Tag: "Fox News Radio"

Friday, June 10, 2020

| July 10, 2020

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM in Washington, DC.  This new episode titled, “Statues, Statutes, Face Masks and Facebook!” looks back at this past week of July 6 – July 10, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Jim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood OneJennifer Horn, talk show host, Salem Media Group / VP, CRN Digital TalkJamie Metzl, consultant, World Health Organization; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

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

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

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

Round Three of June PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s June 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen’s June 2020 survey period covered May 21 – June 17. You can see all the 6+ ratings info from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from this batch of markets. In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM inches up four-tenths to finish ranked #3 with a 6.4 share. Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte sheds three-tenths to finish with a 6.0 share and the #4 rank. iHeartMedia’s WOAI, San Antonio loses six-tenths to wrap June with a 6.5 share and the #2 rank in the market. Although dropping a half share for an 8.9 share finish, iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento remains ranked #1 in the market. As the result of Bonneville news/talk KSL-AM/FM’s half-share dip to a 5.5 share and #6 rank, there’s a close race between it and iHeartMedia’s KNRS-FM (5.3 share, #7 rank). See Mike Kinosian’s complete “Ratings Takeaways” here.

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

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

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

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

NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at ‘Expert Guests.’ Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a regular basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV, and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that includes experts on the Chinese Communist Party, police abuse, race relations, psychology, doing business during the COVID-19 pandemic and much more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

| June 3, 2020

iHeartMedia Fires ‘Kimberly & Beck’ from WAIO, Rochester. The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle has the story today after iHeartMedia took immediate action against classic rock WAIO, Rochester “Radio 95.1” afternoon duo “Kimberly & Beck” – Kimberly Ray and Barry Beck – for racist language used on the show during a discussion of the looting taking place in Rochester. The paper quotes iHeartMedia president Upstate New York Robert J. Morgan issued the following statement, “We made the decision to terminate Kimberly and Beck yesterday as soon as we learned of their comments and informed them early this morning. We will not tolerate this kind of behavior, which is antithetical to our core values and beliefs and to our commitment to our community and everyone in it.” At issue was the duo’s discussion about the viral video of local shop owners being beaten by looters in which they did not use the “N-word” but referred to it in comments such as when Kimberly Ray said, “Okay, let me ask you a question. Were they acting N-word-ish?” And, were they acting “N-word-ly.” The incident quickly blew up on social media and the duo were dismissed this morning (6/3).

Grant Napear and Bonneville’s KHTK, Sacramento Part Ways. In a public statement, Bonneville International announces its sports talk outlet KHTK, Sacramento and longtime Sacramento Kings play-by-play voice Grant Napear have severed their ties. In addition to no longer handling Kings broadcasts, Napear loses his afternoon drive program on KHTK. This comes after Napear, in a Twitter back-and-forth with former Kings player DeMarcus Cousins stated, “all lives matter.” Napear apologized but less than 24 hours later, his status with the radio station changed. Bonneville says, “We were saddened by the comments Grant Napear recently made on Twitter. While we appreciate Grant’s positive contributions to KHTK over the years, his recent comments about the Black Lives Matter movement do not reflect the views or values of Bonneville International Corporation. The timing of Grant’s tweet was particularly insensitive. After reviewing the matter carefully, we have made the difficult decision to part ways with Grant.”

Rudy Giuliani to Host Sunday Morning Show on WABC, New York. Beginning this Sunday (6/7), former New York City Mayor and current personal attorney to President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, will host a one-hour show on Red Apple Media’s WABC “TALKRADIO 77” titled, “Uncovering the Truth with Rudy Giuliani.” The show airs at 10:00 am immediately following “The Cats Roundtable” hosted by Red Apple CEO John Catsimatidis.  WABC says, “‘Uncovering the Truth with Rudy Giuliani’ will take a unique approach to talk radio. Each week, Giuliani will discuss a hot topic with a guest expert and explore all sides of the story as they strive to get to the truth. Giuliani will then take calls from listeners who will act as jurors by sharing their perspective. The show will conclude with a wrap-up and closing argument from Giuliani.” John Catsimatidis adds, “New Yorkers want to hear the truth, and that’s exactly what we’re going to give them on 77 WABC. As U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Rudy prosecuted numerous high-profile cases, and his leadership as Mayor of New York, especially post 9/11, has been unparalleled. I am delighted that he is joining our on-air team.”

PPM Analysis: A Sweep Unlike Any Other. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an “extra” look at the performances of radio stations during Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 PPM survey. He notes that when looking at news/talk radio stations there were nearly four times as many weekly, 6+ AQH share jumps of one full share or more from the previous month than there were in the April 2019 PPM survey. However, that doesn’t mean all-news news, news/talk, or public radio news/talk stations were shoe-ins for the #1 rank in their markets. What appears unprecedented is that 29% of news/talk outlets achieved a rating boost of a full share or more during the April sweep. Interestingly, the format that had the second-best increase was classic rock, with 15% of those stations going up by a full share or more. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

NAB and RAB Cancel 2020 Radio Show. A joint announcement from Radio Advertising Bureau president and CEO Erica Farber and National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon H. Smith reveals the organizations have decided to cancel the Radio Show planned for Nashville this September. Their statement says, in part, “As the radio industry and our entire nation face an unprecedented crisis, the Radio Advertising Bureau and the National Association of Broadcasters commend radio broadcasters for your dedication to serving local communities and advertisers while enduring considerable hardship. Just as you put your listeners’ interests first, your wellbeing is our top priority. With that in mind and considering the circumstances of the ongoing pandemic, we have decided not to move forward with the 2020 Radio Show in Nashville as previously scheduled for September 13-16. Instead, we will produce a digital event incorporating the best of what the Radio Show has to offer… Despite our disappointment at not being able to gather in person this year, we are excited to announce the future locations and dates for the Radio Show, which in 2021 will be held September 21-24 in New Orleans. In 2022, we will return to Nashville October 5-7.”

TALKERS News Notes. WABC, New York midday personality and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa may have suffered a broken jaw last night in a melee with looters in the East Village, according to a piece in the New York Daily News. Sliwa tells the paper he figured the Foot Locker store would be a target. “This was the jewel in the crown. They were looking for the sneakers, limited edition. This neighborhood has everything they want as looters.” He said, “We ran inside and started throwing guys out the door. There was loot on the floor.” He added that “the looters carried aluminum baseball bats, lock cutters, and backpacks with tools to pry off plywood.”…..Brian Kilmeade hosted President Trump on his FOX News Radio nationally syndicated talk show today (6/3). The president and Kilmeade discussed New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision not to call in the National Guard to deal with looters and the president’s experience during Sunday evening’s chaos in Washington, DC in which he said he did not spend any time in the White House bunker that night but inspected it earlier in the day. He also responded to criticism of his visit to St. John’s Episcopal Church saying many religious leaders “loved” his visit but that the “fake news makes everything bad.” Also discussed was the record of his putative Democratic opponent Joe Biden and Trump promised a robust economy by the time of the election in November.

George Floyd Protests, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Trump vs Social Media, and the Presidential Race/GOP Convention Dominate News/Talk Radio Conversation Yesterday (6/3). The continuing protests over the death of George Floyd in cities across America and the destruction from the violence and looting in many places; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections as the country re-opens its economy; President Trump’s war against Twitter and Facebook; and the November presidential election, tied with the Republican National Committee’s moving its convention out of North Carolina were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A signal swap takes place at iHeartMedia’s West Palm Beach cluster as talk WZZR-FM “Real Radio 92.1” moves to the class C3 FM signal 92.1 and Spanish Hits WRLX-FM “Mia” takes over the class C2 FM signal at 94.3. iHeartMedia West Palm Beach market president Mark McCauley comments, “While both frequencies do a great job of reaching Palm Beach County, 94.3 has better penetration in some of our most southwestern communities and will help serve the growing Hispanic communities there as the new ‘Mia 94.3.’ Naturally, both ‘Mia 94.3’ and ‘Real Radio 92.1’ can be heard anywhere via iHeartRadio, including simply asking your smart speaker to play those stations on iHeartRadio.”…..A new Gospel outlet is launching in Philadelphia from JAMJACKJR ENTERPRISES, LLC on WJBR-HD3/W264BH at 100.7 FM. The station is branded “Favor 100.7.” The station is the brainchild of JAMJACKJR ENTERPRISES, LLC. president and CEO Jonathan A. Mason, Sr. and will feature inspirational music and gospel hits highlighting artists such as Marvin Sapp, Kirk Franklin, Kanye West, Fred Hammond, Travis Greene, Kierra Sheard, and Anthony Brown.

