Tag: "Jim Meyer"

Friday, July 31, 2020

| July 31, 2020

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM in Washington, DC.  This new episode titled “Postpone, Opt Out, and Cancel!” looks back at this past week of July 27-31, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSLarry Elder, talk show host, Salem Radio Network / executive producer, “Uncle Tom”; Herman Cain (deceased) / talk show host, Newsmax TVShadoe Stevens, host / producer, “Mental Radio”; Steve Trevelise, talk show host, “New Jersey 101.5” / WIP, Philadelphia; Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Remembering Herman Cain. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a piece on Herman Cain – the radio talk host and business executive who died yesterday (7/30) at the age of 74 — that was originally run in Inside Radio in 2008 when Kinosian served there as special features editor. It ran three years before Cain would begin his campaign for president for the 2012 election and in addition to revealing facts about his personal history, it provides insight into his political philosophy at the time.  Read it here.

Legal Battle Between Jackson, Tennessee News/Talk Stations Resolved. According to a story in the Jackson Sun, a legal dispute between Grace Broadcasting and Wireless Group over a non-compete issue has been settled, with one company buying the other’s news/talk station. Wireless Group – owner of news/talk WNWS-FM – was suing Grace Broadcasting – owner of news/talk WTJS-FM – after former WNWS host Dan Reaves left and began working for WTJS. Wireless Group claimed Reaves was in violation of his contract while Reaves argued the deal was never a legal contract. The Sun reports that as the coronavirus pandemic took its toll on the Jackson, Tennessee advertising market, the two sides became more amenable to a settlement that culminated with Grace acquiring WNWS for an undisclosed sum. The future of WNWS’ programming is reportedly uncertain at this time.

SiriusXM Q2 Revenue Down; Business Has Been ‘Resilient.’ Reporting its financial data for the second quarter of 2020, SiriusXM says revenue was $1.9 billion, down 5% compared to the same period a year ago. Net income was reported to be $243 million in Q2 of 2020, down 7.9% from Q2 2019 net income of $263 million. Adjusted EBITDA in the second quarter remained roughly unchanged at $615 million. SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “Sirius XM’s business during this challenging period has been resilient, and with improving results and visibility into the remainder of the year, I’m pleased to resume offering subscriber and financial guidance.  Despite the incredible economic stresses brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, our self-pay net subscriber additions grew by nearly 200,000 over the first quarter of the year, and we reported improved churn of just 1.6% per month with rising ARPU. Although advertising revenue fell 34% in the quarter, substantial expense savings in SAC and other areas provided a complete offset, and we generated over half a billion dollars of free cash flow.  We are investing in our business, our people, and external opportunities to position ourselves for future growth.”

Jim Meyer on Howard Stern’s Future. During yesterday’s earnings call, SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer addressed the negotiations underway with Howard Stern and he said, in part, “Howard is performing at the top of his game right now. And he has been for pretty consistently some time. I couldn’t be happier with the status of Howard’s show. In particular, given the transition he’s made from doing everything at our studio at 1221 in New York to now doing it remotely and doing it flawlessly. I’ve been clear. I want Howard Stern to work at SiriusXM for as long as Howard Stern wants to work. And I’ve engaged with Howard’s team… I know what Howard wants and we’re trying to figure out a way to make all those things work together.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Subscribers can read the whole earnings call transcript here.

TALKERS News Notes. WDBJ-TV, Lynchburg, Virginia reports that news/talk WLNI-AM, Lynchburg morning drive talk host Larry Dowdy is retiring from his role with the station after a 47-year career in radio. Dowdy is not retiring completely; he plans to do some commercial voiceover work and some podcasting. WLNI PD Kenny Shelton says of Dowdy, “When I started working with him, I just realized what a great talent he is, what a great person he is. The way he goes about doing this job is a great lesson to anybody in the business as far as show prep that he does and just his knowledge of things.”…..Beginning with tonight’s Oakland A’s game against the Mariners in Seattle, Oakland fans will be able to hear their team play on iHeartMedia’s business news KNEW-AM, Oakland. Back in February, the team announced that it had no local radio deal and the way to hear games would be via streaming. Yesterday (7/30), the team announced the deal to air the remainder of this season on KNEW…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WGN-AM morning drive traffic reporter Mary VanDeVelde is moving to the afternoon drive daypart, working from 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm on air. Traffic reports in the mornings and late mornings are being provided by Nexstar’s WGN-TV…..The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation’s releases the latest episode of the AWM Gracie Interview Series titled, “Medicine and The Media – Leadership in Historic Times,” with American Medical Association president Susan R. Bailey, M.D.. The session is moderated by Entercom media personality Kelly Ford.  AWMF executive director Becky Brooks says, “Dr. Bailey shared meaningful insight into the important partnership between media and the medical community. This is a critical time for media to understand its role and for all of us to know our roles as individuals. We look forward to hosting more virtual gatherings to share the wisdom of experienced leaders.” Listen here.

The Presidential Race, Politics, and the Federal Agents Debate Top News/Talk Stories for Week of July 27-31. The November presidential election, politics, and the debate over the Trump administration’s dispatching of federal troops to cities where Black Lives Matter protests are taking place tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the rising cases of COVID-19 in numerous states and projections for future cases. Coming in at #3 was health care, medications for treating COVID-19 and the race to create a vaccine, followed by the debate over opening schools this fall 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.

Salem Seeks Chief Engineer for NYC. This chief engineer position is in Salem Media Group’s New York City operations for news/talk WNYM “AM 570 The Answer” and Christian teaching WMCA (plus translator W272DX). See the list of position duties and qualifications necessary to be considered – and how to apply – here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The new morning show at Entercom’s Los Angeles CHR KAMP-FM “97.1 AMP” is “The Morning Mess,” featuring Joey Boy, Aneesh Ratan, Jeana Shepard, and Karla Hernandez. The company says, “The show, currently on sister station “Live 101.5” (KALV-FM) in Phoenix, will feature curated local content for Los Angeles listeners, including lifestyle, news, daily traffic and weather updates, as well as city-specific COVID updates. Listeners in L.A. will also hear popular segments like “Nachoo’s Revenge,” featuring Joey Boy’s alter ego prank calling unsuspecting listeners. Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “Joey Boy and ‘The Morning Mess’ are a true reflection of Southern California. They are diverse, dynamic, socially responsible and completely transparent.”…..Radio pro Frank Ski returns to Howard University’s urban contemporary WHUR-FM, Washington, DC for afternoon drive hosting “The Frank Ski Show with Nina Brown,” beginning Monday (8/3). This comes after Ski’s exit from Entercom’s WVEE, Atlanta “V103” late last month.  WHUR program director Al Payne says, “Frank Ski has dominated ratings and has an incredible legacy of community enrichment wherever he is on the air. He is a media icon and adding his name to WHUR once again completes our DMV Dream Team.”.….Salem Media Group announces that radio pro Amanda Carroll joins the Nashville-based Salem Music Network to produce a five-hour show for daily syndication, effective Monday (8/3). The company says, “Throughout her career, she has worked at major market Christian radio stations, including 89.3 KSBJ-FM in Houston, 91.9 WGTS in Washington, D.C. and K-LOVE national network. Most recently, Carroll worked at Sacramento’s adult contemporary station, KYMX-FM Mix 96.1.”

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

| April 28, 2020

Hannity Attorneys Demand Retraction from New York Times. Attorneys for FOX News Channel and Premiere Networks star Sean Hannity have sent a request to The New York Times that it issue an apology to Hannity and retract its coverage of Hannity’s work at FOX covering the coronavirus pandemic.  Hannity’s lawyers are saying if the paper does not act within 24 hours, Hannity will have no choice but to file suit.  According to a FOX News story, at issue are “three separate pieces by columnist Ginia Bellafante, contributing writer Kara Swisher and media columnist Ben Smith which they said all showed ‘an outrageous disregard for the truth.’” The paper responded that its reporting is accurate and there is no need for an apology.  Hannity attorney Charles Harder says the issue is the Times’ “blatant and outrageous disregard for the truth in mischaracterizing Mr. Hannity’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and blaming him for the tragic death of Joe Joyce,” referring to a 74-year-old who contracted the coronavirus on a cruise. Joyce’s children warned him and his wife not to take the cruise but, according to Bellafante’s column, Joyce watched FOX News Channel and believed the virus was under control.

Tony Bruno and Harry Mayes Launch Sports Talk Show on SB Nation Radio on May 11. Sports talk personalities Tony Bruno and Harry Mayes are returning to terrestrial radio on May 11 as SB Nation Radio and JAKIB Media Partners announce the program “Into the Night” will be made available to radio stations via the SB Nation Radio network.  The program feeds to affiliates from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET.  Bruno says, “I continue in amazement that at a time when there are no sports to talk about, my partner Harry and I keep getting hired to talk sports.”  Bruno and Mayes reunited — they worked together at WPEN-FM, Philadelphia — for a daily sports talk show on April 6 when they joined the Dan Patrick Radio channel on SiriusXM for the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET daypart.  The “Into the Night” program SB Nation is presenting is mostly a re-broadcast of the SiriusXM show, however Bruno will customize some segments for the late-night show and there’s also the possibility that Bruno and Mayes will broadcast live for special events and remotes, according to SB Nation’s Brian Schaible.

PPM Analysis: Public Radio News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on public radio news/talk.  The thirst for news during the coronavirus pandemic has lifted public radio news/talk stations as 79% of those on our panel saw their weekly, 6+ AQH shares rise from the February 2020 survey.  KOPB-FM, Portland and KQED-FM, San Francisco led the group of gainers with increases of 1.7 shares and 1.5 shares, respectively.  Year-over-year comparisons were not quite as impressive with 59% of stations improving.  KNOW-FM, Minneapolis stands out as it added 3.4 shares from the March 2019 survey to the March 2020 survey and climbed from the #9 rank in the market to #1. In addition to KNOW-FM, four other public radio news/talk outlets ranked #1 in their markets in March: WAMU-FM, Washington; KCFR-FM, Denver; KOPB-FM, Portland; and KUT-FM, Austin.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

‘Bogey’ Exits WXYT-FM, Detroit. Evening sports talk personality Kyle Bogenschutz – a.k.a. Bogey, has exited Entercom’s Detroit sports talk outlet WXYT-FM where he co-hosted the evening show with Bob Wojnowski.  According to the Detroit Newsreport, Bogey’s exit was the result of stalled contract talks, not cuts due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Bogey had been with the station since 2014 and had been co-hosting the evening show with Wojo since June of 2017.  His agent tells the News that he’s in conversations with “a couple of people” and believes Bogey will land somewhere soon.

States Begin ‘Re-Opening’ Economy, U.S. Coronavirus Statistics & Projections, Health Care System/Testing Capabilities, China’s Role in Pandemic, Presidential Race/Biden Accusation, and Kim Jong Un Health Status Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/27). A handful of states court controversy as they begin to ease social distancing restrictions; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the death toll and projections for future cases; the state of the U.S. health care system and the capabilities for testing for COVID-19; the U.S. begins investigating China’s role in the pandemic; the November presidential election and the sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden; and questions about the health status of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

SiriusXM First Quarter Revenue Up 5% Pro Forma. Today (4/28), SiriusXM reported its first quarter 2020 operating and financial results.  It says revenue rose 5% (pro forma) to $2 billion.  Net income for the quarter was $293 million, up from $162 million in the first quarter of 2019.  SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “In the face of the economy hitting the brakes hard in March, SiriusXM’s first quarter results were very strong.  Auto sales, advertising, and customer responses to marketing campaigns all fell swiftly in the second half of March, yet we delivered increasing subscribers, solid revenue growth and 13% adjusted EBITDA growth to a first quarter record of $639 million.  Just as it was a little over a decade ago during the global financial crisis, SiriusXM’s subscriber-based business model is resilient.  We do not know what the shape of a recovery from this current crisis will look like, however, we are confident that our business will continue to generate substantial positive free cash flow.  Once we have a better view of how and when the economy will restart, we plan to resume providing guidance.”

