Tag: "KLBJ-AM"

Friday, August 7, 2020

| August 7, 2020

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM in Washington, DC.  This new episode titled “Each Passing Tik of the Clok!” looks back at this past week of August 3-7, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSMike Gallagher, talk show host, Salem Radio NetworkPat McCrory, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte / former Governor of North Carolina; Howard Monroe, talk show host / station owner, WVLY, Wheeling, WV; Levi Browde, executive director, Falun Dafa Information Center; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Salem Media Group Q2 Revenue Down 18.3%. Reporting its financial data for the second quarter of 2020, Salem Media Group says revenue for the quarter was $52.9 million, a decrease of 18.3% compared to the same period in 2019. Operating expenses decreased 9% during the quarter to $53.8 million from $59.1 million. After posting operating income of $5.6 million in Q2 of 2019, Salem reports an operating loss of $0.9 million. Breaking down the report by segment, net broadcast revenue decreased 19.6% to $39.5 million from $49.1 million; Station Operating Income (“SOI”) decreased 43.9% to $6.4 million from $11.4 million; and Same Station net broadcast revenue decreased 17.4% to $38.7 million from $46.9 million; and Same Station SOI decreased 43.9% to $6.5 million from $11.6 million. Salem’s digital media revenue decreased 5.2% to $9.4 million from $10.0 million; and digital media operating income decreased 22.6% to $1.8 million from $2.3 million. Publishing revenue was down 29.8% to $4 million from $5.6 million; and publishing operating loss increased to $1.6 million from $0.1 million.

Entercom’s Q2 2020 Revenue Decreases 54%. The second quarter 2020 financial report from Entercom reveals net revenue was $175.9 million, a decrease of 54% from the $380.7 million reported in Q2 of 2019. Spot revenue declined 65% on a year-over-year basis while digital revenue rose 19%. Entercom reports that reflecting its cost management initiatives implemented to address the pandemic and lower levels of advertising spending, station expenses for the quarter declined 32% to $188.9 million, compared to $277.9 million in the second quarter of 2019 while corporate expenses for the quarter declined 45% to $8.4 million, compared to $15.2 million in the second quarter of 2019. The company reported operating income of $64.8 million in Q2 of 2019, but this year reported an operating loss of $45.3 million (that included a non-cash impairment charge of $4.2 million). Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was a loss of $20 million, compared to income of $87.6 million in the second quarter of 2019. Entercom president and CEO David J. Field says, “While Entercom generated significant revenue and EBITDA growth prior to the pandemic, second quarter results reflect the impact of the national economic challenges that quickly emerged as many advertisers closed businesses and significantly reduced their ad spend. Given our national leadership position in sports, second quarter top-line results were also significantly impacted by the cancellation of virtually all scheduled sporting events during the quarter. Excluding the impact of cancelled sports play-by-play, second quarter revenues declined 47%. However, after bottoming out in April, we have achieved significant sequential improvement every month through the summer with third quarter business on books already 30% greater than where the second quarter finished. The pandemic challenges accelerated our on-going transformation initiatives with a heightened focus on enhancing our business model, accelerating our growth opportunities, more fully integrating our powerful product offerings, and improving our service to both listeners and customers. In this regard, we implemented a range of company-wide initiatives, which lowered second quarter total cash operating expense by approximately $97 million, which exceeded our budget. In addition, we secured our strong liquidity position through an amendment to our credit facility and ended the second quarter with $208 million of cash, up from $189 million at the end of March. Looking ahead, as the country’s #1 creator of original, premium audio content with robust data, analytics and attribution capabilities, scaled audience reach and a leadership position in virtually every segment of the dynamic and growing audio market, including broadcasting, podcasting, digital, events, network, sports and news, Entercom is strategically well-positioned for future growth and performance. Improving revenue trends combined with enhancements to our business model and active management of our balance sheet will enable Entercom to emerge as an even stronger company and build meaningful shareholder value. I want to thank our team for their resilience, dedication, and exceptional work as they have gone above and beyond to serve our listeners, advertisers and communities under the most challenging of circumstances over the past several months.”

Round Four of July PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s July 2020 survey period covered June 18 – July 15. You can see all the 6+ data from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Austin, Waterloo Media Group’s news/talk KLBJ-AM tacks on two-tenths for a 5.7 share and the #3 rank in the market. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTKK-FM, Raleigh rises from the #6 rank to #3 after adding six-tenths and finishing the survey with a 6.8 share. Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis inches up one-tenth to a 7.5 share, good for the #4 rank. In Milwaukee, Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ holds steady at a 5.5 share but rises one spot to the #5 rank while iHeartMedia’s news/talk WISN dips four-tenths to a 6.8 share and the #4 rank. Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, Nashville adds two-tenths to wrap the survey with a 4.8 share good for the #9 rank. In Jacksonville, Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM continues in the #2 rank after dipping four-tenths and finishing with a 9.5 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways report here.

NAB’s Gordon Smith Averted Stroke. The report of NAB CEO Gordon Smith’s stroke yesterday (8/6) was premature, according to Smith himself. He issued a public statement that clarifies the original press release from the NAB and thanks people for the outpouring of support he’s received. He says, “Your prayers and kind words have meant the world to me and my family. I am delighted to tell you that after a very extensive MRI last night it was discovered that I did have a blood clot, but thanks to the quick medical intervention I received, an actual stroke was averted.”

Cumulus Media Announces New Employment Agreement with Exec Suzanne Grimes. A new employment agreement between Cumulus Media and Suzanne Grimes has been filed with the SEC. Grimes will continue to serve as executive vice president of corporate marketing for Cumulus and president of Westwood One. The pact runs through December 2022 and includes provisions for automatic one-year extensions. Grimes’ base salary is $650,000 and she’s eligible for performance-based bonuses.

Shaffer Adds APD Duties at ‘104.5 The Zone’ in Nashville. WGFX-FM, Nashville
“104.5 The Zone” morning show producer Jonathan Shaffer adds assistant program director duties to his responsibilities. Cumulus Media says the 14-year Nashville radio pro will continue in his role as morning show producer for the sports talk station. Station PD Paul Mason says, “Jonathan has demonstrated that he is ready for this challenge. He’s earned this opportunity and I look forward to working with him as we move forward toward reaching our goals at ‘104.5 The Zone.’” Shaffer comments, “I am proud and honored to be part of such a talented, committed team at ‘104.5 The Zone’. I am very excited about this opportunity and am looking forward to contributing to The Zone’s continued success.”

iHeartMedia Names Tias Schuster SVP of Programming for West New York. Programming pro Tias Schuster moves from iHeartMedia’s Norfolk, Virginia operations where he was SVP of programming and PD for two of its music brands, to West New York to serve as SVP of programming for Rochester, Syracuse and Binghamton. In this new role, Schuster will oversee more than 19 stations in the Rochester, Syracuse, and Binghamton markets. He’ll report to iHeartMedia West New York president Robert Morgan. Schuster says, “It is great to be back with my iHeartRadio family in Upstate New York. I’m honored to work alongside the legendary personalities and management in these markets! I want to give a special thanks to iHeartMedia for the opportunity.”

WIP, Philadelphia’s Howard Eskin ‘Walks to Tampa’ for Charity. Philadelphia sports media figure Howard Eskin is almost three-quarters of the way to Tampa (figuratively speaking) as he continues his PDQ Signature Systems-sponsored, two-month charitable effort. “Howard Walks to Tampa” has the “SportsRadio 94WIP” air personality walking the virtual 1,103-mile distance between the Philadelphia Eagles’ home base of Lincoln Financial Field and Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, the location of Super Bowl LV, to raise money for fighting local hunger and animal welfare. Money raised from Eskin’s daily walks, which will run through September 13 prior to the start of the Eagles 2020 season, will benefit Philabundance, Delaware Valley’s largest hunger relief organization, and the Brandywine Valley SPCA, a nationally recognized leader in progressive and lifesaving initiatives in animal welfare. Eskin says, “It’s been a tough time in our country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Without any games or practices to attend, I needed an escape. So, I started walking. It’s been great for my physical and mental health and raising money for two great charities like Philabundance and Brandywine Valley SPCA makes it even better.” To date, Eskin has walked 736 miles with only 367 miles to go before September 13 and has raised more than $10,000 for Philabundance and Brandywine Valley SPCA.

TALKERS News Notes. There’s a documentary about the rise and fall of former WFAN, New York sports talk personality Craig Carton set to be released on October 7 from HBO Sports and StreetSmartVideo titled, “Wild Card: The Downfall of a Radio Loudmouth.” According to a story in the Rockland/Westchester Journal, the film will include Carton talking about his story in his own words. Carton was released early from his three-and-a-half-year prison sentence for fraud in June and is finishing his sentence in home confinement. HBO Sports VP Peter Nelson says, “Craig Carton’s radio persona gained him a public following, while his private struggles lost him everything one casino run at a time. Many knew Carton, but never knew his secrets, as we learn from Carton himself in this documentary about success, self-destruction, lies and blackjack.”…..According to a report in Dmagazine, a documentary film about the life and career of Dallas sports talk radio legend Mike Rhyner is being produced. Dallas media pro Crystal Vasquez – who met the now-retired KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas personality while filling in as a traffic reporter on Rhyner’s “The Hardline” program – is heading up the documentary project. Vasquez tells Dmagazine, “It’s not a documentary on ‘The Ticket.’ That’s his identity to a certain extent, but it’s a story about Mike’s life.”…..The “Bubba the Love Sponge” program adds a new affiliate station in 1TV.Com Inc.’s classic rock KBSZ-AM/K247CF, Apache Junction, Arizona “97.3 The Rattler.”…..Entercom’s all-news 1010 WINS, New York is inviting listeners to a wedding on Sunday! The station reports, “Ashley Isaacs, who works at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and her fiancé Israel Reches (both pictured at left) will reunite for the first time in months at their own wedding after spending time apart due to the pandemic and Reches’ health. As Isaacs was working to save patients with COVID-19 this past spring, Reches was battling stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma, forcing the couple to separate. With Reches in remission just in time for the big day, the two are set to marry on Sunday, August 9 in a small backyard ceremony, and 1010 WINS listeners are ‘invited’ to the festivities. The station will be onsite the day of the wedding, airing audio of the ceremony on air and streaming it in its entirety via Facebook Live.”

WWJ News Radio 950 in Detroit Starts ‘Breaking Down the Barriers’ Initiative. Detroit all-news WWJ “News Radio 950” unveils its two-part community programming initiative called “Breaking Down the Barriers” dedicated to celebrating the diversity of the city and its surrounding suburbs. The initiative includes two segments, “Voices of the Community” and “Black Business Minute,” both beginning August 10. “Voices of the Community” is hosted by WWJ traffic operations manager Lloyd Jackson and will profile community leaders, activists, and residents who are making a difference in their neighborhoods and throughout Detroit. “Black Business Minute” is hosted by WWJ city beat reporter Vickie Thomas and highlights local businesses in which Black business owners will discuss their companies, including the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and how they are contributing to the success of Detroit. It will air five times daily each weekday. Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “The diverse citizens of Detroit are an integral part of the fabric of this great city and we’re proud to use our platform to champion their stories. There are countless cases of business owners and leaders helping residents get through this crisis, and we look forward to employing this series as another way to shine the spotlight on them.”

95.5 WSB ‘Care-a-Thon’ Raises $1.5 Million for Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. This year’s 95.5 WSB Care-a-Thon two-day radio event was the 20th annual produced by the Cox Media Group news/talk station and helped raise more than $1.5 million for research and programs at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. This year, due to COVID-19, Scott Slade, Clark Howard, Eric Von Haessler, Mark Arum, Erick Erickson, Brian Kilmeade and many other local radio personalities participated in the 95.5 WSB Care-a-Thon by interviewing patients and their families virtually via video and phone calls. The team encouraged listeners to donate and purchase one-of-a-kind experiences throughout the special radio broadcast. WSB director of branding and programming Drew Anderssen says, “Our entire team is so thankful for the phenomenal support we have received from our loyal listeners who continue to give to the Care-a-Thon, and all of our community service efforts at 95.5 WSB, year after year. This year’s fundraiser is one we’ll never forget because of the incredible financial strain coronavirus presented to our community of donors. I’m tremendously proud of the teams at 95.5 WSB and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for their work adapting this year’s effort to become ‘virtual’ as a result of the pandemic.”

The Presidential Race, Politics and the Vote-By-Mail Debate Top News/Talk Stories for Week of August 3-7. The November presidential election, politics, and the controversy over President Trump’s allegation that voting by mail encourages voter fraud were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Tied at #2 this week was the interview with President Trump by Axios reporter Jonathan Swan and Deutsch Bank being subpoenaed by the New York Attorney General in a Trump Organization investigation. Coming in at #3 was the debate over opening schools, followed by health care, medications and the mask debate at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Beasley Media Group announces the cancellation of WKML-FM, Fayetteville, North Carolina’s 2020 Stars & Guitars concert. Beasley VP/GM Kent Dunn says, “Thank you to our amazing sponsor and fans throughout the years for supporting Stars & Guitars event. These are unprecedented times. The safety of our community, staff, and country artists is our number one priority. As a result, we have made the decision to cancel this year’s event. We’ll be back bigger and better than ever in 2021!” To help fill in the gap, WKML-FM has hosted a series of special Stars & Guitars at Home social media concert experiences with some of the top artists in country music on the station’s website as well as entertained listeners with the station’s special Superstar Mini Concert series.

Monday, July 13, 2020

| July 13, 2020

Pending Business: What Would Maslow Do? Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that motivation – a stop on Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs – is something that can be challenging in times like these.  But, he says, “We are in a motivation transition that can solve the long-term need to stay in the game and give you the control to move the performance bar as high as you need it.” Read his piece here.

COVID-19 Statistics and Projections, Fall Schools Opening Debate, Portland Protests, Presidential Race, Trump Commutes Roger Stone Sentence, Violent Crime Surge, Washington Redskins to Change Name Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The soaring number of COVID-19 cases in numerous U.S. states and projections for future infections; the debate over re-opening schools in the fall; the violent BLM protests taking place in Portland, Oregon; the November presidential election, plans for a Florida Republican National Convention, and Joe Biden’s polling numbers; President Trump commutes the sentence of former “fixer” Roger Stone; the surge in violent crime statistics in a number of American cities; and the NFL’s Washington Redskins announce they will change the team’s nickname were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday Memo: Broadcasters, Podcasting? Radio was late to this party and is scrambling to follow listeners to the digital platform. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke describes an opportunity in broadcasters’ dilemma. Read it here.

