Tag: "Erica Farber"

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

| July 28, 2020

WIND-AM, Chicago’s Steve Cortes Takes Leave to Work for Trump Campaign. WIND-AM Chicago afternoon drive talk host Steve Cortes is taking leave of his program on the Salem Media Group station to join the Donald Trump re-election campaign as senior advisor of communications. Cortes – who served on the 2016 Trump campaign’s Hispanic Advisory Council in addition to acting as a surrogate for Trump – became the host of the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm program in January of this year. Salem Chicago regional vice president and WIND-AM general manager Jeff Reisman says, “While we wish Steve could stay on the air with us during these next few critical months before the election, we also understand the pull that Steve feels to help President Trump. Steve will have a front row seat to history between now and the election, and we look forward to welcoming him back in November and having him share his firsthand account of how this campaign unfolded with our audience.” In the interim, WIND’s afternoon drive will feature a fill-in host to be announced.

Lotus Broadcasting Announces Re-Brand of KRLV-AM, Las Vegas as ‘Raider Nation Radio 920 AM.’ In partnership with the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders, Lotus Broadcasting reveals that its rock KOMP-FM, Las Vegas “92.3 The Rock Station” will serve as the Raiders’ flagship radio station for play-by-pay and that it is re-launching KRLV-AM as “Raider Nation Radio 920AM.”  Beginning August 3, “Raider Nation Radio 920AM” will feature a lineup that includes: “Pritch & Clay” – Mike Pritchard and Clay Baker – in morning drive; ESPN’s Mike Greenberg Show from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon; JT the Brick from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm; “Silver & Black Today” with host Scott Gulbransen; and “In the Huddle with Vincent Bonsignore” from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Lotus general manager Natalie Marsh says, “We are incredibly excited to partner with the Las Vegas Raiders and broadcast their games to a sports craved Las Vegas fanbase. Launching ‘Raider Nation Radio 920AM’ will give Raiders and NFL fans unparalleled access to the Raiders and the league as a whole.” Lotus says that with Clay Baker joining Mike Pritchard in morning drive, air personality Tyler Bischoff is moving to the company’s sports talk KWWN “ESPN Las Vegas” alongside longtime Review Journal columnist Ed Graney for mornings.

Entercom Names Danny Freisinger Brand Manager for ‘ESPN 1320’ in Sacramento. Sports talk pro Danny Freisinger adds the brand manager role for KIFM-AM, Sacramento “ESPN 1320” to his duties with Entercom. Freisinger serves as assistant brand manager for KGMZ-FM, San Francisco “95.7 The Game” and will continue in that position as well. Entercom Sacramento SVP and market manager Stacey Kauffman says, “For the last four years, Danny has consistently given ‘95.7 The Game’ listeners a reliable home for premier coverage of their favorite teams and we’re excited to expand his role with ‘ESPN 1320. With a fair amount of Bay Area fans rooted in Sacramento, Danny will lead the way in reshaping how we cover sports in Northern California and better serve fans.”

Nielsen Audio Exits Nine Small Markets. Ratings giant Nielsen Audio announces it is exiting the radio ratings business in nine small U.S. markets: Battle Creek, Michigan; Bend, Oregon; Billings, Montana; Grand Junction, Colorado; New Bedford-Fall River, Massachusetts; Texarkana, Texas/Arkansas; Richland-Kennewick-Pasco, Washington; Twin Falls-Sun Valley, Idaho; and Yakima, Washington. The company says in a press statement, “Like most commercial businesses, Nielsen Audio continually reviews the economic viability of doing business in all markets. If the audio marketplace in select markets cannot financially support measurement, we discontinue producing our syndicated market report in those markets. That is just business as usual, the typical expansion and contraction of our rated audio market list, which is the case with these nine markets.”

PPM Analysis: Cume Part 4 – The #1 Club. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian wraps up his analysis of Nielsen Audio’s June 2020 PPM survey and the four-part dive into station cume with a review of the outlets that finished tops in cume in their respective markets. In this report you’ll find charts detailing #1 cume stations by market size, #1 cume stations by format, cume rank versus AQH share rank, and more. See it all here.

TALKERS News Notes. Detroit sports talk host Jamie Samuelsen announces to WXYT-FM, Detroit listeners that he’s been battling colon cancer for the past two years. Mlive.com reports that Samuelsen made the announcement on Monday’s “Jamie & Stoney” program (7/27), telling listeners, “Each morning since my diagnosis, I got up, turned on the radio mic, and got to talk sports. I needed the escape from cancer, just like so many of our listeners who face hardships, grief and illness, too, they turned to us in the morning for some levity in this crazy world. So, I wanted to continue to have fun and not let cancer get in the way of doing what I loved. Connecting with listeners, laughing, teasing Stoney, all of it, it helped me be normal, while continuing to fight this disease.” He added, “It’s a battle. It goes on. I don’t want to make it sound like this is any sort of goodbye, because it’s not.”.…..The Bubba The Love Sponge program adds two new affiliate stations as Birach Broadcasting adds the show to WCXI, Detroit and WWCS, Pittsburgh. The program is based at Genesis Communications’ WWBA-AM, Tampa and is syndicated via United Cities Productions…..Gow Media announces that the new SportsMap Radio Network has officially launched with the talent lineup including: Scott Ferrall, Tony Bruno, Jake Asman, Scott Wetzel, Matt Perrault, Anthony Pepe, Gabe Morency, and Eytan Shander. SportsMap program director and Gow Media COO Craig Larson comments, “We have been overwhelmed by the tremendous response to this exciting endeavor. With a solid infrastructure in place, and led by a dynamic innovator in David Gow, SportsMap Radio is well positioned to be an industry leader for many years to come.”

Skyview Networks’ Virtual Sales Conference Taking Place This Week. The annual sales conference hosted by Skyview Networks is virtual this year and got underway yesterday (7/27). Among the presenters are: Erica Farber, CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau; Stacia Deshishku, vice president and general manager of ABC Audio; and Skyview Networks’ CEO Ken Thiele, president and COO Steve Jones, and executive vice president and general manager, Jeanne-Marie Condo. Skyview announced that it will reveal new network partnerships this week “that will expand its business further through the acquisition of the audiences that advertisers desire and, in doing so, create greater financial benefit for its partner networks.”

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Vaccine Tests Begin, Fall School Opening Debate, BLM Protests/Federal Troop Deployment, GOP Stimulus Bill, Big Tech CEOs Before Congress, MLB’s Season Opens Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/27). The rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the first Phase 3 vaccine trial begins the in U.S.; the ongoing debate over whether to and how to open schools this fall; the Black Lives Matter protests taking place in various cities and controversy over the Trump administration’s use of federal forces; Senate Republicans announce their new stimulus package – the HEALS Act; Wednesday’s testimony by big tech CEOs before the House Judiciary Committee; and Major League Baseball’s season opens were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The Premiere Networks-syndicated alternative morning program “The Woody Show” gets its first Canadian affiliate as My Broadcasting Company’s CJMB-FM, Peterborough, Ontario adds the program for morning drive. Host Woody says, “A big thank you to Rob Mise and Jon Pole at MBC Radio for believing in us even after they spent endless hours listening to our show. We have been workshopping some new jokes for our big Canadian debut on ‘FREQ 90.5,’ and we’re confident that we’ll at least get a smirk from five out of 10 of them. We appreciate the opportunity and look forward to being part of the chaos.”

