Tag: "Key Networks"

Monday, May 4, 2020

| May 4, 2020

Monday Memo: “3 Big Things” Feeling cooped up by coronavirus confinement?  You’re not alone!  But, in this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke notes some “silver linings” in this crisis (an opportune call-in topic).  Read it here.

Coronavirus Statistics and Projections, Re-Opening States, Pressure on China, Presidential Race/Joe Biden Allegations, Financial Markets Activity, and Korean DMZ Incident/Kim Jong Un Status Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and predictions about future deaths; the various states that began re-opening their economies; accusations the coronavirus escaped from a Wuhan laboratory, China’s response, and pressure on the country to open up to investigation into the origins of the virus; the presidential race and Tara Reade’s accusation of sexual assault against Joe Biden; the world’s financial markets react to the coronavirus pandemic; and shots fired between North and South Korea across the DMZ and Kim Jong Un’s resurfacing were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Don’t Fight Santa. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that it doesn’t matter if radio reaches 92% of adults each week if there are no cars parked at retail stores in your market.  To help a client in this climate, you have to “see what your advertisers see.”  Read his column here.

Hubbard Radio Announces Cuts Across Its Radio Properties. On Friday, Hubbard Radio chairman and CEO Ginny Morris announced in a memo to the company’s staffers that the disruption in the advertising business due to the coronavirus pandemic was forcing the company to take the unfortunate step of reducing payroll via layoffs at its radio stations in Chicago, Seattle, Phoenix, Washington, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, and St. Louis.  The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that six staffers at sports talk KSTP-AM “SKOR North” were let go including Minneapolis Twins reporter Derek Wetmore and Minnesota Vikings reporter Matthew Coller.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that longtime WXOS-FM sports talk host Bernie Miklasz was one of 20 staffers in St. Louis to be let go.  Post-Dispatch reporter Dan Caesar adds that the lineup at WXOS changes with Miklasz’s exit.  Randy Karraker moves from afternoons to Miklasz’s former 7:00 am to 10:00 am show.  Midday host Anthony Stalter moves to the afternoon show with Brad Thompson and Chris Rongey.  Cardinals play-by-play voice Dan McLaughlin will host an hour-long show at 10:00 am while Jamie Rivers and Brandon Kiley will host the 11:00 am to 2:00 pm program.

Key Networks Celebrates a Year in Syndication for Bill O’Reilly. It’s been a year since Key Networks brought conservative media icon Bill O’Reilly back to radio in national syndication via his daily radio feature “The O’Reilly Update.”  That show, along with the morning drive feature “The O’Reilly Update – Morning Edition,” are currently airing on 208 radio stations from coast-to-coast. The O’Reilly Update – Morning Edition launched in January. O’Reilly says, “It is simply imperative that Americans get the truth in this very dangerous time. Many news agencies spin it. ‘The O’Reilly Update’ never does that. We deliver honest news and commentary every day in a concise, lively format. It’s gratifying to see the great response.”  Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green adds, “Over 200 stations carrying programming in a year’s time is an amazing feat! It speaks to the quality of the content. During these challenging times, listeners want to hear news and commentary from a trusted voice and Bill O’Reilly delivers with ‘The O’Reilly Update.’”

‘Marilyn: Behind the Icon’ Podcast Series Debuts. A new podcast series from the alliance of Crossover Media Group Sales, LifeBites, and “Behind the Icon” producers looks at the life of Marilyn Monroe via a dramatic narrative based on Gary Vitacco-Robles’ bestselling books, ICON: The Life, Times and Films of Marilyn Monroe Volumes I and II (BearManor Media, 2015). The series is called “Marilyn: Behind the Icon” and “portrays Monroe up close and personal with a dramatic storyline featuring narration, actor dramatization, and commentary by a mental health expert. Marilyn Monroe is played by the talented Erin Gavin, who portrayed the legend on stage. Erin captures the essence of Marilyn that will captivate the podcast audience. In addition, the series features award-winning voice-over talent, Brad Hyland (Santa from Elf on the Shelf, Victoria’s Secret and many commercials) as the sultry, warm-voiced narrator.”  Producer Nina Boski says, “Fans around the world have an unending fascination with Marilyn Monroe. But underneath the glamour, there was a real person who struggled tremendously with mental health and addiction issues, which are truly an American epidemic. ‘Marilyn: Behind the Icon’ will reveal a dramatic narrative that will help Marilyn become more real and even more relatable to millions of fans and for people who are suffering from some of the same issues as the icon.”  Crossover Media Group Sales managing partner Sue Freund adds, “‘Marilyn: Behind the Icon’ is such a dynamic story for millions of Marilyn fans. We wanted to take on a project that was different and could tell the icon’s story to the world in a unique and groundbreaking way.  The producers of ‘Marilyn: Behind the Icon’ knock it out the park with their ability to share the Monroe story. They made it come to life – to entertain, but also to educate the audience at the same time about mental illness and addiction. The podcast gives a voice to Marilyn’s struggles in a way that can help others potentially seek the help she herself so desperately needed. We are excited to get behind such a compelling project!”

Radio Cares Radiothon Raises More than $500,000 for ‘Feeding America.’ The “Radio Cares Feeding America Emergency Radiothon” that began on Thursday (4/30) and ran through the weekend has raised more than $500,000 for hunger relief organization Feeding America. The radiothon closed with a $20,000 donation from Scott and Sandi Borchetta and Big Machine Label Group. The funds raised will provide 5 million meals for Americans living with hunger. The charitable initiative was developed and led by Ron Stone, president & CEO, Adams Radio Group, and Brian Philips, EVP, content & audience, Cumulus Media/Westwood One. Philips says, “Listeners answered the call from their favorite stations, large and small, unified by the cause of American hunger. Our listeners represent the most generous cross-section of America. There exists a bond among them that no crisis can break. Cumulus is always proud when what we do moves people.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new, weekly podcast from ABC News’ FiveThirtyEight titled, “PODCAST-19: FiveThirtyEight on the Coronavirus” debuted on May 1. The program features host Anna Rothschild, with the support of FiveThirtyEight team, investigating COVID-19 mysteries, debating when it’s safe to reopen the economy, and keeping track of the latest scientific developments on vaccines and treatments. ABC News says Rothschild has over a decade of experience reporting on science, health, and the environment. She has won multiple awards for her science communication, including from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Institute of Physics…..The John Fredericks Radio Network is broadcasting live this week – Monday through Wednesday – from Clarksdale, Mississippi, in the heart of the Mississippi Delta.  Fredericks says the show is investigating how the systemic poverty in the Delta region is affecting how residents are coping with the coronavirus pandemic.  He adds, “We’ll be discussing what the next steps are for small business owners, residents, and students, many of whom do not have high-speed broadband. Some have no Internet whatsoever, which may lead them to fall further behind the learning curve.”…..iHeartMedia Orlando is presenting an online “Education Fair, Education Summit” on Thursday, May 14 and Friday, May 15 from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm at EducationSummitFL.com. Designed to serve colleges, universities, tech schools, trade schools and more, the custom web page will allow education recruiters to conduct video interviews and review transcripts in real time. Students can log on and click on the education institute profile they wish to chat with. iHeartMedia Orlando partnerships manager Chianna Ray says, “This virtual event is exactly what our community needs right now. Many students have not had the chance to visits schools, meet with recruiters and are feeling unsure of their future. Recruiters have missed valuable face time with future students since events are not taking place at this time. We look forward to making that connection through our event.”…..Beasley Media Group stations in Fayetteville, Augusta, and Charlotte are hosting a complimentary 30-minute webinar designed to help struggling restaurant owners and managers directly impacted by the pandemic. The webinar will take place on Thursday, May 7, at 2:30 pm. Beasley says the session will feature actionable insights, timely advice, and relevant information that local restaurants can use immediately to help increase business during these challenging economic times. Participants can learn from Steve DaPolito, co-owner of Charlotte-based Bisonte Pizza Co., who helped to increase sales for his business at the onset of COVID-19. They can also learn about resources available to local restaurant owners provided by representatives from both the North Carolina and the South Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association…..Beasley Media Group and broadcast television firm TEGNA are partnering on a broadcast TV series focusing on the esports rivalry between the Overwatch League’s Houston Outlaws and Dallas Fuel.  TEGNA, owner of stations in 12 Texas markets, is broadcasting a weekly docuseries of original episodes chronicling the competition. Beasley Esports COO Lori Burgess comments, “We are thrilled to be partnering with the Dallas Fuel and TEGNA’s Texas stations to bring fresh sports competition and entertainment back to our fans and TV viewers. Video gaming is hotter than ever and professional esports is taking center stage this month in Texas with the inaugural Lone Star Showdown presented by Samsung. New fans can expect a battle worthy of champions.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  As a result of Hubbard Radio’s decision to trim payroll because of the COVID-19 business climate, here are some of the air personalities reported to have been affected: In Chicago, media writer Robert Feder reports classic rock WDRV “97.1 The Drive” night host Phil Manicki and overnight host Greg Easterling, along with AC WSHE-FM “SHE 100.3” morning producer Robb Rose and night jock Brian Middleton, WDRV-FM promotion manager Heather Torrey, and hot AC WTMX-FM “101.9 The Mix” morning producer Cynthia Denicolo and social media staffer Melissa “Mel D” Dever all exit. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that country WIL-FM “New Country 92.3” morning hosts Bud Ford and Jerry Broadway are gone. Today (5/4), Hubbard announces that WSHE program director Cat Thomas is leaving that station to move to Seattle to become brand and content director at CHR KQMV “MOViN 92.5” and adult contemporary KRWM “Warm 106.9.”  Vice president of brand and content at WTMX and WSHE Jimmy Steal is assuming WSHE PD duties…..After the company put the wraps on the nationally syndicated country radio morning program “The Ty Bentli Show” on Friday with the exit of hosts Chuck Wicks and Tricia “TJ” Jenkins (Bentli exited the show earlier this year), Cumulus Media’s Westwood One launched the new “Morning Koffy” syndicated program hosted by Paul Koffy and co-host Jasmine Sadry. Cumulus EVP marketing and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes says, “Well known in the radio industry and well-liked by country artists, Paul is the ideal host for this new show. Paul has spent his entire career in country music and, surprisingly, has never before hosted a program from Nashville – we can’t wait to see what he does from Music City. With Jasmine on the other mic, this show is one good morning brew.”…..Tampa Bay CHR WFLZ-FM “93.3 FLZ” replaces “The Kane Show” with new morning drive program, “THEjoeSHOW.”  Moving from the company’s Detroit CHR WKQI “Channel 955” where he was afternoon drive personality and APD, host Joe Carballo is joined by Ashley Nics and producer Jed Shilling. iHeartMedia Tampa Bay VP or programming Tommy Chuck says, “‘93.3 FLZ’ has a long history of incredible morning personalities. I’m excited to announce the next great show that is poised to take over Tampa Bay. Joe, Ashley, and Jed have done a great job preparing for this opportunity.” In Detroit Ashley Nics served as a producer for “The Mojo in the Morning Show” and hosted middays. Jed Schilling worked in the programming and digital department. Together, the three also hosted the “Heavily Anxious” podcast…..In Baltimore, morning drive personality Stash, a.k.a. Steve Ash, exits Shamrock Communications’ classic rock WZBA “100.7 The Bay.”  Stash announced the move via a Facebook post…..Alpha Media Bakersfield announces Erik Fox is promoted to program director for KLLY-FM “Energy 95.3.”  He’s been serving as music director and afternoon drive host for the station. Alpha Media Bakersfield general manager Jeremy Price says, “Erik Fox has shown himself to be one of the hardest working individuals in this industry that I have ever worked with. His love for the music marks a huge step up for the station. And in the year that he has been MD for ‘Energy,’ our ratings have risen to levels not seen on that station for over half a decade. Individuals committed to local radio like Erik are rare and we are blessed to have him on our team and, in this new capacity, are excited to see him continue to dominate in the ratings.”…..iHeartMedia moves Atlanta hip hop “The Beat” from WRDG-FM at 96.7 to WBZY-FM at 105.3.  The move bumps the Spanish hits format that had been airing on WBZY-FM.  Station program director Dan Hunt says, “We’re excited for the opportunity to rebuild ‘The Beat’ from the ground up and continue to represent the urban music culture with a sound unique to Atlanta.  Atlanta’s music lovers will get to listen to the most prolific voices in hip hop radio today, including “The Breakfast Club” and DJ Scream.”