TALKERS News Notes. Phoenix talk show host Larry Gaydos announced to his listeners on Bonneville’s news/talk KTAR-FM, Phoenix yesterday that his mother – already suffering from cancer – succumbed to COVID-19 over the weekend.  Gaydos said she tested positive several weeks ago and suffered no effects until last week when she began to decline quickly…..The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand speculates about possible changes to take place at ESPN Radio in the near future in a column. In it, Marchand wonders about the futures of Dan LeBatard on the radio (his cable TV show is popular), Trey Wingo’s role on the Golic & Wingo morning show, and says Will Cain is all but destined to leave for a gig with FOX News very soon…..Yankees Radio Network play-by-play voice John Sterling is honored with the 2020 Governors’ Award, presented by the New York Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.  The Governors’ Award recognizes Sterling’s 60th anniversary as a broadcaster and his 31 years as the radio voice of the New York Yankees.  Sterling says, “Whenever you get an award, it’s wonderful. But when you get an award from your peers, it is even better. I’m very humbled and appreciative to be the recipient of the 2020 Governors’ Award.  I’m thankful to the board for their recognition of my longtime work with the New York Yankees, which is nothing short of a labor of love for me.”…..Cumulus Media announces that it will hold its investors conference call to discuss first quarter 2020 operating results on May 11 at 4:30 pm ET.  Cumulus is the second publicly traded audio company to announce its Q1 call that is expected to address how the coronavirus pandemic – that had fully affected the country by mid-March – impacted its operations.  iHeartMedia will hold a Q1 conference call on May 7.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.   A new three-hour program starring Roula Christie is being launched by Cumulus Media’s Westwood One on May 2.  Titled, “Weekends with Roula,” it is designed for hot AC and CHR stations and targets women 25-54.  Westwood One says the show is “upbeat and motivational as she helps listeners find fun in the madness of juggling work and family.  Roula mixes pop culture and entertainment news with hilarious conversations between her kids and her mom.”  She comments, “I am over the moon at the opportunity to be nationally syndicated with Westwood One for ‘Weekends with Roula!’ I hope to connect with the rest of America the way I have been able to connect with my Greater Houston-area audience. I’m so grateful to my husband, Tasos, and children for providing me with material! I’m so excited!”…..Programming pro Scott Gaines is named operations manager for Alpha Media’s Amarillo, Texas cluster that includes country KGNC-FM, rhythmic CHR KVWE, classic hits KXGL “Eagle 100.5,” and news/talk KGNC-AM.  Gaines will also program KGNC-FM and serve as afternoon drive host.  He was most recently with Cumulus Media in Atlanta as APD and afternoon host at WKHX “New Country 101.5.”

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

| February 11, 2020

Pete Spriggs Retires from WSB, Atlanta; Drew Anderssen to Assume PD Duties. Longtime Cox Media Group programmer Pete Spriggs is retiring as director of branding and programming for news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta.  Current senior manager of programming and operations Drew Anderssen will step into Spriggs’ role, effective February 28.  Spriggs began his career with Cox at Dayton’s news/talk WHIO-AM.  He spent three years at the company’s WDBO-AM, Orlando before taking on programming duties at WSB, Atlanta in 2000.  Spriggs says, “WSB will go down in history as one of the greatest radio stations in the world, and I’m humbled to have been the program director there for 19 years.  I’ve worked with some of the finest talent in this business.  Several of them are in either the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame or the National Radio Hall of Fame and we’ve all worked together to make life better for our listeners in Atlanta and Georgia.  It has been an awe-inspiring experience for me, and I’m so grateful to CMG for trusting me with the ‘keys’ to such a great ‘kingdom.’”  CMG EVP radio Bill Hendrich says, “I have had the pleasure of working with Pete for over 25 years.  Along with being the best news/talk program director in the business, Pete is also one of the nicest people you will ever meet.  Cox Media Group has benefited greatly from Pete’s leadership in Dayton, Orlando, Atlanta, and as our news/talk format leader.  We are definitely a better company because Pete Spriggs was on our team.  He will be missed, and we all wish him the best going forward.”  Prior to joining WSB, Drew Anderssen spent years in programming and research for Cox Media Group in Orlando, Florida and Tulsa, Oklahoma.  The company says, “Anderssen brings an immense amount of experience and devotion to his role and CMG looks forward to continuing their partnership to ensure WSB remains an industry leader.”

Newsmax TV Names Emerald Robinson White House Correspondent.  Broadcast journalist Emerald Robinson joins Newsmax TV as White House correspondent where she’ll work alongside Newsmax chief White House correspondent John Gizzi.  Robinson was most recently chief White House correspondent for One America News Network.  Speaking about her new position, Robinson says, “Newsmax TV has become a major force in Washington’s media universe and I’m thrilled to be a part of its major expansion.  Americans trust Newsmax to deliver truthful, unbiased reporting – and that’s what we do every day.”  Robinson began her journalism career as host of “The Daily Orbit,” a syndicated science and technology news show. Her experience also includes entertainment, political, and economic beats. ​ During her tenure on the White House beat, Robinson has covered presidential foreign trips including the Helsinki and Singapore Summits.

Dallas’ ‘The Ticket’ Moves Bob Sturm to ‘The Hardline’ Afternoon Show. In the wake of the recent retirement of longtime afternoon drive station personality Mike Rhyner, Cumulus Media’s KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas “The Ticket” announces midday co-host Bob Sturm moves to afternoon drive to partner with Corby Davidson as co-hosts of “The Hardline.”  Danny Balis continues to produce the PM drive show.  Sturm has co-hosted the midday “BaD Radio” with Dan McDowell since 2000.  Filling Sturm’s role on “BaD Radio” is show producer Jake Kemp, who moves up to the co-host role.  Cumulus Dallas/Houston RVP Dan Bennett says, “Bob Sturm has earned the trust and following from our listeners for over 20 years and is one of the finest sports talk talents in America.  This move made perfect sense and we are excited to entertain our listeners with the new afternoon drive team of Bob Sturm and Corby Davidson, and with Jake Kemp and Dan McDowell for ‘BaD Radio’ in middays.”  Sturm adds, “Our station lost an absolute icon in Mike Rhyner to retirement and we must all pull together to bridge that gap.  I am honored to join forces with The Hardline’s Corby Davidson and Danny Balis to see what we can dream up from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm and we can’t wait to get to our mighty challenge.  Dan McDowell and Jake Kemp will make a fantastic duo themselves from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. Dan McDowell is the closest friend I might ever find in this business and I owe him an immeasurable debt.”

SiriusXM Drops $75 Million into SoundCloud. Audio entertainment giant SiriusXM builds up its relationship with SoundCloud via a purchase of $75 million of securities for a minority stake in the open audio platform.  SiriusXM, via subsidiary Pandora, began an ad sales relationship with SoundCloud in 2019 in which advertisers and brands could purchase SoundCloud’s U.S. ad inventory directly through Pandora, leveraging Pandora’s direct sales capabilities, targeting data, and audio programmatic platform.  SiriusXM says that SoundCloud and Pandora’s combined U.S. audience constitutes more than 100 million unique listeners.  SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “SoundCloud’s unique platform serves a vital role in today’s music ecosystem where new artists are discovered and build their fan base, and established artists experiment and connect directly with their fans in highly effective ways.  We admire SoundCloud’s loyal and growing audience, its offering for creators, and its reputation and popularity in global music communities. We believe this is another opportunity to continue creating value for SiriusXM stockholders by investing in expanding digital audio platforms.”  As part of the minority stake acquisition, the SoundCloud board of directors will expand to include two individuals designated by SiriusXM.

World Radio Day Honor Goes to WTOP.  In celebration of the forthcoming observance of World Radio Day coming up this Thursday (2/13), the American Academy of Radio – a subsidiary of the Academia Española de la Radio (Spanish Academy of Radio) – presented the World Radio Day “American Radio Station of the Year” award  to Hubbard Radio’s all-news outlet WTOP, Washington, DC.  The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) executive board recommended to the General Conference the proclamation of World Radio Day, on the basis of a wide consultation process, carried out in 2011.  The leader of the project, the Academia Española de la Radio, received support for the proposal from diverse stakeholders, including major international broadcasters and broadcasting unions and associations. The date of February 13, the day United Nations Radio was established in 1946, was proposed by the Director-General of UNESCO which proclaimed February 13 as World Radio Day.  The objectives of the day are to raise greater awareness among the public and the media of the importance of radio; to encourage decision-makers to establish and provide access to information through radio; as well as to enhance networking and international cooperation among broadcasters.  The jury appointed to judge stations for the American honor are: Heather Cohen, EVP  of The Weiss AgencyDeborah Parenti, publisher of Radio Ink/RBR/TVBR/Podcast Business JournalFrancisco R. Montero, managing partner of Fletcher, Heald & HildrethPaul MacLane, managing director of content, B2B media technology brands and editor-in-chief of Radio WorldMichael Harrison, editor and publisher of TALKERS magazine; and Paul Rotella, president and CEO of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association. In addition to WTOP, nominated stations were KIIS-FM, Los Angeles; WRHU, Hofstra University; and WFUV, Fordham University.  Pictured at this morning’s (2/11) ceremony in the station’s offices and studios are jurists Frank Montero (l) and Paul McLane (r) delivering the trophy to WTOP general manager Joel Oxley (c).

Trump Budget Proposes Elimination of CPB Funding.  In the Trump Administration’s budget for Fiscal 2021 and Fiscal 2022, the line item for funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be reduced from about $445 million to about $30 million.  CPB president and CEO Patricia Harrison says, “We look forward to working with Congress in the continued pursuit of our statutory public service mission of supporting educational, informational and diverse content that addresses the needs of our nation’s citizens – a mission the American people overwhelmingly trust in and support.  The federal appropriation to CPB is the foundation of our uniquely American, public-private partnership that supports our nation’s public media system – a system of more than 1,500 locally controlled and operated public television and radio stations across the country. This seed money pays invaluable dividends to millions of Americans and their families in the form of content and resources that educate, inform and inspire.  Through public media initiatives such as American Graduate and Ready To Learn, stations provide high-quality educational content and community engagement that helps Americans prepare for success in school and career. As the most trusted news source in America, local public media stations offer journalism that elevates local stories to a national audience.  Further, public media stations’ infrastructure provides critical communications functions during local and national emergencies to first responders and emergency management officials.”  Of course, funding is ultimately left to Congress which has historically ignored such calls for CPB defunding.

