Tag: "iHeartMedia"

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

| November 25, 2020

Walter Sterling Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The weekend nationally syndicated host of the “Sterling on Sunday” show, Walter Sterling, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Sterling, who launched the show as a Sunday night feature on WPHT, Philadelphia some six years ago at the suggestion of then-CBS Radio EVP Chris Oliviero, went into the project after a decades-long career as one of radio’s most creative and influential programming management and consultation figures. Working for five decades under his legal name Walter Sabo, this colorful veteran’s resume, jobs, clients, and accomplishments as both a talk and music radio innovator are on a rarified level too numerous to list here. Now as on-air talent “Walter Sterling,” Sabo is breaking new ground in news/talk radio specialty programming addressing the social, cultural, and political issues of the day from the perspective of a devoted family man –  husband and father – taking a real life, down-to-earth approach to the issues of coping with life in the 21st century. The three-hour show (Sunday nights 10:00 pm ET) is a smash and has already reached the 100-affiliate mark via Sabo’s independent syndication firm, Sterling Sabo. In this fascinating, informal conversation between two old friends, Harrison and Sterling talk about today’s crisis in education, the state of youth in general, and the evolution of radio as it achieves its 100-year milestone. This podcast is a must-listen for students of radio – young and old. Don’t miss it!  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Takeaways from Round Two of Nielsen’s November PPM Survey. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Takeaways from the second round of Nielsen Audio’s November 2020 PPM survey that includes markets Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Some movements of note include iHeartMedia’s WRKO, Boston, which rose to a 6.6 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) to finish ranked #4 in the market. Cumulus Media’s WJR, Detroit also rises to the #4 rank on the strength of 5.4 share (+0.7). In Phoenix, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFYI-AM shoots up 1.7 shares to finish with a 7.5 share and takes over the #1 spot. And Cox Media Group’s WHPT, Tampa jumps into the #3 spot after posting a 6.2 share (+1.1). You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets here.

Newsmax TV Says It’s Now the 4th Largest U.S. Cable News Channel. Citing election week and post-election data, Newsmax TV says that it has risen to become the fourth-largest cable news channel in the U.S., noting that for the week of November 11, its Adults 35-64 audience increased 132%. It says the 7:00 pm ET “Greg Kelly Reports” program averaged “nearly 1 million viewers” from November 9-19, beating FOX Business Network and CNBC. Newsmax TV adds that its OTT viewing has increased from 4.5 million to 18.8 million from July 2020 through October 2020.

Stacy Washington Upped to Nights on SiriusXM’s Patriot Channel. Talk host and commentator Stacy Washington is promoted to host of the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot on SiriusXM’s Patriot Channel. Washington has been hosting her “Stacy on the Right” show on Sunday mornings since she joined SiriusXM this past summer. SiriusXM VP/GM of talk programming Dave Gorab says, “When Stacy joined the Patriot family this summer with her new Sunday morning program, it didn’t take long to take off with our audience. In addition to her weekly program, Stacy played a vital role in SiriusXM Patriot’s campaign coverage and was a regular contributor to programs across the channel. The expansion to a daily show comes as well-deserved recognition for Stacy’s contributions, and we know our audience will be excited to hear ‘Stacy on the Right’ five nights a week.” Washington is a decorated Air Force veteran who serves as an advisory board member of Vets for Trump and co-chair of Black Voices for Trump. She has appeared on FOX News, FOX Business, CNN, TheBlaze, and PBS, and has written for publications including FOX News Opinion and Townhall.com.

WHAM, Rochester Talk Host Bob Lonsberry Relates COVID-19 Battles. Talk radio host Bob Lonsberry – heard on iHeartMedia’s WHAM, Rochester and WSYR, Syracuse – recently spoke with WHEC-TV, Rochester about his family’s ordeal with COVID-19. Lonsberry says he, his wife and all five of his kids became infected with the disease but to varying degrees. He tells WHEC-TV, “That was one of the things that was so interesting about this that it affected everybody differently. I think a couple of our young sons were truly asymptomatic and we all sort of went our own way, about half the people had a fever, half didn’t, half had coughs and sore throats, half didn’t. It manifests itself very differently in each of us and lasted over a different course of time for each of us.”

Cumulus Media Cincinnati RVP and Market Manager Dave Crowl to Retire. Radio management pro Dave Crowl is retiring from Cumulus Media at the end of this year after a 44-year career in the radio business. Crowl has been serving as regional vice president and market manager for Cumulus’ Cincinnati station group. Crowl began his career as an account executive at WLVQ-FM, Columbus. Over the years he’s worked in the Portland, Oregon and Milwaukee markets before landing in Cincinnati to become president of Jacor Communications’ radio division. In 2000, he was appointed SVP of then-Clear Channel Communications and joined Cumulus Media in 2012. He says, “A 44-year career in radio would have been challenging to achieve without the support of my family, mentors, colleagues and friends who constantly inspired me. More importantly, I could not have arrived at this moment without the foundation of all the many dynamic general managers and their market teams who delivered compelling audio content to their listeners, communities, and advertisers every day 24/7.” Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner adds, “Dave Crowl has distinguished himself as one of the most respected leaders in radio, dedicating the last 44 years to making radio the best it could be for the many communities he has served so well. In the process, he has lifted up our industry and the people in it, always treating others with respect, dignity and understanding. He will be greatly missed, and we wish him all good things in his retirement.”

iHeartMedia Partners with Podimo to Present Translated Podcasts. This collaboration between iHeartMedia and European podcast platform Podimo creates a strategic partnership to translate and adapt popular podcasts across the globe in different languages. The partnership kicks off with the widely popular true crime podcast “Forgotten: Women of Juárez” (Olvidadas: Muertes de Juárez) about femicides in Mexico’s most dangerous city in three languages: Spanish, German, and Danish. The adapted podcast series will be released in early 2021 in 20 countries in Latin America, as well as in Spain and in the USA, followed by Podimo’s German and Danish markets at a later date. iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne says, “We’re excited to partner with a podcast innovator like Podimo and use iHeartMedia’s unparalleled ability to introduce podcast listening at scale to bring some of the most fascinating local podcasts to millions of listeners worldwide. Podcast listening continues to see tremendous growth as more and more listeners seek out layered storytelling, and we believe this venture with Podimo will help us to introduce great podcasts to new fans around the world.”

COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Holiday Traveling, Biden Transition/Trump Still Fighting, Record Dow/The Economy, OANN YouTube Ban, and Utah Monolith Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/24). The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad, projections for winter cases, and warnings about gathering in groups for the Thanksgiving holiday; the Joe Biden administration officially begins the transition process while Donald Trump continues to challenge the election results; the Dow hits a record 30,000 though some economists warn a correction is due this winter; conservative news outlet One America News Network is banned from posting on YouTube for a week for violating the platform’s COVID misinformation policy; and the discovery of a mysterious metal monolith found in a remote part of Utah were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The alternative format known as WWCD and operated by Randy Malloy has found a new home in Columbus after losing its lease on the 102.1 FM frequency and going briefly to an online-only model. The station is leasing the WMYC-AM/W255CS duo from ICS Communications with the intent to buy the signals, according to a piece at WOSU.org. This is the third frequency shift for the alternative station. It originated on 101.1 FM, then moved to Southeastern Ohio Broadcasting System’s 102.5, and now to the current simulcast operation…..Programming pro Jason Taylor joins Adams Radio Tallahassee as operations manager and program director for country WWOF “103.1 The Wolf.” Taylor takes over for Casey Daniels who is returning to Indiana for personal reasons. Taylor spent the past 16 years at iHeartMedia’s crosstown station group. Adams Tallahassee VP/GM Jason Lamp says, “We are ecstatic about this announcement. Jason Taylor is a brand that Tallahassee country listeners have adored for many years. Having Jason join our live and local team in afternoon drive alongside ‘Cash & Woody in the Morning’ on ‘The Wolf’ is a dream come true for us. His management style is 100% of what we need in our building!”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is offering four holiday specials designed for adult contemporary and hot AC stations designed for air on Saturdays or Sundays from November 28 through December 20. The Christmas specials include: On November 28-29, Johnny Rzeznik of Goo Goo Dolls featuring the new Goo Goo Dolls Christmas album, It’s Christmas All Over; on December 5-6, Carrie Underwood featuring her new Christmas album, My Gift; on December 12-13, Meghan Trainor featuring her new Christmas album, A Very Trainor Christmas; and on December 19-20, Taylor Swift featuring her favorite Christmas playlist.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

| November 24, 2020

Takeaways from Nielsen Audio’s November 2020 PPM Survey. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from the first round of Nielsen Audio’s November 2020 PPM survey that included the markets New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Some observations of note from this group of markets: iHeartMedia’s WOR, New York enters the top 10 in NYC (#9) on the strength of its weekly, 6+ AQH share of 3.6; Cumulus Media’s WBAP, Dallas rockets up to #4 after posting a 1.6 share jump to a 4.9 share; and Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta (11.5 share) maintains its hold on the #1 position for the 17th straight PPM survey. Check out Mike Kinosian’s complete ratings takeaways from this round of markets that look at the news/talk, all-news, sports talk, and public radio news/talk formats here.

WLS-AM, Chicago Officially Names Bruce St. James Morning Host. The story of talk radio pro Bruce St. James being named the new morning drive host at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago was broken last week by Chicago media writer Robert Feder. Now, the company officially announces that St. James will take over for Erich “Mancow” Muller on December 14. WLS-AM program director Stephanie Tichenor says, “WLS 890 AM has served our Chicagoland audiences for 96 years. From John Landecker to Roe Conn to Mancow, every host has left his mark on the Big ’89 and none more so than Rush Limbaugh. In 2021, we will bring the focus back to those who matter most – our listeners. Bruce St. James is here to have a conversation with our listeners, not a lecture. He is not here to change formats. He is here to continue what 890 already does best – inform and entertain our listeners. We are thrilled to welcome Bruce to mornings on the New ’89. Bruce knows radio. And, now Chicago will know Bruce.” St. James comments, “‘Thrilled’ doesn’t begin to describe my feelings. It is an honor and privilege to host a show on the legendary WLS, and I accept the responsibility of living up to the standard set by those before me. Now, more than ever, people need to connect, as well as be informed in an entertaining way. That is our goal every morning and I look forward to getting to know the amazing city of Chicago. Now, about the weather…” St. James has worked almost exclusively in the Southwest, most recently as co-host of the late morning program on Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix.

