arrest Warrant for Former WWL, New Orleans Sports Talk Host Seth Dunlap.  The Times-Picayune reports that last week, a New Orleans Police Department detective investigating the case involving former WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans sports talk host Seth Dunlap was denied a warrant to arrest him on a felony count of extortion.  Regular TALKERS readers who’ve been following this case remember that after the official WWL Twitter account posted a gay slur against the openly homosexual Dunlap on September 10, an Entercom investigation appeared to indicate Dunlap sent the tweet via his phone, although Dunlap’s lawyer says Dunlap did not have access to the account and didn’t have its password.  She also says Dunlap took a lie detector test and passed.  Subsequent talks between Entercom and Dunlap’s legal team reportedly included Dunlap’s request for $1.8 million to settle his charge against the station of allowing a hostile workplace environment.  Entercom turned the case over to the NOPD and the cops got a warrant to search Dunlap’s phone.  In last week’s ruling, Magistrate Commissioner Robert Blackburn said the evidence presented didn’t rise to the level of the definition of felony extortion.  The NOPD says the case is still “active and ongoing.”  Dunlap, through his attorney, has vowed to sue WWL over the hostile workplace matter.

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s October 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the news/talk format.  Less than 25% of news/talk stations suffered a (weekly 6+ AQH share) ratings drop-off from the September survey to the October survey.  Gainers were led by Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City (+2.4).  Comparing year-over-year numbers, 51% of stations on our panel are down, while just 37% see their ratings go up.  News/talkers up over last year include: Entercom’s WCCO, Minneapolis; iHeartMedia’s WJNO, West Palm Beach; Cumulus Media’s KMBZ-FM, Kansas City; and iHeartMedia’s WREC, Memphis.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Monday Memo: That First Call.  As programming cutbacks continue, smart on-air people are involved in advertising sales.  In this week’s column consultant Holland Cooke shares tips for getting – and making the most of – face time with prospects.  Read it here.

Impeachment Proceedings/Ukraine Affair, 2020 Presidential Race, Hong Kong Protests, Veterans Day Holiday, Berlin Wall Falls Anniversary, Looming Bitter Cold Weather, and Australia Bushfires/Climate Change Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The impeachment process against President Trump and the testimony about President Trump’s alleged quid pro quo offer to Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the weekend’s violent protests in Hong Kong; the Veterans Day holiday; the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall; the bitter cold temperatures forecast for parts of the U.S. this week; the devastating bushfires affecting Australia’s eastern coast and the role of climate change in that country’s drought were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reports that Stephen A. Smith has inked a new deal with ESPN – a five-year pact that will pay him about $8 million per year.  As TALKERS reported last week, Smith is giving up his midday radio show on the ESPN Radio network at the end of the year.  He’ll continue to appear on the cable channel’s “First Take” and will make more appearances on “SportsCenter” and on NBA coverage…..The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Rob Tornoe writes that Philadelphia sports media personality Rob Ellis is returning to local TV as co-host of a new show on KYW-TV called, “Odds On,” with station sports anchor Pat Gallen.  The sports-betting themed, 30-minute program will air Sundays at 8:30 am.  Ellis will continue to handle fill-in duties for Entercom’s WIP-FM.  He’s been sitting in for the convalescing Big Daddy Graham on the overnight show.  He previously served with NBC Sports Philadelphia for 17 years…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that longtime WVON, Chicago afternoon talk host Cliff Kelley is being honored in “An Amazing Tribute to Cliff Kelley” on Saturday (11/16) at Parkway Ballroom, in Chicago.   Kelley spent 25 years with the Midway Broadcasting urban news/talk station in both the morning and afternoon drive dayparts.  He retired from the station last March.

WRKO, Boston Raises $230,000-plus for Disabled American Veterans. Last Friday (11/8), iHeartMedia Boston news/talk “AM 680 WRKO, The Voice of Boston” raised more than $230,000 to benefit the Disabled American Veterans Department of Massachusetts during the DAV radiothon that took place from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm.  iHeartMedia Boston VP of news/talk Rob Sanchez says, “Since our nation’s inception, our military men and women have sacrificed their own lives for our freedom.  It’s an honor for AM 680 WRKO to have this opportunity to show respect for our veterans with the help of our generous listeners.  And to raise $233,593 this year is incredibly gratifying.”  Pictured above are (from l-r): DAV-AM director of public relations Robert Lynch, WRKO APD Jarred Diglio, DAV-MA adjutant/CEO Dan Stack, and WRKO morning host Jeff Kuhner.

KSCO, Santa Cruz Owner Michael Zwerling is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The long-time owner of news/talk heritage station KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA, Michael Zwerling, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Zwerling, known throughout the radio industry as one of the last of the fiercely independent owner/operators, is described by TALKERS publisher Harrison as “an extremely colorful, quirky, eccentric, and intelligent lover of radio – a refreshing counterpoint to the budget-obsessed, community-indifferent, mega-corporate mentality that has consumed the decision-making processes of much of today’s industry.”  In a free-wheeling conversation between two old friends, MH and MZ discuss the changing nature of Freedom of Speech and challenges facing the First Amendment in the 21st century digital era, plus more.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box located in the right-hand column on every page of the TALKERS email newsletter.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. WPXY-FM, Rochester air personality Brianna “Breezy” Sloth is promoted at the Entercom CHR outlet to morning drive co-host alongside morning radio pro Corey James on the “#TeamPXY” show.   Entercom Rochester SVP and market manager Sue Munn comments, “Breezy has an undeniable work ethic and tenacity while delivering her one-of-a-kind, friendly and outgoing personality on the air.  She has a real familiarization with our station, this market and its devoted listeners, and we’re thrilled to have her on board.”  Breezy joined ‘98 PXY’ as an intern for the station’s morning show in 2017. Following her graduation from SUNY Oswego, she assumed various roles for the station, including in promotions and programming as WPXY’s evening show host, morning show fill-in host, and morning and evening drive traffic reporter…..Entercom assigns programming duties for country KMNB, Minneapolis to WUSN, Chicago PD Kenny Jay in the aftermath of the recent departure of KMNB PM drive host and programmer Lucas Phelan.  Jay will continue to work from the company’s Chicago offices…..Programming pro Dylan Salisbury is leaving his APD/music director role at Cumulus Media’s CHR WZPL-FM, Indianapolis for a gig soon-to-be-announced.  Cumulus Indy operations manager J.R. Ammons says in a memo to staff, “During his two years at ZPL, Dylan has proven to be a smart, strategic, passionate programmer and I will miss our music arguments every Monday.  Please join me in congratulating Dylan on this well-deserved promotion; his last day will be next Friday the 15th. Until a permanent replacement is named, Zakk Babb will be filling in on ZPL.”…..Pictured below in New York City on Friday night (11/8) is pop radio icon Ryan Seacrest being inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame  by “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

| October 29, 2019

Round One of October PPM Ratings Released.  The first of four rounds of October 2019 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Long Island (Nassau-Suffolk), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex (New Jersey).  The October 2019 rating period covered September 12 to October 9.  Some positive (6+) ratings gains of note include: Entercom’s WFAN, New York (+0.6) re-enters the market’s top 10 with a 3.8 share; Nexstar’s WGN, Chicago (+0.3) continues to ascend to #9 in the market with a 3.5 share; Cumulus Media’s WBAP, Dallas marks six consecutive surveys without a dip and scores a 4.1 share; iHeartMedia’s KTRH, Houston has a another positive survey, now ranking #11 in the market with a 3.9 share; Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta earns a fourth consecutive positive survey (+0.6) and is #1 in the market with an 8.2 share; and Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia rises almost a full share from September to a 7.5 share.  TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian, as he does every month, presents his “Takeaways” from the performances of each market’s spoken-word and music stations. See his “Takeaways” from this first round here.  You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.

Bill O’Reilly Packs House at Boston Event. Pictured above at center is Key Networks syndicated radio personality and best-selling author Bill O’Reilly at last Saturday’s appearance in suburban Boston.  iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO airs the daily “The O’Reilly Update” program and hosted the “An Afternoon with Bill O’Reilly” event that drew a sellout crowd during which O’Reilly offered his “no spin” take on news, politics, the 2020 election, his experience being back on radio, and more.  He also talked about his latest book, The United States of Trump (2019, Henry Holt & Company).  Pictured with O’Reilly are WRKO talk show hosts Doug “VB” Goudie (left) and Jeff Kuhner (right).  Photo: Mario Jarjour.

TALKERS News Notes. With the release of the latest October 2019 PPM ratings from Nielsen Audio, the sports talk radio battle in New York between Entercom’s WFAN and ESPN’s WEPN is once again under scrutiny by the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand.  He reports that in afternoon drive, WEPN’s Michael Kay grabbed a 7.4 share to take the #1 spot in that daypart while WFAN’s Mike Francesa had a 5.6 share – or a 6.0 share if his streaming numbers are included – to finish third or second, respectively…..Salem Media Group’s KNUS, Denver is presenting a live event titled, “Countdown 2020: War for America’s Soul,” at University of Colorado South Denver tonight (10/29).  It features Salem Radio Network talk host Dennis Prager and author, FOX News contributor, and TOWNHALL columnist Michelle Malkin discussing such topics as “the march toward socialism,” “Iran waging war,” “restricted free speech and religious rights,” and “racial tensions.”…..Good Karma Brands fires up a new subscription service for content from its Wisconsin sports talk stations called, “Wisconsin On Demand.”  For $5 per month or $50 per year, subscribers get content on demand from WTLX-FM, Madison “ESPN Madison” and WKTI-FM and WAUK-AM, Milwaukee “ESPN Milwaukee” that includes limited commercials…..Condolences to the family and friends of former, longtime Syracuse traffic reporter Anthony Bombardo, Jr., who passed away on October 27 at the age of 78.  During his career, Bombardo worked as an aerial traffic reporter on WHEN, Syracuse as Captain Scott King.  Later, he provided traffic reports to numerous Central New York stations using his given name.  He retired in 2010.

Robin Fitzgerald to Serve as Chief Judge for 2020 Radio Mercury Awards. The Radio Mercury Awards announces that BBDO Atlanta chief creative officer Robin Fitzgerald will serve as the 2020 Chief Judge for the 29th annual Radio Mercury Awards.  Fitzgerald has been named one of Business Insider’s “Most Creative People in Social Media Marketing” and “Most Creative Women in Advertising.”  She has participated on juries for the Radio Mercury Awards, D&AD, One Show, Clios, Art Director’s Club and New York Festivals.  She says, “I’ve always loved radio. To me, it’s one of the most challenging platforms for creatives.  The Radio Mercury Awards are a champion of great ideas delivered in stereo.  It’s a pretty cool gig to be leading the charge on curating the best of the best for 2020.”

Impeachment Inquiry/Ukraine Scandal, Death of Baghdadi, California Wildfires/Power Blackouts, 2020 Presidential Race, Rep. Hill Scandal, and Trump Booed at World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/28). The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the related allegations of Trump’s quid pro quo offer to Ukraine and Hunter and Joe Biden’s energy dealings there; the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi; the California wildfires that threaten some 25 million and the PG&E power blackouts; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the sex scandal that forced U.S. Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) to resign from the House; and President Trump being booed at the World Series 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. Programming pro Nick Rivers joins Hubbard Radio’s West Palm Beach station group to serve as APD and music director for country WIRK and classic hits WEAT.  He is also hosting afternoon drive on WIRK.  He was most recently in the production and imaging department at Dick Broadcasting’s Greensboro, North Carolina station group.  Hubbard West Palm Beach OM and brand/content director Bruce Logan says, “We had a lot of fantastic candidates to join Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach, but Nick’s enthusiasm and the chemistry he had with the team truly set him apart from the others.  We are building something special at WIRK and Nick is another outstanding puzzle piece.”…..In Atlanta, Radio One promotes Derek Harper to operations manager for the cluster, taking over for Hurricane Dave Smith, who exited in August.  Harper has been serving as program director for urban AC WAMJ “Majic 107.5” and Gospel WPZE “Praise 97.5.”  He’ll continue to program WAMJ and serve as Radio One and Reach Media’s captain for the inspiration format…..Entercom’s KROQ, Los Angeles announces the lineup for the RADIO.COM event, “KROQ Absolut Almost Acoustic Christmas 2019” on December 7 at the Honda Center in Orange County.  The opening night of the two-day event will feature performances by: Cage The Elephant, Beck, Jimmy Eat World, Young the Giant, Angels & Airwaves, Cold War Kids, The Head and the Heart, Catfish and the Bottlemen, and DJ Jeremiah Red…..Non-commercial triple A WYMS, Milwaukee “88Nine Radio Milwaukee” begins a search for a new executive director as Glenn Kleiman announces he’ll exit the position next spring.  Station board president Juli Kaufmann says, “The search will focus on seeking the next leader to continue our forward momentum of inspiring positive change in the community.  Through creative content and programming, Radio Milwaukee will continue to raise the social awareness and engagement of listeners while expanding our audience.”  Kleiman became executive director in April 2016 after previously serving as a station consultant.  He says, “I love this job, our team, and our mission.  I’m proud of the work we do, and I’ll miss leading our efforts.  But it’s time for me to slow down a bit.  I’m not retiring, just turning it down a notch.  I do hope to stay involved with ‘Radio Milwaukee’ in some capacity.”…..Christian broadcaster Brighter Media Group announces the addition of Molly Chambers to afternoons on Christian contemporary WRBS, Baltimore “SHINE-FM,” alongside longtime host Jack Larkin.  Program director John Lawhon says, “It’s amazing to see what God is doing with SHINE-FM.  Molly brings a new and fresh voice to the SHINE-FM team.  She represents a commitment to investing in the next generation of talent.  She is a rock star!”

