Tag: "consultant"

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, March 30, 2020

| March 30, 2020

Monday Memo: Smart Advertisers Relate. While many radio sales reps are in pandemic panic mode, smart sellers are helping nimble advertisers do what radio does best: tell a lot of people something useful quickly.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke lists commercial copy points he’s hearing.  See them here.

Growing Coronavirus U.S. Death Toll, Trump Extends Social Distancing Through April, Criticism of Trump Administration, Financial Markets Activity, Celebs with COVID-19, Lawmakers’ Stock Trades Controversy, and Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The rising U.S. death toll from COVID-19; President Trump extends the nation’s social distancing policy through April 30; criticism of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus epidemic; the pandemic’s effect on the world’s financial markets; celebrities who’ve tested positive for COVID-19; the investigation into U.S. lawmakers who sold stocks ahead of the global sell-off; and the November presidential election were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: The Vice President’s Lead List. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s Pending Business column that smart salespeople should take a cue from Vice President Mike Pence’s Presidential Task Force press conference last week in which he named the three biggest companies hiring – today.  Read Lapa’s tips for smart marketing in a new normal environment here.

Forever Media Cuts Staff at News/Talk WDEL, Wilmington and Elsewhere. The Wilmington News Journal reports that Forever Media has taken the drastic step of laying off “more than 10 people” from its radio properties as the result of a revenue hit from the coronavirus pandemic.  Included in the layoffs are WDEL talk personalities Allan Loudell and Robin Bryson.  Forever Media closed on its $18.5 million purchase of Delmarva Broadcasting’s 10-station radio portfolio last May.  Bryson is quoted telling the News Journal that the mandated closure of non-essential businesses hit business hard.  “That’s a good portion of who our advertisers are.  So, you know they’re not open, they can’t afford to advertise so they cancel their contracts and then we don’t have any commercials to run and we’re not getting any revenue.”

WGAN-AM, Portland Drops Morning Drive Co-Host Ken Altshuler. In Portland, Maine, Saga Communications drops morning drive co-host Ken Altshuler – the left-leaning half of the show – as part of a restructuring move.  Altshuler has been co-host of the morning show since 2002.  The change leaves conservative Matthew Gagnon hosting solo.  Altshuler tells the Portland Press Herald that over the past few months, the station has been moving to a single-host format in other dayparts.  Altshuler says he plans to continue in the media, either with another radio station or with a blog and podcast.  Sixty-seven-year-old Altshuler is a family law attorney who practices in Portland.

Ramsey’s ‘Message of Hope’ Becomes Regular Podcast. The Ramsey Solutions organization announces that a new podcast from the Ramsey Network called, “A Message of Hope” is launching.  The Ramsey Network says, “There’s a lot of fear and uncertainty in our country right now.  Let’s change that. Ramsey Network hosts Dave Ramsey, Ken Coleman, and Rachel Cruze share practical money and career advice through the ‘Message of Hope’ series.  This brand-new podcast also features episodes from Chris Hogan, Christy Wright, Anthony O’Neal, and Dr. John Deloney to encourage you in every area of life.”

‘Ark Midnight with John B. Wells’ Partners with Talk Media Network. The weekly, three-hour radio show “Ark Midnight with John B. Wells” is partnering with Talk Media Network for marketing and affiliate relations.  Talk Media Network CEO Josh Leng says, “John B. Wells is an expert in weaving stories, news, and interviews together with an artful thread and his instantly recognizable voice.  ‘Ark Midnight’ is a destination nighttime show.”  Wells comments, “It’s great to be working with Talk Media Network.  They understand the program and have added new affiliate stations before we could even make this announcement.”  The show recently was added to the program schedule at WNTW-AM Richmond and KLKS-FM in Brainerd, Minnesota and soon joins KYAH-AM in Delta, Utah and WIOS-AM, Tawas City, Michigan.

Tony Bruno to Reunite with Harry Mayes on SiriusXM. Sports talk pro Tony Bruno – via SiriusXM and JAKIB Media Partners – is returning to a daily sports talk radio show after five years away from the format.  He’s being joined on the new “Tony Bruno Show” by former WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “The Fanatic” partner Harry Mayes.  The show launches on SiriusXM’s Dan Patrick Radio channel on April 6.  Bruno says, “I want to thank all of my fans who have followed and supported me through the years.  I am grateful to everyone who has encouraged me to return and who still wants to hear my daily fun approach to sports and current affairs, which has been my forte’ for over four decades in broadcasting.  I can’t think of a better platform than SiriusXM and reuniting with my former ESPN colleague on the Dan Patrick Radio channel, and I am thrilled to be able to return to the airwaves with my good friend and co-host Harry Mayes.  There is no doubt that we will provide an exciting, fun, sports talk radio program that joins a sea of great content on SiriusXM.”

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 February 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk-formatted stations. Fifty-three percent of the news/talk stations on our panel were up (weekly, 6+ AQH share) over the January 2020 survey with just 27% seeing a ratings decline. Leaders in the improved column include Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta (+1.4) and iHeartMedia’s WISN, Milwaukee (+1.0). Comparing February 2019 to February 2020, WSB-AM/WSBB-FM is again the leader, posting an increase of 4.4 shares. iHeartMedia’s WTVN, Columbus adds 2.7 shares year-over-year, and Entercom’s KFTK-FM St. Louis is up 2.1 shares. Just two news/talk stations ranked #1 in their markets in February – CMG’s WSB, Atlanta (11.4 share) and iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento (8.4 share). However, five news/talk outlets ranked #2 in their respective markets.  Find out which ones, here.

TALKERS News Notes. The KSTE, Sacramento-based “Armstrong & Getty Show” starring Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty adds new affiliate WGOW-FM, Chattanooga, starting today (3/30).  Earlier this year, the program was added to other Cumulus Media talk stations including KABC-AM, Los Angeles and KSFO, San Francisco…..The nationally syndicated “Free Talk Live” program – led by show founders Ian Freeman and Mark Edge – adds new affiliate stations: KGGF-AM, Coffeyville, Kansas; WTSN-AM/FM, Dover, New Hampshire; WNTW-AM/FM, Richmond; WAIM-AM, Anderson, South Carolina; and WCSI-AM/FM, Columbus, Indiana to put its total affiliate roster at 209 stations…..ESPN’s “Paul Finebaum Show” makes its return to the cable TV SEC Network with an audio-only format at 3:00 pm ET.  Although Finebaum has been doing the show for ESPN Radio for the past two weeks, it has not aired on the SEC Network.  Finebaum comments, “Despite all of us adjusting to this new normal and distancing ourselves from each other, we’re probably more connected right now than we’ve been in a long time.  I’m really proud of the conversations and discussions we’ve had on the show, especially over these past few weeks, and look forward to returning to television and continuing to support and uplift one another during such an uncertain time.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Last night’s “FOX Presents the iHeart Living Room Concert for America” event aired on FOX Television as artists including host Elton John and guests Alicia Keys, Backstreet Boys, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes, Dave Grohl, H.E.R., Mariah Carey, Sam Smith,Tim McGraw and more performed from their own homes.  The program was also aired live on iHeartMedia radio stations and the iHeartRadio app.  Pictured below is Tim McGraw (upper left) singing “Something Like That” while three of his band members accompany him from their homes.  The event encouraged viewers and listeners to support charities Feeding America and First Responders Children’s Foundation.

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.”

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Monday, March 23, 2020

| March 23, 2020

Monday Memo: Coronavirus Community.  “When normalcy is upended, it is human nature to take comfort hearing how others are faring” and consultant Holland Cooke reckons that “it’s less misery-loves-company than we’re-all-in-this-together.”  And in this week’s column, he cautions that, right now, stations are making a lasting impression.  Read it here.

The State of the Coronavirus Pandemic, Federal Stimulus Package Debate, Global Stock Selloff, Unemployment Rises/Recession Predictions, Summer Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The status of the coronavirus pandemic; the federal stimulus package being debated in congress; the global stock selloff is predicted to continue; the expectations of high unemployment figures to be reported and a recession is being predicted for the U.S.; and the possibility the Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo will be postponed were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Warning, Speed Bumps Ahead. Radio sales pro and president of Lapcom Communications, Steve Lapa, writes in this new TALKERS column Pending Business about how to work in the sales environment brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.  Lapa has tips for planning and prioritizing for sales staffers dealing with limited in-person collaborations, online meetings, minimal studio and talent access, constant price fluctuations, and more.  Read it here.

WABC, New York Adds Bill O’Reilly ‘Morning Edition.’ Conservative commentator and talk show host Bill O’Reilly is joining the daily program lineup at Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York via his Key Networks-syndicated morning drive radio feature, “The O’Reilly Update – Morning Edition.”  O’Reilly’s 15-minute daily radio program, “The O’Reilly Update,” launched in late April 2019 and between the two shows O’Reilly is heard on more than 200 stations.  O’Reilly says, “WABC is the station I listened to as a kid.  It is a legacy radio outlet and I hope I can add to the legacy with honest, no spin daily commentary.”  Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green adds, “Key Networks is so proud to be associated with Bill O’Reilly and ‘The O’Reilly Update.’  The content has been superb and the tremendous response is a testament to Bill and the talent he brings to the airwaves, with a style unmatched in media.  We’re thrilled to welcome the great WABC New York, bringing our affiliate group to over 200 stations in 10 months.”

Salem and Hugh Hewitt Agree to Contract Extension. This new deal between Salem Radio Network and talk host Hugh Hewitt runs through December of 2028.  Hewitt has been a host on SRN since July of 2000.  In April of 2016, he moved from the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET show on the network, to morning drive, taking over for Bill Bennett who had hosted the “Morning in America” show.  Salem says that Hewitt’s national footprint has grown to more than 450 affiliate stations and he’s also seen on a video simulcast on Townhall.com.  Hewitt appears regularly on NBC News programs, including “Meet the Press,” and is a regular contributor to the Washington Post.  Hewitt says, “I look forward to not only this fall’s presidential election but the next two presidential campaigns and all the news in between them as well.  The past 20 years have been two decades of upheaval and crisis, a sudden devastating attack on America, of war and terror and now a pandemic, of hard-fought elections and massive legislative and legal changes.  It’s been a privilege to cover these breaking news events for three hours a day with the extraordinary team and guest list we have assembled and rely upon.”  Salem Media Group CEO Ed Atsinger states.  “Hugh has been a Salem stalwart since 2000.  He’s one of the most respected voices in American media today, and as Salem continues to grow our national and international footprint, Hugh’s program remains a flagship show for the news/talk format which Salem helped pioneer.”

Ratings Takeaways from Final Round of Nielsen’s February PPM SurveyTALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from the fourth and final round of February PPM data from Nielsen Audio. Some positive weekly, 6+ AQH share movement among spoken-word stations includes: iHeartMedia’s WTKK-FM, Raleigh adding a half share to January’s 1.8 share hike to finish February with a 7.6 share and the #2 rank in the market; Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis tacks four-tenths on during the February survey to land at an 8.0 share and the #2 rank; and Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville piles another six-tenths onto its January share-and-a-half increase to finish the February survey with a 10.4 share and the #2 rank in the market.  See Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways here.

Beasley and Borrell to Present ‘Crisis Marketing for Local Business’ Seminars. This series of complimentary webinars from Beasley Media Group and Borrell Associations takes place tomorrow and Wednesday (3-24/25) as part of Beasley Media Group’s ongoing ‘We Are All in This Together Community of Caring Initiative.’  It consists of five, 30-minute webinars focused on crisis marketing for local businesses impacted by the current coronavirus situation.  Topics addressed will include: valuable tips for communicating with customers & non-customers, how to craft creative & appropriate marketing messages, and common concerns & opportunities faced by local businesses.  Beasley is making the session “open to any interested businesses, however, it is especially relevant for local companies located within Beasley Media Group markets.”  The webinar will be moderated by Beasley Media Group chief digital officer Todd Handy and vice president of digital sales Dan Frisbie.  Local marketing experts Gordon Borrell, Jim Brown, and Corey Elliott of Borrell Associates “will provide valuable guidance on how local businesses can not only survive but thrive and make a difference in times of crisis.”

TALKERS News Notes. Sports talk WKNR, Cleveland “850 ESPN” program director Matt Fishman tells TALKERS that the station has created a new show to get fans ready for the only major sports event on the calendar – the NFL Draft – taking place on April 23.  Beginning tonight from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm, WKNR is presenting “ESPN Cleveland’s Countdown to the Draft” hosted by Tony Grossi…..The South Bend cluster of Federated Media – including news/talk WTRC, Niles, Michigan “Michiana’s News Channel” – is launching “Operation: Restaurant Rescue.”  The stations have produced a digital menu of area restaurants that are offering carryout or delivery options and allows consumers to buy gift cards for some of the establishments…..Racing star Kevin Harvick, driver of the # 4 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing, is resuming his SiriusXM show, “Happy Hours.”  The show airs Wednesday’s at 1:00 pm on the SiriusXMNASCAR Radio channel with Matt Yocum as co-host.  Harvick says, “Matt and I figured it would be good to get back on SiriusXM to talk to the fans and try to entertain folks during this downtime.  Even though we’re not racing, there’s still plenty to talk about, both the things involving our sport as we look ahead to the season, and also what’s happening in our daily lives away from the track.  I hope we can take your mind off other things and maybe make you laugh a little bit along the way.”

iHeartMedia Stations to Play National Anthem.  At 12:00 noon ET today, all iHeartMedia radio stations will play a version of the National Anthem.  The company says, “In these challenging times, we want to take a moment of solidarity to celebrate our collective strength as a nation and recognize the heroic efforts of so many workers on the frontline – including our doctors, nurses, health care professionals, caregivers, and other critical responders who are working night and day to get us through this. Today, iHeartMedia will honor the resilience of Americans by encouraging the masses to unite through the healing power of music as our 850+ radio stations and formats across the country air a version of the National Anthem.  We want to send our heartfelt thoughts, concern and support to any family who may need it as we face these tough times together as a country.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The Academy of Country Music and dick clark productions announce that “The 55th ACM Awards” will take place on Wednesday, September 16 – in a city and venue yet to be announced – and will air on CBS TelevisionKeith Urban will serve as host and the lineup of performers will also be announced at a later date…..iHeartMedia’s rock WJRR, Orlando announces that its Earthday Birthday Number 27 Music Festival set for April 18 at the Central Florida Fairgrounds will be postponed to September 5 at the same venue…..In response to the coronavirus pandemic, iHeartMedia Charlotte is launching “Carolina Cares,” an initiative to help the local community by highlighting local organizations and services necessary during times of crisis.  Across all its stations’ websites, iHeartMedia Charlotte is promoting various local organizations offering services to individuals as well as businesses that are operating on limited hours and restaurants that are offering delivery, pickup or gift cards during this pandemic.  Local organizations highlighted will include Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina, American Red Cross and Classroom Central, with more to be added on a need basis…..Entravision Communications announces “El Show del Mandril” – starring Ricardo Sanchez – is the new morning drive show on Regional Mexican KDLD, Santa Monica “Viva 103.1 FM.”

Edison Research: The Infinite Dial 2020

| March 20, 2020

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — This 23rd annual survey of who’s-listening-to-what-and-how was derived from a telephone survey of 1,502 Americans age 12+, weighted to the USA population, and – important to note – conducted in January, before the Coronavirus pandemic disrupted habitual listening habits.  More on that in a minute.

Like yours truly, attending yesterday’s webinar, Edison’s Tom Webster and John Rosso from co-sponsor Triton Digital were self-quarantined at home.  If you missed it, a recording is available at EdisonResearch.com.

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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.

Monday, February 3, 2020

| February 3, 2020

Rush Limbaugh Announces That He Has Been Diagnosed with Advanced Lung Cancer – News Shocks Industry

Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh ended his 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET program today with the shocking news that he has been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.

He made the following statement:

“This day has been one of the most difficult days in recent memory, for me, because I’ve known this moment was coming,” Limbaugh said. “I’m sure that you all know by now that I really don’t like talking about myself and I don’t like making things about me… one thing that I know, that has happened over the 31-plus years of this program is that there has been an incredible bond that had developed between all of you and me.