Friday, May 15, 2020

| May 15, 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, “Skating Away on the Thin Ice of a New Day!” looks back at this past week of May 11-15, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Brian Kilmeade, talk show host, FOX News Channel / FOX News RadioIan Anderson, musician, Jethro Tull, UK; Ken Matthews, talk show host, WHP, Harrisburg, PA; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; 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, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN, the Virginia Talk Radio Network, Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA, Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  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.

Round Four of April 2020 PPM Data Released. Ratings information from the fourth and final round of Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s April 2020 survey period covered March 26 – April 22. You can see all the weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers from subscribing stations here. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets and some movement of note among spoken-word stations includes: Waterloo Media Group’s news/talk KLBJ-AM, Austin adds 1.4 shares in April to finish with a 6.4 share good for the #3 rank in the market; Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis continues its upward trend with the addition of 1.5 shares to move into the #1 position with a 10.3 share; iHeartMedia’s news/talk WISN-AM, Milwaukee takes the #1 rank after adding a whopping 3.5 shares to leap from fourth to first with a 9.3 share while Good Karma Brands’ crosstown WTMJ adds six-tenths to finish at #3 on the strength of a 6.3 share; Cumulus Media’s Providence news/talker WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM shoots up 2.3 shares to a 6.1 share good for the #5 rank; and Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville tacks 1.6 shares on in April to remain at #1 with a 13.4 share. You can check out all of Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways here.

Michael Medved Show and CRN Partner to Expand Distribution. A partnership between CRN Digital Talk Radio and Medved Communications includes the launch of “The Michael Medved Show” on CRN 1 from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.  As part of the deal, CRN will distribute and provide marketing, ad sales, production, social media, and promotional support for Medved Communications. CRN Digital Talk Radio president and CEO Michael Horn says, “I am thrilled to help expand the Michael Medved show. Michael is one of radio’s best storytellers. He provides knowledge, a unique perspective, and truly entertains his listeners every single day.” CRN will distribute “The Michael Medved Show” and the “Medved Entertainment Minute” with Genesis Communications Network on their XDS Satellite.

Josh Innes to Join ‘ESPN 97.5’ Houston. The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron reports that sports talk personality Josh Innes is joining Gow Media’s KGOW-FM “ESPN 97.5” to host the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm show, effective Monday (5/18). He’ll replace ESPN Radio’s Will Cain on the station’s program schedule. Innes has been hosting a podcast since he exited iHeartMedia’s crosstown sports talker KBME in March of 2019.

Adams Radio Group Transitioning Back to Offices. In all of the market in which Adams Radio Group operates, staffers are beginning to return to their offices and studios. Company CEO Ron Stone says employees have been working from home for the past nine weeks. He says, “Adams markets have begun the transition of returning to normal operations at our offices and studios. Each market is staging the return of employees in phases, beginning with on-air staff. We will have 100% of our employees back on all sites by July 15, which allows time needed for some employees that have requested additional time to transition. Our employees have done an incredible job keeping our stations live and local during this health scare. Listening to our stations, one would never have known our people were not in our studios. I can never say enough about our news staff and the incredible job they have done keeping our communities up to date with local information. We have amazing teams and I am extremely proud of every person on our staff. What radio has done all over the country over the past nine weeks certainly proves the value of live and local radio and why it is so important to every community.”

Health & Medicine Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 11-15. The medical aspects of COVID-19, including the drive to develop a vaccine, the push for more testing, and the treatment for infected patients combined for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the statistics on confirmed COVID-19 cases, the death toll, and projections for future cases. Coming in at #3 was the economic repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, followed by the debate over ‘lives vs livelihood’ and concern about the erosion of civil liberties 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 and you can see this week’s complete chart here.

NRG Media Omaha Offices Re-Opening with the Help of Plexiglass and Shower Curtains. Pictured above is Studio 1 at NRG Media Omaha as the company prepares to bring staffers back into the facility. As with many radio stations across the country, on-air personalities have been working remotely or in separate studios. The company says no studio was occupied with more than one on-air personality at any given time in an effort to keep everyone safe.  Now that some of the restrictions are being lifted, NRG Omaha is starting to bring back all on-air personalities and staffers. As you can see in the photo, they are using plexiglass and shower curtains to mitigate movement of airborne particles. General manager Mark Shecterle states, “COVID-19 has challenged every business and made us all stop and think about how we operate. My number one priority during these challenging times has been and will continue to be keeping all of our employees safe. Therefore, we had to get creative and shower curtains are a perfect and safe barrier for our talent, sellers, and employees who share an office. Moreover, during the holidays we can have some fun with it. My promotions department already ordered a Freddy Krueger one for Halloween.” KOZN-AM “1620 The ZONE” personality Damon Benning commens, “I am so ready to get back into the building and work alongside my co-host Mike’l Severe even though there will be a clear shower curtain between us. We have not missed a beat, but nothing beats being in the same studio with your producer and co-host. I’m ready.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The nationally syndicated “Nights with Elaina” program will feature special guest hosts all next week (5/18-22). The ladies are taking over Westwood One Nashville’s “Nights with Elaina” as Gabby Barrett, Ingrid Andress, Ashley McBryde, Carly Pearce, and Lindsay Ell will each guest host an evening from home and provide their fans an update on what they’ve been doing during quarantine. Host Elaina Smith says, “Spending time away from listeners is always difficult, especially in these times. But I am so thrilled that these strong, powerful, talented women will be keeping everyone company while I’m gone! I know they’re gonna crush it and continue spreading positivity all throughout the country! Lord knows we need it.”

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

| May 12, 2020

Cumulus Media Reports Net Revenue Decrease of 14.8% in Q1. Reporting financial data for the first quarter of 2020, Cumulus Media’s net revenue was $227.9 million, a decrease of 14.8% compared to Q1 of 2019. After reporting a profit of $451,000 in 2019, Cumulus ends Q1 2020 with a net loss of $7.4 million. Adjusted EBITDA was $27.7 million, a decrease of 33.7% from the first quarter of last year. On a same station basis, net revenue was $226.5 million, a decrease of 11.2%. On the positive side, digital revenue was up 30% to $21.8 million. But spot revenue was down 12.6% and network revenue was down 22.9%. Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner states, “Regardless of the challenge, the Cumulus team has focused acutely on what matters most, moved decisively where it will make a difference, and executed every effort efficiently and with an eye toward creating value. Our reaction to this unprecedented COVID-19 crisis has been no different. We entered March with strong financial performance, a favorable capital structure and significant liquidity, and we’ve taken swift actions that we believe will help us weather the adverse impacts of the pandemic. Over the past few years, we have made meaningful shifts, both culturally and strategically, expanding from our on-air radio foundation to become a multi-platform audio-first media company, delivering premium content to over a quarter billion listeners each month whenever and however they want it. With our robust portfolio of broadcast, digital, mobile and voice-activated media solutions and integrated digital marketing services, we are very well-positioned to provide advertisers with the personal connections, local impact and massive national reach that will help them quickly reconnect with their customers as the crisis wanes.”

Michael Harrison Says the White House Is Now Obsolete.  TALKERS founder Michael Harrison says it is “insane” that no one is questioning the wisdom of continuing to use the White House as the office center for the administration’s upper management while they bemoan the fact that the architecture is dangerously out of step with the perils of COVID-19 transmission.  Harrison floated the concept on the latest installment of his podcast while musing with WHP afternoon drive host Ken Matthews about administration officials and employees suddenly testing positive for the virus. According to Harrison, “One of the many things that the coronavirus is exposing as being out of synch with the new reality is the quaint notion that the West Wing is a viable venue in which administration brass should operate.”  Harrison continues, “Okay, so we learn that the offices in which West Wing workers are squeezed are remarkably tiny and cramped.  So, what should we do?   Get them out of there as quickly as possible!  Surely the government has enough resources to find a modern office building in which the West Wing can be relocated so the administration upper management can stretch out in a workable facility. Perhaps the Executive Office Building can be a temporary space… I’m not sure.  But I do know they should also move the steerage-level White House press quarters into a more modern and healthier environment.  This should be done immediately.  Let the White House be a residence and a museum.  As far as I can tell, the West Wing is obsolete.”

Round One of April PPM Ratings Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 PPM survey have been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Long Island (Nassau-Suffolk), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 survey period covered March 26 – April 22. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to bring listeners to all-news and news/talk formatted stations. In New York, iHeartMedia’s WOR adds 1.1 shares to wrap the April survey with a 3.0 share. Entercom’s all-news WINS tacks on another full share to finish with a 5.7 share and the #3 rank in the market. iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles rises 1.3 shares for a 5.5 share and the #1 rank (its first #1 since March of 2011). Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM, Chicago adds another 1.1 share to finish April with a 5.6 share and the #3 rank, while Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM adds seven-tenths for an 8.4 share and its third straight #1 finish. Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco stays steady with a 9.9 share to remain at #1. Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta tacks on another full share for a 13.9 share and its 10th straight #1 finish. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian has much more ratings analysis for you. Read his Ratings Takeaways here.