Thursday, July 9, 2020

| July 9, 2020

Round Two of June PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of data from Nielsen Audio’s June 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s June 2020 survey period covered May 21 – June 17. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from this second round of ratings. The intense spike in ratings for news/talk stations that happened during the April survey has halted and many of those stations are seeing weekly, 6+ AQH shares falling off. In Washington, although Cumulus Media’s WMAL-FM lost 1.1 shares from the May survey to the June survey, it still ranks #1 in the market with an 8.2 share. Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM, Washington dips four-tenths to a 7.6 share but remains ranked #2. In Boston, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO dips one-half share to a 4.3 share and the #7 rank while sister all-news WBZ-AM rises seven-tenths to a 6.6 share and the #3 rank. Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle loses just one-tenth from May to June and remains ranked #1 with a 7.1 share. Entercom all-news WWJ, Detroit drops three-tenths to finish the June survey with a 5.4 share and the #3 rank. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete “Ratings Takeaways” report here.

Chris Fleming Named EVP at El Dorado Broadcasters. Broadcasting executive Chris Fleming joins El Dorado Broadcasters – operator of radio stations in the Victor Valley, California and Yuma, Arizona markets – as executive vice president for the company and general manager for the Victor Valley cluster. El Dorado operates news/talk KIXW, Victor Valley “Talk 960” and news/talk KBLU in Yuma in addition to seven music brands in the two markets. Fleming was most recently EVP for Neuhoff Media and based in Lafayette, Indiana. El Dorado president Jason Wolff says, “Chris Fleming has a long history of building products and growing revenues in markets of all sizes. I’ve watched from a distance as Chris built tremendous value for Brad Moran at Ramar. Now I’m excited to give Chris the reins and see him guide El Dorado into a successful integrated marketing company with strong radio brands at its core.”

Radio Hall of Fame Announces 2020 Nominees. The nominees for induction into the Radio Hall of Fame as members of the class of 2020 have been announced. At the same time, the RHoF says that this year’s induction ceremony will be a live radio broadcast from multiple locations this October. The exact date and additional details will be announced along with the inductees on August 17. Industry voting in four of the six categories begins Monday (7/13) and listener voting in the other two categories begins on July 20. RHoF chair Kraig Kitchin states, “2020 marks 100 years of radio and, while we regret that we cannot hold an in-person event this year, we’re looking forward to the excitement of a live, multi-location radio broadcast. I want to thank Dennis Green, chair of this year’s Nominating Committee, and all the radio professionals who are volunteering their time and expertise to the difficult task of selecting inductees from such an impressive list.” The first four categories below are voted on by the 600-member industry participant panel and the last two are voted on by listeners.

Longstanding Local/Regional (20 years or more)
Mark & Brian – KLOS-FM, Los Angeles
Bobby Rich-KFMB-FM, San Diego & KMXZ-FM, Tucson
Bob Rivers-KJR-FM, Seattle
Donnie Simpson-WMMJ-FM, Washington D.C.

Active Local/Regional (10 years or more)
Angie Martinez-WWPR-FM, New York City
Matt Siegel-WXKS-FM, Boston
Elliot Segal-WWDC-FM, Washington D.C.
Bob Stroud-WDRV-FM, Chicago

Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more)
Sid Mark-host, “Sounds of Sinatra”
Joey Reynolds-host, WOR Radio Network
Cokie Roberts-political reporter, NPR
Suzyn Waldman-New York Yankees Radio Network

Active Network/Syndication (10 years or more)
“The Breakfast Club”-Charlamagne Tha God, Angela Yee, DJ Envy, Premiere Networks
Larry ElderSalem Radio Network
Jaime Jarrin-Los Angeles Dodgers Network
Kim KomandoWestStar Radio Network

Music Format On-Air Personality
Whitney Allen-“The Big Time with Whitney Allen,” Westwood One
Bob & Sheri-“The Bob and Sheri Show,” Westwood One
Sway CallowaySirius XM Shade 45 Channel
John Boy & BillyPremiere Networks

Spoken Word On-Air Personality
Glenn BeckPremiere Networks
John & Ken-KFI-AM, Los Angeles
Stephanie MillerWYD Media
“Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me”-NPR

TALKERS News Notes. Talk media personality Michael Smerconish is the subject of a piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Writer Ellen Gray interviews Smerconish about his talk radio and talk TV career in advance of the one-hour special that will air on CNN this Saturday at 10:00 pm titled, “Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Talking.” The show was supposed to be a 12-city tour featuring a two-hour, live stage event but the coronavirus pandemic nixed the tour. Instead, Smerconish filmed the program at the Bucks County Playhouse with a socially distanced crew. Smerconish’s thoughts on political polarization, talk media and more are part of the show and the interview. He hosts a weekend show on CNN and his daily talk show on SiriusXM…..Former FOX News Channel journalist Shepard Smith joins CNBC to anchor a new, one-hour evening news program titled. “The News with Shepard Smith,” airing nightly at 7:00 pm ET. CNBC says the program will debut in the fall and “will cover the most significant news stories of the day and will feature the well-respected, fact-based storytelling that has been the hallmark of his 30-year career.” Additionally, Smith will assume the new roles of CNBC’s chief general news anchor and chief breaking general news anchor as well as executive editor of “The News with Shepard Smith.” Smith says, “Gathering and reporting the news has been my life’s work. I am honored to continue to pursue the truth, both for CNBC’s loyal viewers and for those who have been following my reporting for decades in good times and in bad.” Smith served with FOX News Channel for 23 years before exiting last fall…..The New York TimesMichael Grynbaum reports that Joy Reid is being promoted to the 7:00 pm ET slot at cable news/talk channel MSNBC, effective July 20. Grynbaum writes that Reid “rose to television fame as a sharp critic of President Trump and commentator on liberal politics and race.”  Her new show, “The ReidOut,” takes the time slot long occupied by “Hardball” host Chris Matthews, who exited MSNBC earlier this year in the aftermath of accusations of “sexist behavior in the workplace.”…..Sports talk host Tony Bruno’s show is soon to be heard in Southern California as XEPRS, San Diego “THE MIGHTIER 1090am” adds the show to its lineup in the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot. “The Tony Bruno Show” – with co-host Harry Mayes – is syndicated via a partnership between SB Nation Radio and JAKIB Media. XEPRS operator Bill Hagen says, “Adding Bruno to the relaunch of this historic radio station was a true no-brainer. Tony helped invent the entire sports radio genre and it is only fitting that an icon like Tony is on an icon like ‘THE MIGHTIER 1090am.’”