Thursday, October 17, 2019

| October 17, 2019

PodcastOne and Edison Research Reveal Data on Podcast ‘Super Listeners’ at IAB Upfront. The topline findings from the first-ever Super Listeners study from PodcastOne and Edison Research were revealed yesterday (10/16) at the IAB Podcast Upfront in New York and the complete findings will be made available via a webinar on Tuesday, October 22.  PodcastOne and Edison say, “This study showcases the power of podcasting’s most active consumers, including how they react to advertising, the role ads play in their listening experience, and what the industry must be cautious about in maximizing advertising impact.”  The podcast “super listeners” are defined as “those who spend at least five hours listening to podcasts each week.”  This smaller number of consumers that account for a high degree of demand are the people most likely to hear podcasting ads and to really have an opinion about them.  Some of the highlights of the study indicate that advertising in podcasts increases favorability for specific brands.  For example, 60% of “super listeners” appreciate podcast advertisers for supporting their favorite podcasts and 44% say their opinion of a company is more positive when they hear it mentioned in a podcast they regularly listen to.  This favorability impacts the thing advertisers care about most, conversions.  70% considered a new product or service as a result of hearing a sponsorship or ad on a podcast they regularly listen to and 43% say that when price/quality are equal, they prefer to buy products from companies that advertise on podcasts they regularly listen to.  However, the study also warns that too many ads will leave a negative impression as 50% of “super listeners” say it is important or very important to limit their exposure to ads and 49% of say there are more ads now than there were a year ago.  Right now, only 24% say there are too many ads in podcasts, compared to 62% for TV, 47% for AM/FM radio and 45% for streaming audio.  The webinar will feature PodcastOne CEO Peter Morris and Edison Research SVP Tom Webster as they walk attendees through an exclusive look at podcasting’s heaviest listeners, their attitudes towards advertising, and how they view podcasting in the greater media landscape.  Register here.

Westwood One to Distribute ‘The McLaughlin Group’ Programs. Though we lost program creator and original host John McLaughlin in 2016, the political roundtable talk show “The McLaughlin Group” has been airing on Maryland Public Television since January of this year with a scheduled rollout to public television stations across the country in January 2020.  Now, Cumulus Media’s Westwood One announces it is exclusively distributing and selling a new podcast and weekend radio show with “The McLaughlin Group.”  The podcast becomes available on the Westwood One Podcast Network on November 1, and the radio show will debut the weekend of December 7-8.  New host, political writer and commentator Tom Rogan, is joined by original panel members Pat Buchanan, Eleanor Clift, and Clarence Page.  Additionally, new generation of panelists will join the group engaging in conversations about politics, culture, and foreign policy issues. Listeners will get content from the TV program as well as original bonus content in both the radio show and the podcast.  Cumulus Media EVP and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes states, “We’re proud to provide access to this legendary show as we gear up for what will certainly be one of the most heated election years in American history.  ‘The McLaughlin Group’ was a pioneer among political talk shows and this distinguished iteration lead by Tom Rogan offers important commentary at a significant time.”  “The McLaughlin Group” is produced by BL Sports & Media Group.

TALKERS News Notes. The nominations for the Digital Hollywood Awards are announced and PodcastOne proudly reveals that its programs have earned a total of 51 nominations in the event’s inaugural year.  The awards will be announced at the Digital Hollywood Conference on November 14, 2019.  PodcastOne CEO Norm Pattiz states, “From the day PodcastOne was founded, we were committed to providing advertisers and listeners programming in all genres. Our showing at the Digital Hollywood Awards, with 51 nominations, shows that we accomplished that goal.”  See all the nominations here…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WSCR-AM “The Score” sports talk host Jason Goff is joining NBC Sports Chicago to host pre-game and post-game shows for Chicago Bulls games.  Goff lost his gig at “The Score” after Entercom SVP and market manager Jimmy de Castro decided some of the station’s hosts were becoming too political, writes Feder…..Award-winning television producer and writer Shonda Rhimes is partnering with iHeartMedia to launch Shondaland Audio that will develop a full slate of iHeartRadio Original Podcasts set to release over the next three years as part of the iHeartPodcast Network.  Rhimes will oversee the development and chief digital and design officer Sandie Bailey will manage day-to-day operation.  Rhimes says, “Podcasting continues to see tremendous growth and I’m excited to partner with iHeartMedia as Shondaland expands its storytelling journey into this medium which has seemed to usher in a unique sense of boldness, intimacy and connection.  With iHeartMedia we aim to share stories that are engaging, insightful, and reflect a robust world-view while staying true to the authentic storytelling voice that has become synonymous with Shondaland.”

Executive Moves at Urban One. The company promotes VP and deputy general counsel C. Kristopher Simpson to senior vice president and general counsel.  At the same time, Urban One announces it is bringing Tony Spinelli aboard as chief information officer.  The company says Simpson will now oversee legal operations across the company’s five divisions.  Throughout his tenure with Urban One, Simpson has provided counsel to the board of directors, executive management, and corporate finance/treasury teams.  He’s also served as counsel on various acquisitions and divestitures across Urban One’s divisions, managed its outside counsel, and worked with its investment advisors on various refinancing projects.  Urban One says Spinelli – who comes to the company after 25 years in the financial services industry – will manage all aspects of the company’s technology infrastructure.  He most recently led the digital startup, Fractal Industries.

2020 Presidential Race, U.S.-Syria Policy, Impeachment Inquiry/Ukraine Controversy, U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings Dies, U.S.-China Trade Talks/Hong Kong Bill, and Brexit Deal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/17). The aftermath of Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate; the Trump Administration’s Syria policy and the withdrawal of American troops for Northeastern Syria; the impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the related controversy over Hunter and Joe Biden’s and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani’s Ukraine dealings; longtime U.S. Rep. Elijah Cumming dies at 68; the status of U.S.-China trade talks and China’s warning about the U.S. Congress’ Hong Kong bill interfering in their internal affairs; and reports of a Brexit deal on the table were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Legendary Country Jock Bob Kingsley Passes at 80. Country radio air personality Bob Kingsley passed away today (10/17) at his home in Weatherford, Texas after a battle with bladder cancer.  He was 80.  Kingsley’s “Bob Kingsley’s Country Top 40” is produced by his KCCS Productions and syndicated globally by Westwood One.  A celebration of life is planned for November 14 at the CMA Theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame.  TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian profiled Kingsley several years back when he served as special features editor for Inside Radio.  Read that piece here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Cumulus Media’s hot AC WDVD, Detroit, midday personality and assistant program director Kendall Taylor adds music director duties for the station.  Cumulus Detroit director of FM programming Lance Tidwell says, “Since I started last December, Kendall has been such an important team member and she contributes so much to WDVD.  She brings great ideas and follows them with great organization and execution to what we do on WDVD.  I am thrilled to have her to help improve communication with our important label partners and bringing her own perspective to what we do musically at WDVD.”…..Entercom announces the three dates and lineups for its “Not So Silent Night” alternative music festival.  The RADIO.COM event will happen in New York, hosted by WNYL “ALT 92.3” on December 5; in San Diego, hosted by KBZT-FM “ALT 949” on December 8; and in San Francisco, hosted by KITS “ALT 105.3” on December 7.  Acts booked include: Mumford & Sons, Cage the Elephant, Vampire Weekend, Twenty-One Pilots, Neon Trees, and more…..Modelo beer teams up with rapper Anderson .Paak for the “Modelo Fighting Chance Concert Series,” produced by iHeartRadio, in an effort to raise money for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to help refugees, immigrants, and Americans in need achieve their full potential.  Anderson .Paak will perform in San Francisco on November 13, Atlanta on November 15, and New York on November 17…..Skratch N Sniff’s Halloween Mix 2019, “Puddle of Blood” features guest host Wes Scantlin from Puddle of Mudd in which he’ll play his favorite Halloween tunes in the mix with tracks from the new album, Welcome to Galvania.  The radio special syndicated by Compass Media Networks is available for alternative and rock stations for air Friday, October 25 through Halloween…..Pictured below at last night’s “iHeartRadio ICONS with Elton John” at the iHeartRadio Theater in Los Angeles is pop icon Elton John (left) with WAXQ, New York “Q104” morning personality Jim Kerr (right).  The event celebrated the release of John’s autobiography, ME (2019, Henry Holt) as Kerr spoke with John about his life and career.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

| October 8, 2019

Mike Thomas Exits Boston’s ‘Sports Hub’ for WMVP, Chicago Market Manager Role. This move means a program director role at one of the top-performing sports talk radio stations in America is open.  Beasley Media Group announces that it is “looking for the Bill Belichick of sports radio” as it seeks a PD for WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub.”  Mike Thomas, who also serves as Beasley Media Group’s national spoken word and podcast brand manager, announces he’s leaving Boston to accept a new position in Chicago – market manager for Good Karma-operated WMVP “ESPN 1000” – in order to be closer to his family and fulfill a career goal of becoming a market manager.   Beasley says he will continue to remain as a consultant to the station and actively participate in the search process.  Thomas says, “This was an incredibly difficult decision.  This radio station is a once-in-a-career station, with a once-in-a-career staff.  I would like to thank Caroline and Brian Beasley and the entire corporate team for everything. Locally, Mary Menna, Cadillac Jack, and Buzz Knight have been fantastic to work with!  I also want to thank every single ‘Sports Hub’ employee for 10 years of winning!  I know our relationships won’t end here.”  Beasley Boston director of programming Cadillac Jack says, “I want to thank Mike for the instrumental part he has played in leading our award-winning brand throughout its first decade and wish him continued success in his next chapter.  They’re big shoes to fill and we look forward to meeting a lot of great talent in the process as the coming days and weeks unfold.”

Ex-FOX News Radio Personality Todd Starnes Launches Syndicated Commentary.  Former FOX News Radio personality Todd Starnes – who exited the company last week – announces he’s unveiling a syndicated commentary that “more than 750 radio stations have signed on to carry.”  The “Todd Starnes News & Commentary” short-form program is produced by his Starnes Media Group and syndicated by Hamilton Strategies.  Additionally, a three-hour, caller-driven radio talk show will debut on November 4.  Starnes says that program will feature major newsmakers, entertainers, artists, and Christian leaders.  He says, “I am first and foremost a radio guy.  I love the format and I believe that radio will continue to have a lasting impact on the nation.  We are also deeply committed to super-serving our radio affiliates with first class service.”  The commentaries are broadcasting on Bott Radio Network, American Family Radio, CSN Network, and a number of commercial radio stations.  For information about broadcasting Starnes’ commentaries or his talk show, contact Deborah Hamilton at Media@HamiltonStrategies.com.

Tammy O’Dell Assumes VP/Market Manager Role at Cumulus Columbia. Sales and management pro Tammy O’Dell is named vice president and market manager for Cumulus Media’s Columbia, South Carolina cluster.  This is a return to Cumulus after serving most recently as local sales manager for Spectrum Reach in Cary, North Carolina.  She was formerly Cumulus’ VP/MM in Charleston, South Carolina.  The Columbia cluster includes sports talk duo WNKT-FM “107.5 The Game” and WISW-AM “1320 The Fan” and three music brands.    Cumulus Media EVP of operations Bob Walker says, “We are excited to welcome Tammy back to the Cumulus family in Columbia.  Her passion for the Carolina region and her success in building a winning sales culture make her a great addition to the team in Columbia.”

SiriusXM Woos Denise Karkos from TD Ameritrade. Marketing pro Denise Karkos is joining SiriusXM as the new chief marketing officer, a position in which she’ll be responsible for brand and digital marketing of both the SiriusXM and Pandora brands and helping support and drive the growth of SiriusXM subscribers and Pandora listeners.   Karkos was most recently CMO at TD Ameritrade where she was named 2019 CMO of the Year by Ad Age.  SiriusXM president, sales, marketing and operations Jennifer Witz says, “Denise is exceptionally innovative and forward thinking and we are very pleased and excited that she will be leading our marketing efforts as we continue to grow the SiriusXM and Pandora brands.  She and her team will execute a cohesive marketing strategy to drive brand relevance and consideration through to customer conversion, with a deep focus on digital, social, and mobile marketing.”

FOX Sports Radio Reports Digital Audience Gains. Citing data from August and September of this year, FOX Sports Radio – a division of Premiere Networks – is announcing audience growth “across several digital platforms, including podcasts, streaming and www.FOXSportsRadio.com.”  FOX Sports Radio says it set a new record for total monthly podcast listens in September, reaching more than 11 million monthly listens.  It also notes total podcast listens have grown nearly 60% since January.  FSR says it experienced its third-highest streaming audience in the history of the network with the streaming numbers growing 8% from August of 2018 to August 2019 and a 25% increase over August 2017.

Cumulus CEO Mary Berner to Receive Gracies Leadership Award. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation is honoring Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner with a 2019 Gracies Leadership Award.  The Gracies Leadership Awards are presented annually to women executives who have made a significant impact on the media industry, while also spurring to action and emboldening other female leaders.  The award will be presented to Berner and five other female media executives at the Gracies Leadership Awards luncheon at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on Thursday, November 21, 2019.  AFWMF executive director Becky Brooks says, “The Alliance for Women in Media is proud to showcase female executives for their extraordinary accomplishments and deep contributions across the media landscape.  The Gracies Leadership Awards are one way AWM recognizes and connects women who serve in all areas of the media and entertainment industry.  By honoring these outstanding women, including Mary Berner, we are empowering all women, at every level, to take that next step in elevating their careers and their contributions.”