New Hampshire Talk Host’s Relationship with WSMN-AM, Nashua Ends After Video Post Goes Viral. New Hampshire talk host Dianna Ploss is no longer hosting her program on Bartis-Russell Broadcasting’s WSMN-AM, Nashua, New Hampshire after posting a video of herself verbally assaulting a landscaping crew with racist language for speaking Spanish while doing their jobs. The station carries a lot of brokered programming and it’s believed that Ploss also brokered her program. Apparently, Ploss became incensed when she heard a white crew leader speaking Spanish to his staff. After the video went viral, the radio station severed ties with her and posted the following on its website. “Dianna Ploss is no longer associated or affiliated in any way with WSMN or Bartis-Russell Broadcasting, LLC. We at WSMN value freedom of speech, freedom of expression and assembly. We will not tolerate discrimination, racism or hatred. We continue to present and offer on air opportunities for discussion, education and the exchange of opinions and ideas.”

Round Four of June PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s June 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s June 2020 survey period covered May 21 – June 17. You can see all the 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian takes a look at station performances in his “Ratings Takeaways” for this group of markets. Regarding the news/talk format, Waterloo Media Group’s KLBJ-AM, Austin stays in the #3 rank in the market after repeating the 5.5 share it posted in May. iHeartMedia’s WTKK-FM, Raleigh sheds four-tenths, finishing the June survey with a 6.2 share good for the #6 rank. Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis drops 1.5 shares to a 7.4 share and falls back to the #5 rank. In Milwaukee, iHeartMedia’s WISN falls to #2 after losing 1.2 shares and posting a 7.2 share. Across town, Good Karma Brands’ WTMJ drops six-tenths for a 5.5 share finish good for the #6 rank. Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville falls to the #2 rank after losing a half share and finishing the June survey with a 9.9 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete “Ratings Takeaways” report here.

It’s Official: SiriusXM to Acquire Stitcher from E.W. Scripps for $325 Million. Last week the Wall Street Journal reported that a deal between E.W. Scripps and SiriusXM for the latter to acquire the podcast platform Stitcher was imminent. Now, Scripps announces that deal is done and it’s getting $325 million for the unit that includes: the Midroll advertising rep firm; owned-and-operated podcast networks including the comedy-focused Earwolf; and the Stitcher podcast listening platform. The press release states, “Scripps was an early entrant into podcasting, acquiring Midroll in 2015 for $55 million and the Stitcher app in 2016 for $4.5 million. Since then, Stitcher has been a leader in the fast-growing podcast industry, growing revenue at a compound annual growth rate of 52% from 2016-19. Stitcher’s 2019 revenue was $72.5 million.” The deal includes $265 million of cash upfront; earnout of up to $30 million based on 2020 financial results and paid in 2021; and earnout of up to $30 million based on 2021 financial results and paid in 2022. It is expected to close in the third quarter of this year.

Cumulus Media Cuts 3% of Workforce. Atlanta-based Cumulus Media has permanently removed 3% of its staffers from the payroll. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that 94 staffers have been affected by the move. The company put the cuts into effect the same day it announced to affiliate stations that the Westwood One News service would be shut down at the end of August due to the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the radio industry.

TALKERS News Notes. According to a tweet by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Mike Golic will remain with ESPN after ESPN Radio’s “Golic & Wingo” program ends on July 31. Schefter says Golic will work for the sports giant as a college football analyst – a position he held for 10 years before launching the “Mike & Mike” morning radio show with Mike Greenberg. The status of Golic’s co-host Trey Wingo – whose contract with ESPN is ending – is still unknown at this time…..Bonneville Denver announces that it is hiring Nate Jackson to serve as an air personality on sports talk KKFN-FM “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan.” The station says Jackson will be heard across all of the station’s programs as a contributor and fill-in host, in addition to contributing digital content to 1043TheFan.com. KKFN program director Raj Sharan says, “Nate is a fascinating person with an incredible perspective on sports and life based on his experiences. While he’s obviously a talented writer, Nate also has a very entertaining and warm personality that we look forward to developing as one of our on-air talents.”

Atlanta’s Black-Targeted Radio Stations to Unite for Voter Registration Effort. This initiative involves Black-targeted radio stations in Atlanta owned by Cox Media Group (WALR “KISS 104.1”; Entercom (WVEE “V103” and WAOK-AM “1380 News/Talk); Radio One (WAMJ/WUMJ “Majic,” WHTA “Hot 107.9,” and WPZE “Praise 102.5”) and Core Radio Group (WWSZ) teaming up “with the common goals of voter registration, voter education, and voter mobilization in advance of the November 2020 election.” The goal of “Black Radio United For The Vote” is to register black voters across metro Atlanta, and to get them to the polls in the coming election on November 3, as well as encouraging them to participate in the 2020 Census. Black Radio United For The Vote is partnering with the Urban League of Greater Atlanta and its affiliates to make these goals a reality. Each month through September, beginning on July 23, the participating radio stations will dedicate a full day of on-air programming to educate, inform and inspire Atlanta’s black community to register to vote, check their current registration status, and participate in the 2020 Census.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports the death of former Windy City radio executive and station group owner Seth Mason. He passed away on Saturday (7/11) after a battle with pancreatic cancer at age 71. Mason was the general manager for legendary rock outlet WXRT in the 1970s and was managing WSCR for Infinity when the company debuted the sports format on WSCR at its original dial position at 1160 AM. Mason retired from radio management and ownership in 1998…..Programming pro Laura Lee is named interim program director for Southeastern Ohio Broadcasting’s alternative WWCD-FM, Columbus “CD102.5.” Lee will also host the midday program, taking over for Rachael Gordon, who recently resigned from the station. Lee was most recently program director and afternoon host at alternative WRMR, Wilmington, North Carolina “Modern Rock 98.7.”

Judge Puts Three Ed Stolz Stations into Receivership; Larry Patrick to Sell Them. The result of a 2016 complaint against Ed Stolz’s Royce International Broadcasting Group by Warner Music Group and other music companies alleging KREV, San Francisco; KFRH, Las Vegas; and KRCK, Palm Springs played music for which it did not have the rights, was a $1.2 million award for the plaintiffs in the copyright infringement portion of the complaint. Stolz appealed that decision, to no avail, and later agreed to sell the stations to pay the award. However, after it appeared to the plaintiffs that Stolz was not really trying to sell the stations, they asked the court to appoint a receiver to sell the stations in order to receive their award. The court agreed and moved to put the stations into receivership to force the matter. Larry Patrick of media brokerage firm Patrick Communications – who is charged with operating the stations and selling them – estimates that the three stations are worth a somewhat less than half of the jury’s $1.2 million award.

Friday, June 12, 2020

| June 12, 2020

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted.  The new episode titled “The Revolution is Being Televised!” looks back at this past week of June 8-12, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSCurtis Sliwa, talk show host, 77WABC, New York; Sean Spicer, talk show host, NewsmaxTVLee Habeeb, producer / host, Our American Stories; Colin Cowherd, talk show host, FOX Sports Radio-Television; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN, the Virginia Talk Radio Network, Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA, Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode,  please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Round Four of May PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s May 2020 survey period covered April 23 – May 20. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from this group of markets and notes that a number of the news/talk stations whose weekly, 6+ AQH shares had risen dramatically in March and April because of listeners’ desire for news and information about the coronavirus pandemic started to fall during the May survey. Waterloo Media Group’s KLBJ-AM, Austin lost nine-tenths to finish May with a 5.5 share and the #3 rank in the market. Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis “Indy’s Mobile News 93.1” relinquishes 1.4 shares to wrap the month with an 8.9 share and the #3 rank. In Milwaukee, iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM remains in the #1 spot even after dropping seven-tenths to finish with an 8.6 share. Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, Nashville loses only one-tenth but drops to the #7 rank on the strength of a 5.3 share. Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville loses three full shares but still finished the May sweep with a 10.4 share, good for the #2 rank in the market. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

Kimberly & Beck Apologize for Racist Language. In a self-produced video, the former classic rock WAIO, Rochester morning show duo of Kimberly Ray and Barry Beck apologized for the language they used on their radio show that caused iHeartMedia to fire them on June 3. WROC-TV, Rochester has the story with a link to the video. You may recall that during a discussion about two local shop owners who were beaten by a group of black youths as they tried to protect their business during the violence and looting that evolved out of the George Floyd protests, Ray didn’t use the “N-word” but suggested the young men were acting “N-word-y.” In the video, the two offer their apology. Ray says, “We owe it to our listeners and to our amazing community to speak out. Both Beck and I have spent the last several days engaging in soulful reflection. We said hurtful, offensive things, but we are not racist. We do not have hate in our heart. We have only love for everyone.” Beck says, “We apologize, not to get our jobs back, but to say we are truly sorry and want to sincerely apologize. We will not attempt to make any excuses or explain what we said, because it was wrong, it was ignorant and inexcusable.” Ray adds, “We want our listeners and clients to know we are sorry. We let you down. We’re sorry we let Rochester down. Moving forward we want to grow, learn, and change from this experience. Our apology is sincere, and we wish we could turn back time.” Beck closes saying, “But we can’t. Once again, we have no hate in our heart, and we apologize. Thank you.”

Radio America to Syndicate Tony Katz’s ‘Eat! Drink! Smoke!’ Indianapolis-based talk radio personality Tony Katz’s new weekend radio program “Eat! Drink! Smoke!” is going into national syndication via Radio America, beginning the weekend of June 27-28. Radio America will also distribute and sell the podcast. Radio America says, “The two-hour weekly program combines good times and good friends, stepping away from the madness of each week with reviews of fine cigars, excellent bourbon, and interesting food. Hosted by award-winning radio host, writer, and regular cable news presence Tony Katz with a wide array of guests sharing their thoughts with humor and expertise.” Katz says, “Being able to bring ‘Eat! Drink! Smoke!’ to cities across the country is just sensational. We’re not trying to be the final word on cigars and bourbon; we’re sharing the word. Distillers are artists, and so are the cigar rollers and master blenders in the US and around the world.” Katz hosts “Tony Katz and the Morning News” on Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis and the syndicated Tony Katz show that airs live from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm CT. Radio America COO Mike Paradiso says, “Tony is a phenomenal talent that knows how to connect with listeners and advertisers. Stations are going to love his knowledge of cigars and bourbon along with his conversational and humorous style.”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a piece in the Los Angeles Times, some ViacomCBS employees are demanding that the company end its relationship with streaming channel aggregator Pluto TV because it partners with The First which streams the “Bill O’Reilly No Spin News” program and they say O’Reilly has “a well-documented history of making racist comments, denying the existence of systemic racism, undermining the efforts of Black protesters and insulting Black public figures.” ViacomCBS doesn’t plan to make any immediate changes, telling the Times, “Pluto TV, by design, is a service that makes available a wide variety of channels programmed by third parties, and we think it is critical to represent a diversity of viewpoints, even those we disagree with.”.…..The National Association of Broadcasters announces the results of its Executive Committee Board of Directors. David Santrella, president of broadcast media, Salem Media Group, was re-elected Radio Board chair and Emily Barr, president and chief executive officer, Graham Media Group, was re-elected as NAB Television Board chair. Bill Wilson, chief executive officer of Townsquare Media, Inc., was elected as Radio Board first vice chair and John Zimmer, president and owner of Zimmer Radio of Mid-Missouri, Inc., was elected second vice chair. Alfred Liggins, chief executive officer, Urban One, Inc., was elected to the Radio Board’s major group representative seat on the NAB Board’s Executive Committee. The board elections took place at the NAB Board of Directors meeting, held virtually on June 9…..In the Joplin, Missouri market, Michael Day Landis-owned sports talk outlet WMBH “FOX Sports Joplin” moves the “Mic’d Up” show from Saturdays to weekdays, airing from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. KSNF-TV, Joplin reports the show, hosted by Matt Miller, Mello, and Austin Cunningham will cover everything from “Mizzou football to KU basketball… emphasize sports around the Four States while also providing coverage of the NFL and other professional leagues.”

Black Lives Matter Movement and Police De-Funding Top News/Talk Stories for Week of June 8-12. The protests organized by and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and calls from protestors to de-fund police departments in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was a tie between the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., health care concerns, and coronavirus statistics and projections. Coming in at #3 was the state of the U.S. economy – now officially in a recession – and the stock market activity, followed by the opening of America, sports leagues news, and the status of public events at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.

NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at ‘Expert Guests.’ Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a regular basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV, and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that includes widely acclaimed New York Times best-selling conservative author David Horowitz available to discuss his new book BLITZ: Trump Will Smash the Left and WIN (Humanix Books, 2020). There’s also an expert on how to generate lost revenue due to COVID-19 via online marketing, an author who writes about Islamic matters, and an expert on finance who puts the race-oriented protests, demonstrations, and riots into perspective from an economic standpoint – plus a whole lot more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The News-Gazette reports on the exit of morning personality Steve Holstein from Saga Communications’ country WIXY, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. He’d been host of the “Holstein and Company Morning Show” for 24 years and was recently let go for financial reasons. Holstein tells the paper, “These are tough economic times, and media is not an easy field to be in at all. The pandemic has certainly not helped anyone, especially media. That was their decision, and I accept it. I’m grateful for 24 years.”…..iHeartMedia Providence’s rock WHJY is celebrating the 30th anniversary of “The Paul and Al Morning Show” with a special broadcast on July 15. The station says, “On-air veterans Paul and Al joined 94 HJY in the summer of 1990 and have been familiar, trusted voices to listeners around the Providence area ever since. Thirty years after its debut, ‘The Paul and Al Morning Show’ remains a top-rated morning show and ranks second in Rhode Island radio history for all-time in longevity for a morning show on the same station, playing a considerable role in the success of the station. Throughout their career, Paul and Al have been recognized for their on-air presence and were inducted into the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame in 2008.” Station program director Doug Palmieri says, “I remember the day Paul and Al signed on as the new morning show hosts at 94 HJY, replacing iconic morning talent Carolyn Fox. They hit the ground running and never looked back, becoming a Southern New England institution. I’ve been lucky enough to work with them over much of their 30 years on 94 HJY and their humor, generosity, and dedication to listeners are truly inspiring. Thirty years in one place performing at the highest level in this industry ain’t no joke, and these guys are the best in the business.”…..Entercom’s adult contemporary KEZK-FM, St. Louis adds Premiere NetworksDelilah for evenings beginning on Monday (6/15)…..Police in Baltimore are investigating the death of jazz WEAA, Baltimore air personality Tyra Phillips, a.k.a. Tyra Phillips Womack, who was shot to death outside her home in northeast Baltimore on Wednesday evening (6/10). WJZ-TV, Baltimore reports the 57-year-old host of the Sunday afternoon show “Gospel Grace Afternoon” died after being shot several times during an argument. Police report having identified a person of interest.