Brian Kilmeade to Celebrate Paperback Edition Publication Via KRMG, Tulsa. Nationally syndicated radio personality and FOX News Channel “Fox & Friends” morning host Brian Kilmeade is launching the paperback edition of his book Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers via a virtual release party today with affiliate station KRMG, Tulsa and local seller Magic City Books. Dan Potter is the morning host at the Cox Media Group station, and he’ll facilitate the virtual event and allow participants to ask Kilmeade questions. Participants will have access to an online room and will receive a paperback version of Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers as part of their registration fee. Kilmeade’s radio show is syndicated by FOX News Radio and KRMG director of programming and branding Levi May states, “Brian is one of our most popular syndicated hosts and we are always so honored when he chooses KRMG to partner with him when he comes to Oklahoma.” Kilmeade came to Tulsa in November 2019 and broadcast his national show from the KRMG Performance Center when the hardcover book was originally released.

David Wood Promoted to VP of Programming for Emmis Indy. Programming pro David Wood rises from director of programming at Emmis Communications Indianapolis to vice president of programming. The 10-year Emmis veteran works with the program directors of Emmis-Indianapolis’ sports talk WFNI-AM “The Fan,” adult contemporary WYXB-FM “B105.7,” WLHK-FM “Hank FM,” and he’ll continue to serve as the head programmer for news/talk WIBC-FM and Network Indiana. Emmis Indianapolis SVP Bob Richards states, “David’s experience building legendary brands and coaching world-class talent is second to none. This promotion is well deserved recognition for the amazing work he has been doing leading our programming teams for the past 10-plus years.”

Statistics and Projections, States Begin Re-Opening, COVID-19 at the White House, Michael Flynn Case, Presidential Election/Biden Allegation, and Sports Leagues Plan Re-Opening Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/11). The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the number of deaths, and projections about future infections; the re-opening begins in numerous states across the country; the presence of confirmed cases among White House staffers; the DOJ drops the Michael Flynn case and allegations of the Obama administration’s role in implicating Flynn; the November presidential election and the allegation of sexual assault against Joe Biden; and MLB’s and the NFL’s plans to play games this year were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. This past weekend, Premiere Networks-syndicated personalities George Noory, host of “Coast to Coast AM” and sports talk host Colin Cowherd, host of “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” appeared together on Cowherd’s Saturday podcast in which he often talks about issues outside the realm of sports. Noory chatted with Cowherd about the mysterious Navy pilot videos recently declassified by the Pentagon, the conspiracy theories around the origins of COVID-19, the unsolved case of the 1971 D.B. Cooper airplane hijacking, and more.  The two also traded stories about their personal experiences with UFOs…..Cumulus Media’s Dallas sports talker KTCK-AM/FM “Sportsradio 96.7 & 1310 The Ticket” adds several FOX Sports Radio programs to its weeknight and weekend roster. “The Jason Smith Show with Mike Harmon” and “The Ben Maller Show” are being added to the weekend program schedule along with various other FSR weekend programs…..ADX Communications’ news/talk WNRP-AM/W222BR “News Radio 92.3” is honored with five First Place awards from the Florida Association of Broadcast Journalists for coverage of the December 6 shooting at NAS Pensacola. The station won Best Radio Newscast (anchored by Mark Jacobs); Breaking News; Continuing Coverage; Team Coverage; and News Anchor/Anchor Team led by Andrew McKay…..Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington, DC was honored with six Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards today by the Radio Television Digital News Association. The station was recognized in the Overall Excellence category for the 9th time in the past 11 years for its coverage of the D.C. region on WTOP and WTOP.com. WTOP also received recognition in the Best Newscast category for coverage of the July 2019 severe floods in the DC region. Individual WTOP reporters were honored as follows: Feature Report: Mike Murillo – “Answering the Call”; Hard News Report: Megan Cloherty & Dave Dildine – “Rock Creek Rescue”; Podcast: Megan Cloherty & Jack Moore – “22 Hours: An American Nightmare”; and Excellence in Social Media: Tiffany Arnold and WTOP Staff…..Rhode Island talk radio host John DePetro wrote lyrics to a parody of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” about life in the time of coronavirus in the Ocean State. It was performed by local artists Nick Gosselin and Cat Carrick in a video produced by DePetro that you can see here…..Due to the uncertain economic environment as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Salem Media Group announces it is temporarily suspending the regular quarterly cash dividend on its common stock. The company will re-assess the dividend suspension throughout the year, in light of facts and circumstances at that time, whether and when to reinstate the dividend.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro Colleen Carew is the new morning drive host at Shamrock Communications’ classic rock WZBA “100.7 The Bay,” taking over for Stash, a.k.a., Steve Ash, who recently exited. Carew was most recently PD at triple A WOCM, Ocean City, Maryland “Ocean 98.”…..Condolences to the family and friends of San Diego radio personality Steve West who passed away recently at age 68 after a long battle with cancer. Prior to his passing, he’d been handling weekend duties at Entercom’s alternative KBZT, San Diego “ALT 94.9.”…..In celebration of National Nurses Week, Brooke Fox (pictured below, at right), of Hubbard Radio’s CHR KQMV, Seattle “MOViN 92.5” and Famous Dave’s BBQ delivered food and beverages to the nursing and medical staff at Harborview Medical Center yesterday (5/11). Brooke, co-host of the syndicated “Brooke & Jeffery” show, says, “Thank you to all of the amazing nurses, doctors and medical staff. We are so proud of every member of our medical community who have gone above and beyond to keep our community safe during this time.”

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

| March 25, 2020

‘New Jersey 101.5’ to Hold 2nd Coronavirus Town Hall. The Townsquare Media news/talk station announces it will present its second Town Hall broadcast addressing the COVID-019 pandemic, focusing on health and medical issues Thursday (3/26) at 7:00 pm.  WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” says special projects director and morning news anchor Eric Scott “leads the news and digital departments in linking a statewide audience with New Jersey’s top doctors fighting the pandemic, in a listener-driven, call-in format.”  Scott – who will anchor live from the New Jersey 101.5 studios with guests joining by phone – will speak with: Dr. Margaret Fisher, infectious disease specialist at RWJBarnabas Health (also the medical director at Unterberg Children’s Hospital and chair, Department of Pediatrics, Monmouth Medical Center); Dr. Manisha Parulekar, program director and chief of the Division of Geriatrics at Hackensack University Medical Center; and Dr. Kevin Slavin, director of quality for Hackensack Meridian Health Children’s Services, specializing in pediatric infectious diseases.  The station is streaming the program on Facebook Live and via NJ1015.com.

Triton Digital: News/Talk Gets COVID-19 Streaming Bump. According to data from Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics service, listening to streams of news/talk-formatted radio stations increased 4% from the week of March 2-6 to the week of March 13-19.  The format’s streaming share grew from 29% to 33%, as news of the COVID-19 disruption hitting the U.S. took over the news cycle.  Triton says from the week of March 2-6 to the week of March 13-19, the share of streaming contributed by sports talk radio held constant at 8%, while music radio’s share of streaming declined from 64% to 59%.  The report adds that consumption patterns by device remain very stable, with streaming on mobile devices increasing from 49% to 51% of the total. The share of streaming on desktops/laptops decreased slightly from 27% to 25%, while smart speaker’s share of consumption held stable at 21%.  Triton Digital president of marketing development John Rosso says, “Radio in every form – broadcast, streaming audio, and podcasts – remains a trusted and relied upon medium for news and entertainment in the United States.  Despite the dislocation of many workers, this data shows the remarkable stability of the medium, as well as the importance of radio in delivering information in a time of crisis.”

Connoisseur Media CEO Jeff Warshaw’s Open Letter to the Industry: “We are in the midst of a crisis. It’s incredibly painful to our business, as it is to countless other industries. Our communities are reeling.  This crisis is going to end.  But radio’s troubles didn’t start a few weeks ago, when the coronavirus began its attack on our country. Competition for our audiences has never been fiercer. National revenue had hit a rough patch. Public radio companies were trading at their lows. Deal-making had ground to a standstill. It was harder than ever to grow our radio revenues. Certainly, there are bright spots and pockets of opportunity, and our industry is doing a terrific job tirelessly serving our communities during this unprecedented time. That having been said, I don’t think many of us were looking fondly at the halcyon days of Q4 2019.  As difficult as this crisis is, we have an opportunity to turn this disease into a cure.  Our logs are wide open. What we allow to happen to our product once things return to ‘normal’ is entirely up to us. Although our company has tried to maintain reasonable commercial loads, we can do much better. Let’s take this opportunity to clean up our clocks, maintain lower spot loads, stop incessant bonus commercials, reduce endless promos. Demonstrate integrity for the value of our products and give our listeners more of what they crave.  The universe is doing for us what we would not and could not do for ourselves. We have the opportunity to emerge from this dark time with a brighter flame than we have seen for years. What we do from here may make all the difference.”