RAB’s ‘Open for Business with Purpose’ Presentation Set for July 22. The RAB announces that as part of its Business Unusual initiative, the next presentation in its Open for Business live video series takes place on July 22 at 1:00 pm ET and is titled “Open for Business with Purpose.” RAB says, “This live video presentation features a panel representing an example of a partnership built for the greater good including a nonprofit organization, brand marketers, and broadcasters who lead by example and unite audiences.” Panelists (pictured above, l-r) include: Maureen Carlson, chief program officer, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals; Whitney McChane, vice president, marketing communications, International Dairy Queen; Quinton Martin, chief of staff, office of the president, vice president community marketing, Coca Cola, North AmericaRoxanne Marati, vice president of sales, Entercom Denver; Sean Shannon, vice president and market manager, Cumulus Media Atlanta. The presentation will include a Q&A moderated by RAB president and CEO Erica Farber. Registration is free for RAB members.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Trump Schools Order/Foreign Students Ban, SCOTUS Birth Control Ruling, Presidential Race, Summer Heatwave, and Sports Leagues Opening Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/8). The rising number of COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future cases and deaths; President Trump orders U.S. schools to open in the fall under threat of withholding funds and orders a ban on foreign college students on campus this year; the Supreme Court rules that employers do not have to provide birth control as part of health care plans if they object on religious or moral grounds; the November presidential election; the heatwave affecting much of the U.S.; and the controversy over sports leagues reopening as athletes test positive for COVID-19 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Jennifer Horn is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the hardest working, rising stars in news/talk radio, Jennifer Horn, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Horn is heard on the air every day on several high-profile venues and serves as the general manager of another. She co-hosts “The Morning Answer” with Brian Whitman on two Salem Media Group Southern California “The Answer” stations – KRLA-AM 870, Los Angeles and KTIE-AM 590, San Bernardino (the Inland Empire) where she also hosts the “Jen and Don” show. In addition, she is co-host of the nationally syndicated “DJV Show” with Doug Stephan. On top of that, this dynamo is the VP/GM of ground-breaking network/content producer, CRN Digital Talk Radio, launched in the early 1980s by her father, Mike Horn. In a fast-paced conversation that covers a lot of bases, Harrison taps into Horn’s conservative perspective on many of today’s hottest issues in addition to exploring the details of her colorful history as a second-generation broadcaster. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. South Florida hot AC WMIA flips to an all-90s format as “Totally 93.9 All 90s All the Time.” iHeartMedia Miami SVP of programming Rob Miller says, “‘Totally 93.9’ is South Florida’s first all 90s station. In these anything-but-normal times, we believe our audience is craving a familiar and nostalgic listening experience that brings back fun memories of their high school and college years, and we think ‘Totally 93.9’ is ‘da’ bomb.’”…..Beginning next week, Westwood One Nashville’s “Nights with Elaina” – hosted by Elaina Smith – will showcase a week of special nights with guest hosts  Trisha Yearwood, Danielle Bradbery, Chrissy Metz (from NBC’s “This Is Us”), Brett Eldridge, Justin Moore, and Rascal FlattsJay Demarcus with his wife Allison. Each night, one artist will host from home and share a night of country music fun with fans. Smith says, “There are few things more comforting than hearing familiar voices every day. Which is one of the reasons radio has been so helpful through this pandemic. I am beyond grateful to all the country stars that have stepped in to hang with our listeners while I can’t be there. This time around we’ve got a really fun mix of artists that I know will keep the positive vibe of the show going as we continue to navigate 2020 together.”…..Sun Broadcast Group announces that the MeTV-FM format picks up a new affiliate station as Langford Broadcasting’s WGTO-AM/W256DV begins airing the format. Owner Larry Langford says, “WGTO AM910 and FM97.1 has been a classic hits station for many years, but we found ourselves competing with higher power stations playing the same tight playlist and voice tracked DJ’s. We needed to try something different. MeTV-FM pulls it off in a way that allows you to enjoy the music flow with creative and entertaining drop ins about the times and the music. We are looking forward to a long relationship in the South Bend, Indiana market!”

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

| June 16, 2020

Longtime St. Louis Radio Personality Guy Phillips to Retire from KTRS-AM. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Guy Phillips will retire from news/talk KTRS where he’s been afternoon drive host since February of 2018. Phillips joined KLSQ-FM in 1979. It changed calls to KYKY-FM and he left the Entercom hot AC in 2018 to join KTRS. He tells the paper, “I’d say I thought about (retiring). I’m going to be 68 and I have a granddaughter now, our first. So, it just seemed like the right time.” Phillips was originally co-hosting the show with Julie Buck but she left in early 2019 and Heidi Glaus has been his co-hosted since then.

Florida Air Personalities Test Positive for COVID-19. According to a piece in the Tampa Bay Times, WHPT, Tampa “102.5 FM The Bone” air personalities Mike Calta and Anthony “Spanish” Polichemi, as well as three DJs from Beasley Media Group’s hip hop WLLD “Wild 94.1” have tested positive for COVID-19. Calta and his cast members work for Cox Media Group and are broadcasting from home studios for now. Beasley closed its St. Petersburg offices to all but essential employees after a staffer there tested positive.

KMZQ, Las Vegas Morning Host Heidi Harris Tests Positive for COVID-19. Las Vegas morning drive talk host Heidi Harris told listeners via Facebook that she’s tested positive for COVID-19. Harris writes that she started with a cough last Thursday and, after getting worse that night, called in sick on Friday. She says she got considerably sicker over the weekend with intense body aches but did not suffer breathing troubles or nausea. She intends to do her radio show from home assuming she’s able to handle it.

TALKERS EXCLUSIVE:  A Conversation with Lee Habeeb of “Our American Stories.”  The two-hour, nightly syndicated storytelling radio show, “Our American Stories” produced by American Private Radio, continues to pick up major affiliates and receive stellar reviews. It is now making an impact in Texas having recently added KTRH, Houston and KRLD-AM, Dallas to its growing roster of what now totals more than 225 news/talk stations across the US.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison recently conducted a fascinating conversation with American Private Radio CEO and the host of “Our American Stories,” Lee Habeeb.  They discuss the program’s unique business model and non-partisan, storytelling approach to unifying the American public through positivity and a knowledge of history. To listen to the conversation in its entirety, please click 

      here
.

BLM Protests/Rayshard Brooks Killing, Seattle CHOP, COVID-19 Statistics/Beijing Outbreak, U.S. Re-Opening, SCOTUS Gay-Transgender Ruling, John Bolton Book, and Russia Jails Accused U.S. Spy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/15). Protests in New Mexico, Tennessee, and Oregon and the police killing of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta; the status of the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest in Seattle; the COVID-19 statistics in the U.S. and the current outbreak in Beijing; the re-opening of states across the U.S.; the Supreme Court’s ruling against firing on the grounds of being gay or transgender; former Trump national security adviser John Bolton’s book prepares for release; and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan is sentenced to 16 years hard labor by Russia for espionage were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WIND-AM, Chicago morning news anchor Amy Jacobson’s ban from Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has been rescinded. Jacobson – with the assistance of the Liberty Justice Center – sued Pritzker and his press secretary after they banned her from press briefings because she appeared at a rally to protest the governor’s stay-at-home orders. They argued she lost her journalistic cred for taking “an extreme position” on the issue and speaking out about it. The Illinois attorney general’s office did not explain its decision but simply stated Jacobson is allowed to participate in press briefings “to the same extent that any other media is allowed to participate.”…..At yesterday’s iHeartMedia Annual Meeting of Stockholders, Gary Barber and Brad Gerstner were elected to the company’s board of directors to serve as Class I directors, each for a three-year term ending at the 2023 annual meeting of stockholders. Barber is co-founder of Spyglass Entertainment and previously served as chairman and CEO of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Gerstner is founder and CEO of Altimeter Capital…..Newsday’s Neil Best writes that Entercom New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says he won’t rule out bringing former WFAN sports talk host Craig Carton back to the station after he completes his prison sentence for running a Ponzi scheme to pay off gambling debts. Oliviero says it’s the question he gets asked the most. “I understand why people would ask that, especially based on our long history. But the answer is: Who knows? There are so many variables. That said, if a time in the future came where Craig had gotten his life back on track, fulfilled all that was asked of him and was in a position to resume his career, of course we’d talk and discuss.” Fifty-one-year-old Carton is one year into a three-and-a-half-year sentence in a minimum-security prison.

Cleveland Radio Stations to Present ‘Justice for All.’ Five radio groups operating in Cleveland are cooperating to present a 90-minute program titled, “Justice For All: A Conversation about Race, Equality and Inclusion,” that will air on 21 stations tomorrow (6/17) afternoon at 1:00 pm ET. The program will feature Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson, Police Chief Calvin Williams and other area civic leaders. The show is being anchored by former WOIO-TV news anchor Romona Robinson. Broadcasters Radio One, iHeartMedia, Entercom, Good Karma Brands, and Salem Communications issued the following joint statement: “A discussion as significant as this one requires all of us to come together and listen to each other. Together, our radio stations reach more than 95% of the people in Cleveland – people of all ages, races, and backgrounds. We all recognize this unique inflection point in the history of our city and our country. Now is the time to share in a meaningful dialogue that allows us to hear people on all sides, recognize our similar views and discuss how we can begin to work together toward meaningful progress, including justice and equity for all.”