Friday, May 15, 2020

| May 15, 2020

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted.  The new episode titled, “Skating Away on the Thin Ice of a New Day!” looks back at this past week of May 11-15, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Brian Kilmeade, talk show host, FOX News Channel / FOX News RadioIan Anderson, musician, Jethro Tull, UK; Ken Matthews, talk show host, WHP, Harrisburg, PA; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver “Freedom 93.7”; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN, the Virginia Talk Radio Network, Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA, Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

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

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

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

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

Health & Medicine Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 11-15. The medical aspects of COVID-19, including the drive to develop a vaccine, the push for more testing, and the treatment for infected patients combined for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the statistics on confirmed COVID-19 cases, the death toll, and projections for future cases. Coming in at #3 was the economic repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, followed by the debate over ‘lives vs livelihood’ and concern about the erosion of civil liberties at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com and you can see this week’s complete chart here.

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

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

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

| April 7, 2020

FCC Shoots Down Request for Investigation into Broadcasters Airing Presidential Press Conferences. Last week, the activist organization Free Press filed an emergency petition with the FCC calling on it to “investigate the spread of false Covid-19 information via broadcast outlets across the United States.”  Free Press co-CEO Jessica J. González and senior policy counsel Gaurav Laroia state, “The FCC possesses both the authority and the responsibility to ensure the public airwaves are utilized in the public interest.  This duty is heightened in times of crisis.  Specifically, broadcasters are prohibited from knowingly airing false information about a catastrophe that causes ‘substantial public harm.’”  Yesterday (4/6), the Commission’s Office of General Counsel and Media Bureau wholly rejected the petition saying it “seeks remedies that would dangerously curtail the freedom of the press embodied in the First Amendment and misconstrues the Commission’s rules.  The decision also makes clear that the FCC will neither act as a roving arbiter of broadcasters’ editorial judgments nor discourage them from airing breaking news events involving government officials in the midst of the current global pandemic.”  FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is quoted saying, “Under my leadership, the FCC has always stood firmly in defense of Americans’ First Amendment freedoms, including freedom of the press.  And so long as I am chairman of this agency, we always will.  The federal government will not—and never should—investigate broadcasters for their editorial judgments simply because a special interest group is angry at the views being expressed on the air as well as those expressing them.  In short, we will not censor the news.  Instead, consistent with the First Amendment, we leave it to broadcasters to determine for themselves how to cover this national emergency, including live events involving our nation’s leaders.”

SportsGrid Shows to Air Across SB Nation Radio Network. Two of SportsGrid’s national talk shows – “Ferrall Coast to Coast” with Scott Ferrall and “Game Time Decisions” with Gabe Morency – will air on the SB Nation Radio schedule beginning April 14.  “Ferrall Coast to Coast” will air weekdays from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET and “Game Time Decisions” will air from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET.  Ferrall comments, “This new opportunity allows me to reconnect with my long-time loyal listeners all over the country across the SB Nation network of radio stations. I’m looking forward to changing sportscasting by including the sports betting perspective and commentary to the millions of engaged fans.”

Broadcasters Foundation of America Announces Emergency Grants. The Broadcasters Foundation of America’s executive committee of the board of directors held an emergency meeting recently to respond to broadcasters in financial need due to the coronavirus pandemic. The criteria for emergency grant qualifications has been revised to provide aid to broadcasters who meet the requirements and have been infected.  BFoA chairman Dan Mason says, “Never in our history as broadcasters have we experienced an event that has caused this much hardship.  Thus, we have revised provisions to our emergency grant eligibility guidelines.”  For more information, broadcasters in need can email grants@thebfoa.org or visit www.broadcastersfoundation.org/coronavirus.

Austin American-Statesman Launches New Streaming Talk Station. Former KLBJ-AM, Austin personality Jeff Ward is one of the Austin market radio pros to join the newest streaming venture from the Austin American-Statesman.  The new station – called the Statesman News Network – joins the news organization’s streaming music station Austin360 Radio as the paper’s next audio venture.  Ward will host the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  He says, “There will be plenty of common-sense rants.  But the goal of the show is always the same: I want you to find it compelling, and I want you to feel forced to think.”  The paper says that other shows lined up for the stream include: “From the Newsroom” featuring interviews from the staff of the newspaper; “512 Tech and Business Report,” a daily update on local business and technology news from Amy Edwards; “Longhorn Confidential,” breaking news, interviews and updates on the Texas Longhorns; “Austin Found,” in which Statesman reporter and Austin history buff Michael Barnes and radio personality JB Hager share the stories behind the making of the Texas capital; plus more.

PPM Analysis: February 2020 Extra. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents and “extra” look at Nielsen Audio’s February 2020 PPM survey.  In this report, he presents a rank of the PPM markets based on weekly, 6+ AQH share for all spoken-word stations; a rank of the highest market-wide gains in spoken-word listening; a rank of the markets that lost the most 6+ share; and more.  See it all here.

Radio Pros, ‘Sterling On Sunday’ Keeps You on the Air.  The national radio show “Sterling On Sunday” invites laid off radio performers to participate in their on-air comedy routines and dramas.  “We have had a stunning array of top talent in our sketches such as Charlie Van Dyke, JJ Wilson, but mostly people who wish to remain anonymous due to their alimony situation.  If you can cut an mp3, we can write a part for you.”  “Sterling On Sunday” is aired (10:00 pm to 1:00 am) on major stations live such as KMBZ-FM, Kansas City; KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh; WPHT, Philadelphia; KFBK, Sacramento; plus about 100 more.  “Broadcasting from home is nothing new to us.  It’s the right way.  We will give you credit, script approval, and generally talk you up. Hear past shows at www.waltermsterling.com so you know what you’re getting into. No broadcaster should be off the air, it’s unnatural.  C’mon let’s make a show.  We also have a plan to pay you for helping our team clear the show…cash!”  Contact waltermsterling@gmail.com.

U.S. Coronavirus Cases and Death Toll, the Hydroxychloroquine Debate, Trump Fires Whistleblower, Financial Markets Activity, Boris Johnson in ICU, Wisconsin Primary, 5G-Coronavirus Conspiracy, USS Theodore Roosevelt Controversy, Chinese Journalist at WH Presser, and Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/7). The number of Covid-19 cases in the U.S. and the death toll; the medical and political debate over the effectiveness of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in treating coronavirus; the aftermath of President Trump’s firing of intelligence community Inspector General Michael Atkinson; the world’s financial markets react to coronavirus news; British Prime Minister Boris Johnson moves to the ICU for Covid-19 treatment; the battle between Wisconsin’s governor and the state Supreme Court over the primary elections; the conspiracy theory that 5G is exacerbating coronavirus symptoms; the captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt is removed for pleading for help for his coronavirus-infected crew; a Chinese journalist is admitted to the White House press briefing; and the November presidential election were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Former KRBZ-FM, Kansas City Morning Host Sues Entercom for Discrimination.  Former KRBZ-FM, Kansas City “96.5 The Buzz” morning host Afentra Bandokoudis has filed suit against Entercom Kansas City for “discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Equal Pay Act.”  She’s seeking back pay, benefits, bonuses, and more.  Bandokoudis’ complaint alleges that she was paid less than her male counterparts despite outperforming their shows.  She was paid a base salary of $100,000 and her PD/afternoon host Scott Geiger, a.k.a. Lazlo, made $185,000.  (Bandokoudis and Geiger were married from 2005 through July of 2018, a month before Bandokoudis was fired from the station.)  She alleges Johnny Dare, morning host on sister rock station KQRC, made more than $185,000 despite her show outperforming his.  Bandokoudis goes on to claim that after she complained about the par disparity, she was subject to retaliatory actions before ultimately being let go in 2018.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At iHeartMedia’s Chicago hip hop WGCI, Zach Boog is named the new evening host, taking over for DJ MoonDawg, who exited during the company’s January restructuring.  He’d been filling in on the daypart along with other WGCI staffers.  Station PD Johnnie D. Glover says, “It is an honor to promote Zach to nights on 107.5 WGCI.  He is extremely entertaining, works hard to produce compelling content, and has a very organic way of connecting with Chicago listeners.  Zach has a bright future and I look forward to working with him to create many exciting memories with 107.5 WGCI’s audience.”…..Griffin Communications CHR KHTT, Tulsa “106.9 K-Hits” brings Kacy Termini aboard as co-host of the new “Chubbs & Kacy Show” to debut on Monday (4/13).  She comments, “I’ve been so impressed with what ‘K-Hits’ and the Griffin brands have been able to do in our community.  Every time something happens, they step up to help their neighbors and keep them safe and informed.  Especially at such a trying time for many.  I’m excited to work with Chubbs and do our part to make Green Country even more special.  We still need to laugh – in both the hard times and the good ones!”…..Condolences to the family and friends of programming pro John Roberts, who passed away recently after a esophageal cancer.  He’d been serving as regional operations manager for Townsquare Media in Tyler, Texas.  Townsquare SVP of programming Kurt Johnson says, “John was a true pro, one of the best our business has ever seen.  But more importantly he was a great friend to everyone, and he made a huge impact on his family, his staff, his community, and basically with everyone he met.”

Monday, February 24, 2020

| February 24, 2020

Monday Memo: Legal Advice. Just several decades ago, attorneys didn’t even advertise.  Back to the future: They’re all over billboards and TV.  Yet, as consultant Holland Cooke explains in this week’s column: “No medium showcases legal services better than talk radio.”  Read it here.

Presidential Race/Nevada Caucuses, Coronavirus Epidemic, China Productivity/Financial Markets Activity, Trump in India, and Weinstein Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Democrats battling to take on President Trump in November and Bernie Sanders’ victory in Saturday’s Nevada Caucuses; the status of Covid-19 and concerns about a pandemic; the effect of the coronavirus epidemic on Chinese productivity and its effect on the world’s financial markets; President Trump teases trade with India during visit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi; and the jury deliberates in the sexual assault trial of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.

Round Four of January PPM’s Released.  The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s January PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s January 2020 survey period covered January 2 – 29.  Some of the news/talk radio stations that chalked up positive weekly, 6+ AQH share ratings during the January survey include: Sinclair Telecable’s KLBJ-AM, Austin which added nine-tenths to land at a 4.5 share and the #8 rank in the market; iHeartMedia’s WTKK-FM, Raleigh posts a whopping 1.8 share increase over the Holiday 2019 survey to finish January with a 7.1 share and the #3 rank; Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis rockets up 2.2 shares to finish January with a 7.6 share and the #3 rank; Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, Nashville adds seven-tenths to end January with a 4.8 share and the #8 rank; and Cumulus’ WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence tacks 1.3 shares onto its Holiday 2019 number to finish the January survey with a 3.7 share and the #8 rank in the market.  You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways here

KLIN, Lincoln’s Jane Monnich Wraps 45-Year Radio News Career. News radio pro Jane Monnich retired from NRG Media’s KLIN, Lincoln, Nebraska on February 20 after a 45-year run with the station.  Monnich was news anchor for the KLIN morning show and on last Thursday’s program, the on-air celebration included visits from past and current co-workers, plus proclamations from Lincoln Mayor Lerion Gaylor Baird and Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts.  KLIN program director Bob Shomper says, “Jane’s career started in 1975, and over the following 45 years she covered 8 different governors, 10 mayors, 13 congressmen, 11 senators, dozens of city councilmen, and 100s of state legislators.  It is estimated that Jane wrote over 500,000 news stories and anchored over 105,000 newscasts.”  She’s pictured here holding the mayoral proclamation making February 20, 2020 “Jane Monnich Day” in Lincoln. The station is searching for Monnich’s replacement.  NRG Media has more about the position here.

TALKERS News Notes. WOR, New York morning drive news anchor Joe Bartlett announced on the “Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning” show that he’s retiring on April 10 after 34 years working full time with the station.  Bartlett told listeners, “I’ve reached the point where my free time is more important than my life at work.”  He said he and his wife plan to retire to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina…..On Super Tuesday (March 3), ABC News Radio will present live coverage anchored by correspondents Aaron Katersky and Karen Travers.  Coverage will feature reporting by radio correspondents Alex Stone in California, Jim Ryan in Texas, Ryan Burrow in Colorado, Mark Remillard in North Carolina; Andy Field in Washington; multi-platform reporter Ines de La Cuetara in Virginia; and analysis from radio correspondent Brian Clark at the ABC News Decision Desk.  ABC News Radio will also provide one-minute Status Reports at least twice an hour throughout the evening.  A special edition of ABC News’ daily news podcast “Start Here,” hosted by Brad Mielke, will post on Wednesday morning.  It will feature analysis of the results and interviews from ABC News reporters across the electoral map…..Edison Research is launching its first Top Ten Podcast ranker, as part of its Podcast Consumer Tracker product.  Edison says the ranker depicts the top 10 podcasts in America by reach among weekly podcast consumers as the “only comprehensive and all-inclusive study” of the reach of podcast networks and shows in America.  The first ranker indicates news and true crime are top podcast categories as seven of the top 10 fit those categories.  They are (in order 1to 10): “The Joe Rogan Experience,” “This American Life,” “The Daily,” “My Favorite Murder,” “Crime Junkie,” “Stuff You Should Know,” “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” “Serial,” “Pod Save America,” and “Radiolab.”  Edison says the Podcast Consumer Tracker data is based upon 4,053 online interviews (in English and Spanish) with weekly podcast consumers, ages 18 and older. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish…..SiriusXM is carrying the live broadcast of the “Celebration of Life for Kobe & Gianna Bryant” from the Staples Center in Los Angeles today (2/24) on its SiriusXM NBA Radio channel.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. St. Louis hot AC KYKY “Y98” makes some air staff changes and relaunches its morning show as “The Wake Up with Jen & Tim,” hosted by Jen Myers and Tim Convy, with contributions from Kevin Berghoff and Lance Hildebrand.  The Entercom station promotes Julie Tristan to host of the midday show and station host Paul Cook continues hosting afternoon drive.  Entercom St. Louis SVP and market manager Becky Domyan says, “From day one, Jen, Tim, Kevin, and Lance have impressed me with their energy, passion and desire to learn and win, and they have elevated our morning show in a short time.  I’m equally excited about the addition of Julie Tristan to our weekday programming.  She has an amazing track record of success in the market.  She is an unstoppable talent, and her charitable contributions to the community have been tremendous as well.”  Tristan is an Emmy-nominated multimedia St. Louis journalist.  She also currently serves as a producer and announcer for “Spotlight STL” on Nexstar Media Group’s KPLR-TV…..iHeartMedia’s Chicago country outlet WEBG-FM “Big 9.5.” presented a countdown of “The Top 1,000 Country Songs of All Time” and posted the list on its website.  The list was created by the station’s “blue ribbon panel of country experts” who considered factors such as: songwriting, artist contribution to country music history, historical and popular cultural significance of a song, sales and/or streaming data, radio airplay, and peak chart position.  What was #1?  “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks.