TALKERS News Notes. In Seattle, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM is producing a daily podcast addressing the COVID-19 pandemic titled, “COVID-19: Seattle Podcast.”  Longtime station personality Dave Ross and ‘KIRO Radio’ reporter Aaron Granillo will “condense the most important updates of the day into a short podcast format for the benefit of our community.  Together they will follow government officials, healthcare workers, business leaders, and local residents who are making crucial, early decisions … decisions that will soon guide, or warn, the rest of the country.”  It will be released each afternoon.  Station program director Bryan Buckalew says, “I think Dave Ross, with his decades of news experience, and Aaron Granillo, with his reporter’s sensibility, are uniquely capable of examining the effects of the coronavirus pandemic as it expands in Washington state and across the nation.”…..FOX News Radio launches a new weekday evening edition of the daily podcast “The FOX News Rundown” dedicated to the latest developments of the coronavirus pandemic.  The newly re-titled program “The FOX News Rundown Podcast: Global Pandemic” is being hosted by FNC foreign correspondent Trey Yingst and debuts on March 30.  On the program, Jerusalem-based Yingst will be joined by medical experts and fellow reporters to discuss the wide-ranging impacts of COVID-19 around the world…..The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reports that Entercom sports talker WFAN, New York is giving weekend show hosting responsibilities to its daily stars in lieu of the usual weekend hosts, presumably to save some payroll expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic.  He says that “Boomer & Gio,” “Moose & Maggie,” and “Joe & Evan” are hosting Saturday and Sunday programs and Mike Francesa – currently only hosting the 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm show on WFAN – is doing a 9:00 am to 1:00 pm show on Sundays.  However, longtime WFAN weekend host Richard Neer will be heard hosting the Sunday night 10:00 pm to 2:00 am show via CBS Sports Radio Network on “The Fan.”…..Cadence13 – a division of RADIO.COM – is unveiling the second season of the podcast “Gangster Capitalism” that it says “offers an unflinching look at white collar corruption and the dark side of the American dream”  This season explores the NRA.  Cadence13 chief content officer Chris Corcoran says, “As we further develop and expand our C13Originals slate, we’re prioritizing impactful and ambitious documentaries geared around culture, business, moments in time, music and more.  Our objective is about finding the right stories, and how we tell and express them, so that the audience can immerse itself in what we believe will create conversation and engagement.”…..AdLarge Media signs a deal with Remote News Service (RNS) to serve as its exclusive ad sales representative.  Remote News Service is owned and led by senior anchor Lesley Lotto…..Pictured below is Westwood One News White House correspondent Bob Costantini in the radio pool seat in the newly re-designed social distancing briefing room awaiting yesterday’s coronavirus task force news conference.  The pink sticker on his lapel is confirmation that the White House took his temperature and it is normal.

Coronavirus Status in U.S., Stimulus Package Debate, Global Stocks Surge, U.S.-China Relations, India Locks Down Entire Country, and Olympics Postponed Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/24). The latest numbers on confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S.; the negotiations in the U.S. Senate to craft a coronavirus stimulus package; global stocks surge on news that the Senate is close to a stimulus package; relations between the U.S. and China as the COVID-19 blame game ramps up; Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi orders lock down of 1.3 billion citizens; and the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo are postponed among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

NEED CONTENT TO FILL SPORTS GAPS?  ‘Our American Stories’ Reaches Out to Sports Talk Stations with Programming to Temporarily Fill Holes in Their Schedules.  The producers of the highly popular syndicated spoken-word program “Our American Stories” tell TALKERS, “We are pleased to announce we are making ‘Our American Stories’ available to sports stations on a temporary basis with no contract to fill holes in their schedule resulting from the shut downs in the sports industry due to Covid-19.  No strings attached.”  The statement continues, “We have had several sports stations reach out to us and ask if they could use our content temporarily to fill holes in their lineup as so many sporting events have been cancelled.”  A number of the episodes in the archives of the program directly address sports-oriented themes including: “The Heart of Kobe Bryant’s Memorial Service,” “He Made A Wood Bat For His Son… Now He Outsells Louisville Slugger,” “The Bird and Magic Story: Love, Friendship, and Basketball” and “I Shall Not Fail Those With Whom I Serve.”  “Our American Stories” host and founder Lee Habeeb adds, “At this time in our country, Americans need to be encouraged and reminded that our nation is one that has persevered through tumultuous times and have hope that we will again prevail. We can help with that encouragement through the power of storytelling.”  Interested stations should click here or contact Bryan Dawson at 720-737-2950 or bdawson@oanetwork.org.

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk.  February is not traditionally a good month for the sports talk format, but the February 2020 PPM survey was especially bad as only two stations in our panel showed any weekly, 6+ AQH share gain from January 2020.  And even there Entercom’s WMC-AM, Memphis (0.1 to 0.3) and iHeartMedia’s WYGM-AM, Orlando (1.1 to 1.2) showed increases that were essentially meaningless.  Year-over-year, about as many stations shows ratings increases (45%) as saw decreases (42%), with big gainers including iHeartMedia’s KXFN, Minneapolis “The Fan” (+2.4), Capitol Broadcasting’s WCMC-FM, Raleigh (+1.3), and Entercom’s KGMZ-FM, San Jose (+1.1) leading the pack.  The highest-ranking sports talk station during the February survey was Entercom’s WFAN in the Long Island market, finishing the month at #3.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Hotwire Communications Adds Newsmax TV to Video Service. Southeastern U.S. telecom firm Hotwire Communications and Newsmax Media announce a new distribution deal to deliver Newsmax TV to basic tier video service in seven major Florida markets – Miami/Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach/Fort Pierce, Fort Myers/Naples, Jacksonville/Brunswick, Tampa/St. Petersburg/Sarasota, Orlando/Daytona/Melbourne and Tallahassee/Thomasville – as well as the Atlanta and Savannah markets in Georgia, the Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville and Charlotte markets in North Carolina, and the Greenville/Spartanburg/Ashville/Anderson markets in South Carolina.  Newsmax TV SVP of content distribution Andrew Biggers says, “Newsmax is excited to have Hotwire on board as our newest affiliate, and we look forward to working together to deliver what its customers have been asking for — an alternative voice within news media.  And with Hotwire’s reach throughout these markets, Newsmax will be exposed to a broad audience seeking news they can trust.”  Hotwire Communications is an all-fiber service provider that has been providing triple-play telecommunication services since 2000.  Hotwire offers a full suite of services to residential, commercial, hospitality, government, smart city, and educational customers in 14 states, primarily concentrated in the Southeast.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Taking place in Sunday’s 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET timeslot on FOX Television originally for the iHeartRadio Music Awards, iHeartMedia and FOX announce “FOX Presents the iHeart Living Room Concert for America” to provide entertainment relief and support for Americans to help fight the spread of COVID-19 and to celebrate the resilience and strength of the nation during this pandemic.  Hosted by Elton John, the event will feature performances by Alicia Keys, Backstreet Boys, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mariah Carey, Tim McGraw, and more, from their own homes, filmed with their personal cell phones, cameras, and audio equipment, to ensure the health and safety of all involved.  In addition to airing on FOX, the program will air across iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide, as well as via the iHeartRadio app. The benefit special will be broadcast commercial-free and, in addition to the music, will pay tribute to the front-line health professionals, first responders, and local heroes who are putting their lives in harm’s way to help their neighbors and fight the spread of the virus.  It also will encourage viewers to support two of the many charitable organizations helping victims and first responders during the pandemic: Feeding America and First Responders Children’s Foundation…..On-air pro Jeff Lewis Neal joins the WHZT, Greenville, South Carolina-based “Dex & Barbie T Morning Show.”  SummitMedia also airs the program on rhythmic CHR WKHT “Hot 104.5” in Knoxville and rhythmic CHR KPHW, Honolulu “Power 104.3.”  SummitMedia Greenville operations manager Mike Klein says, “I’m excited to welcome Jeff Lewis Neal to ‘Dex & Barbie T Morning Show.’  He’s the missing piece of the puzzle to take us to the next level on air and online.”…..Music director Kendall Stewart is promoted to program director for Saga Communications triple A WCNR, Charlottesville, Virginia.  She makes the jump after Jeff Sweatman resigned from the position.  Stewart says, “The last four-and-a-half years at ‘106.1 The Corner’ have been the most formative in my career so far and I can’t express how grateful I am to Jeff Sweatman for everything that he has taught me.  I love this station and the amazing music town that I get to live in – Charlottesville – has been through a lot in recent years, but the tragedy that we faced in 2017 has only made us stronger as a community.  I am honored to be a part of it and to have the opportunity to further serve the people of this city and I can’t wait to hit the ground running.”