TALKERS News Notes. Today and tomorrow (11/24-25), sports media personality Jason Whitlock – who writes for Outkick.com – is filling in for Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck on his nationally syndicated late morning talk radio show…..Entercom Sacramento SVP and market manager Stacey Kauffman has been named to the 40 Under 40 list for 2020 by the Sacramento Business Journal. As part of the feature, the SBJ asked Kauffmann what in the industry she sees changing as a result of COVID-19. She says, “COVID-19 is accelerating rising trends of increased in-home listening via smart speakers and streaming that we were seeing pre-pandemic. I believe that will continue to increase, as more companies lean into a remote workforce and time-shifted scheduling.”…..AdLarge Media’s podcast network cabana adds three AccuWeather podcasts to its library. Joining cabana’s offerings are: “Everything Under The Sun,” “Weather Insider” with Bernie Rayno, and “This Date in Weather Industry” with AccuWeather senior meteorologist Evan Myers…..iHeartMedia’s nationally syndicated “Armstrong & Getty Show” – co-hosted by Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty – announces it raised approximately $1.2 million for the Warrior Foundation-Freedom Station through the show’s annual “Warrior Foundation Freedom Station Give-A-Thon.” The Warrior Foundation-Freedom Station is a 501(c)3 volunteer-based organization that helps wounded vets recover both physically and mentally from service injuries. The funds raised will be used to purchase plane tickets for injured warriors so they can spend the holidays at home and with their families…..Streaming audio and on-demand service TuneIn announces that Richard Stern is named the new chief executive officer. He joins TuneIn from his most recent position as chief product officer for Audible. At the same time, the company announces that a new investment in the company led by Innovation Endeavors will serve to fund the acceleration of TuneIn’s technology innovation and market share as “one of the most widely used streaming audio platforms in the world with an unparalleled offering that brings together live sports, news, music, podcasts and radio.” Stern says, “Over 75 million listeners have come to depend on TuneIn to stay connected and informed in our fast-moving world. It’s my privilege to lead the TuneIn team on our mission to reinvent radio as a digital medium and continue to drive the live audio streaming revolution well into the future.”…..SportsGrid Radio and SiriusXM announce a deal to launch the SportsGrid Radio Channel on SiriusXM, effective January 7, 2021. SportsGrid Radio is replacing the VSiN channel, which will air on SiriusXM until December 31. SportsGrid Radio will feature the team of on-air personalities including Scott Ferrall, Gabe Morency, Ariel Epstein, and Jared Smith along with expert contributors and guest analysts.

RAB and Cumulus Media’s Westwood One to Host Presentation Focusing on Client Spot Loads. The RAB announces that as part of its Business Unusual initiative, its upcoming Open for Business live-video series episode is titled, “How Many Spots Should a Client Run in a Weekly Schedule?” The presentation features findings and takeaways from a joint spot load study conducted by the RAB and CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One. The presentation will unveil the survey results and provide sellers with a framework of guidelines to help them determine weekly spot schedules that are best suited to meet advertising clients’ campaign goals. It takes place on December 10 at 1:00 pm ET and features Cumulus Media | Westwood One chief insights officer Pierre Bouvard and Cumulus Media | Westwood One director, content marketing Lauren Vetrano. The presentation is free for RAB members.

Transition Process Approved/Trump Doesn’t Concede, Biden Administration Appointments, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Holiday Travel, Israel-Saudi Arabia Relations, China’s Moon Shot, and David Dinkins Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/23). The General Services Administration begins the transition process while Donald Trump announces he’s continuing to challenge the election results; Joe Biden announces members of his administration, including John Kerry to the National Security Council; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad, predictions for future cases, and warnings about traveling during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend; the reports that Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman held a private meeting; China announces it is sending a rocket to the moon to collect samples; and former New York City Mayor David Dinkins dies were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The annual Mayflower Marathon to benefit the Springfield Open Pantry is going virtual this year due to COVID-19. The charity event produced by Saga Communications’ WAQY, Springfield, Massachusetts “Rock 102” usually features market morning legends “Bax & O’Brien” – Mike Baxendale and John O’Brien – camped out in the parking lot of the Basketball Hall of Fame for three days straight collecting food stuffs and cash. Bax tells TALKERS magazine, “Because of COVID we had to be creative and avoid violating curfews and protocols. Rather than have listeners donate non-perishables at the Hall of Fame, we are doing a 52-hour long fundraiser.  We’re encouraging listeners to donate online and over the phone for Open Pantry instead, and so far, so good. In fact, we’re actually ahead of last year, which had been our best year to date.”…..In Philadelphia, Beasley Media Group’s rock WMMR-FM morning show hosts Preston Elliot and Steve Morrison held their annual “Preston & Steve Camp Out For Hunger” event that raised over 2.5 million pounds of food and $1.4 million dollars in cash to benefit Philabundance, which offers hunger relief to needy individuals and families in the greater Philadelphia area…..iHeartMedia Boston’s country WBWL “101.7 The Bull” and WBTS-TV, “NBC10 Boston” raised more than $38,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital during last Saturday evening’s “One Night Only” broadcast special. The show was broadcast on NBC10 and hosted by “101.7 The Bull” personalities Colton Bradford, Amanda Jo, and Jess. It featured performances by country artists Kane Brown, Old Dominion, Kelsea Ballerini, Jon Pardi, Maren Morris, Lauren Alaina, and Jimmie Allen…..Beasley Media Group’s classic rock WCSX-FM, Detroit is presenting the “6th Annual People Helping People” campaign to assist families in Metro Detroit who are facing challenges during the holidays. Now through December 11, listeners are nominating families in need on the air and at WCSX.com. The “Big Jim’s House Morning Show” is sharing requests they receive on behalf of needy families and is connecting them with the appropriate business donors…..WUNC Music – the music discovery streaming radio station produced by WUNC-FM in Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina adds two new hosts to its schedule. Alan Thompson, a.k.a. DJ Who4thecru, comes to the station from WNCU in Durham where he hosts the “Morning Jazz” show. Susan Castle joins the WUNC Music team to host the 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm show. She is the long-time morning host at KUTX, Austin.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

| November 19, 2020

Westwood One to Offer Michael Knowles Show in January. The relationship between Cumulus Media’s Westwood One and the Daily Wire expands as WWO announces it will offer the one-hour “Michael Knowles Show” to radio stations beginning on January 4, 2021. The program will be fed live at 5:00 pm ET. Westwood One says, “Michael Knowles will provide a fresh, new voice on radio, delving beyond the headlines and analyzing the top cultural and political issues of the day. Knowles reaches a young conservative demographic, with an extensive following already through his podcast and social media channels. Knowles had the #1 podcast in America throughout most of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial with ‘Verdict,’ his podcast with Ted Cruz; and his podcast, ‘The Michael Knowles Show,’ is among the top 10 News Commentary podcasts on the American iTunes Charts. Knowles has 1.12 million Facebook followers, 393.9k Twitter followers, 352k YouTube followers, and 150k Instagram followers.” Knowles has previously served as a guest host for “The Ben Shapiro Show.”

It’s Official: Grace Curley to Take Over Early Afternoons on WRKO, Boston. As TALKERS magazine reported on Tuesday (11/17), iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston begins airing “The Grace Curley Show” in the early afternoon daypart beginning on January 4. Curley’s program is produced and distributed by the Howie Carr Radio Network and it replaces “The Vinnie Penn Project” in the WRKO lineup. It will air from 12:15 pm to 3:00 pm. Curley is the executive producer of “The Howie Carr Show” – a role she will continue – and also is a Boston Herald columnist. iHeartMedia Boston VP of news, talk and sports Rob Sanchez says, “Grace has a spark ready to be ignited. She is part of the next generation of talk radio hosts and is ready to set the Boston airwaves on fire with her strong and authentic voice. Grace represents core conservative values through a millennial lens and has learned from the absolute best, so she is the perfect lead in for the ‘Howie Carr Show.’”

Cumulus Media and VolunteerMatch Partner for PROJECT SHINE. The cross-platform charitable initiative PROJECT SHINE is a partnership between Cumulus Media and VolunteerMatch. Cumulus describes it as “an evergreen campaign that will inspire local acts of service and human connection in a world that has seen its share of challenges.” Cumulus EVP, content & audience Brian Philips says, “PROJECT SHINE serves as a conduit for human connection. We make it easy for good people to connect with great causes through VolunteerMatch. In every town, in every corner of America, some darkness subsides, and a new ray of light appears. Through service, we help ourselves and the whole world is better for it.” PROJECT SHINE will be promoted on Cumulus’ 422 radio stations and websites across 87 U.S. markets and through Westwood One. Creative promos will feature a new version of Collective Soul’s hit “Shine,” re-recorded exclusively for PROJECT SHINE.

TALKERS News Notes. Progressive talk radio host Stephanie Miller announces that her “Sexy Liberal Virtual Tour” continues this weekend with a show on Saturday (11/21) at 8:00 pm ET featuring John Fugelsang, Frangela, and Hal Sparks…..Cumulus Media San Francisco and the University of San Francisco athletics department announce their renegotiated multi-year agreement that will have KTCT-AM “KNBR 1050 The Sports Leader” serve as the flagship station for USF Dons men’s basketball. The station will carry all of the games, including pre- and post-game shows as well as the weekly “Hilltop Hoops Hour” hosted by the voice of the Dons, Pat Olson…..New York Public Radio names Armando Gutierrez chief financial officer, effective December 2. Gutierrez was most recently CFO for CBS Corporation. NYPR says, “Gutierrez brings more than 20 years of experience developing financial strategy, transforming traditional broadcast businesses, and driving digital growth across media organizations.”