TALKERS News Notes. In Denver, Bonneville brings former Denver Broncos offensive tackle Tyler Polumbus aboard as co-host of “The Drive” on sports talk KKFN “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan.”  Polumbus joins hosts Darren “DMac” McKee and Nick Ferguson on the afternoon drive show.  He takes over for Tom Nalen who exits the station for personal reasons…..A “Free Talk Live” co-host is making news as he takes on two other candidates for mayor of Keene, New Hampshire.  But there’s more to the story.  In August, Rich Paul filed in New Hampshire probate court to change his name to Nobody.  Today’s ballot gives voters three choices for mayor: Mitchell “Mitch” Greenwald, George S. Hansel, and Nobody.  “Free Talk Live” host Ian Freeman tells TALKERS magazine Nobody’s mayoral campaign is just the beginning.  He’s already announced his 2020 campaign to take on New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu and is even considering a presidential run in a few more years.  Check out his campaign website: ElectNobody.com…..Edison Research is making three of its presentations originally delivered at the recent NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas available to the industry at its website. Available for your perusal are: “The Top 10 Findings from Edison Research in 2019 (so far)”; “The Secret to Longer TSL”; and “What Does it Mean for Radio to Be Local.” Check them out here…..In Northern Michigan, an application is filed with the FCC to transfer the licenses of eight stations from Sovereign Communications, LLC to AMC Partners Escanaba, LLC.  The stations are: news/talk WMIQ-AM, classic rock WIMK-FM, and hot AC WZNL-FM in the Iron Mountain/Escanaba area and news/talk WDMJ-AM and WIAN-AM, country WJPD-FM, classic rock WUPK-FM, and oldies WNGE-FM in the Marquette area.  Sovereign Communications is headed by Bill Gleich.  AMC Partners Escanaba is a Wisconsin-based company headed by Terry Shockley and Chris BernierKALIL & CO., INC. is the exclusive broker for this transaction…..The University of San Francisco and Cumulus Media San Francisco announce a multi-year agreement for KTCT-AM “KNBR 1050 The Sports Leader” to serve as flagship station for the school’s men’s basketball games.  Pat Olson will serve as play-by-play voice for broadcasts of the USF Dons games.

Impeachment Inquiry, Bidens Investigation, Trump’s Syria Decision, 2020 Presidential Race, Omar Files for Divorce, NBA-China Rift, and Joker Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/7). The impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the report of a second whistleblower; the reported activities of Joe and Hunter Biden with regard to business in foreign countries; President Trump’s decision to remove U.S. troops from Northern Syria in deference to Turkey; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar files for divorce amidst rumors of an affair with a Democratic operative; the rift between the NBA and China over the Houston Rockets’ general manager’s comments; and the Joker film 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. Bay Area sales pro David Drutz is named vice president and market manager for Alpha Media’s San Jose duo KBAY-FM and KEZR-FM.  Drutz was most recently vice president of sales for Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR-AM/FM, San Francisco.  Drutz says, “I’m incredibly excited to be part of a company as visionary as Alpha Media and lead classic hits KBAY and hot AC KEZR.  Both brands not only dominate Silicon Valley but also have tremendous reach throughout the Bay Area.  It’s going to be great fun in managing these stations to even more success!”…..Programming pro JT Bosch is promoted to senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia’s Greensboro station group, effective October 14.  Bosch will also serve as program director for rock WVBZ-FM “105.7 MAN UP!”  Bosch has been with iHeartMedia since 2001 and most recently served as the assistant program director, music director and afternoon show host for country WKKT, Charlotte “96.9 The Kat.”  He says, “The opportunity to lead our programming efforts in Greensboro is so incredible.  We are ushering in a new era and I’m honored to be a part of it.  Thanks to the entire iHeartMedia senior leadership team for their continued support.”…..Cumulus Media announces that it has appointed Mike Moore program director for country WKHX-FM, Atlanta “Kicks 101.5.”  Moore comes to Atlanta from his most recent position as VP of programming for Entercom’s Portland cluster where he also programmed country KWJJ “99.5 The Wolf.”  Cumulus EVP of content and audience Brian Philips states, “As we met a strong field of senior candidates for WKHX, Mike Moore pushed his way to the front with thoughtful ideas and hard-driving enthusiasm.  His wartime country radio leadership experience will enable him to build the team that changes the Atlanta landscape.”

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

| October 1, 2019

TALKERS and The Epoch Times’ Co-Presented “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” Takes Place in NYC; Video Available for Viewing.  A 90-minute panel discussion took place in New York today (10/1).  The “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” was a panel discussion that included radio talk show hosts Hugh Hewitt of Salem Radio NetworkJohn Batchelor of WABC, New York, and Tom Sullivan of Talk Media Network, as well as a group of experts on the present state of China and its increasingly strained relationship with the United States including Nan Su of NTDTVJoshua Philipp of The Epoch Times and Dr. Dana Cheng of The Epoch Times.  The conversation 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, China’s military buildup, and the long term goals and methods of the Chinese Communist Party, plus more.  See the video of today’s event here.

Ramsey Solutions Addresses National Student Loan Crisis. The company is working to help families avoid  traps of student loans and show them a better way to pay for college. Ramsey Solutions chief executive officer/“Dave Ramsey Show” host Dave Ramsey declares, “Americans have been fed a lie that it is impossible to afford college without student loans. That lie has the average graduate burdened with over $35,000 in student loans from the moment they’re handed their diplomas. The system is broken, and we want people to know the truth: It is possible to pay cash for college.” Thought leaders Ramsey, Mark Cuban, and Seth Godin are among those interviewed in “Borrowed Future,” an eight-episode podcast series featuring real-life stories that explore the student loan crisis. Anthony ONeal, author of “Debt Free-Degree: The Step-By-Step Guide to Getting Your Kid Through College Without Student Loans,” remarks, “Parents and teens believe that student loans are the only option, but debt doesn’t open doors – it closes them. I travel the country speaking to thousands of people each year. I meet students all the time who are working hard, applying for scholarships and grants, and are actually graduating debt-free. I believe more parents and students can do this, but they need a plan. We’re here to provide that plan.”

NAB PILOT Program Announces Internship Grant Recipients. Launched this past spring, PILOT is the National Association of Broadcasters’ technology initiative which has thus far provided paid internships to 13 NAB member organizations for undergraduate students in radio and television engineering/technology positions. The program is provided in partnership with the NAB’s Leadership Foundation as part of an effort to grow technical and engineering talent for the industry. Grants for the spring 2020 term will be provided to the following NAB members: Michigan State University news/talk WKAR-AM, news/talk-classical WKAR-FM, and PBS affiliate WKAR-TV, East Lansing (Michigan); Butler County Radio Network (Butler, Pennsylvania) news/talk WISR, country WBUT, and rock WLER; Scripps Media Phoenix ABC affiliate KNXV-TV; and Marquee Broadcasting Bowling Green, Kentucky’s WNKY-TV. NAB’s executive vice president and chief technology officer Sam Matheny notes, “We have been encouraged by the response to this program and are thrilled to continue it for a second year. PILOT and the NAB Leadership Foundation remain committed to assisting NAB member stations in attracting the best and brightest new candidates to a career in broadcast technology.” NAB Leadership Foundation president Michelle Duke adds, “The NAB Foundation is happy to provide opportunities with PILOT for students in the broadcast technology and engineering fields. Our intent is to continue to expand the pool of talent for our industry.” The program seeks to help NAB members that do not currently offer engineering or media-technology internships. It will provide resources to assist selected stations in identifying and supporting interns, as well as assistance for the selected interns to attend next year’s NAB Show in Las Vegas.

TALKERS News Notes. Celebrities and politicians were omnipresent in Staten Island this past Saturday (9/28) at the nuptials of Salem Media Group New York news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” executive producer/talk host Frank Morano and his fiancé Rachel O’Brien. “This truly was the most unique assemblage of people ever to come to one party,” he maintains. It’s hard to argue that claim as Morano’s WNYM colleague, Joe Piscopo, got the afternoon started with a Frank Sinatra “New York New York”/“That’s Life” medley reminiscent of how Piscopo did it on “Saturday Night Live.” Morano is quick to note that Piscopo’s date for the affair was none other than supermodel Carol Alt. Among others spotted in the crowd were congressman Dan Donovan; former New York lieutenant governor Betsy McCaughey; billionaire businessman/New York City-based Red Apple Group chair/CEO (and new owner of New York City news/talk WABC) John Catsimatidis; former mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis; and criminal defense attorney Arthur Aidala, currently representing Harvey Weinstein. Syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher was in attendance as were talk host/author Kevin McCulloughRichard Bey, sportscaster Russ Salzberg, and Shelley Goldberg. There were no reports of fisticuffs or violence of any type at the wedding. That is actually quite remarkable and noteworthy, given that John A. Gotti and his sister, reality TV star/author Victoria Gotti, were there along with Guardian Angels founder/talk show host Curtis Sliwa. Things could have gotten particularly dicey as it was Gotti who was charged with ordering the 1992 kidnapping and shooting of Sliwa. Gotti went on trial four times with each trial ending in a hung jury. “Needless to say, we kept John and Curtis on opposite sides of the room,” Morano quips. “It did lead to one of the more interesting quotes of the evening. As Curtis was dancing, John remarked to me, ‘Do you think Curtis would mind if I cut in to dance with his wife?’” Also at the wedding was Maureen Gioeli, the wife of Tommy “Shots” Gioeli, who Morano describes as “the alleged acting boss of the Colombo crime family” ….. Six-year (2003 – 2009) Bernalillo County (New Mexico) sheriff Darren White will join Cumulus Media Albuquerque news/talk KKOB “AM 770 News Radio” as midday host (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm), beginning next Monday (10/7). Cumulus Media Albuquerque vice president/market manager Jeff Berry comments, “Darren is one of the best political minds around, with deep roots in the Albuquerque media market and New Mexico politics. KKOB delivers the best lineup in radio and Darren is going to help us fill out our already amazing roster.” White states, “I’m honored to join the legendary KKOB and host a show in a time slot between a national radio powerhouse in Rush Limbaugh and a radio legend in TJ Trout. I’m grateful to Jeff Berry for this amazing opportunity and excited to get behind the mic to continue the long tradition of engaging talk radio.” Formerly a correspondent for Albuquerque’s KRQE-TV, White was secretary of New Mexico’s Department of Public Safety and Albuquerque’s chief public safety officer ….. Pre-game and post-game host of Cincinnati Reds games, Tommy Thrall, will succeed retired hall of famer Marty Brennaman as the team’s lead radio voice on iHeartMedia Cincinnati news/talk WLW. After calling minor league Pensacola Blue Wahoos games for six years, Thrall joined the Reds crew this season. He previously was the radio voice of the Quad Cities River Bandits ….. Three-year senior producer/audience development & engagement Stephanie Curtis is promoted to Minnesota Public Radio’s MPR News director of programming. Executive director of news & programming Nancy Cassutt comments, “Steph holds a clear vision for what needs to come next in our programming in order to be relevant and engaging with our audiences. She understands our newsroom and where we have the best opportunities to grow and better serve our listeners. Combined with her wealth of talents, this makes her a perfect fit for this role.” Curtis has been with MPR for over 25 years and is the “Movie Maven” on the weekly “Cube Critics” podcast ….. WFPL news editor Jonese Franklin is boosted to local host for NPR’s “All Things Considered” on the Louisville Public Media news/talk station. WFPL director of news and programming Erica Peterson notes, “Jonese brings a diverse depth of experience to the job, including years working as a journalist, editor and broadcaster. I’m excited to hear her on the air every day, and I know our listeners will be as well” ….. Beginning next Monday (10/7), iHeartRadio Broadway debuts “Show & Tell with Frank DiLella,” a weekly Broadway-focused original podcast. New episodes will be available every Monday via the iHeartPodcast Network. Host of “On Stage,” Spectrum News NY1 theater correspondent DiLella is an Emmy Award winning journalist. According to iHeartRadio Broadway director Sarah Jane Arnegger, “We’re thrilled to have Frank DiLella join iHeartRadio Broadway. Frank has been an integral part of the Broadway industry for years. With his built-in audience, this podcast will serve as an extension of what Frank does best with his comprehensive reporting style and celebrity theatrical interviews.” DiLella remarks, “I am truly excited to be teaming up with iHeartMedia and iHeartRadio Broadway as it expands its Broadway programming. I’ve enjoyed getting to know the folks who make up the theater community in New York and abroad. With this new opportunity, I look forward to bringing my in-depth conversations and commentary with the movers and shakers of the industry to a larger audience.”

Cumulus Media Cluster Sets Annual “Christmas For Our Troops.” The fundraiser and series of donation drives that will benefit our service personnel will commence one week from this Friday (10/11) and run through November 12. In partnership with Step Up For Soldiers, Cumulus Media Wilmington, North Carolina will collect items donated by the community for deployed servicemen and women and raise funds to ship the packages overseas in time for Christmas. Cumulus Wilmington vice president and market manager Eric McCart states, “In addition to collecting items, an important need we have is to collect money for our ‘Christmas For Our Troops Postage Fund.’ It costs $14.35 to send each flat-rate box overseas. The more monetary donations we receive, the more Christmas packages we can send to our troops. We will be accepting both ‘Postage Fund’ and suggested item donations while we’re on location at our collection sites. ‘Postage Fund’ donations can also be made online.” Items to be collected will include writing utensils, games, snacks, bottled drinks, and anything else that is easy-to-use, easy-to-wash, and easy-to-store. In addition to WAAV “980 The Wave – News, Talk, & Sports,” the company’s Wilmington, North Carolina cluster includes WWQQ “Double Q-101.3 Cape Fear’s Country Leader,” adult contemporary WGNI “102.7 GNI Today’s Hits & Yesterday’s Favorites,” urban contemporary WMNX “Coast 97.3,” and classic rock WKXS “94.5 The Hawk.”