“So, I have to tell you something today that I wish I didn’t have to tell you. It’s a struggle for me because I had to inform my staff earlier today.

“I can’t help but feel that I’m letting everybody down. The upshot is that I have been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.

“I have been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer… diagnosis confirmed by two medical institutions on January 20th after first discovering something not right on January 12th.

“I thought about not telling anybody, it is what it is. You know me, I’m the mayor of Realville. This has happened and my intention is to come here every day I can, and do this program as normally and competently and expertly as I do each and every day because that is the source of my greatest satisfaction professionally, personally.

“I told the staff today that I have a deeply personal relationship with God that I do not proselytize about, but I do, and I have been working that relationship tremendously.

“I am, at the moment, experiencing zero symptoms.

“I hope I will be talking about this as little as necessary in the coming days, but we’ve got a great bunch of doctors, a great team assembled, we’re at full speed ahead on this. It’s just now a matter of implementing what we are going to be told later this week.”

Limbaugh indicated that he “hopes” to be back on Thursday further stating, “If not, it’ll be as soon as I can. Every day I’m not here I’ll be thinking of you and missing you.”

TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has released the following statement: “Anything I have to say about Rush’s importance to the radio industry as well as the national conversation has been said countless times before.  He is cumulatively the most influential individual in the modern era of talk media and any change in his role will have enormous impact.  We pray for his swift and complete recovery.”

Monday Memo: Cue ‘Centerfield.’ Consultant Holland Cooke describes the morning after the Super Bowl as “like the morning after the Iowa Caucus in Des Moines or the morning after the New Hampshire Primary in Manchester: sagebrush and tumbleweed.  The crowd has moved on.”  And he outlines opportunities for exploiting what he calls “the best radio sport.”  Read it here.

‘Bill and Wendy’ Podcast to Debut On WLSAM.com. Chicago media personalities Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder – most recently hosting a midday show at crosstown WGN-AM – are signing on with Cumulus Media to host a podcast on WLSAM.com, effective today. Cumulus says, “Since their early days at the legendary WLUP-FM “The LOOP” in the 1990s, Wendy and Bill have also been heard hosting weekday programming on Chicago radio powerhouses WKQX and WGN-AM 720. As a team, they have amassed thousands upon thousands of on-air hours conducting celebrity interviews, providing a laugh, and discussing the topics that are most important to their audiences and themselves. Once considered to be our generation’s ‘slightly edgier Donnie and Marie,’ Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder proudly bring you their version of a world gone mad! (Or at least, slightly ticked off.)”

Juandolyn Stokes Named New Midday Host at WAOK-AM, Atlanta. At Entercom’s urban news/talk outlet WAOK-AM, Atlanta, Juandolyn Stokes is named the new midday show host. Stokes is the founding pastor of Deeper Life In Christ Ministries in Conyers, Georgia and will host “On Point with Juandolyn Stokes” daily from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, effective immediately. Entercom Atlanta SVP and market manager Rick Caffey says, “Juandolyn Stokes is a leader in our community and embodies the WAOK mission, which serves as an informative, empowering, engaging and entertaining voice of Atlanta. It is our goal to provide our city with everything they need to navigate their world and I believe the addition of Juandolyn, as well as our new weekday lineup, will benefit our audience on all platforms.” Stokes’ show followed “The Rashad Richey Morning Show” and leads into Reach Media’s syndicated “Keepin’ It Real with Rev. Al Sharpton.” “Too Much Truth with Derrick Boazman” airs in afternoon drive on the station.

Columbia Sports Talker Teddy Heffner Moves to iHeartMedia’s WCOS-AM. Longtime Columbia sports radio personality Teddy Heffner – who was losing his daily sports talk show on Glory Communications’ WGCV, Columbia, South Carolina because of its pending format change – will continue talking sports in Columbia on iHeartMedia’s WCOS-AM “FOX Sports 1400.”  Heffner served with iHeartMedia for almost 20 years before exiting in 2014.  iHeartMedia SVP of programming LJ Smith says, “We are looking forward to having Teddy back on ‘FOX Sports 1400.’  His knowledge of sports and the connection he has with his listeners is really unique to Columbia radio.  And now people can listen to him no matter where they live or travel, on the iHeartRadio App.

SCBA’s Callahan Joins Saga Communications. Media sales pro Thom Callahan is leaving the Southern California Broadcasters Association to join Saga Communications as director of business development.  Callahan has been serving as president of the SCBA and current SCBA chairman Miles Sexton will serve as interim president while the group seeks a permanent replacement.  Callahan says, “I am proud of the value we have created for Southern California radio and will miss so many of the great radio members we have.  However, the opportunity to work with CEO Ed Christian and the great Saga team was just too compelling.  I wish the SCBA great success moving forward.”

PPM Analysis: NBA Flagships. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on stations that serve as flagship stations for NBA play-by-play.  This report shows comparisons of station performances from the December 2019 survey to the Holiday 2019 survey, from December 2018 to December 2019, market rankings, and more. See it all here.

TALKERS News Notes. St. Louis media personality Martin Kilcoyne is back with CH Holdings’ news/talk KTRS, St. Louis after exiting crosstown sports talk KFNS-AM two weeks ago.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar reports, that Kilcoyne – whose main gig is as sports director for KTVI-TV, St. Louis – begins a new position with KTRS after having hosted a regular, daily show there in the past.  Kilcoyne tells Caesar, “I’ll be basically a correspondent, a contributor.  I think it will be a lot of fun to be on different shows, have a chance to kind of appear in a columnist role.  I can talk about sports news of the day but kind of venture off into life stories, too, and have a little bit of fun.  I had a good run there and I think the audience is somewhat familiar with me and I’m familiar with the station.  So, I think it’s a good fit.  It’s a really professional operation, which has gotten me excited.”…..Bonneville’s news/talk KTTH, Seattle is hosting a GOP Gubernatorial Forum on Friday, February 28 at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma.  Station afternoon drive host Jason Rantz is moderating the free event.  He says, “This won’t be a boring debate of canned answers to fit in :30 second slots.  This will be an in-depth look at the issues that matter to voters most.  Candidates will be challenged, the pace will be quick, and solutions to Washington’s biggest problems will be demanded of all the Republican candidates.”…..The Forum of Fargo reports that Dom Izzo’s “Hot Mic” show heard on Forum Communications’ WDAY-AM, Fargo from 9:00 am to 11:00 am daily, is now being simulcast on television on WDAY-Xtra.  Izzo launched his radio show in September of 2019 after stepping back from his nightly sportscasts.  He says, “This was something they talked to me about right away when they initially approached me about moving off the set.  This was the thing I was most excited about was the chance to do something different that hadn’t been done before in this market.”…..Cumulus Media’s classic rock and Kansas City Chiefs flagship KCFX-FM “101 The Fox” aired a special re-broadcast of the 1969 Super Bowl IV win featuring Bill Grigsby, and all of the original game day content with no commercials.   That re-broadcast led right into the “101 The Fox” pre-game show live from Super Bowl LIV in Miami….FOX News Radio is presenting live national network coverage from Des Moines today for the Iowa Caucus beginning at 7:00 pm ET with a FOX News Podcast special, “The Campaign with Bret Baier,” followed by live coverage of the results anchored by FNR’s national correspondent Jared Halpern, FNR political analyst Josh Kraushaar, and FNR reporters Tonya J. Powers and Jessica Rosenthal. Additionally, the nationally syndicated “Guy Benson Show” is broadcasting live from Des Moines from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET as is the nationally syndicated “Brian Kilmeade Show” from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET…..Entercom sports talker WZGC-FM, Atlanta “92.9 The Game and the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks announce a new, multiyear contract extension of their broadcast partnership.  The extension includes the broadcast of all 82 Hawks regular season and all postseason games as well as 30-minute pre- and post-game shows.  As part of the agreement, sister stations urban contemporary WVEE-FM “V-103” and WSTR-FM “Star 94.1” will provide additional promotional support.

Impeachment Trial, Wuhan Coronavirus, Financial Markets Activity, Presidential Race, Brexit, and Super Bowl LIV Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Senate’s vote not to hear witnesses in the Donald Trump Impeachment Trial; concerns about a coronavirus pandemic; the effects the Wuhan coronavirus is having on the world’s financial markets; Monday’s Iowa caucuses and the Democrats battling for the nomination to face Donald Trump in November; the U.K. officially exits the European Union; and the Kansas City Chiefs’ victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Dance-formatted WPTY, Long Island “Party 105.3” names “Steve and Leeana” co-hosts of the morning show.  JVC Media says, “Steve and Leeana have been a part of Long Island radio mornings for decades and now they will be part of mornings on ‘Party 105!’”  The company says, “While many radio stations around the dial have been consolidating, cutting staff, bringing in national shows from other markets, and terminating jobs, JVC is doing the opposite and going back to what made radio great – live, local, and home grown.”  JVC Media president John Caracciolo says, “This is live, local and hometown radio the way it is supposed to be, we’re not phoning it in.  To say you are live and local isn’t enough; the radio personalities have to be involved in the community, involved in local charities and events and become ambassadors for the radio station.  There is no better team to do this than Steve and Leeana.”…..Radio One Buffalo, LLC owner and operator Buddy Shula announces that former WGRF-FM, Buffalo overnight and evening personality Cindy Chan is joining the station’s personality lineup.  Shula says, “While other companies are firing great on-air talent here in Buffalo and all over the country, making radio just a jukebox, WECK-AM/FM continues to appreciate what live DJs bring to our radio culture and community and we continue to hire.  As a kid I grew up in Buffalo listening to Cindy Chan.  I loved her conversational on-air approach and her unique style of communicating, plus she really knows her music, and relates it so well to listeners.”  Cindy Chan will begin with her “Dance, Sing and Boogie-Woogie” show on Sundays from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Monday Memo: Cue ‘Centerfield’

| February 3, 2020

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — The morning after the Super Bowl…OOPS…was I supposed to say “The Big Game?”

Anyway: The morning after the Super Bowl is like the morning after the Iowa Caucus in Des Moines or the morning after the New Hampshire Primary in Manchester: sagebrush and tumbleweed.  The crowd has moved on.  And now we turn our attention to…

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Monday Memo: What If Radio…?

| January 13, 2020

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

LAS VEGAS — IOU my annual TALKERS report from CES, which we are admonished NOT to call “the Consumer Electronics Show,” for reasons that are instructive to radio.

As technology consumption changed, what had been “The Consumer Electronics Association” changed its name to “Consumer Technology Association;” thus their concern about this event being misconstrued as a gadget show.

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Monday Memo: Pay Attention
(They Don’t)

| January 6, 2020

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — New Year’s Resolution: Presume minimal listener attention.

Broadcasters have never had more competition for it; and listeners have never been more distracted, by daily stress, Trump Tweets, new audio and interactive competition, and overstated media noise (to which talk radio is a conspicuous contributor).

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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.

Monday Memo: Don’t List To-Do

| December 16, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Talkers: DON’T begin your show with a list of what-you’re-planning-to-talk-about today.

  • The listeners local advertisers want to reach most are busy people, high-TSL in-car users.  Every time they stop that car, they take money out of their pockets.  Got that picture?
  • These folks have their own To-Do lists, and theirs are probably longer than yours.  You get to sit still for 3 or 4 hours. So it’s your job to keep-up-with them, not vice-versa.  Everything we do needs to be as helpful, useful, and listener-centric as possible; and succinctly offered.

Logical enough, right?  Yet, too typically, hosts I hear in my travels sound like they think listeners are sitting remarkably still, taking notes on graph paper.  The show, or the hour, begins with a list of all-the-things-I’ll-be-getting-to over the next several hours.

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Monday Memo: Get An Uber-Earful

| December 2, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI –Taxis are to take-me-somewhere as radio is to inform-me/entertain-me.

Internet-based innovation is disrupting every legacy industry.  Ask an insurance agent or travel agent or stockbroker or bookstore owner, if you can find one.  Or the record labels or TV networks or cable companies.  Or stores.  Again this year, Black Friday happened on smartphones.  Most AM/FM broadcast hours are now automated.

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Monday, November 18, 2019

| November 18, 2019

Talk Host Craig Silverman and KNUS, Denver Have Different Takes on His Departure.  Only this appears to be agreed upon by former Denver chief deputy district attorney Craig Silverman and Salem Media Group’s news/talk KNUS, Denver – he exited during his Saturday program.  Silverman claims he was ousted in the middle of his show after a segment critical of President Trump aired.  But KNUS general manager Brian Taylor tells FOX 31 Denver that he was removed after appearing on a competing station.  Taylor says, “He decided that it was important to work across town and so on Saturday on his program he announced that, and that’s what prompted our decision to take him off the air.  The notion that he was relieved from his program because he criticized President Trump is absolutely untrue.  We’ve never told Mr. Silverman the position to take on his impeachment.”

Monday Memo: What’s really ‘Official?’ With AM/FM broadcasters now competing with SO many audio competitors, the timing couldn’t be worse to blend-into the blah-blah-blah with dated-sounding station imaging.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke warns against what he calls “the most-abused word” in promo copy.  Read it here.

iHeartMedia Announces $500 Million Private Offering. Via a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission,iHeartMedia, Inc. announces its intent to offer, $500 million aggregate principal amount of Senior Secured Notes due January 2028 in a private offering to qualified institutional buyers.  Proceeds from the notes – guaranteed on a senior secured basis by iHeartCommunications’ direct parent, iHeartMedia Capital I, LLC, and the subsidiaries of iHeartCommunications that guarantee iHeartCommunications’ term loan facility – are intended (together with cash on hand) “to prepay at par a portion of the outstanding borrowings under its term loan facility, to pay accrued and unpaid interest thereon to, but excluding, the date of prepayment, and to pay fees and expenses related to the offering of the Notes and the use of proceeds therefrom.”

Dunlap Maintains Innocence; Has New Attorney. On Friday (11/15), the Times-Picayune’s Ramon Antonio Vargas wrote an updated story on the case of former WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans sports talk host Seth Dunlap, who was fired from the Entercom station on October 31 in the aftermath of in investigation into the September 10 posting of a gay slur on the radio station’s Twitter account.  If you’ve been following this story, you are aware that Entercom, based on its own investigation, believes Dunlap sent the text himself several days after posting to his own Facebook page an open letter to New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees complaining about Brees’ work with Focus on the Family, an organization that is not LGBTQ-friendly.  Dunlap also went public with his own struggles in the radio biz as an openly gay man.  Several days later the anti-gay slur appeared on the WWL Twitter feed.  Entercom turned the investigation over to the New Orleans Police Department and recently, a judge denied the NOPD a warrant for Dunlap’s arrest on extortion charges.  The request for a warrant was based in part on WWL’s statement that Dunlap sought $1.8 million from the station for him to drop his planned lawsuit against it for allowing a hostile workplace.  Dunlap has since changed lawyers.  Megan Kiefer no longer represents him.  Dunlap tells the Times-Picayune that Billy Gibbens is his attorney.  Another new development is that Dunlap says he no longer has the iPhone from which WWL and police believe he accessed the station’s Twitter account.  The NOPD says their investigation is ongoing and Dunlap says he is still considering suing the station.

Jimmy de Castro ‘Retiring’ from Entercom. In a memo to staffers last Friday, Entercom COO Weezie Kramer announced that Jimmy de Castro – senior vice president and market manager for the company’s Chicago, Milwaukee, and Madison station groups – is retiring from his position with the company.  He’s expected to leave in mid-December.  Kramer says of de Castro in her memo, “Jimmy was tasked with breathing new energy and positivity into the organization as we embarked on our journey as a new team.  And Jimmy delivered.  His spark, creativity, experience, and business acumen were just what was needed to improve our brands, our culture, our business, and our building in Chicago.”  De Castro tells Chicago media writer Robert Feder that he’ll continue to operate sports marketing and consulting firm After The Whistle LLC and his firm The Content Factory, and through the latter he hopes to get into sports betting and gaming content.