Monday, April 6, 2020

| April 6, 2020

Monday Memo: Sulking?  Or SHINING?  Because “you never get a second chance to make a first impression,” consultant Holland Cooke describes how smart stations are making every effort to sound relevant to first-time listeners, whose listening habits have changed during the pandemic crisis.  Read his column here.

The U.S. Coronavirus Cases and Death Toll, the Hydroxychloroquine Debate, Churches Defy Anti-Gathering Orders, Financial Markets Activity, Celebs with Covid-19/Boris Johnson Hospitalized, ‘Tiger King’ Documentary, and Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The tally of confirmed U.S. coronavirus cases, the death toll, and projections for the worst numbers to appear later this week; reports of a debate in the White House’s Situation Room over the effectiveness of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in treating covid-19; a number of Southern churches hold services in defiance of anti-gathering orders; the world’s financial markets react to the coronavirus pandemic; the celebrities – including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson – who’ve contracted covid-19; the uber-popular “Tiger King” documentary airing on Netflix; and the status of the presidential race were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Grab an Oar. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s Pending Business column offering some tips on creative thinking in this time of unprecedented upheaval.  He presents some ideas for seeking out new advertising categories as well as how to present the notion that “radio listening is UP.”  Read his column here.

Barron’s: Advertising Is Disappearing. It’s not a pleasant read by any means, but the Barron’s piece titled, “Google and Facebook Can’t Save the Advertising Industry This Time,” presents an unvarnished look at the current state of the advertising industry as Covid-19 keeps the majority of the American – and global – economy shut down.  It addresses all sectors of the ad-supported media – radio, TV, print, cable and digital.  Yes, digital.  As the story explains, the problem is devastating in its simplicity: “Even the most prominent ad buyers lack reasons, and often the means, to buy ads.  Global travel is on hold; for airlines, hoteliers, cruise lines, casino operators, and car-rental firms, there are no products to promote.  With auto factories shut, there is little need to push cars.  With movie theaters closed, there are no film trailers.  And aside from grocery stores, pharmacies, and large box-store chains, most retailers are shuttered.  Meanwhile, many of the small and medium-size businesses that buy online ads are struggling to stay solvent.”  Read it here.

Ramsey Network Unveils ‘Work Matters with Ken Coleman Podcast.’ The newest podcast from the Ramsey Network is titled, “Work Matters with Ken Coleman.”  The Ramsey Network says, “From burnout and bad bosses to the hottest in-demand job skills, each daily, short episode takes on relevant topics to help listeners stay informed and on top of job market trends.  Ken gives expert, practical advice on turning obstacles into career opportunity.”  Ramsey Solutions EVP of media Brian Mayfield adds, “This is an extension of the brand that Ken has already successfully established.  It’s a daily dose of relevant content that will have an immediate impact on the redefined job market facing our listeners.  It could not be timelier in its launch.”  Coleman is the #1 bestselling author of The Proximity Principle and hosts the Ramsey Network’s “The Ken Coleman Show,” currently airing on 40 radio stations across the country and “The Ken Coleman Show” podcast which has more than 16 million downloads.

‘The Jesse Kelly Show’ Launches Via Key Networks. The three-hour, late morning program “The Jesse Kelly Show” debuts today (4/6) in national syndication via Key Networks.  The program airs live from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET (delayed broadcasts available via XDS) and stars U.S. Marine veteran, former Congressional candidate, and conservative radio and television host, Jesse Kelly.  The program emanates from flagship station KPRC, Houston.  Key Networks notes that due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is offering the “Test Drive Jesse Kelly” program through April 30, 2020, with no agreements or contracts necessary to try the show.  Stations that are experiencing any staffing challenges due to the coronavirus and have programming gaps to fill can try the show with no contract or commitment.  Kelly joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 2000 and on 9/11, watched the towers fall from inside his barracks.  He later deployed to Iraq as an infantry Marine during the Second Persian Gulf War and received an honorable discharge after four years.  In 2010, with no political experience to speak of but many opinions to share, Kelly decided to test the political waters and ran for Congress in a Democratic-controlled district of Arizona.  Though a virtual unknown in the race, he was only narrowly defeated by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.  Kelly used his large social media following as a platform to continue many of the conversations started on the campaign trail.  He joined KPRC, Houston in 2018 to host a one-hour show.  Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green adds, “Jesse Kelly has been a leading voice during the coronavirus pandemic, arming listeners with actionable facts on how to keep their families safe.  He is also very supportive of small businesses during this very challenging time, encouraging America to support workers and small businesses.  Listeners across the country will respond to Jesse’s candor, relatability, insight and humor, at a time when they are looking for a reasoned and informed perspective and a trusted companion for uncertain times.”

Howie Carr Radio Network Launches Drive to Feed ER Workers from Local Restaurants.  The Boston-based Howie Carr Radio Network – syndicator of the Howie Carr show – is launching the “Howie Carr’s ER Eats USA!” program in which it is teaming up with local hospitals in New England to feed hospital workers and support local restaurants during the Covid-19 pandemic.  The Howie Carr Show is asking listeners and readers to donate anywhere from $4.99 to $19.99 and all funds collected will go to directly to restaurants to feed hospital workers.  The Howie Carr Radio Network will work with hospitals to make sure that the food is packaged appropriately to keep hospital staff safe. Further, Howie Carr show advertisers that donate $1,000 to the campaign will be featured in promos and on the landing banner on Howiecarrshow.com (Limit 5 sponsors).  All sponsorship money will go directly to the cause.

Next ‘New Jersey 101.5’ Coronavirus Town Hall to Air Thursday. This Thursday at 7:00 pm, Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is presenting the latest in a series of Town Hall broadcasts addressing the severe economic consequences New Jersey residents and businesses are facing from the coronavirus crisis.  “New Jersey 101.5” senior political director Eric Scott will host the broadcast.  He says, “New Jersey has already seen the highest number of jobless claims in our state’s history and a majority of businesses have been ordered to close.  Our Town Hall broadcasts bring those affected in direct contact with the experts that can help them survive these unprecedented conditions.”  For this edition, the expert panel will feature Robert Asaro-Angelo, New Jersey State Labor Commissioner; Tim Sullivan, CEO of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority; Michele Siekerka, president of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association; and Michael Affuso, director of government relations for the New Jersey Bankers Association.  Scott and his guests will take calls from listeners during the live program that will be available on-air and streamed via the station’s website and Facebook Live.