Stations Go From One Backyard To Another. Headed by Van A. Michael, Pennsylvania-based Backyard Broadcasting of Pennsylvania, LLC closes on its purchase of seven Pennsylvania stations from … and here’s where it gets tricky … Daniel J. Farr’s (also) Pennsylvania-based Backyard Broadcasting PA, LLC. Neither of these Backyard entities has any other broadcast interests. Stations involved are sports talk WWPA “ESPN Radio 1340”; WWPA’s FM translator W267BJ at 101.3; WILQ “105.1 Today’s Best Country”; and hot AC WLMY – all in Williamsport; rock WZXR, South Williamsport; rock WCXR, Lewisburg (which simulcasts WZXR); and classic hits-oldies WBZD, Muncy. Kalil & Company, Inc. was the exclusive broker for this transaction.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Veteran consultant/programmer John Sebastian signs the first client for his “WOW Factor” format – KOAI, Phoenix – and as part of the deal, he will be the consultant and hands-on program director of the Riviera Broadcasting outlet. Riviera Broadcasting chief executive officer Michael Cutchall remarks, “John has been one of the most innovative programmers in the history of radio. There is no one better to connect with listeners and communities in his approach and philosophy to programming. His excitement to join our team is contagious and his desire to win is relentless.” Sebastian asserts that KOAI will be “the first of many ‘WOW Factor’ stations across America with an eclectic mix of music researched and curated for baby boomers.” His previous Phoenix programming background already includes KUPD, KSLX, and KDKB. Sebastian has programmed in other markets such as Los Angeles (KTWV, KHJ, and KZLA); Chicago (WJMK); Dallas (KPLX); Boston (WCOZ); Seattle (KISW); Minneapolis (KDWB); and Nashville (WSM-FM). According to Nielsen Audio PPM data, the February 2019 through August 2019 (6+) topline for classic hits-oldies KOAI is: 2.1 – 2.1 – 1.8 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.7 – 1.5. It ranks #25 in August 2019; iHeartMedia adult contemporary KESZ is on top (7.0, 6+). ….. Former Bohn Broadcast Services vice president of business development Chris Roth is appointed program director of Entercom Washington, DC classic hits-oldies WIAD “94.7 The Drive.” Roth will “work closely” with Entercom classic hits-oldies format captain Chris Ebbott, who programs Los Angeles’ co-owned/similarly formatted KRTH “K-Earth 101.” Entercom Washington, DC senior vice president and market manager Phil Zachary comments, “One year into the format, we are satisfied with the station’s position, but we are constantly seeking new ways to innovate and improve. Chris Roth brings the vernacular and market knowledge to finetune ‘94.7 The Drive’ to DC’s particular tastes. He’s uniquely-suited for this role; I am excited to see him help our station excel.” Roth notes, “Programming ‘94.7 The Drive’ is a dream job for me. I’m passionate about the classic hits format and I’m looking forward to making it the fun destination for DC listening.” Roth previously was an on-air talent at Baltimore adult contemporary sibling WLIF “Today’s 101.9”; director of programming for WAVA, Washington; a reporter at Washington’s all-news WTOP; and director of programming and operations for Winchester, Virginia hot AC WINC-FM ….. As noted in this space just last Friday (9/27), Scott Roddy exited his brand/content director post with Hubbard Radio St. Louis adult hits WARH “106.5 The Arch” for a “yet-to-be-revealed position.” Well, it didn’t take long for the mystery to be revealed as Roddy will join Entercom Portland next Monday (10/7) as program director/operations manager for country KWJJ “99.5 The Wolf” and hot AC KRSK “105.1 The Buzz.” Entercom Portland senior vice president/market manager Kim Martinez states, “Scott has an impressive track record programming leading stations; we’re fortunate to add him to the team. I am confident his proven leadership will enable him to step in and immediately enhance the programming efforts for our stations.” Roddy notes, “I’m stoked to join the iconic ‘Wolf’ and to bring some electricity back to the ‘Buzz.’ Kim Martinez is building a world-class operation at Entercom Portland. Her passion for our industry, audience, investors, and local team is unparalleled. I’d like to thank Kim; [chief programming officer] Pat Paxton; [regional president] Doug Abernethy; and [senior vice president of programming] Dave Richards for the opportunity.” Prior to joining WARH in February 2016, Roddy programmed stations for Entercom Indianapolis, Oasis Radio Group Fort Wayne (Indiana), and Saga Communications ….. This Saturday (10/5) at 8:00 am, iHeartMedia Chicago urban contemporary WGCI-FM, urban AC WVAZ “V-103,” and gospel WGRB “Inspiration 1390” will hold the third annual “Sista Strut” 3K breast cancer charity walk to benefit the Chicago chapter of the Sisters Network. According to iHeartMedia Chicago director of urban programming Derrick Brown, “We are dedicated to serving the community in which we live and work. We remain committed to doing our part in being a source of support and encouragement for those battling and recovering from this disease.” WGCI-FM morning show member Kendra G and WVAZ midday talent Bionce Foxx will host the event. Special guests will include “Steve Harvey Morning Show” co-host Carla Ferrell ….. Forming the new morning team at Emmis Indianapolis’ country WLHK “97.1 Hank FM” are Caleb James and Mindy Winkler. James most recently programmed NRG Media Omaha rhythmic CHR KOPW “Power 106.9,” while Winkler arrives from WLHK’s adult contemporary sibling WYXB “B-105.7.” Former “Hank” morning driver Dave O’Brien is now doing similar duties at Entercom Denver classic rock KQMT “99.5 The Mountain” ….. Louisville alternative WGHL “Alt 105.1” program director/afternoon talent Phil “PK” Kukawinski tacks on  programming duties for Alpha Media adult hits cluster-mate WXMA “102.3 Jack-FM.” He succeeds Sarah Jordan, who continues as marketing director and mid-day personality (10:00 am – 3:00 pm) on co-owned CHR WDJX “99-7 DJX” ….. To help raise funds, supplies, and awareness for rescue dogs, iHeartMedia Colorado Springs hot AC KVUU “My 99.9” will team with the Lovepup Foundation for the initial “Lovepup Family Fest” one week from Saturday (10/12, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm) at Weidner Field. KVUU morning drive talent Johnjay of the syndicated “Johnjay and Rich” show will host the event. All money and pet supply donations will benefit local Colorado Springs animal rescue organizations …..  Meanwhile, KVUU cluster-mate KCYY “Y-96.9 #1 For New Country” and Oakwood Homes join forces four weeks from today (10/29) for the first-ever “Boo Bash” to benefit HBA Cares. Hosted by “Y-96.9” afternoon drive host Shawn Patrick, the event will feature entertainment from Matt Stell, Noah Schnacky, and Tyler Walker Band. “Boo Bash” proceeds will benefit local transitional and accessible housing in the Colorado Springs area, along with other local community projects. Doors will open at 6:00 pm at Boot Barn Hall ….. WCYQ “100.3 The Wolf” nighttime talent Paul Orr exits the SummitMedia Knoxville country station to focus on his voiceover business. Before joining WCYQ, Orr worked in Birmingham (WZZK); Oklahoma City (KTST); Fort Myers (WWGR); and Shreveport (KRMD) ….. A “goat” is loose in Hagerstown-Chambersburg (Maryland-Pennsylvania) as Verstandig Media transitions CHR WNUZ “Now 92.1” to classic hits-oldies WIKG “92.1 The Goat – The Greatest of All Time.” This comes after a weekend of stunting with all-Christmas music; the station is inviting listeners to “Take Your Goat To Work.” Continuing the theme, the “goat herd” is airing 20 songs in a row in its first week.

Delilah Honored With AFN Challenge Coin. For her unwavering support of service members and veterans, Premiere Networks’ adult contemporary host Delilah received the American Forces Network challenge coin last Thursday (9/26) at the Radio Show in Dallas. Military challenge coins have been issued to servicemen and servicewomen since World War I as a symbol of honor, respect, gratitude, and loyalty. Delilah is heard weeknights at 7:00 pm in Japan, Korea, and central Europe on AFN Radio’s “Today’s Best Hits Adult Contemporary” channel. Pictured left to right are: Tom Arnholt of AFN programming and operations, Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott, Delilah, who co-hosted last week’s NAB Marconi Awards, and Curt Eckstein of AFN programming and operations.

Monday, September 23, 2019

| September 23, 2019

New Management Ousts Manley from WGN-AM Station Manager Position. Just a day after closing on its acquisition of Tribune Media, Nexstar begins making changes to news/talk WGN-AM’s operations, letting station manager and vice president of content Todd Manley go after six years in the position.  According to a report by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, new executive vice president Sean Compton hinted during a Friday meeting with staffers that there are more changes on the horizon.  Compton appointed news and operations director Mary Sandberg Boyle interim programming manager.  Feder notes, “In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, the station tied for 16th place overall, with mornings, middays, afternoons and evenings all out of the top 10.”

KQFN, Phoenix Debuts New Morning Show. Sports talk KQFN, Phoenix “The Fanatic” announces the launch of the new “Bruce Jacobs & Helly” morning show starring longtime Phoenix radio personality Bruce Jacobs and former Dallas Cowboys lineman Dale HellestraeCRC Broadcasting president and CEO Ron Cohen says, “We are so excited to have two well-known Phoenix sports radio veterans team up together every morning on ‘The Fanatic.’  With Bruce and Dale on board, we’re really looking forward to increasing our growth and popularity in the coming weeks and months.” Jacobs has served with sports talk KGME-AM, news/talk KFYI-AM in Phoenix and nationally with FOX Sports Radio.  In addition to winning three Super Bowls with the Cowboys, Hellestrae has been a color analyst for the Arizona Rattlers, high school football, and college football.

Monday Memo: 2 Magic Words for Weekend Talkers. If you’re an attorney, realtor, veterinarian, financial advisor, or other professional services provider brokering weekend talk radio time to round-up new clients, consultant Holland Cooke says there’s good news and bad news.  Read it here.

PPM Analysis: August 2019 Spoken-Word Pacesetters. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his analysis – based on data from Nielsen Audio’s August 2019 PPM survey – in which he gauges “the temperature of spoken-word stations as a complete entity in all 48 PPM-markets.”  In this report, Kinosian determines the top spoken-word markets by 6+ share; the spoken-word markets by 6+ share increases from July to August; and the top spoken-word markets by 6+ share increases from August 2018 to August 2019; plus more. See his entire report here.

WABC’s John Batchelor Show to Broadcast from Azerbaijan. All this week, the John Batchelor show – emanating from WABC, New York – will air live from the Republic of Azerbaijan. Sponsored by marketing technology company Scala Inc. and in conjunction with the Embassy of Azerbaijan, Batchelor travels to the busy neighborhood of the South Caucasus to broadcast from the military front lines of the troubled Nagorno-Karakakh region.  The press release states, “For 25 years Armenia has occupied Azerbaijan’s territory and abused the villagers, despite a ceasefire agreement.  The John Batchelor Show aims to interview the farmers, soldiers, and leaders who live in hope and fear.  Later in Baku, John Batchelor will attend the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan’s conference, ‘Impact Investing: Opportunities and Challenges for Institutional Investors.’ Azerbaijan is the critical nexus for oil and natural gas flowing out of the rich Caspian Sea Basin and along pipelines to the needs of Asia Minor, the Levant and now Europe.  Considering the recent attacks on the Persian Gulf energy production, developing and securing the Caspian Sea energy is most timely.” Batchelor says, “I look to help my audience to understand the now two-generations-long brutality in Nagorno-Karabakh that haunts the South Caucasus.  I also aim to report on how the energy producers of the region are planning to provide ever more reliable resources to their customers, especially in Europe.”  Next Tuesday morning (10/1), Batchelor will participate in the TALKERS magazine produced “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” at the Hellen Mills Theatre in New York City.  See the full story below for details.

TALKERS News Notes.  In Lynchburg, Virginia, Mari White leaves her role with Three Daughters Media’s news/talk WIQO to take on the public information officer position with the Lynchburg Department of Water Resources. She had been co-hosting the “Mari and Brian in the Morning” program with Brian Weigand for the past six years. Weigand is continuing to host the morning show on WIQO…..Legendary radio personality Joey Reynolds emceed the 4th Annual Meatball Eating Contest held on Saturday (9/21) at the Feast of San Gennaro in the Little Italy section of Lower Manhattan.  At right, Reynolds (left) is pictured with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (right), who appeared on stage during the competition…..Leighton Enterprises enters into an agreement to acquire three Alexandria, Minnesota signals from Paradis Broadcasting of Alexandria.  The group includes news/talk KXRA-AM, classic rock KXRA-FM, and hot AC KXRZ-FM…..The Dallas News reports on the new brewery and taproom being launched in part by KRLD-FM, Dallas midday hosts Ben Rogers and Jeff “Skin” Wade.  The brewery is being called Rollertown Beerworks located in suburban Celina and expects to open in 2020.  The piece notes that “Ben & Skin” have a passion for beer that “spawned an event series called the Brew Crew Tour, which invites hardcore fans known as TOLOs (turn on, leave on) to meet them for a pint at different taprooms in the area.”