Trump’s Denial of Election Results, Biden Transition, Georgia Recount/Runoff Elections, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Vaccines, Obama Memoir, Iran War Drums, Boeing 737 Max Greenlighted, and NFL Intensifies COVID Protocols Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/18). The refusal by Donald Trump to concede the election; the hampered transition process for Joe Biden; the presidential election recount in Georgia and the January runoff elections for that state’s two U.S. Senate seats; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad, projections for winter cases, and the vaccine progress announced by Pfizer and Moderna; former President Barack Obama’s new memoir; the talk of war against Iran by Saudi Arabia and Israel; Boeing’s 737 Max gets approval to fly again; and the NFL institutes stringent coronavirus prevention policies for all teams among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh News Reporter Joe DeStio to Retire. Radio news pro Joe DeStio announces he is retiring from Entercom’s KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh after 40 years in the business. DeStio served with WTAE, Pittsburgh before joining KDKA-AM nine years ago. He also serves as the house announcer for University of Pittsburgh Panthers football and mens basketball. He told listeners, “You get to the point that you realize life is short and while you still have the energy to do things, I want to get into music a little bit. I play the saxophone and I want to get good on that… I want to get good on the golf course, that’s the tallest order, probably… my wife and I want to travel… but, who knows, I may do something part time and I may get back into teaching.”

Former Long Island Radio Manager Pleads Guilty to Fraud. The former vice president and general manager of Long Island Radio Broadcasting pleads guilty to felony access device fraud in which she purchased “hundreds of thousands of dollars of personal charges” on the company’s American Express card. Stephanie McNamara Bitis faces 12 to 18 months in prison after the guilty plea. Long Island Radio Broadcasting owns and operates three stations – triple A WEHM-FM, Manorville; CHR WBEA-FM, Southold “The Beach 101.7”; and adult contemporary WBAZ-FM, Bridgehampton – on Long Island. Company owner Lauren Stone says that Bitis, who managed the stations from 2015 through 2017, was fired after “lackluster financial results.” Stone says a suspicious wire transfer caused her to hire outside experts to investigate the stations’ finances and then discovered the personal charges made by Bitis. While Stone says Bitis charged “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in personal expenses, Bitis’ lawyer Thomas Kenniff says Bitis disputes that and says his client was responsible for “no more than $1,000 in any given year,” according to a report in Patch.

RIP Mike Scinto. The passing of talk radio host Mike Scinto on Monday (11/16) was brought to the attention of TALKERS magazine by Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup, who shares with us the above photo of Scinto (left) with good friend Mike Gallagher (right). Gallagher and Scinto both got their start in talk radio at WAVI-AM, Dayton and for years Scinto would serve as a guest host on Gallagher’s SRN syndicated program. Gallagher paid tribute to Mike Scinto on his national program this morning, extending sympathy and prayers to Scinto’s wife Kathy and their children Zak and Carly, stating, “We will miss him. He was one of a kind.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Country radio pro Michelle Rodriguez joins the “Hawkeye in the Morning” show on Cumulus Media’s KSCS-FM “New Country 96.3.” Rodriguez has been the midday personality on the station for the past seven years. She begins working with Mark “Hawkeye” Louis on November 30. Station program director Mike Preston says, “Michelle has been a shining star on the station for 10 years and pairing her with Hawkeye just made sense. I can’t wait to see the new heights that together they’ll take us to!”…..Entercom flips adult contemporary WDZH-FM, Detroit “98.7 The Breeze” to alternative rock as “ALT 98.7.” Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “This is a huge opportunity to add alternative to our portfolio, and we’re thrilled to further expand our content offering for Detroiters. ‘ALT 98.7’ will serve as a home for some of today’s top hits from premier artists in the industry, while capturing the distinctive style and flair of the Motor City.”…..Radio One Philadelphia begins transitioning the hip hop format on WPHI-FM at 103.9 to its new home at WRNB’s 100.3 FM frequency. The stations will simulcast the format all this week in advance of the switch on Monday (11/23). Radio One Philadelphia station manager, Ezio Torres states, “I’m excited about the updates to our Philadelphia Urban One cluster as this allows the audience and reach of each of our stations to expand.”…..For the 11th year in a row, “The Steve Harvey Morning Show” and Premiere Networks is giving away thousands of turkeys as part of the Steve Harvey Morning Show Annual Turkey Give. Nearly 9,000 turkeys will be provided to affiliates of the award-winning morning radio show to help those less fortunate celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Since the Turkey Give was launched in 2009, nearly 90,000 turkeys have been given to those in need. Harvey says, “We consider it an honor and a privilege to help those less fortunate during the holiday season. On behalf of the entire Steve Harvey Morning Show, Happy Thanksgiving and God bless you all.”

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

| November 17, 2020

Howie Carr Radio Network to Launch ‘The Grace Curley Show.’ A new midday talk show is launching starring Grace Curley, currently the executive producer of the Boston-based Howie Carr show and a Boston Herald columnist. Curley’s program is being produced by The Howie Carr Radio Network and airs live daily from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm.  The Howie Carr Radio Network says it has signed a deal with iHeartMedia’s WRKO, Boston to air “The Grace Curley Show” beginning January 4.   HCRN president Kathy Carr says, “We have full coverage in New England and many of our clients benefit from our wide reach and personal attention to their radio campaigns. Because we have no layers, we are able to turn around promotions swiftly and creatively. I’m excited to bring Grace’s show to my affiliates and clients and plan to implement many of the features we do with Howie’s show on Grace’s program. However, she is her own talent and will have many new elements to her daily program, too. You can’t launch a network without a major market affiliate and with WRKO, we now have that. Our working relationship with the executives at iHeart continues to be one of great collaboration and respect.” Howie Carr adds, “Grace Curley is a great talent and just the sort of host talk radio needs to take the industry to the next level — a young, articulate, conservative woman who already has years of experience in drive-time programming, state-of-the-art podcast and daily print journalism.” Curley, who also is producer of the “Dirty Rats” true crime podcast, states, “I am ecstatic for this huge opportunity to host a talk radio show and offer my perspective on politics, pop culture, and more. Over the last six years, I’ve been mentored by one of the best in the business. I look forward to putting the skills I’ve learned from Howie Carr to the test and creating a show that is interesting, unique and entertaining.” For more information on “The Grace Curley Show” and the HCRN, email Kathy Carr at: Kathycarr@Howiecarrshow.com.

Feder: Mancow to Leave WLS-AM, Chicago After November 25 Show. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Erich “Mancow” Muller is leaving Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago after his November 25 show, saying he’s “tired of doing ‘radio without joy’ during a pandemic.” Mancow has been hosting mornings on WLS-AM for the past two years. He adds, “Much of the enjoyment I had left doing radio has been sucked out of it. Alone in an office building with no guests and endless rules is not my idea of a creative process… For me, no interaction has been the radio kiss of death. Talking during this political season and hearing endless tales of woe from my listeners has been radio without joy.” The station is going to feature guest hosts for the remainder of the year and Cumulus Chicago VP and market manager Marv Nyren says he and PD Stephanie Tichenor have narrowed the field of replacements to three.

Gordon Deal Celebrates 15 Years as Host of ‘This Morning – America’s First News.’ On-air pro Gordon Deal is celebrating his 15th anniversary as host of “This Morning –America’s First News with Gordon Deal.” He says, “With a short attention span like mine, it’s hard to imagine doing the same thing for 15 minutes, let alone 15 years. There’s a lot of pressure and responsibility, especially now with 300 affiliates, but having an exceptional team to work with every day and the support of Compass Media Networks means waking up at 2:30 am can actually be interesting and exhilarating.” Compass says that “This Morning – America’s First News” airs on news/talk stations in 92 of the top 100 markets and is re-broadcast via all major podcast listening platforms including iHeartRadio, RADIO.COM, and TuneIn. Compass Media Networks CEO Peter Kosann adds, “In the history of our medium, very few shows have achieved over 300 affiliates. Kudos to everyone at Compass Media Networks for reaching this goal and special thanks to Gordon Deal for his leadership and voice.”

TALKERS News Notes. Voice-over artist Cayman Kelly celebrates his continuing collaboration with ESPN as the first African American voice of ESPN Radio. He says, “Voice-over is my passion and I am so proud to be a voice for the ESPN network. It is a very fulfilling career. I am fortunate to have evolved and expanded my voice versatility after beginning this journey as a young man. I am also energized to do my part helping to diversify the voices in sports and continue to be a trusted voice.” ESPN senior vice president, production David Roberts comments, “Cayman brings an unmatched sound and prime-time feel to everything he does. We are excited to work with Cayman and look forward to his voice differentiating the sound of ESPN Audio.”…..The “KRMG Morning News with Dan Potter” is producing the station’s 15th annual “Stories of Light” fundraiser to benefit Make-A-Wish Oklahoma that takes place today (11/17) through Thursday. During the three-day “Stories of Light” event, KRMG will share heartwarming and inspiring stories from local wish kids as they strive to collect $300,000. The event has raised more than $3 million since its inception, thanks to the support of Green Country businesses and KRMG listeners. Station director of branding and programming Levi May says, “This is an unusual year for us because, while the COVID-19 outbreak has slowed donations and wish grants, it hasn’t diminished the number of children and their families in need. We are always motivated by these local kids, we are compelled to provide light during their darkest days, and we have never felt more driven to grant every wish we possibly can.”

COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Vaccines, Holiday Gatherings, Trump vs Transition, Georgia Runoff Elections/Recount, Trump’s Iran Threat, Dow-S&P Record Highs, and Hurricane Iota Hits Central America Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/16). The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad, projections for winter cases and the related positive news about vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna; the coming Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and concerns about family get-togethers as superspreading events; Donald Trump’s efforts to stymie the Joe Biden administration transition; the runoff elections in Georgia for its two U.S. Senate seats and the presidential ballot recount; Trump consults Pentagon about strike on Iran nuclear facilities; the Dow and the S&P 500 hit record highs on vaccine news; and Hurricane Iota lashes Central America were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Leo Baldwin is named brand manager for Entercom’s hot AC KYKY-FM “Y98” and adult contemporary KEZK in St. Louis. He says, “I’m so excited to join the amazing team in St. Louis and the incredible brands they have established in the market.” Baldwin most recently programmed Hubbard Radio’s AC WRMF and classic hits WEAT in West Palm Beach where he also served as operations manager for the seven-station cluster…..iHeartMedia Columbus drops the classic rock on WXZX-FM, Columbus and re-brands the station as “The New Columbus Alternative 105.7, Everything Alternative.” This comes in the wake of the former WWCD’s flip from alternative to Spanish music as signal owner Southeastern Ohio Broadcasting leases the 102.5 FM station (now WWLG-FM) to another operator. WWCD is continuing to air an alternative format online. Back to WXZX, the station names Rafferty afternoon drive personality and promises more jocks will join the station soon.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

| November 10, 2020

iHeartMedia Third Quarter Revenue Down 22%. The earnings report from iHeartMedia for the third quarter of 2020 shows the media company in a slightly better situation than some of its similar-sized competitors as revenue was $744 million, a decrease of 22% over the same period in 2019. (Cumulus Media and Entercom were both down 30% and Beasley was down 25%.) iHeartMedia says that its third quarter revenue was up “53% sequentially, moving from down 47% [year-over-year] in Q2 to down 22% [year-over-year] in Q3. The company adds that October revenue increased 2%, benefitting from significant political advertising and digital revenue increased 17% [year-over-year]. Breaking the report down by segment, broadcast revenue declined 29% from $573 million in Q3 2019 to $404 million this year but increased 66% quarter-over-quarter. Networks revenue declined 26% from $160 million to $119 million but increased 24% quarter-over-quarter. Digital revenue increased 17%, from $97 million to $113 million, led by a 74% increase in podcasting revenue. iHeartMedia posted a loss of $32 million in the third quarter of 2020 compared to the net income of $12 million in Q3 of 2019.

iHM’s Pittman: Podcasting Already Profitable for Us. During yesterday’s investors conference call, iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman explained the success of its podcasting segment. He said, “Podcasting continues to be our strongest performing business line, reflecting the fact that we built iHeart into the number one commercial podcast publisher in America, with 252 million downloads a month as of September, which is up 71% year-over-year. In Q3, as measured by Podtrac, we were number one in downloads each month. Our audience continues to be more than twice the size of the next largest commercial podcaster. And we extend that our lead over all other ranked podcasters. Let me share with you our model. We partner with the best content creators in the world – some of whom are our very own radio talent – distribute their content to the largest audience possible without a paywall, and use the unparalleled scale of our broadcast radio business as a built-in marketing machine to drive engagement with our podcast shows. We feel this is an important part of our secret sauce. It’s how we continue to build hit podcast after hit podcast, and how we continue to grow our leadership position. According to Podtrac’s latest data, not only are we number one overall, but we currently have the most shows featured across all categories, and we have ranked shows featured in all 19 possible categories, the most among all publishers. Let me be clear, podcasting is already a profitable business for us, and has an EBITDA margin that is higher than the overall company margin. Our podcast business is advertiser supported, it’s not subscription based, and it’s not behind a paywall, which enables our creators to share their passion with the widest audience possible, as we distribute their podcast not only on the iHeartRadio app, but across as many other distribution platforms as possible.”

Entercom Closes on $32 Million Acquisition of QL Gaming Group. According to a press release, Entercom Communications’ acquisition of sports data and iGaming affiliate platform QL Gaming Group will give Entercom “unrivaled data, analytics, and insight-driven content to Entercom’s best-in-class sports broadcast stations, influential podcasts, and RADIO.COM.” The QLGG technology portfolio includes sports betting data and analytical capabilities (BetQL), daily fantasy sports (RotoQL), simulation-based sports outcome predictions and game forecasting (AccuScore), and comprehensive analytical coverage of the ATP and WTA Tours (TennisInsight.com), each with respective subscriber base and licensing opportunities. Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “As the sports betting marketplace continues to grow exponentially, the acquisition of QL Gaming Group is a perfect fit for our unrivaled sports audio platform. Integrating QL’s analytics and content with our sports brands enables us to deliver unparalleled experiences for sports fans. The acquisition builds on our track record of digital growth and further enhances our direct-to-consumer technology portfolio with data and analytics capabilities, while also adding an innovative new subscription offering to our platform.” Justin Park, QLGG co-founder and CEO, will continue to lead the business reporting to Entercom president of sports Mike Dee and Entercom chief digital officer J.D. Crowley. Entercom adds that in 2021, under the company’s first full year of ownership, QL Gaming Group is expected to generate approximately $12 million in revenue with an EBITDA margin in the high 20s.

Flag Family Media Partners with Forum Communications to Operate WDAY-AM, Fargo. A deal between Flag Family Media and Forum Communications will give the former “an extensive role in WDAY-AM’s day-to-day operations and provides an eventual path to ownership.” Flag Family Media owns news/talk outlets WZFG, Fargo “AM 1100 The Flag” KTGO, Tioga, North Dakota “AM 1090 The Flag.” Both of Flag Family Media’s principals – Steve Hallstrom and Scott Hennen – have worked at WDAY-AM in the past. Forum president and CEO Bill Marcil, Jr says, “This partnership allows us to focus our attention on our in-depth TV, digital, and print news operations while still sustaining a strong local radio presence in the region. We know Flag Family Media will honor the legacy of WDAY-AM and are looking forward to seeing how they transform our region’s radio experience.” Scott Hennen adds, “This is an extremely significant day for our company, and we look forward to learning from, and working with, some great professionals at WDAY Radio. Steve and I can’t wait to roll up our sleeves and bring some energy and creativity to this legendary radio station.”

WOR, New York’s Michael Riedel Publishes New Broadway Book. WOR, New York morning drive co-host Michael Riedel has released his second book, Singular Sensation: The Triumph of Broadway (Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster, 2020), that chronicles “a transformative decade on Broadway, featuring gripping behind-the-scenes accounts of shows such as Rent, Angels in America, Chicago, The Lion King, and The Producers. In this book, Riedel presents the drama behind every mega-hit or shocking flop, bringing readers into high-stakes premieres, fraught rehearsals, tough contract negotiations, intense Tony Award battles, and more. From the bitter feuds to the surprising collaborations, all the intrigue of a revolutionary era in the Theater District is packed into Singular Sensation. Broadway has triumphs and disasters, but the show always goes on. Riedel, who co-hosts the WOR morning show with Len Berman, says, “I’m a newspaper guy who’s become a radio guy. It’s been my great pleasure to host the morning show with Len Berman on WOR for nearly three years. Len spent his life in sports. I spent mine on Broadway. We certainly talk a lot about politics and current events, but variety is the spice of life, so sports and Broadway are always in the mix. Broadway’s going through a tough time right now, but my book, recounts a better time – the 1990s. I have no doubt that Broadway will be back one day, and Len and I will be there to cheer it on.”

TALKERS News Notes. As eyes and ears shift to Georgia for the January 5 runoff elections to decide that state’s two U.S. Senate races, Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher’s syndicated late morning talk show will “parachute into Georgia in December” as he launches a “Save The Senate” initiative. Gallagher will use Salem’s WGKA-AM, Atlanta “AM920 The ANSWER” as his December base to follow what promises to be the most expensive runoff election in U.S. history. Gallagher says, “This pair of runoff elections in Georgia will be enormously consequential for America. I’m eager to originate my show from the studios of ‘AM 920 The ANSWER’ in Atlanta for a number of days in December, highlighting the dramatic differences between the Republicans and the Democrats in the race. It is all-hands-on-deck for Georgia!”…..The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Cincinnati Public Radio’s WVXU-FM had to shut down its operations after a staffer tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, the station is without much local content until further notice. It posted to its website: “Our programming is being provided through a national feed with limited local information. We apologize for this inconvenience and are doing everything possible to maintain the service you expect. We will return to normal operations as quickly as it is safe to do so.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is presenting the 2020 Masters Tournament with exclusive hole-by-hole coverage beginning Thursday (11/12) through Sunday (11/15). The 84th Masters Tournament from Augusta National Golf Club is being played in November for the first time…..San Francisco public news/talk personality Michael Krasny is retiring from his position with KQED-FM where he’s been host of the late morning “Forum” program for almost 30 years. His last program will be on February 15, 2021. He says, “I want to thank all of the listeners, guests and exceptional colleagues I’ve had the great fortune to encounter over the years as host of Forum. I’ve been unusually fortunate to sustain such a long career serving the Bay Area in a role that allows me to participate in such rich and thoughtful conversations about the topics of our times.”