TALKERS News Notes. Conservative media personality and author Todd Starnes has been chosen to moderate a Fathom Events panel discussion for the upcoming theatrical documentary, Patterns of Evidence: The Red Sea Mystery.  The panel discussion was recently filmed at the Ark Encounter and will be shown nationwide in theaters on February 18.  Starnes is host of the nationally syndicated, daily talk radio program, “The Todd Starnes Show” and the short-form “Todd Starnes News & Commentary” – both distributed by Hamilton Strategies. The long-form show recently added new affiliate stations KARN-FM, Little Rock; KWAM, Memphis; and KLUP-AM, San Antonio…..The “Always in Fashion” radio program, starring fashion industry pro Mark Weber (left) and his son Jesse (right), moves from Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York to iHeartMedia’s WOR, New York.  The show airs Saturday nights from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm and Sundays from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  Weber says, “Throughout my career, I have worked with the best and that’s precisely what has led me to iHeartMedia’s 710 WOR.  We’re thrilled to join the number one audio company and broadcast on one of the leading talk stations in NYC.”…..Nashville sports talk hosts Derrick Mason and Braden Gall announce via Twitter that they have been let go from their morning show duties on The Cromwell Group’s sports talk WPRT-FM “102.5 The Game.”  Back in December, third host Nick Kayal exited the station.  The WPRT website offers no indication of the station’s intentions for the daypart.  Mason played wide receiver for the Tennessee Titans from 1997 through 2004…..ABC Audio will officially launch the ABC Power Portal at the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville on February 19.  ABC says the ABC Power Portal is “the first on-demand, original video service for distribution to radio station websites, apps and social media platforms.  ABC Power Portal will house a wide range of music and entertainment videos as well as breaking news and obituary content, all produced by ABC Audio.  These new videos, along with social media teasers, will be available daily for download by Power Portal affiliates as white label content, allowing stations to add their own logos and sponsor ads to the videos prior to publication.  ABC Audio executive director business strategies, programming and distribution Heidi Oringer says, “I’m thrilled to debut the ABC Power Portal and offer stations the type of digital content television outlets have had access to for so long.  This turn-key platform is essential for radio’s digital expansion and allows affiliates to take advantage of ABC Audio’s unmatched array of content.”  ABC Audio posted content from last Sunday’s Oscars.  Below is an image of the Power Portal dashboard.

Presidential Race, Wuhan Coronavirus, Trump Budget-Border Wall, Oscars Political Speeches, Russians Track U.S. Satellites, Chinese Equifax Hackers, and MLB Playoffs Proposal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/10). The New Hampshire primary and the Democrats’ race to take on President Trump in November; the status of the Wuhan coronavirus and the effects on China’s economy; President Trump’s budget and the cuts to services and increase in border wall funding; the political speeches at Sunday evening’s Oscars ceremony; the report the Russian’s are tracking U.S. military satellites; Chinese military hackers are accused of executing the Equifax breach; and MLB floats a new playoff format in which division winners get to choose opponents among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Shreveport, Louisiana programmer and air personality Nina Montgomery – who serves as PD and DJ on Cumulus Media’s urban AC KVMA “Magic 102.9” – was recently honored for her significant contributions to Shreveport’s African-American Community.  Montgomery was recognized at the Shreveport-Bossier-DeSoto African-American Scholarship Awards Banquet.  Cumulus Shreveport VP and market manager Aaron Criswell says, “Nina has been a spark of light for the African-American Community in Shreveport and Bossier City for many years.  Nina has committed to spread this light to the community and listeners of urban AC powerhouse KVMA-FM, day in and day out.”…..Entercom appoints Lisa Powell SVP and market manager for its Greensboro, North Carolina cluster that includes hip hop WJMH “102 JAMZ,” country WPAW “93.1 The Wolf,” urban AC WQMG, adult contemporary WSMW “98.7 Simon,” and Gospel outlets WEAL-AM and WPET-AM.  Entercom regional president Doug Abernethy says, “For over two decades, Lisa has faithfully led our sales efforts in the Triad and obtained outstanding results.  We are excited to recognize her accomplishments with a well-deserved promotion and are confident in her ability to lead our cluster to further growth.”…..The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show” cast member Kellie Rasberry is launching her second podcast, this one based on the morning show’s “Love Letters to Kellie” segment.  It’s being produced by longtime show producer Robert Ehrman.  Rasberry says, “Robert and I have been working on this project for quite some time and I’m so excited that we finally get to share it with the world! While we’ll be having a lot of fun on this podcast, I realize people are trusting me to give them advice that can often have serious consequences. I don’t take that lightly.”  She already hosts a podcast titled, “A Sandwich and Some Lovin.’”…..SiriusXM announces that Harry Styles will perform for SiriusXM and Pandora on Friday, February 28 at a secret location in New York City.  The intimate set for SiriusXM subscribers and Pandora listeners will feature Styles performing songs from his recent sophomore album, Fine Line, released via Columbia Records. The event will also include an interview with Harry Styles and “The Morning Mash Up” hosts Ryan Sampson, Nicole Ryan, and Stanley T.

PPM Analysis: Holiday 2019 ExtraTALKERS magazine manager editor Mike Kinosian offers this “extra” look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2019 PPM survey.  This report looks at the weekly 6+ AQH share movement from the December 2019 survey to the Holiday 2019 survey, based on degree of improvement or loss, by format and more.  See the analysis here.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

| February 5, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

| July 31, 2019

Mitch Rosen Adds PD Duties for Sports Talk WSSP, Milwaukee.  WSCR, Chicago “The Score” program director Mitch Rosen is going to begin double duty with Entercom and add programming responsibilities for sister sports talker WSSP-AM/W289CB, Milwaukee “105.7 The Fan.”  He’s taking over for WSSP program director Tom Parker, who is retiring on August 1.  Parker will continue as a programming consultant.  Entercom Milwaukee SVP and market manager Chuck Sullivan says, “Having worked closely with Jimmy de Castro and the Entercom Chicago team over the last year and a half, it was the logical next step in the partnership. Mitch has become quite familiar with the market and the WSSP staff over that time and we are very fortunate to now have him calling the plays in Milwaukee as well.”  Rosen has been with “The Score” for almost 15 years.  He adds, “It’s an honor to be part of this great Milwaukee sports brand.  ‘The Fan’ team has great personalities who identify with the sports fans who live and breathe Milwaukee and Wisconsin sports.  I plan to be here to help in any way I can to expand the brand both on the air and through all the digital platforms, including RADIO.COM Sports.”

SiriusXM Q2 Pro Forma Revenue Up 9%. Although SiriusXM is reporting its net income was down 10.8% in the second quarter of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018 ($263 million versus $293 million), the company’s pro forma revenue was up 9%.  The acquisition of Pandora pushed SiriusXM’s revenue to $2 billion – an increase of 38% over Q2 in 2018.  Chief executive officerJim Meyer says, “Our company produced outstanding financial and operating results once again this quarter, and I’m pleased by the quick progress we’ve made in integrating Pandora.  Revenues and adjusted EBITDA each reached records in the period.  We’re thrilled with the results in the first half of the year, and we are raising 2019 guidance for revenue and adjusted EBITDA and reiterating our guidance for net subscriber additions and free cash flow.” The satcaster reports that it added 290,000 self-pay subscribers during the second quarter that puts its total at 29.3 million.

Nielsen Second Quarter Revenue Rises 1.2%.  That 1.2% figure is for the company as a whole.  The company reports that its Media segment – the one that includes radio ratings – is being driven by Total Audience Measurement and that during the second quarter of 2019 its audience measurement business is up 4.2% over the same period in 2018.  Nielsen predicts that its audience measurement segment will finish 2019 up 2% to 3%.

Salem Selling Seven Florida Signals for $8.2 Million. Continuing to follow through on its plan to sell certain assets in order to reduce its debt, Salem Media Group is agreeing to divest itself of seven signals in the state of Florida. It has filed with the FCC to sell Spanish Christian-formatted WKAT-AM, business talk WZAB-AM, and FM translator W249DM in Miami and Spanish Christian-formatted WLCC-AM, business talk WWMI, and FM translator W282CI in the Tampa market (plus the construction permit for translator W260DM, St. Petersburg) to Immaculate Heart Media for $8.2 million.  Immaculate Heart Media will not get the WKAT call letters or that station’s intellectual property.  These moves will leave Salem with Spanish Christian WOCN, Miami, plus news/talk WGUL, Tampa “AM 860 The Answer” and religious duo WTBN-AM/WTWD-AM, Tampa.

2020 Presidential Race/Democratic Debates, Capital One Hack, Immigration Policy/Border Conditions, North Korea Missile Tests, California Festival Shooting/Mississippi Walmart Shooting, and Katy Perry Song Copying Verdict Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/30). The Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020 and the first Democratic debate from Detroit; the hack of Capital One that made data from 100 million credit applicants vulnerable; the Trump Administration’s immigration policies and controversy over conditions at the U.S.-Mexico border; North Korea tests more short-range missiles; the deadly shootings at the Gilroy, California Garlic Festival and at a Walmart in Mississippi; and the jury’s ruling that Katy Perry copied aspects of a Christian rap song in her hit ‘Dark Horse’ were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Last week’s 19th annual “WSB Care-A-Thon 37-hour radio broadcast event raised more than $1.7 million for research and programs for the Aflac Cancer & Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, nearly breaking the record set in 2017. In the 19 years Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM and CHR WSB-FM have been hosting the fundraising broadcast, more than $24 million has been collected to support patients and families.  WSB Radio director of branding and programming Pete Spriggs says, “There is an extraordinary local story to tell at the Aflac Cancer Center — one that is filled with emotion and hope.  Our entire team considers it the honor of their careers to be able to tell that story and to meet the kids, parents, families, doctors, nurses, and caregivers there.  But our listeners deserve all the credit, due to their incredible generosity year after year.”  WSB personalities Scott Slade, Clark Howard, Eric Von Haessler, Mark Arum, Erick Erickson, Neal Boortz, and Brian Kilmeade took part in the broadcast…..ESPN Radio is reporting that its programming saw a 6% increase in listening with men 25-54 from the winter 2019 period (Jan., Feb., March) to the spring  book (April, May, June).  Breaking it down, the network’s “Golic and Wingo” saw a 6% combined increase for M25-54 in total audience across Nielsen subscribing stations in PPM markets on radio plus all platforms combined including television simulcasts.  “The Will Cain Show” also had year-over-year increases across M25-54 PPM audience on terrestrial radio and ESPNEWS simulcast for both June and the spring book.  The M25-54 total audience across all platforms for “The Stephen A Smith Show,” with the addition of its television simulcast which began August 13, 2018, grew 38% in June and 32% percent for the quarter from the same time periods in 2018.  For the quarter, the ESPNEWS simulcast of “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” was up 33% from last year.  In June, the show saw a 9% year-over-year increase on ESPNEWS…..KTLK-AM, Minneapolis morning drive co-host Jon Justice has published his second sci-fi novel – part two of a series – titled, Embark: Treasure In Darkness.  Justice has self-published the book that follows the story’s protagonists after humanity is forced to leave the Earth following an industrial disaster.  Check out the Amazon listing here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Rhythmic oldies WPPZ, Philadelphia “Classix 107.9 FM” announces that “The Russ Parr Morning Show” is airing in the AM drive daypart. The Radio One station is programmed by Jay Dixon, who says, “This guy is fun, funny, and all about winning.  I’ve heard about Russ Parr for years.  He lives up to his reputation as a first-class broadcaster and content king.  He’ll be the icing on the cake to make ‘Classix 107.9’ one of the greatest classic R&B brands in history.  We are too happy to have him on board.”…..iHeartMedia’s hip hop “104.5 The BEAT” WTKS-HD2/W283AN, Orlando announces the lineup for its “The BEAT Music Fest” on Saturday, October 5 will feature DaBaby, YK Osiris, Afro BShordie Shordie, Summerella, Trap Beckham, with more to be announced.  iHeartMedia Orlando partnerships manager Chianna Ray says, “The entire Greater Orlando area has been patiently waiting for a music festival that highlights the hip-hop culture.  ‘The BEAT Music Fest’ could not have come at a better time and we are thrilled to give our listeners this experience.”…..iHeartMedia announces the lineup for the 2019 iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Saturday, November 2 will include: Jennifer Lopez, Daddy Yankee, and Ozuna, with more artists to follow.  For the fourth straight year, the concert event will be hosted by Enrique Santos, chairman and chief creative officer of iHeartLatino and on-air personality for iHeartRadio.