Friday, November 1, 2019

| November 1, 2019

Round Four of October PPM Ratings Released. The fourth of four rounds of October 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. The October 2019 rating period covered September 12 to October 9.  Some 6+ ratings gains of note for news/talk stations during the October survey include: Sinclair Telecable’s KLBJ-AM, Austin rises 0.7 to a 5.0 share and the #6 ranking in the market; iHeartMedia’s WTKK-FM, Raleigh continues its three-month upward trend with a 0.6 increase for a 6.0 share and the #6 rank in the market; Good Karma Brands’ WTMJ, Milwaukee puts up a 0.9 to rise to an 8.4 share and the #1 rank in the market; Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, Nashville adds to recent increases with a 0.5 hike for a 4.2 share and the #12 rank; and iHeartMedia’s WJNO, West Palm Beach adds 0.3 tenths to its six consecutive sweeps without a loss to stand at a 4.0 share and is tied at #5 in the market.  TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian, as he does each month, presents his “Takeaways” from the performances of each market’s spoken-word and music stations.  See his “Takeaways” from this first round here.  You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (11/1).  The new episode titled, “A House Divided!,” looks back at this past week of October 28 – November 1, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, Talkers Magazine; Chip Franklin, talk show host, KGO, San Francisco; John Fredericks, talk show host, John Fredericks Radio Network; Ethan Bearman, political analyst, FOX News Channel; Jim Blasingame, talk show host, “Small Business Advocate”; and Steve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston/webmaster, Scamicide.com.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as well as other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; and KBKW, Aberdeen, WA as a special week-in-review and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA and the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

Rush Limbaugh Honored with Buckley Prize. Talk radio legend Rush Limbaugh is pictured above at The Breakers in Palm Beach last night (10/30) at the National Review Institute’s sixth annual William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Dinner where the Premiere Networks-syndicated star was honored with the Buckley Prize for Leadership in Political Thought.  The honor was bestowed upon Limbaugh for his “exceptional success articulating and popularizing conservatism to millions of Americans through his acclaimed talk show.”  Limbaugh accepted the award saying, “This is as meaningful as any award I could have…to be mentioned in the same sentence as that award and to have the National Review acknowledge me this way, it’s a big deal to me and I appreciate it.”  Photo: Lila Photo

Jason Myrtetus Ousted from Beasley’s WPEN, Philadelphia. Sports talk host Jason Myrtetus tweets that he’s been let go from Beasley Media Group’s Philadelphia sports talk WPEN “97.5 The Fanatic” where he co-hosted the midday show with Anthony Gargano.  He says, “Today was my last show on 97.5 The Fanatic.  I was laid off after the show today.  The company decided to eliminate a lot of positions, including mine.  I spent 7 years with The Fanatic and worked with a lot of great people.”  Anthony Gargano will continue to host the midday show solo.

Impeachment Process and Ukraine Scandal Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 28-November 1. The impeachment process being moved forward by House Democrats and the related issue of a possible quid pro quo request of the Ukraine by President Trump was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was a tie between the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi and the aftermath of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria.  Coming in at #3 was the 2020 presidential race, followed by the California wildfires and climate change tied at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

TALKERS News Notes. On Tuesday (11/5), SiriusXM is presenting a special Town Hall event featuring an in-depth conversation about race in America, hosted by SiriusXM Urban View’s Karen Hunter.  Topics will include the wealth gap between African-Americans and Caucasians and The New York Times’ 1619 Project – the initiative that explores the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery and its ongoing impact on our society.  The special will be recorded before an audience at SiriusXM’s New York City headquarters and Hunter will be joined  by Teri Williams, president and COO of OneUnited, the largest Black-owned bank in America; Nikole Hannah-Jones, a New York Times reporter and creator of The 1619 Project; and Pulitzer Prize- and Emmy Award-winning journalist Trymaine Lee.  The special will then premiere on Urban View on Thursday (11/7) at 5:00 pm ET.…..College basketball coaching legend Mike Krzyzewski signs a multi-year extension to continue hosting his exclusive show, “Basketball and Beyond with Coach K,” on SiriusXM.  The Duke University Blue Devils coach begins his 15th season hosting the show this week with six-time All-Star and 2007 Cy Young Award-winning pitcher CC Sabathia and Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett as guests.  The program airs live each Thursday at 6:00 pm ET on both the ESPNU Radio and SiriusXM ACC Radio channels…..Public media journalist and former national host of the weekend edition of “All Things Considered” on NPR, Arun Rath, is named the new executive editor/host of “All Things Considered” at WGBH, Boston.  Rath assumes the role permanently after serving as interim host of the program since July.  Phil Redo is general manager for radio and local news at WGBH and he says, “‘All Things Considered’ is one of the most important programs in the WGBH Radio lineup, offering listeners the opportunity for deeper understanding of stories that may have developed during the day.  As an experienced reporter, a deft interviewer, and a natural radio host who knows how to pull listeners into important stories, Arun adds immense value to the program.  His perspective is shaped by a natural curiosity and an awareness of cultural issues, all of which will benefit the audience. We are excited to have him step into the role and look forward to all that he has to offer.”

Caroline Beasley Featured at Drive to Digital Event in London. Pictured above at the 2019 Drive to Digital Event at the British Library Conference Centre in London is Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley (center) with Xperi VP of radio Joe D’Angelo (left) and Digital Radio UK CEO Ford Ennals (right).  On Wednesday (10/30), Beasley was a featured speaker at the annual event for UK radio and the audio industry that brings together 250 executives from national and local broadcasters, device and car manufacturers, retailers and the supply chain, the UK government, and regulators.  Beasley shared her insight on radio in the United States as well as new digital capabilities and innovation impacting the industry, including QUU ad sync technology.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Amanda McGraw is named program director at iHeartMedia’s country KHGE, Fresno “102.7 The Wolf” and country KOSO, Modesto “92.9 The Big Dog.”  She was most recently serving with the company’s Sacramento cluster as assistant program director for country KYRV-HD2/K296GB “107.1 The Bull” and adult contemporary KBEB “92.5 The Breeze.”  iHeartMedia Fresno market manager Steve Darnell says, “We’re very fortunate to have Amanda join our team.  She’s a motivated and skilled programmer and will help elevate our iHeartCountry brands.”…..Alpha Media Portland announces that staffer Amanda “Ice” Habrowski is named the 2019 MIW GroupNielsen Music programming mentee.  “Ice” is the assistant program director, music director, and midday host of CHR KBFF “Live 95.5.”  The one-year mentorship matches a female programming candidate with key leaders from both the MIW Radio Group and Nielsen Music aimed at sharpening the programming and professional skills needed to further their career in music-formatted radio.  The program encourages hands-on mentorship through conversations and shared insights from some of the most accomplished professionals in the field.  “Ice” says, “What an honor!  I am so excited to learn and grow alongside some of the most influential and inspiring women in our industry.  I cannot thank the MIW Group and Nielsen enough for this incredible opportunity and you better believe I’ll be taking full advantage of this mentorship program.  Chicks rule!”

Thursday, October 3, 2019

| October 3, 2019

Starnes and FOX News Part Company After Speculation About Democrats Worshipping Demons.  A source with knowledge of the situation said that it was in the works well in advance of Monday.  But Todd Starnes’ departure from the FOX News organization came immediately after Monday’s radio show broadcast in which show guest Robert Jeffress suggested that Democrats worship the Canaanite god Moloch (who required child sacrifice) because of their support for abortion rights.  Starnes agreed with Jeffress that he believes Democrats are coming after Christians.  Starnes said via Twitter, “I’m proud to call myself a gun-toting, Bible-clinging, Deplorable Trump supporter.  I am a rock-solid conservative and I do not compromise my beliefs. Period.”  Starnes hosted a daily, three-hour radio show on FOX News Radio as well as “Starnes Country” on the FOX Nation platform.  His radio show is being replaced with a rotating series of hosts for “FOX Across America” for now.

KLBJ-AM, Austin Afternoon Host Jeff Ward Exits.  For the past 22 years, Jeff Ward has hosted the afternoon drive show on news/talk KLBJ-AM, Austin.  That gig ended on October 1 when the station announced new afternoon programming, stating, “Sometimes, it’s just time for a change – and NewsRadio KLBJ keeps reinventing itself with live local shows and the best national programming.”  Emmis Communications sold its 51% stake in the Austin station group that included KLBJ-AM and five music brands to minority partner Sinclair Telecable for $39.3 million.  Last week the FCC waived its ownership cap for Sinclair, allowing the company to keep all six stations in Austin.  Via social media, Ward says, “I’m honored to have given every ounce of intellectual honesty I have for the past 20 years. To anyone who appreciates that, I appreciate you.  Whether I made you laugh or scream, every day I thought about how to make that barstool the most entertaining place you could be. It’s all I ever wanted to do. That part of the job was fun. Thank you for letting me in. I admire you, and I hope you admire me.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go play with my kids.”  Ward’s co-host Ed Clements remains with the station.  The new afternoon programming at KLBJ-AM is as follows: Ed Clements with Mark Caesar and Melynda Brant from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm; Ed Clements with sports talk personality Jason Dick from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm; and Premiere NetworksBuck Sexton show starting at 6:00 pm.

Philippi to Replace Retiring Gade at Alpha Media Lincoln. Longtime Alpha Media Lincoln general manager Julie Gade retires after a 42-year career in the radio business.  Cluster sales manager Katie Philippi is taking over the GM position.  Reflecting on the business, Gade says, “Radio, our websites, and digital advertising products have been evolving, but one thing that has not changed is the family bond you feel with broadcasters anywhere in the country.  They seem to all have a common desire to help, educate, and entertain their listeners and viewers.  I will miss that energy, their intelligence, and insatiable need for humor on a daily basis.”  Philippi has been serving with the Lincoln station group since 2006.  She states, “Over the past 11 years, my day-to-day role as a sales manager has changed often.  This is part of the reason I am still so invigorated by the career.”

Andy Stuart Exits Cumulus Toledo Market Manager Role. According to a piece in the Toledo Blade by Kirk Baird, media executive Andy Stuart has left Cumulus Media and his role with the company as regional vice president and market manager for the Toledo station group that includes sports talk WTOD-FM “The Ticket” and seven music brands.  According to the Blade, Cumulus has not announced its plans for replacing Stuart.  He joined Cumulus in 2014.  He also served with iHeartMedia (then-Clear Channel) in the Toledo market from 2002 through 2012.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports on the new program being launched by Windy City broadcasters Hannah Stanley, Fred Weintraub, and Justin Kulovsek. The weekly radio program is being called, “Gabby Road with Hannah, Fred and Justin,” and will air from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm on Sundays on GAB Radio Network’s WCGO, Evanston.  Stanley has worked on air at WGN and ESPN Radio.  Weintraub is an executive producer at Weigel Broadcasting, and Kulovsek is vice president of innovation at the Museum of Broadcast Communications…..SiriusXM and producer, TV, and radio host Andy Cohen agree to terms on a three-year contract extension for Cohen to continue as content curator of SiriusXM’s Radio Andy channel.  He’ll also continue to host his twice-weekly show “Andy Cohen Live.”  Cohen says, “I love the freedom of radio, especially long form, uncensored interviews, and the immediate connection with my audience.  Building this channel into a platform to discuss everything from politics with Dan Rather to pop culture with Jeff Lewis has been an incredibly satisfying creative experience.  I’m grateful to have three more years to continue expressing the breadth of my passion and one channel up the dial from my radio hero, Howard Stern.”…..Chicago Public Media’s public radio news/talk WBEZ announces its new midday talk show will be titled, “Reset with Jenn White,” and will air from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, effective October 14.  White moves from “The Morning Shift” program that is being cancelled along with the “Worldview” program hosted by Jerome McDonnell…..Alpha Media’s Brookings, South Dakota cluster was honored with a visit from FCC chairman Ajit Pai and FCC special counsel Preston Wise on September 17.  The two were in Brookings to visit the Precision Ag Center at South State University.  While there, they took a tour of the stations and met the staff.  Pictured below is Pai (right) with Alpha news director Perry Miller (left).

KMG and iHeartMedia Official Podcast Partners of ‘Politicon 2019.’ When Politicon 2019 gets underway at the Music City Center in Nashville on October 26, Krantz Media Group Networks will be on hand to launch an exclusive “Politicon 2019” audio activation strategy that includes a live 24/7 audio channel – “real time podcasts” – and live audio coverage.  KMG is also partnering with iHeartMedia as official podcast partners of Politicon 2019.   The “Politicon on iHeartRadio” channel will feature in-depth coverage of the convention.  Additionally, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WLAC, Nashville will broadcast live from the convention’s radio row on October 26 and 27.