Trump-Ukraine Controversy, 2020 Presidential Race, U.S.-Iran Tensions, UN Climate Action Summit, Trudeau Brownface Scandal, Netanyahu’s Future, and Sunday’s Emmy Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The controversy over President Trump’s conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020, including Elizabeth Warren’s rise in the Democratic race; the military tensions between Iran and the U.S. over the nuclear deal and the attack on a Saudi oil installation; today’s United Nations General Assembly and the UN Climate Action Summit; the “brownface” scandal that is engulfing Canada’s Justin Trudeau; the close race between Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz for prime minister of Israel; and Sunday evening’s Emmy Awards ceremony were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Gene Sandbloom is named operations manager for Alpha Media’s Portland stations and program director for triple A KINK-FM. Sandbloom was most recently operations manager for KROQ and adult hits KCBS-FM “93.1 JACK FM” in Los Angeles.  Alpha Media Portland SVP and market manager Lisa Decker says, “We are thrilled to have Gene join us. His leadership, creativity, experience and can-do attitude is a perfect fit. He will add a new dynamic to our team.”…..This past weekend, the ninth annual iHeartRadio Music Festival took place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas with performances by Alicia Keys, Backstreet Boys, Cage The Elephant, Camila CabelloChance The Rapper, Def Leppard, French Montana, Green Day, Halsey, Heart, H.E.R., Hootie & The Blowfish, Marshmello with special guest Kane Brown, Miley Cyrus, Mumford & Sons, Steve Aoki with special guests Darren Criss and Monsta X, Tim McGraw, Zac Brown Band and more.  For fans not in attendance, iHeartRadio on-air talent hosted a live backstage broadcast featuring exclusive artist interviews and performances that aired across iHeartMedia radio stations throughout the country in more than 150 markets and on iHeartRadio.  The CW Network exclusively livestreamed both nights of the festival via CWTV.com and The CW App, and will broadcast a two-night television special on Wednesday, October 2 and Thursday, October 3 from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One announces the launch of two variety hits formats: Variety Hits-Pop and Variety Hits-Rock.  The two new formats will debut in October.  Variety Hits-Pop features artists including: JourneyMadonna, Michael Jackson, and Maroon 5; and Variety Hits-Rock skews toward artists such as: Aerosmith, Queen, Nirvana, and Fleetwood Mac.  Westwood One president of programming Kirk Stirland says, “The variety hits format checks a lot of boxes for many markets and the time is right for us to build a satellite-delivered version that enhances our successful, custom music-scheduled format.  We designed this to accommodate our customers who wanted an unbranded, flexible structure, with up to 13 opportunities an hour to make it their own.”…..Alternative WHHZ-FM, Newberry, Florida “100.5 The Buzz” in the Gainesville market announces Kaylan Moody adds music director duties to her morning host role with the Marc Radio-owned station…..Country singer/songwriter David Kroll is back in his hometown of Burlington, Iowa where he’s the new morning drive host on Pritchard Broadcasting’s KDMG-FM “Big Country 103.1.” Kroll spent the past 10 years in Nashville where he wrote songs and toured with his band.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

| September 17, 2019

Key Networks Launches Audio Ad Sales Division. Two radio sales executives join Key Networks as the division of Sun & Fun Media begins providing audio advertising sales to producers and service/program providers.  Jim Higgins joins Key Networks as president and chief operating officer and Rich Baum comes aboard as executive vice president, advertising sales.  Higgins, previously president and COO at United Stations Radio Networks will be based in New York City and Baum, formerly EVP of sales at USRN, will be based in Chicago. Rob Koblasz, Sun & Fun and Key Networks CEO, says, “We are excited to now be a full-service network company for our existing as well as new clients, with the addition of advertising sales capabilities and an experienced and knowledgeable senior executive team.  Our goal when we started Key Networks was to be best-in-class, from the talent we represent, the producers we work with and the professionals on our team.  Both Jim and Rich fit that description perfectly. Their contacts in the ad sales and marketing world run deep and they are highly respected in the industry.  We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Jim and Rich to help build Key Networks into a successful full-service network audio company.”

FCC Approves Tribune-Nexstar Deal; Fate of WGN-AM Up in the Air. The Federal Communications Commission approved Nexstar Media’s acquisition of Tribune Media, a deal that will create the largest television station company in the country.  After closing, Nexstar will own almost 200 stations in 115 markets – plus a lone radio station: WGN-AM, Chicago.  Nexstar is a television company and it has not specifically addressed what it will or will not do with WGN-AM.  It wouldn’t be unique for a TV operator to also dabble in radio – Sinclair Broadcast Group operates four radio stations in addition to its large television holdings.  It’s certainly possible Nexstar continues to operate WGN-AM.  However, recent deals for heritage signals in the top markets – think WABC, New York and the several FM stations in New York and Los Angeles – indicate that the value of stations like these is on a steady decline and Nexstar may be better off selling WGN-AM before its value declines even more.

Learning from Entercom’s Ransomware AttackTALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes in his column that the alleged ransom Entercom was facing is “much higher than most ransomware demands.  According to security company Coveware, the average demand this year is $12,762 — double the average demand in 2018.”  Though Entercom is reportedly not paying the ransom, Weisman says “the cost of repairing the damage will exceed the cost of paying the ransom.  Radio One paid $500,000 to repair the damage when it was victimized by a ransomware attack, which also resulted in a large amount of lost advertising revenue.”  Read Weisman’s entire column here.

Bortnick Promoted to Region SVP of Sales for iHeartMedia. Sales pro Danny Bortnick is promoted from senior vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s Washington, DC cluster to region senior vice president of sales for the Washington D.C./Baltimore markets.  iHeartMedia Washington/Baltimore region president Aaron Hyland says, “Danny has made a tremendous impact on the day-to-day operations of our sales organization since day one.  I am excited to see Danny take on this new leadership position and look forward to his continued success in developing and managing a best-in-class sales team for the region.”  Prior to joining iHeartMedia, Bortnick served as the vice president of sales for Entercom, vice president of sales for CBS Radio and general sales manager for WNEW-FM.

Saudi Oil Attack, Kavanaugh Allegations/NYTimes Criticism, 2020 Presidential Race, Another Vaping-Related Death, and ‘SNL’ Fires Comic Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/16). The attack on a Saudi oil facility, accusations Iran is responsible, and President Trump’s military threats against Iran; the allegation of sexual harassment against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and the related criticism of The New York Times; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020; the dangers of vaping after another person succumbs to respiratory ailments; and the firing of Shane Gillis from “SNL” after bigoted comments came to light were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Kansas City sports talk outlet KCSP “610 Sports Radio” and the MLB’s Kansas City Royals announce a five-year extension to their deal for the Entercom station to serve as the flagship for the team’s play-by-play broadcasts.  In addition to airing all 162 regular season games, KCSP will also broadcast all weeknight and weekend Cactus League Spring Training games from Arizona.  The weekly “Royals Hot Stove” show returns in January, and dates and times of the spring broadcasts and “Royals Hot Stove” show will be announced at a later date…..The New York Post and cabana announce the upcoming launch of “We Hear: A Page Six Podcast.”  The first episode of this new podcast dropped yesterday with Page Six editors Maggie Coughlan and Ian Mohr serving as hosts.  They bring insider stories and knowledge straight from the newsroom to the podcasts…..TALKERS founder Michael Harrison made a guest appearance this past weekend on the longtime nationally syndicated radio show “The Art of Living and the Science of Life” hosted by Danielle Lin that has generated quite a buzz in the metaphysics community.  The program deals with consciousness and anesthesiology – two subjects that are peripheral to Harrison’s usual beat of media and society, but he effectively ties them into his general theme of “rewiring the human nervous system” in the digital era.  To listen to the entire show, please click 

      here
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‘SuperTalk Mississippi’ Broadcaster Kipp Greggory Dies. Talk host, programmer, and WOSM, Biloxi “SuperTalk Mississippi” station manager Kipp Greggory died on Saturday (9/14).  Specifics of his passing were not made public but his final message to family and friends, passed on by his wife, alluded to an illness. “Well.. it got the best [of] me. So long my Biloxi Family. I hope they have Bacon in heaven and I can get the Saints channel.”  Station owner Telesouth Communications wrote in a tweet: “All of us at Telesouth Communications and ‘Supertalk Mississippi’ send heartfelt condolences to the family of our colleague and friend, Kipp Greggory.  Kipp’s passion was radio.  For many years, he could be heard daily on WOSM ‘Supertalk Mississippi Gulf Coast’ and often heard statewide on the ‘Supertalk Mississippi’ network.  He loved the Mississippi Gulf Coast and worked diligently each day to bring Coast residents the news and issues important to them.  Kipp also used his platform to highlight causes close to his heart and give back to the community.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Jo and their daughters. Kipp loved them deeply.”

PPM Analysis: CHR. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s August 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on CHR.  Comparing data from the July 2019 survey and the August 2019 survey shows about as many stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go up (43%) as saw it go down (39%), with 18% unchanged.  Year-over-year, slightly more are down (51%) than up (42%).  Two CHR-formatted stations ranked #1 in their respective markets in the August survey: iHeartMedia’s KHKS-FM, Dallas “106.1 Kiss FM” and Hubbard Radio’s KQMV, Seattle “MOViN 92.5.”  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air and programming pro Mike James announces he’s retiring from his position at Hall Communications’ Lakeland, Florida station group – and the radio biz – effective at the end of the year.  James has been program director at WPCV, Lakeland “97 Country” since 2004, and operations manager for the four-station cluster since 2006.  He says, “My first radio job was in 1979, and I can remember thinking how great it was to be able to entertain people and get paid for it at the same time.  Forty years later, it’s still great, but I’m finally ready to kick back, relax, and spend more quality time at Anna Maria Island.  I want to thank Hall Communications owners Art and Bonnie Rowbotham for giving me the opportunity to work for one of the most respected radio groups in America.”…..The “Jagger & Kristi” morning show at Local Media San Diego’s rhythmic oldies XHRM-FM “Magic 92.5” announces that Samantha DeJesus is its new producer.  She has been serving as interim producer since the departure of Sheryl Love in July.  DeJesus says, “I cannot fully express the amount of gratitude I have to be given such an amazing opportunity.  Along with the rest of the city, I grew up listening to ‘Jagger & Kristi,’ so I feel like I’ve known them all my life. To be working alongside such an iconic radio duo, who are legends to the San Diego community, I am thrilled to learn and grow with the best in the business.”

Thursday, August 29, 2019

| August 29, 2019

Good Karma Brands Inks Deal to Operate ESPN’s WMVP-AM, Chicago. Yesterday’s announcement by sports talk radio WMVP-AM owner ESPN that Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma Brands would begin operating “ESPN 1000” beginning next month took the industry by surprise.  But as ESPN Audio SVP Traug Keller says, Karmazin’s company has a long track record with ESPN.  “Good Karma has proven to be an excellent local affiliate that has shown expertise in local media operations and sales while being a strong steward of the ESPN brand.”  Keller adds, “This is a smart business decision that allows us to continue to serve local sports fans with the compelling content they crave.”  As a result of this long-term LMA between ESPN Radio and Good Karma, the latter will “expand its affiliate relationship with ESPN Radio and the station will retain the ‘ESPN 1000’ name.  ESPN Radio Chicago will feature a lineup of local and national sports talk programming and ESPN Radio’s national play-by-play lineup that includes NBA, MLB, NFL and college football, including the College Football Playoff.”  The LMA begins on September 29.  Longtime ‘ESPN 1000’ VP and general manager Jim Pastor will exit his role.  He says, “Few people will ever match the experience I’ve had over 27 incredible years with Disney, including the last 15 with ESPN.  I could not be more proud of what we have accomplished at ‘ESPN 1000’ or be more supportive of the decision to affiliate with Good Karma.  Walking away now becomes infinitely easier knowing [Good Karma Brands president] Steve Politziner, Craig Karmazin, and the rest of the Good Karma team will be running the show.  For me, I’m ready to dial it back, spend more time with the family and go back to sitting in the cheap seats.”  Craig Karmazin – whose company also owns operates ESPN-affiliated stations in Cleveland, Madison, Milwaukee, and West Palm Beach – says, “Our Midwest roots have afforded us the opportunity to see the passion of Chicago sports fans up close for over two decades.  We are so excited to extend our commitment to being ESPN’s best-in-class local operator into what will now be our largest market.”  ESPN Audio continues to operate WEPN-FM, New York and KSPN-AM, Los Angeles.

WJBC, Bloomington’s Laughlin Retires; Miller Takes Over AM Drive Show. At Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJBC, Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, longtime morning personality Scott Laughlin is retiring from the station and afternoon drive personality Scott Miller will take over as morning drive host. Miller – who inked a new, multi-year deal with the company – will work with news director Katherine Murphy on the morning show.  Back in May, Laughlin announced he was taking a leave of absence from the WJBC morning show for health reasons.  He has since decided to make his leave permanent.  He says, “I had planned to retire next summer.  My circumstances have speeded up that plan.”  Station operations manager Dan Westhoff says, “We wish nothing but the best for Scott Laughlin as he focuses on his health.  Emotionally, it’s not easy to move forward in a situation like this, but we must.  We look forward to having Scott Miller in the morning and know he will do a great job.” The station is searching for a new afternoon talk host.

‘FOX Sports 910’ in Phoenix Makes Drive Time Changes; Dan Sileo Joins for Afternoons. Beginning Tuesday (9/3), iHeartMedia’s KGME, Phoenix “FOX Sports 910” is moving afternoon drive personality Jody Oehler’s “The Drive” program to the 5:00 am to 10:00 am daypart, replacing FOX Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick.  The station says that Oehler’s “‘The Drive’ has brought a signature blend of truth, humor and originality to the Phoenix airwaves.  Throughout the run of the show, Oehler has had some of the biggest names in sports on-air regularly, including: Donovan McNabb, Jake Plummer, Ian Rapoport, Kent Somers, and Greg Amsinger, as well as everyone’s favorite radio segment, ‘Top 5 Thursday,’ which ranks the top five sports stories every Thursday.”  Oehler says, “I’m incredibly excited to be moving to mornings. In a city like Phoenix with all the local teams and transplant residents, I relish the opportunity to offer my reaction to the biggest local and national sporting events.  We’ll do it better than anyone in the market with truth, humor, and fun.  And as a bonus, I won’t get into a near fist fight with myself on the air.”  The station is expected to announce its plans for the afternoon drive daypart very soon. Taking over the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot is sports talk host Dan Sileo, most recently with Entercom at KWFN-FM, San Diego “97.3 The Fan.”  The station says Sileo’s show “will feature engaging sports talk with features such as ‘Cardinals Rewind,’ where Sileo analyzes the Cardinals by recapping the biggest hits and misses from each game, and ‘Stump Sileo,’ a daily segment where listeners have the opportunity to challenge Sileo to a game of six degrees of separation, in which Sileo has to find a way to connect himself to the listener’s favorite sports icon.”  Sileo says, “It’s an honor to come home to iHeartMedia, where I spent the majority of my 24-year radio career, for this amazing opportunity to host afternoons on ‘FOX Sports 910.’  I will promise my listeners this – we will have the most compelling sports show in The Valley.  It will be a show for Phoenix, about Phoenix.  We’re going to bring on the biggest stars in sports and entertainment and give listeners a show they’ll never forget.”