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

| March 10, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, March 6, 2020

| March 6, 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 on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  The new episode titled “This is No Gaffing Matter!” looks back at this past week of March 2-6, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSVictoria Jones; executive director, DC Radio Company; Martha Zoller, talk show host, WDUN, Gainesville, Georgia; Thom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD MediaJoshua Philipp, senior investigative reporter, The Epoch Times; and Bali Samra, human resources consultant/commentator, Pioneer Valley Radio. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on 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 “Freedom 93.7”, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; 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.

FOX News Radio Names Jimmy Failla Host of ‘FOX Across America.’ The new, permanent host of FOX News Radio’s midday “FOX Across America” show is comedian Jimmy Failla, who takes over on Monday (3/9).  “FOX Across America” has been airing in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daypart with a rotating cast of hosts since Todd Starnes – host of “FOX News and Commentary” – exited FNR back in the fall of 2019.  FNR says, “Based in FNR’s New York City studio, ‘FOX Across America with Jimmy Failla’ will feature guests from across the political spectrum for lively discussions on the day’s leading headlines.  A standup comedian and former head writer for FOX Business Network’s “Kennedy” (weekdays 9:00 pm ET), Failla will also utilize his comedic talents to help navigate the partisan divide, providing an honest look at the important issues that affect every American.”  In addition to airing weekdays on FNR, the show will also be available for download via FOX News Podcast Network, with full video recordings of each airing streaming exclusively on FOX Nation, FNC’s online subscription-based streaming service.

Denver’s ‘The Fan’ Celebrates 25th Anniversary. Denver sports talk outlet KKFN-FM “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan” turns 25 today and the Bonneville station is launching a campaign that will culminate in a 25th anniversary celebration in June.  As part of the celebration, ‘The Fan’ will welcome back influential figures from the station’s history for a reunion broadcast that will allow Denver listeners to reconnect with talent from the past.  Bonneville Denver SVP and market manager Bob Call says, “Twenty-five years ago, we launched Denver’s first 24-hour, all-sports radio station.  Over the years, ‘The Fan’ has featured some of Denver’s most-loved personalities, starting with Doug Moe and Tom Green – who signed the station on the air – to legendary personalities like Irv Brown, Joe Williams, and Sandy Clough, who continues to entertain Denver sports fans today.  Through the years, ‘The Fan’ has been built on great live and local talent.  We are grateful for our many listeners and business partners who have been a part of this remarkable legacy.”

Westwood One to End NBC Sports Radio Distribution. Affiliates of the Westwood One-distributed NBC Sports Radio network are being notified that WWO will discontinue its distribution of the network at the end of this month. Westwood One also handles distribution for the CBS Sports Radio network and affiliates are being offered the option to take that network’s programming.  NBC Sports Radio had been offering 24/7 content but reduced that in January of last year but continued to offer sports talk shows such as “ProFootballTalk Live with Mike Florio” and “The Safety Blitz with Rodney Harrison and Dan Schwartzman.”  Those shows will continue to be available on various digital platforms.

Lyndsay Keith Named Co-Host of ‘Spicer & Co.’ Pictured above on the set of the Newsmax TV show “Spicer & Co.” is co-host Lyndsay Keith (left) and host (former White House Press Secretary) Sean Spicer (right).  “Spicer & Co.” debuted Tuesday (3/3) and airs weekdays at 6 pm ET.  Prior to joining Newsmax, Keith worked at Google as a brand strategist.  She has also served as deputy communications director for the Republican National Committee.  She also served as an adviser to the Mitt Romney presidential campaign.

TALKERS News Notes. The 8th Annual Contact in the Desert event takes place at Indian Wells Resort & Spa in Indian Wells, California May 29 through June 1 and one of the participants will be Premiere Networks late-night host George Noory.  The event is described as “an epic adventure weekend into the science of UFOs, communication with non-human intelligence, ancient astronauts, human origins, crop circles, military sightings, government disclosure, artificial intelligence, downed craft technology, the evolution of consciousness, forbidden archaeology, cosmic teachings, contact experiences, interplanetary living, and much more.”  The host of “Coast to Coast AM” is one of 70 “experts, scientists, researchers, and military insiders.”…..iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOR, New York and LaborPress.org are presenting a panel discussion called “The Future of Healthcare” on March 19 at The Cutting Room in New York City.  The 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm event will feature opening remarks by NYS Building & Construction Trades Council president James Cahill and is being moderated by filmmaker Joe Pantoliano (The Sopranos, The Matrix) who also produced and directed the documentary film that addresses mental illness titled, No Kidding! Me 2!!…..Comedian and talk host Dennis Miller begins hosting a twice-weekly show on RT America called, “Dennis Miller +1.”  The interview show airs live at 9:00 pm on Mondays and Wednesdays.  Miller says, “What do I like in an interview?  I like it when the host asks a question and then listens to the guest’s answer and then reacts to that answer with an amplification through the next question.  I promise you, I will not sit here finding myself overly precious and thinking only about my next query.  I’m going to have a conversation!”  Miller talks to actor and comedian Jeff Dunham on the first episode…..The Washington Examiner is launching a weekly podcast called, “Mag Men,” that offers analysis and commentary of the week’s news and what stories the editors are working on for the week ahead.  It’s being hosted by executive editor Seth Mandel, managing editor Jay Caruso, Life and Arts editor Park MacDougal and deputy editor J. Grant Addison.  The show is on the Ricochet platform that also hosts other Washington Examiner podcasts, including the “Hashing it Out,” a weekly podcast hosted by Siraj Hashmi, “The Byron York Show,” hosted by Washington Examiner chief political correspondent Byron York, and “Examining Politics, “a daily podcast hosted by Cumulus Media and WMAL-FM, Washington talk-show host Larry O’Connor…..Happy 61st birthday to talk host Lars Larson, who also celebrates 45 years on the radio this month.  Larson, who hosts his daily KXL-FM, Portland-based Pacific Northwest show as well as his Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated show, says, “Forty-five years ago this month, I landed my first paid job in radio spinnin’ records and reading news from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight Monday thru Friday on the “Mighty 1590” KTIL from a cinderblock building in a cow pasture outside Tillamook, Oregon.  Forty years ago next week, I came to work at KXL.  This month, I mark 23 years of Radio Northwest Network syndication in Oregon, Washington and Idaho… I did my 20 years in the liberal gulag of TV news, but I never stopped doing radio.  When a kind-hearted TV management informed me I had a ‘face for radio’ and demanded that I choose – TV or radio – it wasn’t hard at all.  My first love, radio… God blessed me with Tina, my wonderful wife, who puts up with the weird hours and strange demands of this business.  I have looked forward to each and every day I get to open a mic and talk with folks.  My personal goal is to stay behind the mic as long as my hero Paul Harvey did.”

RTDNF Honors Journalists at 30th Annual First Amendment Awards. Last night (3/5), the Radio Television Digital News Foundation honored journalism professionals dedicated to defending the First Amendment and the public’s right to know at the 30th Annual First Amendment Awards in Washington, D.C.  The evening’s program began with RTDNA/RTDNF executive director Dan Shelley’s call to action, “Your viewers and listeners in the cities and towns you serve need the refreshing drink of water and the pleasant fragrance of a blossoming local news product that reflect an even stronger commitment to serving them – to empowering them to make positive changes in their communities… By joining forces, we can place America’s dust bowls of journalism into the dustbin of history.”  This year’s honorees were: David Muir of ABC News; “60 Minutes” produced by CBS News; Robert Horner of NBC News; Barbara Maushard of Hearst Television; Lori Montenegro of Telemundo; Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT); and Steve Andrews of WFLA-TV, Tampa.

