Tag: "Julia Ziegler"

Friday, March 13, 2020

| March 13, 2020

Craig Schwalb Joins WTOP, Washington as Director of Content Integration and Operations. Programming pro Craig Schwalb is named director of content integration and operations for Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington.  At the same time, Hubbard announces that Sarah Beth Hensley is assuming the digital news director position for WTOP.  That position opened after Julia Ziegler was promoted to director of news and programming.  Hensley is returning from maternity leave from her previous position as digital news manager.  Ziegler says, “The addition of our new director of content integration and operations was incredibly important to me in terms of being able to serve the newsroom most effectively.  An additional member on the leadership team helps ensure we meet our content evolution and quality control goals, as well as our goals for team training, development and growth.”  Schwalb was most recently program director for WABC, New York.  Prior to that, he was program director at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence.  He says, “For news and content, D.C. is the epicenter.  And if you are in D.C. you are listening to ‘TOP.  Joining this great station at this fascinating time is an absolute honor and a dream come true.  Thanks to Joel Oxley, Julia Ziegler, and Greg Strassell for this incredible opportunity.”  Ziegler says of Hensley, “In our roles as digital news director and digital news manager, respectively, I have had the opportunity to work very closely with Sarah Beth and am constantly reminded of her commitment to excellence and dedication to the WTOP mission and vision.”  Schwalb starts his new position Monday (3/16), and Hensley’s new role begins on April 14.

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM, Washington, DC. The new episode titled “The Panic Is the Cure!” looks back at this past week of March 9-13, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSSid Rosenberg, talk show host, 77WABC, New York; Charles Freedman, talk show host, KSCO, Santa Cruz; Dr. Renee Kohanski, forensic psychiatrist, Psychcast MDEdge; Steve Weisman, law professor, Bentley University / webmaster, Scamicide.com; William O’ Shaughnessy, chairman, Whitney Global Media; and Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Salem Media Group Q4 Revenue Dips 3.8%; Broadcast Down 1.2%.  In addition to reporting consolidated earnings, Salem Media Group breaks its operations into three segments: broadcasting, digital, and publishing.  For the fourth quarter of 2019, Salem’s broadcast segment reported net revenue of $50.5 million, down 1.2% from the same period in 2018.  Station Operating Income decreased 0.8% to $12.5 million; Same Station net broadcast revenue increased 1.2% to $49.4 million; and Same Station SOI decreased 0.5% to $12.8 million from $12.9 million.  For the quarter, digital and publishing were down 15% and 5.1%, respectively.  For the full year of 2019, total revenue was $253.9 million, down 3.4% from the full year of 2018.  For all of 2019, the broadcast segment’s net revenue was $193.3 million – a decline of 2.6%.  Same Station net broadcast revenue decreased 1.2% and Same Station SOI was off 12.1% to $44.8 million from $51.0 million.

CBS News Turns 82 Today. It was on March 13, 1938 at 8:00 pm ET that “World News Roundup” aired as a one-time special in response to growing tensions in Europe and specifically the Anschluss, during World War II when Adolf Hitler invaded Austria.”  CBS News was founded with the debut of that program that was thrown together with Edward R. Murrow in Austria and anchored by Robert Trout in New York.  In a note to his team (currently relocated in the Washington, DC bureau due to coronavirus cases in the New York studio building), CBS News Radio vice president and general manager Craig Swagler says, “Today we should all be extremely proud of the work we are doing with our outstanding journalists around the globe.  We at CBS News Radio continue the legacy of providing the best in news and information to our affiliated stations as it is needed now more than ever!  Good night and good luck to us all.”

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel Calling for Action Related to COVID-19. Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel is calling on the FCC to take aggressive action in response to COVID-19.  Her statement reads: “The coronavirus is already exposing hard truths about the digital divide, but the Federal Communications Commission has the power to help.  Nationwide this crisis means that we are going to explore the expansion of telework, telehealth, and tele-education.  The FCC should immediately convene the country’s broadband providers to discuss what they are doing right now to provide service for Americans. We need to explore how we can facilitate public-private partnerships and consumer education campaigns to expand the reach of connectivity as quickly as possible at little or no-cost to Americans who are impacted by the coronavirus.  Where data caps are in place, we need to explore how those limitations can be eliminated.  We also need to understand how broadband providers will keep workers safe and keep their services running for Americans who will increasingly rely on broadband connectivity for work, healthcare, and education.  At the same time, the FCC should get to work to harness its universal service powers to meet this challenge. The FCC should work with health care providers to ensure connectivity for telehealth services are available for hospitals, doctors, and nurses treating coronavirus patients and those who are quarantined.  In addition, as classrooms move online, the FCC should identify how it can use its authority to provide wi-fi hotspots for loan for students whose schools have closed their doors.  We have an opportunity to confront this challenge head-on and we need to act with urgency.”