Place Assumes Mornings on New Hampshire’s WNTK-FM.  The Valley News reports that market on-air pro Jason Place is taking over the morning drive show on Sugar River Media’s news/talk WNTK-FM, New London, New Hampshire.  Place takes over the program from former host Keith Hanson.  Hanson – a local Republican committee chairman – exited the station in October after his controversial use of profanity on social media in defense of his decision to bring Jihad Watch author Robert Spencer to the area for a presentation caused a stir.  Though the Valley News says station officials deny his exit had to do with that incident.  Place tells the paper he isn’t hosting the show to espouse a certain political philosophy; he wants to have conversations with listeners.  “What matters is what the listener thinks.  Hopefully, we can get a conversation going, learn something. and have some fun. … God, I just hope I don’t take myself too seriously.”

TALKERS News Notes. St. Louis news/talk KMOX “News Radio 1120” announces it signs a contract extension to continue to serve as the flagship radio station for St. Louis Cardinals games through the 2024 season.  Entercom St. Louis SVP and market manager Becky Domyan says, “We are honored to continue to work with the world class St. Louis Cardinals.  ‘News Radio 1120 KMOX’ and the Cardinals are synonymous institutions here in this great city and we couldn’t be more excited to continue this fantastic partnership.”…..Westwood One Podcast Network announces that “The Dan Bongino Show” adds a once-weekly interview show to its daily lineup.  The new program launched with an interview with President Trump.  During the interview, the president shared thoughts about why he uses social media, the impeachment hearings, the whistleblower’s identity, Ukraine’s new president, looking forward to the new Inspector General report, draining the swamp, tax cuts, the economy, capital gains indexing, Obamacare, and more.  Bongino is a former Secret Service Agent, former NYPD officer, and a New York Times best-selling author…..AdLarge Media announces that Dave Boretti is named its vice president of Midwest sales.  Boretti comes to AdLarge from a similar position with PodcastOne.  Chicago-based Boretti says, “I’ve had conversations with Don for a few years about moving to AdLarge and this came together at the perfect time.  AdLarge is an exciting company with leadership that consistently is ahead of emerging trends in audio.  I look forward to marshalling their assets to help AdLarge’s advertisers achieve their goals.”

Impeachment Testimony/Ukraine Allegations, 2020 Presidential Race, Deadly Fresno Football Party Shooting, Hong Kong Protests, China’s Muslim Detention Docs, Prince Andrew Interview, Iran Protests, Venice Flooding/Climate Change, and Kanye West at Osteen Church Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The impeachment testimony against President Trump and the related allegations of impropriety with regard to Ukraine’s military aid money; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020 and Michael Bloomberg’s entrance into the race as a Republican; the shooting at a football watching party in Fresno that took the lives of four; the protests at Hong Kong Polytechnic University; the revelation of Chinese documents indicating detention of Muslims; Prince Andrew’s awkward interview with the BBC regarding his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein; protests in Iran over the doubling of gas prices; the city of Venice suffers its third flood in a week that officials are blaming on climate change; and Kanye West’s appearance at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

2019 Giants of Broadcasting & Electronic Arts Honored. Pictured above are the nine distinguished members of the media industry who were honored Friday (11/15) at the 17th Annual Library of American Broadcasting Foundation’s Giants of Broadcasting & Electronic Arts awards ceremony held at New York City’s famed Gotham Hall.  Clockwise from top left are: CW Television Network president Mark Pedowitz, Urban One CEO Alfred C. Liggins III, Patrick Communications founder and CEO Larry Patrick, CBS Television Stations president Peter Dunn, Advanced Television Systems Committee president emeritus Mark Richer, PBS president & CEO Paula Kerger, journalist Connie Chung, NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt, and Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott. Photo: Wendy Moger-Bross

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Albuquerque CHR outlet KKOB-FM re-brands as “93-3 The Q.”  Cumulus Media Albuquerque VP and market manager Jeff Berry comments, “‘93-3 The Q’ is the natural evolution of 93.3, a highly rated radio outlet with compassionate personalities, an enormous fan base, and market-leading, multi-platform content.  ‘93-3 The Q’ brings renewed passion for and connection with the city of Albuquerque and its people. It is a reflection of our commitment to Albuquerque listeners and we couldn’t be more excited to grow and expand the brand when it is healthy and take it to the next level.”…..iHeartMedia Asheville announces the debut of “The Woody & Wilcox Show” on its WKSF-HD3/W266CP “ALT 101.1.”  iHeartMedia Asheville SVP of programming Brian Hall says, “We are pumped to add ‘The Woody and Wilcox Show’ to the lineup.  Woody and Wilcox can’t deliver food to your door, but they will deliver a morning wake-up call that Asheville listeners will love.”

Monday Memo: What’s Really ‘Official?’

| November 18, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Everything you say about your station on-air is intended to:

    • Cause listeners to notice that they’re listening in the first place! Diaries don’t measure what people listen to. “Unaided recall” methodology measures what they remember.  Even if you’re in a PPM market, on-air marketing has to cut through all the mental clutter that crowds a listener’s head during the day.  With so many new-tech audio competitors, brand recall is imperative.

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Monday Memo: That First Call

| November 11, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — I’m encouraged by response to last week’s column, which included commercial copy Do’s-N-Don’ts from experts, and which I have gathered along the consulting road.  ICYMI: http://www.talkers.com/2019/11/04/monday-memo-do-you-copy/

What encourages me most is that so much of the feedback I’ve gotten on that sales-related material was from on-air people who are involved in advertising sales.  As programming cutbacks continue, NOT-being a cog in the revenue machine seems risky.

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Monday, October 28, 2019

| October 28, 2019

WCBM, Baltimore Announces Programming Changes. Charm City news/talk outlet WCBM “Talk Radio 680” announces a number of coming programming changes.  Starting in morning drive, longtime newsman and co-host Frank Luber exits the show but will stay with the station to help with special projects and to continue to serve as a spokesman for some of its major advertisers.  WCBM says that Luber and Nicholas Mangione were “instrumental in establishing WCBM as a major news/talk presence in Baltimore.”  Beginning November 4, late morning talk host Bruce Elliott joins Sean Casey (who continues to serve as the station’s PD) for “The Morning Drive with Casey & Elliott.”  Stepping into the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon talk host role is Derek Hunter, who returns to Baltimore after having served in recent years with the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Tax Reform, and as managing editor at The Daily Caller.  The station also adds “The FOX News Rundown” for the 5:00 am to 6:00 am hour and Key Networks’ “The O’Reilly Update” with Bill O’Reilly to air from 11:45 am to 12:00 noon.

Monday Memo: Pronouncers for Announcers. How-you-say what-you-say makes a difference, and (obvious) former high school English teacher Holland Cooke explains in this week’s column.  Read it here.

ISIS Leader Dead, Impeachment Inquiry/Ukraine Scandal, 2020 Presidential Race, Rep. Katie Hill Resigns, California Wildfires/Power Blackouts, and Brexit Extension Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi is reported by President Trump; the impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the related allegations of illegal actions against Trump, and Joe and Hunter Biden with regard to the Ukraine; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020, U.S. Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) resigns her seat after being accused of improper relations with a campaign staffer; the wildfires in California and PG&E’s shutting off electricity to almost 1 million customers; and Boris Johnson gets an extension to January 31 for Britain’s exit from the EU were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Newsmax TV Presents Presidential Town Hall. In conjunction with the League of United Latin American CitizensNewsmax TV presented a two-hour Presidential Town Hall with top Democratic candidates last Thursday (10/24). Taking part in the Newsmax Town Hall at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines were candidates Bernie Sanders, Beto O’Rourke, Tulsi Gabbard, and Julian Castro.  The live Newsmax TV production reached 70 million cable homes.

FOX News Radio Makes ‘Rundown’ Available for Radio Stations. “The FOX News Rundown” launched in 2017 as a podcast hosted by Dave Anthony, Lisa Brady, and Jessica Rosenthal.  Now, FOX News Radio is making the program available as an early morning weekday news hour “perfect for setting the stage for your local morning show.”  FNR says, “‘The Rundown’ takes a deeper dive into the stories that are important to you and your listeners.  Hosted by the anchors of FOX News Radio, the ‘Rundown’ also features voices from FOX News Channel, FOX Business Channel and the world of politics and entertainment.”

Ben & Skin Exit ‘105.3 The Fan’ in Dallas. The midday duo Ben & Skin – Ben Rogers and Jeff “Skin” Wade – have resigned their positions with Entercom’s sports talk KRLD-FM, Dallas for an opportunity elsewhere.  They are being replaced in the station lineup by evening duo Kevin Hageland and Cory Mageors.  It’s not known if this is a permanent move or not.  Regardless, morning drive co-host Shan Shariff tweeted that the duo was not fired and was moving on to another opportunity.

TALKERS News Notes. Former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders will serve as the keynote speaker at the 2020 Todd Starnes Faith and Freedom Celebration to be held at Truett McConnell University in Cleveland, Georgia on April 18, 2020.  The annual event has raised more than $300,000 in scholarship money for students at the Christian school.  Starnes says, “I can’t say enough great things about Sarah.  Our media company is committed to super-serving the communities that broadcast my programs and bringing nationally known speakers to our event is a part of that effort.”…..WODS, Boston morning drive personality TJ Taormina has launched a podcast on Entercom’s RADIO.COM platform called, “Meet My Wife.”  Taormina tells TALKERS, “It was an opportunity for me to step up to a blank canvas and create something from scratch.  It starts in a music recording studio with a full band and travels from grocery store parking lots, to the middle of Boston Common, to my home living room.  I wanted to take a unique approach to the rapidly growing podcast arena and make it something that could complement my daily live radio show.”…..Entercom’s board of directors have approved a clawback policy for five of its highest-paid executives.  A clawback is a provision in an employment contract that states money paid to an employee may have to be returned.  It’s usually for highly compensated executives and is intended as a sign of goodwill toward investors.  In Entercom’s case, stock ownership guidelines were included with this move and require president and CEO David Field to hold Entercom shares equal to at least six times his base salary.  It requires CFO Rich Schmaeling, COO Weezie Kramer, chief revenue officer Robert Philips, and EVP/general counsel Andrew Sutor to hold shares of at least two times their base salaries…..Boston public radio news/talk WGBH-FM is adding the NPR-distributed program “1A” to its lineup, airing from 10:00 am to 11:00 am.  The program is hosted by Joshua Johnson and focuses on First Amendment issues “related to policy, politics, technology, pop culture, sports, and humor.”  The program’s goal is to “act as a national mirror — taking time to help America look at itself and to ask what it wants to be.”

WHAT IS REAL? Former WWE Champion Mick Foley Is Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most theatrical professional wrestlers of the modern era who blurred the line between reality and fiction as much as anyone who ever played the game, Mick Foley, guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Foley created several of wrestling’s most memorable characters, including Cactus Jack and Mankind, participating in physically damaging stunts that took his body past the limits of safety and protection. Although he played brutish, psychotic characters, Foley went on to become a best-selling author, public speaker, and articulate supporter of a variety of charities and social causes. In a fascinating one-on-one conversation, Harrison and Foley discuss the nature of reality TV and the role it plays in today’s political circus citing Donald Trump’s participation in the WWE prior to his presidency as an early example of the Commander in Chief’s penchant for mixing over-the-top theatrics with the semblance of real life storylines. Don’t miss this! 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 or on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Steve Hoffman is named program director for Beasley Media Group’s hot AC KVGS-FM and assistant program director for sister urban contemporary KOAS, effective October 14.  Hoffman has been consulting for the past few years.  He was previously on air at KSWD, Los Angeles and programmed KCAL, Riverside for 15 years.  Beasley Las Vegas VP and market manager Peter Burton states, “We have been interested in bringing Steve into the fold for quite some time.  I had the pleasure of working with him in Los Angeles for five years.  Hiring Steve allows us to continue to surround ourselves with the best in the industry.”…..At Entercom’s CHR KAMP, Los Angeles, Chris Booker shifts from the afternoon drive show to AM drive where he’ll work with co-host Chelsea Briggs and Krystal Bee.  The new show replaces Edgar “Shoboy” Sotelo.  He’d been paired with Brian Moote and Briggs.  Briggs exited the station in August.  Taking over Booker’s afternoon drive show is midday personality Yesi Ortiz.  Moving to middays from weekends is Christen…..iHeartMedia names Adam Rivers program director for its four-station cluster in New Haven.  He’d been serving as APD and music director at CHRs WKCI “KC101” and WKSS “KISS 95-7.”  He’s now also programming news/talk WELI and sports talk WAVZ “ESPN 1300.”   iHeartMedia Hartford Region president Steve Honeycomb says, “Over the past several years, Adam has truly been the backbone here at ‘KC101’ and a staple in Connecticut radio.  Adam’s years of experience and the way he engages with his listeners go far beyond his afternoon drive show and we couldn’t be happier to see him evolve into this new role here in New Haven, Connecticut.”

Monday Memo: Pronouncers for Announcers

| October 28, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Warning:  I was once a high school English teacher.  And the way I write has several of my high school English teachers spinning-in-their-graves.  Mrs. Krause once told me, “It looks like, after you write something, you sprinkle it with a salt shaker of hyphens.”  So the following is not meant to nit-pick.

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Monday, October 21, 2019

| October 21, 2019

Monday Memo: TV Synergy. The two biggest hits radio suffers during ongoing cost cuts are off-air promotion and local news.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke lists resourceful tactics that smart stations share with equally challenged TV stations.  Read it here.

Impeachment Inquiry, Mulvaney-Ukraine Controversy, 2020 Presidential Race/Clinton-Gabbard Spat, G7 Summit Flap, Canadian Election, U.S.-China Relations/Hong Kong Protests, and Brexit Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump; acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and FOX News’ Chris Wallace spar over Mulvaney’s Ukraine quid pro quo explanation; the 2020 presidential race and the spat between Hillary Clinton and Tulsi Gabbard; the controversy over the White House reversing its decision to hold the 2020 G7 summit at the Trump National Doral; Canada goes to the polls today as Justin Trudeau fights for his political life; the trade negotiations between China and the U.S. and the ongoing protests in Hong Kong; and Boris Johnson’s Brexit strategy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Celebrity Presenters Announced for Radio Hall of Fame Induction. When the 31st Annual Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony takes place at Gotham Hall in New York City on November 8, it will feature a star-studded lineup of presenters that includes: “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon, actor and producer Christian Slater, “Entertaintment Tonight” co-host Kevin Frazier, veteran radio and cable television programmer and music industry entrepreneur Andy Schuon, SiriusXM vice president/general manager talk programming Dave Gorab, WYNY-FM, New York retired general manager of Frank Osborne, longtime WCBS-FM program director Joe McCoy, and actress, producer, and radio host Connie Sellecca.  This year’s inductees are: Sean “Hollywood” Hamilton, Harry Harrison, Kevin Ryder and Gene “Bean” Baxter (Kevin & Bean), Joe Madison, Jim Rome, Ryan Seacrest, John Tesh, and Dr. Ruth Westheimer.  Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig Kitchin comments, “This event is traditionally heartfelt and emotionally charged as the talented inductees are honored for accomplishments that most only dream of.  But this year will be even more magical with this A-list group of presenters who share a special connection with our inductees.”