Friday, February 1, 2019

| February 1, 2019

Anderssen Adds Atlanta Duties at WSB-AM. Continuing as Cox Media Group’s news, talk, and sports format coordinator, Drew Anderssen is appointed senior operations/program manager for the company’s Atlanta news/talk outlet, WSB-AM. Director of branding and programming Pete Spriggs notes, “Drew and I have worked in lockstep for the last five years as format leaders for all of our outstanding Cox Media Group news/talk stations. He brings an overwhelming amount of experience and passion and I look forward to continuing our partnership to ensure [WSB-AM] remains a dominant leader in the radio space.” Anderssen comments that WSB-AM is “one of America’s strongest and most iconic radio stations. It has been a career-long dream of mine to become part of this award-winning team. I am thrilled to work one-on-one with Pete Spriggs and the entire team to help shape the future of the WSB brand.” Anderssen previously oversaw programming, news, digital, and social media planning as OM/PD at co-owned WDBO-FM, Orlando. Prior to joining Cox Media Group in 1998 as Tulsa news/talk KRMG’s operations manager, he spent several years in promotions, research, and programming in Texas and Oklahoma. WSB-AM – which had been #1 the past 37 Nielsen Audio sweeps – is a combined -2.1 in December and “Holiday” 2018 (8.6 – 7.9 – 6.5, 6+) as it segues to #2. Prior to November 2018, WSB-AM was a collective +1.1 in three straight gains (7.5 – 7.9 – 8.2 – 8.6, 6+).

Thrall To Call Some Reds Ballgames. Seven-year Pensacola Blue Wahoos play-by-play announcer Tommy Thrall bumps up from the Double A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds to “the show,” joining the Reds’ broadcast team on iHeartMedia news/talk WLW and the Reds’ radio network. After 45 years of calling Reds’ games, Marty Brennaman will be retiring after this season; Jeff Brantley will continue working alongside Brennaman as color analyst. Reds senior vice president of business operations Karen Forgus notes, “Tommy Thrall was added to our broadcast staff for 2019 as our ‘utility’ broadcaster. His duties will include hosting the ‘Reds on Radio’ post-game show and producing stories and interviews for the radio pre-game show. Additionally, he will fill-in on play-by-play for the games Marty is not working. We have no plans beyond 2019 at this time.” Blue Wahoos president Jonathan Griffith comments, “We are incredibly proud of Tommy for taking this well-deserved step in his career. Since Opening Day 2012, he has been an invaluable part of our organization and we are grateful for his numerous contributions to ‘Hoosville.’” Thrall and Brantley worked together on three games last September. They are scheduled to call the Reds – Chicago White Sox spring training matchup later this month (2/27).

Applications Now Accepted For Mildred Carter MIW Group Mentoring Program. In its 18th year, this experience pairs up-and-coming women currently working in the radio industry with female professionals recognized as leaders in all aspects of radio broadcasting and media. Beasley Media Group is once again lead sponsor of the initiative for women interested in advancing their careers. Chair of the 2019 Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio (MIW) Group’s mentoring committee/Entercom Chicago national sales manager Lindsay Cerajewski states, “This unique initiative provides an amazing opportunity for mentees to gain valuable insight, knowledge, and access to some of the most influential women in radio. It is very rewarding to watch our mentees grow professionally throughout the year.” MIW Group spokeswoman Denyse Mesnik adds, “We are absolutely thrilled Beasley Media Group has once again generously offered to serve as lead sponsor of MIW Group’s heritage Mildred Carter Mentoring Program; we look forward to another successful year.” Four candidates within the radio industry will be selected for this year’s program. At least one spot will be designated for a programming candidate, and one spot for a digital candidate. The MIW Group Mentoring Program is named in the memory of Mildred Carter, who, along with her husband, Andrew “Skip” Carter, founded the first African-American-owned radio station in the United States, when they signed-on Kansas City’s KPRS in 1950. Deadline to apply for the mentoring program is in less than three weeks (2/20).

Blues Skating To Hubbard St. Louis. Effective with the 2019-2020 National Hockey League season, games of the St. Louis Blues will shift from Entercom news/talk KMOX to Hubbard sports talk WXOS “101 ESPN.” According to Hubbard St. Louis vice president and market manager John Kijowski, “It has always been a dream to partner with the St. Louis Blues organization. The Blues management team is a class act and their fans are the best in professional hockey.” WXOS band content director Chris “Hoss” Neupert adds, “The ‘101 ESPN’ team is excited to be the new home for the St. Louis Blues. Our entire team is looking forward to our partnership with the St. Louis Blues and the opportunity to offer innovative content, exclusive interviews, analysis, and coverage for St. Louis fans.”

Veteran Talk Programmer and Communications Professor David Bernstein Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most seasoned radio programmers in the industry, David Bernstein, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Bernstein, who’s programmed such heritage outlets as WOR, New York; WRKO and WBZ-AM, Boston; WTIC-AM, Hartford; and WPRO-AM, Providence, is currently the general manager of TALKERS magazine’s experimental radio showcase TalkersRadio and has been serving as a professor in the Department of Communication at Caldwell University in New Jersey for the past three years. Harrison and Bernstein engage in an informal chat about his view of our changing society from the front-line perspective of teaching a college communications class. Check it out! To listen to the podcast in its entirety please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and every page on Talkers.com.

FSR Sets Super Bowl Programming. Among the highlights on Fox Sports Radio’s schedule this Sunday (2/3) is a weekend edition of “Straight Outta Vegas with R.J. Bell,” who will be joined by betting experts Steve Fezzik and Brad Powers, as well as FSR personality Jonas Knox. Super Bowl Sunday, of course, is considered the biggest sports betting event of the year. The network’s complete lineup this Sunday includes: Andy Furman and Brian Noe (6:00 am – 9:00 am); Mike Harmon and Kelvin Washington (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); “Straight Outta Vegas with R.J. Bell” (12:00 noon – 1:00 pm); Mark Willard and Rich Ohrnberger (1:00 pm – 4:00 pm); Steve Hartman and Ephraim Salaam (4:00 pm – 6:00 pm); Arnie Spanier and Chris Plank (throughout the Super Bowl game); and Jonas Knox (11:00 pm – 2:00 am).

RTDNF Tabs Klobuchar As “First Amendment Defender.” This year’s First Amendment Defender award from the Radio Television Digital News Foundation to Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar will be presented next month (3/13) in Washington, DC. RTDNF chair Scott Libin comments, “Senator Klobuchar has been a staunch defender of First Amendment freedoms over the years. She has supported cameras in courts; worked to advance government transparency; and pursued protections for the press through oversight, including her questioning of Attorney General-designate William Barr. Her record represents exactly the sort of leadership RTDNF seeks to recognize. As a constituent of Senator Klobuchar and as someone who has led Twin Cities newsrooms during the decades of her distinguished career, it is my honor to extend this recognition.”

WBUR’s CitySpace Opens Later This Month. The 8,700-square-foot, high-tech multipurpose facility at The Lavine Broadcast Center officially opens to the public in several weeks (2/28), but Boston mayor Marty Walsh joined executives of Boston University-owned public radio news/talk WBUR for a ribbon cutting at the Commonwealth Avenue site on Wednesday (1/30). WBUR general manager Charles Kravetz comments, “CitySpace will be the home for public conversation in Boston. It brings the best of WBUR and NPR to life – it is a destination where people can come together to engage in civic dialogue, to wrestle with big ideas, to be inspired, to be entertained, and to be educated on topics that impact our community and our lives.” Mayor Walsh notes, “The city of Boston is excited to welcome WBUR’s CitySpace, a convening space that will help bring diverse thinkers, innovators, and performers together to create an inclusive community for all that it serves. This new space will act as an important public hub engaging our residents on issues that are shaping Boston and the country.” The calendar of events already includes discussions with Boston Marathon champions; authors and chefs; brown-bag musical performances by Boston University students; trivia nights with WBUR staff; and adult spelling bees. The venue accommodates up to 275 people and has state-of-the-art audio and robotic high-definition video technology for live streaming and recording, robotically controlled theatrical lighting, a pneumatic stage, and a video presentation wall. First-year CitySpace guests scheduled to appear include comedian/former Air America host Janeane Garofalo, “The Good Place” creator Michael Schur, composer Philip Glass, and author Margaret Atwood.

Southern California Broadcasters Association Shares Its 2019 “Automotive Overview.” In an ongoing series, the Southern California Broadcasters Association delivers an in-depth analysis of a particular industry or topic directly relevant for its members and the radio industry. This particular report, available on SCBA’s website, “challenges the auto industry’s focus” on non-radio digital platforms by “making a compelling case” for broadcast radio and the influence radio advertising has on today’s car buyers. The overview reveals that “year-over-year vehicle sales have remained essentially flat to down the past four years, highlighting SCBA’s case that media reallocation and a true ROI analysis of current ad spending by the automakers is urgently recommended.” SCBA president Thom Callahan remarks, “Based on factual research, it is our view that broadcast radio is the underrated and undervalued workhorse for the auto industry. Not only will 23% of auto buyers visit a dealership after hearing a radio ad, but one in ten will actually buy a vehicle after hearing a dealer radio ad. The auto industry must reevaluate its dependence on digital since increased digital ad spending has not delivered increased retail sales. Spending 63% of automotive ad budgets with digital is not sustainable.” Previous SCBA reports include topics such as “E-Commerce Basics to Know,” “Consumer Response to Broadcast Radio versus Pandora,” and “Consumer Response to Broadcast Radio versus Digital and Social Media.”

Michael Harrison Addresses South Florida Art CommunityTALKERS publisher Michael Harrison served as special guest speaker addressing a gathering of approximately 70 emerging local artists last evening (1/30) at a workshop titled “The Thriving Art Exchange” at the CJR Fine Art Gallery in Royal Palm Beach, Florida.  The event was presented by the Clark Hulings Fund for Visual Artists and honored the work of Rickie Leiter, publisher of a Palm Beach County-based art industry trade publication, The Rickie Report.  In his speech, Harrison focused on opportunities available to independent artists in the rapidly evolving digital era in both the creative and marketing arenas.  He opened his talk with a humorous anecdote, “The last time I addressed a group of visual artists was when I served as keynote speaker at the first annual convention of the National Association of Cave Wall Painters.”  Harrison said, “It was a time when the standard method of painting was to put colored pigments on your hands and paint directly with your fingers onto the walls of caves.  The big issue that year was what to do about the introduction of a new gadget called the paint brush and whether images created with this new technology were truly ‘art.’”  Harrison concluded, “The argument became a non-issue when the stone tablet was invented shortly thereafter and paintings could be taken to places outside the cave.  That form of disruption was the first example of mobile media!”