TALKERS News Notes. In an effort to assist broadcasters working from home or remote locations, AdLarge Media is offering QGoLive for free over the next two weeks.  QGoLive is an app that allows talent to broadcast remotely with studio-quality audio on iPhone, iPad, Android, PC, or Mac.  AdLarge VP of affiliate marketing Jessica Sherman says, “We know that broadcasters need to continue to provide information and entertainment to their communities, especially during times of crisis or disaster.  AdLarge wants to help keep every radio on-air talent as safe as possible while still broadcasting to their local market.  That’s why we’re offering QGoLive for free for the next two weeks.”  Broadcasters can get the free two-week trial of QGoLive here…..Westwood One and TM Studios are offering a free coronavirus sung music package for radio stations worldwide.  TM Studios GM/vice president of creative Greg Clancy states, “In times of crisis, people turn to local radio.  Radio provides valuable information during these rare, critical events.  This music package was created for stations to provide a focused, cohesive identity around the constant flow of reactions and responses to COVID-19 that are now being communicated to radio listeners.”  Stations can download the package for free, unlimited use here…..ABC Audio says that as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to unfold many may be experiencing a wide range of emotions including: anxiety, stress, and uncertainty.  For that reason, ABC Audio’s “Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris” podcast is posting a bonus episode today (3/13).  In it, Harris speaks with experts Dr. Luana Marques, associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the senior clinical psychologist at the MGH Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders program, and Jay Michaelson, Daily Beast columnist and teacher and editor at Ten Percent Happier.  Ten Percent Happier is available for free on all podcast platforms…..The syndicated talk show “The Art of Living and Science of Life with Danielle Lin” is joining the program schedule at SNJ Today’s WSNJ, Bridgeton, New Jersey.  The station – owned by Ken Pustizzi – promotes itself as “Positive Talk” for the community…..Beasley Esports announces that Nathan Bender (left) and Ric ‘Weirdbeard’ Hogerheide (right) are hosts of CheckpointXP’s newest show, “All of Esports.”  Beasley says, “Nate and Weirdbeard have an opinion on everything and they’ll give it to you in two minutes or less!  When the bell sounds, it’s on to the next topic.  These two rarely agree on anything, but one thing they do agree on is their commitment to keeping fans in the know and engaged on everything esports!”

Coronavirus Pandemic Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 9-13, 2020. For the first time since TALKERS began tracking the stories discussed on news/talk radio in the early 1990s, aspects of a single news event occupy the top seven positions on the Talkers TenTM chart.  This week, the coronavirus pandemic as it’s affecting the human psyche, our health care system, the world economy, politics and the presidential race, the media, U.S-China relations, and our sports and entertainment industries were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio.  See the entire Talkers TenTM chart for this week, here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The new morning show co-host at Entercom’s classic hits WOMC, Detroit is Jim “JJ” Johnson.  He moves from middays to join JoAnne Purtan for the “JJ and JoAnne” show, taking over for Stephen Clark, who exited to pursue his country music career.  Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “Jim Johnson is one of the most well-known radio personalities in Detroit, with over 40 years of experience exclusively in the market.  Jim and JoAnne have great chemistry on air together and I look forward to Jim bringing his humor and passion for music to mornings on 104.3 WOMC.”…..In Monroe, Louisiana, Stephens Media Group names Doug Daniels, a.k.a. Doug Holzmeier, operations manager for the stations including adult contemporary KZRZ “Sunny 98.3,” rock KXRR, country KMYY “92.3 The Wolf,” and rhythmic CHR KNNW “Now 103.1.”  Daniels says, “I love these people!  I’ve had more fun in two weeks doing local radio than I’ve had in the previous decade.”  He was most recently with Big Horn Media’s nostalgia-formatted KUEZ, Reno “Easy 104.1.”…..Cumulus Media announces that CHR WPRO-FM, Providence program director Davey Morris is scheduled to be inducted into the Rhode Island Radio and Television Hall of Fame at the 2020 Rhode Island Radio and Television Hall of Fame Annual Induction Dinner on April 30.  Morris began his broadcasting career in 1990 at WPRO-FM as a college intern and was hired full time in March 1991 to host overnights.  Since that time, he has been heard in all dayparts on WPRO-FM and is the longest-running afternoon drive host in the history of the station.”

Friday, January 24, 2020

| January 24, 2020

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  The new episode titled, “New Boogie Virus in the Closet of Our Fears!” looks back at this past week of January 20-24, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Howie Carr, talk show host, Howie Carr Radio Network; Michael Riedel, talk show host, WOR, New York; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; Dana Cheng, senior reporter China news, The Epoch Times; and Ryan Wrecker, talk show host, KMOX, St Louis.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm.  It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing on the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

Lynda Lopez Returns to WCBS-AM, New York. After leaving Entercom’s all-news WCBS-AM, New York in 2016, news pro Lynda Lopez is back with the station handling the midday news anchor position as well as serving as a special projects reporter.  The Emmy Award-winning journalist was most recently a television and radio news anchor for ABC News and previously was an anchor and reporter for WCBS-TV, WNYW-TV and WWOR-TV in New York.  She has also served as a contributor for Latina Magazine, Glamour, and Glam Belleza Latina.  She was a news anchor and special correspondent for WCBS-AM from 2009 through 2016.  Lopez succeeds recently retired WCBS news anchor Pat Farnack.  Entercom New York regional president and market manager Susan Larkin says, “I’m happy to welcome Lynda back to our exceptional on-air WCBS 880 team.  I am confident her breadth of experience and her skillset engaging audiences, as well as her established presence in this market, will enable her to thrive in this role and successfully keep New Yorkers informed daily.”