TALKERS News Notes. In an effort to assist businesses in the markets in which it operates, Beasley Media Group is presenting a complimentary webinar, titled: “Financial Relief for Small Business Owners: The Road Map.”  The free, 30-minute online webinar takes place on Wednesday (4/8) and features representatives of the U.S. Small Business Administration providing relevant discussion of how local businesses can qualify and apply for emergency funds and grants available during these unprecedented times…..iHeartMedia news/talk KOGO, San Diego is airing a special series relative to the Covid-19 pandemic each evening at 8:00 pm titled, “Right Now.”  The hourlong show features a different KOGO or KFMB-AM personality taking on a different topic.  On Monday evenings, KOGO business reporter Bob “Sully” Sullivan addresses financial matters; Tuesdays it’s KOGO afternoon host Lou Penrose talking mental health; on Wednesdays KFMB’s Mark Larson tackles physical health with the aid of medical professionals; Thursdays will feature KFMB’s Mike Slater taking on spiritual issues; and Fridays will see KOGO morning anchor LaDona Harvey exploring tips for living under quarantine and social distancing…..iHeartMedia Orlando presenting an online job fair called Keep Orlando Working on Thursday and Friday (4/9-10) designed to assist residents of the community finding jobs during this time.  The two-day online recruitment event custom web page will feature human resource recruiters and business owners conducting interviews via video chat and reviewing resumes in real time.  iHeartMedia Orlando partnerships manager Chianna Ray states, “iHeartMedia Orlando is committed to its community especially during times of crisis.  Thousands of service industry professionals are currently out of work.  There are companies that are hiring right now that need quality help and we look forward to make that connection through this virtual event.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Los Angeles, CHR KAMP-FM “97.1 AMP” morning personality Chris Booker exits the station as part of Entercom’s cuts and furloughs.  Booker hosted the program with co-hosts Chelsea Briggs and Krystal Bee…..iHeartMedia promotes Reggie Brown to the program director role at Milwaukee hip hop outlet WKKV “V100.7.”  Brown is the station’s afternoon drive host – a role in which he will continue.  He takes over for Bailey Coleman, who was promoted from PD of WKKV to VP of programming for the company’s New Orleans cluster.   Brown says, “I’m thrilled to lead the ‘V100.7’ team.  I’m excited to continue to bring quality programming and thriving events to our Milwaukee community while continuing to entertain our audience in the afternoons.”…..This evening (4/6), the “FOX Presents the iHeart Living Room Concert for America” will receive an encore airing on FOX TV.  The hourlong program hosted by Elton John and featuring numerous pop artists raised more than $10 million for Feeding America and The First Responders Children’s Foundation.  Tonight’s airing takes place at 9:00 pm ET…..Condolences to the family and friends of record industry figure Neil Lasher, who died at the age of 73 at Danbury Hospital in Danbury, Connecticut after complications from Covid-19.  Lasher was a former executive at Sony ATV.  He’d also worked for such labels as Chrysalis, EMI, Polydor, United Artists, and others.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

| March 10, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, February 20, 2020

| February 20, 2020

Key Networks to Launch Jesse Kelly Show in National Syndication. Syndicator Key Networks says Jesse Kelly is a “fresh voice in conservative talk.”  The U.S. Marine veteran, former congressional candidate, and conservative radio and television host will launch his new, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET talk radio show on April 6.  Key Networks says network advertising is included within the show, with no additional barter units for stations to run.  Currently, Kelly hosts a two-hour version of “The Jesse Kelly Show” on KPRC, Houston as well as the “I’m Right” program on The First TV, a news and talk channel on Pluto TV.  Kelly was deployed to Iraq as an infantry Marine during the Second Persian Gulf War and received an honorable discharge after four years.  In 2010, he ran for congress and was narrowly defeated by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. The race initially ended in a vote recount.  After his congressional run, Kelly continued to be a major voice among conservatives, using his large social media following as a platform to continue many of the conversations started on the campaign trail.  He says, “I love talk radio and I’m beyond humbled that Key Networks realizes that I’m a generational talent.  While my background might be more blue collar than other radio hosts, I’m confident my huge ego will help make up for my lack of education.  I’m excited to bring something new to stations nationwide.”  iHeartMedia Houston region president Eddie Martiny comments, “Listeners won’t be able to see that Jesse Kelly stands 6 foot 8, but his towering humor and intellect will absolutely captivate the listening audience.  Jesse is an Iraq War veteran who will win the hearts and minds of listeners with the wit of a stand-up comic.  He’s been featured on most major TV networks, especially FOX News with Tucker Carlson who says, ‘Jesse cracks me up.’  Jesse is a fresh voice of a rational conservative for a new generation.  My listening audience and advertising community in Houston embraced Jesse immediately.  Informative, entertaining, but most importantly, unique!”

Kevin Battle Joins KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh’s Morning Show. Radio programmer, host, and journalist Kevin Battle is joining “The KDKA Radio Morning News with Larry Richert” as co-host, effective March 9.  Entercom Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “As we celebrate the centennial of KDKA Radio, the world’s first radio station, we were focused on adding a host that can reflect the energy and pulse of where Pittsburgh is in 2020 and beyond.  Kevin Battle is the perfect person to join Larry Richert on the KDKA morning show and tell the story of our great city.”  During his career, Battle has served as program director and air personality for Entercom’s sports talk WJZ-FM, Baltimore “105.7 The Fan,” been director of marketing and promotions and on-air personality for rock WDVE-FM, and was a member of the inaugural staff of “FOX News Headlines 24/7.”  The Pittsburgh native comments, “There have been three morning hosts at KDKA Radio in my lifetime – Jack Bogut, John Cigna, and Larry Richert, and I am thrilled I get to work with one of them.  Larry is part of the fabric of Pittsburgh.  I have been a fan of KDKA for a long time and fondly remember listening with my family each morning.  I cannot wait to help our listeners start their day off well-informed.”

FCC Permanently Dismisses License Renewal Applications for Four St. Louis Signals. An administrative law judge has ruled that the applications for license renewal for four radio stations owned by Entertainment Media Trust are “dismissed without prejudice due to the applicant’s failure to prosecute.”  Judge Jane Hinckley Halprin states in the ruling that Trustee Dennis J. Watkins’ failure to respond to a January 24 Order that was a final attempt to get information from EMT was the last straw in a series of non-compliances on the part of Watkins.  The stations in question are: KFTK-AM (formerly WQQX-AM), East St. Louis, Illinois; WQQW-AM, Highland, Illinois; KZQZ-AM, St. Louis; and KQQZ-AM, DeSoto, Missouri.  The case goes way back to 2012 when Mark A. Kern filed a petition to deny the license renewals, alleging that talk host and convicted felon Robert Romanik actually controlled the stations, in violation of FCC regulations.  Romanik’s Insane Broadcasting Co. operates the stations under an LMA, but is not allowed to own stations.  The ruling notes that the Media Bureau investigated the allegations and “found evidence that it concluded supports the claim that Mr. Romanik exercises defacto control over the stations.  The Media Bureau also adduced evidence suggesting that Mr. Romanik, who hosts a weekday talk show on one of the stations, has held himself out as the stations’ owner and is personally involved in station business.”  Romanik hosts a show on KQQZ-AM and positions himself as a local raconteur, calling himself “The Grim Reaper of Radio.”  Read the judge’s ruling here.

New Afternoon Show Among Lineup Changes at Sports Talk ‘105.7 The Fan’ in Baltimore. With WJZ-FM “105.7 The Fan” afternoon drive personality Scott Garceau named the new play-by-play broadcaster and pre-game and post-game host for Baltimore Orioles broadcasts on cable’s MASN-TV, he leaves his daily talk show duties at the Entercom sports station.  His co-host Jeremy Conn moves to evening show duties and host of “Orioles Baseball Tonight.”  Beginning March 9, the new afternoon drive show is “Inside Access” with co-hosts Jason La Canfora and Ken Weinman.  La Canfora is a RADIO.COM Sports and CBS Sports insider.  Weinman is a longtime WJZ-FM air personality.   Entercom Baltimore SVP and market manager Tracy Brandys says, “This revamped programming schedule will allow us to continue providing around-the-clock content for Baltimore’s biggest sports fans.  Adding Jason and Ken to our already successful lineup is a big win for our market.  We are also excited about Scott and Jeremy’s new roles.  All are an integral part of the success of ‘105.7 The Fan.’”

Presidential Race/Las Vegas Debate, Stone Sentencing/Barr Criticism, Coronavirus Pandemic/Deadly Flu Season, Germany Mass Shooting, and Grenell to Lead Intelligence Agencies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/19). The Democrats battling to take on President Trump in November and last night’s debate in Las Vegas; the controversy surrounding the sentencing recommendation for former Trump adviser Roger Stone and the related criticism of Attorney General William Barr’s leading of the Justice Department; the status of the Covid-19 pandemic and the deadly influenza season in the U.S.; the slaying of nine people in the German city of Hanau by a reported right-wing extremist; and President Trump’s naming Ambassador Richard Grenell acting director of national intelligence were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Round Two of January PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets, including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s January 2020 survey period covered January 2 – 29.  Rebounding from the challenging Holiday 2019 survey, a number of spoken-word stations performed well – weekly, 6+ AQH share – in January.  Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM, Washington rises 1.9 shares from the Holiday survey to post a 6.9 share and climbs to the #5 rank in the market. Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM adds five-tenths to finish January with a 7.4 share and the #2 rank.  In Boston, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO tacks on seven-tenths to finish the survey with a 3.5 share, while sister all-news WBZ-AM adds two-tenths for a 6.2 share and the #3 rank in the market.  Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle breaks out with 1.1 share increase to finish the month with a 6.0 share and the #2 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KDFD-AM, Denver adds eight-tenths to finish the January survey with a 3.3 share, its best since it flipped from sports talk in July of 2019.  You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways here.

TALKERS News Notes. Las Vegas-based, USA Radio-syndicated talk show host Wayne Allyn Root tells TALKERS magazine his Newsmax TV show, “The Wayne Allyn Root Show: Raw & Unfiltered” is moving to a new air time – 10:00 pm ET – effective March 3.  Root says, “It’s a great honor to be part of Newsmax TV’s primetime lineup.  When I first began hosting my show in June 2017 on Newsmax TV it reached 15 million homes.  Then 30 million. Then 50 million. Then 60 million. Now just under 80 million.  And Cox cable added Newsmax TV a few weeks ago – so now my television show reaches the entire Las Vegas area, my hometown!  Kudos to Chris Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax, for building America’s fastest growing cable news network.”…..SiriusXM announces its MLB Network Radio channel presents its annual MLB Spring Training tour beginning Saturday (2/22) and running through March 13.  MLB Network Radio’s experts and insiders will visit all 30 MLB team camps to give fans an in-depth preview of every ball club.  It will consist of 30, two-hour shows, each focused on a single MLB team.  SiriusXM’s hosts – many of whom are former general managers or players – will be on location at each spring training ballpark to interview managers, players and executives, and share an insider’s view of each club as it prepares for the 2020 season…..iHeartMedia announces that it has partnered with Flatiron Books on a book imprint based on iHeartRadio’s popular curiosity podcasts.  The imprint, named “Stuff You Should Read: An iHeartBook,” launches with STUFF YOU SHOULD KNOW: An Incomplete Compendium of Mostly Interesting Things, to recognize “Stuff You Should Know” – one of the first podcasts to reach one billion downloads.  iHeartMedia says it believes that this is the first line of podcast-based books between a major book publisher and leading podcast network.