WLAC, Nashville Host Steve Gill Remains in Jail; ‘Terrified’ Wife Files for Divorce. More legal woes arise for embattled WLAC, Nashville talk radio host Steve Gill, who remains in jail in Williamson County, Tennessee for failure to pay $170,000 in child support to ex-wife Kathryn Gill.  Now, Gill’s current wife – who is not named by The Tennessean in its report since she’s under an order of protection from the court – is filing for divorce from Gill and told the court in her request for the order, “I need protection.  I am terrified.  He is ‘influenced’ and ‘powerful’ and he used that to try to keep me from escaping.”  As a witness in Gill’s child support case, she testified that he was lying under oath in court.  The court has ordered Gill not to contact his current wife; to stay away from her home and workplace; to vacate the family home; undergo a certified batterers’ intervention program; and cannot possess any firearms (the order notes he has numerous weapons).

Palm Springs Morning Host Bill Feingold Off the Air for Cancer Treatment. Coachella Valley morning drive personality Bill Feingold is on medical leave from Alpha Media’s news/talk brand “K-News” – KNWZ-AM/KNWQ-AM/K232CX/K274DA – after being diagnosed with stage four liver cancer.  Feingold tells the Desert Sun that he’s aware of the gravity of his diagnosis but is hopeful he can return to the air after undergoing chemotherapy, which begins on September 12.  He and co-host Kevin Holmes have been together on the radio in Palm Springs since 2004.  Feingold says, “Alpha Media is hoping for a semi-miracle so I can come back.  I would come back in a second.”

TALKERS News Notes. Detroit journalist Bankole Thompson is returning to Kevin Adell-run WFDF-AM, Detroit “910AM Superstation” to host the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm program, beginning September 9.  Previously, the Detroit News columnist hosted the program, “Redline,” on the station.  Thompson says, “I’m happy to be back at ‘910AM Superstation’ and I’m looking forward to making Detroit’s recovery and poverty the front and center of our conversation.”…..The conservative Christian K-Star Talk Radio Network announces it is adding independent journalist and radio host Will Johnson’s newly syndicated talk radio program, “Fire Power News,” to its 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET slot, effective September 9.   K-Star program director Angeline Marie says, “I am so excited to add Will Johnson’s program to the K-Star schedule.  He is young, energetic, intelligent, and really passionate about making a difference.”…..Entravision Communications announces it’s bringing listeners “the most extensive Spanish-language radio broadcast coverage” of the upcoming 2019 NFL Centennial season.  The company will broadcast 46 games across 17 U.S. markets on its owned-and-operated stations, as well as on affiliate stations across the country.  Entravision president and COO Jeffrey Liberman says, “The start of the NFL season is always exciting and this year we’re especially proud to have the most extensive Spanish radio broadcast coverage of the NFL. The game of football has really found a home in the Latino market and there are more passionate NFL fans than ever.”…..Actors Gabrielle Carteris and Camryn Manheim have been chosen by SAG-AFTRA’s national membership to fulfill the respective roles of president and secretary-treasurer, two of the union’s highest ranking offices.  Their two-year terms begin today.

Legendary Radio Executive Dwight Case Dies at 90.  Earlier this month, Dwight Case – onetime publisher of Radio & Records and general manager of KHJ, Los Angeles – died at the age of 90. Case started in radio in 1948 KFRE-AM, Fresno.  During his long career, he also managed KROY, Sacramento; served as president of RKO’s radio division; founded Transtar Satellite Radio Network; and served as publisher and CEO of R&R from 1983-1987.  Read more at LARadio.com.

Trump vs the Media, 2020 Presidential Race, U.S.-China Trade War, Queen Suspends UK Parliament, Jessi Combs Dies in Crash, and Hurricane Dorian Heads for Florida Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/28). The president’s renewed frustration with the media’s coverage of his presidency; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020; the war of tariffs between the U.S. and China; the Queen agrees to suspend the UK Parliament; driver and television personality Jessi Combs dies trying to set a land speed record; and Hurricane Dorian’s projected path toward Florida 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. Media executive Winter Horton joins Meruelo Media as chief operating officer, reporting to president and CEO Otto Padron.   Horton was most recently COO for LBI Media Inc.  Padron says, “Meruelo Media has enjoyed extraordinary growth in the past few months.  The task to solidify our L.A. super cluster position and continue our expansion is my highest priority.  To achieve this, I’m proud to announce the addition of Winter Horton as our chief operating officer.  Winter brings a wealth of experience and a unique skill set to help us create even greater value as we optimize our strategy of growth.”…..Cumulus Media’s rock WNDX, Indianapolis “93.9X” announces that Abe Kanan takes over as morning drive personality, effective September 3.  Kanan has served with stations including WLUP-FM and WKQX in Chicago and WBGG in Miami, as well as on the Howard 101 channel on SiriusXM.  He says, “If I could create my own radio station, it would sound just like ‘93.9X.’ In 2019, this is exactly how a rock station should sound.  I am beyond excited and honored to be chosen as the first morning show host on the soon-to-be world-famous 93.9X!”…..SummitMedia names Sheba Foxx news & community affairs director for the Greenville, South Carolina cluster.  Foxx takes over for Rhonda Rawlings who left the position to serve as South Carolina media rep for Cory Booker’s presidential campaign…..Alternative KTBZ, Houston “94.5 The Buzz” morning personality Dinah Powers is leaving the station’s Rod Ryan show after Friday’s broadcast.  She tells the Houston Chronicle that she elected not to renew her contract and is leaving the radio business and hopes to go back to school and work in the mental health field…..After 62 years in the same Takoma Park, Maryland location, Washington Adventist University’s WGTS-FM, Washington, DC celebrates the grand opening of its new broadcast ministry center in Rockville, Maryland.  The new 13,000 square-foot facility contains two identical on-air studios, three production rooms and a television studio.  It replaces the 3,000 square-foot World War II-era building that has served as the headquarters of the ministry since 1957…..Former, longtime WDVE, Pittsburgh air personality Jack Maloy died yesterday (8/28).  Maloy spent 36 years on the air at the iHeartMedia rock outlet, mostly in overnights.  The station says Maloy loved the shift so much that when he was promoted to the evening show, he was miserable and requested to return to the overnight show where he stayed until his retirement in 2013.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

| August 21, 2019

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format.  The summer months can be a down time for all-news stations and that appears to have been the case during the July survey as 62% of all-news stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share dip.  In fact, only Entercom’s KNX, Los Angeles was the only station to go up, albeit only by a tenth of a share.  The rest of the stations on our panel remained flat.  Comparing July of 2018 to this year, half the stations on our panel were up – led by Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco (+0.6) and WDCH, Baltimore “Bloomberg Radio 99.1” (+0.6) – and the other half were down, with Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington down 1.4 shares.  In July there were no all-news stations that ranked #1 in their respective markets.  However, KCBS-AM, San Francisco and WTOP, Washington both ranked #2.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

WSB, Atlanta Rebrands Simultaneous with Transmitter Move. Atlanta news/talker WSB-AM/WSBB-FM announces the move of its 95.5 FM transmitter and antenna from Flowery Branch to East Atlanta and the change of its official name and positioning statement to “95.5 WSB Atlanta’s News & Talk.” Cox Media Group says, “The move brings a stronger signal and better sound quality to residents in counties on the south, west and northwest side of metro Atlanta, including Henry, Paulding, Cobb, Bartow, Coweta, Cherokee and Douglas.”  WSB director of branding and programming Pete Spriggs says, “With the new tower location, at least one million more people in Atlanta will now be able to listen to 95.5 WSB without static, loud and clear, both at home and at work.  Office buildings in downtown and midtown Atlanta, Buckhead, Cumberland, and Perimeter will now be able to listen to 95.5 on an FM radio and hear our news and talk with a strong signal.”  The station will still be heard on the 750AM frequency as well.

Envision and GAB Partner to Distribute ‘Smart Talk Radio’ Format. The WCGO-AM, Chicago-based Smart Talk Radio format promises “no political talk.” Envision Networks and the GAB Radio Network are partnering to distribute the new 24/7 talk format to stations nationwide.  The “information and entertainment” format launched its weekend programming lineup last weekend (8/17-18) with a bevy of shows focusing on food, home improvement, pet, and travel shows.  It plans to announce its weekday lineup soon.  Envision Networks president and CEO Danno Wolkoff says, “Time to get back to programming that we all can enjoy listening to on the radio.  The debut of our weekend lineup really gets the network rolling and we’re excited to debut three new weekday daypart programs that will cover sports talk and betting, financial advice and planning, and lifestyle talk.”

Entercom’s News/Talk WYRD-FM and ‘ESPN Upstate’ Win SCBA Awards. The Entercom Greenville, South Carolina cluster took home a number of STAR Awards and Awards of Merit from the South Carolina Broadcasters Association. WYRD-FM “106.3 WORD” morning drive talk show host Tara Servatius won best Radio Morning Show Personality and Best News/Talk Show.  WYRD-FM’s Vince Coakley program won an Award of Merit for Radio Show of the Year. Sports talk WYRD-AM’s “Straight Up with Sturg” show was honored with an Award of Merit for Best Sports Show.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Chicago sports media personality Mike North is now a media consultant and spokesperson for VegasScoresAndOdds.com. In this capacity, North will host a sports-betting show on the platform on Mondays and Wednesdays.  North says in a statement, “I’ve immersed myself into the sports handicapping business, like I did the radio talk show industry when I made the transition from hot dog stand owner to nationally recognized media figure.”  Aldo Gandia – who is North’s partner on the Bears Barroom Radio Network – will also co-host and produce the betting shows…..ESPN Audio announces that its “30 for 30 Podcasts,” with The Undefeated, debuts all five episodes from its new season of audio documentaries.  “The Sterling Affairs” examines the life of former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.  It chronicles his rags to riches rise, his ultimate downfall, and how it all impacted the NBA. The series is hosted by ESPN senior writer Ramona Shelburne…..Paragon Media Strategies brings audio imaging producer Zach Gilltrap aboard to provide his services to Paragon clients. The company says, “Gilltrap has provided sound design creative services to radio stations, networks, studios and including Paragon clients for 20-plus years.  He will provide audio imaging production to select Paragon clients while continuing full time as the in-house producer at Colorado Public Radio, operator of Denver’s news/talk KCFR-FM, classical KVOD-FM, music discovery indie 102.3 and a statewide network of owned-and-affiliated stations.”…..WFDF, Detroit “910AM Superstation” adds ESPN Radio’s “Stephen A. Smith Show” to its lineup in the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot, effective September 9.  Station CEO Kevin Adell says, “We continue to evolve and provide exciting opportunities to our listening audience in the market.”

Trump Greenland Flap, 2020 Presidential Race, Financial Markets Activity/Economic Concerns, Epstein Suicide Aftermath, U.S.-China Trade War/Hong Kong Protests, Israel vs Tlaib/Omar, Iran Tanker Case, and Gun Legislation Issues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/20). The controversy over President Trump’s question about buying Greenland; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the world’s financial markets activity and concerns about a U.S. recession; the aftermath of the suicide of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein; the trade war between the U.S. and China and the related protests in Hong Kong; Israel’s decision to ban U.S. Reps Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from visiting Israel; the status of an Iranian oil tanker the U.S. wants to prevent from reaching Syria; and the state of possible gun legislation in the wake of recent mass shootings 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.  KDGS-FM, Wichita “Power 93.5” program director and morning drive personality Greg “The Hitman” Williams is inducted into The Kansas African American Museum Hall of Fame.  He’ll be honored with the Broadcast Journalism Trailblazer Award by TKAAM at the organization’s annual Trailblazers Gala on October 5 in Wichita.  Entercom Wichita SVP and market manager Jackie Wise says, “We are thrilled to see Greg recognized for his significant contributions to radio and to the community.  We’re very proud to have him as part of the Entercom Wichita team.”…..iHeartMedia’s Dallas classic rock KEGL “97.1 The Eagle” announces that the lineup for its “Freakers’ Ball” live event on October 25 at Dos Equis Pavilion will include: Marilyn Manson, Bush, Bad Wolves, Filter, 10 Years, and Blacktop Mojo.  Station PD Don Davis says, “Who better to headline this huge annual event than Marilyn Manson.  Our ‘Eagle’ rockaholics have come to expect the best when it comes to our annual ‘Freakers’ Ball’ lineup and we always strive to deliver.”…..Entercom’s 4th annual “Riptide Music Festival powered by Ford” is taking place November 23 and 24 on Fort Lauderdale Beach at 1100 Seabreeze Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale.  The two-day festival will feature more than 20 musical performers including: The Killers, The 1975, The Revivalists, Silversun Pickups, and Judah & The Lion, among others.  The event is being hosted by the company’s alternative WSFS-FM, Fort Lauderdale “104.3 The Shark.”…..iHeartMedia San Antonio announces that Victor “Tito” Caballero is named program director for KZEP-FM, San Antonio “104.5 Latino Hits.” Caballero has been the station’s creative director and afternoon drive host since December 2018.   He says, “I couldn’t be more excited to program a station in my hometown that plays a music format that I love.  To have the opportunity to work with and learn from some of the most talented programmers in the world is humbling to say the least.”