New Format for 2020 Radio Mercury Awards Announced. The Radio Mercury Awards Advisory Council and the RAB executive committee are announcing “a shift to the 2020 awards competition, a new slate of award categories and a virtual event in lieu of the previously publicized NYC event.” Submissions to the 2020 Radio Mercury Awards are free and open to agencies, advertisers, radio stations/groups, production companies and students. There will be no prize monies or trophies given in 2020. Current Radio Mercury Awards entrants will have their work automatically moved into the 2021 competition. Additionally, 2020 winners will be automatically entered into the 2021 competition. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber says, “The Radio Mercury Awards has a long-lasting heritage and reputation in recognizing outstanding radio creative. The advertising and radio industries have put a lot of heart and soul into serving their consumers during COVID-19, and we are looking forward to honoring the excellence of the creative community.” Honorees will be announced via a livestream event at 7:00 pm ET on October 6, 2020.

MIW Radio Group Announces Mentoring Program’s 2020 Class. The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group introduces the MIW Group Mildred Carter Mentoring Program’s Class of 2020. Each year, four candidates from the radio industry, representing the sales, marketing, programming, and digital disciplines, are selected annually for the mentoring program. The 2020 class is comprised of the following professionals (pictured above from l-r): Nicki DellaPosta, general sales manager, Entercom, Chicago; Jill Masek, director of sales, NRG Media, Lincoln, Nebraska; Dana Schaeffer, producer, ABC News Radio, New York; and Alyson Sprague, senior director of research & analytics, iHeartMedia. Entercom VP national agency partnerships Lindsay Adams, chair of the 2020 MIW Group Mentoring Committee and a 2006 graduate of the program, says, “The quantity and quality of candidates desiring to develop their careers in radio is astounding. Given the challenges we have all faced this year, the program will prove to be even more valuable to our 2020 mentees who highly reflect the excellence we’re seeing in applications. Let the mentoring begin!”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In San Antonio, Alpha Media flips KTFM-HD/W277CX from classic hip hop to rhythmic CHR as “WE 103.3.” Alpha Media executive vice president of content/programming Phil Becker comments, “Hip hop is the most consumed music in the world and one that our company is passionate about and believes in. The addition of ‘WE 103.3’ to our San Antonio cluster gives us the ability to offer our advertisers a new demographic and puts us in a great position to continue to be one of the markets most listened to radio operators.” The brand will be programmed by current CHR KTFM-FM program director Ernie Martinez…..On June 25, iHeartMedia and sponsor P&G are presenting “Can’t Cancel Pride: A COVID-19 Relief Benefit for the LGBTQ+ Community, ” a virtual relief benefit designed to help raise visibility and funds for LGBTQ+ communities most impacted by COVID-19. Artists taking part in the event include: Adam Lambert, Big Freedia, Billy Porter, Katy Perry, Kim Petras, Melissa Etheridge, Sia, Ricky Martin, and more. iHeartMedia says the celebration will culminate in a one-hour special hosted by Elvis Duran and actress and LGBTQ+ advocate Laverne Cox. It will stream on iHeartRadio’s Facebook and Instagram pages, iHeartRadio’s PrideRadio.com and broadcast on iHeartMedia stations nationwide and on the iHeartRadio app June 25 at 9:00 pm local time…..WTHR-TV, Indianapolis reports the death of Radio One regional Mexican “La Grande 105.1” program director Grisel Barajas. The 31-year-old also was a TV personality on Telemundo Indy. She died on Sunday (6/14) after being in a motorcycle accident. Barajas was a passenger on the motorcycle driven by her boyfriend, who survived the crash. Radio One RVP Deon Levingston states, “The sudden passing of Grisel Barajas has deeply shocked and saddened us. As the program director for ‘La Grande 105.1,’ Grisel was a valued colleague and trusted friend. She was taken away from us too soon and will be missed by all of us at Radio One Indianapolis and the entire Urban One family. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Grisel’s family and friends.”

Thursday, April 30, 2020

| April 30, 2020

Michael Harrison Programs Cleared on Podcast Radio, UK.  The recently launched Podcast Radio, UK that is taking Great Britain audio media fans by storm, has cleared the two Michael Harrison audio products – “The Michael Harrison Wrap” syndicated radio show (Talk Media Network) and “The Michael Harrison Interview” podcast (PodcastOne).  Podcast Radio, UK is a combination on-demand podcast website and on-air DAB streaming radio station that plays these podcasts (podcastradio.co.uk).  Harrison states, “It is really exciting to have our programs receive direct exposure in the UK where there is a tremendous interest in American news, views, and popular culture. I’m honored to be a part of Podcast Radio’s lineup of programming and to work with brilliant British broadcasters such as the platform’s founder Gerard Edwards and star show host Graham Mack.”  In welcoming him to the platform, Mack interviewed Harrison yesterday (4/29) in a deep dive conversation about radio, politics, and culture via Zoom For Podcast Radio, UK’s “The Pod 20” show and YouTube.  Watch it here.

Nielsen Holdings Reports Q1 Revenue Flat. The media ratings and consumer behavior/retail measurement giant reports first quarter 2020 revenue of $1.56 billion, roughly flat (-0.3%) compared to the same period in 2019.  Nielsen Holdings also reports that its Nielsen Global Media sector (ratings) was up 1.9% over the same period a year ago. The company is posting a net loss of $18 million for the first quarter compared to Q1 2019’s net income of $43 million.  On February 27, 2020, Nielsen announced its plan to complete the spinoff of Nielsen Global Connect (consumer behavior/retail measurement) by November 2020. The company continues to make operational progress towards separation but now expects the closing to take place in the first quarter of 2021, largely due to temporary shutdowns of government agencies that are necessary to move forward with the separation.

WRNW-FM, Milwaukee Names Former Packer John Kuhn Late Morning Host. Former Green Bay Packers fullback John Kuhn is joining iHeartMedia’s WRNW-FM, Milwaukee “97.3 The Game” as host of the late morning “Nine 2 Noon with Kuhn” show, beginning May 4. Joining him as co-host of the program is former Wisconsin Badgers basketball star Brian Butch. Kuhn says, “I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to join the iHeartMedia team and to continue learning and growing in this industry.  I look forward to bringing the same energy to the studio that I brought on the playing field during my days as a football player.”

WGAN, Portland Weekend Host John McDonald Exits. According to a report in the Portland Press Herald, Saga Communications’ news/talk WGAN-AM, Portland has let weekend morning personality John McDonald go.  McDonald has worked at the station for the past 25 years.  He’d been on hiatus from the station due in part to trepidation about coming into the station during the COVID-19 crisis and tells the paper that he was given no reason for his dismissal.

Entercom’s RADIO.COM Available on Comcast’s Xfinity Platforms. This deal between Entercom and Comcast will make its RADIO.COM platform available to subscribers to Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex.  X1 and Flex customers can enjoy RADIO.COM stations on their televisions by saying “RADIO.COM” into the Xfinity Voice Remote to launch the app. Entercom VP, corporate business development David Rosenbloom says, “During this critical moment when listeners are dependent on reliable and familiar voices to inform and entertain them, we are especially pleased to expand the reach of RADIO.COM even further. Launching on Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Flex allows us to bring RADIO.COM’s premier news, sports and music content to millions of listeners when they need it most.”