Pop Music Historian and Curator Barry Scott of “The Lost 45s” Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the true legends of oldies radio, Barry Scott, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Scott is the host of the long-running, Boston-based music radio show, “The Lost 45s,” which has been on the radio since 1981 and in national syndication since 1993.  The premise of the show is that top 40 radio of the golden era (1960s – 1990s) missed a tremendous number of valid hit records that deserved airplay due to faulty research, closed-mindedness and a lazy, follow-the-leader mentality.  (“It’s not on the list suggested by our consultant.”)  Many of these songs have gone on to be completely forgotten within music radio culture.  Harrison states, “I had the pleasure of programming Barry’s flagship station in Boston back in the 80s and was amazed at the loyal following this weekend show generated – even within the context of a classic rock format.  Barry’s excellent curation and fascinating storytelling created tremendous interest in songs that were either obscure or considered unprogrammable within standard format categories. In today’s music radio desert, where pop music history is largely ignored or generally forgotten, this show is a priceless beacon of the culture that originally illuminated music radio.”  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Detroit rock outlet WRIF, Beasley Media Group promotes Jade Springart to assistant program director and midday host.  She has served with WRIF for the past 12 years, most recently as music director and weekend personality. Springart says, “This is an amazing opportunity for me to continue working and winning with a brand that I have grown up with.  It has been a privilege to learn from some of the best in the industry.  I’m very grateful for the support of everyone in the Beasley Media Group family and am excited to be able to continue 101 WRIF’s legacy in the active rock format here in the Motor City.”…..Air personality J.R. joins Beasley Media Group’s country WQYK, Tampa Bay to host “Tampa Bay’s Morning Krewe with J.R. and Melanie,” effective March 2. He’ll join station air personality Melanie Mineau for the 6:00 am to 10:00 am program.  He was most recently co-host of the “J.R. & Beth Show” on Cox Media Group’s country KCYY, San Antonio “Y100.”  He also currently serves as the host of United Station Radio Networks’ syndicated “Twenty Country Countdown.”  J.R. says, “This is a very exciting time for me.  To be able to build a show under the direction of [operations manager] Travis Daily and alongside a talented co-host like Melanie Mineau is the opportunity I have been looking for.  We are going to have a lot of fun in an amazing city!  I am very grateful to Travis and the Beasley family for this opportunity and can’t wait to create live, local, and unique radio for the Tampa area.”…..Entercom stations and staffers are honored with three Academy of Country Music (ACM) Radio Awards.  KILT-FM, Houston “100.3 The Bull” (KILT-FM) was named Major Market Station of the Year and WUSY-FM, Chattanooga “U.S. 101” was named Medium Market Station of the Year – the 8th time the station has received this honor.  WYCD, Detroit’s afternoon drive show “Rob and Holly” program was given the Major Market Personality of the Year honor.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

| December 3, 2019

Round Four of November PPM Ratings Released. The fourth of four rounds of November 2019 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford.  Nielsen’s November 2019 survey period covered October 10 – November 6.  Some 6+ ratings gains of note for spoken-word stations during the November survey include: In Raleigh, Capitol Broadcasting’s sports talk WCMC-FM “99.9 The Fan” adds another two-tenths to its recent full-share increase to land at a 3.1 share and the #14 rank in the market; Emmis Communications’ flagship news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis “Indy’s Mobile News 93.1” rises six-tenths to a 6.4 share good for the #5 rank; and Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, Nashville adds six-tenths to its recent 6+ uptick for a 4.8 share and the #11 rank in the market.  See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Takeaways” from these markets here.

Dave Ramsey Launches ‘Borrowed Future’ Podcast Examining the Student Loan Crisis. This new podcast series from Ramsey Solutions is hosted by George Kamel in which bestselling author of Debt Free DegreeAnthony O’Neal – joins him to “explore the lies we believe about college, the soaring cost of tuition, and the predatory nature of the student loan industry.  Listeners will learn how to pay for college without going into debt and find out if college is even the right choice for them.”  Guests on season one of the eight-part “Borrowed Future” podcast include: Mark Cuban, Mike Rowe, Seth Godin, Dave Ramsey, Dr. Meg Meeker, Seth Frotman, and Ramsey Network personalities Ken Coleman, Rachel Cruze, and Chris Hogan.  Apple Podcasts Review says, “This is the first honest approach to the student loan crisis that you will hear.  Not just a commentary or criticism, but real-world solutions to the #1 personal finance challenge in America.”

Key Networks Launches ‘O’Reilly Update – Morning Edition.’ A new, morning drive program featuring Bill O’Reilly is being offered in national syndication by Key Networks.  “The O’Reilly Update – Morning Edition” is a two-minute feature and companion to Key Networks’ 15-minute daily radio program, “The O’Reilly Update,” currently airing on more than 180 stations.   The three-minute program – two minutes of content with two embedded 30-second network spots – officially debuts in January.  Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green says, “‘The O’Reilly Update’ has been a great success in a short amount of time.  We have heard from stations that asked for an opportunity to have O’Reilly’s content available for morning drive and Key Networks delivers with ‘The O’Reilly Update – Morning Edition.’  The best way to start your day is analysis from the best commentator in the business.  I can’t think of a better way to start 2020 than to bring this expansion of ‘The O’Reilly Update’ to the market.”

Crossover Media to Lead Sales Efforts for Bleav Podcast Network. Cross-platform ad sales firm Crossover Media Group Sales is leading the advertising sales for Bleav Podcast Network’s 150-plus podcasts.  The Bleav Podcast Network focuses on sports team content, “uniquely providing team fanbases with former players as hosts in football, basketball, baseball, hockey and soccer.”  In addition to team shows, Bleav creates local and national podcasts with topic experts in multiple categories such as golf, tennis, fitness, gymnastics, family, action sports, racing, film, esports, law, music, self-help, and more.  Bleav says that based on the highly exclusive local and national content experience, its advertisers see a very high awareness, retention, and response rates based on the show host’s live read endorsements.  Crossover Media managing partner Sue Freund says, “We’re excited to be working with Bleav.  This is an ideal partnership as both Crossover Media and Bleav are rapidly growing companies within the podcast market.  Bleav is introducing new podcasts daily to the marketplace and we’re looking forward to giving advertisers the opportunity to partner with their network of fantastic hosts and content.”

Logan Upped to OM at Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach. Programming pro Bruce Logan is promoted to operations manager for Hubbard Radio’s West Palm Beach station group.  Logan has been serving as program director for country WIRK-FM and adult contemporary WEAT “Sunny 107.9.”  In this new role, he’ll add oversight for news/talk WFTL, sports talk WMEN-AM “FOX Sports 640,” hot AC WRMF, and urban contemporary WMBX “X102.3.”  Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach SVP/market manager Elizabeth Hamma says, “We have an exceptional cluster of stations in West Palm Beach and I’m pleased to have an exceptional leader in the OM role.  Bruce has made an immediate impact on our cluster in the short time he has been with us.  I look forward to putting his talent to work on all of our brands.”

KBME, Houston’s Greg Koch to Leave Station to Focus on Health. Former NFL offensive lineman and midday sports talk host Greg Koch told his listeners on Monday (12/2) that he’s leaving his role with KBME at the end of this week to focus on his health.  Koch – who co-hosts the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show with fellow former NFL player N.D. Kalu – was diagnosed a year ago with Parkinson’s disease, but says he realizes he’s been feeling the effects of the disease for more than 10 years.  The iHeartMedia sports talk station has issued no statement about its plans for the program after this week.  Read the Houston Chronicle account here.

Townsquare Ups Sieks to Regional VP. Sales and management pro Christine Sieks rises to regional vice president for Townsquare Media’s Northeast Region.  For the past two-plus years, she’s been VP for Townsquare New Hampshire.  In her new role, she will continue to directly oversee sales in New Hampshire as well.  Prior to joining Townsquare, Sieks served in senior management with iHeartMedia New Hampshire.  Townsquare SVP Rob Williams says, “Christine Sieks made an immediate impact on our performance and culture when she joined Townsquare in 2016, distinguishing herself among our best local market leaders and strategic thinkers.  I’m thrilled to work more closely with her to help our teams continue to learn, grow, and perform.”

BFoA Commences Year-End Giving Appeal. The Broadcasters Foundation of America is launching its annual year-end appeal today (12/3) in conjunction with the national charitable giving event, Giving Tuesday.  The BFoA’s drive asks for tax-deductible personal donations to the Guardian Fund and corporate contributions to the Angel Initiative.  The Broadcasters Foundation is a 501(c)3 charity, and the only organization dedicated exclusively to providing aid to broadcasters and their families whose lives have been upended by tragic illness, accident, or catastrophe.   The Broadcasters Foundation will award more than $1.3 Million in aid this year. Monthly grants have increased over 75% since 2015, and more than 500 emergency grants have been awarded since 2017. Over the past 19 years, the Broadcasters Foundation has distributed over $11 million to broadcasters in need.  Donations can be made by visiting www.broadcastersfoundation.org/donate.  BFoA chairman Dan Mason says, “These funds make a huge difference in the lives of broadcasters and their families.  Our grant recipients are hard-working broadcasters who have experienced unthinkable tragedy and desperately need and deserve our support.”