Friday, August 16, 2019

| August 16, 2019

New Installment Posted of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The recently launched, one-hour experimental weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” produced by Goodphone Communications that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  The new episode titled, “A Variety of Unpleasant Conundrums!” looks back at this past week of August 12-16, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Renee Kohanski, M.D.; Kevin Miller, talk show host, KIDO, Boise; Joe Thomas, talk show host WCHV, Charlottesville; and Elaina Newport, co-founder and head songwriter, The Capitol Steps. The news/talk media show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as a recap and exclamation mark for the week-in-review as well as several other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA and the iHeart Podcast Network. Hosted by Michael Harrison, this excellent show is now being made available as a service to terrestrial news/talk stations from TALKERS for on-air or online presentation on a market-exclusive basis.  For information call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

First-Half Ad Drivers. It isn’t your imagination – automotive dealers and insurance providers are the top advertising categories in radio, TV, and cable. That’s the analysis of Media Monitors’ latest rankings that cover the period from January 1 through July 31. Local auto dealers finish far ahead of any other category during the same period last year. As far as the number of vehicle insurance commercials are concerned, Media Monitors opines, “New auto buyers are likely to shop around. To get their brand in front of interested consumers, insurance providers are right behind auto dealers in the number of spots they’ve aired this year.” Local car and truck dealers focus their advertising on radio, where they broadcast the highest number of spots (7,659,729), and on TV, where they ranked #10 (2,537,737). As far as specific advertisers are concerned, Home Depot, GEICO, Liberty Mutual, and McDonald’s aired the most spots thus far through July 31 of this year. The top 10 radio advertisers for the first seven months of 2019 are: Home Depot, GEICO, Lowe’s, Indeed, McDonald’s, Progressive, Seriously, Sprint, Macy’s and JC Penney. By way of perspective, #1 Home Depot had more than three times the number of “radio instances” (1,777,560) than #10 JC Penney (579,288).

TALKERS News Notes. The new Phoenix affiliate for CUMULUS MEDIA’s Westwood One Radio Network primetime NFL coverage is CRC Broadcasting Company sports talk KQFN “The Fanatic.” CRC president and chief executive officer Ron Cohen remarks, “There are no more popular yearly sporting events in this country than NFL football. We’re proud to be the exclusive Phoenix radio affiliate and excited for the incredible opportunity to air these high-profile NFL games, including the Super Bowl in February.” ….. After 24 seasons covering University of Central Florida football – most recently as sideline reporter and pre-game host – Jerry O’Neill is retiring from the radio team. He made the announcement on Marc Daniels’ show on UCF football flagship, iHeartMedia Orlando sports talk WYGM “The Game.” Taking O’Neill’s place as pre-game host and sideline reporter is Scott Adams; former UCF defensive lineman and NFL player Leger Douzable joins as analyst. Meanwhile, producer Chris Vasquez is boosted to executive producer, and assistant producer Tom Morgan will produce all men’s basketball and baseball radio broadcasts ….. The corporate director of programming of Forever Media stations in Wilmington (Delaware) and Salisbury-Ocean City (Maryland), Brad Austin, exits. In addition to his corporate duties, Austin programmed and did afternoons on WXCY “New Country 103.7.” He had been with WXCY the past six years and added corporate responsibilities three years ago. The Wilmington and Salisbury-Ocean City stations for which Austin was responsible included news/talk WDEL-AM & WDEL-FM; WXDE “News Talk 105.9”; sports talk WYUS “ESPN Delaware”; WSTW “Today’s Best Variety”; WAFL “Eagle 97.7”; classic hits-oldies WAVD “97.1 The Wave”; classic rock WNCL “Cool 101.3 Delaware’s Greatest Hits”; and gospel WFAI “Faith 1510.” ….. More than 300 members of Congress (or their spouses or family members) participated in this year’s NAB Congressional PSA Campaign. The program invites members of Congress and their families to be featured in free spots that address issues of importance to their constituents. The PSAs have been sent to radio and TV stations across the country. NAB executive vice president Dennis Wharton notes, “The NAB Congressional PSA Campaign provides legislators and their families an opportunity to share pro-social messages that can have a positive impact on communities across America. Local radio and TV broadcasters will be generously donating airtime for this initiative as part of our commitment to serving local communities.” NAB has hosted the biannual campaign in off-election years since 1985.

Top Choice For News Among Teens? YouTube. A June 14 – June 25 poll of more than 1,000 U.S. teenagers (13 – 17) conducted by nonprofit Common Sense, in tandem with SurveyMonkey, found that 54% of respondents get news at least a few times per week from social networking platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, while one-half do so from YouTube. As David Cohen writes in AdWeek, “Six of ten citing YouTube indicated they were more likely to get their news from celebrities, influencers, and personalities than from news organizations.” The preference for YouTube may best be explained that more than six of ten respondents stated, “seeing pictures and video showing what happened” helped them understand major news events, while roughly one of three would rather “read or hear the facts.” In a release detailing its findings, Common Sense notes that the news habits of teens, “reflect the diversity of the modern media landscape. While most news organizations maintain accounts on social media and other platforms, they are competing for attention with corporate brands, celebrities, influencers, and personal connections.” Two of three teens who do turn to news organizations say it helps them better understand what is going on; 53% of those who get news from social media expressed the same sentiment. Meanwhile, one of five believe getting news via social networks makes them more confused about current events. Common Sense chief executive officer James Steyer observes, “These findings raise concerns about what kind of news the next generation is using to shape their decisions. There are few standards for what constitutes news and how accurately it’s portrayed on the platforms teens use.” SurveyMonkey chief research officer Jon Cohen adds, “While it’s notable that teens rely heavily on platforms such as Facebook and YouTube to stay informed, their reliance on news from celebrities and influencers rather than journalists may have pernicious implications. It’s a bit of a paradox: Overwhelmingly, teens say that they are interested in keeping up with the news, but they’re not seeking out either traditional or new media to do so.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Yesterday at 5:00pm (Thursday, 8/15), iHeartMedia Indianapolis transitioned WOLT-HD2 (W248AW-FM) to CHR “97.5 “Kiss-FM.” Debuting commercial-free and featuring an air staff (KD, Rucker, Jake B, and Catalina) heard on a number of other iHeartMedia stations, “Kiss” will rely on a playlist from artists such as Drake, Ariana Grande, Halsey, Jonas Brothers, Bruno Mars, and Shawn Mendes. Market president Brett Beshore states, “We are thrilled to bring the ‘Kiss FM’ brand to Indy. The music, events, and personalities featured on ‘97.5 Kiss FM’ is the perfect formula and will contribute to building a great audience for our advertisers.” Senior vice president of programming for iHM Indianapolis Dave Hill comments, “Our listeners can now listen to their favorite songs and hit music they love without commercial interruption. ‘Kiss FM’ is going to energize our listeners and shakeup the [CHR] landscape.” WOLT-HD2 did not appear in Nielsen Audio’s July 2019 report for Indianapolis. Existing CHRs in the market include WZPL “99.5 ZPL” (6.0, #5, July 2019, 6+) and WNOW “Radio Now 100.9” (2.9, #14, July 2019, 6+). A third CHR, WYRG “Energy 93.9,” flipped to rock WNDX “93-X” two months ago (May 2019) …. Heard weekday mornings (5:00 am – 10:00 am) on Hearst Television Baltimore’s WIYY “98 Rock,” Justin, Scott & Spiegel are expanding to television this weekend. The first episode of their half-hour “Justin, Scott and Spiegel Shouldn’t Be On TV” will air immediately following “Saturday Night Live” on Hearst Baltimore’s WBAL-TV (channel 11). WIYY president and general manager Cary Pahigian declares, “Pairing Baltimore’s most colorful and imaginative radio show in this great time slot after ‘SNL’ is a terrific opportunity to reach our listeners on one of the country’s strongest NBC affiliates. Justin, Scott and Spiegel are ready to take full advantage of this great lead-in.” WBAL-TV president and general manager Dan Joerres remarks, “Creating this television program for broadcast on WBAL-TV 11 is a natural extension of our partnership with sister station ‘98 Rock.’ Like our shared partnerships with the Baltimore Ravens and Maryland Lottery, we’re always looking for new and innovative ways to serve our Baltimore viewers and listeners. Given the popularity of the live stream of Justin, Scott and Spiegel’s morning show, we saw an opportunity to develop this program for local fans.” Justin, Scott and Spiegel have been a morning show team since 2013 ….. Also in that Maryland market, WWMX “Mix 106.5,” Baltimore nighttime talent Neci Williams takes on music director duties there. Entercom Baltimore director of programming, music stations/WWMX PD Tom Cook remarks, “I’m happy to recognize Neci’s ability and talent with this promotion. She has a great ear for new music and really hears the art and flow when editing a log; being a music director has been a goal of hers for years.” Formerly with Washington, DC’s WHFS, Williams has worked for Baltimore’s “Mix” the past three years ….. Initiating this weekend is Premiere Networks’ two-hour “Hollywood Unlocked with Jason Lee,” the founder and chief executive officer of “Hollywood Unlocked.” He and co-hosts Melyssa Ford and DJ Damage will “keep listeners on the pulse of hip-hop and pop culture.” Miami rapper Trina guests on the first show and discusses “stripper rappers.” Among the 50 stations clearing “Hollywood Unlocked” are iHeartMedia urban contemporary outlets KRRL “Real 92.3,” Los Angeles; WGCI-FM, Chicago; KQBT “93.7 The Beat,” Houston; WRDG “96.7 The Beat,” Atlanta; WUSL “Power 99,” Philadelphia; WMIB “103.5 The Beat,” Miami; and WJLB, Detroit ….. Nine stations are added to the roster for Entercom’s “Channel Q” on the LGBTQ+ Talk Radio Network. The network brings the latest in LGBTQ+ news and information, pop culture, and new music. Entercom Southern California regional president and market manager Jeff Federman comments, “Channel Q’s already expansive reach nationwide is another step in the right direction as we aim to promote and support inclusion throughout our country. We remain as persistent about providing the LGBTQ+ community and its allies with a voice as we did when we first launched. We are proud to continue to expand our efforts into new markets.” Listeners can find Channel Q on the following stations via an HD Radio capable device: WSTR-HD3 “Star 94.1,” Atlanta (next month); WTDY-HD3 “96.5 TDY,” Philadelphia; WDZH-HD3 “98.7 The Breeze,” Detroit”; WDSY-HD3 “Y-108,” Pittsburgh”; WQMP-HD2 “FM 101.9, Orlando”; WXSS-HD3 “103.7 Kiss FM,” Milwaukee; WNVZ-HD2 “Z-104,” Norfolk”; WEZB-HD2 “B-97, New Orleans”; and WMQX-HD2 “Max 102,” Wilkes Barre-Scranton ….. In the summer of 1969, 400,000 people converged on a local farm in upstate New York to hear 32 top musical acts. The 600-acre farm was overwhelmed with intense heat, rain and mud. “Woodstock” became a legendary scene and spawned an Academy Award winning film, soundtrack album, and major hit song. On the 50th anniversary weekend, CUMULUS MEDIA’s Westwood One will have correspondent Steve Kastenbaum reporting from Bethel Woods, New York; 50-year old sound will be replayed from the Westwood One News archives. The golden anniversary will be celebrated with a half-hour Mike Moss-hosted special, “Woodstock: A Festival for the Ages.” The news retrospective will run Labor Day weekend and explore Woodstock’s legacy with archived audio clips, news reports, and interviews. In other Westwood One news, multi-platinum singer/songwriter Dierks Bentley will host the network’s annual four-hour “Workin’ Hard Country” music special over Labor Day weekend. Bentley will showcase work songs, summertime anthems, and current hits from his own catalog, as well as songs from (among others) Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, Maren Morris, and Keith Urban. Many of the artists will share stories about their pre-fame jobs ….. Starting one week from Monday (8/26), iHeartMedia San Diego hot AC KMYI “Star 94.1” premieres Jesse Lozano and Tati Santiago (“Jesse and Tati in the Morning”) as its 6:00 am – 10:00 am wakeup team. KMYI program director Joe Haze states the show will be “entertaining and San Diego-centric, focusing on relatability. It will give listeners a great variety of music to get their day started.” San Diego native Lozano began his radio career inside the iHM San Diego cluster as “Boy Toy Jesse” on CHR KHTS “Channel 93.3 FM” and moved to Los Angeles CHR sibling KIIS “102.7 Kiss FM” in 2007 for afternoon drive duties. He has been hosting “Jesse Lozano in the Morning” on “Star” and remarks, “I’ve been a fan of Tati’s for a very long time – I feel so lucky to be teaming up with her. Adding her brand to ‘Star’ mornings is an incredible opportunity; our listeners are in for a good time.” Honolulu’s KIKI-FM was the site of Santiago’s first radio job. Her on-air credits since KIKI include morning co-hosting responsibilities at WPGC-FM, Washington and iHeartMedia San Diego urban contemporary KSSX “Jam’N 95.7.” She comments, “Being able to work mornings with Jesse Lozano on ‘Star’ is something I could never have dreamed. I’m excited to interact, laugh, and dig the ‘sleepies’ out of my eyes with the San Diego community every morning.” Santiago will succeed Delana Bennett, who – as noted here yesterday (8/15) – is boosted to KMYI’s assistant program director/afternoon drive host (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm) ….. Assistant program director/music director DJ Q is elevated to content director at Alpha Media Louisville urban contemporary and urban AC siblings WGZB “B-96.5” and WMJM “Magic 101.3.” DJ Q is a 15-year veteran at that Kentucky operation.