2020 ‘Rising Through the Ranks’ Course Canceled. The “Rising Through the Ranks” seminar that is a collaborative effort between the Radio Advertising Bureau, BMI, and the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group is canceled for this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The organizations say that “due to the current travel restrictions and fluid situation of COVID-19, it made sense to look towards 2021 for the professional development course which is designed to foster and educate current and emerging female radio managers within broadcast radio.”  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber adds, “‘Rising Through the Ranks’ is by far one of my favorite initiatives produced by the RAB and I’m disappointed that we have to suspend it due to COVID-19. However, we’ve seen that knowledge sharing through intimate peer-to-peer discussions between both speakers and attendees is immeasurable, that we couldn’t replicate this experience in a virtual setting.”

Parshall Steps Down from NRB Board Chair Position. Broadcaster Janet Parshall is resigning from her position as chairman of the board of the National Religious Broadcasters.  At the same time, her husband Craig Parshall has resigned from his post as general counsel for the organization.  The NRB says, “Both Janet and Craig have a long association with NRB. Janet served the NRB for nearly 20 years as board member, executive committee member, and most recently as chairman. Craig served two terms as NRB’s general counsel, where he effectively championed NRB’s public policy interests in Washington, D.C.”  Parshall was a longtime talk host on the Salem Radio Network.  SRN VP, news & talk programming Tom Tradup comments, “It is the passing of the torch at NRB, with veteran Christian broadcaster – and former Salem Radio Network talk host – Janet Parshall stepping down as board chairman. Janet’s talent – which always made SRN’s call-in lines ring so hard they were practically levitating – will be missed as the NRB moves into the future of Christian broadcasting.”

States Re-Opening Economies, Confirmed COVID-19 Cases/Projections, Remdesivir, Meat Processing Plants, Presidential Race/Biden Assault Accusation, Michael Flynn Case, U.S -China Relations, and Kim Jong Un Status Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/29). Almost half the country’s states begin opening up their economies; the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., the death toll, and projections for future cases; reports that the drug Remdesivir is showing positive results helping people recover from COVID-19; President Trump orders meat processing plants to remain open; the presidential race and the sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden; released FBI documents indicate investigators were trying to get former national security adviser Michael Flynn to lie; the U.S. and China spar over accusations that the other is responsible for the coronavirus pandemic; and speculation about the status of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Glenn Beck Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Nationally syndicated Premiere Networks talk radio star, Glenn Beck is this week’s guest on the award winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” His remarkable career includes groundbreaking stints as a host on both FOX News Channel and CNN’s Headline News, in addition to being a 13-time New York Times best-selling author and media industry entrepreneur.  An independent-minded conservative, Beck’s brand-new book is titled, Arguing with Socialists (Threshold Editions/Simon & Schuster, 2020).  Beck, a marvelous storyteller who brings a unique combination of intelligence, unpredictability and emotion to the microphone, is described by Harrison as “talk media’s leading performance artist.”  Harrison and Beck candidly discuss life during the coronavirus pandemic, the disturbing power wielded by Google and Facebook, and the burning issue of lives versus livelihood, plus more.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Los Angeles, morning drive personality Angie Fitzsimmons is out at Mt. Wilson Broadcasters’ country KKGO “Go Country.”  She’d been co-host with Tim Hurley since he joined the station last June.  During her career, Fitzsimmons has served as a producer for Carson Daly when he hosted the morning show at KAMP-FM, Los Angeles…..The Memphis Flyer reports that Memphis radio pro Drake Hall is no longer with Cumulus Media’s rock WXMX “98.1 The Max” where he’s been serving as morning host.  Hall issued the following statement, “As many of you have noticed, I’m not on the radio at the moment.  I’m very excited about our future plans and we’ll be letting you know what’s next, very soon. You can follow us on the Drake Hall Memphis Facebook page and at drakehallmemphis.com. I owe a debt of gratitude to all the good people I’ve worked with for the past 16 years, especially Wes Yahola and Syd Nabors and my late, great partner of 23 years, Zeke Logan. My main goal for now is not getting up at 3:00 am. Wishing you good health and peace until we meet again.”

Friday, April 24, 2020

| April 24, 2020

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted.  The new episode titled, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place!” looks back at this past week of April 20-24, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSDr. Renee Kohanski, forensic psychiatrist / contributor, “Psychcast-MDedge” podcast;  Glenn Beck, talk show host, Premiere NetworksMichael Riedel, talk show host, WOR, New York; and Bob Flaherty, talk show host, WHMP-AM, Northampton, MA. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver “Freedom 93.7”; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL-AM, Alexandria, LA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format.  For those following how all-news and news/talk stations have fared since the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S., it won’t be a surprise that every all-news station in the U.S. saw its weekly, 6+ AQH share go up from the February survey. Comparing the March 2020 and February 2020 surveys, Entercom’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago and KYW, Philadelphia led the gainers with each rising 1.9 shares.  Taking a look at year-over-year data, 67% of all-news stations were up, 22% were down, and 11% remained steady.  While Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco was the leader here (+3.5 for a 9.9 share and the #1 rank in the market), Sinclair Broadcast Group’s KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle’s 2.3 share increase pushed it from the #15 rank in 2019 to the #3 rank this year.  Despite the ratings jumps, just two all-news outlets ranked #1 in their respective markets in March – WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago and KCBS-AM, San Francisco.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Michael Banks to Lead Connoisseur’s Frederick, Maryland Duo. It’s a return to the general manager position at news/talk WFMD-AM and country WFRE in Frederick, Maryland for Michael Banks.  He led the duo under iHeartMedia’s Aloha Trust that was created to divest of stations it couldn’t own due to ownership cap regulations. Now, Connoisseur Media puts Banks back in the GM chair.  Connoisseur Media CEO Jeff Warshaw states, “Mike has been the general sales manager of our Long Island operation.  He was a crucial part of our success and today we are excited to promote him into this important position.”  Banks comments, “I’m excited to get back to Frederick.  This is a perfect fit for my family and me.  I look forward to working with a world-class staff and once again becoming a leader in the community.”

RAB’s ‘Business Unusual’ Series Continues on April 29. The RAB announces the next element in its “Business Unusual” initiative – a live video series titled, “Open for Business.”  The RAB says it will bring together broadcasters and advertisers “to discuss proven programs they are leveraging on radio’s platforms during COVID-19.  Each live presentation will feature several broadcasters and/or advertisers sharing success stories in their local markets including marketing promotions, community service programs, and ideas they have executed to drive revenue success for their stations and results for local businesses.”  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber will moderate the event.  Wednesday (4/29, 12:00 noon CT) will be the first live presentation featuring: Darrell Calton, chief executive officer, ILIAD Media Management, LLC; Erik Hellum, chief operations officer, local media, Townsquare Media; Beth Neuhoff, president and CEO, Neuhoff Media; Ron Stone, president and CEO, Adams Radio Group.

Former Affiliate Sales Reps Sue Cumulus Media and Westwood One. In a suit filed in federal court in New Jersey, Michael J. Capozzoli and Lee Napier allege that TM Studios parent Westwood One and company executives Kirk Stirland and William G. Clancy unlawfully discriminated against them based on their age.  Capozzoli was an affiliate relations rep for TM Studios and Napier was a regional manager for affiliate sales.  The allegations state that beginning in 2016, Stirland stated to Capozzoli his desire to “reinvent TM Studios to attract a younger demographic by hiring younger employees in the sales division.  Stirland became obsessed with hiring young sales employees who he perceived to be ‘hip’ and compared Defendants’ sales employees with those of a competitor (Reel World) that employed younger individuals.”  The complaint goes on to allege the two were treated differently with respect to their compensation despite meeting or exceeding sales goals.  They were both terminated in November 2018.  They are seeking back pay, compensatory damages and more.