Impeachment Proceedings/Republican Report, NATO Summit, 2020 Presidential Race, China Bans U.S. Military from Hong Kong, U.S.-France Tariffs, Jeffrey Epstein Case, and ‘AGT’ Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/2). The impeachment proceedings against President Trump and the Republican-authored report attempting to refute the Democrats’ case against the president; the controversial start to the NATO summit as President Trump calls comments by France’s Emmanuel Macron about the U.S.’ reliability “very insulting”; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; China enacts a ban on U.S. military ship stopovers in Hong Kong because of the U.S.’ pro-democracy act; Trump ramps up tariffs on French goods; the Jeffrey Epstein case returns to the news cycle after BBC interview with Prince Andrew accuser Virginia Giuffre; and the controversy over the exit of judges from “America’s Got Talent” due to allegations of a hostile workplace were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Derrick Brown is promoted to vice president of urban programming for iHeartMedia’s Chicago region.  He’d been serving the company as director of urban programming and program director for urban contemporary WVAZ “V103.” He’ll continue to program “V103.”  iHeartMedia Chicago SVP of programming James Howard says, “Derrick’s exemplary record of success with our urban brands puts this promotion into the no-brainer bucket of decisions.  We are beyond fortunate to have him at the helm of the Chicago region’s phenomenal urban brands.”  In this role, Brown will be responsible for overseeing all urban programming and digital operations for “V103,” hip hop WGCI and Gospel WGRB-AM “Inspiration 1390.”…..Programmer Eric White is adding PD duties for alternative WRMR, Wilmington, North Carolina to his current role as program director at Sunrise Broadcasting’s co-owned hot AC WILT.  White, who takes over for Laura Lee, says, “I’m grateful to Valerie Brooks, Sunrise, and Capitol Broadcasting management for this opportunity.  I look forward to digging in and taking on the already solid modern rock brand and growing it to new heights in 2020.”

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

| November 12, 2019

Cumulus Media Q3 Net Revenue Dips Slightly; Up on Same Station Basis. The third quarter financial report for Cumulus Media Inc. shows net revenue was $280.8 million, a decrease of 0.5% over the same period in 2018.  Adjusted EBITDA decreased 5.5%.  However, on a Same Station basis, net revenue was up 3.9% (excluding political).  Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner says, “In the third quarter, the Company turned in another strong performance with same station revenue and Adjusted EBITDA growth of 3.9% and 2.2%, respectively, on an ex-political basis.  Our operating plan has continued to deliver industry-leading digital revenue growth and continuing growth in our national and network channels.  We also made great progress in the quarter on our balance sheet as our free cash flow generation allowed us to fund a voluntary debt prepayment of approximately $29 million, which reduced net leverage to 4.5x.  Additionally, we completed a $525 million term loan refinancing that extended our debt maturity and reduced future interest expense.”  Breaking down the company’s report a little bit shows spot revenue for the third quarter of 2019 was $161 million, down 4.4% compared to the same period in 2018.  Network revenue was $78.4 million – up 3.6% over the same period a year ago.  Looking at digital revenue, Cumulus tallied almost $20 million, an increase of more than 48%.

Key Networks Offers O’Reilly Thanksgiving Weekend Special Interview with President Trump.  A one-hour, Thanksgiving week special is being made available to affiliates of Key Networks’ “The O’Reilly Update”, hosted by Bill O’ Reilly.  The program is an exclusive one-on-one interview with President Donald Trump that Key Networks says will provide listeners with insights from the president on the latest issues impacting the country as 2020 quickly approaches.  It comes on the heels of the release of O’Reilly’s new book, The United States of Trump: How the President Really Sees America (2019, Henry Holt and Co.).  O’Reilly’s 15-minute daily radio program, “The O’Reilly Update,” is currently syndicated to nearly 200 radio stations across the U.S.  This special is the first in a series of specials and exclusive content to be created especially for affiliates of “The O’Reilly Update” throughout the 2020 election season.  The program can air beginning Wednesday, November 27 and throughout Thanksgiving weekend.  Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green says, “Key Networks is honored to provide Bill O’Reilly’s one-on-one interview with President Trump to stations around the country.  The affiliates of ‘The O’Reilly Update’ continue to get the best news and commentary for their listeners and access to O’Reilly’s no-spin analysis.  If your station wants to win in 2020, they need to make O’Reilly a part of their lineup!”

TALKERS News Notes. Holiday programming for the Thanksgiving weekend is available from FOX News Radio.  FNR is providing to affiliates two, one-hour specials, available for download on the affiliate website on Friday, November 22.  The shows are: “The Dean’s List Thanksgiving Special” with FOX’s senior meteorologist and Mostly Sunny author Janice Dean, in which she shares stories of ordinary people taking time to be kind spreading sunshine to others; and “The Campaign” with host Bret Baier, in which he discusses the state of the democratic presidential race, highlights the candidates who are making headlines, and debates with a selection of political guests, who will ultimately rise to challenge President Trump for the presidency next November…..Tomorrow (11/13), ABC News Radio begins providing extensive coverage of the impeachment inquiry hearings with live, anchored by correspondent Aaron Katersky in Washington with reporting by multi-platform reporter Ines de La Cuetara at the Capitol.  It will also provide four one-minute Status Reports each hour.  Also, tomorrow ABC News Radio will debut a new feature called “Impeachment in a Minute,” hosted by correspondent Kyra Phillips.  Finally, on Wednesday evening Katersky will anchor an hour-long special at 7:06 pm ET looking back at the first day of public hearings…..Similarly, CBS News Radio is covering the impeachment inquiry hearings.  CBS will provide gavel-to-gavel coverage on Wednesday, beginning at 10:00 am with correspondents Bill Rehkopf, Steve Dorsey, and Steven Portnoy from the Hill.  Also, CBS will provide coverage of the TrumpErdogan presidential news conference beginning at 3:10 pm…..Yesterday (11/11), WABC, New York midday hosts Bernard McGuirk (right) and Sid Rosenberg (left) are pictured below, broadcasting live from 27th Street and 5thAvenue on the route of the Veterans Day Parade in New York City.

SiriusXM’s Karen Hunter Hosts Race Discussion Before Town Hall Audience. Talk show host, journalist, and college professor Karen Hunter recently presented a town hall discussion at SiriusXM’s New York studios before a live audience.  Hunter hosts the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show on SiriusXM’s Urban View channel.  The program centered on race in America, including the wealth gap between African Americans and Caucasians, The New York Times’ 1619 Project, a powerful initiative that explores the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery and its ongoing impact on our society.  Pictured above are (from l-r): Hunter, New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, MSNBC Correspondent Trymaine Lee, and OneUnited Bank president Teri Williams. Photo: Maro Hagopian for SiriusXM

Nominees Announced for 2020 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards. The second annual iHeartRadio Podcast Awards will take place at the iHeartRadio Theater Los Angeles on Friday, January 17 at 8:00 pm PT.  The iHeartMedia event will honor the most entertaining and innovative podcasts of 2019 and will span 30 categories, celebrating the incredible talent and wide variety of leaders across the booming podcasting industry.  Podcasts nominated for Best Podcast of the Year include: “The Daily,” “The Joe Rogan Experience,” “Stuff You Should Know,” “My Favorite Murder,” “Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend,” “Revisionist History,” “The Ron Burgundy Podcast,” “The Dropout,” “The Shrink Next Door,” and “The Read.”  See all the nominations in all the categories here.

Impeachment Process/Ukraine Affair, 2020 Presidential Race/Biden on CNN Town Hall, DACA Before SCOTUS, Cold and Snow Hit Northern U.S., and Hong Kong Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/11). The impeachment process against President Trump and the investigation into the Ukraine affair; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in the 2020 election and Joe Biden’s appearance on CNN’s “Town Hall” on Monday evening; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments in the case of the Trump administration’s desire to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals act; the cold and snow affecting much of the northern U.S. this week and the related issue of climate change; and the ongoing violence in Hong Kong were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The morning drive team of Roula Christie, Ryan Chase, Eric Rowe, and Kevin England – “The Roula and Ryan Show” – at Cumulus Media’s CHR KRBE-FM, Houston inks a multi-year agreement to continue its role there.   Station PD Leslie Whittle comments, “Each day our listeners wake up to laughter, will learn something, and could shed a tear or two, but one thing you can count on is that Roula, Ryan, Eric and Special K are never boring.  They have experienced many personal milestones the past 13 years, which I’ve been proud to witness.  ‘The Roula and Ryan Show’ has also celebrated our beloved city’s accomplishments and milestones and has gotten Houston through some tragedies as well.  I’m honored to be able to work with this great team for another five years!”…..Premiere Networks-syndicated personalities Charlamagne Tha God, Delilah, and Elvis Duran appeared together on the Dr. Oz TV show (pictured at left) on Friday (11/8) to discuss their use of their national platforms to change the conversation surrounding mental health.  The radio hosts shared their personal stories and tips for handling challenging mental health issues, including dealing with social media; finding self-love within, not online; and why it’s important to discuss difficult subjects like depression, anxiety, and suicide…..The Premiere Networks syndicated “Steve Harvey Morning Show” is giving away thousands of turkeys as part of the show’s Annual Turkey Give.  Affiliates of the show will provide 8,000 turkeys to help those less fortunate celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.  Since the Turkey Give was launched in 2009, nearly 80,000 turkeys have been given to those in need.  Harvey recently told his listeners, “We consider it an honor and a privilege to help those who are less fortunate during the holiday season.  On behalf of the entire Steve Harvey Morning Show, Happy Thanksgiving and God bless you all.”…..TALKERS sends condolences to the family and friends of Emmons “Skip” Woolwine, a founding member of the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame, who passed away on November 7 from a heart-related illness.  The TRHoF says, “He was passionate about our group and even though he wasn’t a board member, he continually mentored those of us who are on the board.  He was always willing to help, to lend advice and just offer friendship.”

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

| November 6, 2019

Mike Francesa ‘Leaving Afternoon Drive’ on WFAN, New York. Newsday’s Neil Best broke the story after New York sports talk radio icon Mike Francesa told him he’ll be leaving his afternoon drive show on WFAN in December with “details to come.”  Entercom New York regional president Susan Larkin later issued the following statement, “Mike Francesa will continue to be part of WFAN, and will soon also have an expanded role on RADIO.COM.  While we are still finalizing details, this is an exciting move to bring more of Mike’s iconic sports talk content to fans across broadcast and digital in new, engaging ways wherever and however loyal sports fans want it.  Stay tuned as we will be sharing more details in the weeks to come.”  Francesa left his longtime afternoon drive slot on WFAN in December of 2017, only to return in April of 2018, bumping his replacement – the team of Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray and Bart Scott – to middays.  Carlin exited WFAN in September with Gray and Scott continuing to host the midday show.  The New York media – especially the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand – has been reporting on the ratings battle between Francesa on WFAN and Michael Kay on ESPN’s WEPN-FM, New York.  Nielsen Audio’s October PPM survey saw Kay beat Francesa in the men 25-54 demographic with a 7.4 share to Francesa’s 6.0 share.