Round Two of Holiday PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis.  The survey period was December 5 through January 1.  As noted yesterday, the calendar month of December can be challenging for spoken-word stations as Christmas music becomes a popular choice for radio listeners and holiday activities break up typical listening patterns.  That said, Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” tacked four-tenths on to its December survey weekly 6+ AQH share for a 5.5 share and the #5 rank in the market.  iHeartMedia’s all-news WBZ-AM gains 1.2 shares to finish the survey at a 6.0 share and the #3 rank in the Boston market.  And in San Diego, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KOGO adds three-tenths to finish the Holiday survey at a 4.7 share.  See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways here.

New York Festivals Radio Awards Debuts Storytellers Gala at NAB Show. On April 21 at the NAB Show in Las Vegas, New York Festivals Radio Awards kicks off its inaugural Storytellers Gala in celebration of the 10th year of NYF’s strategic partnership with the annual NAB Show.  New York Festivals says that with the digital audio arena encompassing music-streaming, podcasts, online, and satellite radio, radio has come a very long way since the first radio broadcast of election coverage by KDKA on November 2, 1920.  In honor of this momentous invention, New York Festivals Radio Awards will celebrate 100 years of radio while bringing together global storytellers from both the radio and TV & film industry on the same stage.  Radio storytelling begins with a distinctive voice and ends with a captivating narrative that engages listeners on a broad range of topics.  New York Festivals Radio Awards’ robust roster of categories celebrates the innovative storytelling from content creators from 40 countries around the world. From Live Shows to Entertainment Specials, Sports to Talk Radio, Music Shows to News, Serialized Storytelling to Podcasts and Audiobooks, powerful storytelling today succeeds in engaging listeners and illustrating that the voice of the storyteller is loud, clear and very much alive in radio.  TALKERS magazine publisher and NYF Radio Awards Advisory Board member Michael Harrison says, “The NYF is right in sync with the most important movement taking place in media today – a revival of enthusiasm for the art of storytelling. Storytelling has been the foundation of oral communications from the dawn of language to the present-day explosion in technology.  The idea of outstanding storytellers from around the planet gathering in Las Vegas to celebrate this most evolved element of human connectivity is deeply gratifying to those of us who love the spoken word and remain in awe of its power.”  The deadline to enter the 2020 Radio Awards competition is February 1, 2020. To enter please visit: here.  For additional information visit: Rules and Regulations.

TALKERS News Notes. Virginia-based conservative talk media personality John Fredericks is the focal point in a Washington Post piece about the Trump administration and news/talk radio.  In the story by Sarah Ellison titled, “Trumpworld Has Converted the Nation’s Regional Talk Radio Hosts Into a Loyal Army,” she writes, “Pouring attention on regional talk radio hosts is a classic Trumpworld move: giving relatively unknown characters proximity to the White House has paid off with a disproportionate amount of attention and praise lavished on the president and his agenda.” Read the piece here at Fredericks’ TrumpNationNews.com…..The National Sports Media Association has named WTOP-FM, Washington senior sports director and long-time Wizards radio play-by-by broadcaster Dave Johnson “D.C. Sportscaster of the Year.”  WTOP director of news and programming Julia Ziegler says, “Dave is one of the hardest working guys I have ever met.  We are so thrilled and excited to see Dave honored for the amazing work he has done throughout his career.  Dave is an incredible journalist and amazing person to work alongside each day.”  This season marks Johnson’s 23rd as the voice of the team on the Washington Wizards Radio Network…..The Consumer Technology Association – owner and producer of the annual CES – came under fire from some quarters for bringing Ivanka Trump in to serve as a keynote speaker for the CES 2020 earlier this month.  CTA president and CEO Gary Shapiro defends the organization’s move – and has some choice words for its “totally uninformed” critics – on the Westwood One Podcast Network’s “Think About This with Shelly Palmer and Ross Martin.”