 

“PodGOATs” Launches Today. The series of Comworld Media-produced “PodGOATS” podcasts features Cumulus Media Nashville news/talk WWTN “Super Talk 99.7” afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) host Phil Valentine and his millennial son, Campbell Valentine. The elder Valentine remarks, “I can’t remember having this much fun doing something in a long time,” while recent University of Tennessee graduate Campbell counters, “You can’t remember – period.” The two will discuss everything from their top three picks of events that changed the world to what to do if an electromagnetic pulse took down the electrical grid. They talk spies, conspiracy theories, and anything else in today’s society and culture. Five episodes debut today (2/1) with a new podcast – available on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, – released once a week each Sunday afternoon.

Grabbing Gronk. Preparing for its coverage of Super Bowl LIII this Sunday (2/3) when the New England Patriots take on the Los Angeles Rams, the NFL’s exclusive network radio partner – Westwood One – has been interviewing players, coaches, and special guests for their weeknight “Road to Super Bowl LIII” program; “Super Bowl Preview”; and “Super Sunday” shows airing prior to Sunday’s big game in Atlanta. Seen above is the voice of NFL Films, Scott Graham, chatting with New England Patriots tight end Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski. This is the 32nd consecutive year – and 46th time overall – that Westwood One will broadcast the Super Bowl.

CBS News Radio Offers Radio Version of “Intelligence Matters” Podcast. Starting tomorrow (Saturday, 2/2), former CIA deputy director/intelligence analyst and CBS News national security contributor Michael Morell begins hosting a one-hour radio version of the “Intelligence Matters” podcast, which emanates from CBS News’ Washington, D.C bureau. CBS News Radio general manager Craig Swagler notes, “We are delighted to offer Michael Morell’s programs and expertise to our affiliates. Michael’s keen insight into the world of intelligence is a hot topic in today’s fast-moving world. It is the right time to bring his hugely successful podcast to radio audiences everywhere.” Leaders throughout the U.S. intelligence community will discuss national security policy and current events with Morell, a central figure in the most significant U.S. counter-terrorism efforts of the past two decades.

Rockcastle Media Networks’ Radio Nebraska Network Launches Next Monday. The national radio network expands by creating a Rockcastle Regional Networks division, with the Radio Nebraska Network scheduled to deliver its first newscasts via FTP download next Monday (2/4). Rockcastle Media Networks president/chief executive officer Will Sterrett comments, “When we learned the Nebraska Radio Network folded, our thoughts turned to serving those affiliates and listeners with high-quality radio news. We are excited to offer four newscasts each weekday with much more to come down the road.” As is the case with all other Rockcastle Media Networks programming, the Radio Nebraska Network is available on a market-exclusive, 100% self-contained barter basis. Prior to Rockcastle Media Networks, Sterrett worked in radio news at the CNN Radio Network; Texas State Network; Waitt Radio Networks, Omaha; KRLD-AM, Dallas; KTRH, Houston; and WLW, Cincinnati.

Border Wall Battle Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 27-February 1. The ongoing battle over funding for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers Ten.  At #2 this week was Robert Mueller‘s Trump-Russia investigation.  Coming in at #3 was President Trump‘s attacks on intel chief Dan Coats over his report on North Korea and Iran, followed by the record Midwestern cold snap at #4.  The Talkers Ten is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

SiriusXM Finalizes Pandora Purchase. The $3.5 billion deal (at a ratio of 1.44 new SiriusXM shares for each Pandora share) creates a digital audio entity reaching 100 million North America listeners. The closing comes three days after Pandora stockholders approved the acquisition. The deal was okayed by the Department of Justice approximately six weeks ago (12/21). In a prepared statement, SiriusXM chief executive officer Jim Meyer – who now leads the combined company – notes, “This is a tremendous outcome for two organizations with complementary platforms and large audiences. We could not be more excited to be moving forward as one company. SiriusXM is a subscription-based national service of curated and exclusive content and programming, and Pandora is the largest U.S. streaming music provider with its highly personalized free ad-supported service. This is a powerful platform under one roof for consumers, content creators, and advertisers. We look forward to creating unique audio packages that combine our strengths and offer an even wider range of content to our listeners.” Pandora’s 16-month chief executive officer and Sling TV founder, Roger Lynch, is leaving the company, as are general counsel Steve Bene, chief financial officer Naveen Chopra, and chief human resources officer Kristen Robinson.

PPM Analysis: A Closer Look at “Holiday” 2018. Each month, managing editor Mike Kinosian takes an in-depth look at four formats and reports on some of the trends he’s noticed. Adult contemporary is in the spotlight today as Mike delves into the mostly ups – and occasional downs – AC experienced in the “Holiday” 2018 ratings period. The format that leads the way in the all-Christmas music programming strategy accounts for 77% of “Holiday” 2018 #1 finishers (6+). In addition, Bonneville-owned Salt Lake City AC KSFI is the only station in any PPM-market to reach the 20-share level (21.8, 6+) in “Holiday” 2018. Check out all the facts and figures here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Dallas contemporary Christian KAWA “Uplifting-Upbeat-Real” general manager Tim Dukes is named mid-south regional manager over parent company WAY Media properties in Nashville and Clarksville (Tennessee); Louisville and Bowling Green (Kentucky); and Birmingham and Huntsville (Alabama). WAY-FM Network chief operating officer Lloyd Parker states, “We are excited that Tim has accepted the role and challenge of managing our mid-south region. Tim is respected and uniquely-qualified for this position with his many years of mainstream radio experience, plus his time on the pastoral staff at Gateway Church in Dallas-Fort Worth and as chief operating officer of the Dallas-based Halftime Institute. He’s going to do a great job.” Dukes – who will continue to manage KAWA  until a new general manager is named – remarks, “Joining WAY-FM in 2015 has given me some of the most enjoyable, and certainly the most fulfilling, years of my career. Louisville is my hometown. I went to college in Nashville and started in radio there, so this is an especially exciting appointment to me.” His past programming credits include Chicago’s WLUP and Cincinnati’s WEBN, as well as being director of FM programming for Jacor San Diego ….. Today (2/1) on his syndicated show, Tom Joyner announced the “One More Time Experience” multi-city tour, which begins May 10 in Washington, DC and continues throughout the summer. Joyner states, “I hope everyone will be as excited as I am to celebrate with good music, good fun, and good hugs. We have 25 years’ worth of partying to achieve, so let’s do it together.” Confirmed dates and places so far – in addition to May 10 in Washington – include Cleveland (June 7); Indianapolis (June 8); Columbus (July 12); St. Louis (July 13); Raleigh (July 19); and Charlotte (July 20). Also on today’s “Tom Joyner Morning Show,” New Jersey Democratic Senator Cory Booker announced he is running for president ….. Starting next Thursday (2/7), Afentra – who formerly did mornings at Entercom Kansas City alternative KRBZ “The Buzz,” (“Afentra’s Big Fat Morning Buzz”) – will join cross-town Cumulus Media-owned KCJK “X-105.1 Kansas City’s Alternative” for 3:00 pm – 8:00 pm duty. Cumulus midwest region vice president Donna Baker states, “Afentra has the gift of observing life in a manner that is real, whether hilarious or poignant, and sharing that in a way that truly connects.” Cumulus Media and Westwood One executive vice president, content & programming Mike McVay comments, “The opportunity to bring Afentra to the Cumulus Kansas City cluster was one we simply couldn’t pass up. A talent with her skills, experience and market heritage is a rare find.” KCJK program director Mike O’Reilly notes, “Sometimes in a lineup strategy, you get lucky and make a big splash. Adding Afentra is more along the lines of a tidal wave for Kansas City alternative, while Afentra explains that KCJK “didnʼt just say they wanted me, they showed me. Wanting me – my thoughts and my experience –  speaks to my soul. I’m rested, excited, and ready to win.” ….. Assistant music programmer Brian Denicola is promoted to program director of SiriusXM’s “60s on 6” channel. Senior director of programming Lou Simon writes in an internal memo, “Brian has exemplified a great level of care and focus and has developed relationships with each of you, making sure he has what you need and providing you with inspiration for added creativity. His copywriting; attention to detail in editing logs; and his creativity have all led to this appointment. I will remain in a position of oversight and Bond Collard will remain as the channel coordinator, doing a spectacular job in that role.” Denicola had been programming the channel on an interim basis ….. Three-year WRQX “Mix 107.3,” Washington, DC afternoon drive talent Jason Kidd exits the Cumulus Media hot AC. “Mix” program director/Cumulus Media vice president of hot AC programming Rob Roberts is seeking Kidd’s successor ….. Mainstream CHR KYYY “Y-93” Bismarck (North Dakota) program director Joey Dee transfers to iHeartMedia Omaha sibling KISO “96.1 Kiss FM Omaha’s #1 For All The Hits” as program director/afternoon drive host. Senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia Omaha Erik Johnson comments, “We are extremely excited to welcome Joey Dee to the ‘96.1 Kiss FM’ team. His major-market experience and creative ideas will help make [KISO] a market leader.” Dee adds, “Making my pilgrimage to Omaha is a dream come true for me as a CHR programmer. I am incredibly excited to work with the entire iHeartMedia Omaha team and I look forward to taking ‘96.1 Kiss FM’ all the way to number one.” Dee previously was assistant program director for Hubbard Seattle CHR KQMV “Movin’ 92.5” and has programmed Bismarck’s KKCT ….. On-air lineup adjustments at Entercom Buffalo’s WLKK “Alternative Buffalo” find “Emily” in extended morning drive (6:00 am – 11:00 am); “Brandi” middays (11:00 am – 3:00 pm); Nik Rivers in afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm); and “Axe” handling 7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight duties.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

| October 25, 2018

Talk Host Lars Larson at Center of Gun Rights Issue in Portland.  According to a piece on Campus Reform’s website, KXL, Portland-based radio talk show host Lars Larson was required by the administration of Portland State University to promise not to bring his permitted gun (legal in Oregon) to a Second Amendment event on the campus being sponsored by the PSU College Republicans.  Larson was vocally critical of the school for making the request and for threatening the College Republicans if they invited Larson knowing he would bring his conceal carry weapon.  Ultimately, the group cancelled the event.  Larson is quoted saying he fought the school’s request for obvious reasons.  “It would be the height of hypocrisy, for me to say ‘I’m going to go talk to these kids about the importance of their Second Amendment rights,’ while voluntarily forfeiting mine.”  Larson also tells Campus Reform he plans to do a broadcast from the school.  “Later this week, my producer and I will walk up, sit down in the student union, and I’m gonna do five or 10 minutes on a Facebook Live stream, explaining the entire background.  I cannot speak to the students unless I give up my civil rights, I cannot do the broadcast that I wanted to do, and the students have been threatened.”

Nielsen Reports Q3 Financials; Net Income Down 32.4%. Ratings and consumer research giant Nielsen Holdings plc releases financial data for the third quarter of 2018 and reports revenue of $1.6 billion, down 2.5%, or 0.6% on a constant currency basis, compared to the third quarter of 2017.  Free cash flow for the third quarter of 2018 decreased to $266 million, compared to $425 million in the third quarter of 2017.  The company’s audio ratings service falls under its Watch segment and for the third quarter, Audio revenue dipped 1.6%, from $127 million in 2017 to $125 million in Q3 of 2018.  However, the company reports “Audience Measurement of Video and Text revenues increased 4.7%, or 5.2% on a constant currency basis, due to continued client adoption of our Total Audience Measurement system and our ongoing investments, including Gracenote.”  Nielsen executive chairman Jim Attwood says, “The third quarter revenue and earnings are consistent with our updated 2018 guidance despite a number of near-term challenges in our markets.  We have a number of key initiatives and actions that we are pursuing to improve our future outlook.  Together with the board of directors, we are aligned on a set of operational priorities to drive the business forward. In addition, the board of directors, with the assistance of our advisors and management team, is focused on the expanded strategic review that we announced in September, which includes a broad review of strategic alternatives for Nielsen and its businesses.”