The Economy and Lives vs Livelihood Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 20-24. The precarious state of the U.S. economy and the question of saving lives versus preserving the livelihoods of American workers was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the encroachment on civil liberties tied with the federal government’s relief packages.  Coming in at #3 was the presidential race and politics, followed by the state of the country’s health care system at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s complete chart here.

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reports on the spat between WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa and Twitter user Funhouse that uses the handle @BackAftaThis to critique Francesa.  For years @BackAftaThis has posted audio and video of Francesa, but recently Francesa and Entercom warned @BackAftaThis about its policy regarding use of its content that largely forbids it.  Marchand reports that “Francesa reversed course in a tweet Thursday saying it is now going to be OK.”  However, @BackAftaThis tells Marchand, “I have absolutely no plans to resume posting Mike’s clips.  He let me out of jail and I’m not going back willingly unless I’m compensated handsomely for it.”…..iHeartMedia announces that it will present its first quarter 2020 financial report on May 7.  It will also hold an investors conference call on that day.  iHeartMedia is the first media company heavy with radio assets scheduled to announce financial figures from the quarter that ended with the first few weeks of the coronavirus pandemic.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In San Antonio, Cox Media Group names Joe Pesh the new co-host of the morning show on country KCYY “Y100,” effective May 6.  Pesh will work alongside current AM co-host Beth Chandler.  He was most recently morning personality on Radio One’s CHR WNOW, Indianapolis.  Cox Media Group San Antonio operations manager Jeff Garrison says, “We are very excited to have Joe join the team here in San Antonio!  We can’t wait to see his talent in action – just one minute speaking with Joe, and you know he is committed to his work, passionate about his audiences, and dedicated to doing his very best every day.”…..Alpha Media’s country KUPL, Portland “98.7 The Bull” adds the Premiere Networks-syndicated “Bobby Bones Show” for morning drive.  The program replaces the “Tony, Jake & Jenn” show.  Both Tony Russell and Jake Byron exited the station earlier this month and Jenn Hays moved to host of the midday show.  Bobby Bones says, “I love Portland. I love the people of Portland. Every time I’m in PDX I beg to be put on the air there.  And finally, I get that chance.”…..In West Palm Beach, iHeartMedia unveils a classic hip hop and R&B format on translator W277CX.  The previous country format heard on the signal was fed by WRLX-HD2.  The new station is branded “Throwback 93.3 FM” and features core artists including: Usher, 50 Cent, Kanye West, Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z, Mariah Carey, Eminem, 2Pac and more.  Air personalities include: “The Bushman Show,” Roxy Romeo, Lady Ray, and others…..Educational Media Foundation names Jim Houser to the newly created position of chief content officer.  The Christian music pro will oversee content for the “K-LOVE” and “Air1” radio networks, which currently broadcast on more than 1,000 signals nationwide.  Additionally, Houser will further develop EMF’s streaming strategy, oversee the upcoming podcast platform, all marketing strategy, and the integration of EMF’s digital assets with its programming initiatives…..Local Media San Diego received approval for the new call letters for KFMB-FM.  The adult hits outlet branded “100.7 BIG FM” now carries the calls KFBG-FM.  LMSD acquired the station from Tegna and part of the deal was giving up the KFMB calls that remain associated with Tegna’s KFMB-TV.  LMSD spun KFMB-AM to iHeartMedia in a deal that has not closed yet and that station will also have to change its calls…..Condolences to the family and friends of Southern California disc jockey and voice over pro Jerry Bishop, who passed away on April 21.  Using the stage name Bill Bishop, he worked at KCBQ, San Diego in 1963, moved to Los Angeles in 1965 and worked at such stations as KLAC, KFI, KKDJ, KIIS and KGIL.  He moved into voice-over work and became known for his work on the syndicated “Judge Judy” show.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

| April 15, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, March 16, 2020

| March 16, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, March 5, 2020

| March 5, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

| February 5, 2020

Trump Honors Rush Limbaugh with Presidential Medal of Freedom.  During Tuesday evening’s State of the Union Address, President Trump surprised Premiere Networks nationally syndicated superstar Rush Limbaugh by announcing him as the recipient of the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  This came the day after Limbaugh announced to his radio audience that he’s battling advanced lung cancer and would be missing some time on his radio show for treatment.  First Lady Melania Trump placed the medal around Limbaugh’s neck.  The president said, “Here tonight is a special man, someone beloved by millions of Americans who just received a stage 4 advanced cancer diagnosis.  This is not good news, but what is good news is that he is the greatest fighter and winner that you will ever meet.  Rush Limbaugh, thank you for your decades of tireless devotion to our country.  And, Rush, in recognition of all that you have done for our nation, the millions of people a day that you speak to and that you inspire, and all of the incredible work that you have done for charity, I am proud to announce tonight that you will be receiving our country’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”

Buck Sexton to Host Evening Show on WOR, New York. Nationally syndicated talk host – and former CIA officer and NYPD counter-terrorism expert – Buck Sexton is joining the “710 WOR, The Voice of New York” program schedule as host of a new, local show airing from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm, beginning February 10.  He hosts a daily Premiere Networks program that feeds live from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  Sexton says, “I’m thrilled at this opportunity to speak to my fellow New Yorkers in drive time on the airwaves of the legendary WOR.  I grew up in this city and worked to defend it as part of NYPD Intelligence.  I love this town, it’s my true home – and that’s the passion and experience I’ll bring on air every night to WOR.”  Sexton also appears frequently on FOX News Channel and other outlets as a political commentator and national security analyst.  Pictured above are (from l-r): WOR APD Scott Lakefield, Sexton, and WOR PD Tom Cuddy.

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 Holiday 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the commercial news/talk format.  This survey period, when listening shifts to Christmas music for so many people, is always tough for news/talk and this year was no different.  About 60% of news/talk stations in PPM markets saw their weekly 6+ AQH share go down from the December 2019 survey to the Holiday survey.  However, iHeartMedia’s KTRH, Houston led the 16% pack that went up with a five-tenths increase for a 4.6 share.  Comparing Holiday 2018 to Holiday 2019, 46% of news/talk stations in PPM markets were up, with iHeartMedia’s WREC, Memphis up 1.8 shares for a 4.4 share and both KTRH, Houston and WOAI, San Antonio up 1.7 shares for a 4.6 share and 5.3 share, respectively.  Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta was the lone news/talk station ranking #1 in its market during the Holiday 2019 survey.  See all the data here.

RAB and Borrell: Radio Breaks $1 Billion Digital Ad Threshold. According to the latest research released by the Radio Advertising Bureau and Borrell Associates, the radio industry’s digital ad revenue passed the $1 billion mark in 2019 and now accounts for 10% of total advertising revenue.  The report indicates local radio stations grew revenue by 25% in 2019 and are forecast to see growth of 29% this year and that digital revenue is now growing faster for the radio industry than it is for any other media segment that is also selling digital advertising.  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber says, “As radio continues to gain renewed interest by advertisers and the media buying community, they are recognizing radio’s assets beyond broadcast.  This report underscores the importance of being a well-trained and knowledgeable radio professional and the RAB continues to deliver the digital training and professional development required for radio sellers to best serve their clients.”  The annual report showed that the average station made $299,213 in digital revenue in 2019, and the average market cluster made $1.3 million.  The average revenue for the top five performers ranged from $664,651 for top performing clusters in the smallest of markets to $17.1 million in the largest. The findings are a part of the RAB and Borrell’s 8th annual report, “Digital Sales Skyrocket, Hitting $1 Billion.”  It is being released today to RAB members.  It analyzes online ad revenue from 3,488 radio stations, as well as survey responses from 1,006 local radio buyers and a survey of 208 radio managers.