‘New Jersey 101.5’ to Hold Opioid Town Hall. On Wednesday (10/23) at 7:00 pm, Townsquare Media news/talk outlet WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is presenting a special Town Hall broadcast confronting the opioid crisis and how it affects New Jersey residents.  The program includes “New Jersey 101.5” special projects director and morning news anchor Eric Scott leading the news and digital departments in bringing listeners personal stories of addiction and recovery, a discussion of the physical and physiological effects of opioids that lead to addiction, and information about state programs designed to help.  The on-air guest panel is comprised of alumni of New Jersey recovery programs: Leah Butacavoli, a residential tech at GenPsych; Alton Robinson, founder of Flanders, New Jersey-based Community Recovery Center of Morris County; and Cheryl Semiz, director of outreach for Sparta, New Jersey-based Garden State Treatment Center.  They will answer live, call-in questions from listeners throughout the hour.  “New Jersey 101.5” brand manager Anne Gress says, “As the opioid crisis continues to threaten New Jersey, we understand our responsibility to use our powerful voice and multiple platforms to continue the conversation on this pervasive epidemic.  I am proud to be part of a station and media company that understands this responsibility and is bringing this critically important information to the community.”  The program will be streamed via Facebook Live.  The “New Jersey 101.5” news department, under the direction of Annette Petriccione, will air a series of special news segments from station investigative reporter David Matthau titled, “Battling Addiction,” beginning today (10/21) and continuing up to the Town Hall broadcast.  Online versions of those stories are being made available on NJ1015.com and the free “New Jersey 101.5” app.

TALKERS News Notes. WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway’s Puppy Jake Foundation raised more than $40,000 in two hours on Friday (10/18) to acquire, raise, and train service dogs for veterans.  The sixth annual free BBQ sandwich giveaway raised $4,000 in its first year and raised incrementally more each successive year.  A local supermarket donated more than 200 pounds of meat and a local barbecue grilling champion donated buns and sauce and did the cooking.  Pictured at right are some of the cars lining up to get their free BBQ.  Conway says, “I have the best audience in talk radio.  They are astonishing!  I also have to thank some of my show’s sponsors who have taken this charity to their hearts.”…..SiriusXM is again offering NBA fans extensive coverage of the 2019-20 season with live play-by-play of every game from Opening Night through The Finals, plus daily in-depth talk and analysis on its SiriusXM NBA Radio channel.  The NBA begins its 74th season tomorrow (10/22)…..iHeartMedia teams up with Mental Floss to launch a new history podcast titled, “History Vs.”  The iHeartRadio Original Podcast explores the lives of historical figures who made a lasting impact on today’s society and culture, with this season examining U.S President Theodore Roosevelt.  Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy hosts the show.

iHeartMedia Names Yesenia Bello SVP of Multicultural Sales. In this newly created position, Yesenia Bello will be responsible for developing sales opportunities with key multicultural advertisers and their agencies across iHeartMedia broadcast stations, digital, podcast, events and Premiere Networks.  She will also work closely with Enrique Santos, chairman and chief creative officer of iHeartLatino, to create an innovative go-to-market audio strategy for iHeartMedia’s Hispanic portfolio.  In addition, she will also lead sales efforts for the iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina annual concert in Miami.  Bello most recently worked at Google, where she focused on Multicultural strategy and sales for YouTube advertisers.  Bello says, “I’m thrilled to join iHeartMedia during a time when cultural sound is creating a seismic shift in the music industry and is reshaping how we consume and how we experience music.  iHeart has a great history of embracing its Hispanic and African-American listeners and I can’t wait to help create an innovative, strategic focus in multicultural audiences that will deliver incremental growth across iHeartMedia’s portfolio of assets.”

Jim Bohannon Is Guest on Harrison Podcast. Perennial TALKERS “Heavy Hundred” star Jim Bohannon guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Next year marks the Cumulus Media/Westwood One personality’s 60th anniversary in radio. Harrison and Bohannon discuss the mega-changes that have occurred in the radio business over the past six decades, taking a seasoned look at the current state of the medium and its trajectory going forward including a fascinating analysis on the ever-changing relationship between content and platform. They also discuss the implications of the disappearance of the local radio station as a community cultural center. 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.

 

Sales Assistant Gig in Charlotte. At its Charlotte station group that includes news/talk WBT-AM/FM, sports talk WFNZ-AM/FM, and hot AC WLNK-FM, Entercom is seeking a detail-oriented and energetic individual to serve as a sales assistant. Entercom says, “The primary role of this position is to help coordinate all aspects of the local business and sales efforts – order entry, traffic coordination, promotional fulfillment, and communication with clients and vendors. Other duties include editing and formatting sales proposals, creating client recaps, and assisting in sales and business reporting. Secondary duties include coordinating on-air promos, assisting with employee and client meetings, and assisting in office management. Get more info and apply here.

Station Manager Position in Cincinnati. Christian broadcaster Pillar of Fire has a station manager position open in Cincinnati. The post says: Are you looking for a job with purpose? Contemporary Christian music station “STAR 93.3” (WAKW) Cincinnati is looking for a qualified, well-rounded individual to oversee and ensure the smooth daily operation and growth of the radio station. This position involves managing the staff, administrative, compliance, technical, program, fundraising, and sales aspects of the station. Reporting to the network director of broadcasting, the station manager is responsible for fostering the positive organizational culture, personality, listener growth, and financial viability of the station and representing the station at local and industry-wide events. Job requirements include a bachelor’s degree, commitment to excellence, and at least 5 years of successful radio station management. ‘STAR 93.3’ offers a positive working environment. Send your resume to: hr@star933.com. No calls please. EOE.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Rich Bailey is named program director for Cumulus Media’s country WIVK, Knoxville.  He served as the program director for SummitMedia’s CHR WWST, Sevierville, Tennessee “Star 102.1” for the past 23 years.  Cumulus Knoxville VP/market manager Ken Salyer says, “The opportunity to have Rich join our team in Knoxville was simply too good to pass up.  His dedication to detail and drive to win is known industry wide.  This elevates our group to an entirely new level.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One announces it is now offering a third version of the classic hits format for stations seeking a gold-based pop radio format with more 60s music.  Classic Hits Gold complements the company’s modern Classic Hits format, which has evolved to be a core ‘80s format with some ‘90s, and its Classic Hits Rock, that features rock classics.  Classic Hits Gold feature proven hit music from the mid-to-late-60s through the early-to-mid-80s, from core artists such as: The Eagles, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Fleetwood Mac, The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, Billy Joel, Hall & Oates, Queen, The Beatles, and Chicago…..Entercom announces the lineup for its “7th Annual We Can Survive, presented by AT&T” benefit concert at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.  The RADIO.COM event, hosted by local CHR KAMP-FM “97.1 AMP Radio,” will feature performances by Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Camila Cabello, Jonas Brothers, Lizzo, Marshmello, and Becky G.  Proceeds from the event will help the American Cancer Society save more lives from breast cancer.  Entercom SVP of programming and musical initiatives Michael Martin says, “‘We Can Survive’ will bring together legendary artists on an iconic stage for a great cause.  We’re looking forward to bringing audiences together for an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind evening.  The anticipation for this event has been outstanding, with tickets selling out in under 30 minutes.”…..In Louisville, content director and afternoon personality Juan Hustle exits Alpha Media’s hip hop WGZB “B96.5” after a stint of more than four years…..Northeast Broadcasting makes a change at its Burlington, Vermont station group, flipping adult hits WWMP “Free 103.3” to rock at “Rock 103,3.”  Core artists for the format include: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Jimi Hendrix, Papa Roach, Rage Against The Machine, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana and the Foo Fighters…..There’s more downsizing at Forever Media’s Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland cluster as Tom Schultz exits classic hits WAVD, Ocean City “97.1 The Wave.”   Also exiting her position is classic hits WNCL, Milford, Delaware “COOL 101.3” midday personality Paula Sangaleer…..The Mainstay Station Trust – created to hold and sell four stations Cumulus Media was required to let go of after its 2017 reorganization – will sell WPCK-FM, Denmark, Wisconsin (Green Bay market) and WNUQ, Sylvester, Georgia (Albany market).  Educational Media Foundation will buy WPCK for $512,000 and Pretoria Fields Collective Media will acquire WNUQ for $98,000…..iHeartMedia alternative rock WRFF, Philadelphia “Radio 104.5” announces the return of the “Radio 104.5 Miller Lite Mystery Show.”  It will take place on Saturday, November 30 at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia and will feature a surprise performance from one of today’s top performing artists.  Fans will learn who the performer is as they walk on stage.  The 2018 “Radio 104.5 Miller Lite Mystery Show” featured a performance from Bastille.

Monday Memo: TV Synergy

| October 21, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Consultants used to make money selling “safe lists” to music stations.  But with so many digital competitors now attacking, the list alone isn’t safe anymore.  Especially when FMs wedge those tunes between too many commercials.  So FMs mustn’t confuse “rotation” (the list) with “curation” (what you do between songs that makes you special).

And too many news/talk stations are doing too little news.  Often, outside of morning drive, the five minutes atop the hour is from a network, or afternoon local newscasts pre-recorded by morning staffers; and the next 55 minutes are national content that parrots what’s all over cable.

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Monday, October 14, 2019

| October 14, 2019

Monday Memo: Their Voice, Their Words.  Competing with less-cluttered digital audio options, AM/FM radio needs to obsess on commercial Quality Control.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke details a technique that’s landing accounts and producing results.  Read it here.

Impeachment Inquiry, Ukraine Controversy, U.S.-Syria Policy/Turkish Assault, 2020 Presidential Election, Shepard Smith Leaves FOX News, Fort Worth Cop Kills Black Woman, and U.S.-China Relations/Hong Kong Protests Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against President Trump; the controversy over Trump’s call with Volodymyr Zelensky and the Bidens’ activities in the region’s oil industry, as well as the arrests of associates of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani; the Trump Administration’s policy in Northeastern Syria and Turkey’s assault on the Kurdish region; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020; the surprise exit of FOX News Channel news anchor Shepard Smith from the news organization; the slaying of a black woman shot through the window of her home by a Fort Worth police officer, and U.S.-China relations and the ongoing Hong Kong protests were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Kamla Exits KILT-AM, Houston for Expanded Role at SiriusXM. The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron reports that KILT-AM, Houston sports talk personality Rick Kamla is leaving the station to take on added duties at SiriusXM, where he’s been hosting a fantasy sports program.  SiriusXM is broadening Kamla’s duties to include work on its NBA Radio channel.  Kamla had only been with KILT-AM for a little more than two months after having served with Entercom’s Atlanta sports talker WZGC “92.9 FM The Game.”  He was partnered on KILT with Clint Stoerner in afternoon drive.  Kamla was part of KILT’s July host re-alignment that included the non-renewal of Rich Lord’s contract and his former PM drive partner Sean Pendergast’s move to AM drive alongside Seth Payne.

Salem Radio Network Announces 2020 Presidential and Vice-Presidential Debate Broadcasts. In cooperation with the Commission on Presidential Debates, Salem Radio Network’s 24/7 news services SRN News and TOWNHALL News will provide live broadcast coverage of the 2020 Presidential and Vice Presidential debates scheduled for next fall.  SRN White House correspondent Greg Clugston will provide analysis and SRN talk hosts, including Hugh HewittMike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Dr. Sebastian Gorka, and Larry Elder, will offer opinions and analysis.  So far, four debates have been scheduled: Presidential Debates on September 9 at the University of Notre Dame; October 15 at the University of Michigan; and October 22 at Belmont University in Nashville; plus, one Vice Presidential debate will on October 7 at the University of Utah.

Goldstein Promoted at Hubbard Radio. Digital sales pro Steve Goldstein is promoted from senior director, digital sales strategy, to his new position, SVP digital sales strategy and general manager 2060 Digital for the company.  Hubbard Radio EVP/chief financial officer Dave Bestler says that Goldstein was most recently splitting duties between Hubbard Radio Washington DC and a corporate role developing digital sales strategies in all of the Hubbard Radio markets.  Now, Goldstein will focus exclusively on the corporate role of growing digital sales with station-owned digital assets and 2060 Digital in all Hubbard Radio markets.  The company says, “During the past five years 2060 Digital has become an important revenue growth strategy for Hubbard Radio, both in Hubbard radio markets, and recently in non-radio markets with the introduction of 2060 Digital’s Shift division in Columbus, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Detroit, Nashville and Birmingham.  Goldstein says, “I am honored and excited to take the helm of a business that I am so passionate about.  Hubbard’s overall digital platforms and 2060 Digital have already seen tremendous success.  To lead and grow a team that has provided proven results for our clients and our company is thrilling and humbling.  I am looking forward to partnering with 2060 Digital ops head Andy Shepherd, his talented team, and our Hubbard Radio market leaders and sellers, all of whom are making a difference for our clients.”  As a result of this move, 2060 Digital president James Bryant will focus on growing 2060 Digital’s Shift division in expanding markets.

Hugh Hewitt Is Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Legal scholar, journalist, and Salem Radio Network syndicated TALKERS Heavy Hundred talk radio star Hugh Hewitt guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  In addition to being one of the most important radio talk show hosts in America and a prolific best-selling author, Hewitt is a professor of constitutional law at Chapman University Law School in California. Harrison and Hewitt engage in an in-depth conversation about the 2020 presidential election, the Ukraine/impeachment issue, US-China relations, the US Constitution, and the complex legacy and personality of Richard Nixon.  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.

TALKERS and The Epoch Times Co-Presented “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” Video Available on TALKERS TV.  The video of the recent panel discussion, “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” that took place in New York City on October 1, is now available for viewing on TALKERS TV.  The information-packed co-presentation of TALKERS and The Epoch Times 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 that included Nan Su of NTDTVJoshua Philipp of The Epoch Times and Dr. Dana Cheng of The Epoch Times.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison served as moderator.  The conversation focused on the US-China trade war, 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 the event here.

EPOCH TIMES to Meet Heightened Talk Media Interest in US-China Relations by Granting Free Access to TALKERS Readers.  The Epoch Times – founded in 2000 by Chinese Americans seeking freedom from the Communist regime and one of the most reliable sources in the world for information about China – has responded to heightened interest in US-China relations by making its website free to TALKERS readers.  To sign up for this free courtesy service to talk show hosts and their producers, please click here.

PPM Analysis: Hot AC.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s September 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on hot AC.  Just 40% of hot AC stations on our panel were up – weekly, 6+ AQH share – from the August to September surveys, led by Capital Broadcasting’s KBZN, Salt Lake City (+1.0).  Comparing year-over-year, just as many hot AC stations were up as were down.  Gainers from September 2018 to September 2019 include: Alpha Media’s KEZR, San Jose (+2.4), Cox Media Group’s KSMG, San Antonio (+1.8), and Entercom’s WOMX, Orlando (+1.5).  Two hot AC stations ranked #1 in their markets in September – Hubbard Radio’s KSTP-FM, Minneapolis and WRMF, West Palm Beach.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

WAY-FM Reports ‘Explosive’ Digital Growth. Christian broadcaster WAY-FM reports it has experienced explosive digital growth in 2019 with the launch of the new WAYNATION.COM website and Podcast Network, and an aggressive shift towards digital content ministry.  WAY-FM operates more than 20 Christian music radio stations around the nation in markets like Nashville, Dallas, Portland, and Denver.  Parent company WAY Media announces that, in the first six months of 2019, its total digital audience surpassed 750,000 persons and the WAY Nation Podcast Network has earned nearly 3 million downloads in the past 12 months.  It adds that these numbers nearly equal the size of WAY-FM’s total radio listenership.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the Allentown market, Cumulus Media’s country WCTO “CAT Country 96” the new “CAT Morning Crew with Sam and Hannah” – hosted by Sam Malone and Hannah Byrom.  Byrom joins Cumulus Allentown-Bethlehem from Entercom New York’s WNSH-FM “Country 94.7” where she was weekend personality.  Prior to that, she was morning show co-host for Beasley Media Group’s WKLB, Boston “Country 102.5.”  At the same time, the station is adding WWYY-FM, Belvidere, New Jersery as a simulcast of WCTO.  The station had been alternative as “Spin Radio” in a simulcast with translator W234AX, Allentown at 94.7 FM.  Cumulus Allentown-Bethlehem OM Jerry Padden says, “This is a very exciting day for all of us!  Though Hannah has worked on some great stations across the country, she is a Jersey girl.  Sam was born and bred here in the Lehigh Valley, so doing mornings in their hometowns is a dream come true for both Sam and Hannah.”…..Cumulus Media debuts adult contemporary KQFC, Boise “Magic 97.9.”  The signal flips from country and Cumulus brings Lisa Adams aboard as program director.   It’s a return to Boise for Adams, who previously served as OM/PD for Townsquare Media’s Boise stations.  Most recently, she’s been program director for Hubbard Radio’s country KNUC, Seattle.  The “Magic 97.9” air personality lineup so far features Adams in Mornings, Bret Connors in afternoons and Mike Kasper as morning news anchor.  News in the morning, with more announcements to follow.  Adams says, “I’m incredibly excited and blessed to start my new radio chapter back in a town I love and missed so much!”…..Cox Media Group adds Caitlin “CJ” Johnson as afternoon drive personality at country KKBQ, Houston, effective November 11.  She takes over for Cactus Jack, who retired in August.  Johnson was most recently afternoon drive host at CMG’s CHR WAPE-FM, Jacksonville…..Entercom announces the continued expansion of the RADIO.COM original station CHANNEL Q.  The company says, “To celebrate its one-year anniversary and National Coming Out Day, the premiere LGBTQ+ Talk Radio Network will be available in a total of 32 markets nationwide, including four new markets in Baltimore, Buffalo, Cleveland and St. Louis.”