Biden Transition Process/Trump Refuses to Concede, Barr Orders ‘Irregularities’ Investigations, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Pfizer Vaccine, SCOTUS Obamacare Case, Trump Fires Esper, and Georgia Runoff Elections Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/9). President-Elect Joe Biden proceeds with the transition process while President Trump refuses to concede the election; Attorney General Bill Barr orders Justice Department election crimes office to investigate voter “irregularities”; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and in Europe and projections for fall and winter cases; Pfizer announces its COVID vaccine is 90% effective; the Supreme Court begins hearing arguments on the Affordable Care Act; President Trump fires Defense Secretary Mark Esper and appoints Christopher Miller acting secretary; and the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats 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. Country radio on-air pro Brooke Taylor is named midday host at iHeartMedia’s WSIX-FM, Nashville “The BIG 98.” Taylor was most recently with the company’s Chicago country station “BIG 95.5” until that station’s recent flip to a rock format. Taylor will continue to host the night show for iHeartMedia Denver’s “107.7 The Bull” and broadcast on several iHeartCountry stations across the country. She says, “When I set out to work in country music, one of the first things I prayed for was to be in Nashville one day, and the fact that this is becoming a reality is honestly a dream come true. I can’t wait to join an already incredible team at ‘The BIG 98’ and to represent the iHeartCountry brand.”…..Alpha Media Lincoln names Joe Dobbins, a.k.a. JDub, content director for CHR KFRX. JDub comes to Lincoln from Alpha’s CHR WDJX, Louisville where he was content director and afternoon show host. Alpha Media Lincoln operations manager Rob Kelley comments, “Joe is an outstanding programmer with outstanding vision. He is the perfect leader for our staff and for the brand of a great heritage CHR like KFRX.”…..iHeartMedia’s nationally syndicated “The Breakfast Club” announces that its fourth annual #Change4Change broadcast will feature a day of giving to help listeners in need. Traditionally a radiothon, this year’s event will grant wishes to listeners experiencing hardship. #Change4Change will broadcast on Thursday, November 19, 2020 on hip hop WWPR, New York “Power 105.1” and across more than 77 affiliates of “The Breakfast Club.”…..WXKB, Fort Myers “B103.9FM” morning personality and Army veteran Jason “Big Mama” Jones, in conjunction with ABC 7, raising awareness and support for Home Base Southwest Florida Veteran and Family Care on Veterans Day (11/11). Jones also hosts Beasley Media Group’s “Bravery Network,” a weekend program dedicated to shining a light on important issues and services available for veterans and their families. He says, “I am very excited about this partnership. Being able to use the power of radio and television to help raise awareness and money for the veterans of Southwest Florida. I am planning some ‘star’-studded guest for the day that will not only make show informative but very entertaining as well.”…..The CHR evening show “Party LiveLine!” partners with Sun Broadcast Group effective immediately. The program was created by John Garabedian and his hosted by Mason Kelter. SBG chief development officer Rich O’Brien says, “Broadcasters are worried about the loss of TSL among 18-34-year-olds, who spend extraordinary amounts of time with streaming services on their mobile devices. Add to this the negative effects which RIFs and voicetracking have had on the ratings of Top 40 stations, and until now there were no good alternatives. That’s why we are so excited to be offering this breakthrough Top 40 night show which is 100% live and interactive.”

Monday, November 9, 2020

| November 9, 2020

Pending Business: Sales Lessons from the Election Cycle. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, writes in today’s column that presenting a concise, targeted message of your station’s benefits to prospects is crucial to making the sale and is ultimately more important than how many prospects you toss into the hopper. Read his column here.

Biden Declared 46th President/Trump Refuses to Concede, Georgia Runoff Elections, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Vaccine, the Economy/Stimulus Deal, Tropical Storm Eta, and Alex Trebek Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Democratic challenger Joe Biden is declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election and President Trump’s refusal to concede the election; the January run-off elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; the rising number of COVID cases in the U.S. and Europe, projections for the fall and winter months, and Pfizer’s announcement that its COVID vaccine appears to be 90% effective; the state of the U.S. economy and anticipation of a new stimulus deal; the arrival of Tropical Storm Eta in Florida; and longtime “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek dies among top news/talk stories over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday Memo: 20-20 News. With the holidays looming, and as we are prepping perennial year-end retrospectives, it’s easy to wonder what-the-heck-NEXT? In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke offers a wider-angle shot, and simple suggestion for radio. Read it here.

Townsquare Media Q3 Net Revenue Down 15.3%. Third quarter earnings from Townsquare Media indicate the company is weathering the COVID-19 pandemic better than some of radio’s larger firms. Net revenue for the third quarter of 2020 was $95.4 million, a decrease of 15.3% from the same period in 2019. While advertising revenue was down $16 million or 17.2%, Townsquare Interactive net subscription revenue increased $2.3 million, or 14.5%, to $18.2 million. For obvious reasons, live events net revenue decreased $3.5 million, or 98.2%, to $0.1 million. Townsquare was able to post net income of $1.3 million for the quarter (compared to the $7.3 million in net income in Q3 2019) whereas many broadcasting companies are posting losses for the quarter. Townsquare CEO Bill Wilson says, “I am proud to share with you today that Townsquare’s third quarter results exceeded our expectations, driven by sequential net revenue improvement throughout the quarter as our business continued to accelerate despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Third quarter net revenue improved to a decline of -15.3%, as compared to the third quarter of the prior year, which was up from a decline of -34.5% in the second quarter. This translated to a strong increase in Adjusted EBITDA from $2.1 million in the second quarter to $17.5 million in the third quarter. Our better than anticipated third quarter results were due to gains in both our Townsquare Interactive and Advertising segments. Townsquare Interactive, our digital marketing subscription business, has delivered net subscription revenue and subscriber growth each and every month of 2020, demonstrating its recession-resistant characteristics and proving to be valuable and a tremendous resource to local businesses. In the third quarter, Townsquare Interactive’s net revenue increased 14.5% over the prior year period, at an Adjusted Operating Income margin in excess of 30%, and added approximately 1,150 net subscribers, marking the 10th consecutive quarter of 850 (or more) net subscriber additions and the most quarterly net subscriber adds in nearly six years. Improvement across our Advertising segment was broad based, as revenue declines improved from -37.5% in the second quarter to -17.2% in the third quarter, each as compared to the prior year. Broadcast advertising net revenue sequentially improved throughout the quarter, with and without political revenue, and digital advertising net revenue returned to growth in the third quarter, driven by positive net revenue growth from Townsquare Ignite (+10% year over year), our digital programmatic advertising solution, and AMPED (+9% year over year), advertising revenue associated with our owned and operated local websites. In total, our digital net revenue exceeded 44% of our total net revenue in Q3 2020, and we remain confident that Townsquare Interactive and Townsquare Ignite will each generate $100 million of annual net revenue in two to three years… Although 2020 has been a challenging year, we are proud that we did not need to alter our core strategy.  Rather, we believe the pandemic has allowed us to separate from our local media peers by placing a spotlight on the success of our strategy.  Our focus on underserved small and mid-sized local markets, our investment and commitment to our ‘Local First strategy, and our investment in world class personnel, technology and infrastructure that allowed us to build a strong digital platform with best of breed products, services and solutions that contributes 44% of our total revenue, have all contributed to our ability to mitigate revenue declines and manage quite effectively through this downturn. We believe these actions will position Townsquare to quickly emerge from this crisis and return to our market leading performance quickly once this crisis abates.”

iHeartMedia Cuts Hit WLW, Cincinnati’s Steve Sommers. WVXU, Cincinnati’s John Kiesewetter reports that longtime “America’s Truckin’ Network” host Steve Sommers is a victim of the current downsizing taking place at iHeartMedia. The overnight program has aired on WLW, Cincinnati since it was launched by Sommers’ father, Dale “Truckin’ Bozo” Sommers, in 1984. As Kiesewetter notes, Steve Sommers joined his father on the program in 1996 and took over the program in 2004. Sommers posted to Facebook: “I have been DISMISSED from I-Heart Radio… I’m sorry my friends… 2020 is a bitch!!! I will not have a chance to say GOOD-BYE!!! Thanks for 25 years of friendship!!” It’s unclear what the status of the overnight program is as the “America’s Truckin’ Network” – along with Sommers’ photo – is still listed on the WLW website.

TALKERS News Notes. Washington, DC’s WTOP is partnering with longtime market crime reporter Paul Wagner for a new podcast titled, “Murder in a Safe Place.” Wagner has worked for WTTG-TV “FOX5 News” for the past 20 years covering cases including the murder of Congressional intern Chandra Levy to the Mansion Murders and the police-involved shooting of motorcyclist Terrence Sterling. He served as a reporter at WTOP from 1989 to 1999. In this series, Wagner examines a local cold case from 22 years ago: the murder of Sherry Crandell, a 50-year-old hospital worker who was brutally assaulted and later found dead in her office at Prince George’s Hospital Center. WTOP director of news and programming Julia Ziegler says, “Paul is a part of the WTOP family, and we are so excited to partner with him on this project. This 22-year-old cold case is a horrific and baffling one that will have listeners asking questions. Our hope is that through the reach of this podcast, we can bring closure to this case and the Crandell family.”…..iHeartMedia and the Malcolm Gladwell and Jacob Weisberg-co-founded Pushkin Industries enter into a co-production and distribution agreement that will make iHeartMedia the exclusive sales partner for Pushkin’s catalog of podcasts that includes “Revisionist History,” “Broken Record,” “The Happiness Lab with Laurie Santos,” and many others. As part of this deal, iHeartMedia and Pushkin Industries will co-produce a slate of new, original podcasts over the next two years. Gladwell says, “We started Pushkin to share the joy Jacob and I have found in creating and producing podcasts. Working with the team at iHeart will allow us to spread this joy at an even bigger scale.”…..AdLarge Media and National Sports Network unveil their slate of NCAA basketball games for the 2020-2021 season for radio. Last month, AdLarge was announced as the exclusive ad sales partner for the NCAA basketball games on the National Sports Network. The networks will air the Creighton Bluejays vs the Kansas Jayhawks on December 8 and the Gonzaga Bulldogs taking on the Iowa Hawkeyes on December 19.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Zannie Glover, a.k.a. Zannie K, is named program director for Beasley Media Group’s hip hop WMGC “105.1 the BOUNCE” and urban contemporary WDMK “105.9 KISS-FM,” effective December 1. Zannie K was most recently program director at non-commercial KMOJ-FM, Minneapolis as well as was the associate program director and nationwide night talent for Westwood One’s classic hip hop format…..Urban One Columbus enters into a Local Marketing Agreement with Southern Ohio Broadcasting to operate WWCD-FM, Columbus and launches a regional Mexican/tropical format branded as “La Grande 102.5 FM.” Urban One RVP Eddie Harrell Jr. says, “We are pleased to expand our footprint again in Central Ohio by reaching the fastest growing segment of the population, inclusive of the Mexican community and growing Central and South American communities. Combined with our African American targeted radio/television assets, we are now the largest single source provider of content to African Americans and Spanish speaking residents in Central Ohio.”…..Entercom’s rock outlet KISW-FM, Seattle is presenting the sixth annual “Live Day” tomorrow (11/10). This year’s completely live, virtual event will feature broadcasts of the station’s morning show “BJ & Migs” and afternoon show “The Men’s Room” with no recorded commercials, sound effects or music. Fifteen bands from across the Northwest and multiple voices from across the country will perform throughout the 12-hour program. KISW brand manager Dave Richards says, “For the KISW audience, 2020 wouldn’t be complete without the annual entertainment spectacular, ‘Live Day.’ This year, every artist and performer will participate virtually and distanced. Thank you, technology.”