 

 

July 2019 PPM Data. July 2019 ratings information has been released for Cincinnati, Austin, and Cleveland. Nielsen Audio’s July 2019 survey period covered June 20 – July 17. Managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@Talkers.com) provides his “Takeaways” from these three PPM-markets.

Cincinnati

Spoken-Word Formats – An increase of one-tenth to 9.2 (6+) by iHeartMedia news/talk WLW “The Big One” halts three straight sweeps without an increase that resulted in the loss of one-half share (9.9 – 9.5 – 9.4 – 9.4, 6+). The Reds flagship – which had a January-only stay on top – continues in the runner-up slot. Co-owned WKRC is off nine-tenths via three straight down or flat trends (3.6 – 3.5 – 2.7 – 2.7, 6+) and repeats at #13. Prior to June 2019 (2.7), the last time “55 KRC The Talk Station in Cincinnati” fell below a three-share was June 2018 (2.8).

As a result of six straight sweeps without an increase, sports talk cluster-mate WCKY “Cincinnati’s ESPN 1530” has lost more than 50% (-.7) of its 6+ AQH-share (1.2 – 1.0 – .9 – .9 – .8 – .6 – .5, flat at #22, 6+). The April 2019 through July 2019 topline for co-owned WSAI “Fox Sports 1360” is .4 – .3 – .3 – .4 (steady at #23, 6+).

In addition to ending at three a consecutive string of decreases that resulted in a -1.2 (3.7 – 3.1 – 2.6 – 2.5, 6+), Cincinnati Public Radio news/talk WVXU (2.8, +.3, 6+) progresses from #14 to #12.

Cincinnati Music Formats – On the heels of June’s mammoth -2.1 (11.7 – 9.6, 6+), Cumulus Media classic hits-oldies WGRR “103.5 Cincinnati’s Greatest Hits” answers with a +1.0 to 10.6 (6+) and is #1 the sixth sweep in succession. Furthermore, WGRR has registered double-digits (6+) five times in the last six ratings periods. Entering the June report, WGRR was +3.6 in five successive increases (8.1 – 9.6 – 10.2 – 11.1 – 11.3 – 11.7, 6+). After a December-only stay at #1, “Cincinnati’s Greatest Hits” spiraled by -1.8 in “Holiday” 2018 (9.9 – 8.1, 6+) and shifted to third. The three latest moves for Radio One urban AC WOSL are +.7 (3.2 – 3.9, 6+, May); -.8 (3.9 – 3.1, 6+, June); and +.9 (3.1 – 4.0, July, 6+). Not only does “100.3 Cincy’s R&B Station” return to the top ten (#11 to #9), it has its highest 6+-share (4.0) in more than five years (4.3, March 2014). Owing to five straight positive or neutral moves, Cincinnati Public Radio’s WGUC “Classical 90.9” triples (+1.2) its 6+-stat (.6 – .9 – 1.1 – 1.2 – 1.2 – 1.8, #18 to #17, 6+). Hubbard Broadcasting-owned WUBE has been on a wild ride lately. After logging three straight negative trends that accounted for a -2.1 (9.4 – 8.7 – 7.9 – 7.3, 6+), “B-105.1 Cincinnati’s Country” responded with a combined +1.5 in May/June (7.3 – 7.5 – 8.8, 6+), but erodes in July by -1.6 (7.2, flat at #3, 6+). June’s 8.8 was its best 6+-stat since January’s 9.4. It’s a somewhat similar scenario for Radio One urban contemporary WIZF. Four consecutive positive or neutral reports yielded a +.7 (2.7 – 2.7 – 2.9 – 3.2 – 3.4, 6+); “101.1 The Wiz” was down -.4 in May; bounced back with a June +.7; but regresses by -.7 in July (3.7 – 3.0, 6+) and exits the top ten (#9 to #11). Seven successive negative or neutral trends by Cumulus Media’s WFTK “96 Rock” have resulted in a cumulative -1.4 (4.0 -3.7 – 3.1 – 3.0 – 3.0 – 3.0 – 3.0 – 2.6, #12 to #14, 6+).

By dropping three-tenths to 2.2 (#14 to #15, 6+), country sibling WNNF “94.1 Nash FM” has its consecutive string of up or flat trends that netted a +1.1 stall at six (1.4 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 2.0 – 2.0 – 2.5 – 2.5, 6+). In three straight sweeps without an increase (3.8 – 3.7 – 3.7 – 3.2, 6+) iHeartMedia CHR WKFS “Kiss 107.1” has lost six-tenths and falls from ninth to tenth.

Austin

Spoken-Word Formats – A June/July +1.4 by news/talk KLBJ-AM vaporizes three straight drops that accounted for a -1.0 (3.8 – 3.7 – 3.1 – 2.8, 6+) as “News Radio 590 AM” reenters the top ten (#11 to #9).

Advancing from #20 to #18, Genuine Austin Radio sports talk KTXX “The Horn” has a February 2019 through July 2019 topline of 1.6 – 1.7 – 1.8 – 1.7 – 1.3 – 1.6 (6+). After notching a .4 (6+) in May, iHeartMedia’s similarly-formatted KVET-AM “1300 AM The Zone” is stuck on .5 (#24, 6+) in June and July.

A gain of nine-tenths (5.8 – 6.7, 6+) enables University of Texas at Austin-owned news/talk KUT to advance from fourth to second. Six of KUT’s seven shifts this calendar year include: +1.6 (January); -.6 (February); +.7 (March); -2.0 (April); -1.6 (May) and +.9 (July). June’s 5.8 was its lowest 6+-showing since April 2017 (5.8, as well).

Austin Music Formats – Up six-tenths (3.8 – 4.4, 6+), iHeartMedia rhythmic CHR KPEZ “102.3 The Beat” progresses from tenth to eighth with its highest 6+-share (4.4) in more than two years (4.7, June 2017). Four successive reports without a loss by alternative KROX net a +1.2 (2.6 – 2.9 – 3.3 – 3.3 – 3.8, 6+) as “101-X” climbs from #12 to #11. This (3.8) is its best 6+showing since September 2018’s 4.0. Off one-half share in May and then roaring back with a robust +1.1 in June, adult hits KBPA “103.5 Bob-FM” loses one-tenth in July (9.3 – 9.2, 6+) but is the market pacesetter the fourth month in a row. June’s 9.3 was its highest 6+ share since “Holiday” 2018 (also 9.3). Prior to April 2019, the last time “Bob” occupied the top spot was December 2018 (8.3, 6+). There’s as intriguing situation in the market’s three-way country tussle. For openers, Genuine Austin Radio’s KOKE-FM strings together its fourth straight sweep without a loss for a net gain of six-tenths (2.0 – 2.0 – 2.1 – 2.1 – 2.6, 6+). “Austin’s Country Alternative” jumps from #14 to #16 with its best 6+-stat (2.6) since February’s 2.7. At the same time, slipping by six-tenths and seven-tenths, respectively, are iHeartMedia country siblings KASE “Austin’s #1 For New Country,” (4.8, sixth to fifth, 6+) and KVET-FM “98.1 The Austin Texas Original” (4.5, flat at #7, 6+). KASE is a combined -1.0 in June/July (5.8 – 5.4 – 4.8, 6+), directly after +1.5 in three straight bumps (4.3 – 4.5 – 5.7 – 5.8, 6+). It plummeted by -1.9 in “Holiday” 2018; improved by +1.2 in January; and was -.6 in February. Likewise, KVET-FM is -1.3 in June/July (5.8 – 5.2 – 4.5, 6+), following May’s +.9; “The Austin Texas Original” was +1.2 in January (5.0 – 6.2, 6+). After posting six successive positive or neutral monthlies that yielded an impressive +2.1 (3.6 – 4.3 – 5.4 – 5.4 – 5.4 – 5.5 – 5.7, 6+), iHeartMedia CHR KHFI “96.7 Kiss-FM” surrenders roughly half that increase (-1.1) to 4.6 (fifth to sixth, 6+). KLBJ-FM “93.7 The Rock of Austin” loses six-tenths to 3.6, its lowest 6+-showing since “Holiday” 2018’s 3.2, and exits the top ten (#9 to #12). Following May/June’s combined +1.1(5.3 – 5.8 – 6.4, 6+), Entercom hot AC KAMX “Mix 94.7” forfeits roughly half that increase (5.9, -.5, third to fourth, 6+). Having scored a March +1.2, regional Mexican KLZT “107.1 La Z” is now a collective -2.7 in four subsequent decreases (6.7 – 5.9 – 5.1 – 4.4 – 4.0, 6+) and falls from eighth to tenth. With an April – May – June (6+) topline of 1.2 – 1.1 – .9 (6+), Genuine Austin Radio classic hits-oldies KTXX-HD4 vanishes from print.

Cleveland

Spoken-Word Formats – The five most recent fluctuations for iHeartMedia news/talk – and Indians flagship – WTAM “1100 Cleveland’s News Radio” are: -.6 (March); +.9 (April); -.7 (May); and +.5 (June); and another +.5 in July (5.6 – 6.1, eighth to sixth, 6+).

Upon resurfacing in print this past April, Salem Media Group news/talk WHK logged a .5 (6+) in April, May, and June, finishing at #19. “AM 1420 The Answer – News-Opinion-Insight,” however, is unlisted in July.

In an alternating down/up pattern that began in January (which includes June’s -1.0), Entercom’s WKRK “Sports Radio 92.3 The Fan” is a collective -2.3 (5.4 – 4.2 – 4.6 – 3.9 – 4.0 – 3.0 – 3.1, #14 to #13, 6+).

Notwithstanding that it repeats June’s 3.6 (6+), Ideastream-owned news/talk outlet WCPN departs the top ten (#10 to #12).

Cleveland Music Formats – Similar to its sports talk cluster-mate WKRK “Sports Radio 92.3 The Fan” (see above), Entercom hot AC WQAL “Q-104” is in an alternating down/up pattern. WQAL’s sequence started in January and includes July’s +.8 (3.6 – 3.9 – 3.2 – 3.8 – 3.4 – 4.2, #11 to #10, 6+). A boost of seven-tenths by iHeartMedia adult hits WHLK (5.4 – 6.1, 6+) propels “106.5 The Lake” from ninth to sixth with its strongest 6+-stat since January (6.1, as well). Improving by six-tenths each are Entercom adult contemporary WDOK “Cleveland’s Star 102” (6.0 – 6.6, sixth to fifth, 6+) and iHeartMedia CHR WAKS “96.5 Kiss FM” (#12 to #11). WDOK bounces back from June’s -1.5 which sent “Star” to 6.0, its weakest 6+-stat since January (6.0, as well). Meanwhile, “Kiss” is within 3.1 – 3.9 range for the sixth successive time (3.6 – 3.9 – 3.1 – 3.5 – 3.3 – 3.9, 6+). Its classic hits-oldies sibling WMJI “Majic 105.7 – Cleveland’s Greatest Hits” finishes on top the eighth straight sweep (9.8 – 9.2, 6+). Six of its recent shifts are: +2.8 (“Holiday” 2018); -1.7 (January 2019); +.8 (February); +1.0 (March); -1.0 (April); and -.6 (July). On the heels of June’s gain of six-tenths, Radio One urban contemporary WENZ suffers a setback more than four times that magnitude (7.0 – 4.5, -2.5, 6+) as “Z-107.9” tumbles from fifth to ninth. June’s 7.0 was its best 6+-showing since November 2017’s 7.2. When urban AC sibling WZAK gained three-tenths in June, it suspended five successive sweeps without an increase that resulted in a -1.2 (8.7 – 8.5 – 8.5 – 8.5 – 8.2 – 7.5, 6+). The July report indicates that WZAK is off by -1.1 (7.8 – 6.7) and continues in fourth-place. Three positive spikes in a row by iHeartMedia-owned WMMS netted a full-share (4.7 – 4.8 – 5.6 – 5.7, 6+) but “100.7 Cleveland’s Rock Station” coughs up two-tenths to 5.5 (6+) and dips from seventh to eighth. In May, WMMS reached the five-share level for the first time since October 2017’s 5.0.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

| August 15, 2019

iHeartMedia Q2 Revenue: Up 2.4% To $913.3 Million. The second-quarter revenue increase of 2.4% (to over $913 million) for iHeartMedia is credited to a roughly one-third leap to $91 million in digital revenue. Other figures reported today (8/15) indicated there was a 6.4% gain to $156 million regarding network revenue for iHM’s Premiere Networks and Total Traffic & Weather Network entities. Chief executive officer/chair Bob Pittman states that iHM is the “number one audio company in America and the only true multi-platform audio company able to reach consumers at scale. Radio provides companionship and connection when people want to join the world; they use the music collection segment when they want to tune out and escape the world. As the leader in the radio, or companionship, segment of the audio sector, iHeartMedia uses its unparalleled reach and consumer connection to deliver a compelling experience for our audiences and revenue opportunities across our multiple platforms. As we look ahead, iHeartMedia intends to increase our share of radio advertising spend; participate in TV and digital advertising revenue pools; extend our leadership in podcasting; and drive sponsorship revenue.” According to president/chief operating officer/chief financial officer Rich Bressler, “On May 1, we successfully emerged from Chapter 11 and are pleased the restructuring process resulted in a capital structure that matches our successful operating business. As demonstrated in our results, iHeartMedia’s increased revenue and overall positive financial performance reflects the resilience and growth of our businesses and the value of our recent investments, particularly in podcasting and data and analytics.”

CMG Orlando Elevates Campese to Director/Sales. Seven-year Cox Media Group Orlando general sales manager JC Campese is boosted to director of sales for the six-station Florida cluster. Cox Media Group Orlando general manager Jason Meder remarks, “JC’s unique background in events, sales, and digital – combined with his creativity and passion for building and