Presidential Race/Super Tuesday Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 2-6. The race for the Democratic nomination, the Super Tuesday elections, and the candidates who dropped out were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the coronavirus pandemic. Coming in at #3 was the financial markets activity and the Fed’s interest rate cut, followed by health care reform, climate change, and race relations tied 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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programmer John Candelaria is leaving his position with Beasley Media Group as PD of rhythmic AC WMGC “105.1 The Bounce” and urban AC WDMK “Kiss 105.9” in Detroit and national brand manager for urban and rhythmic AC to relocate to his home town of Albuquerque…..“The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show” co-host J-Si Chavez and contributor Jenna Owens are launching their new podcast, “Fitish,” and the first episode reached the top 50 on the Apple Podcasts chart.  Owens, who recently announced that she is taking a step back from day-to-day co-hosting at “The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show,” states, “I’m thrilled to be able to talk more openly about things I haven’t been able to discuss on the morning show and do it all with my favorite radio partner and occasionally our real-life partners as well!”…..Pictured at left is Premiere Networks senior director of rock programming and specials Sal Cirrincione (left) and rock legend Roger Daltrey (right) aboard Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas for the sold out Rock Legends Cruise VIII.  Cirrincione helped entertain passengers by hosting Q&A sessions with three Daltrey, The DoorsRobby Krieger and Heart’s Nancy Wilson.  The annual cruise benefits the Native American Heritage Association, a charitable non-profit organization dedicated to helping Native American families in need who live on Reservations in South Dakota and Wyoming.

Friday, February 28, 2020

| February 28, 2020

iHeartMedia Posts Flat 2019 Q4 Revenue Figure; Full Year Revenue Up 2%. The financial data for iHeartMedia is a bit complex as the result of the company exiting bankruptcy protection in May of 2019.  But revenue of $1.03 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019, while flat compared to Q4 2018, was up 4.3% excluding political ad dollars.  For the full year of 2019, revenue was $3.7 billion, up 2.0% year-over-year and up 4.2%, excluding political revenue.  The company reports that digital revenue in the fourth quarter was $112.5 million – up 33.6% from the fourth quarter of 2018.  For the full year, digital revenue was $376 million, an increase of 32.2% over the full year of 2018.  iHeartMedia COO and CFO Rich Bressler states, “Our financial performance in 2019 was underpinned by the reach and resilience of our traditional business, profitable growth in our other platforms – including our digital businesses and proactive improvement of our capital structure.  Through our innovation and thought leadership in areas like podcasting and our SmartAudio suite of targeting, analysis and attribution services for advertisers, we are at the forefront of driving the audio revolution.  We will continue to work to build long-term shareholder value by maximizing our free cash flow and de-leveraging our balance sheet.”

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on all-news.  Coming off the Holiday 2019 survey 88% of all-news stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go up.  Top performers here included Entercom’s KYW, Philadelphia (+1.4) and KCBS-AM, San Francisco (+0.7).  However, comparing January 2019 to January 2020, 70% of all-news stations were down, with Entercom’s WWJ, Detroit leading that group and absorbing a hit of -3.2 shares and dropping from the #1 rank in the market in January 2019 to #11 this year.  On the positive side, the company’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco was up 1.4 shares to post an 8.4 share and regain the #1 rank in the market.  iHeartMedia’s WBZ-AM, Boston was 0.7 shares better than the year before and rose to claim the #3 rank in January.  KCBS-AM, San Francisco was the only all-news station to rank #1 in January.  Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington ranked #2 in the January 2020 survey, despite falling three full shares from January 2019.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  The new episode titled “Brother, Can You Spare a Face Mask?” looks back at this past week of February 24-28, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Tom Sullivan; talk show host, KFBK, Sacramento/Talk Media NetworkKen Matthews, talk show host, WHP, Harrisburg, PA; Lee Abrams, consultant, MediaVisionDeborah Norville, anchor, “Inside Edition;” Steve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston/webmaster, Scamicide.com; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET.  It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA.  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. See the full story below.

‘The Michael Harrison Wrap’ Now Available in Syndication via Talk Media Network.  TALKERS is pleased to announce it has entered a strategic partnership with independent broadcasting firm Talk Media Network for the syndication and distribution of its weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap.”  The show, hosted by Michael Harrison, was launched in May 2019 on iHeartRadio’s WONK-FM in Washington, DC where it airs Fridays at 6:00 pm.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is a fast-paced roundup of the hottest news/talk media stories tracked by TALKERS and is described as “a weekly overview of the national conversation.”  Each installment features Harrison in conversation with several talk media hosts, pundits and experts from around the country representing a variety of popular ideologies. The show opens with a riveting countdown of the week’s most-discussed items with TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey.  Since its launch, several proactive radio stations around the country inquired about the show’s availability to which TALKERS complied – as best it could – on a market exclusive basis. According to Harrison, “We’re delighted that, in addition to our flagship WONK, excellent facilities such as WRKO, KSCO, WVOX, KFNX, KBDT, KQSP, KBKW, WIQO, WGMN, and the Virginia Talk Radio Network among others showed enough interest in the program during its developmental phase to request it for their rosters before it was even officially available for national distribution.”  Harrison continues, “However, we are not a syndication company, nor have any intention of becoming one, and it just became too unwieldy to service more stations efficiently, so we began looking for an appropriate network partner. Talk Media Network is a perfect fit.  TMN is moderately sized, independent, and run by one of the brightest young executives in the network business, Josh Leng.”  Leng states, “We’re honored TALKERS has entrusted the syndication and growth of ‘The Michael Harrison Wrap’ with Talk Media Network.  It is a pleasure to be working with a professional of Michael’s stature who has dedicated so much of his career to the betterment of the radio industry.”  Leng continues, “What program directors will notice immediately when they listen to ‘The Michael Harrison Wrap,’ is the amount of preparation that goes into each and every episode.  It is amazing how much compelling content is packed into one hour!  Combine that with the ‘best in the business’ talk radio hosts who contribute to Michael’s timely and topical news discussions, and you have an on-air product that features a great group of broadcasters who bring their ‘A’ game for the audience to enjoy.”  Stations interested in affiliating with “The Michael Harrison Wrap” should visit talkmedianetwork.com for more information, and can call Talk Media Network at (616) 884-8616.

TALKERS News Notes. On Super Tuesday (3/4), FOX News Radio is offering affiliates live national network coverage beginning at 7:00 pm ET anchored by national correspondent Jared Halpern, with key insights from FNR political analyst Josh Kraushaar and FNR reporters around the country.  FNR is also offering hourly “Democracy 2020” updates on Amazon’s smart speaker.  FOX News Podcasts is presenting special editions of the daily morning podcast “FOX News Rundown,” as well as new episodes of Bret Baier’s “The Campaign” and “I’ll Tell You What” with Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt.  Additionally, FOXNews.com will carry multiple livestreams from candidate headquarters across the country…..iHeartMedia’s NBC News Radio brings talk and news radio pro Michael Castner aboard to serve as national news anchor.  Castner was most recently morning drive personality at Entercom’s news/talk KXNT, Las Vegas…..iHeartMedia announces it is presenting a new companion podcast for the three-part Hulu series “Your Attention Please” that celebrates the achievements and creativity of Black visionaries.  The “Your Attention Please” podcast is using this medium to continue the conversation past Black History Month, diving deeper into the stories that were highlighted in the show.  The first guests in the series are Jon Boogz and Lil Buck, founders of MAI (Movement Art Is).