Thursday, November 5, 2020

| November 5, 2020

Cumulus Media’s Q3 Financial Report Reveals Net Revenue Down 30.1%. Reporting its earnings for the third quarter of 2020, Cumulus Media says net revenue was $196.4 million, a decrease of 30.1% from the same period in 2019. The company also reports a net loss of $15.8 million compared to the $16.3 net income reported for the third quarter of 2019. Same station net revenue was $196.4 million, a decrease of 29.4% from Q3 of 2019. Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner says, “In the third quarter, the company continued to focus on maximizing revenue performance, executing meaningful expense reductions, protecting cash through efficient working capital management and strengthening our balance sheet. Despite the extraordinary challenges of operating through a pandemic, we have reduced debt by $269 million and increased cash by $316 million since emerging from bankruptcy in 2018 (a net debt reduction of more than $585 million or 46%.) We believe that these actions, along with record-setting political revenues, will allow us to navigate through and emerge from the COVID-19 crisis with considerable ability to support our growth initiatives and capitalize on strategic and operating opportunities in 2021 and beyond.”

Bakersfield Talk Radio Personality Inga Barks Dies. According to a report by KERO-TV, Bakersfield, former market talk radio personality Inga Barks has died unexpectedly at age 53. At this point details are few, but it appears Barks passed away on November 4. KERO-TV quotes Barks’ friend Cindy Andrews – who worked with Barks at American General Media news/talk outlet KERN-AM – saying, “I am deeply saddened over the death of my former coworker and friend, Inga Barks. Not only was she a talented talk show host, but she was also very devoted to her family. We shared many laughs and unique experiences as female broadcasters for American General Media. She will be missed by many.” You can see KERO-TV’s report that includes tributes from former co-workers – including KMJ, Fresno’s Blake Taylorhere.

WTIC-AM, Hartford Morning Co-Host Joe D’Ambrosio to Leave Station in June. According to an account in the Hartford Courant, WTIC-AM, Hartford morning drive co-host Joe D’Ambrosio says he’s frustrated with his “inability to speak his mind on the air and will leave his position when his contract expires in June.” The paper reports that D’Ambrosio told co-host Ray Dunaway, “At this radio station at this time, I’m not allowed to let my opinions be known. I’ve told management, when my contract is up in June, my time with WTIC will be over.”  It’s not clear if D’Ambrosio is upset with a directive from management or just with the general tenor of host and caller opinions. Reporter Susan Dunne says that when reached later, D’Ambrosio declined to elaborate on his comments.

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s October 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the news/talk format. Over the last eight PPM surveys going back to March, the global pandemic, racial tensions/protests, and the election year have provided the news/talk format with ample hot-button issues to discuss and the format’s performance has improved over the same period in 2019, based on Nielsen’s 6+ weekly AQH share data. In the October 2020 survey, 61% of news/talk stations were up over the September 2020 survey with gainers being led buy iHeartMedia’s KFYI, Phoenix (+1.4) and Bonneville’s KSL-FM, Salt Lake City (+1.3). Comparing year-over-year data, 68% of news/talk stations were up in October 2020 compared to October 2019 with gainers being led by iHeartMedia’s WISN, Milwaukee (+6.2), KNRS-FM, Salt Lake City (+4.4), and WCBM Inc’s WCBM, Baltimore (+3.7). In the October 2020 survey, seven news/talk stations ranked #1 (6+) in their respective markets. Find out which stations were ranked #1 by reading Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

Mid-West Family Madison Donates $900k in Advertising. The Madison, Wisconsin station group of Mid-West Family Broadcasting gave $900,000 in free advertising (more than 31,000 commercials) to hundreds of local businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic between March 21 and July 21 through its “NOW OPEN” program. Mid-West Family Madison president Tom Walker says, “Our company was formed in Madison, we’ve been here for 91 years, and our commitment to the community and local businesses is our top priority. ‘NOW OPEN’ gave us the chance to connect businesses with consumers when they needed it most.”

Report: ESPN to Lay Off 300. According to a report by Andrew Marchand in the New York Post, sports giant ESPN is laying off 300 staffers and will not fill some 200 positions that had been open. This comes as parent company ABC/Disney deals with the effects of the pandemic and the changes in media consumption behavior. Marchand’s report indicates that the cuts will be “spread across the network” but will largely spare on-air personalities. Marchand adds, “As is the case across Disney, ESPN is trying to shift more of its business to direct-to-consumer. It has created ESPN+. It had reported 8.5 million subscribers as of this summer. The pandemic has also created new ways to deliver programming with less people.”

The Road to 270 Electoral Votes/Promised Legal Challenges, Portland Violence, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, European Lockdowns, New Islamic Terror Threats, U.S. Exits Paris Climate Accord, Prop 22 Passes in California, Watch on Hurricane Eta Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/4). The counting continues as Donald Trump and Joe Biden each hope to reach the 270 electoral vote threshold to claim victory and the gearing up of legal challenges to some states’ vote totals; the National Guard is called in to Portland, Oregon after a riot is declared; the rapidly rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for the fall/winter seasons; the lockdowns being ordered in numerous European nations to combat the rising number of COVID cases; concerns about new terror attacks by actors sympathetic to the Islamic State; the United States officially exits the Paris Climate Accord; California passes Proposition 22 which allows Uber and Lyft to treat drives as contractors and not employees; and the possibility that Hurricane Eta will gain steam and head for Florida were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and iHeartMedia are teaming up for an exclusive podcast partnership for the series “Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Vault” that will debut Friday (11/6), the day before the 35th Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony airing on November 7 on HBO. The series covers iconic induction speeches and will debut with The Beatles inducted by Mick Jagger, N.W.A inducted by Kendrick Lamar, The Eagles inducted by Jimmy Buffet, and Stevie Nicks inducted by Harry Styles. New episodes will premiere every Friday through the end of the year and a second season will premiere in early 2021. iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne says, “Over the past 35 years, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies have become renowned for their impassioned and sometimes outrageous acceptance speeches. We’re thrilled to bring the most iconic moments of past and present music infamy to fans around the world and continue to share what’s made the event special in the past and for years to come.”

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

| November 4, 2020

POST-ELECTION DAY UNCERTAINTY: News/Talk Media Braces for Even Further Polarization.  As indicated yesterday in TALKERS, news/talk media programmers and on-air hosts are contemplating what life will be like after the election (see story below), weighing the impact various potential scenarios will have upon their positioning and preparing themselves for inevitable changes in the political landscape. In this era of targeting audiences based on their political predisposition, or what TALKERS founder Michael Harrison yesterday (11/3) described as “the daily dance of affirmation,” the results of this election could have a profound impact on the ideological stances of talk show hosts going forward. Now, a day later, at the time of the posting of this item, the final result of the election is still undetermined as the nation awaits accurate counts in several battleground states. Harrison, notes, “We now know one extremely important thing that wasn’t certain yesterday – there will be no blow out.  There will be no so-called blue or red wave.  There will be no clear-cut confirmation of a basic direction agreed upon by an obvious majority of Americans. That means more, not less, polarization and the further intensification of fear, anger, and political tribalism. One of the greatest obstacles to creating viable objective journalism and social healing in such an environment is the prevailing attitude, ‘if you are not with us, you are against us.’”

Saga Communications Q3 Revenue Rises Dramatically from Q2; Still Down 26% from Q3 in 2019. Reporting on its revenue for the third quarter of 2020, Saga Communications says, “Third quarter revenue and related net income continue to be materially impacted by disruptions to businesses and service providers activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From the net revenue low point in April the company’s revenue has significantly increased in each of the following months. The company continues to concentrate on new revenue strategies and enhanced engagement with its existing and new advertisers.” Saga’s net revenue for Q3 2020 was $24.1 million, a 43.1% increase over Q2 of 2020 but 26% lower than the $31.3 million reported in Q3 of 2019. Station operating income was $6.1 million for the quarter, a decrease of 42% from the same period in 2019. Station operating expense decreased $4 million to $19.6 million for the quarter compared to the same period last year. Operating income was $247,000 and Saga took a net loss of $950,000 for the quarter, compared to the gain of $3,3 million it reported in the third quarter of 2019. Among the publicly traded U.S. radio companies, Saga Communications is positioned well going forward as it has $49.8 million in cash on hand as of November 2, 2020. Its total bank debt is just $10 million as of the end of the quarter.

Country WCOL-FM, Columbus PM Jock Brandon Boxer Doubles Up to Host Mornings on News/Talk WTVN-AM. Columbus Business First reports that iHeartMedia has filled the morning show host role at news/talk WTVN-AM, Columbus with Brandon Boxer, currently the afternoon host and assistant program director at sister country station WCOL-FM. Boxer replaces Joel Riley, who along with producer Tom Schmid were laid off in this latest round of staff culling at the company. Boxer will continue in his roles with WCOL. He tweeted on Monday: “Today was a tough one for some of my colleagues & very sad. I feel very weird announcing this, but tomorrow I begin a new journey hosting mornings on [610 WTVN]. It’s extremely bittersweet & I’m scared to death, but here we go.”

Jason Lewis Comes Up Short in U.S. Senate Race. Former Minneapolis talk radio host Jason Lewis (also a former GOP congressman from Minnesota) was unsuccessful in his bid for the U.S. Senate seat held by Tina Smith. She won the special election to fill the seat vacated by Al Franken in 2017 and was running against Lewis for her first full, six-year term. Lewis began his talk radio career as a weekend host on KOA-AM, Denver. He worked in the Twin Cities market as a talk host at KSTP and KTLK. His talk show was eventually syndicated by Premiere Networks and Genesis Communications Network. He’d also served as a talk host at WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte.