JVC Media Expands ‘Florida Man Radio’; Adds Ed Tyll Show in Middays. The “Florida Man Radio” format based at JVC Media’s WDYZ-AM, Altamonte Springs/W288CJ, Oviedo in the Orlando market will be heard on the company’s WYGC, High Springs in the Gainesville market, effective November 11.  At the same time, the company announces that talk radio pro Ed Tyll is joining the lineup in middays.  The station’s programming consists of: Bubba the Love Sponge in AM drive, Scott Ledger (10:00 am to 12:00 noon), Ed Tyll (12:00 noon to 2:00 pm), Shannon Burke (2:00 pm to 6:00 pm), attorney Justin Clark (6:00 pm to 7:00 pm), plus Key Networks’ “Bill O’Reilly Update” and Westwood One’s syndicated Ben Shapiro and Michael Savage shows at night.   JVC CEO John Caracciolo comments, “This is exactly what radio needs right now – fresh, new, funny, and local – this is ‘Florida Man Radio.’  The vision of a locally based talk station that isn’t afraid to confront the big topics while not taking it too seriously, screams the mantra of JVC.  We aren’t afraid to buck the norms – keeping live and local radio working for our clients and listeners, providing great results for clients, and continuing to invest in great programming.  I’m thrilled for the future of our stations across the country and thrilled to be growing ‘Florida Man Radio’ all over the state.

KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City Names Lee Lonsberry New Midday Host. Longtime KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City early afternoon personality Doug Wright retired from his daily talk show earlier this year. Now, Bonneville announces that his former producer, Lee Lonsberry, will begin hosting the 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm program in December.  Also, the station is expanding the “Inside Sources” program hosted by Deseret News opinion editor Boyd Matheson to a full hour, airing from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon.  Lonsberry has also been serving as communications director for U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop for the last few years.   Lonsberry says, “Hosting this show will be a thrill and a privilege.  I’ve been preparing for this show my entire professional life, and arguably, well before that.”  Bonneville SVP and market manager Tanya Vea says of the changes, “These additions to the lineup are an exciting step forward for KSL NewsRadio.  Our commitment to local reporting, fairness, and coverage of the biggest breaking news is greater than ever.”

PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s October PPM survey, today focusing on stations that serve as Major League Baseball flagships.  Since the October survey covered September 12 to October 9, the push to the playoffs and the first few games of the 2019 playoffs happened during that time.  Eventual World Series Champions the Washington Nationals’ Entercom-owned flagship WJFK-FM appeared to get a lift from its team, rising from a 3.5 share (6+) during the September survey to a 4.3 share in October.  Interestingly, the flagship for the American League Champion Houston Astros – iHeartMedia’s KBME “SportsTalk 790” – languished well below a 2.0 share (hitting its 1.4 share peak in August) for the entire season.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

TALKERS News Notes. WHAM, Rochester talk show host Bob Lonsberry created a controversy after tweeting, “‘Boomer’ is the n-word of ageism.  Being hip and flip does not make bigotry ok, nor is a derisive epithet acceptable because it is new.”  The since-deleted tweet that addressed the “ok Boomer” meme went viral and raised a lot of criticism of Lonsberry’s reasoning, including from celebrities.  Check out Starr Rhett Rocque’s analysis at Fast Company here…..FOX News Channel is moving the Sunday evening “Life, Liberty and Levin” program, starring Mark Levin from its 10:00 pm start to 8:00 pm.  Levin, who also hosts a daily, three-hour radio talk show syndicated by Westwood One, has been a “top-performing program” for FNC, according to The Hill’s report.  The publication says Levin’s show “delivered more than 1.43 million viewers last weekend and was the most-watched program in cable news on Sunday night, topping rivals CNN and MSNBC.”…..ESPN Films’ “30 for 30” podcasts are returning for a sixth season with four all-new audio documentaries.  The first episode debuts on November 12, with the others premiering every Tuesday through December 3.  The season kicks off with a story about two of the most famous women in sports, Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird, who talk openly about their stranger-than-fiction experience with Shabtai Kalmanovich, former owner of their Russian basketball team and possible double agent…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Lisa Labuz is moving from her current role as morning news anchor and local host of NPR’s “Morning Edition” on Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ, Chicago to news anchor for the 10:00 am to 3:00 pm daypart…..Pictured below are WAXY “790 The Ticket” and WQAM “560 The Joe” personalities Marc Hochman and Channing Crowder as they took their afternoon drive show to the University of Miami campus Tuesday afternoon (11/5) for the kickoff of the college basketball season. From left to right are: Miami athletic director Blake James, Crowder, Hochman, and 1992 Heisman Trophy winner Gino Torretta​.

Impeachment Process, Ukraine Affair, 2020 Presidential Race, Tuesday Election Results, Roger Stone Trial, Zervos’ Trump Allegations, Mormon Family Murdered in Mexico, and ABC News and the Epstein Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/5). The impeachment process against President Trump; EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland updates his testimony about Trump’s alleged quid pro quo offer to Ukraine; the results of Tuesday’s elections that saw Democrats take control of Virginia’s legislature and the too-close-to-call Kentucky governor’s race; day one of Roger Stone’s trial on obstructing congress in the Russian election meddling case; the revelation of phone records in Summer Zervos’ allegations of sexual assault against President Trump; the murder of 9 members of a Mormon family by a drug cartel in northern Mexico; and ABC News’ defense of “quashing” Amy Robach’s interview with Jeffrey Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the West Palm Beach market, Hubbard Radio names Garrett Phillips producer of the “Tim & Chelsea” morning show on WIRK “New Country 103.1.”  Operations manager and WIRK brand/content director Bruce Logan says, “Since 2015, Garrett has shown a high competence in many different roles for this cluster.  Rising quickly from intern to show producer to the lead producer for Paul Barsky’s show on WFTL.  No matter the role, Garrett has excelled.  I am sure his addition as producer for Tim & Chelsea on ‘New Country 103.1’ will produce excellent results as we add another important puzzle piece to what we are building on WIRK.”…..Beasley Media Group announces the official unveiling of “The History Of WRIF” podcast.  The station debuted in 1971 and is generally considered one of the longest running active rock stations in the country.  Beasley says, “With a rich history and an incredible roster of on air personalities known both in Detroit and nationwide, the podcast, hosted by former WRIF DJ Mike Staff and produced by current WRIF host Steve Black, will feature discussions with past and present personalities reflecting on the incredible moments and memories from their past and current time on the air.”  The first episode features Motor City radio legend Arthur Penhallow.  “Arthur P” was present for the launch of 101 WRIF and spent several decades on the air at WRIF.  During that time, he received many honors, including recognition from The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame and a role in the movie, The Upside of Anger, that used WRIF as a setting for the movie and starred award-winning actor Kevin Costner.

Monday, October 28, 2019

| October 28, 2019

WCBM, Baltimore Announces Programming Changes. Charm City news/talk outlet WCBM “Talk Radio 680” announces a number of coming programming changes.  Starting in morning drive, longtime newsman and co-host Frank Luber exits the show but will stay with the station to help with special projects and to continue to serve as a spokesman for some of its major advertisers.  WCBM says that Luber and Nicholas Mangione were “instrumental in establishing WCBM as a major news/talk presence in Baltimore.”  Beginning November 4, late morning talk host Bruce Elliott joins Sean Casey (who continues to serve as the station’s PD) for “The Morning Drive with Casey & Elliott.”  Stepping into the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon talk host role is Derek Hunter, who returns to Baltimore after having served in recent years with the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Tax Reform, and as managing editor at The Daily Caller.  The station also adds “The FOX News Rundown” for the 5:00 am to 6:00 am hour and Key Networks’ “The O’Reilly Update” with Bill O’Reilly to air from 11:45 am to 12:00 noon.

Monday Memo: Pronouncers for Announcers. How-you-say what-you-say makes a difference, and (obvious) former high school English teacher Holland Cooke explains in this week’s column.  Read it here.

ISIS Leader Dead, Impeachment Inquiry/Ukraine Scandal, 2020 Presidential Race, Rep. Katie Hill Resigns, California Wildfires/Power Blackouts, and Brexit Extension Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi is reported by President Trump; the impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the related allegations of illegal actions against Trump, and Joe and Hunter Biden with regard to the Ukraine; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020, U.S. Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) resigns her seat after being accused of improper relations with a campaign staffer; the wildfires in California and PG&E’s shutting off electricity to almost 1 million customers; and Boris Johnson gets an extension to January 31 for Britain’s exit from the EU were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Newsmax TV Presents Presidential Town Hall. In conjunction with the League of United Latin American CitizensNewsmax TV presented a two-hour Presidential Town Hall with top Democratic candidates last Thursday (10/24). Taking part in the Newsmax Town Hall at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines were candidates Bernie Sanders, Beto O’Rourke, Tulsi Gabbard, and Julian Castro.  The live Newsmax TV production reached 70 million cable homes.

FOX News Radio Makes ‘Rundown’ Available for Radio Stations. “The FOX News Rundown” launched in 2017 as a podcast hosted by Dave Anthony, Lisa Brady, and Jessica Rosenthal.  Now, FOX News Radio is making the program available as an early morning weekday news hour “perfect for setting the stage for your local morning show.”  FNR says, “‘The Rundown’ takes a deeper dive into the stories that are important to you and your listeners.  Hosted by the anchors of FOX News Radio, the ‘Rundown’ also features voices from FOX News Channel, FOX Business Channel and the world of politics and entertainment.”