SiriusXM’s Jim Meyer on Pandora Acquisition. During yesterday’s third quarter investor conference call, SiriusXM chief executive officer Jim Meyer talked about the company’s bid to acquire streaming pure play Pandora. He said the two platforms have the ability to cross-promote.  He adds that the goal, obviously, is not to convince paying SiriusXM subscribers to leave for a cheaper or free version of Pandora.  “At SiriusXM, we are running about 23 million trials in new and used cars this year.  And the truth, as the flip side of our conversion statistics will tell you, is that most people don’t want to pay for radio at the end of the day.  I feel there is a strong opportunity if we can link non-converters back to a Pandora or maybe a Pandora with a bit more content in a way that makes our combined business bigger, better, and more profitable. There are many ways we believe that one plus one will exceed two very quickly and we plan to give you additional color on that over the next few months.”  The company is still waiting for anti-trust approval from the FTC and Justice Department before meetings with Pandora can affect any change there, but it is downplaying the synergies that might be realized from a combined operation. Meyer adds, “Last week, while I was out in Oakland for a Pandora board meeting, I had the privilege of speaking with a large group of Pandora’s talented employees.  It was fantastic to talk about our shared future, what we can do with all of our financial resources, vast troves of data, unmatched content, enormous user bases, and some of the most talented people in radio and technology.  I am confident that together, these two companies will be even stronger.”

TALKERS News Notes. Detroit’s “910 AM Superstation” – Kevin Adell -owned WFDF – brings local media personality Charlie LeDuff aboard to host a weekly, one-hour program airing Mondays at 4:00 pm, titled, “No BS News Hour.”  LeDuff is a former Detroit News and WJBK-TV, Detroit reporter.  The weekly show is being designed as a companion to LeDuff’s Michigan-focused podcast of the same title.  LeDuff says, “If you suffer from insomnia, I recommend you watch the news.  If you want the news, I recommend you tune into the ‘No BS News Hour.’ Original reporting, nowhere else.”…..The “Motley Fool Money” with host Chris Hill adds new affiliates news/talk KGVO-AM/FM and KMPT-AM “Montana’s Progressive Talk” in Missoula for the weekly program. Hill tells TALKERS magazine that the addition of the Townsquare Media stations puts the program at the 52-affiliate mark…..SiriusXM is adding “The Dan Abrams Show: Where Politics Meets The Law” to its P.O.T.U.S. channel programming, effective October 29.  The ABC News chief legal analyst will host a show that will “analyze the biggest news stories of the day from a legal perspective.”  Abrams says, “The legal side of news stories is more important and prominent than ever. I’m thrilled to have this opportunity on SiriusXM to really dig in and separate the legal realities from the wishful spin for listeners and people calling in to the show.”…..New York Public Radio names longtime Viacom executive Depelsha McGruder chief operating officer.  McGruder was most recently senior vice president of programming for BET Networks.  NYPR operates not only public radio news/talk WNYC-AM/FM, but WNYC Studios and New Jersey Public Radio, as well…..Legendary college basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski is hosting the premiere episode of the 14th season of his SiriusXM talk show, “Basketball and Beyond with Coach K,” tonight at 6:00 pm ET.

SRN’s Larry Elder to Attend Meeting of Young Black Conservatives at Trump White House. According to a report in the New York Post, President Trump will entertain a group of hundreds of young, black conservatives gathered for the Young Black Leadership Summit, an event produced by Turning Point USA.  Also attending this evening’s kick-off of the conference will be Salem Radio Network talk show host Larry Elder and actress-turned-conservative-pundit Stacey DashDonald Trump Jr. will also speak to the group this evening, as will HUD Director Ben Carson.

Pipe Bombs Sent to Top Democrats and CNN; Financial Markets Activity, Midterm Elections, Migrant Caravan, Mega Millions Jackpot, Khashoggi Murder Aftermath, Halloween ‘Blackface’ Issue, NFL Action, and World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/24). The news of pipe bombs sent to CNN and top Democrats including the Obamas and the Clintons; the Dow loses 600 points and the activity in other world financial markets; the November midterm elections and the battle for control of the House and the Senate; the migrant caravan making its way through Mexico to the U.S. border; one winning ticket in South Carolina is sold for the $1.6 billion Mega Millions lottery; the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and U.S.-Saudi relations; the issue of schools warning students not to dress in blackface for Halloween; the week’s NFL action; and the World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox 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. Seattle CHR KBKS-FM “106.1 KISS FM” is stunting in preparation for a format change.  The stunt began on Wednesday with jockless programming peppered with mysteriously worded sweepers teasing the change.  The status of the air staff with owner iHeartMedia is not known but numerous reports indicate AM drive personality Bender has exited…..Entercom hot AC KHMX “Mix 96.5” promotes afternoon drive personality Jason Cage music director, effective immediately.  He’ll continue hosting his 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm program.  Entercom Houston SVP and market manager Sarah Frazier says, “Jason has proven to be a very valuable contributor to the overall sound and feel of KHMX and has helped to lead culture here at Entercom Houston.  We are excited to elevate him to the role of music director.”…..As a result of the flip of SummitMedia’s WJSR, Richmond from classic hits to adult hits as “Jack FM,” morning show team Bill Bevins and Shelly Perkins exits after a four-year stint.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

| October 24, 2018

Steve Dahl to End WLS-AM, Chicago Show on December 21.  After yesterday’s report from Chicago media maven Robert Feder that Cumulus Media news/talk outlet WLS-AM will undergo programming changes in 2019, legendary Chicago radio personality Steve Dahl reached out to Feder in an email to announce his time with the station will end on December 21.  He’s been hosting the afternoon drive show for the past four years.  He says his podcast – that is still growing in terms of subscribers – will continue and will retain its relationship with Cumulus Media Chicago.  Dahl writes, “WLS-AM was always going to be an uphill battle, and circumstances just didn’t lend themselves to us being able to breakout like we hoped we would.  The podcast numbers continue to grow every day, so that’s encouraging.”  Read his entire email here.

SiriusXM Reports Q3 Net Income Up 24%. Satellite radio provider SiriusXM releases its third quarter 2018 numbers today and reports its revenue for the period was $1.5 billion, up 6% over the same period in 2017.  Net income was $343 million in the third quarter – up 24% over the same quarter last year.  Looking at subscriber numbers, SiriusXM says that it added 298,000 net new self-pay subscribers during the quarter to raise its self-pay subscriber total to 28.5 million. CEO Jim Meyer comments, “SiriusXM’s standout third quarter saw continued strength in subscriber additions and churn performance while adjusted EBITDA reached a quarterly record-high $589 million. Our revenue growth, adjusted for the change in generally accepted accounting principles that was effective January 1, totaled 8% in the quarter.  In addition to our operational excellence, we were thrilled this quarter to announce an agreement to acquire Pandora Media, which we expect to close in the first quarter of 2019.  With the end of the year in sight, we are increasing our full-year guidance for self-pay net additions, revenue and adjusted EBITDA.  We have a relentless focus on creating and curating content our subscribers will love — our limited-run Dave Matthews Band Radio was a perfect example.  We also presented fiery live performances just for subscribers, like our recent show by The Killers in New York.  We’ve added provocative talent in talk and sports with a daily show from CNN’s Chris Cuomo, a new show from Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, the return of Brett Favre’s popular show, and a new program highlighting women in sports hosted by journalist Christine Brennan and retired tennis pro Rennae Stubbs.”

Phil Valentine Voted Best Conservative in Nashville. That’s right, not Best Talk Show Host (there is no such category), but Best Conservative, as voted by the readers of Nashville ScenePhil Valentine’s afternoon drive show is based at Cumulus Media’s WWTN, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7” and is syndicated nationally via subsidiary Westwood One.  He is also an award-winning filmmaker and bestselling author whose latest book, Barbican: A Sterling McQueen Spy Story, was released earlier this year.  Cumulus Nashville VP and market manager Allison Warren says, “Every year, the editors of Nashville Scene ask their readers what they love best about Nashville and it’s no surprise that Phil Valentine is at the top of the list.  We agree wholeheartedly that Phil brings his best to ‘SuperTalk 99.7 WTN’ and our listeners every afternoon.  His common-sense approach to talk radio cuts through the hype of the day’s news, challenging conventional wisdom on both sides and presenting actionable solutions that people respond to.  It’s gratifying that Nashvillians love Phil as much as we do and we congratulate him on this well-deserved honor.”

Midterm Elections, Migrant Caravan, Mega Millions Jackpot, Khashoggi Murder Aftermath, O’Connor Dementia Diagnosis, Financial Markets Activity, Gender Definition Issue, Trump Threatens to Exit INF Treaty, Trump-Russia Investigation, NFL Action, and the World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/23). The November elections and the battle for control of the House and the Senate; the Honduran migrant caravan headed for the U.S. border; the $1.6 billion Mega Millions lottery jackpot; the aftermath of the slaying of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and U.S.-Saudi relations; former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor announces she’s been diagnosed with dementia; the wild swings in the financial markets and fears of a looming debt bubble; the Trump Administration’s plan to require legal gender based on genitalia at birth; President Trump threatens to exit the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia; the Robert Mueller-led Trump-Russia investigation probes Roger Stone’s Wikileaks contacts; the weekend’s NFL action; and the World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox were some of the most-talked about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Almost seven weeks after announcing that he would be taking a leave from his morning drive duties at Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston, Kirk Minihane Tweets that he’ll “be back soon.” Minihane took a brief leave in early August after experiencing suicidal thoughts and checked himself into a hospital. In his September 7 message, Minihane said that he would this time take indefinite leave to deal with depression issues, he admitted that he came back to work too soon after the August hospital stay.  However, he Tweets that all is not necessarily well between him and Entercom management. “…I’ve been ready to work for the last week or so and have been kept off the air.  You build a show, take it to number one, step aside to get healthy and expect to be welcomed back. Hasn’t happened.”  During Minihane’s absence, WEEI personality Mike “Mut” Mutnansky has been sitting in with regular co-host Gerry Callahan…..From the podcast world, Westwood One Podcast Network adds the “Team Never Quit” podcast – co-hosted by former Navy SEALs Marcus Luttrell and David Rutherford .  WWO says “Team Never Quit” is “an authentic, positive, and inspiring show that implores listeners to face their greatest challenges” and features “the incredible camaraderie between Mr. ‘Never Quit’ Marcus Luttrell and energetic ‘Instructor Rut’ David Rutherford, that not only comes from their time together on SEAL Teams but also due to their mutual 10 years of inspiring audiences of all types.”…..MSNBC star Rachel Maddow is host of a new podcast from the network titled, “Bag Man: A Rachel Maddow Original Podcast.” The weekly podcast will launch on October 30 with ad sales being handled by TuneIn.  The first episode will center on the corruption scandal that took down Vice President Spiro T. Agnew…..Nationally syndicated radio star Elvis Duran reveals his 4thAnnual Carney Awards – named in honor of the late Art Carney and dedicated to honoring Hollywood’s great character actors – is getting some help from legendary actor Harrison Ford, who will attend the October 28 ceremony in Santa Monica to present the Lifetime Achievement Award to M. Emmett Walsh with whom Ford appeared in 1982’s Blade Runner.