Impeachment Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 20-24.  The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November.  Coming in at #3 was the Wuhan coronavirus and U.S.-China relations, followed by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and the subject of climate change at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Two morning shows have been dismissed at Entercom’s San Diego station group.  AJ Machado and Sara Perry are gone from classic hits KXSN “Sunny 98.1” after a little less than two years there.  They had previously served with adult contemporary KYXY “96 Soft Rock” in the market.  Also exiting the cluster are Dana DiDonato and Jayson Prim from alternative KBZT “Alt 94.9.”  They came to San Diego from Cox Media Group’s CHR WBLI, Long Island, replacing the “Cantore & Woods” show.  There has been no announcement from the company on its plans for the morning dayparts on the two stations…..In Denver, Entercom names Chuck Sullivan the SVP and market manager for the cluster that includes four music brands – classic rock KQMT “99.5 The Mountain,” CHR KALC “Alice 105.9,” nostalgia KEZW-AM “Timeless Music,” and hip hop KQKS “KS 107.5” — as well as comedy KQKS-HD2…..SuiteRadio’s 24/7 hot AC format “The Planet” – syndicated by Envision Networks – adds new affiliate station WKSO-FM, Natchez, Louisiana to is roster of stations.  The Planet’s on-air lineup features personalities Maria Todd, Atom Smasher, and Mark Carrillo. Core artists include: Adele, Maroon 5, Bruno Mars, Kelly Clarkson, Rihanna, and Coldplay.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

| December 24, 2019

Radio-TV Talk Show Host and Former Congressman J.D. Hayworth Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Former Congressman J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ) is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Hayworth has had a fascinating career in both broadcasting and politics.  In his early career, even prior to attending and graduating from North Carolina State University he held jobs while still a teenager as a music radio disc jockey and sports reporter which he continued through his school years.  After graduation he moved to Arizona as a TV sports anchor and then transitioned from broadcasting to politics.  Between 1995 and 2007, he served as a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from Arizona’s 5th and 6th Congressional districts.  After that he became a full-time conservative radio talk show host on KFYI in Phoenix.  He left KFYI in 2010 to unsuccessfully mount a primary campaign against John McCain (who had recently been defeated by Barack Obama in the presidential election of 2008) for the Republican nomination for Arizona’s U.S. Senate seat held at that time by the popular war hero.  After that, he became a news anchor and host during the developmental days of Newsmax TV – a position he held for four years.  Today he’s heard by news/talk radio listeners on major stations around the country as one of the format’s most popular fill-in hosts.  Harrison and Hayworth take a deep dive into the workings of Congress, look back at changes in radio and its regulations over the years, and discuss the most talked about news topics, stories and issues of 2019.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Round One of December PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s December 2019 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets, including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Long Island (Nassau-Suffolk), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey).  Nielsen Audio’s December 2019 survey period covered November 7 through December 4.  Some positive 6+ ratings movements of note for spoken-word stations include: Cumulus Media news/talk KSFO adds to its recent positive trends with a +0.3 for a 2.3 share; four straight positive or neutral moves by iHeartMedia’s news/talk KTRH (4.1 share) have “News Radio 740” ranked at #8 in the market; and Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta remains #1 in the market for the fifth straight month, despite dropping two tenths (9.3 – 9.1).  You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” on all the markets here.

‘Ratings Takeaways’ to Be Posted Over Holiday Break.  Although the TALKERS magazine offices are closed from December 25 to January 2, managing editor Mike Kinosian will post his “Ratings Takeaways” from Nielsen Audio’s December PPM survey as usual.  Nielsen will release the next three rounds of ratings data on December 26, 27, and 30, respectively.  See Kinosian’s “Ratings Takeaways” here.

Ziegler Named Director of News and Programming at WTOP, Washington. News media pro Julia Ziegler is promoted by Hubbard Radio Washington to director of news and programming for all-news WTOP-FM.  She has served with the station for 17 years, most recently as digital news director.  Ziegler assumes the position vacated by Mike McMearty who’d been with WTOP for 27 years.  During her time with WTOP, Ziegler has served as a member of Hubbard’s Inaugural NextGen program, an internal program designed to foster and grow leaders within the organization.  WTOP SVP and general manager Joel Oxley says, “During her time here Julia has truly excelled in every position she has held.  As the pioneer of many incredible projects, she has led our team with commitment, excellence and passion.  I look forward to seeing what the future holds and am incredibly excited to have her in this position.”  Ziegler comments, “I am excited and honored to lead the incredible journalists who work tirelessly in the WTOP newsroom 24/7/365.  This team is made up of some of the most hardworking and dedicated people I have ever met, and they drive me to be my best every day.  WTOP is a special place with special people.  I knew that from the second I stepped foot in the door as an intern in 2002.  I look forward to all of the great things this team will continue to accomplish in the years ahead.”

TALKERS News Notes.  Former California Governor Jerry Brown is launching a limited-run podcast via public media organization KQED in San Francisco.   The program is called “The Political Mind of Jerry Brown” and was produced from more than 40 hours of interviews with Brown by KQED senior editor for politics and government Scott Shafer in cooperation with UC Berkeley’s Oral History Center.  Shafer says, “This is a deep dive into the life and career of someone who has had a profound impact on California over the course of 50 years.  Our conversations reveal a reflective side of Jerry Brown – how he plotted his rise in politics, how he both leveraged his father’s name and distanced himself from Pat Brown’s approach to politics and what he learned from the mistakes he made along the way.”  The show will debut as an over the air broadcast on KQED…..The Sacramento Bee reports that Springer Financial Advisors owner Keith Springer – who hosts the weekend “Smart Money” show on iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento – has been charged by the Securities Exchange Commission with defrauding clients.  The story indicates the SEC’s allegations include Springer receiving millions of dollars in undisclosed compensation for recommending investments without disclosing a conflict of interest.  The SEC also alleges that Springer deceived prospective clients by saying he’d been chosen to do the KFBK radio show because of his expertise and did not reveal he brokers the time.