Impeachment Inquiry/Ukraine Probe, 2020 Presidential Race, Dallas Cop Sentencing Controversy, Immigration Policy, Joker Film, and Hartford B-17 Crash Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/2).  The impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the related investigation into the dealings of Hunter Biden in the Ukraine and Trump’s conversation with Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelensky; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the sentencing of former Dallas cop Amber Guyger and the controversy surrounding the hug she received from the judge; the Trump administration’s immigration policies, including a report it intends to collect DNA samples from immigrants to enter into a criminal database; controversy surrounding the new Joker film; and the crash of a WWII-era B-17 bomber in Hartford that left seven dead were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS and The Epoch Times Co-Presented “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” in NYC; Video Posted for On Demand Viewing.  A powerful panel discussion titled, “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations,” took place in New York City yesterday morning (10/1) that was described by one of its media industry attendees as “a 90-minute PhD on the subject.”  The information-packed co-presentation of TALKERS and The Epoch Times included radio talk show hosts Hugh Hewitt of Salem Radio NetworkJohn Batchelor of WABC, New York, and Tom Sullivan of Talk Media Network, as well as a group of experts on the present state of China and its increasingly strained relationship with the United States that included Nan Su of NTDTVJoshua Philipp of The Epoch Times and Dr. Dana Cheng of The Epoch Times.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison served as moderator.  The conversation focused on the US-China trade war, Hong Kong protests, China’s human rights abuses, Huawei and the worldwide battle for 5G dominance, the North Korea nuclear threat, China’s ongoing intellectual property theft, China’s military buildup, and the long term goals and methods of the Chinese Communist Party, plus more.  According to Harrison, “We produced this event to serve as a serious informational workshop for talk media hosts to absorb the basics of a topic that will be of enormous importance in world events over the coming years.”  Harrison adds, “Based on the response we have received to its live streaming and subsequent on-demand rebroadcasts on NTDTV (New Tang Dynasty TV) and Talkers.com, we seem to have succeeded in achieving that goal.  The panelists were magnificent.” See the video of  event here.

High Profile Book Publisher and Media Figure Judith Regan is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.   One of the most successful and bold women in contemporary multi-platform media, Judith Regan, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  She’s a book publisher aptly described as a “publishing powerhouse” having run her own imprint Regan Books with HarperCollins for a number of years and today heading the dynamic firm, ReganArts.  Regan is not afraid to be politically incorrect – especially in matters that involve supporting the rights of controversial figures to write and speak in the public marketplace of ideas. Some of her best-selling books include Gregory Maguire‘s Wicked, which went on to become a world famous musical, Wally Lamb‘s I Know This Much is True, soon to be an HBO series and books by a wide range of authors including Sean Hannity, Howard Stern, Michael Moore, Francis Ford Coppola, Khloe Kardashian as well as cookbooks, design books and hundreds of other award-winning titles. She has hosted talk shows on Fox News Channel and SiriusXM Satellite Radio and produced and hosted the two-hour O.J. Simpson “confession” on Fox which aired last year based on the highly controversial book she published titled, If I Did It.   She also produced the Netflix show The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell.   Her latest book publication – also extremely controversial due to the tarnished reputation of its author –  is How to Beat Trump by former news executive and correspondent Mark Halperin, whose career at mainstream media outlets recently came to a crashing end due to being the focus of a number of high-profile #MeToo accusations. Harrison and Regan candidly discuss her career, controversy, free speech, the #MeToo movement and political correctness.  To listen to this 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. In the Ft. Myers market, Lil Brownie, a.k.a. Amanda Pizana, is named co-host of the “Big Mama & the Wild Bunch” morning show on Beasley Media Group’s CHR WXKB- FM, effective October 7.  She was most recently the evening personality at Cumulus Media’s CHR KLIF-FM, Dallas.  She says, “I am super excited to be working with ‘Big Mama and The Wild Bunch’ and to start living my best life in Florida.”…..Alpha Media Fredericksburg announces the addition of on-air pro Scott Paulsen to mornings on WWUZ “96.9 The Rock.”  Paulsen has worked at rock WDVE in Pittsburgh during the 1980s and 1990s.  He’s also done voiceover work for Nickelodeon’s “Action League Now!”  Alpha Media Fredericksburg OM and content director Bill West comments, “Having the chance to add someone with Scott’s experience to the ‘96.9 The Rock’ team is very exciting.  His attention to detail with his stories on the morning show, added to his love for the music marks a huge step up for the station.”  Paulsen takes over for Andy Welch who moves to the midday show.

September 2019 PPM Data – September 2019 ratings information has been released for the second round of 12 markets, including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen Audio’s September 2019 survey period covered August 15 – September 11.  See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@TALKERS.com) provides his “Takeaways” from nine PPM markets below.

San Francisco

Spoken-Word Formats. Dropping from #21 to #22, Cumulus Media news/talk KSFO is in a June 2019 through September 2019 pattern of 2.0 – 1.7 – 2.0 – 1.7 (6+). July 2019’s 1.7 marked the first time KSFO fell below a two-share for the first time since July 2017’s 1.8. Ironically, cluster-mate KGO records a similar repetitive June 2019 through September 2019 sequence: 1.6 – 1.5 – 1.6 – 1.5 (#24 to #25, 6+). KGO was down one-tenth in June (1.7 – 1.6, 6+), so this is actually the fourth straight time it has had a month-to-month shift of one-tenth. After logging a .2 (6+) in seven of the last eight sweeps, iHeartMedia-owned KKSF-AM “Real Talk 910 – Think Forward” gains one-tenth to .3 (#35 to #34, 6+).

Three straight up or flat sweeps by Cumulus Media sports talk KNBR-AM (Giants, 49ers) yielded a +1.1 (3.3 – 3.3 – 4.1 – 4.4, 6+) but “The Sports Leader” forfeits seven-tenths to 3.7 (6+), falling from third to seventh. Less than a week before the September ratings period concluded (9/6), co-owned triple A KFOG jettisoned its longtime music format and became sports talk KNBR-FM (1.0 – .9, -.1, #28, 6+). By gaining one-tenth to 1.6 (#26 to #24, 6+), Entercom’s similarly-formatted KGMZ “95.7 The Game” halts three consecutive declines that accounted for a -1.8 (3.3 – 3.0 – 1.9 – 1.5, 6+). KGMZ nearly doubled (+1.5) its 6+-stat in three straight sweeps without a loss, (1.8 – 1.8 – 1.9 – 3.3, 6+).

Even though KGMZ all-news sibling KCBS-AM (Raiders) drops one-tenth (6.5 – 6.4, 6+), it moves from the runner-up slot to a first-place tie. KCBS-AM last reached #1 in May.

KCBS-AM is deadlocked at the top with Northern California Public Broadcasting news/talk KQED, which spirals seven-tenths to 6.4 (#1 the fourth time in a row, 6+), thus almost completely erasing its +.8 in three consecutive improvements (6.3 – 6.6 – 6.9 – 7.1, 6+). August’s 7.1 was its best 6+-stat since 7.3 in March. San Francisco Unified School District’s KALW “91.7 Local Public Radio” is trending -1.0 – .9 – .8 – 1.0 – .9 – .7 (April – May – June – July – August – September, #28 to #31, 6+).

San Francisco Music Formats – Not only does Cumulus Media classic rocker KSAN tack on a whopping +1.7 to August’s increase of four-tenths (2.7 – 3.1 – 4.8, 6+), “107.7 The Bone” rockets from tenth to third. KSAN was a combined -1.3 in June/July (4.0 – 3.3 – 2.7, 6+). Off a collective four-tenths via three straight down or flat moves (4.2 – 3.9 – 3.8 – 3.8, 6+), Entercom hot AC KLLC “Alice @ 97.3” responds with a September increase of nine-tenths to 4.7 (seventh to fourth, 6+). Similarly-formatted/iHeartMedia-owned KIOI “Star 101.3” notches its sixth report in a row without a decrease and has earned six-tenths in that stretch (2.9 – 2.9 – 2.9 – 2.9 – 3.2 – 3.3 – 3.5, ninth to eighth, 6+). Despite being up an overall six-tenths via three successive modest increases (3.6 – 3.7 – 4.1 – 4.2, 6+) and having its best 6+-stat (4.2) since April’s 4.4, adult contemporary cluster-mate KISQ “98.1 The Breeze” backslides from fourth to fifth. August’s gain of seven-tenths by co-owned rhythmic CHR KYLD vanishes as “Wild 94.9 – The Bay’s #1 Hit Music Station” surrenders nine-tenths (4.0 – 3.1, 6+) and fades from the top ten (#5 to #11). Entering the August sweep, KYLD lost eight-tenths as a result of four successive down or flat trends (4.1 – 3.7 – 3.7 – 3.6 – 3.3, 6+). A dip of one-half share (2.5 – 2.0, 6+) sends Entercom-owned KITS “Alt 105.3 The Bay Area’s Alternative” from #13 to #19. Albeit down three-tenths in three straight sweeps without an increase (3.6 – 3.6 – 3.4 – 3.3, eighth to tenth, 6+), iHeartMedia urban contemporary KMEL “#1 For Hip-Hop and R&B” is within 3.0 – 3.9 range the 15th time in a row. April 2019’s 3.7 represents its best 6+-stat since October 2018’s 3.9. After logging five straight reports without a loss for a net gain of seven-tenths (1.3 – 1.5 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.9 – 2.0, 6+), Bonneville’s KUFX “98.5 K-Fox The South Bay’s Classic Rock” has dropped a cumulative three-tenths in four consecutive down or flat trends (2.0 – 1.9 – 1.8 – 1.8 – 1.7, unchanged at #22, 6+).

Dallas

Spoken-Word Formats – Entering the July sweep, Cumulus Media’s WBAP had been positive or flat six successive survey periods for a +1.8 (2.3 – 2.8 – 2.9 – 3.1 – 3.7 – 3.7 – 4.1, 6+). “News Talk 820” has since been -.6 (July); +.4 (August); and now -.3 in September (3.9 – 3.6, sixth to seventh, 6+). Four successive up or neutral sweeps by Cumulus Media’s KLIF-AM result in a gain of two-tenths (.3 – .3 – .4 – .5 – .5, 6+) as “570 News & Information” remains at #36. It is one-tenth ahead of Salem Media Group-owned KSKY “660 AM The Answer,” which repeats August’s .4 and #37 rank (6+).

After a June/July +.8 (1.5 – 1.8 – 2.3, 6+), Entercom’s KRLD-FM (Rangers, Cowboys) lost two-tenths in August but “105.3 The Fan” rebounds with a +.3 in September (2.1 – 2.4, #20 to #19, 6+). Owing to six reports in succession without an increase, Cumulus Media’s KTCK “The Ticket – All Sports All The Time” has lost nearly half (-1.3) its 6+ AQH share (2.7 – 2.7 – 2.7 – 1.7 – 1.7 – 1.7 – 1.4, flat at #25, 6+). Disney/ESPN’s KESN “103.3 ESPN Dallas,” which had a month-to-month fluctuation of one-tenth four times in a row (.8 – .9, 6+); (.9 – .8, 6+); (.8 – .7, 6+); and (.7 – .8, 6+), picks up two-tenths to 1.0 (#31 to #30, 6+).         

With a July – August – September topline of 1.8 – 1.9 – 1.7 (6+), Entercom news-talk hybrid KRLD-AM “News Radio 1080” carries on at #23.

August’s increase of three-tenths by KERA curtailed four straight negative or neutral moves that resulted in a collective -1.0 (3.9 – 3.6 – 3.6 – 3.3 – 2.9, 6+); the North Texas Public Broadcasting news/talk outlet repeats August’s 6+ AQH share (3.2) and market rank (#11).

Dallas Music Formats – Posting a gain of seven-tenths to 3.3 (6+), Entercom regional Mexican KMVK halts three straight downward moves that accounted for a loss of four-tenths (3.0 – 2.9 – 2.7 – 2.6, 6+). Moreover, “La Grande 107.5” vaults from #16 to #9. Locked on 3.9 (6+) in July and August, Cumulus Media’s country-formatted KPLX “99.5 The Wolf” hangs out a one-half share improvement to 4.4 (sixth to fourth, 6+). At the same time, co-owned/similarly-formatted KSCS “New Country 96.3” is without an increase the third straight time for a cumulative loss of six-tenths (3.8 – 3.8 – 3.5 – 3.2, 6+) and departs the top ten (#9 to #11). Setting the pace the ninth month in a row is iHeartMedia CHR KHKS “106.1 Kiss – Dallas/Fort Worth’s Hit Music” (6.7 – 6.5, -.2, 6+). An August increase of nine-tenths wiped away the collective nine-tenths “Kiss” lost as a result of three straight negative or neutral moves (6.7 – 6.3 – 5.8 – 5.8, 6+). Its May dip of four-tenths brought to a close four successive up or flat sweeps that netted eight-tenths (5.9 – 6.1 – 6.3 – 6.3 – 6.7, 6+). April’s 6.7 was KHKS’ best 6+-stat since May 2018’s 6.9. Continuing in the runner-up slot, Salem Media Group contemporary Christian KLTY “94.9 Your Life … Inspired” is an overall +1.5 via three straight up or flat trends (4.0 – 4.1 – 5.5 – 5.5, 6+). KLTY was stymied on 4.2 (6+) in April and May before slipping to 4.0 (6+) in June. Ups/downs continue for WAY Media’s similarly-formatted KAWA “WAY-FM Uplifting-Upbeat-Real,” which was -1.2 in March; a combined +1.2 in April/May (1.1 – 1.6 – 2.3, 6+); -1.4 in June; +.2 in July; -.5 in August; and now +.4 in September (.6 – 1.0, #32 to #30, 6+). A combined +.8 in July/August (1.2 – 1.6 – 2.0, 6+), North Texas Public Broadcasting triple A KKXT “91 KXT” falters by six-tenths to 1.4 (#25, 6+). Tied with KKXT is Liberman Broadcasting regional Mexican KNOR “La Raza 93.7,” which forfeits in its entirety August’s half-share increase (1.4 – 1.9 – 1.4, #23 to #25, 6+).