Monday Memo: Their Voice, Their Words

| October 14, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Here is the sentence no Amazon Echo owner has ever spoken: “Alexa, please play seven commercials.”  We compete with free and pay-for music services which torment listeners with fewer/shorter or no commercials, respectively; and the most listened-to podcasts are minimally-cluttered.  So AM/FM stations are playing defense.

If we can’t control quantity (or even if we can) we need to obsess on quality.

At best, “typical” radio spots go in-one-ear-and-out-the-other.  Many commercials I hear in my travels are a caricature, cliché-riddled and/or rushed DJ-delivery voice-over-music.  There’s too little “eye contact” and not enough “YOU” and “YOUR.”

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Monday, August 26, 2019

| August 26, 2019

Joe Walsh Says He’ll Challenge Trump for GOP Nomination. As teased on Friday (8/23), former Illinois GOP congressman and talk radio host Joe Walsh officially announced on Sunday that he will begin a GOP primary campaign to challenge President Trump for the GOP nomination.  Walsh hosts the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight program on the Salem Radio Network. It’s not clear right now when he’ll leave his radio show, but it’s a safe bet it will be very soon.  As a politically conservative broadcasting company, the SRN and Salem Media Group brass can’t be thrilled about Walsh’s decision. However, conventional wisdom says Walsh has no chance to take the nomination from Trump since the president enjoys overwhelming support from Republicans. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison, weighing in on the syndicated host’s announcement states, “The extraordinary amount of press surrounding this development illustrates just how powerful talk media has become during the age of Trump.  We all know that talk radio and cable news/talk TV have been consistently influential platforms in the post-Fairness Doctrine decades.  However, the sheer measurable power this bubbling influence has amassed in the age of Trump is jaw dropping to say the least.  Regardless of your opinion of Donald Trump, the fact that the president of the United States is a huge talk media fan and constantly demonstrates it through his use of social media, shout-outs, and political appointments has been the most significant booster rocket imaginable in elevating talk media beyond junior status to equal-if-not-greater influence and prestige as the so-called mainstream media.  Look at the amount of attention his tweets garnered for Wayne Allyn Root last week.  The fact that Joe Walsh – a radio talk show host with a microscopically short resume of elective service – could get so much more coverage than former governors William Weld and Mark Sanford sends an important message.  Radio and TV talk personalities are, in a growing number of cases, on the same level as major elected officials.  In an industry where anecdotal qualitative influence is every bit as important as murky quantitative metrics, everyone in the talk business owes a debt of gratitude to President Trump.  All I can say is, Mr. President, ‘Keep listening and watching!’” Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story stated FOX News had ignored the story.  Actually, FOX News published this story on Sunday and devoted reports on FOX News Channel to the story.

Neal Boortz Ends WSB-AM, Atlanta Commentary.  Six years after retiring from his daily radio talk show, radio legend Neal Boortz does his last commentary feature for his old flagship station WSB-AM/WSBB-FM. In his final piece for the station, Boortz says he looks forward to paying less attention to the news because he believes the country is headed for disaster due to young people knowing more about LGBTQ history than American history.  He says, “I’m going to just enjoy my friends, family and my travels while the rest of you see if you can pull this country back from the brink.” Hear his commentary here.

LaDona Harvey Re-Ups with KOGO, San Diego. Longtime station personality LaDona Harvey signs a new contract with iHeartMedia’s news/talk KOGO, San Diego to continue as morning personality through 2022.  Harvey served as news anchor and then midday talk host before being partnered with Ted Garcia in morning drive in 2014.  Station program director Brian Long says, “When we re-launched Newsradio 600 KOGO, it was clear that LaDona had the versatility needed to shift from a popular local news/talk host to become a strong morning news personality without missing a beat.  LaDona and Ted Garcia together every morning share a chemistry that connects with San Diegans and serves to entertain and inform KOGO listeners every weekday morning.”

New Affiliate Stations for ‘Our American Stories.’ The nationally syndicated “Our American Stories” radio program announces the program is being added to the program schedules at stations including: iHeartMedia’s KHOW, Denver; Bustos Media’s KVOI, Tucson; American General Media’s KVEC, San Luis Obispo; Entercom’s KNSS-AM/FM, Wichita; and Kensington Digital Media’s WRSW-AM, Warsaw, Indiana.  Lee Habeeb is host of the program and CEO of American Private Radio, producer and syndicator of the show.  Habeeb comments that he’s “grateful for the new markets and the opportunity to bring more listeners together in a positive listening environment.  These stations, along with our 210 other affiliate partners are a testament that listeners want more than just political talk.  They want a positive experience that radio does really well, which is just what ‘Our American Stories’ delivers.

Ken Lagana Named EVP of Digital Sales for Entercom. Digital sales executive Ken Lagana is appointed to the newly created position of executive vice president of digital sales for Entercom, effective September 10.   Lagana was most recently head of sales and marketing for podcast technology firm Megaphone.  In this new role, Lagana will lead sales strategy for the company’s digital business, including RADIO.COM, and its newest podcast acquisitions – Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Studios.  Entercom chief digital officer J.D. Crowley says, “I have known Ken a long time and have immense respect for the large digital businesses he’s helped build.  Ken has an incredible reputation in the industry for creating innovative programs at scale that solve challenges for marketers.  We’re excited to welcome him to the team as we continue to help shape the rapidly growing digital audio marketplace.”

Envision and Radio PA State Network Partner for Sports Report. This partnership between Envision Networks and Radio PA State Network will result in EnvisionVirtualServices Sports Reports being distributed to more than 50 radio stations throughout the Keystone State.  The feature his presented by sports reporter Andrew Scaglione who delivers twice-daily reports (and one report on Saturday).   Scaglione says, “The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has such a rich sports history spanning from the high school level all the way up to the pros.  It’s a privilege to provide daily sports reports to stations around the state and keep folks up to date on Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, State College, Williamsport, and everywhere in between.”

Monday Memo: YouTube Tweaks.  YouTube is a powerful platform and it’s real crowded.  Every second, one hour of video is uploaded.  If you just “throw something up there,” you’re probably not capitalizing on the benefits of YouTube.  Consultant Holland Cooke suggests that before your video joins that torrent, take a look at some valuable tips here.

U.S.-China Trade War/G7 Summit, Hong Kong Protests, Joe Walsh to Challenge Trump in Primary/2020 Presidential Race, Israel Strikes Iranian Targets, and Andrew Luck Retires from NFL Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The tariff battle between the U.S. and China, the world’s financial markets’ reactions to them, and the meetings that took place at the G7 in France over the weekend; the protests against Chinese aggression in Hong Kong; talk host and former congressman Joe Walsh announces his Republican presidential bid and the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the Israeli military strikes against Iranian targets near Damascus, Syria; and the shocking retirement from pro football by Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Forever Media to Buy Lebanon, Pennsylvania Duo. The stations – news/talk WLBR-AM and adult contemporary WQIC-FM “Soft Rock 100.1” – are being sold by family-owned Lebanon Broadcasting Company to Forever Media.  The deal gives Forever 64 stations in 11 markets.  Lebanon president Lynn Deppen says, “WLBR/WQIC has been in the Etter family for over 70 years.  Since my sons have independent careers, I made the decision to sell to Forever Media. Forever Media is an excellent company consisting of community-oriented radio stations.  They empower local managers with key decision-making authority and encourage local community interests to be a factor in any decision.”  Greg Guy of Patrick Communications represented the seller in this deal.

Barr Bids Buck Bon Voyage. Pictured above is Premiere Networks personality Buck Sexton (left) with U.S. Attorney General William Barr (right) at Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC. last Thursday night (8/22).  Sexton, host of “The Buck Sexton Show,” had an impromptu going away celebration at the hotel as he leaves Washington to move to New York City.  Barr made an appearance to wish Sexton well as he returns to his home state.

TALKERS News Notes. Sports media personality Josh Innes is launching a podcast.  The former KBME, Houston and WIP, Philadelphia sports talk host tells ForbesJonathan Berr that he intends to target sports fans in Philly and Houston with separate shows for each market.  He says he understands that there are a ton of podcasts out there and that compared to big stations, he’s a small business.  He says he plans to target local advertisers who can’t afford to advertise on major market radio stations…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Vivianne Linou  is promoted to executive producer of WGN, Chicago’s Steve Cochran morning show. The Tribune Broadcasting station promoted Mary Sandberg Boyle from that position to director of news and operations back in May.  Linou joined WGN as a producer back in March after having previously served with Entercom’s crosstown all-news WBBM-AM/WFCS-FM…..Alpha Media’s Portland sports talk KXTG-AM drops the FM translator simulcast of its programming.  The station signaled the end of the broadcast on K275CH with the re-branding of its social media accounts that eliminate the 102.9 FM frequency…..Saga Communications swaps FM translators as a simulcast of news/talk WGAN-AM, Portland.  It goes from W288CU, PORTLAND at 105.5 FM to W253DA at 98.5 FM…..ESPN launches a new college football podcast featuring lead analysts Kirk Herbstreit and David Pollack plus SportsCenter’s Kevin Negandhi.  The “ESPN College Football Podcast- Herbie & Pollack” publish three times per week through the season with Negandhi hosting all episodes. Herbstreit will co-host on Mondays and Pollack will do so on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. West Palm Beach country outlet WIRK names Moriah Daniels midday personality.  Daniels began her radio career eight years ago as an intern for the then-CBS Radio station, now owned and operated by Hubbard Radio.  WIRK operations manager and brand/content director Bruce Logan states, “As a program director, there is nothing better than inheriting great talent!  When I started the search to transition ‘New Country 103.1’ from a voice-tracked show to a live and local show in West Palm Beach, I was thrilled to find Moriah sitting mere feet from my office dutifully serving our sales team.  She expressed interest, I went through the entire search process and in the end, there was no one I’d rather have as WIRK’s At-Work host.”…..Air personality Pat Gallagher returns to the Madison market to assume the morning show duties on Mid-West Family’s alternative WRIS “The Resistance.”  Company VP of programming Randy Hawke says, “Pat helped define alternative music in Madison.  It’s so important to have him here and be a part of it.”  Gallagher worked in alternative radio in Madison for 27 years before joining Mid-West Family Madison for a brief time then heading to WCNR, Charlottesville, Virginia to do mornings…..Radio personality and doo wop enthusiast Ron Farber appeared on WMTR-AM, Morristown, New Jersey over the weekend as guest and co-host on the station’s “Doo Wop Drive” program from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm on August 23.   It was a homecoming of sorts as Faber hosted the Friday night doo wop show from 2005 through 2008…..Air talent Scotty Kay joins the new morning program at Entercom’s country WUSN, Chicago.  Kay was most recently on air at Cumulus Media’s CHR KLIF-FM, Dallas “HOT 93.3.”  He joins morning show hosts Katie BrightJason Pullman, and Erin Creedon on the program…..In Los Angeles, Doug “Sluggo” Roberts is named assistant program director and music director for classic rock KLOS.  Roberts currently hosts weekend programs on SiriusXM’s “1St Wave” and “Lithium” channels.  He’s also worked at alternative KROQ and adult hits KABC-FM in Los Angeles.

Monday Memo: Your Donald Trump Elevator Speech?

| August 19, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — In these dog days of Summer when everyone seems to be on vacation, phones can be slow.  Try this, which lit up the lines when I was guest-hosting “The Jim Bohannon Show,” and has never failed any of the hosts I coach.

Here’s the script:

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Monday Memo: Say What? Part Deux

| July 22, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Ever since our February 4 column, amigos have been needling me about that week’s “Don’t say that. Say this.” List.  Now there’s a consultant caricature, eh?

“But WAIT!  There’s MORE!”  Hear me out…

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

| August 27, 2015

price howardHoward B. Price: Now, It’s Personal.  Writing in the aftermath of the shooting deaths of WDBJ-TV, Roanoke journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward, ABC Television Network director, business continuity Howard B. Price says that, although it’s impossible to know if anything could have prevented their deaths, media employers must take this tragedy as a lesson to do more to prepare staffers to combat threatening situations.  How so?  Price says, “Ask any crisis trainer, and they will tell you that situational awareness is critical – no matter one’s field or the instant circumstances of their work.  Who would have imagined that a live shot on local tourism in a bucolic park would end in so much trauma – on an early morning newscast in Moneta, Virginia?”  He suggests that even in the most seemingly benign situations, crews should observe a safety protocol.  “When you arrive at the scene of a story, look for areas of safe refuge and secondary escape routes.  Try to keep a corner of your eye cocked peripherally to catch at least a glimpse of anything that doesn’t look quite right.  Keep a cellphone or two-way radio close.  Think about how you might call for help.  And don’t hesitate to raise red flags about any coverage plan you find risky.”  Read Price’s entire story here.

newsmax logoNewsmax.com Places Third in Views for Political News.  The July 2015 comScore MultiPlatform data shows that while CNN Politics is #1 in multiplatform views with 136 million for the month, Newsmax.com comes in third (55mm), close on the heels of Politico.com (57mm).  Newsmax.com tops Fox News Politics, HuffPost Politics and MSNBC TV, according to comScore’s survey, which includes desktops and mobile devices.  comScore also notes that July marked the best month in mobile traffic and video starts on record.

cookehollandHolland Cooke: ‘Quality, Currency, Quantity.’  Just back at his Block Island, Rhode Island home base after a summer on the road visiting client stations, consultant Holland Cooke writes in TALKERS today about crafting news copy that is more “remarkable.”  He says, “Not ‘miraculous,’ but ‘remarkable,’ meaning likely-to-provoke-a-remark when heard.  ‘Hmmm…’ is a remark, because the listener heard useful information which he/she might quote over lunch or dinner.  Or at least REMEMBER, which is, after all, what diary ratings measure, and relevance is what brings PPM-ers back again and again.”  For more thoughts about effective radio news, read Cooke’s entire column here.

lagrecadonDon La Greca Inks Extension with WEPN, New York.  The co-host of the afternoon drive Michael Kay show on ESPN O&O WEPN, New York has signed a three-year contract extension with the station to continue in that role.  Don La Greca, in addition to his duties with the Kay show, will continue to host 98.7FM’s “Jets Gameday” pregame show and “The 5th Quarter” postgame show.  La Greca will also retain his duties as studio host and occasional play-by-play commentator for New York Rangers broadcasts.  ESPN New York 98.7FM general manager Tim McCarthy states, “Don has established himself as one of the most knowledgeable hosts in all of New York sports.  He is a rare breed who can combine talk and play-by-play without missing a beat.  Don and Michael are one of the longest-tenured and most entertaining sports talk teams in the country.”