Ben & Skin Exit ‘105.3 The Fan’ in Dallas. The midday duo Ben & Skin – Ben Rogers and Jeff “Skin” Wade – have resigned their positions with Entercom’s sports talk KRLD-FM, Dallas for an opportunity elsewhere.  They are being replaced in the station lineup by evening duo Kevin Hageland and Cory Mageors.  It’s not known if this is a permanent move or not.  Regardless, morning drive co-host Shan Shariff tweeted that the duo was not fired and was moving on to another opportunity.

TALKERS News Notes. Former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders will serve as the keynote speaker at the 2020 Todd Starnes Faith and Freedom Celebration to be held at Truett McConnell University in Cleveland, Georgia on April 18, 2020.  The annual event has raised more than $300,000 in scholarship money for students at the Christian school.  Starnes says, “I can’t say enough great things about Sarah.  Our media company is committed to super-serving the communities that broadcast my programs and bringing nationally known speakers to our event is a part of that effort.”…..WODS, Boston morning drive personality TJ Taormina has launched a podcast on Entercom’s RADIO.COM platform called, “Meet My Wife.”  Taormina tells TALKERS, “It was an opportunity for me to step up to a blank canvas and create something from scratch.  It starts in a music recording studio with a full band and travels from grocery store parking lots, to the middle of Boston Common, to my home living room.  I wanted to take a unique approach to the rapidly growing podcast arena and make it something that could complement my daily live radio show.”…..Entercom’s board of directors have approved a clawback policy for five of its highest-paid executives.  A clawback is a provision in an employment contract that states money paid to an employee may have to be returned.  It’s usually for highly compensated executives and is intended as a sign of goodwill toward investors.  In Entercom’s case, stock ownership guidelines were included with this move and require president and CEO David Field to hold Entercom shares equal to at least six times his base salary.  It requires CFO Rich Schmaeling, COO Weezie Kramer, chief revenue officer Robert Philips, and EVP/general counsel Andrew Sutor to hold shares of at least two times their base salaries…..Boston public radio news/talk WGBH-FM is adding the NPR-distributed program “1A” to its lineup, airing from 10:00 am to 11:00 am.  The program is hosted by Joshua Johnson and focuses on First Amendment issues “related to policy, politics, technology, pop culture, sports, and humor.”  The program’s goal is to “act as a national mirror — taking time to help America look at itself and to ask what it wants to be.”

WHAT IS REAL? Former WWE Champion Mick Foley Is Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most theatrical professional wrestlers of the modern era who blurred the line between reality and fiction as much as anyone who ever played the game, Mick Foley, guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Foley created several of wrestling’s most memorable characters, including Cactus Jack and Mankind, participating in physically damaging stunts that took his body past the limits of safety and protection. Although he played brutish, psychotic characters, Foley went on to become a best-selling author, public speaker, and articulate supporter of a variety of charities and social causes. In a fascinating one-on-one conversation, Harrison and Foley discuss the nature of reality TV and the role it plays in today’s political circus citing Donald Trump’s participation in the WWE prior to his presidency as an early example of the Commander in Chief’s penchant for mixing over-the-top theatrics with the semblance of real life storylines. Don’t miss this! 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 or on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Steve Hoffman is named program director for Beasley Media Group’s hot AC KVGS-FM and assistant program director for sister urban contemporary KOAS, effective October 14.  Hoffman has been consulting for the past few years.  He was previously on air at KSWD, Los Angeles and programmed KCAL, Riverside for 15 years.  Beasley Las Vegas VP and market manager Peter Burton states, “We have been interested in bringing Steve into the fold for quite some time.  I had the pleasure of working with him in Los Angeles for five years.  Hiring Steve allows us to continue to surround ourselves with the best in the industry.”…..At Entercom’s CHR KAMP, Los Angeles, Chris Booker shifts from the afternoon drive show to AM drive where he’ll work with co-host Chelsea Briggs and Krystal Bee.  The new show replaces Edgar “Shoboy” Sotelo.  He’d been paired with Brian Moote and Briggs.  Briggs exited the station in August.  Taking over Booker’s afternoon drive show is midday personality Yesi Ortiz.  Moving to middays from weekends is Christen…..iHeartMedia names Adam Rivers program director for its four-station cluster in New Haven.  He’d been serving as APD and music director at CHRs WKCI “KC101” and WKSS “KISS 95-7.”  He’s now also programming news/talk WELI and sports talk WAVZ “ESPN 1300.”   iHeartMedia Hartford Region president Steve Honeycomb says, “Over the past several years, Adam has truly been the backbone here at ‘KC101’ and a staple in Connecticut radio.  Adam’s years of experience and the way he engages with his listeners go far beyond his afternoon drive show and we couldn’t be happier to see him evolve into this new role here in New Haven, Connecticut.”

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

| September 17, 2019

Key Networks Launches Audio Ad Sales Division. Two radio sales executives join Key Networks as the division of Sun & Fun Media begins providing audio advertising sales to producers and service/program providers.  Jim Higgins joins Key Networks as president and chief operating officer and Rich Baum comes aboard as executive vice president, advertising sales.  Higgins, previously president and COO at United Stations Radio Networks will be based in New York City and Baum, formerly EVP of sales at USRN, will be based in Chicago. Rob Koblasz, Sun & Fun and Key Networks CEO, says, “We are excited to now be a full-service network company for our existing as well as new clients, with the addition of advertising sales capabilities and an experienced and knowledgeable senior executive team.  Our goal when we started Key Networks was to be best-in-class, from the talent we represent, the producers we work with and the professionals on our team.  Both Jim and Rich fit that description perfectly. Their contacts in the ad sales and marketing world run deep and they are highly respected in the industry.  We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Jim and Rich to help build Key Networks into a successful full-service network audio company.”

FCC Approves Tribune-Nexstar Deal; Fate of WGN-AM Up in the Air. The Federal Communications Commission approved Nexstar Media’s acquisition of Tribune Media, a deal that will create the largest television station company in the country.  After closing, Nexstar will own almost 200 stations in 115 markets – plus a lone radio station: WGN-AM, Chicago.  Nexstar is a television company and it has not specifically addressed what it will or will not do with WGN-AM.  It wouldn’t be unique for a TV operator to also dabble in radio – Sinclair Broadcast Group operates four radio stations in addition to its large television holdings.  It’s certainly possible Nexstar continues to operate WGN-AM.  However, recent deals for heritage signals in the top markets – think WABC, New York and the several FM stations in New York and Los Angeles – indicate that the value of stations like these is on a steady decline and Nexstar may be better off selling WGN-AM before its value declines even more.

Learning from Entercom’s Ransomware AttackTALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes in his column that the alleged ransom Entercom was facing is “much higher than most ransomware demands.  According to security company Coveware, the average demand this year is $12,762 — double the average demand in 2018.”  Though Entercom is reportedly not paying the ransom, Weisman says “the cost of repairing the damage will exceed the cost of paying the ransom.  Radio One paid $500,000 to repair the damage when it was victimized by a ransomware attack, which also resulted in a large amount of lost advertising revenue.”  Read Weisman’s entire column here.

Bortnick Promoted to Region SVP of Sales for iHeartMedia. Sales pro Danny Bortnick is promoted from senior vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s Washington, DC cluster to region senior vice president of sales for the Washington D.C./Baltimore markets.  iHeartMedia Washington/Baltimore region president Aaron Hyland says, “Danny has made a tremendous impact on the day-to-day operations of our sales organization since day one.  I am excited to see Danny take on this new leadership position and look forward to his continued success in developing and managing a best-in-class sales team for the region.”  Prior to joining iHeartMedia, Bortnick served as the vice president of sales for Entercom, vice president of sales for CBS Radio and general sales manager for WNEW-FM.

Saudi Oil Attack, Kavanaugh Allegations/NYTimes Criticism, 2020 Presidential Race, Another Vaping-Related Death, and ‘SNL’ Fires Comic Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/16). The attack on a Saudi oil facility, accusations Iran is responsible, and President Trump’s military threats against Iran; the allegation of sexual harassment against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and the related criticism of The New York Times; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020; the dangers of vaping after another person succumbs to respiratory ailments; and the firing of Shane Gillis from “SNL” after bigoted comments came to light were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Kansas City sports talk outlet KCSP “610 Sports Radio” and the MLB’s Kansas City Royals announce a five-year extension to their deal for the Entercom station to serve as the flagship for the team’s play-by-play broadcasts.  In addition to airing all 162 regular season games, KCSP will also broadcast all weeknight and weekend Cactus League Spring Training games from Arizona.  The weekly “Royals Hot Stove” show returns in January, and dates and times of the spring broadcasts and “Royals Hot Stove” show will be announced at a later date…..The New York Post and cabana announce the upcoming launch of “We Hear: A Page Six Podcast.”  The first episode of this new podcast dropped yesterday with Page Six editors Maggie Coughlan and Ian Mohr serving as hosts.  They bring insider stories and knowledge straight from the newsroom to the podcasts…..TALKERS founder Michael Harrison made a guest appearance this past weekend on the longtime nationally syndicated radio show “The Art of Living and the Science of Life” hosted by Danielle Lin that has generated quite a buzz in the metaphysics community.  The program deals with consciousness and anesthesiology – two subjects that are peripheral to Harrison’s usual beat of media and society, but he effectively ties them into his general theme of “rewiring the human nervous system” in the digital era.  To listen to the entire show, please click 

      here
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‘SuperTalk Mississippi’ Broadcaster Kipp Greggory Dies. Talk host, programmer, and WOSM, Biloxi “SuperTalk Mississippi” station manager Kipp Greggory died on Saturday (9/14).  Specifics of his passing were not made public but his final message to family and friends, passed on by his wife, alluded to an illness. “Well.. it got the best [of] me. So long my Biloxi Family. I hope they have Bacon in heaven and I can get the Saints channel.”  Station owner Telesouth Communications wrote in a tweet: “All of us at Telesouth Communications and ‘Supertalk Mississippi’ send heartfelt condolences to the family of our colleague and friend, Kipp Greggory.  Kipp’s passion was radio.  For many years, he could be heard daily on WOSM ‘Supertalk Mississippi Gulf Coast’ and often heard statewide on the ‘Supertalk Mississippi’ network.  He loved the Mississippi Gulf Coast and worked diligently each day to bring Coast residents the news and issues important to them.  Kipp also used his platform to highlight causes close to his heart and give back to the community.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Jo and their daughters. Kipp loved them deeply.”