Houston

Spoken-Word Formats – Down or flat the past four reports for a net loss of one-half share (3.8 – 3.5 – 3.5 – 3.4 – 3.3, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk KTRH ends the slide with a one-tenth gain to 3.4 (#15 to #14, 6+). “News Radio 740” was -.7 in December 2018 (4.3 – 3.6, 6+); -.7 in “Holiday” 2018 (3.6 – 2.9, 6+); and +.7 in January 2019 (2.9 – 3.6, 6+). Co-owned KPRC lost half (-.2) its 6+ AQH-share in five straight sweeps without an increase (.4 – .4 – .3 – .3 – .3 – .2, 6+) but “AM 950 – Houston’s More Stimulating Talk Radio” picks up one-tenth to .3 (#31 to #29, 6+).

Cluster-mate KBME “Sports Talk 790” (Astros) returns the three-tenths it acquired in August (1.1 – 1.4 – 1.1, 6+) but continues at #22. Catching KBME is Entercom’s KILT-AM “Sports Radio 610” (Texans), which has an April 2019 through September 2019 topline of: 1.1 – 1.1 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.1 (#24 to #22, 6+). For the eighth straight time, Gow Communications’ sports talk KFNC “ESPN 97.5” is without an increase for a net loss of four-tenths (.9 – .9 – .8 – .8 – .8 – .7 – .7 – .5 – .5, flat at #26, 6+).

After relinquishing one-tenth in back-to-back survey periods (2.5 – 2.4 – 2.3, 6+), University of Houston news/talk KUHF is up six-tenths to 2.9 (#19 to #17, 6+), its best 6+-showing in nearly a year (3.0, October 2018).

Houston Music Formats – In addition to being a combined +1.2 in August/September (5.3 – 5.5 – 6.5, 6+), Cox Media Group classic rock KGLK “The Eagle” soars from fourth to second with its highest 6+-stat (6.5) in exactly two years (6.7, September 2017). This time last month, Radio One urban AC KMJQ advanced from second to first. “Majic 102.1 The People’s Station” not only repeats at #1, it chalks up an increase of nine-tenths to 7.1 (6+) and is a combined +1.3 in August/September (5.8 – 6.2 – 7.1, 6+). KMJQ last crossed the seven-share threshold (6+) in May 2018 (7.2). A collective +.7 in three straight bumps (4.9 – 5.0 – 5.1 – 5.6, 6+), Univision Radio regional Mexican KLTN “Que Buena 102.9” inches up from fifth to fourth. A September increase of two-tenths by Cumulus Media CHR KRBE “104.1 – Houston’s #1 Hit Music Station” (4.5 to 4.7, eighth to seventh, 6+) suspends five consecutive negative or neutral trends that led to an overall decline of eight-tenths (5.3 – 5.2 – 5.1 – 5.1 – 5.1 – 4.5, 6+). Three straight up or neutral moves by Entercom hot AC KHMX accounted for a +1.7 (3.0 – 3.4 – 4.7 – 4.7, 6+) but September’s loss of nine-tenths to 3.8 (6+) knocks “Mix 96.5” out of the top ten (#7 to #12). Spanish contemporary cluster-mate KLOL “Mega 101 FM” is a combined -1.0 in August/September (4.2 – 3.9 – 3.2, #13 to #15, 6+). This is the sixth time in the last seven survey periods that adult hits sibling KKHH “95.7 The Spot” posts a 6+ AQH share between 5.0 – 5.7 (5.1 – 4.7 – 5.1 – 5.4 – 5.0 – 5.7 – 5.5, third to fifth, 6+). Dropping from second to third, iHeartMedia adult contemporary KODA has lost roughly 51% (-6.2) of its 6+ AQH share in nine straight months without an increase (12.1 – 8.6 – 8.5 – 8.2 – 7.5 – 7.3 – 7.1 – 6.6 – 5.9 – 5.9, 6+). “Sunny 99.1” was at #1 16 sweeps in a row before segueing to #2 in August. Immediately in advance of this spiral, KODA was a cumulative +4.9 via three consecutive gains (7.2 – 7.5 – 9.7 – 12.1, 6+). It had been more than two years since KODA slipped below a six-share (June 2017, 5.8, 6+). Urban contemporary cluster-mate KQBT “93.7 The Beat,” which was off an overall eight-tenths in four straight reports without an increase (4.4 – 4.4 – 4.3 – 4.3 – 3.6, 6+), pulls the plug with a +.2 to 3.8 (#14 to #12, 6+). As Cox Media Group’s KKBQ “The New Country 93-Q” gains one-tenth to 4.6 (steady at #8, 6+), Entercom’s similarly-formatted KILT-FM “100.3 The Bull” drops one-tenth to 4.2 (6+) yet improves from tenth to ninth. KKBQ is trending 4.8 – 4.7- 4.5 – 4.6 (June – July – August – September, 6+).  Before losing two-tenths in March, KILT-FM had been +1.7 via three bumps in a row (3.5 – 3.8 – 4.5 – 5.2, 6+).

Washington, DC

Spoken-Word Formats – Stuck on 5.3 (6+) in July and August, Cumulus Media news/talk WMAL forfeits two-tenths to 5.1 (fifth to seventh, 6+). July’s increase of nine-tenths halted three successive March through June declines that accounted for an overall 2.4 (6.8 – 5.5 – 5.2 – 4.4, 6+); March’s 6.8 represents its best 6+-stat in the PPM-era. After posting a .2 (6+) in August 2018, Radio One’s WOL “News Talk – Where Information Is Power” is unlisted for the 14th sweep in succession.

Following three consecutive reports of a 3.4 (6+), Entercom sports talk WJFK-FM (Nationals) adds one-tenth to 3.5 (#12 to #11, 6+). In June, “106.7 The Fan” recaptured almost half (three-tenths) the eight-tenths lost in May. Replacing July/August’s combined -.3 with a September +.3 (.9 – .7 – .6 – .9, 6+), Radio One’s similarly-formatted WTEM “980 The Team” moves from #23 to #21. Cumulus Media suspended its news/talk simulcast of WMAL-AM & WMAL-FM on July 1, with the former becoming sports talk WSBN “ESPN 630 AM The Sports Capitol.” WSBN checked in with a .1 (#29, July, 6+); was unlisted in August; and resurfaces in September (.1, #30, 6+).

Notwithstanding that it drops one-half share (8.0 – 7.5, 6+), Hubbard Broadcasting all-news WTOP-FM jumps from third to first. Prior to gaining one-tenth in August, WTOP-FM was an overall -2.5 in six successive down or flat sweeps (10.4 – 9.8 – 9.7 – 8.7 – 8.7 – 8.2 – 7.9, 6+). It shifted to the runner-up slot in July after six straight months at #1. More than doubling (+.5) its 6+ stat through four consecutive up or flat moves (.4 – .5 – .6 – .6 – .9, 6+), Entercom business news WDCH progresses from #23 to a four-way tie at #21.

Tied for the top spot in August, American University-owned news/talk WAMU “The Mind Is Our Medium” sputters by eight-tenths in September and slips to a second-place tie (8.2 – 7.4, 6+). July’s boost of four-tenths suspended three successive slips that accounted for a loss of nine-tenths (8.9 – 8.7 – 8.4 – 8.0, 6+). Immediately prior to gaining three-tenths in March, WAMU was -2.2 (“Holiday” 2018); +2.5 (January 2019); and -1.2 (February).

Washington, DC Music Formats – Three upticks in succession by Atlantic Gateway Communications contemporary Christian WGTS have produced a +2.0 (4.2 – 4.3 – 5.1 – 6.2, 6+) as “91.9 Christian Music Radio” leaps from seventh to fourth. Drifting from the top ten (#9 to #16) is iHeartMedia’s WMZQ “98.7 Today’s Best Country,” which falters by -1.0 (3.7 – 2.7, 6+) and falls below a three-share (2.7, 6+) for the first time since February (2.8). This time last month, Radio One urban AC WMMJ “Majic” and public radio news/talk WAMU were deadlocked at #1. They are still tied in September but not at #1 as both suffer an identical loss of eight-tenths (8.2 – 7.4, first to second, 6+). When WMMJ added two-tenths in July, it interrupted three consecutive dips that resulted in a cumulative loss of seven-tenths (8.2 – 7.8 – 7.7 – 7.5, 6+). Immediately prior to that skid, “Majic” put together six successive increases that netted a +1.8 (6.4 – 6.7 – 6.8 – 7.4 – 7.5 – 7.9 – 8.2, 6+). Howard University’s similarly-programmed WHUR is off an overall seven-tenths in four monthlies in succession without an increase (6.5 – 6.1 – 6.1 – 5.9 – 5.8, 6+). After finishing in fourth-place the past four sweeps, WHUR shifts to fifth. Down one-tenth in back-to-back reports (6.5 – 6.4 – 6.3, 6+), WHUR regained that deficit with a May pickup of two-tenths. Its March loss of one-tenth stymied three successive increases that accounted for a +1.2 (5.3 – 6.2 – 6.4 – 6.5, 6+). An overall -1.2 as a result of three consecutive down or neutral reports (4.6 – 3.7 – 3.7 – 3.4, 6+), iHeartMedia CHR WIHT “Hot 99.5” exits the top ten (#9 to #12) with its lowest 6+-stat (3.4) since March (3.2). Anchored in ninth-place, Entercom rhythmic CHR WPGC notches a 3.7 the third time in the last four sweeps (3.7 – 3.4 – 3.7 – 3.7, 6+). Classic hits-oldies sibling WIAD “94.7 The Drive – DC’s Greatest Hits” is off a cumulative eight-tenths in three downward trends in a row (3.4 – 3.1 – 2.9 – 2.6, #16 to #17, 6+).

Atlanta

Spoken-Word Formats – An overall +1.3 via three straight up or flat trends (6.3 – 6.6 – 7.6 – 7.6, 6+), Cox Media Group news/talk WSB-AM repeats at #1. Following three consecutive months on top, WSB-AM slipped to the runner-up slot in April. Entercom’s WAOK “1380 The Voice of the Community” doubles its 6+ stat in three successive reports without a loss (.2 – .2 – .3 – .4, #29 to #27, 6+). In a tie just below WAOK are Salem Media Group-owned WGKA “AM 920 The Answer” (.3 – .2, -.1 flat at #29, 6+) and iHeartMedia-owned WGST “Talk Radio 640.” The latter had lost three-tenths via twelve straight down or flat trends (.4 – .3 – .3 – .2 – .2 – .2 – .2 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1, 6+) but picks up one-tenth .2 (#33 to #29, 6+).

Piling on nine-tenths to August’s +.6 (2.8 – 3.4 – 4.3, 6+), Entercom sports talk WZGC “92.9 The Game” (Falcons) cruises into the top ten (#11 to #8), reaching the four-share level (4.3, 6+) for the first time since February (4.0). Before August’s increase, “The Game” was an overall -1.2 in five straight negative or neutral sweeps (4.0 – 3.7 – 3.1 – 2.9 – 2.9 – 2.8, 6+). Dickey Broadcasting’s WCNN (Braves) makes it seven consecutive monthlies without a loss for a net gain of +1.1 (1.6 – 1.7 – 2.1 – 2.1 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 2.5 – 2.7, 6+), as “Sports Radio The Fan” climbs from #17 to #16.

Within 3.3 – 3.7 range the seventh sweep in a row (3.4 – 3.6 – 3.7 – 3.4 – 3.5 – 3.4 – 3.3, 6+), City of Atlanta Board of Education news/talk WABE slips from #11 to #12. Georgia State University news/talk WRAS gains a total of two-tenths via four successive up or flat moves (.5 – .5 – .6 – .6 – .7, unchanged at #25, 6+).

Atlanta Music Formats – Not only does Radio One gospel WPZE fully obliterate the nine-tenths lost in four straight down or flat trends (3.7 – 3.3 – 3.0 – 2.8 – 2.8, 6+) with an increase of nine-tenths to 3.7 (6+), “Praise 102.5 Atlanta’s Inspiration Station” zooms into the top ten (#16 to #10). Conversely, an August 2019 – September 2019 fluctuation of nine-tenths is unlucky for iHeartMedia CHR WWPW “Power 96.1 Atlanta’s #1 Hit Music Station” (3.8 – 2.9, -.9, 6+), which departs the top ten (#9 to #14). “Power” gained seven-tenths in March and six-tenths in May. Answering August’s half-share loss with a September boost of three-tenths is WWPW’s format rival, Cumulus Media-owned WWWQ “Q-100 Atlanta’s New Hits,” which leapfrogs “Power” (3.1 – 3.4, #13 to #11, 6+).  In July, “Q-100” returned the four-tenths it gained the previous sweep. It logged a +.7 in January; relinquished six-tenths in February; and had a February 2019 through May 2019 topline of 3.5 – 3.5 – 3.4 – 3.6 (6+). Anchored at #8 the past three months, iHeartMedia’s country-formatted WUBL “94.9 The Bull” pushes up to #7 and gains an overall nine-tenths via its third successive positive spike (4.0 – 4.1 – 4.5 – 4.9, 6+). WUBL’s April 2019 through July 2019 topline was 4.0 – 4.1 – 4.0 – 4.1 (6+). When “The Bull” dropped one-tenth in June, it interrupted three straight increases that produced a +.8 (3.3 – 3.5 – 4.0 – 4.1, 6+). Meanwhile, Cumulus Media’s WKHX “Kicks 101.5 – Atlanta’s #1 For Country Hits” is a collective +.4 in August/September (2.5 – 2.9 – 2.9, flat at #14, 6+). August’s increase of four-tenths by “Kicks” halted three straight dips that accounted for a net loss of six-tenths (3.1 – 2.7 – 2.6 – 2.5, 6+). Off three-tenths in March, “Kicks” later faltered by four-tenths in May. Following four upticks in a row that yielded a +1.2 (5.2 – 5.6 – 5.9 – 6.1 – 6.4, 6+), Cox Media Group urban AC WALR “Kiss 104.1 Atlanta’s R&B” relinquishes half that bounty with a -.6 to 5.8 (second to fifth, 6+). Three straight setbacks by Salem Media Group contemporary Christian WFSH “104.7 The Fish” have resulted in an approximately 52% erosion (-4.6) of its 6+ AQH share (8.8 – 8.5 – 4.7 – 4.2, seventh to ninth, 6+). WFSH had been at #1 four straight months before shifting to seventh in August. When “The Fish” lost three-tenths in July, it halted at five a consecutive string of bumps that netted an overall +3.9 (4.9 – 5.4 – 5.7 – 7.0 – 7.9 – 8.8, 6+). A cumulative +1.3 in three straight upticks (4.7 – 5.2 – 5.4 – 6.0, 6+), Cox Media Group adult contemporary WSB-FM sputters by two-tenths to 5.8 (6+) but inches up from sixth to a fifth-place tie. In August, “B-98.5” reached the six-share level (6.0, 6+) for the first time in more than four years (May 2015, 6.1, 6+). Entercom hot AC WSTR “Star 94.1” is down a collective seven-tenths in three straight negative or neutral sweeps (3.4 – 3.4 – 2.9 – 2.7, #14 to #16, 6+).