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 October 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk. The transition from the September PPM survey to the October PPM survey was good for sports talk radio as 65% of sports talk stations were up (6+ weekly AQH share) compared to the 18% that were down and the 17% that were flat. Gainers were led by iHeartMedia’s KFXN-FM, Minneapolis “K-FAN” (+2.9); Cumulus Media’s WGFX-FM, Nashville “104.5 The Zone” (+2.4); and Cumulus’ KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas “The Ticket” (+2.1). However, a look at year-over-year numbers gives us a look at just how far many sports talk stations fell due to the COVID-related shutdown of live sports as 72% of sports talk stations in PPM markets were down compared to the October 2019 survey and just 22% improved. Those stations showing growth were led by KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas (+2.3); KFXN-FM, Minneapolis (+1.4); and Cumulus’ KNBR, San Francisco (+0.9). KFXN-FM was the only sports talk outlet to rank #1 in its market during the October 2020 PPM survey. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

Election Day, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, the Economy & Financial Markets Activity, State Marijuana Votes/Oregon Decriminalizes Hard Drugs, IS-Inspired Terror Attacks, and China Halts Ant Group IPO Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/3). The presidential election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, as well as the races for U.S. Senate and U.S. Rep seats; the U.S. economy and the election day activity in the world’s financial markets; several states vote to legalize marijuana and Oregon decriminalizes small amounts of hard drugs; the Islamic State-inspired terror attacks France, Vienna, and Kabul; and the Chinese government stops the IPO of Jack Ma’s Ant Group 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. Detroit radio personality Mark “Meltdown” Milligan is celebrating his 25thanniversary at Beasley Media Group’s rock WRIF-FM. “Meltdown” began his career with the station on November 1, 1995 as the overnight jock. He later moved to the evening show host role and in February of 2009, he replaced Detroit legend Arthur Penhallow as the afternoon drive personality. Beasley Media Group Detroit director of programming Scott Jameson says, “One of the reasons legendary brands become ‘legendary’ are personalities that over time, develop a true connection and deep bond with the audience. In the nearly 50-year history of WRIF there have been two afternoon drive jocks. ‘Meltdown’ continues the rich legacy of outstanding air talent on WRIF. Congratulations on your 25th!”…..Service Broadcasting Group is looking for a high-profile entertainer to join the cast of the KKDA, Dallas “K104”-based “DeDe in the Morning” show that is nationally syndicated via Compass Media Networks. Service Broadcasting Group head of content George “Geo” Cook and #TeamDeDe are launching a national talent search for an entertainer, influencer, and storyteller who can collaborate with host DeDe McGuire and lead co-host Lady Jade to add their own authentic personality and powerful point of view to “DeDe in the Morning.” Email your video expressing why you are our next big star, along with your resume package, including an audio demo (aircheck), social media links, and podcast audio clips to SBG HR manager Debbie Henry at debbie.henry@K104fm.com. EOE.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

| November 3, 2020

Beasley Media Group Third Quarter Report: Net Revenue Down 25%. The first radio company to report 2020 third quarter financial results is Beasley Media Group which reveals net revenue for the period was $49.6 million, down almost 25% from the $66.1 million reported in the third quarter of 2019. Obviously, the dramatic decrease is the result of a loss of advertising revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic. The company reports operating income of $0.8 million, down from $9.4 million in Q3 of 2019. Beasley reports a net loss of $2.7 million for the quarter compared to the net income of $3 million realized in the third quarter of 2019. Station operating income was $8.1 million, a little less than half of the $16.7 million in SOI reported in the third quarter of 2019. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley states, “The strong recovery of our business continued in the third quarter of 2020. It is clear that the immediate actions we took to address the pandemic, including reducing station operating expenses, headcount reductions, furloughs, and negotiated discounts with landlords, service providers and partners have contributed to Beasley’s ability to rebound quickly. This focus, combined with the resumption of advertising in key categories, the experience of our teams who have managed through previous economic challenges, the quality of our content, and the role we play in the communities we serve, have all contributed to our ability to turn the corner as evidenced by the positive SOI recorded in the 2020 third quarter. Throughout the third quarter our sales teams drove monthly sequential revenue improvements with July up 8% over June, August up 24% over July and September rising 22% over August. Total net revenue for October increased in the low- to mid-single digits, and November revenue is currently pacing down in the low teens. In addition to the resumption of advertising in key categories and the benefit of the political cycle, Beasley generated continued positive results from its digital and esports investments, which have been less impacted by the pandemic. Third quarter digital revenue rose 1.8% year-over-year to $5 million and our new esports operations generated approximately $500,000 of revenue during the period. Digital revenue accounted for approximately 10.1% of total third quarter revenue, compared to 7.4% of total revenue in the prior year period. Reflecting our initiatives to address the pandemic, including reducing operating expenses and corporate overhead and realigning our company-wide cost structure, Beasley’s third quarter total operating expenses declined by 15.9% and the company expects to reduce its operating expenses through year-end by more than $32 million compared to our 2020 operating budget. We anticipate that a meaningful portion of the operating expense reductions realized since the onset of the pandemic will be recurring, as we continue to make fundamental changes to improve processes and efficiencies across the organization. While the last several months have presented unprecedented challenges for ad-reliant businesses, I am extremely proud of the way our corporate and station level leaders and valued team members rose to the occasion and worked tirelessly to enable Beasley to return to positive cash flow in the third quarter. Looking ahead to the fourth quarter and 2021, we intend to continue our focus on growing our cash flow and maintaining a strong balance sheet with liquidity at current or higher levels. Growing ratings, diversifying revenue and delivering exceptional content and services to our listeners, advertisers, online users and esports fans will remain our focus. And we believe the tremendous resilience of our team and steps we’ve taken to strengthen our financial position and achieve ongoing operational efficiencies have helped ensure that Beasley Broadcast Group remains well-positioned for near- and long-term success.”

iHeartMedia Purging Employees; WTVN’s Riley and Schmid Exit. The latest round of “headcount reduction” is taking place at iHeartMedia, with air personalities, producers and more being let go as the company deals with the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Because of the ratio of music-formatted stations to talk stations, the majority of those being laid off are from music outlets. Some of those working in talk formats who’ve been let go include WTVN, Columbus morning host Joel Riley and morning program producer Tom Schmid. Riley told Columbus Business First, “I worked there for over 26 years. It was my dream job, that morning show. I’m devastated. I will miss the listeners. They made that job special every day.”

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s October 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format. About half of the all-news stations in PPM markets were up (6+ weekly AQH share) and half were down or flat. Gainers were led by iHeartMedia’s WBZ-AM, Boston (+1.1) and Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington (+0.8). Year-over-year numbers tell a different story as 63% of all-news outlets improve. Top gainers from October 2019 to October 2020 include WTOP (+2.9), Entercom’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago (+2.0), WBZ-AM (+2.0), and Sinclair Broadcast Group’s KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle (+1.9). See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

New Firm Major Triad Media Acquires TM Studios from Westwood One. Jingle and production house TM Studios is being acquired from Westwood One by Major Triad Media, a partnership of three TM Studios figures – creative director Dave Bethell, Chris “UK” Stevens, and jingle icon and current general manager Greg Clancy. A press release says the new company will maintain studios in Dallas, Los Angeles, and the UK. Bethell says, “From listening to TM jingles on my local radio station in England when I was a kid to becoming a fan, I’ve always wanted to work for TM. Eventually it was the place where I had my big jingle break back in 2005. I’ve written and produced for TM Studios continuously ever since. As co-owner I’m excited to tell the next chapter of TM’s incredible story with our perfect new partnership.” Stevens comments, “I’m so excited to be part of the team to take TM’s legendary name into a new chapter, and from my home country, no less. It’s been 15 years since I originally relocated from London to Dallas to work with TM. It is a dream come true to become part of the new ownership team.” Clancy adds, “I vividly remember watching my dad sing in TM vocal sessions as a kid and had my first vocal session at TM as a 12-year old boy. I began singing for Tom Merriman and Jim Kirk at 23, straight out of college. Just imagine what this moment means to me. We are standing on the shoulders of giants and can’t wait to grow and extend the TM legacy.” TM Studios will continue to work with Westwood One, with a multi-year agreement to serve as exclusive barter representative to seamlessly serve existing clients.

‘The Fisher House Story’ Available Now in Time for Veterans Day. Veterans Day is next Wednesday (11/11) and the Fisher House Foundation announces that The Jeff Wyatt Group has a fresh edition of “The Fisher House Story” for 2020 ready for download. “The Fisher House Story – A Family’s Love” is a radio special provided in varying lengths for news/talk radio stations in the U.S. and around the world. The three-hour, one-hour, 25-minute, and 30-minute radio specials are available for free. The specials are once again hosted by Mary Walter of WMAL-FM, Washington and feature stories of our nation’s heroes, the families who serve by their side, and how Fisher House plays a role in their journey. Your listeners will hear from Ben Breckheimer, an Army combat scout whose vehicle hit an improvised explosive device while driving with his team in Afghanistan; Lt. Col. Patrick Miller, an Army officer who was shot in the 2014 Ft. Hood shooting; and Jeff Sampson, a Navy veteran who needed a double lung transplant. These are just a few of the many stories that will be told “in their own words.” A clock and demo is now available at radio.fisherhouse.org. For more information on this radio special, available cash and barter free, contact Jeff Wyatt at The Jeff Wyatt Group at 301-518-3640 or jw@thejeffwyattgroup.com.