SiriusXM Pro Forma Q4 Revenue Up 6%. That figure is for SiriusXM Holdings Inc – the company that includes SiriusXM Satellite Radio and Pandora Media.  The company also provides figures from the fourth quarter of 2019 and 2019 full-year data in its filing.  Fourth quarter revenue was $2.1 billion – up 38% from Q4 2018.  2019 full-year revenue was $7.8 billion, an increase of 35% over 2018.  Revenue was boosted by the acquisition of Pandora Media on February 1, 2019.  The Company’s net income declined 3% to $243 million in the fourth quarter, while full-year net income totaled $914 million, down from $1.2 billion in 2018 due to higher acquisition, refinancing, and depreciation and amortization expenses in 2019.  On a pro forma basis, fourth quarter revenue grew 6% from $1.9 billion and full-year revenue climbed 8% from $7.3 billion in the prior year periods.  Pro forma figures assume the Pandora acquisition closed on January 1, 2018.  SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer states, “I am so proud of SiriusXM’s milestone performance last year.  Not only did we achieve our 10th consecutive year of one million-plus self-pay net additions, but we successfully completed the acquisition of Pandora Media and drove each business to record-high financial performance.  Looking forward to 2020, we’re excited about a new decade of opportunity before us and confident in reiterating our guidance for the year.”

TALKERS News Notes.  Correspondent and teen influencer for Radio Disney Sammy Jaye – is the star of the new iHeartMedia podcast titled, “Let’s Be Real with Sammy Jaye.”  iHeartMedia says the podcast addresses “a range of topics from mental health, political activism and the pressures of social media to lighter topics like friendships, dating and pop culture.”  It’ll feature interviews with celebs including Meghan Trainor, Kesha, FINNEAS, Julia Michaels, Liza Koshy, activist Nadya Okamoto, and many more…..Cadence13 unveils a new podcast available on the RADIO.COM platform starring Dell and Sonya Curry, parents of NBA star Steph Curry.  The show is titled, “Raising Fame: Sports Edition,” and features “the raw and unfiltered stories, unique perspectives, and personal memories from those who raised icons” in the sports sphere…..The Piscataquis Observer reports that Dale Duff exits Townsquare Media’s sports talk WEBQ-FM, Bangor, Maine “The Ticket” where he was brand manager to return to his hometown of Houlton, Maine and Northern Maine Media’s WHOU-FM.  Duff will work on the company’s WHOU.live video streaming service headlining its sports coverage…..Earlier today (2/5), listeners tuning in to Westwood One’s “First Light” morning program heard program host Michael Toscano (pictured below) interview astronaut Christina Koch from the International Space Station.  The interview was recorded yesterday (2/4) while Koch was in orbit, just 48 hours before she returns to earth after 328 days in space.  Koch talked about her 139 million miles of orbit, her six spacewalks that took her outside the orbiting laboratory for more than 42 hours, and the experiments she was involved with.

Impeachment Trial, Iowa Caucus Snafu, State of the Union, Coronavirus, Financial Markets Activity, and Oscars Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/4). The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump; the technical problems dogging the Iowa Democratic Caucuses; Tuesday evening’s State of the Union Address by President Trump; concerns about a global pandemic of the coronavirus; the financial markets activity in response to the coronavirus; and this Sunday evening’s Academy Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Twin Cities radio star Tom Barnard signs a multi-year contract extension with Cumulus Media to continue hosting mornings on KQRS, Minneapolis where he’s been a fixture since 1986.  In 2017, Barnard was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame and in 2018 entered the Pavek Museum, honoring Minnesota broadcasters.  Barnard says, “I’m so grateful to the listeners and advertisers for supporting the ‘KQ Morning Show’ for the past 34 years.  Thanks to them, all my years as a morning host will be spent at the legendary KQRS. Thanks to Shelly for the support system she provides me.  I’m so honored to continue to do what I love in my hometown.  I can’t ask for anything more.”…..Entercom announces the addition of AJ Gibson to the morning show for CHANNEL Q on RADIO.COM’s LGBTQ+ Talk Radio Network.  Gibson will join co-host Mikalah Gordon on “The Morning Beat” airing weekdays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm ET, effective immediately.  Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “AJ is a talented on-air personality with a great work ethic and commitment to excellence.  We’re excited to welcome him to ‘The Morning Beat’ alongside Mikalah.  AJ is a fixture on Hollywood red carpets and top-selling author who inspires audiences with his story and perspective on a myriad of topics.  We’re looking forward to waking up with him on CHANNEL Q.”…..Portland, Maine salsa maker Kelly Towle is joining morning host Blake Hayes on Saga Communications’ hot AC WMGX, Portland “Coast 93.1” after winning the auditions to take over for co-host Eva Matteson, who is leaving morning radio after 15 years on the WMGX AM show.  Towle works marketing and selling for her Plucked Fresh Foods company and sings in a local funk band…..WHTS-FM, Grand Rapids “105.3 HOT FM” morning program “The Gray and Green Show” – starring Rachael Gray and Jackie Green – is honored by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters with two MAB Broadcast Excellence Awards in the Commercial & Network Radio category: Best Morning Show Broadcast Personality or Team and Best Feature/Use of Medium.  MAB’s Broadcast Excellence Awards will be presented on March 4, 2020, at the conclusion of the Great Lakes Media Show at the Lansing Center in Lansing.

Monday, July 1, 2019

| July 1, 2019

Emmis and Standard General Form New Company to Buy New York’s WBLS-FM and WQHT-FM. This new company will be called Mediaco Holding and it will buy urban radio stations WBLS-FM and WQHT-FM “Hot 97” for $91.5 million in cash, a $5 million note receivable, and 23.72% of the common equity of Mediaco.  Emmis will distribute this common equity of Mediaco pro rata to its shareholders in a taxable dividend.  Mediaco will be a public company expected to be listed on NASDAQ, and Emmis will remain a separate public company, as well.  Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan will serve as CEO of Mediaco and Emmis will remain active in the management of WBLS and WQHT and provide certain corporate services to Mediaco pursuant to a management agreement between the parties.  Investment firm Standard General will appoint a majority of the board of directors of Mediaco and Soohyung Kim, CEO, managing partner and chief investment officer of Standard General L.P., will be chairman of Mediaco.  After this deal gets regulatory approval, Emmis Communications will still operate New York’s WLIB and WEPN (through an LMA with ESPN Radio), four radio stations in Indianapolis, Indianapolis Monthly, and Digonex, a dynamic pricing company.  Emmis recently announced it is selling its 50.1% ownership stake in eight Austin, Texas stations to Sinclair Telecable for $39.3 million.   Smulyan says of this latest deal, “This is a landmark day in the 40-year history of Emmis. We look forward to continuing to manage two of the world’s most iconic radio brands in ‘HOT 97’ and WBLS and employ our award-winning New York team as we partner with Soo Kim and Standard General to form a new public company to invest in media opportunities.  The transaction provides Emmis significant capital to aggressively pursue new business opportunities that align with our entrepreneurial spirit and management skills.  We are also excited to work with Soo and Standard General to grow Mediaco Holding.  We have already been evaluating great investment opportunities and I’m incredibly excited about the future. Today is a great day for the future of Emmis.” Emmis says that no personnel changes are planned, and all New York employees will continue to be Emmis employees with Emmis benefits as part of an Employee Leasing Agreement with Mediaco.