Philadelphia

Spoken-Word Formats – Off three-tenths (1.8 – 1.5, 6+), Entercom’s WPHT “Talk Radio 1210” once again departs the top twenty (#20 to #22). Townsquare Media news/talk WKXW “New Jersey 101.5” repeats August’s .8 (#25 to #24, 6+).

Even though Entercom sports talk WIP (Phillies, Eagles) surrenders one-tenth (6.7 – 6.6, 6+), “Sports Radio 94.1” marches from second to a first-place tie; WIP gained eight-tenths in August. In three straight sweeps without a loss, Beasley Media Group-owned WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” nets three-tenths (2.1 – 2.3 – 2.3 – 2.4, #18 to #17, 6+). June’s 2.1 was its lowest 6+-stat since September 2018’s 1.8.     

An overall -1.6 in eight sweeps in succession without an increase (5.0 – 4.6 – 4.4 – 4.0 – 4.0 – 3.8 – 3.7 – 3.7 – 3.4, 6+), Entercom’s KYW “News Radio 1060” is locked at #10.  

While public radio news/talk WHYY is up a cumulative four-tenths in three straight up or neutral reports (2.5 – 2.6 – 2.9 – 2.9, 6+), it slips from a four-way tie at #12 to #14.

Philadelphia Music Formats – The rollercoaster ride continues for iHeartMedia urban contemporary WUSL “Power 99,” which netted eight-tenths in four successive up or flat trends (3.7 – 3.7 – 3.7 – 4.0 – 4.5, 6+); surrendered six-tenths in July/August (4.5 – 4.0 – 3.9, 6+); and now posts a robust +1.1 (5.0, ninth to eighth, 6+). September’s 5.0 is its best 6+-performance in more than two years (5.6, July 2017). A combined +.6 in August/September (5.5 – 5.6 – 6.1, 6+), Entercom adult contemporary WBEB “B-101.1 More Music/More Variety” jumps from sixth to fourth. Over and above being +1.3 via three upticks in a row (5.3 – 5.8 – 6.3 – 6.6, 6+), iHeartMedia urban AC WDAS-FM “Philly’s Best R&B and Throwbacks” progresses from third to a first-place tie with Entercom sports talk WIP (see above). Prior to July, WDAS-FM lost a collective eight-tenths since March via three consecutive negative or neutral moves (6.1 – 6.1 – 5.9 – 5.3, 6+). The station ousted at #1 by WIP and WDAS-FM, Beasley Media Group classic rock WMGK, falters by four-tenths (6.9 – 6.5, 6+) and segues to third. Frozen on 6.6 (6+) in May and June, WMGK gained four-tenths in July to 7.0, its highest 6+-stat since February 2018’s 7.1, but lost one-tenth in August. Dropping from fourth to fifth, co-owned WMMR “93.3 Everything That Rocks” has squandered four-tenths in four successive sweeps without an increase (6.4 – 6.1 – 6.1 – 6.1 – 6.0, 6+). So far in 2019, Entercom sports talk WIP was on top in January; its classic hits-oldies sibling WOGL “98.1 – Nobody Plays More 80s” was #1 in February; AC cluster-mate WBEB was #1 in March; WMGK set the pace in April; WBEB did so in May and June; WMGK returned to #1 in July and August; and now WIP and WDAS-FM are tied for the lead in September. In the market’s CHR contest, iHeartMedia-owned WIOQ “Q-102” fails to show an increase the sixth time in a row and is down six-tenths in that stretch (3.3 – 3.2 – 3.0 – 2.9 – 2.9 – 2.9 – 2.7, #12 to #15, 6+). Flat at #16, Entercom’s WTDY “Today’s Hits 96.5 TDY” is up one-tenth in consecutive reports (2.3 – 2.4 – 2.5, 6+). WTDY was -1.0 in four straight March 2019 through July 2019 decreases and its profile in that timeframe was very similar to WIOQ’s (3.3 – 3.2 – 3.1 – 2.4 – 2.3, 6+). Six straight sweeps without a loss netted University of Pennsylvania triple A WXPN a +1.2 (1.4 – 1.4 – 1.7 – 1.8 – 2.0 – 2.3 – 2.6, 6+), but “88.5 Vinyl At Heart” is now -.8 in three straight down or flat moves (2.6 – 2.4 – 1.8 – 1.8, 6+) and exits the top twenty (#20 to #21). After logging a .5 in back-to-back sweeps (July and August, 6+), Forever Media country WXCY is unlisted.

Boston

Spoken-Word Formats – There just doesn’t seem to be any stopping iHeartMedia news/talk WRKO “AM 680 – The Voice of Boston,” which is +1.8 via nine positive or neutral trends in succession (2.1 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 2.4 – 2.5 – 2.7 – 2.7 – 3.6 – 3.7 – 3.9, unchanged at #8, 6+). Co-owned WXKS-AM “Talk 1200,” which added one-tenth three months in a row (.4 – .5 – .6 – .7, 6+), forfeits that collective three-tenths (.4, #25 to #29, 6+).

Three setbacks in succession by Beasley Media Group-owned sports talk WBZ-FM (Patriots, Celtics, Bruins) resulted in a roughly 47% loss (-3.3) of its 6+ AQH-share (7.0 – 5.6 – 3.8 – 3.7, 6+). In September though, “98.5 The Sports Hub” roars back with a +1.3 to 5.0 (eighth to sixth, 6+). Seven recent shifts for “The Sports Hub” include: -1.0 (December 2018); +1.6 (January 2019); -.8 (February); +.8 (May); -1.4 (June); -1.8 (July); and +1.3 (September). WBZ-FM bypasses Entercom-owned sports talk WEEI-FM (Red Sox), which is flat at 3.7 but backslides from eighth to ninth. Seven sample shifts for WEEI-FM include: -2.0 (December); -.7 (“Holiday” 2018); +1.7 (January 2019); -1.0 (February); -.5 (March); +.6 (April); and -.6 (July).

Unchanged at #5, iHeartMedia-owned news-talk hybrid WBZ-AM returns 40% of August’s half-share increase (5.5 – 5.3, -.2, 6+). Prior to that +.5, “News Radio 1030” was stuck on 5.0 (6+) five months in a row.

Trending 3.4 – 3.5 – 3.8 – 3.4 (June – July – August – September, 6+), Boston University news/talk WBUR falls from seventh to tenth. WGBH Educational Foundation news/talk WGBH nets eight-tenths in three consecutive up or flat trends (2.2 – 2.2 – 2.8 – 3.0, #14 to #13, 6+) and reaches the three-share level (3.0, 6+) the first time in nearly a year (3.4, October 2018).

Boston Music Formats – A combined -1.2 in August/September (8.8 – 7.7 – 7.6, 6+), Beasley Media Group classic hits-oldies WROR “105.7 – 80s & More” is nonetheless #1 the sixth month in a row. The July/August decrease completely eliminates back-to-back (June and July) increases of six-tenths (7.6 – 8.2 – 8.8, 6+). When WROR dropped two-tenths in May, it snapped at four a consecutive string of up or flat trends that delivered a +2.2 (5.6 – 6.2 – 6.8 – 7.8 – 7.8, 6+). Cluster-mate WBOS “Boston’s Rock 92.9 Rocks” is up eight-tenths in four straight sweeps without a loss (2.4 – 2.5 – 2.6 – 3.2 – 3.2, #13 to #12, 6+). Boston’s (6+) pacesetters thus far this calendar year have been: iHeartMedia-owned CHR WXKS-FM “Kiss 108 – Boston’s #1 Hit Music Station” (January, 7.3, and February, 7.4, 6+); WROR (March and April, 7.8 – both times, 6+); WROR and WXKS-FM (May, 7.6, 6+); and WROR (June, 8.2; July, 8.8; August, 7.7; and September, 7.6, 6+). In the market’s CHR contest, iHeartMedia’s aforementioned WXKS-FM is an overall -1.3 in four consecutive negative or neutral moves (7.6 – 7.2 – 6.9 – 6.3 – 6.3, 6+) but “Kiss 108” retains the runner-up slot the fourth straight month. A one-half share increase in May took “Kiss 108” to 7.6, its strongest 6+-performance since August 2018’s 7.8. Entercom’s similarly-formatted WODS “103.3 Amp Radio” is without an increase the eighth consecutive time for a net loss of nine-tenths (2.5 – 2.4 – 2.4 – 2.2 – 2.1 – 2.1 – 2.1 – 1.8 – 1.6, #19 to #20, 6+). In addition to dropping from third to fourth, Entercom adult contemporary WMJX “Magic 106.7 – Today’s Hits/Yesterday’s Favorites” is an overall -1.1 in three dips in succession (6.9 – 6.4 – 6.0 – 5.8, 6+). “Magic” was a combined +.8 in May/June (6.1 – 6.2 – 6.9, 6+), with June’s 6.9 the highest 6+-stat for WMJX since “Holiday” 2018’s 14.5. The April 2019 through September 2019 (6+) profiles of Beasley Media Group rhythmic hot AC WBQT “Hot 96.9” and Entercom hot AC WWBX “Mix 104.1” remain similar. “Hot,” which was -1.0 in four straight down or flat moves (4.3 – 3.6 – 3.6 – 3.3 – 3.3, 6+), picks up one-tenth to 3.4 (#11 to #10, 6+), while “Mix” is -.9 in five consecutive months without an increase (3.9 – 3.7 – 3.5 – 3.3 – 3.3 – 3.0, #11 to #13, 6+).

Miami

Spoken-Word Formats – The April 2019 through September 2019 topline for iHeartMedia news/talk WIOD “News Radio 620 – Miami’s News, Traffic, & Weather Station” is an extremely steady 2.7 – 2.6 – 2.6 – 2.5 – 2.6 – 2.5 (#17 to #18, 6+).

Doubling its 6+ AQH share as a result of three straight spikes (.5 – 6 – .7 – 1.0, 6+), Entercom-owned WQAM “560 The Joe,” (Dolphins) elevates from #28 to #25. Conversely, co-owned WAXY “Sports Talk 790 The Ticket” is down 67% (-.6) in three setbacks in succession (.9 – .8 – .6 – .3, #29 to #30, 6+).

Off seven-tenths in July/August (2.3 – 1.9 – 1.6, 6+), Dade County School Board news/talk WLRN answers with a half-share increase to 2.1 (steady at #21, 6+).

While we usually limit our spoken-word coverage to English-language stations, it’s worth noting that Grupo Latino de Radio- GLR Spanish news/talk WSUA Radio Caracol 1260,” which posted a .8 (6+) in July but was unlisted in August, reappears in September with a .8 (#28, 6+).

Miami Music Formats – A combined +1.2 in August/September (4.6 – 4.9 – 5.8, 6+), Entercom classic hits-oldies WMXJ “102.7 The Beach” jumps from fifth to third. Continuing a down/up pattern that commenced in May (4.1 – 3.4 – 3.7 – 3.5 – 4.0, 6+), iHeartMedia Spanish contemporary WZTU “Tu 94.9 FM – Joven Como Tu” advances from tenth to eighth. Tied at #12 are mainstream CHR rivals iHeartMedia-owned WHYI “Y-100 Miami’s #1 Hit Music Station” (flat at 3.1, #11 to #12, 6+) and Cox Media Group’s WFLC “Hits 97.3” (3.0 – 3.1, +.1, #13 to #12, 6+). “Y-100” gained three-tenths in August, while “Hits 97.3” lost three-tenths the same sweep. On top the ninth consecutive ratings period (including a three-way tie at #1 in February), Cox Media Group-owned adult contemporary WFEZ “Easy 93.1” drops six-tenths and has a June 2019 through September 2019 topline of 7.6 – 7.3 – 7.6 – 7.0 (6+). “Easy” was down eight-tenths in February; up by that same magnitude in March; and notched an improvement of … eight-tenths in June. Entering the “Holiday” 2018 sweep, “Easy 93.1” finished on top seven straight times. Entercom’s similarly-formatted WLYF “101.5 Lite FM” was up one-tenth in July/August (5.4 – 5.5 – 5.5, 6+), but forfeits two-tenths in September to 5.3 (fourth to fifth, 6+). July’s one-tenth increase curtailed four straight down or flat sweeps that led to an overall -1.2 (6.6 – 6.2 – 6.2 – 6.1 – 5.4, 6+). “Lite” was in third-place March, April, May, and June. Despite being down or flat the fourth time in succession for a net loss of three-tenths (3.1 – 3.1 – 3.0 – 2.8 – 2.8, 6+), Entercom’s WKIS “Kiss Country 99.9” climbs from #16 to #15. Spanish Broadcasting System-owned Spanish tropical WXDJ “El Zol 106.7” is an overall -1.4 in seven straight down or flat trends (4.9 – 4.8 – 4.1 – 4.1 – 4.0 – 3.8 – 3.7 – 3.5, 6+) and carries on in ninth-place.

Seattle

Spoken-Word Formats – Even though KIRO-FM drops one-tenth (5.1 – 5.0, 6+), the Bonneville news/talk facility progresses from fifth to fourth. Co-owned KTTH “Conservative Talk Radio” repeats August’s 6+ AQH share (1.5) and market rank (#22). When Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned KVI picked up two-tenths in August, it halted five successive negative or neutral reports that accounted for a more than 50% loss (-.9) of its 6+ AQH share since February (1.6 – 1.3 – 1.2 – 1.2 – 1.1 – .7, 6+); “Talk Radio 570” is off one-tenth in September (.9 – .8, #25 to #26, 6+).