High Rollers.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (right) and media consultant/RT America host Holland Cooke (left) enjoyed their annual Christmas lunch yesterday (12/23), while checking out the lavish new MGM Springfield in Springfield, Mass.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Washington, DC, on-air pro Jackie Paige is named midday personality and music director for Radio One’s hip hop WKYS-FM.  She comes to DC from her most recent role with the company’s hip hop WCDX-FM, Richmond “iPower 92.1/104.1” where she was also midday jock and music director.  Radio VP of programming Kashon Powell says, “We are extremely excited to welcome Jackie Paige to the Radio One DC programming staff.  She possesses a positive attitude and work ethic that simply can’t be taught.  She’s an ideal fit for Radio One DC and we are excited to have her join the team.”

Friday, May 10, 2019

| May 10, 2019

Cumulus Media Q1 Report: Net Revenue Rises 1.4%. Reporting on the first quarter of 2019, Cumulus Media’s net revenue was $267.5 million, an increase of 1.4% compared to the same period in 2018.  Net income was $451,000 in the first quarter, compared to 2019 in which Cumulus posted a loss of $5 million.  Cumulus reports in two segments – Cumulus Radio Station Group and Westwood One.  In this first quarter of 2019, the Radio Station Group was down 1% on net revenue of $166.5 million, while Westwood One was up 5.9% on net revenue of $100.4 million.  Chief financial officer John Abbot says on the radio station side that the company continues “to experience a tough, local spot market environment.”  Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner states, “Driven by a steady focus on our key strategic priorities including accelerating digital growth, our strong performance continued in Q1 2019 with year-over-year increases in both revenue and EBITDA.  Additionally, we now have four pending M&A transactions that collectively are expected to generate more than $120 million of net proceeds and bolster our competitive positions in Indianapolis and Allentown. Combined with the $25 million voluntary prepayment made in February, these proceeds will reduce our net leverage to 4.8x on a pro forma basis.  We look forward to continuing our disciplined execution against all our strategic priorities and financial goals in the quarters ahead.”

Podcasting and Digital Efforts Bearing Fruit for Cumulus.  On yesterday’s Q1 earnings call with investors, Cumulus CEO Mary Berner lauded the company’s podcasting and digital segments.  She said, “So far in 2019, we continue to see the same strong growth in podcasting that we have enjoyed since we started the business.  As the exclusive partner for over 40 podcasts we’ve generated nearly 52 million downloads in March 2019, more than doubled the 23 million generated in March 2018.  And that doesn’t include our growing local podcast businesses.  By our estimation, this will put us in the top five largest podcast companies measured by PodTrack in March.  What is particularly notable about this growth, is that, that we have been able to achieve it while maintaining profitability.”  Berner is also pleased with the company’s efforts to grow digital revenue.  She adds, “We are continuing to generate exceptional growth across all of our platforms, with total digital revenue for the quarter growing 79% from the first quarter of last year.  Our streaming audience is growing steadily, driven by both organic listenership and increased distribution on the Tune In platform.  And we’re monetizing this high-margin digital inventory better and more broadly, through all of our channels, local, national network, programmatic exchanges, and remnant networks as well.”

Saga Communications Down 0.7% in Q1. The 2019 first quarter financial report from Saga Communications, Inc. shows the company’s net revenue during the period was $27.8 million, a dip of 0.7% over the same period in 2018.  Free cash flow increased $324 thousand to $2.6 million and station operating expense decreased 1% to $23.2 million.  Same station operating income was down 22% to $1.86 million and net income dipped 11% to $1.4 million.   The company notes that the results for the quarter were affected by its October 2018 acquisition of WOGK-FM, WNDT-FM, WNDD-FM, and WNDN-FM, in the Gainesville-Ocala market from Ocala Broadcasting Corporation, LLC for $9.3 million.  Saga reports having $39.2 million in cash on hand (as of 3/31/19) and $40.7 million in cash on hand (as of 5/6/19).

Hannity to Afternoons on WPHT, Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Business Journal is reporting that Entercom will fill its afternoon drive daypart with Premiere NetworksSean Hannity program starting next week.  Earlier this week, the station announced that current afternoon talk host Rich Zeoli becomes the new morning drive host on Monday (5/13), assuming the role left open when Chris Stigall exited WPHT earlier this year. It appears Entercom will air the Sean Hannity show during its live air time – 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm – on WPHT beginning on Monday as opposed to searching for a local host for the daypart. Hannity’s show has been airing on the station in a delay broadcast in the evening.