Odds & Sods. According to the New York Daily NewsBob Raissman, ESPN is going to move current sports talkwepn logo WEPN, New York evening duo Alan Hahn and Rick DiPietro to the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot that opened with Mike Lupica’s recent departure.  He says Dave Rothenberg will leave the 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm show with Ryan Ruocco and host evenings solo.  He also notes the station will air the soon-to-move Dan LeBatard show in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon quigleyalexslot…..Former WGN, Chicago operations manager Alex Quigley is joining Hubbard Radio Chicago to serve as executive producer and update anchor for classic hit WDRV’s weekly, three-hour Chicago Bears post-game show that will be hosted by Mike North…..News and talk radio programmer Al Mayers, currently station manager at Bloomberg Radio, is adding Bloomberg TV programming duties to his responsibilities, according to a report in the New York Post.  The story says Claudia Milne is exiting the Bloomberg TV programming post to work on special projects and product placement for Bloomberg.  Mayers was a longtime Boston program director having served at WRKO, WEEI and WHDH.  He also programmed WJR, Detroit…..WMTI, New Orleans “106.1 The Ticket” is flipping from sports talk to a music format.  No word on what Cumulus will settle on.  Currently the station is stunting with song loops.

westwood one news logoWestwood One Celebrates Affiliate Mark for News Product; Names Chas Henry to Anchor/Correspondent Role.  Syndicator Westwood One is celebrating surpassing the 750-affiliate mark for its news product Westwood One News, powered by CNN.  WW1 says that since launching in January, it’s placed the service on more than 750 stations, including in nine of the top 10 markets.  At the same time, the companyhenrychas announces it has brought aboard Washington, DC news pro Chas Henry to serve as an anchor and correspondent.  Henry has served at WTOP, Washington; TV news outlets NewsChannel 8 and ABC7, and at CBS RADIO’s WNEW-FM as anchor and national security correspondent.  A combat-decorated veteran of the 1991 Gulf War, Henry came up in the U.S. Marine Corps, rising in rank from private to captain.  He has reported from Iraq, Afghanistan and Qatar and been frequently heard nationwide on the CBS Radio Network.  For Westwood One, in addition to anchoring newscasts, he will report on national security issues and will fill in on the daily feature “Something to Think About with Mike Rogers” from September 8-14.

ramseydaveCarson15GOP Candidate Dr. Ben Carson on the Dave Ramsey Show.  Pictured here on the air with nationally syndicated talk superstar Dave Ramsey (left) is retired neurosurgeon and GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson (right).  Ramsey has invited all of the presidential candidates to appear on his program to discuss relevant topics during the election season.  Earlier this summer, Texas Governor Rick Perry appeared on the Ramsey program.

Virginia TV Reporters Slayings, Trump Candidacy, Immigration Policy Debate, Probable Joe Biden Presidential Run, Hillary Clinton Email Investigation, Financial Markets Volatility, and Western Wildfires/Tropical Storm Erika/Climate Change Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/26).  The killing of two Virginia television journalists by a former station employee; the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump; ongoing debate over immigration policy and Trump’s interaction with Univision reporter Jorge Ramos at an Iowa press conference; the probable entrance of Vice President Joe Biden into the presidential race; the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for State Department business; concern over the volatile world financial markets and a possible crash; the Western drought, recent wildfires, Tropical Storm Erika, and the specter of climate change were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

wbtlogoCool Job Opportunity.  Wanted: Part-Time WBT Tailgate Girls.  “News Talk 1110” WBT, Charlotte is seeking part-time WBT Tailgate Girls who are interested in learning more about event marketing, promotions and broadcasting.  As part of the WBT Tailgate Girls, you will work to gain exposure for the radio stations at station-produced and/or sponsored events, area concerts, sporting and cultural events and other on-site opportunities relevant to the station’s marketing and sales effort.  Candidates must be detail oriented, creative and outgoing.  They must have strong communications and organizational skills and must be able to represent the station(s) in a positive manner at events.  Candidates should have strong people skills, web/internet knowledge, and must be able to multi-task and meet deadlines.  All candidates should possess a desire to learn more about promotional/marketing strategies for radio.  In order to be considered for the position, candidates must have a valid driver’s licenses.  Hourly pay: $12.00.  If you think you have the talent and qualifications to be a (part-time) News Talk 1110 WBT Tailgate Girls with Greater Media Charlotte, please e-mail resume and photo to hired@gmclt.com.  If you would like to mail a package, send to: Greater Media Charlotte, Attn: Promotions, One Julian Price Place, Charlotte, NC 28208 NO TELEPHONE CALL PLEASE!

Friday, December 5, 2014

| December 5, 2014

word logoEntercom Names Tara Servatius and Vince Coakley to Morning Radio Posts on ‘WORD 106.3’ in Greenville.  At Entercom’s WYRD, Greenville, South Carolina “WORD 106.3,” new morning programming is announced that includes Tara Servatius servatiustarahosting “The Tara Show” from 6:00 am to 10:00 am followed by Vince Coakley taking over the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show.  The new programming begins on Monday, December 8.  Entercom Greenville VP and market manager Steve Sinicropi says, “We are energizing morning radio with the launch of these vibrant, coakleyvincelive, and local talk shows.  Both Tara and Vince will deliver fresh, and thought-provoking commentary on the issues and news our community cares about most.  We are excited about fans joining in the on-air conversation on the only Upstate local news/talk station.”  Servatius was most recently with Cumulus Media’s WTMA, Charleston, South Carolina.  She also worked at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte.  Coakley – also a WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte alum – had been hosting a Sunday afternoon program on “WORD 106.3.”  Longtime WYRD personality Russ Cassell – host of the 8:00 am to 12:00 noon program – passed away in October, prompting changes in the morning lineup.

beckatomTom Becka Exits NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha.  Two and a half years after joining NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha, Tom Becka announces his contract with the station has not been renewed.  Becka posted a podcast on his TomBecka.com site explaining his exit from the station.  He tells TALKERS it wasn’t too shocking as he’d suspected his deal was not going to be renewed.  As for KOIL, the station’s GM, Andy Ruback, tells the Omaha World-Herald they’ll announce permanent plans for the afternoon drive daypart in the near future.  In the interim, the station is airing TRN’s Sam Sorbo program.  Tom Becka can be reached at tbecka@hotmail.com.

talksmerconishMichael Smerconish Options Novel Talk to Warner Bros.  The novel published by SiriusXM personality Michael Smerconish about a talk radio host acting out a stereotypical neo-conservative philosophy on the air despite his own convictions in order to be successful,has been optioned to Warner Brothers to become a TV show.  Smerconish, who exited AM/FM radio for satellite after a career that included local radio on WPHT, Philadelphia and national syndication via Compass Media Networks, tells Politico that he’s excited about the opportunity.  “Like anyone who’s ever written a novel, as I wrote it I envisioned it on the screen.  Of course in most cases that doesn’t come to pass and now this looks like it will, and I couldn’t be more excited.  I think the story lends itself to TV beautifully.  In the world of ‘House of Cards’ and ‘Alpha House,’ I can definitely see ‘Talk’ on a television screen.”  Many talk radio practitioners bristle at the implication that conservative talk hosts don’t really believe what they portray on the radio, but just do it because they think that’s what the industry wants.  A number of talk professionals also took umbrage with Smerconish’s parting shots at the industry as he left AM/FM for satellite, specifically with his public statements accusing the business of requiring hosts to adhere to an ideologically driven style of talk radio instead of one that addresses issues from multiple perspectives.

cookehollandYour New PD Gig: D.I.Y. with O.P.M.  In a column published today (12/5) in TALKERS, consultant Holland Cooke explains an opportunity that might be perfect for some sales-minded programmers looking to work independently on other people’s radio signals.  He’s talking about programming weekend content on a brokered basis.  He says, “Parlay your assets into Do It Yourself radio.  I’m not talking about podcasting-instead.  I’m talking about renting transmitter time.  All that many news/talk stations ask of weekend talent is pay-for-play, so consider pay-and-program.”  Read more from Holland Cooke here.

whfs logoBeasley Drops Sports on FM in Tampa.  The FM sports talker that CBS RADIO brought to Tampa is gone – playing Christmas music until a new format debuts on January 5.  Among Those out with the change at WHFS-FM “98.7 The Fan” are sports talk personalities Anthony “Booger” McFarland, Marc Ryan, Kirk McEwen, Jesse Kage, and Justin Pawlowski.  Beasley is still operating WHFS-AM as a sports talker using CBS Sports Radio Network programming.

Odds & Sods.  A new podcast from Sports USA featuring former super agent Tom Reich will launch.  According to Sports USA president Bob Moore, “Tom and brother Sam Reich bring integrity, respect, experience and a fresh perspective to the podcast and will talk about past stories and current events in their lives and the world of sports.”…..The PAC 5 final game – the prep championship between St. John Bosco and Corona Centennial – will air on LAA 1 LLC-owned KLAA, Anaheim tomorrow (12/6) at 8:00 pm PT.  The Emmy-award winning broadcast team of Kevin Turner and Bill Cunerty will call the live play-by-play.  The game is being broadcast on the radio for the sixth year in a row on KLAA – home of the Los Angeles Angels and Anaheim Ducks.  Fox SportsFred Salas will join the team for the broadcast handling sideline reports and postgame interviews.

Ferguson Aftermath Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 1-5.  The events that have followed the Ferguson grand jury’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown – including Charles Barkley’s comments and whether to charge Brown’s stepfather Louis Head for inciting a riot – were the top stories on news/talk radio during the week.  Following at #2 was the NYC choke hold case tied with the police shooting death of 12-year-old Cleveland youth Tamir Rice.  At #3 was the amnesty issue followed by the 2016 presidential candidates 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.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

| September 23, 2014

mcmahonbillBill McMahon: Perhaps We Should Focus on What We are Good at and That Which the Public Still Wants and Needs.  In a new opinion piece posted in TALKERS today (9/23) by veteran radio consultant and talent coach Bill McMahon, the following questions are presented to radio broadcasters:  What business are you in?  Does your business have a future?  He says, “These seem like fundamental questions radio broadcasters should be asking themselves right now.”  In it McMahon adds his voice to the chorus of industry opinions supporting the preservation of audio-only media as one of — if not the — major products of “radio” in the emerging unified multi-media platform marketplace.  McMahon sarcastically says, “This vision for the future seems perfect for radio broadcasters who create precious little content of any kind. It makes total sense to go compete with everyone in the entertainment business.  Sure, why not? Go take on Disney and Live Nation.  You have all kinds of talent and experience creating video entertainment.  You’ll be great at creating and promoting massive concert events.  This is the kind of stuff your current customers have come to expect from you.  You have lots of resources ready to commit to these enterprises.  They’ll no doubt drive lots of additional listening to your AM and FM radio stations.  Like Nike says, you should ‘just do it!’”  He concludes on a serious note, “Yikes!  Let’s get real!  What’s wrong with the business you’re in right now?  What’s wrong with the audio entertainment business?  Doesn’t it have a future?  Audio entertainment is unique and powerful.  It involves the consumer in creating the experience it provides.  Sound generates pictures and emotions in minds and hearts.  The effect is deeper and more memorable than anything on a screen.  When you hear someone laughing or crying you don’t need to see them to fully experience their joy or sorrow.  Music can change your mood instantly.  The sound and the lyrics create a vibe.  Music is mind altering, heart penetrating, and memory making. Audio entertainment can be consumed while you’re doing other things like walking, running, driving, or making love.  Audio entertainment will never go out of style.  Americans spend more than four hours per day with audio entertainment according to the “Share of the Ear” study from Edison Research.  Audio entertainment has an enduring future as long as great audio entertainment is created.  Radio broadcasters are in the audio entertainment business.  Why not stay there?  Why not focus your limited resources on creating extraordinary audio entertainment? Why not be really good – even exceptional – at something, rather than average or mediocre at everything.  Your current consumers are predisposed to using and appreciating audio entertainment.  Why not concentrate on creating new audio entertainment content that surprises, amazes, and delights them.  Hire gifted artists who love creating content for the theater of the mind.  Create content in all shapes and sizes and distribute it on the platform that fits it best. That’s a future that makes sense for radio broadcasters.  To read Bill McMahon’s entire piece, please click here.

bloomberglogoiHeartMedia Goes Business Talk with Bloomberg on KNEW, San Francisco.  With the move of Premiere Networks talk shows Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck to Cumulus Media’s crosstown KSFO on Monday, September 29, the fate of the shows’ soon-to-be former affiliate station – KNEW, San Francisco – is now known.  The station will begin carrying Bloomberg Radio programming on Monday.  The station will also be simulcast on KOSF-FM’s HD2 channel.  Bloomberg Radio’s Al Mayers comments, “As part of Bloomberg’s new consumer media strategy, we’re excited about expanding Bloomberg Radio into the San Francisco Bay Area, a vital market for those who create, move global business and shape conversations about the innovations of tomorrow.”  iHeartMedia San Francisco market president Kathryn Wilcox adds, “Teaming up with Bloomberg was a natural fit.  It provides high-quality content and aligns nicely with the local business talk on KKSF 910.”

iheartmedia logoiHeartMedia Takes on More Debt.  The company formerly known as Clear Channel CommunicationsiHeartCommunications (and its radio-centric subsidiary iHeartMedia) – announces it is selling $250 million of 9.0% Priority Guarantee Notes (PGNs) that will come due in 2022.  Rating agency Fitch Ratings reports that the “notes are being issued as part of the same series as the $750 million of PGNs due 2022 that were issued on September 10, 2014, and rated ‘CCC/RR4’.  Proceeds from the offering are expected to be used to prepay $245.9 million in Term Loan B due 2016 and $4.1 million in Term Loan C due 2016 and to pay fees and expenses related to the offering.”  The iHeartCommunications debt stands at approximately $21.1 billion according to Fitch but the rating company reports it believes that the company has “adequate liquidity (including cash on hand, monetization of repurchased and outstanding notes, and asset sales) to meet its debt service obligations,” although it does foresee free cash flow to be negative over the next few years.

lionelLionel to Make Return Appearance at The Cutting Room in New York City.  Multimedia talker Lionel of LionelMedia.com has again been booked to play an evening of what he calls “Outspoken Word” sprinkled with bluegrass music at New York City’s famous nightclub, The Cutting Room.  The iconoclastic radio performer presents his difficult-to-categorize brand of stand-up commentary/observations along with several musical numbers by his Americana roots trio, Lock-n-Load in a program described by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison as “fascinatingly original and intelligently eclectic to the core.”  The booking is set for Saturday, October 11 at 7:30 pm at the mega-hip showcase venue located at 44 East 32nd Street in the Big Apple.  Tickets are on sale, $30 in advance, $35 day of show, with a $20 food/drink minimum.  To reserve tickets, call 212-691-1900.  To view a video of Lionel discussing the forthcoming performance, please click here.

salemNYChostsyachtCelebrating Success.  Getting together to celebrate a year of success at Salem Communications’ New York properties news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” and Christian talk WMCA (and to celebrate the latter’s anniversary as a Christian talk station) are four talk hosts heard on the stations (from left to right): talk personality and XtreMedia CEO Kevin McCullough; Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher; GCN-syndicated host Dr. Joy Browne; and WNYM morning personality Joe Piscopo.  McCullough comments, “While the style and content of the shows couldn’t be more different nor come from more diverse perspectives, the camaraderie instilled by GM Jerry Crowley and VP Phil Boyce could not be more clear!  Fun people, doing fun radio, and having fun doing it!”

hughespatOdds & Sods.  Houston sports talk personality Barry Warner joins Yahoo! Sports Radio where he’ll serve as a national contributor and host of the “Barry Warner Classic Minute” daily feature heard on KGOW and KFNC-FM in Houston…..WGN, Chicago announces the WGN Radio Walk of Fame Induction Ceremony honoring Chicago Cubs broadcaster Pat Hughes to take place on Wednesday, September 24 from 3:30 pm – 4:00 pm.  The ceremony will include a live broadcast interview with Hughes conducted by host Dave Eanet…..Internet talk radio platform LA Talk Radio announces it is adding live streaming video to its content options.  Founder Sam Hasson says LA Talk Radio “has waited until it could define how to deliver a polished radio broadcast that also appeals to the audience visually, with professional studios and eye-popping graphics.  The results are great-looking as they are streamed smoothly in high-definition to any computer or mobile device.”  The video function debuts October 1.