The Coronavirus, the Stock Market, and the Economy Top News/Talk Stories for the Week of February 24-28. The status of the coronavirus epidemic, its effect on the world’s financial markets and the global economy came together to make up the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week and landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the presidential race and this week’s Democratic debate in Charleston, SC.  Coming in at #3 was healthcare reform, climate change, and race relations, followed by the deadly Milwaukee brewery shooting and gun control at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Happy Retirement to Pete Spriggs. Current and former Cox Media Group Atlanta staffers gathered last night (2/27) for a retirement bash for WSB-AM/WSBB-FM program director Pete Spriggs who is leaving the company after 27 years with Cox and 19 years at WSB.  Above right is a group shot that includes such guests as Cox Media Group CEO Kim Guthrie, WSB VP/market manager Rob Babin, WSB legend Neal Boortz, syndicated star Clark Howard, and Cox DC bureau reporter Jamie Dupree.  Above left is (from l-r) Spriggs, consultant and former WSB PD Greg Moceri, and incoming program director Drew Anderssen.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A surprise move in national syndication as Ty Bentli leaves his eponymous, Westwood One morning country radio show for an unnamed gig outside of the radio biz.  For now, co-hosts Chuck Wicks and Tricia “TJ” Jenkins will handle hosting duties.  The Nashville-based show has undergone numerous changes over the past few years.  Blair Garner was the original host when it was called “America’s Morning Show.”  Then it was “Ty, Kelly, and Chuck” with Kelly Ford in the mix and, after her departure in late 2018 (she’s now hosting AMs on Entercom‘s WNSH, New York), was renamed the “Ty Bentli Show.”  TJ joined the program last spring…..A big shakeup at Entercom’s Los Angeles cluster as longtime alternative KROQ program director (and SVP of programming) Kevin Weatherly exits.  Taking over at KROQ is Mike Kaplan, who adds brand manager duties at the station in addition to his alternative format captain position and brand manager post at WNYL, New York “ALT 92.3.”  At the same time, Ralph Stewart is handed the brand manager keys for adult hits KCBS-FM “93.1 JACK FM.”  He’s been operations manager for the station in addition to his brand manager role at urban contemporary KTWV “94.7 The Wave.”  Finally, KRTH “K-Earth 101” brand manager Chris Ebbott and CHR KAMP-FM music director and afternoon host Yesi Ortiz will serve as interim programming leaders for “97.1 AMP Radio” while a national search is conducted.  Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “Mike’s name is synonymous with alternative music and I’m delighted to welcome him back to Los Angeles.  Along with Ralph, Chris, and Yesi, this dynamic team will usher in the future of our brands in this important music market.  I’d like to thank Kevin for his years of dedicated contributions to our premier collection of brands and our company.  He has certainly made his mark here and we wish him the absolute best in his new role.”…..Buddy Shula’s Radio One Buffalo has entered into a strategic alliance with Burlington, Ontario-based Byrnes Communications “to serve radio listeners in Buffalo and Southern Ontario.”  Shula says, “I am very excited to add ‘MORE 101.1FM’ (adult hits CFLZ, Fort Erie) and ‘105.1FM THE RIVER’ (hot AC CJED, Niagara Falls) to our radio station portfolio. ‘MORE 101.1FM’ has a very large 50,000-watt regional signal that barrels though Buffalo and Southern Ontario.  The music on the station are the ‘biggest hits from the 70s, 80s, and 90s’ which target listeners in the 35-64-year-old age group.  ‘105.1FM THE RIVER’ plays ‘Todays Best Hits.’ aiming to please women 25-54 years old… With this cluster of radio stations, it increases our potential to reach listeners of every age group and attract more advertisers who can pick and choose which station is appropriate for their advertising needs.”…..Pictured below is the new “Nikki and Laura” morning show at NRG Media’s hot AC KQKQ, Omaha “Sweet 98.5” on its first live remote at Le Peep restaurant.  From left to right are: Nikki Oswald, station program director Jay Michaels, and Laura Blenkush.

Friday, February 21, 2020

| February 21, 2020

Pete Mundo Upped to Program Director for KCMO-AM.  Programming and on-air pro Pete Mundo is promoted from APD to program director for Cumulus Media’s news/talk KCMO-AM/K279BI, Kansas City.  Mundo is also host of the station’s morning show.  Before joining Cumulus Kansas City, Mundo served as a host/anchor for FOX News Radio, CBS Sports Radio, Sports Illustrated’s daily platforms, and WFAN, New York.  Cumulus Kansas City RVP and market manager Donna Baker says, “One of the most fulfilling rewards as a leader is seeing the impact that someone as talented as Pete can make in just two years.  Growth of nearly 75% in audience since his arrival is the result of Pete’s daily focus, drive, passion, and hard work. This well-deserved promotion to program director is an opportunity to continue to expand the brand of KCMO Talk Radio for years to come.”

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM, Washington, DC. The new episode titled “Billions and Billions!” looks back at this past week of February 17-21, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Wayne Allyn Root, talk show host, USA Radio Network/Newsmax TV; Howard Monroe, talk show host/owner, WKKX/WVLY, Wheeling, WV; Grace Curley, producer/co-host, the Howie Carr Show; Daliah Wachs, M.D., talk show host, Genesis Communications Network; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC Friday evenings between 6:00 pm-7:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing on the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

Zaslow Re-Ups with ‘AM 790 The Ticket’ in Miami. Sports talk host Jonathan Zaslow and Entercom’s WAXY-AM, Miami “AM 790 The Ticket” agree to a new, multiyear contract extension for him to remain host of the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm show, “Zaslow and Amber,” alongside Amber Wilson.  Zaslow will also continue to serve as pregame and postgame host for Miami Heat gameday broadcasts, as part of the station’s flagship coverage.  Zaslow joined “AM 790 The Ticket” in 2004 and has served as an on-air personality for the station for the last 13 years. This year marks Zaslow’s 10th as a part of the station’s Heat gameday broadcasts.  Entercom South Florida SVP and market manager Keriann Worley says, “Jonathan Zaslow is a true Miami sports talent and an original employee of ‘790 The Ticket.’  We are thrilled to have him back for more passionate sports talk and lock him into our impressive weekday programming.”

Cumulus 2019 Q4 Net Revenue Down 7.7%; Same Station Net Revenue Dips 1.7%.  Financial data for the full year and the fourth quarter of 2019 is reported by Cumulus Media.  Net revenue in the fourth quarter of 2019 was $285.5 million, a decrease of 7.7% over the same period in 2018.  However, on a same station basis, net revenue was down just 1.7%.  For the full year of 2019, net revenue was $1.1 billion, down 2.4% from 2018.  On a same station basis, net revenue – excluding political – of $1,103.2 million was up 1.4% from 2018.  Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner comments, “I am very proud of the company’s 2019 results. On a same station basis, our team has now delivered the second year in a row of revenue growth and, excluding the impact of political, the third year in a row of Adjusted EBITDA growth. This performance was driven in large part by the industry-leading growth of our digital businesses and active cost management across our platforms.  Additionally, we made strong progress against our financial goals during the year, paying down $220 million of debt with cash from operations and highly accretive divestitures, reducing net leverage to 4.7x.  This year’s results reflect the success of our consistent focus on key strategies to create value for our investors.  Despite a choppy environment and an expected political headwind, fourth quarter revenue finished in-line with the pacing we shared during our last earnings call, and, with some slight favorability on expenses, we delivered Adjusted EBITDA that was somewhat better than we had indicated. As we move into the new year, we are further expanding our delivery of compelling audio experiences and digital offerings that connect and support our advertisers and listeners.  And, we are optimistic about 2020 and our continuing ability to drive strong operating and financial performance while aggressively reducing net leverage to below 4.0x.”

Round Three of January PPM’s Released.  The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus.  Nielsen’s January 2020 survey period covered January 2 – 29.  Some of the spoken-word stations that performed well in January (weekly, 6+ AQH share) coming off the challenging Holiday survey were: Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland, which racked up a half share increase to finish the January survey with a 5.1 share and the #5 market rank.  Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte adds 1.4 shares to post a 4.9 share and the #8 rank.  iHeartMedia’s WOAI, San Antonio adds four-tenths to finish the month at a 5.7 share and standing steady at the #3 rank.  In Sacramento, iHeartMedia’s KFBK gains an amazing 2.7 shares to leap into a tie for the #1 rank in the market with an 8.6 share.  Bonneville’s KSL-FM, Salt Lake City adds a full share to end the survey with a 5.0 share and the #7 rank in the market.  You can see all of the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, check out TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways here.

Wednesday’s Democratic Debate and the Presidential Race Top News/Talk Stories for Week of February 17-21. The Democratic candidates debate in Las Vegas and the presidential race tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was President Trump’s post-impeachment pardons and appointments.  Coming in at #3 was the Department of Justice turmoil and the related Roger Stone sentencing, followed by the covid-19 pandemic, U.S.-China relations, and the deadly flu season tied at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discusses 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.

Diana Boyce Completes Disney Princess 5K. Pictured above left is Diana Boyce, wife of Salem Radio Network SVP of spoken word formats Phil Boyce, braving the chilly temps and drizzle in Orlando this morning (2/21) while finishing the annual Disney Princess 5K race.  The race is part of Disney Half Marathon Weekend that benefits some 17 charities. Pictured at right is Salem Radio Network talk show host Mike Gallagher cheering Diana on.