PPM Analysis: CHR. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s August 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on CHR.  Comparing data from the July 2019 survey and the August 2019 survey shows about as many stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go up (43%) as saw it go down (39%), with 18% unchanged.  Year-over-year, slightly more are down (51%) than up (42%).  Two CHR-formatted stations ranked #1 in their respective markets in the August survey: iHeartMedia’s KHKS-FM, Dallas “106.1 Kiss FM” and Hubbard Radio’s KQMV, Seattle “MOViN 92.5.”  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air and programming pro Mike James announces he’s retiring from his position at Hall Communications’ Lakeland, Florida station group – and the radio biz – effective at the end of the year.  James has been program director at WPCV, Lakeland “97 Country” since 2004, and operations manager for the four-station cluster since 2006.  He says, “My first radio job was in 1979, and I can remember thinking how great it was to be able to entertain people and get paid for it at the same time.  Forty years later, it’s still great, but I’m finally ready to kick back, relax, and spend more quality time at Anna Maria Island.  I want to thank Hall Communications owners Art and Bonnie Rowbotham for giving me the opportunity to work for one of the most respected radio groups in America.”…..The “Jagger & Kristi” morning show at Local Media San Diego’s rhythmic oldies XHRM-FM “Magic 92.5” announces that Samantha DeJesus is its new producer.  She has been serving as interim producer since the departure of Sheryl Love in July.  DeJesus says, “I cannot fully express the amount of gratitude I have to be given such an amazing opportunity.  Along with the rest of the city, I grew up listening to ‘Jagger & Kristi,’ so I feel like I’ve known them all my life. To be working alongside such an iconic radio duo, who are legends to the San Diego community, I am thrilled to learn and grow with the best in the business.”

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

| September 3, 2019

Entercom Buys Francesa App; Folds it in to RADIO.com. The digital platform RADIO.com is now the place where WFAN, New York sports talk personality Mike Francesa’s digital content can be found.  Entercom announces via the RADIO.com site that “that Francesa is taking his talents to RADIO.com, and he’s bringing all of his streaming content with him. Francesa’s ‘Mike’s On’ will close on Oct. 1, with his WFAN show; his podcasts and other branded media will migrate exclusively to the RADIO.com app.”  Entercom chief digital officer J.D. Crowley says, “Mike Francesa is a legend and we are beyond thrilled to bring more Mike to RADIO.com.  Mike has some of the most loyal, engaged fans in all of sports, thanks to his unique ability to build a broad audience with must-listen, highly compelling audio content, always calling it like it is.  The ability to tap into Mike’s immediate, live reactions to the biggest moments in sports, combined with the vast library of audio and video content this deal brings to the platform, further cement RADIO.com as one of the leading digital audio platforms in the U.S. for creators, audiences, and advertisers alike.”  According to a report by Max Willens in Digiday about the move, the Mike’s On app never really hit the critical mass necessary to survive on its own. He writes, “Since its launch, Mike’s On has accumulated a small cluster of subscribers, though new downloads have slowed to a crawl over the past few months, with the app driving fewer than a thousand downloads a month in each of the past four months, according to Apptopia.  That audience pales in comparison to the Radio.com app audience, which has been averaging over 230,000 downloads per month over the same period, also per Apptopia.”

WGST, Atlanta Adds New Programming; Re-Brands as ‘640 FOX News Radio.’ New programs added to the lineup on iHeartMedia’s WGST-AM, Atlanta include the Westwood One-syndicated Ben Shapiro show and Mark Levin show, as well as the Key Networks-syndicated “Bill O’Reilly Update” as the station re-brands as “AM 640, Atlanta’s Home of FOX News Radio.”  iHeartMedia says, “AM 640, Atlanta’s Home of FOX News Radio, will feature top national hosts including Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Ben Shapiro, Mark Levin, Buck Sexton, Michael Savage and George Noory. Listeners can tune in to hear the latest FOX News at the top and bottom of every hour, as well as frequent traffic/weather reports and local news updates from the Georgia News Network. “This Morning with Gordon Deal,” from Compass Media Networks, is airing in morning drive.  The station will also provide around-the-clock news coverage online on the station’s website as well as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook via @640FoxNewsATL.”  Station program director Dan Hunt adds, “We are ecstatic to welcome Bill O’Reilly, Ben Shapiro, Mark Levin and all the new voices to Atlanta’s Home of FOX News Radio.  With a massive 50,000 watt AM signal and unmatched digital distribution, we are confident that AM 640 will establish itself as a successful news/talk brand in Atlanta”

Bustos Media Tweaks Lineup on KVOI, Tucson. News/talk KVOI, Tucson was acquired by Bustos Media from Doug and Mary Martin’s Good News Communications last fall. Now, the company announces some programming changes to “AM-1030 KVOI The Voice.”  Station operations manager Ray Ingegneri says, “When we sat down and looked at the lineup we wanted to keep the local component, but we also wanted to bring a mix of news, business and lifestyle shows, hoping to attract listeners who may be turned off by other offerings in the market.”  Syndicated additions to the KVOI lineup include: “America In The Morning”; Good Day Networks’ “On Air with Doug, Jen and Victoria” from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.  The station expands its carriage of the Dave Ramsey show to 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.  It adds Compass Media Networks’ “Lars Larson Show” to the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot and adds American Private Radio’s “Our American Stories” in the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot.  Late nights and over nights include GCN’s “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney, Westwood One’s Jim Bohannon show and Salem Radio NetworksHugh Hewitt show.  CBS News and Bloomberg Market Minute Updates are being added to the bottom of each hour.  Bustos Media president and CEO Amador Bustos adds, “With this programming change we strive to provide our Tucson audience the best possible talk format and most relevant local news coverage.”

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from the July 2019 Nielsen Audio PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk radio.  Comparing weekly 6+ AQH share data from June to July, about the same number of news/talk stations saw their ratings go up as saw their numbers go down. Year-over-year, 51% of the stations on our panel were down while 36% improved, led by Cumulus Media’s WMAL-FM, Washington (+1.6) and iHeartMedia’s WOAI, San Antonio (+1.5).  Two news/talk stations ranked #1 in their respective markets (6+) in July: Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” (6.9 share) and Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville (8.0 share).  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

TALKERS News Notes. Portland news/talk KEX adds the Premiere Networks-syndicated Buck Sexton show in the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm slot.  The show follows the local Mark Mason show and leads into the syndicated Michael Berry program…..As the NFL gets ready to begin its 100th season, Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is kicking off its 33rd consecutive season as the league’s exclusive network radio partner.  The season begins with Thursday night’s Packers-Bears game and Westwood One Sports’ Monday night team of Kevin Harlan and Hall of Famer and NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner will call the action.  To commemorate the league’s 100th season, Westwood One is producing original programming, including a 100-part short-form series titled, “NFL 100,” that will air Monday through Friday each day throughout the season…..Entercom is presenting a two-hour live, commercial-free broadcast special called, “I’m Listening,” to raise awareness around mental health and mark the start of National Suicide Prevention Week.  As part of the company’s multiplatform, yearlong “I’m Listening” campaign, the progam will air nationwide on Sunday, September 8 at 7:00 am across more than 235 stations and via each station’s livestream on RADIO.com in their respective time zones. Entercom chief programming officer Pat Paxton says, “Mental health and suicide prevention are year-round initiatives at Entercom and we are doing our part to end the stigma by encouraging people to talk. Like millions of others, my family has been impacted by mental health issues and the effect it has on friends and families is devastating.  ‘I’m Listening’ is when our vast network of radio stations and digital platforms unite on the same day, at the same time, to ultimately save lives.  If we help just one person, our time will have been well spent.”…..Hubbard Radio’s WMEN-AM, West Palm Beach re-brands, transitioning from the “640 The Hurricane” moniker to “FOX Sports South Florida.”…..GCN nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs has been a force in helping to get the majority of governors in the U.S. to unite in declaring September 5 Blood Donation Day to help blood banks during National Blood Donation Week (September 2-9).

Hurricane Dorian, Immigration Policy, 2020 Presidential Race, Deadly Dive Boat Fire, Brexit, and Kevin Hart Car Crash Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Holiday Weekend. The status of Hurricane Dorian and the destruction it’s leveled on the Bahamas; the Trump Administration’s immigration policies and treatment of children of migrants; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020; the California dive boat fire that killed 25; the political chaos in Britain over Boris Johnson’s Brexit strategy; and comic Kevin Hart’s car accident were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

KOZN, Omaha Broadcasts from Casino on First Day of Legal Sports Betting. Pictured above are “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” personalities John Bishop and Josh Peterson interviewing Caesars Entertainment VP and general manager Samir Mowad as KOZN, Omaha “1620 The Zone” broadcast from Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa on the first day of legalized sports betting.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Columbia, South Carolina, Cumulus Media’s urban contemporary WLXC “KISS 103.1” is launching “The Chubb Rock Show with SiMan Baby” in afternoon drive.   The show is hosted by Chubb Rock and SiMan Baby.  Station program director Robyn Simone says, “Chubb Rock has the perfect star power ‘KISS 103.1’ listeners will love in afternoon drive.  Not over the top, but just enough that our listeners will appreciate not only his legendary hip hop status, but also his commitment to radio.  Chubb Rock reminds us why we fell in love with radio in the first place by entertaining, challenging those community issues, and bringing back the love for the music!”…..Beasley closes on its acquisition of urban contemporary WDMK, Detroit “105.9 Kiss FM.”  It bought the FM signal and three translators from Urban One for $13.5 million…..“The Ace & TJ Show” and its charity, Radio Family Charity, are beginning to solicit donations in anticipation of damage to the Eastern Seaboard from Hurricane Dorian.  The show says “the needs of Hurricane Dorian will last for months and we are seeking donations from radio audiences around the world.  Tax deductible donations will be accepted through AceTJ.com or RadioFamilyCharity.org.”

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