White House Intruder Case, Hillary Clinton 2016 Prospects, Mid-Term Elections/Congressional Majority, NFL Domestic Violence Troubles, U.S. ISIS Policy, Iran Nukes Talks, Ebola Pandemic Threat, and Lois Lerner Politico Story Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/22).  The man with a criminal past who hopped the White House fence and entered the building before being stopped; the prospects for a presidential bid by Hillary Clinton in 2016; the looming mid-term elections and discussion about the potential for majority changes in Congress; the NFL’s domestic violence issues; the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS, Secretary of State John Kerry’s nuclear talks with Iran; the threat of an Ebola virus pandemic; and the Lois Lerner Politico interview addressing the IRS scandal were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

| July 31, 2013

cumulusMore Q2 News from Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey.  Yesterday TALKERS reported Cumulus Media’s second quarter revenue figures and the fact that Lew Dickey largely avoided the Rush LimbaughSean Hannity flap by saying he wouldn’t discuss it because they are still in contract negotiations.  He addressed other topics TALKERS readers may be interested in: those 10 “code red” stations (big news/talkers bringing down the rest of the company); the health of the CBS Sports Radio Network project for which Cumulus is handling affiliate and ad sales; and the state of network talk programming.  First, Dickey told investors the number of “code red” stations is down from 10 to 1 but didn’t specify which station still lags.  Second, hedickeylew states the CBS Sports Radio format is on 300 affiliate stations and is exceeding its revenue plans.  “We’re highly encouraged by our early success and expect CBS Sports Radio to be a material growth driver for our company in 2014 and beyond.”  And third, addressing the state of the Cumulus Media Networks (which includes syndicated talk – Huckabee, Savage, “Red Eye Radio” – as well as a lot of music programming) Dickey reports it’s been a bit “choppy” but he sees it settling down.  “It grew for us in the second quarter and we look for it to be positive in the back half of the year.  It’s a pretty fragmented space that ultimately begs for more consolidations… it did turn in a positive performance for us in second quarter.”  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript.  Members can see the entire conference call here.

abramsonnancyWall Street Journal Radio Network Executive Director Nancy Abramson to Exit Post.  Radio management pro Nancy Abramson tells TALKERS the company is reorganizing its management structure and she is moving on.  She says she’ll remain with the company through mid-September to assist with the transition.  As for the rest of the staff with which the industry is familiar, Abramson says the affiliate team of Susan O’Connell and Susan Moran will continue to service  the affiliates of “The Wall Street Journal Report,” “The Wall Street Journal This Morning,” “The Dow Jones Money Report” and “MarketWatch.com Reports.”  John Wordock and Patrice Sikora will continue to oversee the news product for The Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch.com Radio Networks.  Abramson says she is excited about new opportunities and looking forward to the next adventure.  Abramson has served with WSJRN since 1996.

mccannjakeGreater Media Promotes Jake McCann to Director of Sales for Detroit Stations.  Jake McCann moves from Greater Media’s Philadelphia stations where he was general sales manager at sports talk WPEN “97.5 The Fanatic” and classic rock WMGK.  In Detroit he’ll be in charge of sales for rock WRIF, classic rock WCSX and currently-AC-but-rumored-to-soon-be sports talk WMGC.  The fact that McCann has experience selling sports talk could be part of the reason McCann is making this move if, as expected, WMGC flips to sports in August.  In a statement, Greater Media Detroit market manager Steve Chessare says, “Jake is the right person to lead our three station sales operation in the Motor City.  His passion, dedication and leadership are exactly what we need to take our three outstanding radio properties to the next level.”

wcfn sports logoRadio One Gives Up on FM Sports in Cincinnati.  After seven months, WCFN, Cincinnati “FM 100.3 The Fan” has let go most of its staff, cut ties with CBS Sports Radio Network and flips back to an urban oldies format as “Old School 100.3.”  The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter reports that production manager Rob Williams was the only staffer to survive the change.  Tom GambleRichard SkinnerWill ChambersChad BrendelRick UcchinoRick BroeringJeremy Lance, former Reds pitcher Joe Price, and Steve Harris all exited the station on Tuesday morning.  Richard Skinner, who hosted “Two Angry Guys” along with Tom Gamble, tells Kiesewetter he’s not angry about the change, “Radio is so cyclical, that you know your time is coming (to get fired).  They (Radio One) didn’t seem to have a plan of attack, and they’re pulling the format at a time of the year when all the people are listening for football and baseball.”  Clear Channel operates two sports talk stations in the market – WSAI, a Fox Sports Radio affiliate and WCKY, which uses ESPN Radio programming – both of which air largely national shows.

cookehollandHolland Cooke: Radio from the Newspaper.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke adds to the discussion about newspapers entering into the digital talk radio streaming business that’s been a major part of industry chatter in the wake of the Boston Herald’s announcement about the creation of Boston Herald Radio coming Monday, August 5.  Cooke has experience in this arena and he offers advice to publications considering the move.  Among some dos and don’ts: don’t separate the studio from the newsroom (the sound of busy reporters is crucial!); don’t assume good reporters make good talk hosts; do promote you’re emanating from a storied newsroom; and do make content available for download and later playback.  Read Holland Cooke’s entire piece here.

kroi logo‘News 92 FM’ and ‘Yahoo Sports Radio 1560’ in Houston Agree to Content Sharing Deal.  Radio One’s all-news KROI and Gow Media’s sports talk KGOW in Houston agree to a content sharing deal that will have KROI producing newscasts for KGOW and the latter producing sports updates and actualities for KROI.  Here’s how it will work: kgow logoBeginning in early August, “News 92 FM” reporters will provide hourly, short-form news updates to “Yahoo Sports Radio 1560,” initially for use on nights and weekends, and ramping up to a full broadcast schedule shortly thereafter.  In like manner, “Yahoo Sports Radio 1560” reporters will provide sports updates and actualities twice per hour for integration into the “News 92 FM” broadcast clock between 7:00 pm and midnight daily, and from 6:00 am to noon on weekends.  Radio One RVP Doug Abernethy and Gow Media CEO David Gow began discussing the possibility earlier this year.  Abernethy states, “Research suggests that news and sports stations have shared listener bases. So this makes sense for both stations.  We have the best newsgathering and reporting resources in the city, and ‘Yahoo Sports Radio 1560’ enjoys an equivalent reputation in the world of sports.  We’re leveraging our respective strengths so that the ‘News 92 FM’ listener can get a quick sports update from ‘Yahoo Radio 1560,’ and their listeners can get top-flight news from ‘News 92 FM.’”

zwerlingmichaelZWERLING: The Smartest Programming Move I Ever Made for My Radio Stations.  You might be surprised to learn which syndicated host turned out to be so spectacularly successful for outspoken, independent radio station owner Michael L. Zwerling at his widely admired AM combo of KSCO and KOMY, Santa Cruz, California that he felt compelled to share it with the entire industry.  Then again, you might not.  Find out the answer and more in a new exclusive TALKERS opinion piece posted today (7/31) by clicking here.

sportsusa‘Broadway Joe’ Joins Sports USA for Weekly Podcast.  Sports USA announces NFL great Joe Namath will join the company to produce a weekly podcast for the company during the 2013 football season.  Sports USA president Bob Moore says Namath’s podcast will begin in the middle of August and run through this year’s Super Bowl.  Moore states, “It doesn’t get bigger than Joe Namath!  Joe is extremely passionate about football and his insights are amazing.  This podcast will give him the platform to reach all of his fans across the country and beyond.”  Namath comments, “I’m thrilled to join the Sports USA team with my new weekly podcast.  I look forward to expressing my opinions on both the NFL and college football each week from the beginning of the season all the way through the Super Bowl.”

rollinsvsbubbaWTKS, Orlando’s Russ Rollins to Face Bubba the Love Sponge in Wrestling Match.  Yes, you read that right.  As you see in the poster here, it’ll take place at the Arena Bowl in Orlando on August 17 and feature “The Monsters” vs “Bubba’s Army” as Russ Rollins & The Demon take on Bubba the Love Sponge & Kevin Nash with Marc Mero as a special guest referee.  Rollins tells TALKERS it’s the “Battle of the #1 morning shows!” and pits Clear Channel against Cox Media in front of 15,000 to 16,000 screaming fans!

2016 Presidential Race, Weiner Sexting Scandal, NSA Surveillance Program, ObamaCare Implementation, and Bradley Manning Verdict Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/30).  The possible candidates in the 2016 presidential election; the ongoing backlash from the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal; new developments in the NSA surveillance program case; the costs of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; and the verdict against Bradley Manning in the Wikileaks case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, February 25, 2013

| February 25, 2013

nms2013logoMike Francesa to Address Industry at Talkers New York 2013.  The list of major speakers continues to grow as WFAN, New York afternoon drive sports talk goliath Mike Francesa joins the roster of industry leaders who will be speaking at “TALKERS New York 2013,” the 16th annual installment of talk radio’s longest-running and most important francesamikeannual convention.  Francesa will deliver a solo keynote address titled, “The Sports Talk Radio Phenomenon.”  He will discuss how sports talk fits into the general radio industry, where it is going both locally and nationally and how it operates within the business model of the PPM world.  Francesa, who has been a major host on WFAN since the late 1980s, is also seen across the nation on the YES Network simulcast of his radio show and hosts a syndicated weekend program “The NFL Now” in addition to participating in numerous other sports broadcasting projects.  He is currently ranked number one on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk Radio Hosts holding the position as the Most Important Sports Talk Radio Host in America.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “The addition of Mike Francesa as the sports talk radio keynote speaker at this year’s conference puts it over the moon.  One of the big buzzes of the business is the relentless growth of this exciting branch of the talk radio universe.  Who better than the king of the format to give insights into the genre’s place in the scheme of things?  We are delighted!”  More headliners will be named in the coming days along with the 50-plus speakers that will be participating in the conference.  The event is set for Thursday, June 6, 2013 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side.  Registration for the day including all activities and food service is $199 per person.  An advance sellout is expected due to space limitations.  Registration is limited to members of the working media and can only be taken via telephone.  For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.  Complete agenda details are being posted daily.  Stay tuned.

schnitttoddTodd Schnitt Not Giving Up on Bubba the Love Sponge Lawsuit.  The Tampa Bay Times reports talk show host Todd Schnitt has fired his legal team, hired a new lawyer and is continuing to pursue legal action against former crosstown rival Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem).  The first trial ended in a victory for Bubba as the jury decided not to awardbubba Schnitt and wife Michelle damages for defamation over a series of criticisms and accusations Bubba leveled at Schnitt when he competed with Bubba in morning drive as MJ Kelli.  Now, Schnitt has fired C. Phillip Campbell and Jonathan J. Ellis and has hired Wil Florin to represent him and his wife.  Regular TALKERS readers are aware of the bizarre elements of the previous trial:  Campbell being pulled over for DUI while driving the car of a young paralegal who, unbeknownst to him, worked for Bubba’s lawyer’s firm; the tip-off to police that Campbell was driving the car was made by someone from that same firm; and Bubba’s lawyers had possession of Campbell’s briefcase for 18 hours (though they say they didn’t open it).  That missing briefcase is the basis for the new suit.  How this will end is anybody’s guess, but one thing is for sure: Both Schnitt and Clem are spending a lot of money on legal fees.  Yes, they are getting a lot of publicity for their radio programs but it is very expensive publicity.

ingrahamlauraLaura Ingraham Added to American Forces Network.  Courtside Entertainment Group announces today that the Laura Ingraham show is being added to the American Forces Network with the opportunity to be heard by more than one million U.S. service members and their families.  Ingraham states, “It is fantastic to be back on the air – and it feels even more special knowing that all of our friends listening on Armed Forces Network can hear us around the globe.  The energy and enthusiasm from listeners, affiliates and advertisers since I returned to the airwaves has been overwhelming.  From Tucson to Jacksonville, from Washington, DC to Seattle, Americans are energized and enthusiastic about our daily conversation about our country’s past, present and future.  Politics is important – but so is the culture around us.  As a single parent of young children and a cancer survivor, I have a unique perspective that connects me with listeners of all political stripes.  Our conversation is a fun-filled ride that moves beyond the Beltway to the real-life ups and downs we all face.”

constantinilynneVeteran Media Executive Lynne Constantini Joins Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze.  The former EVP of affiliate sales and marketing at Scripps Networks Interactive and SVP of programming at Time Warner Cable joins TheBlaze as president of business development.  In her new position Lynne Constantini will oversee the growing network’s content distribution efforts, as well as affiliate marketing, advocacy, business affairs and business development initiatives.  She previously negotiated TheBlaze’s successful carriage deal with DISH as an outside consultant.  Constantini says, “As a cable industry executive and consultant, I have been attracted to the rare independent network that has strong, unique content and a passionate engaged audience that drives results for operators and that is what I have found with TheBlaze.  TheBlaze is unlike other start-up networks; it has a built-in loyal audience, a full slate of live, original programming, speaks to an underserved and growing conservative audience and has extensive marketing reach through affiliated media assets including on radio and on the web.  I am excited to work with Glenn, Chris Balfe and the rest of the team on building TheBlaze and continuing the network’s success in improving the businesses of its distribution partners.”

cookehollandListeners Are Busy and Talent Is Spooked.  That’s the assessment of radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke who asks broadcasters the provocative question:  “RU@Speed-of-Life?’  In today’s article, Cooke says radio programmers must get up to speed (literally) with the intense pace of modern life which, when coupled with the PPM, puts tremendous pressure to manage air time in a way that is in keeping with today’s breakneck tempo.  For example he advises hosts not to begin their shows by listing all the things they’ll be doing before the show ends.  He says programming clock designers should go the extra step in designing transitions between programming elements (such as newscaster to talk show host segments) in a completely seamless manner.  Never stop the action through over-explanation.  Don’t miss this timely and informative piece.  Read it here.

baileyralphTalk Host Ralph Bailey Begins KERN, Bakersfield Program Next Monday.  After quitting his talk show at Buckley Broadcasting’s crosstown KNZR on Thursday after an eight-year stint, Ralph Bailey will take over the PM drive program on American General Media’s KERN.  Bailey wrote on his Facebook page, “It is official!!!  I signed a contract today to join American General Media.  I’ll be Scott Cox‘s guest today at three and begin my own 3-6 p.m. drive time show on Monday, March 4.  I could not be happier!  I have security in a business that is not that secure and for the first time in my life I’m making a little scratch!  I’d like to thank Rogers Brandon and Toni Snyder.  It is great to feel wanted and appreciated.”

californian logoKERN, Bakersfield’s Scott Cox to Anchor The Californian-AGM Morning Show Endeavor.  Talk radio personality Scott Cox is moving away from the PM drive slot that Ralph Bailey is taking over in order to host a new morning program that is a joint effort of American General Media and The Bakersfield Californian.  The show – “First Look with Scott Cox” – will emanate from The Californian newsroom in which a radio studio has been built.  While KERN will coxscottprovide the producers and technical expertise, the newspaper’s reporters will be regular guests during talk segments.  Californian CEO Richard Beene says of the initiative, “The Bakersfield Californian has always prided itself about being on the cutting edge of technology (our website bakersfield.com was launched back in 1995) and we are keenly aware that readers and advertisers are finding new ways to obtain content and reach their advertisers.  That’s why change is part of our company culture, and serving our readers and advertisers on multiple platforms is something we talk about every day.”  The program will also be streamed live in high-definition video on the paper’s website.  Beene writes in his editorial in the paper, “’First Look’ will add to The Californian‘s existing video programming, which includes ‘BVarsity Live,’ live local sports and breaking news.  The Californian plans to expand its live video programming later this year.  So yes, newspapers are alive and well, changing and evolving.  Join us in March for ‘First Look.’”

millerchrisNot All That Glitters is Gold.  According to radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, broadcasters should avoid falling under the spell of Facebook “likes” and the impulse to “go viral” — which he describes as “shiny, distracting objects.”  He advises, “The number of Facebook ‘likes’ you have is almost completely without meaning.  In addition, working to have something go viral is probably taking you away from what you should be doing!”  Read Chris Miller’s informative and valuable article here.