AWM/F Announce 2020 Board. The Alliance for Women in Media and its Foundation (AWM/F) announce their 2020 National Board of Directors.  Joining the AWM Board are: Katina Arnold, vice president, corporate communications, ESPN; Abby Auerbach, executive vice president, chief communications officer, TVB; Michelle Ray, executive director, The Walter Kaitz Foundation; Sandra Rice, senior vice president, outreach and strategic partnerships, Center for Talent Innovation; and Esther Mireya Tejeda, senior vice president, head of corporate communications & PR, Entercom.  Officers of the board have been announced as Keisha Sutton-James, chair, vice president & CEO, Sutton Button Productions LLC, serving as chair; Heather Cohen, executive vice president, The Weiss Agency, serving as incoming chair; Christine Travaglini, president, Katz Radio Group, serving as immediate past chair; Josie Thomas, CBS, serving as treasurer; and Annie Howell, co-founder and managing partner, The Punch Point Group, serving as incoming treasurer.  The following individuals will serve as Directors at Large of AWM: Joyce Fitch, legal consultant; Abby Greensfelder, founder & CEO, Everywoman Studios; Brenda Hetrick, chief revenue officer, Matrix Solutions; Jinny Laderer, co-founder & CEO, vCreative; Meg LaVigne, president, LaVIGNE MEDIA; Kelly Perdomo, vice president, content, sports, entertainment, and partnership marketing, SiriusXM; and Katherine Wolfgang, head of public relations, CBC.  The following individuals will serve as Directors at Large of AWMF: Deborah Parenti, publisher, RadioInk, RBR and TVBR; Rob Stoddard, SVP program network policy, NCTA – The Internet & Television Association; and Kristen Welch, chief financial officer, Illustrative Mathematics.  AWM executive director Becky Brooks says, “The role of the AWM and Foundation boards is to lead our organizations and industry as we recognize, connect and educate women in radio, television and interactive media.  We have a true working board.  This year’s new directors have voiced their dedication to donating time and resources to take these organizations to the next level. We are thrilled to have these talented, accomplished women joining our leadership for the next two years.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the Columbia, South Carolina market, programming pro Chris Connors joins Cumulus Media’s urban contemporary WLXC-FM “Kiss 103.1” as program director.  Connors was most recently with Alpha Media’s Columbia cluster as operations manager.  He says, “We’ve already made ratings history in Columbia, and I’m very fortunate and extremely thankful to have the opportunity to do it again.  Big thanks to John Dimick, Kenny Smoov, and Tammy O’Dell for entrusting me to lead the Columbia team.  No need to pack or move; we’re ready on day one.”…..Nationally syndicated and WBLS-FM, New York afternoon drive host Deja Vu wraps up a month of celebration with the special, “The Deja Vu Show: Black History in Forward Motion,” being syndicated by ABC Audio.  The commercial free, two-hour special celebrates the importance of African American representation in a variety of fields, including Broadway, film, TV and law.  It features Deja Vu sitting down with iconic celebrities, artists, and influencers including: Will Packer, David Alan Grier, Celia Rose Gooding, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, and Isaac Wright Jr…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One syndicated radio host Lon Helton was honored with the Tom Rivers Humanitarian Award at the Country Radio Seminar.  This award – named for Tom Rivers, former WQYK PD and host of Westwood One holiday specials in the 1990s – recognizes an individual in the country radio industry who has given back to the community.  Helton is one of the founders and advocates of the legendary country radiothon program, Country Cares For St. Jude Kids, that has raised almost $1 billion for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital…..iHeartMedia announces that country star Blake Shelton is joining the lineup for the 2020 iHeartCountry Festival Presented by Capital One on Saturday, May 2 at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin.  The seventh annual event will also feature performances from Dierks Bentley, Sam Hunt, Lady Antebellum, Dustin Lynch, Kelsea Ballerini, Kane Brown, Jon Pardi, and Chase Rice, plus Hot Country Knights, Bobby Bones, and more.  The event will livestream exclusively on livexlive.com and broadcast live across iHeartMedia’s country radio stations in their local markets and at iHeartRadio.com.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

| February 12, 2020

‘New Jersey 101.5’ Stars Dennis & Judi Announce ‘UnPLUGGED’ Performance. WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” midday personalities Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco are performing a live stage show titled, “Dennis & Judi: UnPLUGGED,” at Hackensack Meridian Health Theatre at The Count Basie Center in Red Bank, New Jersey on Saturday, May 2.  The station says that the live show “will feature many of the elements that make ‘Dennis & Judi’ popular among the station’s audience, including live music, audience interaction, and special guests.”  Ron de Castro is market president for Townsquare Media and he adds, “We’re excited to offer this very special night with New Jersey 101.5’s top-rated midday show hosts. Dennis and Judi’s 20 plus-year-long friendship has a special chemistry that transcends multiple media every day, and now we’re pleased to add the dimension of a live stage show to their already substantial brand.”

Covering the New Hampshire Primary. News networks and some talk radio hosts were in New Hampshire on Tuesday covering the state’s Democratic primary election.  CBS News Radio was headquartered in Manchester for the New Hampshire primary with reporter Steve Dorsey there, Steven Portnoy with Pete Buttigieg, WCBS-AM reporter Steve Burns with Bernie Sanders, and Jim Krasula with former Vice President Joe Biden in Columbia, South Carolina.  Pictured at right is Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) with Steve Burns.   FOX News Radio offered live coverage of the returns with FOX News national correspondent Jared Halpern anchoring plus political analyst Josh Kraushaar and FNR reporters Tonya J. Powers and Jessica Rosenthal.  In addition, FNR produced a number of podcasts focused on the race, including “The Campaign with Bret Baier” and the latest from anchor Dana Perino and FOX News politics editor Chris Stirewalt’s “I’ll Tell You What.”  Plus, FOX News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade show is broadcasting live from Manchester throughout the week.  Pictured at left is WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island talk host John DePetro, who took his radio program to New Hampshire to cover the primary.  Westwood One News‘ coverage of the primary included correspondent Bob Costantini (right) at the Bernie Sanders victory celebration at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester.

iHeartMedia Unveils iHeartPodcast AdSuite. Today (2/12) at Podfront LA 2020, iHeartMedia unveiled its iHeartPodcast AdSuite – a package of tools designed to help marketers drive results via “iHeartMedia’s unmatched podcast offerings, distribution and listener reach.” iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne says, “As the podcast industry continues to evolve and capture massive consumer attention, advertisers and brands are looking for tools and products to capture and measure the impact.  They are often left without a system for quantitatively monitoring the success, impact. and reach of podcast advertising.  As the leader in the space of both audio and podcasting, we are meeting this challenge head on, offering a new suite of cutting-edge podcast ad products – from better targeting to boosted reach across broadcast radio – as well as pulling together performance and insights across the multiple platforms where we reach audiences.”  The company says the iHeartPodcast AdSuite provides advertisers “with diverse ad formats and customization tools.  Through these products, iHeartMedia has created a dynamic range of options for advertisers and brands to reach their audiences with targetability and scale without sacrificing the listener experience.”

Allgeier to Lead Leighton Broadcasting in Winona. Sales and management pro Jim Allgeier is appointed general manager for Leighton Broadcasting’s Winona, Minnesota station group that includes news/talk KWNO and four music brands.  He was most recently market manager for Federated Media’s Fort Wayne, Indiana operations.  Leighton vice president of sales and marketing Stephanie Theisen says, “Jim is an accomplished media expert with experience in radio and beyond.  The addition of a radio veteran like Allgeier, with over 19 consecutive years in the business, will provide the direction and leadership we have been seeking for our Winona market.”

Presidential Race-NH Primary, Wuhan Coronavirus, Roger Stone Case, Trump Budget-Deficit Concerns, Weinstein Trial, and Jussie Smollett Indicted Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday. The Democrats battling to challenge President Trump in November and Tuesday night’s New Hampshire primary; the status of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic and the effect on China’s economy; four prosecutors resign as the Justice Department reduces the sentencing of convicted Trump attorney Roger Stone; the Trump administration’s fiscal 2021 budget and the Fed’s concerns about the soaring deficit; the sexual assault trial of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein; and actor Jussie Smollett’s indictment on disorderly conduct charges 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. Raleigh CHR WDCG-FM “G105” adds air personality Danny Meyers to “The Showgram” alongside Erica, Ben, and AshleyhiHeartMedia Raleigh SVP of programming Trevor Morini says, “I am incredibly excited to welcome Danny to ‘The Showgram.’  Danny’s extensive track record of morning show success and experience coupled with the other talented hosts make this the perfect fit for ‘G105.’”  Meyers joins the Raleigh market from iHeartMedia Norfolk, where he most recently served as the morning show host on hot AC WMVN “MOViN 107.7.”…..Cumulus Media names Brian Roberts program director for hot AC KEHK-FM, Eugene, Oregon “Star 102.3” and adult contemporary KSCR-AM/FM.  Roberts moves to Eugene from his most recent position with Cumulus programming adult contemporary WPEZ-FM, Macon, Georgia “Z93.7.”…..Air personality Greg Rivers leaves Alpha Media’s news/talk WHBC, Canton, Ohio to join iHeartMedia’s adult contemporary WMXY, Youngstown, Ohio as morning show host…..Estrella Media, Inc. appoints Eddie León executive vice president, radio programming.  In this position, León will be responsible for overseeing programming at Estrella Media’s 17 owned-and-operated radio stations across the U.S., including the Don Cheto Radio Network…..Matt Stockman is the new director of programming for Pillar of Fire’s contemporary Christian WAWZ-FM, New York “Star 99.1.”  He was most recently a program director with K-Love.

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