PodcastOne and Hubbard Radio Produce True Crime Program ‘22 Hours: An American Nightmare.’ The true-crime genre is a popular one among podcast consumers and now, PodcastOne and partner Hubbard Radio (remember that Hubbard owns 30% of PodcastOne) are producing a new podcast series titled, “22 Hours: An American Nightmare.”  The 10-part series investigates the Washington, DC mansion murders using the talents of WTOP, Washington reporters Megan Cloherty and Jack Moore, and produced by WTOP and its digital news director, Julia Ziegler.  Hubbard podcast strategy manager Wheeler Morris says, “We at Hubbard are excited to bring listeners around the country this story from a team of experienced investigative reporters at WTOP.  Listeners in the Washington, DC region are familiar with WTOP’s high-quality journalism and, with the help of PodcastOne, we are excited to now share that with the nation.”  PodcastOne executive chairman Norm Pattiz adds, “I’ve noticed recently that other major radio companies are promoting their new relationships with podcasters.  The Hubbard Radio/PodcastOne relationship recognized the synergies present over four years ago, and it continues to expand today.  We have a very definite game plan that seeks to take advantage of podcasting’s obvious on-demand advantages to stations, while mining the creativity that radio companies can bring to the table.”

iHeartMedia Promotes Rahul Sabnis to Lead New In-House Creative Group. This promotion comes with a realignment of the company’s in-house creative efforts.  Rahul Sabnis rises from EVP and executive creative director for iHeartMedia to chief creative officer & EVP for the newly branded, in-house creative group “TheStudio at iHeartMedia” operating under the aegis of Darren Davis, president of iHeartRadio and iHeartMedia Networks Group.  The company says that under Rahul’s leadership it will combine its Creative Studio and “CSG” in Atlanta into “TheStudio at iHeartMedia.”  A press release says TheStudio in-house agency will “provide a range of high-level strategy and creative services, helping iHeart’s own brands and the brands of its advertising and marketing partners use the efficiency and efficacy of audio seamlessly across all its company assets at the scale that only iHeart can deliver.”

Marie Harf to Exit FOX News to Join Seth Moulton Campaign.The Daily Beast reports that FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio personality Marie Harf is leaving her positions as political commentator and radio host, respectively, to join the 2020 presidential campaign of U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) as deputy campaign manager for policy and communications.  Harf co-hosts the “Benson and Harf” radio show with Guy Benson.  Harf served on Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign and was a senior communications adviser to former Senator John Kerry (D-MA).

The Mueller Report and Trump’s Claim of Executive Privilege Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 6-10.  Democrats’ request for the unredacted version of the Mueller Report and President Trump’s claim his executive privilege gives him control of the report was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the New York Times piece on Trump’s business losses.  Coming in at #3 was the 2020 presidential races, followed by the China trade war, the effect on the stock market, and North Korea’s missile tests at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

TALKERS CONVENTION SPOTLIGHT: Launching and Growing a Talent Career in 2019. Being a talent in 2019 is not as unique as it was years ago.  Thanks to the Internet, so-called talent is everywhere.  But the digital age has also brought new opportunities for talent that didn’t exist years ago and it’s incumbent upon talk media talent to seize them in order take control of one’s career.  At Talkers 2019: Telling the Story, set for New York on Friday, June 7, ABC News Radio executive director of programming Andrew Kalb will moderate a panel of broadcasters to discuss “Launching and Growing a Talent Career in 2019.”  Panelists include (in alphabetical order): Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Dom Giordano, host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Danielle Lin, host, “The Art of Living & the Science of Life”; Greg Moceri, CEO, Moceri Media; Michael Riedel, host, WOR, New York; and Todd Starnes, host, FOX News Radio.  The conference is rapidly moving toward being an early sellout.  To see the entire up-to-the-minute agenda and for registration/hotel information, please click here.