Kietzman Exits WHB-AM, Kansas City in Aftermath of Andy Reid Comments. Kansas City sports talk personality Kevin Kietzman has exited Union Broadcasting’s sports talk WHB-AM “Sports Radio 810” where he’s been hosting “Between the Lines” for the past 22 years.  Last week, Kietzman was suspended from the station after he referenced Chiefs coach Andy Reid’s two sons Britt and Garrett – both of whom battled drug issues and Garrett died of an overdose in 2012 – during a monologue about Reid’s ability to fix players with personal problems.  In an apology issued last week, Kietzman said his intent was not to blame Andy Reid for Garrett’s death, but he understood how his comments could have been interpreted as such.  Union Broadcasting president Chad Boeger issued a statement saying Kietzman’s departure was mutual, but it’s likely Kietzman would have preferred to return to his job. Kietzman was allowed to issue a final statement: “It’s been my honor and privilege to host ‘Between the Lines’ for the past 22 years and I’m proud of being a founding partner of this great local company that is so committed to our community.”

Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Begin Posting Today with Erica Farber and Cousin Brucie Receiving AwardsTALKERS has begun posting key speeches, presentations and sessions from the recent 22nd annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention today (7/1).  The first two videos being posted today are RAB president/CEO Erica Farber receiving the Woman of the Year award and SiriusXM Satellite Radio star “Cousin” Bruce Morrow receiving the Lifetime Achievement award.  The convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story – took place in New York City on Friday, June 7 and was one of the most positively received in the event’s colorful history.  TALKERS plans to add one or two videos per day to those posted until all the major events of the conference are posted here at Talkers.com.  To see the videos and convention video page, please click here.

Nielsen Releases Total Audience Report for Q1 2019. The latest Total Audience Report from Nielsen has been published and although the time spent with radio relative to other media options shrank from Q1 2018 to Q1 2019, in the audio universe it is still the most popular platform with 92% of the 18+ U.S. population.  Looking at the daily hours and minutes spent with each platform, among adults 35-49 radio listening dipped from 1:50 minutes per day to 1:45 minutes.  In the Millennial group – adults 18-39 – listening time went from 1:25 in Q1 of 2018 to 1:20 in Q1 of 2019.  Which platform is seeing the largest growth? It’s the use of an app or the web on a smart phone.  That category is up across the board, even with upper demos.  In the adults 50-64 demographic, for example, use of an app or the web on a smartphone rose from 2:24 minutes per day to 2:47 minutes from Q1 of 2018 to Q1 of 2019.  See more about the report here.

Monday Memo: Copy Worth Copying. Too much commercial and promo copy is…typical.  In-one-ear-out-the-other.  In this week’s Monday Memo column, consultant Holland Cooke offers examples of effective messages, most of which include “The Two Magic Words.”  Read his column here.

Chris Williams Signs Four-Year Extension to Remain with iHeartRadio. Digital executive Chris Williams will continue as chief product officer for iHeartRadio as he signs a four-year contract extension.  In this role he oversees digital programming initiatives, product marketing, UXD, and product strategies.  He joined the company in 2013 and rose to his current post in 2014. The company says that during his tenure as CPO, he has “expanded the iHeartRadio footprint to over 280 platforms and 2,000 devices and more than tripled its audience to where it currently stands with a registered user base of 130MM.  He also led the product initiative to launch two on-demand services, iHeartRadio Plus and iHeartRadio All Access.”

TALKERS News Notes. Newsday’s Neil Best writes that Entercom New York regional president Susan Larkin “would love” for WFAN afternoon drive personality Mike Francesa to continue hosting his radio show “forever.”  Best’s column speculates about Francesa’s future with the station, addressing both Francesa’s own musings about the challenges of hosting his radio show and doing his digital content for his app as well as the fact that the company is paying eight personalities to host four shows.  Larkin tells Best the company is pleased with the ratings and revenue from Francesa’s show.  Read it here…..WREX-TV, Rockford, Illinois reports that Midwest Family Broadcasting’s sports talk WNTA-AM is canceling its live and local sports talk shows and replacing them with syndicated fare.  Gone from the station are “Randy & Co.,” a two-hour morning show hosted by Randy Ruef and featuring a rotating cast of co-hosts as well as producer Jordan Goethe, and “Full Court Press,” the 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm show co-hosted by Jake Logli and Jackson Schwartz…..Pictured at left is Westwood One talk host Jim Bohannon as Santa Claus bringing Christmas in June to kids at the Collins Children’s Home of Seneca, South Carolina.

G20 Summit/Trump Meets with Kim Jon Un and Xi Jinping, Hong Kong-China Tensions, Immigration Reform, 2020 Presidential Race, Iran Nuclear Ambitions, and Stonewall Anniversary Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan and President Trump’s meetings with China’s Xi Jinping and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un; the protests in Hong Kong against Chinese rule; the Trump Administration’s immigration reform policies; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020; Iran’s production of weapons grade uranium; and the anniversary of New York’s Stonewall Riots 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. Hartford hot AC WTIC-FM names Ryan “Salt” MacMillan the new morning drive host, taking over for Gary Craig, who recently announced his retirement.  Salt began hosting the Entercom station’s morning program with incumbent morning personality Christine Lee today (7/1).  Salt comes to Hartford from the company’s Boston hot AC WWBX-FM “Mix 104.1” where he was part of the “Karson & Kennedy” morning program. He says, “Boston has given me so much over the past seven years both on and off the air and I will forever be thankful, but it’s time for a new adventure in Hartford.  Gary Craig is a Hartford radio legend and with his long-time partner, Christine Lee, I am honored to try and continue his legacy.”…..Award-winning CMT host and radio personality Cody Alan just celebrated his 2,000th episode as host of “CMT After MidNite.”  Alan was surprised with in-studio appearances by Garth Brooks and Keith Urban, as well as a phone call from Thomas Rhett.  In addition to this major milestone for “CMT After MidNite,” Alan is also celebrating the 100th episode of his “Cody Cast” podcast and the 10th anniversary of the Premiere Networks-syndicated program “CMT Radio Live with Cody Alan.”…..Programmer Kat San Andres adds music director duties for Local Media San Diego’s rhythmic AC XHRM “Magic 92.5” to her responsibilities that also include serving as music director and APD for sister CHR XHTZ “Z90.”  She joined “Z90” in 2004 as a morning program intern and has worked her way up through the programming department…..Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation announces its new venture in which Radio Disney has agreed to license Radio Disney video content to SBC. SBC will “telestream” the Radio Disney video content: the audio will be broadcast on SBC’s radio station WIGO-AM, Atlanta and simultaneously the video will be streamed at wigoam.com. Sheridan has a patent which covers telestreaming.  SBC says it will launch a one-hour daily program featuring Radio Disney video content in the near future that will tentatively be called “The Radio Disney Hour.”  SBC COO Ron Davenport, Jr. says, “We are honored and extremely flattered to be the first radio broadcaster licensed by Disney to use Radio Disney video content. The Radio Disney team has been incredible to work with, and we are very excited about the possibilities going forward.”…..Sun Broadcast Group and “The Michael Baisden Show” announce a renewal of the show’s distribution deal through December 31, 2020.  Baisden says, “Now that the show is hitting on all cylinders it’s time to do what I do best…engage with people.  I began my career hosting relationship seminars and producing upscale events, it’s time to get back out there and connect with my listeners face-to-face and have some fun!”…..SiriusXM is launching a limited-run music channel called “Madonna’s Madame X Radio” that will be available during the month of July.

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