TALKERS News Notes. Tonight, the Westwood One nationally syndicated Jim Bohannon show is presenting election coverage from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET with the help of correspondents Clayton Neville and Linda Kenyon, plus commentary from Jed Babbin of the American Spectator, political science professor Dr. Frank Sorrentino, former Indiana congressman Dave Evans, and commentator Sean Walsh…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One announces a partnership with Rolling Stone to market and distribute their podcasts “Useful Idiots with Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper” and “Rolling Stone Music Now.” The agreement includes the back catalogue in addition to future episodes…..Audio and spoken word agency Oxford Road announces the addition of three executive to the company. Kraig Kitchin – former Premiere Networks chief and current Sound Mind LLC principal – joins as strategic adviser. Steven Abraham is introduced as the company’s new president and Jennifer Laine is named head of marketing.

Today’s Presidential Election/Senate and House Races, Law Enforcement Prepares for Unrest, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Terror Attacks, Hurricane Eta Approaches Central America Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/2). Today’s presidential election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, as well as the numerous Senate and House races; law enforcement’s concerns about and preparation for keeping voting places accessible and handling public safety in the event protests and violence break out; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and in Europe and projections the second wave could be worse than the first; the recent spate of terror attacks in France, Vienna, and Kabul; and Hurricane Eta threatens Central America with record floodwaters were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the Twin Cities, Bring Me the News reports that air personalities Steve LaTart, a.k.a. Steve-O of CHR KDWB’s morning show and hot AC KTCZ “Cities 97.1” morning host Hunter Quinn both exit as part of the current downsizing taking place at iHeartMedia across the country…..Cumulus Media’s country WKDF, Nashville names Toni-Marie afternoon drive host. Toni-Marie joins Cumulus Nashville from Entercom’s country KWJJ, Portland “99.5 The Wolf” where she was midday host and APD. She says, “I have never been happier inside of a Walmart than the day that [program director] Paul Williams called to offer me this position! I’ve had the opportunity to do country radio in some amazing markets, but getting to work with Paul and the team at 103-3 in Nashville is a dream come true!”…..Alpha Media Portland announces that Gustav will join the KINK-FM lineup as the afternoon drive host. Alpha Media Portland operations manager Gene Sandbloom says, “Gustav has been an icon in Portland radio for 25 years, and we couldn’t be more excited to have him join the KINK team in afternoons. His breadth of musical knowledge and the relationships he has forged with artists throughout his career are most welcome. For more than 50 years the KINK brand has been about serving the needs of Portland and the surrounding communities. Hats off to the Alpha Media management team for making yet another true investment in being live and local.”

Friday, October 30, 2020

| October 30, 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. This new episode titled “October Surge!” looks back at this past week of October 26 – October 30, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Joe “Pags” Pagliarullo, talk show host, Compass Media NetworksChris Stigall, talk show host WNTP, Philadelphia/KCMO, Kansas City; Ethan Bearman, attorney/correspondent, FOX News ChannelMichael Riedel, talk show host, WOR, New York; and Victoria Jones, executive editor, 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 WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; 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; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, 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.

Round Four of October PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s October 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 October 2020 survey period covered September 10 – October 7. You can see all of the 6+, weekly AQH share information from subscribing stations here. Also today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. One of the country’s most intense news/talk battles continues in the swing state of Wisconsin as iHeartMedia’s WISN adds another full share – capping a three-survey 4.4 share spike – to finish the October survey with an 11.2 share and repeats at #1. Right behind is Good Karma Brands’ WTMJ which rises eight-tenths for an 8.0 share and the #2 rank in the market. In Indianapolis, Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM tacks another one-tenth share on for a 9.2 share finish and repeats at the #2 spot. Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence puts the brakes on the five-survey downward trend by posting a +1.1 to finish with a 5.1 share and climbs from #7 to #5. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways report for this group of markets – and the first three rounds – here.

Entercom Fires WJFK-FM, Washingon Afternoon Host Chad Dukes for “Racist and Inappropriate Comments.”The Washington Post reports that Entercom has fired WJFK-FM, Washington, DC “106.7 The Fan” sports talk personality Chad Dukes for “racist and inappropriate comments” that appeared on his personal podcast. The story indicates that the company did not reveal exactly what was said nor how it learned about the comments, but issued a statement from Entercom Washington SVP and market manager Ivy Savoy-Smith that reads: “We have zero tolerance for this type of speech from any of our employees, on our platforms or otherwise. Our air talent are ambassadors of our brand, and we do not want to be affiliated with these comments.” The decision to let Dukes go was revealed on this morning’s edition of “The Sports Junkies” morning drive program on WJFK-FM. Duke had been with the station since 2006 and had been the afternoon drive host since 2014.

Programming Changes Taking Place at KFNS-AM, St. Louis. According to Dan Caesar’s report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, KFNS-AM’s return to a full-time sports talk format is taking place as Frank O. Pinion’s “The Large Morning Show in the Afternoon” is cancelled and new, local sports talk talent are expected to be joining the station soon. The story indicates former crosstown WXOS-FM personality Bernie Miklasz and former KMOV-TV news anchor Steve Savard may be joining the station. Miklasz was let go by WXOS owner Hubbard Radio back in May in what was a COVID-influenced budget move, and Savard was released by KMOV-TV in what is also being called a budget-related move. KFNS owner Randy Markel brought the station out of bankruptcy in 2015 and is in the process of selling it to a local group led by station manager and air personality John Hadley. His group will lease the station at first with the intent to buy it.

Salem Radio Network Announces Election Coverage. For Election Day on Tuesday, Salem Radio Network announces that it is providing coverage from 6:00 pm ET on Tuesday (11/3) to 6:00 am on Wednesday (11/4). Coverage will include all major “acceptance” and “concession” speeches in the presidential and congressional elections as well as key local/regional races around the nation. SRN nationally syndicated talk host Hugh Hewitt will anchor the first six hours of coverage with guests that will include: SRN hosts Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Charlie Kirk, Larry Elder and Eric Metaxas. At 12:00 midnight, the network switches to the Los Angeles studios of Salem’s KRLA “870AM The ANSWER” for continuing coverage anchored by KRLA morning personality Jennifer Horn, along with KRLA news anchor Larry Marino and Don Dix at the California Election Night Desk. SRN adds that if, as expected, the ballot-counting is far from concluded in the presidential race but a determination has been made on which political party will control the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, portions of earlier election night coverage will be repeated between 3:00 am and 6:00 am ET when Hugh Hewitt will return with his normal weekday Hugh Hewitt show to pick up live continuing coverage.

Cody Welling Named Director of Sales for Cox Media Group Tulsa. Media sales pro Cody Welling is named director of sales for Cox Media Group’s Tulsa operations that includes news/talk KRMG-FM. Welling was most recently general sales manager for Tegna’s Ohio News Network and sports talk WBNS-FM, Columbus “97.1 The Fan.” CMG Tulsa market president Cathy Gunther says, “Cody is passionate about delivering results for advertising partners through creative marketing solutions. This makes him a perfect fit for CMG Tulsa where he can provide customized solutions with our robust products that reach three out of four Tulsans weekly.”

The Presidential Race, Ballot Fraud, and Scandals, Conspiracies & Accusations Combined for Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 26-30. The November 3 presidential election, concerns about ballot fraud and the political conspiracies, scandals, and accusations combined to make up the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the rising number of COVID-19 cases, projections for fall/winter cases and U.S. health care system’s ability to treat it. Coming in at #3 was the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett as Supreme Court Justice and the related court packing issue, followed by the related issues of race relations, the killing of Walter Wallace Jr in Philadelphia, and police reform at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

KSCO Launches Weekly Show Critical of the Chinese Communist Party. The Zwerling Broadcasting System-owned news/talk outlet KSCO, Santa Cruz is launching a unique and compelling weekly two-hour radio show designed to keep Americans apprised of the dangers being presented to U.S. interests domestically and worldwide by China and the Chinese Communist Party. Provocatively titled, “China Über Alles” (China Above All) – a name sarcastically referencing the infamous slogan “Deutschland Über Alles” utilized by the Nazis to convey their dark message of German worldwide superiority in the 1930s and 1940s – the show discusses the ongoing war of subversion being waged against the U.S. by the communist regime in Beijing and its shocking human rights abuses of Chinese citizens, including political dissidents, investigative journalists, ethnic minorities and seekers of religious freedom. The show airs live Thursdays from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm PT and is hosted by Amy Hao, Nan Su, and KSCO director of production/chief engineer Bill Graff. Its 11th episode is set to stream tomorrow (10/29). According to Nan Su, “The concern about China is no longer limited to human rights and freedom in China. It is about defending the freedom, security, and democracy of the future generations in the United States and the western world.” Unfair China trade practices, invasive surveillance, human rights abuses, intellectual property theft, military aggression in the South China Sea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the origins and cover up of COVID-19 and questioning if “the NBA should move to China” are among a myriad of topics covered on the series. Read more here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. This year’s iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Presented by Capital One will be held virtually on Thursday, December 10 in which it will air live on more than 95 iHeartMedia CHR stations as well as streaming on The CW app and on CWTV.com. The CW Network will broadcast the event as an exclusive nationwide television special on Monday, December 14 at 8:00 pm ET. Performers scheduled to appear include: Billie Eilish, Doja Cat, Dua Lipa, Harry Styles, Lewis Capaldi, Sam Smith, Shawn Mendes and more. iHeartMedia chief programming officer Tom Poleman says, “For 25 years, iHeartRadio’s Jingle Ball has showcased performances from the year’s biggest artists in hit music, live on stage in front of screaming fans. Because of the pandemic, we’re moving from the stage to the artists’ home this holiday season for what will be an unforgettable show with amazing performances and moments that can only happen at the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball.”…..Key Networks nationally syndicated country air personality Shawn Parr (right) is pictured here with TLC (left), host of the morning show on new affiliate KPLM, Palm Springs “Big 106.” Parr, host of “Shawn Parr’s Across The Country,” traveled to Palm Springs to take part in the David Wells Perfect 33 Foundation Charity Golf Tournament…..Condolences to the family and friends of legendary air personality Ed Hurst, who passed away early today (11/30) at age 94. WPG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley tells TALKERS that Hurst got his start in radio on his station’s predecessor WFPG, Atlantic City in 1943. You can read what Harry Hurley wrote about Hurst here.

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