Conspiracy Theorist David Icke Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  With Facebook moving to officially ban Alex Jones and other controversial media figures from its platform and President Trump weighing in on the situation on the side of Jones and his InfoWars organization, there has been a lot of talk this week about conspiracy theorists, fake news, and freedom of speech.  One of the world’s most famous and controversial conspiracy theorists, David Icke, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Icke, who hails from Great Britain, has a worldwide following on YouTube and other digital platforms in addition to being the author of more than 20 books whereby he talks and writes about a wide variety of political and metaphysical issues that run the gamut from a scientifically plausible analysis of the vibrational aspects of reality per quantum physics to completely outrageous ideas about the human race being under the hidden control of a lizard-like, reptilian species of interdimensional humanoids that borders on science fiction.  He routinely sells out large meeting spaces on his lecture tours and is banned in a number of venues and countries for what many consider to be his dangerous ideas.  He has been accused on a number of occasions of anti-Semitism for his views on international banking and the turbulent politics of Israel, the Palestinians, and the Middle East – charges he vehemently denies.  There’s a new documentary film about this former English soccer star turned conspiracy theorist titled, “Renegade:  The Life Story of David Icke,” which takes a fly-on-the-wall view of his life as a family man, lecturer, and social/political disrupter.  It was banned by a theater in Los Angeles last week just hours before its premiere there when the theater owners learned about the level of controversy surrounding Icke.  Harrison caught up with Icke this past Thursday (5/2) when he was in New York City to attend the premiere of the film there that evening.  They talk about the media, the First Amendment, and the state of the conspiracy theory business in 2019.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Atlanta radio pro Jeff Dauler is out at WSTR, Atlanta “Star 94.1” where he was co-host of the “Jeff & Jenn” show with Jenn Hobby.  She addressed Dauler’s departure on the program but didn’t offer any specifics on his departure.  Hobby will continue to lead the morning show.  At the same time as Dauler departed, afternoon personality Mike Marino also left the air and his info on the station’s website has been scrubbed.  Aside from Hobby addressing it on the air, WSTR has not commented specifically on the changes…..Warner Music Nashville recording artist Cale Dodds (right) took time out of his busy tour schedule with Chase Rice to fill in as a special guest co-host with Jackson (left) on Beasley Media Group’s WKLB, Boston “Country 102.5” morning show.  Dodds helped finn in for morning show co-host Ayla Brown.  He took the opportunity to premier his new single, “I Like Where This Is Going.”  On Monday and Tuesday (5/13-14), Sony Nashville recording artist Rachel Wammack will co-host with Jackson.  WKLB program director David Corey says, “There’s no better way for the country audience to get to know an artist than to bring them into our world and put them on a morning show.  It allows us to go way beyond the typical interview questions that might be asked.  This is real life conversation…and fun!  We are thankful to Cale and Rachel for getting that and jumping all in with us!”

Monday, June 22, 2015

| June 22, 2015

mcmeartymikeWTOP, Washington Names McMearty Program Director.  Three months after former programmer Laurie Cantillo and Hubbard Radio parted ways, the company names 23-year staffer Mike McMearty program director for the multi-platform news operation.  McMearty moves up from his news director post to the new position of director of news and programming.  Hubbard Washington SVP/GM Joel Oxley comments, “Mike has been an integral part of our success for more than two decades.  He has led the newsroom to hundreds of industry awards for excellence in journalism, including 18 National Murrowwtop logo NEW 1-15 Awards and more than two dozen honors already in 2015.  I look forward to him taking the department to new heights.”  The station reports that Jim Battagliese continues his role as director of traffic, transit and weather.  Mitchell Miller is promoted to senior news director managing the newsroom weekday mornings, Darci Marchese moves up to a full-time news director weekday afternoons, and Jamie Forzato now will manage news operations on the weekends as weekend managing editor.  Meera Pal moves to social and digital engagement director reporting to Julia Ziegler, who moves from web and operations manager of FederalNewsRadio.com to become the news director of WTOP.com.  All of the changes will take place over the next several weeks.

2015 NYC 150Talkers New York 2015 Videos Begin Being Posted Today (6/22).  Starting today with WFAN, New York superstar Mike Francesa’s opening “Keynote Greeting,” TALKERS will be posting videos of each of the sessions that made Talkers New York 2015’s agenda one of the most successful in the convention’s 18-year history.  A session will be added each business day for the next nine days in a row, in the order that they took place at the event, until the entire agenda, video-recorded by Art Vuolo, is posted in a special Talkers TV feature sponsored by independent station owner, Michael Zwerling’s KSCO, Santa Cruz.  The entire feature will remain posted for the rest of 2015.  To see the opening session with Mike Francesa, please click here.  Tomorrow:  “The State of Radio Ratings” panel moderated by Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel icon Sean Hannity.

talkersnyc2015FrancesaMike Francesa Opens Talkers New York 2015 on Upbeat Note – See Video Today!  In a video posted today (6/22), legendary WFAN afternoon drive personality Mike Francesa sets the tone for what proved to be a realistic, but highly optimistic and solutions-oriented, agenda at the recent industry mega-conference, Talkers New York 2015 (6/12).  The tell-it-like-it-is broadcaster – who has been ranked at #1 on the TALKERS “Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk Radio” for the past two consecutive years – blasted the pessimism that he says permeates the radio industry and offered his assessment of the tremendous opportunities available to radio in the digital era.  Francesa drew applause form the packed house stating, “It’s amazing the amount of negativity that exists no matter what part of the business you’re in… I’m here to tell you that even though I am a little closer to the finish [of my career] than I am to the start, back [in 1987] when I was pounding on the door at WFAN with Jeff Smulyan – it took me 18 interviews to get hired, folks — I would be as bullish on radio and as gung ho about getting a career and feeding my family on radio NOW… as I was back then.”  Francesa discusses the multi-platform nature of programming content today and the need/opportunity to monetize every element of it.  He praises the spread of smartphones as being equivalent to a theoretical resurgence of the old transistor radio and thus providing radio with universal portability… something it hasn’t enjoyed in decades.  He discusses the importance of branding in today’s media environment and vehemently champions the importance of “live and local” being the key to radio’s survival and purpose in the coming era.  To see Francesa’s entire speech, please click here.