TalkersRadio’s Meg McDonald Active in Los Angeles Community Beautification Projects — Studio City-based media figure Meg McDonald, who hosts the short-form feature titled “MEG!” on TalkersRadio, has become increasingly involved in Los Angeles beautification projects.  She recently played a role at a major fund-raising initiative.  California Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian secured $150,000 in the 2018 – 2019 fiscal year state budget for the long-needed revitalization of the Studio City Greenway along the Los Angeles River from Whitsett Ave. to Laurel Canyon Blvd.  The project will improve bike and pedestrian access points, restore the landscaping by eliminating invasive species, and enhance public health and safety along the Los Angeles River.  Pictured (l-r) joining in the funding celebration is Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy executive director Joe Edmiston; Assemblyman Nazarian; Studio City Beautification Association board member and host of MEG! on TalkersRadio Meg McDonald and Los Angeles City Councilor Paul Krekorian.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the Fayetteville, North Carolina market, Kenny J is named program director and brand manager for Beasley Media Group hip hop WZFX-FM “Foxy 99” and brand manager for sister rhythmic oldies WUKS “Old School 107.7.” He most recently served with Cumulus Media as program director at urban contemporary KMJK, Kansas City.  Beasley Fayetteville VP and market manager Erika Beasley comments, “I’m so excited to have Kenny J on the Beasley Fayetteville team.  We welcome his expertise and knowledge in programming both formats in large and small markets.  Kenny’s ability to coach and grow on-air personalities really sets him apart for this position.  We look forward to having his energy and positive attitude in our building and continuing to lead our brands to success!”…..Programming pro Nick Fox joins Cumulus Media as program director and midday personality at country WXBM, Pensacola, Florida “NASH FM 102.7.”  He comes to Cumulus from Saga Communications’ country WVVR, Clarksville, Tennessee where he was an air personality and APD.  He says, “I’m ecstatic to be back home as the PD of WXBM!  This station has a rich legacy and passionate listeners.  I am ready to hit the ground running in Pensacola.”…..SummitMedia is tweaking the format at WJSR, Richmond from classic hits as “Star 100.9” to adult hits as “Jack FM.”

Monday, September 24, 2018

| September 24, 2018

Nielsen Audio Announces Monthly Reporting for Diary Markets Starting in July of 2019. This is a move that broadcasters in diary markets have been waiting for.  Ratings giant Nielsen Audio announces it will “transform the measurement of markets that are measured with the audio diary from a quarterly or two times a year view to year-round measurement with monthly reporting.  This more dynamic measurement solution enables clients to see seasonal shifts and react more quickly to marketplace changes.  With this transition, radio will be able to find new insights and tell its reach story to advertisers each month.”  The implementation of Continuous Diary Measurement will begin in phases with the first starting in July 2019 in the markets currently measured four times a year.  The current four-book markets will convert to 12 currency releases that will comprise three months of data starting with the May/June/July 2019 report period.  Effective with July 2019, approximately 70% of radio’s ad spend will be reported monthly by Nielsen Audio.  Company managing director Brad Kelly says, “Big billion-dollar advertisers leave nothing to chance.  Every decision they make is data driven and updated audience data is crucial for timely decisions.  Nielsen Audio is excited to help diary market clients have a better understanding of the audio landscape and respond faster to dynamic market conditions. Continuous Diary Measurement will help radio reinforce its compelling reach story more often and provide fresh radio data to fuel marketing mix models — the decision tools big advertisers rely on to allocate budgets and evaluate the effect of their ad spend.”  Nielsen plans to deliver monthly reports, covering six months of data in markets with at least 1,000 metro in-tab, and monthly reports covering 12 months of data in the smallest markets.  Currently, Nielsen reports larger diary markets four times a year (winter, spring, summer and fall), mid-sized diary markets twice a year in the spring and fall and the smallest markets with two book averages of Spring/Fall and Fall/Spring.

SiriusXM to Acquire Pandora.  Satellite radio broadcaster SiriusXM announces that it is acquiring internet pure-play Pandora in an all-stock deal valued at about $3.5 billion.  According to today’s statement, Pandora owners will get 1.44 shares of SiriusXM stock for each Pandora share they own.  Both companies issued brief financial statements within the announcement. SiriusXM reiterates its previous outlook of 1.15 million new, self-pay subscribers and an adjusted EBITDA of $2.17 billion for the year.  Pandora reports expected Q3 revenue to be $390 million to $405 million.  SiriusXM says of the deal, “The combination creates the world’s largest audio entertainment company, with more than $7 billion in expected pro-forma revenue in 2018 and strong, long-term growth opportunities.”  SiriusXM says it plans no immediate change in listener offerings but adds that it can “capitalize on cross-promotion opportunities” and leverage its “exclusive content and programming with Pandora’s ad-supported and subscription tiers to create unique audio packages, while also utilizing SiriusXM’s extensive automotive relationships to drive Pandora’s in-car distribution.”  SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer comments, “We have long respected Pandora and their team for their popular consumer offering that has attracted a massive audience and have been impressed by Pandora’s strategic progress and stronger execution.  We believe there are significant opportunities to create value for both companies’ stockholders by combining our complementary businesses.  The addition of Pandora diversifies SiriusXM’s revenue streams with the U.S.’s largest ad-supported audio offering, broadens our technical capabilities, and represents an exciting next step in our efforts to expand our reach out of the car even further.  Through targeted investments, we see significant opportunities to drive innovation that will accelerate growth beyond what would be available to the separate companies, and does so in a way that also benefits consumers, artists, and the broader content communities.  Together, we will deliver even more of the best content on radio to our passionate and loyal listeners, and attract new listeners, across our two platforms.”

Beasley Promotes Buzz Knight to EVP of Strategy and Innovation. Programmer Buzz Knight is promoted from his vice president of programming position to executive vice president of strategy and innovation, effective immediately.  Knight came into the Beasley Media Group organization with the company’s acquisition of Greater Media in 2016.  In his new role, he will be responsible for the company’s existing and future strategic initiatives, along with new opportunities that innovate and diversify its portfolio.  Knight says, “These are transformative times in the company and the media industry.  Beasley Media Group is committed to pursuing and embracing strategy and innovation.  I am grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of helping to shape the company’s next exciting chapter!”

WTAM, Cleveland Adds ‘Geraldo in Cleveland’ Program and Begins 106.7 FM Simulcast. Heritage Cleveland news/talk WTAM unveils a number of programming additions that take effect today (9/24), starting with the AM station’s addition of translator W295DE at 106.7 FM to the station’s signal.  Also, American news and talk icon Geraldo Rivera is launching at daily, one-hour program on WTAM called “Geraldo in Cleveland” that airs at 9:00 am.  The iHeartMedia station says the program will address “a range of local and national headlines, including the latest business, political, and pop culture news.”  Rivera says in a press release, “Cleveland is my home now and so is WTAM.  History put me here by random chance and now I am a part of this great city where I fell in love with my wife of 15 years, Erica Rivera.  I will continue to work on a national level with FOX News [as correspondent-at-large], and I look forward to sharing conversations and perspective locally with you every day.  This is just the beginning of what I hope will be a long relationship with WTAM, iHeartMedia, and most importantly – YOU.”  Also at WTAM, the station adds former Cleveland Indians pitcher and current Indians TV broadcaster Jensen Lewis to the afternoon daypart as co-host of the 6:00 pm sports show “Sports Feed 2.0” with Mike Trivisonno and Nick Camino.  Finally, longtime station personalities Bill Wills – co-host of the morning drive show – and afternoon drive personality Mike Trivisonno have once again renewed their agreements with WTAM, both signing multi-year contract extensions.  Wills will continue his 20-year tenure as anchor of morning drive and Trivisonno will extend his 22-year reign as afternoon drive on-air personality.

Report: Gargano Off Mornings at WPEN-FM.  According to a report by Rob Tornoe at Philly.com, Beasley Broadcast Group’s sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” is removing Anthony Gargano from his post as host of the morning show and set to replace him is NBC Sports Philadelphia (and former crosstown WIP) personality Marc Farzetta. The story says it’s unclear if current morning show cast members Bob Cooney and producer Jamie Lynch will remain with the new lineup. WPEN has not responded publicly to the report.  Gargano left Entercom’s crosstown sports talker WIP in 2015 to take the WPEN gig.  Gargano is still listed as morning host on the station’s website and spots with his voice are still airing.

‘Savage Nation’ Reinvented for the New Year; One-Hour Radio Show and One-Hour Podcast to Replace Current Show. Starting in January, Michael Savage and Westwood One transition his current three-hour, syndicated talk show into two separate entities – a one-hour version of “The Savage Nation” radio show and a new, original podcast (that will also be available for radio broadcast).  Savage currently releases a podcast version of his radio show.  This new podcast will be original content.  Savage states, “As I move into the next phase of my 25-year radio career I hope to bring even more listeners to the medium of audio with ‘The Savage Nation.’  I will be free to innovate in unique ways on my podcast.  The flexibility of the platform will permit me to expand my storytelling and insights into politics, books, food, cars, and rock and roll.  I’m going to change the way talk radio is spoken and consumed.”  WWO adds that the combination of podcast and broadcast will fuel the audience for both shows, saying Savage will cross-promote across “The Savage Nation” radio show and podcast, which will also be heavily promoted by Westwood One Podcast Network.

Westwood One to Produce New, Two-Hour Ben Shapiro Radio Show. A lot has been made about making conservative media figure and Daily Wire editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro’s podcast available to broadcast radio stations. But, the real innovation in today’s news about Westwood One’s new, two-hour radio show being made available to news/talk stations is that the national spots will be restricted to a “limited number of powerful live reads” just as Shapiro does on his podcast.  The new Ben Shapiro show will air live from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET and debut in January. Shapiro says, “I grew up on talk radio and cut my teeth there.  There’s no medium that allows the exchange of ideas and the explanation of detailed narratives better than talk radio and I can’t wait to bring two more live hours to listeners across the country.  And we’re going to bring the values of podcasts – islands of advertising surrounded by oceans of content – to talk radio, too, merging the best of both worlds. Westwood One is a tremendously innovative partner, and I can’t wait to get started!”

RAB/NAB Radio Show Gets Underway This Week in Orlando.  The 2018 Radio Show opens in Orlando tomorrow (9/25).  Radio consultant Holland Cooke offers a little teaser about Edison Research’s “Share of the Ear” study that will be released at the Radio Show this year.  He also has some insight on the new Echo Auto.  Read his piece here.  Among the numerous happenings at this year’s confab is a live broadcast of “The Bob & Tom Show” Wednesday through Friday.  The broadcasts will take place in the North Foyer of the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek and will feature special guests; Frank Caliendo, Drew Hastings, Pat Godwin, and Greg Hahn.