benandskinESPN O&O KESN, Dallas Parts Company with Ben & Skin.  Sports talk KESN, Dallas and midday personalities Ben Rogers and Jeff “Skin” Wade were not able to come to terms on a new contract and the duo have left the station.  They wrote on their Facebook page. “We have declined a final offer from ESPN on a new deal.  We’re parting ways with them for now.  Future is unwritten.  Thank you for your support throughout the years.  We are eager to write the next chapter of our adventure.  Stay tuned.”

sweeneyjohnJohn Sweeney Exits WGDJ, Albany.  The former Republican congressman from New York began a one-hour daily talk show at Capital Broadcasting’s “Talk 1300” two weeks ago but has left the station.  The Albany Times-Union reports John Sweeney’s exit comes after it became apparent that the 11:00 am to 12:00 noon time slot was too much for the attorney and political consultant.  Owner and GM Paul Vandenburgh told the paper too many unforeseen scheduling conflicts have made the show untenable.

raytomTECHNICAL WATCH: Radio Moves Beyond ISDN to Deliver Studio Quality Remote Audio.  Welcome to the Age of the IP Codec.  Back in the “good old days,” if you wanted to get audio from point A to point B you had basically two choices: a dedicated land line from good old Ma Bell (a.k.a, the phone company) or you sent a tape.  Then, Ma Bell decided to get rid of dedicated equalized services – at least interstate.  These days, it’s very difficult if not impossible to get a dedicated broadcast service even in the same city.  This prompted devices like the Comrex two-line and three-line frequency extender systems.  These allowed someone to utilize two or three dial-up lines to get audio from one place to another with reasonable audio quality.  The next step was ISDN – a digital dial-up service.  With the development of devices such as the Telos Zephyr, FM quality audio was easily passed, with very little audio delay, between two locations.  This has been the norm now for close to 20 years.  Enter the IP codec – essentially ISDN on steroids.  IP codecs utilize the internet as the transport medium.  Now, for just the cost of the internet service you already have installed, you can literally transport audio all around the world – in many instances with slightly more round-trip delay than with ISDN, but that is easy to work around using mix minus.  Noted radio technical consultant and TALKERS columnist Tom Ray brings us all up to speed on this new era in remote audio delivery in a must-read clear and concise article, here.

tradupguatemalaSalem Radio News Series Spotlights “The Poorest of the Poor.”  SRN vice president/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (pictured here in Guatemala) spent the last week in that Central American country as Salem Radio News prepared a news series titled, “The Poorest of the Poor.”  Speaking about his experience there, Tradup tells TALKERS, “Guatemala is only a few hours by plane from the U.S., but living conditions for youngsters are light years away.  And the statistics take on heartbreaking new meaning when you actually spend time with children there.  We embedded with the American relief agency Food for The Poor to cover both the tragedy and the hope for impoverished children in Guatemala.”  Tradup says Guatemala has the highest malnutrition rate of any country in the Western Hemisphere.  The week-long SRN News special series will profile the challenges facing government and private agencies targeting ways to reverse the grim statistics on malnutrition and infant mortality in Guatemala.

bloomlisaOdds & Sods.  Lisa Bloom – daughter of former radio and television talk show host (and high-profile attorney) Gloria Allred – is joining NBC’s “Today” show as a legal analyst says TVNewser.  Bloom hosted the CourtTV show “Lisa Bloom: Open Court” from 2001 to 2009…..Arbitron’s Carol Hanley is named to the Allliance for Women in Media board of directors.  Hanley serves as SVP, chief sales officer for Arbitron.

kdkaharlemshakeHarlem Shake Takes Over KDKA.  The YouTube phenomenon “Harlem Shake” invades the newsroom at CBS Radio’s KDKA, Pittsburgh.  This still shot is from a video posted on the KDKA-TV website and shows late morning talk host Marty Griffin (in the Santa hat) leading the rest of the crew – including morning hosts Larry Richert and John Shumway and Shelley Duffy, PM drive host Bill Rehkopf, midday host Mike Pintek, sports reporter and weekend host Rob Pratte and creative services director Kelly Pidgeon – in boogeying to the tune.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

| February 15, 2012

Arbitron Reports 2011 Revenue Increase of 6.8%; Expects 5%-7% Growth in 2012.  That’s the news from Arbitron’s release of its financials from 2011.  The company realized a fourth quarter revenue increase of 7.6% over the same quarter the year prior, telling radio operators who subscribe to the PPM what they probably presumed – the high cost of PPM is largely responsible for those numbers.  “The increase was primarily due to increased cost of revenue associated with providing PPM and Diary services, operating costs incurred by Arbitron Mobile, as well as year-over-year increases in performance and share-based compensation,” Arbitron stated in its report.  CEO William T. Kerr says, “For 2012 and beyond, we see our basic strategies as unchanged.  We will pursue opportunities to improve performance and deliver compelling returns by leveraging our existing PPM and diary platforms, by continuing to seek out cost efficiencies and by deploying our financial and other resources to cultivate new markets.  We will pursue these strategies with the goal of building long-term value for our customers, our employees and our shareholders.”  The other aspect of the business the PPM and Diary services are paying for is the development of new products.  The company is developing a digital measurement service that would track usage of services like Pandora and iHeart Radio but there is no timetable on when such a service would be available.  Meanwhile, in Tuesday’s conference call, CFO Sean Creamer admitted the loss of accreditation for the five PPM markets that it announced recently was disappointing but Creamer says the company is determined to work with the Media Rating Council to earn accreditation for as many PPM markets as possible.

KRLD-FM, Dallas Sports Talk Host and Baseball Announcer Josh Lewin Named New Mets Play-By-Play Broadcaster.  The New York Mets and WFAN, New York announced Josh Lewin will take his place in the broadcast booth alongside Howie Rose this season as the play-by-play announcer.  Lewin has been part of Fox Sports baseball coverage since 1996.  He was the Texas Rangers TV play-by-play man from 2002 through 2010 and most recently has been co-hosting the midday sports talk show at CBS Radio’s KRLD-FM – The Fan in Dallas.  Lewin says, “It’s exciting to be part of the Mets broadcast team with Howie Rose, who is one of the best in the business.  It’s a thrill to be able to come back to my roots in New York and call games for the team I rooted for as a kid on the pre-eminent sports talk radio station in the country.”

WDRC, Hartford PM Drive Talk Host Dan Lovallo Exits in Budget Move.  Dan Lovallo has been with the Buckley Broadcasting outlet since 1996 and has been hosting his own PM drive talk show since 2006.  He tells the Hartford Courant he was told by management that it is going in a different direction as part of a budgetary move.  WDRC offers a simple statement to that effect on its Facebook page, noting it wishes Lovallo well.  WDRC is part of Buckley’s four-station “Talk of Connecticut” simulcast that includes WMMW, Meriden; WWCO, Waterbury; and WSNG, Torrington.

A Bowlful of Dollars.  The recent Super Bowl broadcast was again the annual bacchanal of ad spending: $3.5 million for a 30-second spot this year.  But it’s the largest single-event audience in American media although it’s really a showcase – not so much a campaign.  H&H Broadcasting president Al Herskovitz explains that talk radio sales pros should be able to turn this extravaganza on its head and be inspired to illustrate the economy and effectiveness of the reach, frequency and flexibility of a talk radio ad campaign.  Read more here.

WOYK, York Sports Talk Host Adam McAllister Resigns from Afternoon Show.  Telling the York Dispatch that his decision to resign from the four-month-old PM drive sports talk show  stems from his “frustrations” with management, Adam McAllister says he plans to be back on radio somewhere else but he’s not sure where.  McAllister was part of the M&M morning show with Jim Marlin that began in 2010.  Last year the program moved to afternoons but in October, McAllister went solo.  WOYK president Doug George tells the paper, “He sent me a message late last week saying he was resigning and his vision with the radio station didn’t agree with others.  Things like that happen.  I told Adam he’s certainly entitled to his own belief.  I’m not sure there is a whole lot more for me to say.”  WOYK will fill the slot with content from Yahoo! Sports.

Noted Radio Consultant Valerie Geller to Write Weekly Trade Piece.  Leading talk radio consultant Valerie Geller – president of Geller Media International – begins writing the weekly News Talk Edge column for Radio-Info.com this Thursday.  Geller is respected throughout the radio industry for her programming credentials, her consulting work with news, talk and personality radio as well as for her popular broadcasting books, including her latest, Beyond Powerful Radio – A Communicator’s Guide to the Internet Age (Focal Press 2011).  Recently, Geller worked with the Independent Documentary Series advising the producers of the recently aired PBS documentary film, “Daisy Bates – First Lady of Little Rock.”  TALKERS asked Geller about her involvement consulting a documentary film and she replied it’s a natural connection.  “Filmmakers tell stories just as talk show hosts, news writers and good radio personalities do.”

Journal Broadcasting Names Michael Gay VP of Interactive.  Michael Gay most recently served as corporate executive producer for digital media with Hearst Television.  Now he joins Journal Broadcasting as vice president of interactive where he’s charged with designing and implementing the company’s digital initiative across its TV and radio properties.

KDWN, Las Vegas Talk Host Alan Stock’s Local TV Show Adds Evening Broadcast.  Longtime Las Vegas talk show host Alan Stock – now heard from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon on Beasley’s Broadcasting’s news/talk KWDN – announces his local TV show on KTUD-TV is airing at 1:00 pm and 10:00 pm PT.  Stock tells TALKERS the evening broadcast of the program is getting ratings as he’s been interviewing all the movers and shakers – political, social, cultural and entertainment –in the Las Vegas and Nevada community.   The program is taped in the KDWN studios and also serves to cross-promote the radio show.

Obama Budget, Iran Sanctions, GOP Primary Race, U.S. Syria Policy and Whitney Houston Funeral Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/14).  The 2013 budget submitted by President Obama, the threat of new sanctions on Iran, the GOP primary race, the ongoing violence in Syria and questions about the U.S.’s role and the funeral of singer Whitney Houston were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

| February 2, 2012

Overnight: The Underexploited Daypart.  Consultant Walter Sabo suggests more talk radio operators should take advantage of the overnight daypart – the one it wins by default.  Citing a Media Audit report indicating talk radio has the largest overnight audience, Sabo contends that – contrary to conventional wisdom – there is money to be made there and other opportunities on which to capitalize.  Read his exclusive TALKERS article here.

 

Can Radio Afford to be Rated Accurately?  That’s really the question that should be asked as Arbitron loses accreditation for five PPM markets.  The Media Rating Council is informing Arbitron, Inc. that accreditation for the Portable People Meter in five markets – Cleveland; Portland, Oregon; Riverside-San Bernardino; Salt Lake City-Ogden-Provo; and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater – is being withdrawn.  The MRC says its board of directors “reached this decision upon consideration of a recommendation from an MRC audit committee based on its review of the 2011 Arbitron PPM service audit results, which showed certain issues related to internal controls of the service and declines in service performance metrics.”  Arbitron EVP, service innovation and chief research officer Gregg Lindner says, “Consistent with our long-standing priorities, we will work to retain accreditation where we have it, to regain accreditation where it was withdrawn and to achieve accreditation in our remaining PPM markets.  As always, we will continue our work with the MRC in order to address their concerns.”  Arbitron says it intends to have all 48 PPM markets undergo MRC audits this year.  Currently, nine markets remain accredited: Atlanta, Cincinnati, Houston (DMA), Kansas City, Milwaukee-Racine, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and St. Louis.  Although details remain vague, TALKERS suspects the problem faced by Arbitron in getting PPM off and running comes down to sample size – a two-fold challenge at this point.  First: To get enough radio listeners to participate in the program and follow it diligently while busy and distracted; second, to expend the money required to have enough units and participants per market needed to achieve statistical accuracy – an investment that ultimately falls on the back of the financially strapped radio business.

CBS Radio Alters WINS, New York Top-of-the Hour Slogan.  Some observers will call it a win for Merlin Media CEO Randy Michaels who challenged CBS Radio’s use of the “New York’s One and Only News Station” for all-news WINS.  After a back-and-forth of letters from lawyers regarding station slogans and positioning statements in which CBS Radio first asked Merlin to stop using a permutation of its “Give us 22 minutes and we’ll give you the world” slogan, it seems both sides may be moving forward with the business of doing news.  That’s probably best since we’re assuming neither desire to spend more on lawyers than necessary.  TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says each side could have made a case.  Weisman says CBS could reasonably argue that Merlin was infringing upon its trademark and Merlin could make a good argument that CBS’ use of the “one and only” phrase regarding its all-news radio product violated the Lanham Act (false advertising) in light of WEMP-FM’s existence.

Radio Pros Lee Abrams and Steve Saslow Plan Reinvention of TV News.  Radio programming legend Lee Abrams and marketing and network radio pro Steve Saslow are teaming up with attorney Brandon Davis to form THINK TeleVisual Network, Inc.  In a statement, the trio say they will “elevate the television news playbook into the digital age with a radical reinvention of the way news and information is produced and delivered.”  THINK states its programming will be “designed to present one unified televisual news experience across every device category.   It represents a profound rewriting of the news/information blueprint where a completely new style of presentation will merge with the magic of 21st century technology and modern American culture.”  Lee Abrams says, “News and information is what is steering our 21st century America, the equivalent of what rock ‘n roll was forty years ago.  THINK will merge this passion for information, knowledge and insight with the revolution in technology to create an interactive multi-media experience that will redefine how people are informed and enlightened.”  Initially funded by the three principals, the venture is currently going through another round of fundraising in collaboration with the Boston-based investment firm Kaufman & Company.

Clear Channel’s KFBK Celebrates 90 Years of Serving Sacramento.  News/Talk KFBK-AM/FM, Sacramento is celebrating 90 years on the air serving the people of the region.  As part of the commemoration, the station is unveiling an online museum “that will showcase and honor the station’s rich and storied history.  The museum will include audio clips, photos and videos that will transport listeners back in time to relive KFBK’s evolution.”  Other events throughout the day include Premiere Networks superstar  Rush Limbaugh joining KFBK morning news anchors Amy Lewis and Ed Crane live at 8:00 am where Limbaugh will reminisce about his time at KFBK.  At 11:00 am, station staff will open a time capsule left by a past generation of KFBK employees and longtime KFBK talk host Tom Sullivan – now syndicated by Fox News Radio but still heard on the station – joining Kitty O’Neal during the KFBK Afternoon News to commemorate the occasion.  VP/market manager Jeff Holden states, “The celebration today is recognition and confirmation that the commitment of the employees – past, present and future – is exactly what Sacramentans, at each point in time over the past 90 years, have so welcomingly accepted into their lives.  I couldn’t be more proud to be part of such an illustrious and valuable asset to the region and a part of the team that is making history.”

Clear Channel Quad Cities AM Duo Moves to News/Talk WOC; Piped to WMT, Cedar Rapids.  Morning show hosts Mark Manuel and Steve Ketelaar have been hosting the morning drive show on Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s oldies KUUL-FM, East Moline, Illinois for the past four years.  Beginning February 20, the duo moves across the hall to handle the morning show on the cluster’s news/talk WOC, Davenport and will be simulcast at CC’s Cedar Rapids news/talker WMT.  They’ll replace WOC program director Dan Kennedy as morning host.  Kennedy stays in his PD post and will remain on the program as news anchor.  Kirk Marske will produce the WOC morning show.  According to the Quad City Times, WMT will provide its own news anchor during news cutaways. Clear Channel Davenport operations manager Jim O’Hara tells the paper, “A big thing with us over the past year with Clear Channel in general has been making the best use of our strongest people, our strongest programs.  As I’ve thought about that over the last several months, it dawned on me that WOC is one radio station that needs more help, more people.”

Florida Primary Aftermath, Facebook IPO and Earnings Report, U.S. Afghanistan Combat Withdrawl Plan, and Syrian Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/1).  The aftermath of Mitt Romney’s victory in the Florida primary, the announcement of a pending Facebook IPO and its first public earnings report, plans for an end to the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan and ongoing violence in Syria were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.