russoronWestwood One Names Ron Russo EVP Northeast Sales.  Radio sales pro Ron Russo is named EVP, Northeast Region for Westwood One’s network sales division.  In this position, Russo will “manage and oversee the New York sales office and be responsible for revenue growth and multi-platform brand integrations across all Westwood One assets, including network sales, spot sales, platform, digital, and events.”  Russo will report to Westwood One president Steve Shaw.  In awestwood one NEW statement from WW1, the company notes that Russo comes to them from iHeartMedia where he was general sales manager for the NYC station group.  “In addition to building and overseeing the sales teams, he was instrumental in managing the transition when iHeart purchased WOR-AM from Buckley Broadcasting.  He also played an important role in securing the station’s radio rights to the NY Mets.”  He worked for CBS RADIO at hot AC WWFS, “Fresh 102.7” before joining iHeartMedia.   Russo says, “I am really looking forward to working with this great team of sellers and collaborating throughout the organization as we look for innovative ways to drive and accelerate results for our clients.”

ellismayesBillboard15Rob Ellis Lands at WPEN, Philadelphia.  Former WIP-FM, Philadelphia personality Rob Ellis debuts on crosstown Greater Media’s WPEN, Philadelphia, partnered up with Harry Mayes.  Ellis exited CBS RADIO’s WIP in March after failing to come to terms on a contract renewal with the station.  Ellis, who also hosts “Breakfast on Broad” on cable’s Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, takes over as co-host of the midday show for Eytan Shander, who remains with the company.  Former WIP personality Anthony Gargano also joined WPEN late last year as morning drive personality.

Odds & Sods. Both FOX Sports and ESPN are reporting that former San Diego Chargers player and longtimeWW1EmrichGrahamKuglerCWS2015 radio play-by-play analyst Hank Bauer has been let go from the radio broadcast team.  Bauer served a one-game suspension last season – missing the final preseason game – after he used a Jewish slur during the third preseason game.  He later apologized…..Westwood One presents coverage of the NCAA Division I Men’s College World Series Finals beginning this evening from TD Ameritrade Park Omaha in Nebraska.  The best-of-three championship series between Vanderbilt and Virginia is being covered by (pictured here in front of the famous Road to Omaha statue standing from left to right) Ted Emrich, Scott Graham, and Kevin Kugler.

brownejoyIs15Dr. Joy Browne Tours Israel as Guest of Prime Minister – Meets with Victims of Terror.  Nationally-syndicated (GCN) talk show host and clinical psychologist, Dr. Joy Browne returns to New York today (6/22) after an intense week-long tour of Israel on a fact-finding/counseling mission that brought her into one-on-one encounters with Israeli victims of terror.  Browne (right) is pictured meeting with Israeli citizens at the Jerusalem headquarters of the OneFamily organization during what has been her first visit to the Middle East democracy this week.  According to a report in the Jerusalem Post, during the emotionally charged encounter, which was hosted by OneFamily CEO Chantal Belzberg, Browne met with former residents of the US, Canada, and the UK who were physically and emotionally scarred in terrorist attacks across Israel during the past few years.  “I am delighted and honored to be here,” Browne tells the Post. “After experiencing the aftermath of 9/11, we all share a common echo and I am impressed with the resilience of the people here who have worked or who are working to transcend fear and are getting on with their lives.”  The perennially popular radio personality, in addition to interviewing and counselling victims, also interviewed the organization’s various psychologists and therapists for a future segment on her widely heard program.  Browne’s trip to Israel was sponsored by the Office of the Prime Minister and America’s Voices in Israel. (Photo courtesy of the Jerusalem Post and Sarah Levin.)

ratnerPinkerton15FOX News Commentators Ellen Ratner and Jim Pinkerton Honored by Grenada’s St. George’s University. Media personalities Ellen Ratner and Jim Pinkerton were recognized with honorary doctorates from St. George’s University in Grenada for their charitable works.  Pinkerton and Ratner – who work together as conservative and liberal commentators, respectively, on FOX News Channel’s “FOX & Friends Weekend” on the “Long and Short of It” segment – are known for separate charitable efforts.  Pinkerton has been working with the school assisting with its cure strategy for diseases.  Ratner has been working for years to provide some of the basic tools for subsistence farming to people in South Sudan.  Ratner (third from left) and Pinkerton (fourth from left) are seen here receiving their honorary degrees.

morrisonbobDallas Newsman Bob Morrison Dies.  Former KRLD-AM and WBAP-AM, Dallas newsman Bob Morrison died yesterday (6/21) after a long illness. Salem Radio Network VP, News & Talk Programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS, “When I served its VP/general manager, I hired Bob as news director of the USA Radio Network in 1999, and he brought a professional demeanor to reorganizing USA that was nothing short of amazing.  His planning and execution of the national political conventions in 2000 remains a highlight, and nurturing his strong delivery and solid journalistic skills will always remain a highlight of my career.”

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