Kavanaugh Assault Allegations, Trump-Russia Investigation/Rosenstein Status, Midterm Elections, New Illegal Population Study, U.S.-China Trade War, Deadly Iran Parade Attack, NFL Action, and MLB Playoff Push Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.This week’s scheduled testimony from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, and the new allegation from Kavanaugh’s Yale years; President Trump’s attacks on the Russia investigation and speculation about Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein’s job security; the coming midterm elections; a new illegal population study that declares real illegal population is 22 million – double previous estimates; the escalating placement of tariffs on goods by the U.S. and China; the attack on an Iranian military parade being blamed by Iran on the U.S. and Israel; the weekend’s NFL Action and the Major League Baseball playoff push were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Las Vegas, Beasley Media Group names Kris Fisher the new brand manager for rhythmic oldies KOAS “Old School 105.7” and hot AC KVGS “STAR 107.”   Fisher was most recently PD at the company’s hip hop WCHZ.  Beasley Las Vegas vice president and general manager Dennis Gwiazdon comments, “We’re thrilled that Kris will be joining our team in Las Vegas.  After a lengthy nationwide search, it is especially gratifying to be able to promote someone from within our company.  “HD98.3” and “Hot 95.5/ 93.1” have achieved some of their highest ratings under his direction.  I’m looking forward to watching Kris work his magic for us here!”…..The nationally syndicated “DeDe in the Mornings” show is being added to the program schedule at iHeartMedia’s WHTY-FM, Columbus, Georgia “Hot 100.”  Compass Media Networks officially launched “DeDe in the Mornings” in partnership with Service Broadcasting’s “K104” in Dallas on July 16.  The program is also heard on WJMR-FM, Milwaukee; KATJ-HD2/K242CS, Victorville, California “HD 96.3”; and more…..Chicago on-air pro Brian Peck is named evening personality on Cumulus Media’s classic hits WLS-FM.  Peck has recently shared evening hosting duties with fellow WLS personalities Tom O’Toole and Danny Lake.  They will continue with their weekend shows along with Erin Carmen and Abby Ryan. Peck arrived in Chicago in 1992 as a morning co-host on WKQX “Q101.”  He’s also worked at WTMX, WSHE, and WJMK.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

| July 26, 2018

Former KFTK-FM, St. Louis Host Jamie Allman, Emmis and Entercom Argue Over Motion to Dismiss His Breach of Contract Suit.  If you’ve been following the legal case in which talk show host Jamie Allman is suing Emmis and Entercom for his firing from news/talk KFTK-FM, St. Louis, there’s an update to report.  Remember that Allman was let go after the blowback from his tweet in which he referenced Florida school shooting survivor and activist David Hogg saying, “I’ve been hanging out getting ready to ram a hot poker up David Hogg’s ass tomorrow.”  Emmis/Entercom asked the court to dismiss the case and on Tuesday (7/24), each side filed arguments for and against the motion to dismiss.  Allman argues to convert the Motion to Dismiss to a motion for summary judgement due to Emmis/Entercom’s attachment of the contract’s Assignment and Assumption Agreement and news stories about his tweet to its argument and second, due to his claim that he’s a third-party beneficiary of the contract because of FCC ownership cap issues affecting the Emmis-Entercom stations sale.  Emmis/Entercom argue that their attachments comply with the rules for filing for the Motion and that Allman’s ownership cap argument is irrelevant because that matter is governed by the FCC.  Allman also argues that whether Emmis/Entercom legally fired him based on the language of his contract should be decided by a jury, not by a judge in the form of a dismissal.  It appears Jamie Allman is in this fight for the long haul.

‘New Jersey 101.5’ Suspends Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco for ‘Turban Man’ Comment. After catching heat for comments made by midday personalities Dennis Malloy (right) and Judi Franco (left) about New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” has suspended the pair “until further notice.”  During a radio conversation about Gurbir’s decision to not prosecute low-level marijuana arrests for the next month, the duo referred to Gurbi – a practicing Sikh – as “turban man.”  The comments went viral on social media and the station posted its response on its website. It says, “We are aware of the offensive comments made by Dennis and Judi during today’s broadcast.  We have taken immediate action and have taken them off the air until further notice.  We are investigating the matter and will have further comment shortly.”

Mike Pintek Takes Leave from KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh. After being off the air for a few weeks, KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh talk host Mike Pintek announces he’s on leave from the station to focus on his health.  In May of 2017, Pintek announced he’s been diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer and is under the care of Dr. Nathan Bahary at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center.  He says in a statement posted on the KDKA website, “At this point, I need to take some time and really focus on my health.  I know a number of listeners have reached out to the station to get an update on my condition since I haven’t been on the air for a few weeks.  I want everyone to know how much I appreciate all your prayers, kind words, encouragement and support.”  Pintek recently suffered a stroke but his doctors believe his rehab from that will be successful and he’ll return to his course of chemotherapy.

SiriusXM CEO Says AM/FM Must Improve Its Product to Survive. Commenting on the competitive nature of today’s audio services industry during Wednesday’s Q2 investor conference call, SiriusXM chief executive officer Jim Meyer says that his company has been addressing the threats of new and improved audio services since he’s been with the company.  In talking about that, he also gave his opinion about AM/FM radio’s future.  “I’ve been here almost 14 years, and during those 14 years I’ve seen a couple of moments where people have said, ‘Oh, competition and what’s it going to do?’  And yet, you look at the unbelievable things that have occurred over the last 10 years – the unbelievable surge in technology and yet you still look at the number of people that listen to AM/FM radio every day, okay?  And honestly, that’s the area I think that’s got a problem.  If they don’t vastly improve their product, that’s the area where I think listener hours are finally going to come or finally going to shift away to other things.  If you really want to know where I think it inevitably shakes out.”

SiriusXM Second Quarter Revenue Up 6%.  CEO Jim Meyer wasn’t taking a potshot at radio in the story above, but he makes his comments standing on pretty firm ground as far as SiriusXM’s business is concerned.  The company announces its 2018 second quarter revenue was $1.4 billion, up 6% over Q2 of 2017.  Net income for the quarter was $292 million, a gain of 42% over last year’s $202 million figure.  Jim Meyer states, “SiriusXM’s strong start to 2018 accelerated in the second quarter.  We added 483,000 net new self-pay subscribers in the quarter with an impressive 1.6% self-pay churn rate, our best-ever performance.  Our 6% growth in revenue would have been 8% absent the change in generally accepted accounting principles that was effective January 1, and we are thrilled to increase our full-year guidance for self-pay net additions, revenue and adjusted EBITDA.”

Nielsen 2018 Q2 Revenue Flat. Ratings and research giant Nielsen Holdings plc announces 2018 second quarter financial results.  Nielsen was basically flat on revenue of $1.6 billion, up 0.2% compared the same period in 2017.  Nielsen Audio is part of the company’s Watch segment that was up 4.5%, but the audio revenue was basically flat for the quarter.  The Audience Measurement of Video and Text and Marketing Effectiveness revenues accounted for a large portion of the Watch segment’s growth.

Nielsen’s Mitch Barns to Retire at Year’s End. Also on Wednesday (7/25), Nielsen’s board of directors announced that CEO and board member Mitch Barns will retire from the company at the end of 2018.  James Attwood, current chairman of the board, is named executive chairman.  Barns will remain through the end of the year and Attwood, a managing director at The Carlyle Group will assume a more active role and will direct the search for the new CEO.  Attwood says, “Mitch has left an indelible mark on Nielsen – his commitment to integrity, openness, values and engagement will continue to be the heart of this company for years to come.  I, along with the rest of the board of directors, thank him for his service.”

Salem Selling KOTK-AM, Omaha to Hickory Radio. Omaha-market news/talk KOTK-AM “The Answer” and religious KCRO-AM (and their translators) are being sold by Salem Media Group to Hickory Radio, an affiliate of Walnut Radio.  The deal includes the stations continuing to operate in those formats and with their respective brands, as Salem is licensing “The Word” and “The Answer” to Hickory.  Salem president/broadcast Dave Santrella says, “We are thrilled to put these radio stations in the capable hands of Walnut Radio, a broadcaster with deep roots in the area and with a commitment to maintain the quality of broadcast our ministry partners, advertisers and listeners have come to expect.”  No price has been announced yet.

News/Talk KVOI, Tucson Sold to Bustos Media. The Doug and Mary Martin-owned company Good News Communications agrees to sell news/talk KVOI, Tucson to Amador Bustos’ Bustos Media Holdings.  No sale price has been announced yet but Bustos says in a statement, “As a long-time Spanish language broadcaster, we are excited to step into the arena of news/talk radio in Tucson, Arizona, a city we have worked in before and have loved for many years.”  KALIL & CO., INC. is the exclusive broker for this transaction.

TALKERS News Notes. The new voice of the New Orleans Saints is former Saints player Zach Strief, who begins handling play-by-play duties on flagship Entercom’s WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans. Strief will work alongside former teammate Deuce McAllister.  Entercom New Orleans SVP and market manager Chris Wegman states, “When we set the criteria for the new ‘Voice of the Saints’ we were looking for someone who would make the professional play calls, as well as someone who has a deep connection to the team, the fans, and our community.  Zach possesses all of those qualities, knows the game firsthand and is a fixture in the New Orleans community. We’re very excited about adding him to the team.”…..Envision Networks announces that it has brought aboard new affiliate relations manager Josh Friedman.  He comments, “After being able to intern with Envision Networks, I was excited to join the team full time when the opportunity came.  I look forward to working with Danno, Laura, and the rest of the team and to continue to grow Envision’s affiliate base while upholding the superlative level of customer service established by Envision.”…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that iHeartMedia Chicago chief engineer Bob Fukuda has exited the station group. Feder notes that Fukuda was a 30-year veteran of iHeartMedia, as well as its predecessors Clear Channel and Evergreen Media…..WBUR, Boston names Meghna Chakrabarti and David Folkenflik co-hosts of the NPR-syndicated midday program “On Point.”  They will assume their new on-air duties on August 20. They take over for Tom Ashbrook, who exited back in February after allegations of workplace abuse.  Folkenflik is an NPR correspondent and Chakrabarti is host of WBUR’s “Radio Boston.”…..The “Motley Fool Money” radio show, hosted by Chris Hill, adds new affiliate station WTAX, Springfield, Illinois.

Trump-Cohen Tapes/Russia Investigation, U.S.-E.U. Meeting, Trump Pushes Back Putin Meeting, Rosenstein Impeachment, YouTube Bans Alex Jones Videos, Trump-Iran Rhetoric, U.S.-China Trade War, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/25).  The release of some of the recordings made of Michael Cohen’s conversations with President Trump and the investigation into possible Russian connections with the Trump campaign; President Trump’s meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker over trade issues; the next Trump-Putin meeting is pushed off into 2019; GOP House members introduce articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein; YouTube bans three Alex Jones videos from its platform; the war rhetoric between President Trump and Iran; the effects of the U.S.-China trade war; and Major League Baseball action 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. A new, nationally syndicated weekend program featuring Ellen K is being launched by iHeartMedia.  Dubbed “The Ellen K Weekend Show,” it will be a four-hour adult contemporary weekend program emanating from Los Angeles where Ellen K also hosts morning on the company’s KOST.  The company calls it “custom-tailored content for an audience that wants to feel informed on lifestyle trends, inspired by ‘feel good’ moments and enhanced by shareable factoids.  Listeners will also enjoy the latest showbiz news and interviews with the biggest names in music like John Legend, Lady Gaga, Meghan Trainor, Kelly Clarkson and more.”…..Beasley Media Group names Joel Weiss music director for alternative WBOS “ALT 92.9,” effective August 6.  Weiss spent the past 13 years as music director and air personality at Cox Media Group’s alternative WSUN, Tampa “97X.” WBOS program director Ken West says, “I’m excited to welcome Joel to ‘ALT 92.9.’ He loves music, loves radio, and loves Boston.  His passion and energy for the alternative format will help push ‘ALT 92.9’ to new heights!”

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