Rebounding from a collective -1.3 as a result of four straight down or flat trends (4.3 – 3.4 – 3.4 – 3.0 – 3.0, 6+), Bonneville sports talk KIRO-AM “ESPN 710” (Mariners, Seahawks) logs an increase of seven-tenths to 3.7 (6+) and jumps from #17 to #12. Adding one-half share to August’s +.3 (.5 – .8 – 1.3, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned KJR-AM “Seattle’s Sports Radio 950” improves from #28 to #23.

Returning 75% of August’s increase of four-tenths (3.2 – 2.9, -.3, 6+), Sinclair Broadcast Group all-news KOMO drops from #13 to #15; August’s 3.2 was its best 6+-stat since November 2017’s 3.4.

As a result of four consecutive decreases (6.1 – 5.6 – 5.5 – 5.2 – 4.5, 6+), Northwest Public Radio news/talk KUOW is a collective -1.6 and drifts from fourth to ninth.

Seattle Music Formats – An uptick of one-half share to 2.4 (6+) by Crista Ministries contemporary Christian KCMS-FM pulls the plug on five setbacks in succession that resulted in an overall -1.4 (3.3 – 2.7 – 2.4 – 2.3 – 2.2 – 1.9, 6+) and returns “Spirit 105.3” to the top twenty (#21 to #18). There’s another tie at #1 and it’s a familiar scenario with the Seattle stations involved. The incumbent – Hubbard Broadcasting CHR KQMV “MOViN’ 92.5 – Seattle’s #1 Hit Music Station” – drops four-tenths (6.4 – 6.0, 6+), while iHeartMedia-owned KZOK “102.5 Seattle’s Classic Rock Station” is flat at 6.0 (6+) but moves from second to a first-place tie. June’s first-place deadlock between these same two outlets was emphatically broken in July when KZOK gained nine-tenths while KQMV spiraled by eight-tenths. The roles were reversed in August as “MOViN’ 92.5” logged a +1.1 (5.3 – 6.4, third to first, 6+) while “Seattle’s Classic Rock Station” eroded by -1.0 (7.0 – 6.0, first to second, 6+). An overall -1.0 in four successive down or flat trends (7.0 – 6.8 – 6.8 – 6.6 – 6.0, 6+), KQMV ended the slump in June with a gain of one-tenth. “MOViN’” made it to #1 in April, the first time it reached the lead spot since November 2018. As a result of August’s -1.0, KZOK snapped its consecutive string of eight straight positive spikes that produced a +3.3 (3.7 – 3.9 – 4.4 – 4.5 – 4.8 – 5.6 – 6.0 – 6.1 – 7.0, 6+). Immediately in advance of that particular run, KZOK was -1.6 in four consecutive ratings periods without an increase (5.3 – 5.1 – 4.9 – 4.9 – 3.7, 6+). Repeating in third-place, Entercom adult contemporary KSWD “94.1 The Sound” is a combined +1.1 in August/September (4.4 – 5.4 – 5.5, 6+), while Hubbard Broadcasting’s similarly-formatted KRWM “Warm 106.9” is up six-tenths in the comparable period (4.3 – 4.9 – 4.9, sixth to fifth, 6+). “The Sound” and “Warm” were separated by one-tenth in May (4.5 – 4.3, 6+); June (also 4.5 – 4.4, 6+); and July (4.4 – 4.3, 6+). Prior to plummeting by -1.1 in April, “The Sound” was an overall +1.5 through three consecutive increases (3.7 – 3.8 – 5.1 – 5.2, 6+). Entering the May sweep, “Warm 106.9” recorded a 4.8 (6+) in three of the previous four reports (4.8 – 4.0 – 4.8 – 4.8, 6+) and was #1 in December and “Holiday” 2018. Tight as well is the country battle between Entercom’s KKWF “100.7 The Wolf – #1 For Country” (4.3 – 4.6, +.3, ninth to seventh, 6+) and Hubbard Broadcasting-owned KNUC “New Country 98.9 The Bull” (4.2 – 4.4, +.2, #12 to #10, 6+). “The Wolf” erased May’s +.9 with June/July’s combined -.9 (5.0 – 4.5 – 4.1, 6+). Prior to April, when it regressed by six-tenths, KKWF was a cumulative +1.4 as a result of three straight upticks (3.3- 4.3 – 4.5 – 4.7, 6+). Meanwhile, after more than doubling (+2.2) its 6+ AQH share in eight successive up or flat sweeps (2.1 – 2.1 – 2.4 – 2.8 – 3.3 – 3.5 – 4.0 – 4.2 – 4.3, 6+), “The Bull” surrendered one-tenth in August. Spiraling by one-half share each are iHeartMedia CHR KBKS “106.1 Kiss-FM” (3.2 – 2.7, #13 to #17, 6+); Classic Radio’s KING “Classical Radio 98.1” (#18 to #19); and Bustos Media regional Mexican KDDS “La Grand 99.3” (.9 – .4, #28, 6+).This (2.7) is the lowest 6+-stat for “Kiss” since February’s 2.3. KING is now -1.0 in three straight decreases (3.2 – 2.8 – 2.7 – 2.2) and has its weakest 6+-showing since January (2.0).

Monday, September 30, 2019

| September 30, 2019

FCC Grants Waiver of Ownership Regs for Sinclair Telecable in Austin. When Emmis Communications and Sinclair Telecable agreed to a $39.3 million deal for the latter to acquire full ownership of the Austin cluster that the two companies have been co-owners of since 2003, the result would have put Sinclair over the FCC’s ownership limit.  The companies applied for a waiver from the FCC and on Friday (9/27), the Commission granted the waiver.  Emmis owns 50.1% of the cluster and Sinclair owns 49.9%.  Emmis sought the waiver, calling the Austin co-ownership “unique” and the sale of its stake to the other “more akin to a corporate restructuring.”  FCC audio division chief Albert Shuldiner agreed, and in his ruling said that it’s obvious that Emmis and Sinclair are not trying to get around the ownership caps.  “In fact, it appears that this transaction is part of Emmis’ ongoing efforts to divest its radio stations.”  The Austin station group includes: news/talk KLBJ-AM, alternative KROX, adult contemporary KGSR, regional Mexican KLZT, and adult hits KBPA (as well as HD2 stations “Austin City Limits Radio” and “Latino 102.7”).

Monday Memo: Play the Hits. If you host an ask-the-expert show, you’re working “a sales funnel.”  This week, in part two of a series, consultant Holland Cooke explains how weekend talk radio hosts can borrow a success technique from music radio.  Read it here.

Impeachment Inquiry/Ukraine Aid Issue, Biden Campaign’s Giuliani Request, 2020 Presidential Race, MBS’ ‘60 Minutes’ Interview, Hong Kong Protests, Netanyahu’s Future, and Kanye’s ‘Jesus Is King’ Album Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The Democrat-led impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the related issue of the president’s withholding of approved aid for Ukraine; the Joe Biden campaign’s request of news organizations to stop giving Trump attorney/adviser Rudy Giuliani air time; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020; Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman denies ordering the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi during “60 Minutes” interview; the continuing protests in Hong Kong as the 70th anniversary of the Communist Takeover approaches; the future of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he tries to build a coalition with his main rival; and the controversy over Kanye West’s Jesus Is King album that failed to be released were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

iHeartMedia Announces Second Annual iHeartRadio Podcast Awards. In a press release, iHeartMedia says that in celebration of International Podcast Day, it is announcing the return of the iHeartRadio Podcast Awards to the iHeartRadio Theater Los Angeles on Friday, January 17, 2020 at 8:00 pm PT.  It will be broadcast and streamed live across iHeartMedia stations nationwide.  The awards will cover 30 categories and the live event will feature appearances by award nominees, celebrity presenters, and other special guests.  iHeartPodcast president Conal Byrne says, “When we introduced the iHeartRadio Podcast Awards last year, we knew we wanted to celebrate the most talented podcast creators out there – the key reason that podcasting continues to grow exponentially.  The response to last year’s awards was amazing.  This is the one time of the year that all the most popular podcasters come together to celebrate the community of podcasting truly as colleagues, not competitors.  The iHeartRadio Podcast Awards bring everyone into one room – the biggest hosts, producers and distributors – all committed to this amazing podcast medium and to seeing its incredible growth continue.”

TALKERS News Notes. From the Windy City, media writer Robert Feder reports two items of note.  First, Nexstar Media Group is making a change to news/talk WGN-AM, Chicago’s imaging.  Chicago media figure Bill Kurtis is no longer voicing the station’s imaging.  That is duty is now being handled by New York-based voiceover pro Steve Kamer.  Feder notes that new jingles for WGN-AM now use the familiar music from sister WGN-TV’s newscasts.  Feder quotes a Nexstar spokesman saying, “We are embracing our Midwest roots.  Going to bring back the warmness of WGN — a station for everyone.”  Second, Jennifer Weigel moves from serving as co-host of the “Mancow in the Morning” program on Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM to hosting her own program airing from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight on the station, replacing the syndicated John Batchelor program.  WLS-AM PD Stephanie Tichenor calls it “the only locally produced, female-hosted show in our market”…..SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio channel is presenting a special radio documentary celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1969 “Miracle Mets” World Series victory — the memorable first world championship in the young franchise’s history following seven consecutive losing seasons.  Titled, “Amazin’: A Celebration of the 1969 Mets,” it features new interviews with several members of the ’69 Mets including Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, Ed Kranepool, Cleon Jones, Ron Swoboda, Jerry Koosman, Jerry Grote, Duffy Dyer, Rod Gaspar, Wayne Garrett, J.C. Martin, Jim McAndrew, Bobby Pfeil, Art Shamsky and Al Weis, as well as manager Gil Hodges’ wife Joan and son Gil Jr., and Tommy Agee’s wife Maxcine. Listeners will also hear previously recorded memories from Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver.  SiriusXM’s Ed Randall hosts the special…..Digital audio advertising firm DAX brings Chris Blackburn aboard to serve as EVP for sales and business development.  Blackburn was most recently with SoundCloud where he was responsible for overseeing and growing its worldwide ad-sales business…..Below, WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island talk show host John DePetro (right) poses for a photo with Southeast Massachusetts Sheriff Tom Hodgson (left) on the White House lawn during a ceremony in which America’s Sheriffs and Angel Families presented President Trump with a plaque of appreciation for his work combating illegal immigration.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.   Programing pro Steven Lewis is named program director and afternoon drive host at Cumulus Media’s rock WNDX, Indianapolis “93.9X,” effective October 7.  He moves to Indy from Cincinnati where he was assistant director of custom/national programming for iHeartMedia.  WNDX operations manager Christopher “Boomer” Layfield says, “‘93.9X’ shot out of a cannon to incredible audience response when we launched back in May, thanks to Doug Hamand, Troy Hanson, Derek Madden, and Jim Kurdziel.  We’re now adding just the right mad rock programming genius to make us dangerous… in a good way.  Steven is ideally suited to lead this team.  I share his vision and look forward to working with him to firmly establish the ‘93.9X’ brand in Indy.”…..iHeartMedia’s alternative KTBZ, Houston “94.5 The Buzz” names Tessa Barrera co-host of “The Rod Ryan Morning Show” alongside Rod Ryan, Alex Middleton, and executive producer, Jose “The Chile” Santos.   Station PD Elliott Wood says, “Tessa brings an amazingly strong on-air presence along with an accomplished set of skills in radio, news, sports, and television.”  She comes to Houston from the company’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles where she served as a news anchor and executive producer…..It’s getting close to Jingle Ball season for the 12 iHeartMedia CHR stations that are hosting a Jingle Ball concert.  With Capital One again on board as the title sponsor, the company announces that some of the acts seen will include: Taylor Swift, Camila Cabello, Halsey, 5SOS, Lizzo, Dan + Shay, Monsta X, Fletcher, Jonas Brothers, NF, Niall Horan, French Montana, Why Don’t We, Zara Larsson, and Lewis Capaldi.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

| March 27, 2019

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk radio.  The period between the end of the NFL season and the start of the MLB season usually means a dip in ratings for sports talk radio stations and this year is no different as 73% of sports talkers see a decrease in their weekly 6+ AQH share from the January 2019 survey to the February 2019 PPM survey.  Comparing last February to this, about half of the sports talk stations on our panel are up with the other half down or unchanged.  Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” was the highest-ranking station (6+) during the February survey, finishing the month at #3 in the Boston market with a 6.4 share.  Entercom’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “93.7 FM The Fan” is the sports station with the highest 6+ share in February with a 6.5.  See all the data here.

Mike Gallagher and Salem Radio Network Renew Through 2023. Talk radio pro Mike Gallagher and Salem Radio Network will continue to work together through 2023 as Salem announces the company and Gallagher have agreed to a new contract.  Gallagher’s 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET show is heard on more than 420 affiliate stations via SRN.  Salem SVP Phil Boyce says, “We are honored to have had Mike Gallagher in our Salem family for over two decades and thrilled to continue our long and fruitful relationship with him.  Mike’s thoughtful and expert commentary is exactly what America needs in these turbulent times we live in, and it’s no wonder he is Salem’s highest-rated program.”  Gallagher comments, “Every broadcaster should be lucky enough to work for Salem Media Group.  I’ve worked hard and they’ve rewarded me with a partnership that will have spanned at least 22 years, a rarity in our business.  I’m so grateful to Ed Atsinger, Dave Santrella, and Phil Boyce for their support and visionary leadership.  And I will always appreciate Greg Anderson, who has since retired, for believing in me back in 2001 and bringing me into the Salem family.”

Jason Page Joins iHub Radio in Palm Springs. As the Palm Springs locally focused internet radio station iHub Radio approaches its first birthday, it announces that sports talk personality Jason Page is taking over the afternoon drive program, effective April 1.  Page has served with NBC Sports Radio, ESPN, and SiriusXM.  iHub Radio was founded by programmer John McMullen who asked Page to help with coverage of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.  McMullen says, “Jason brought his A-game for the entirety of his stay in February and March.  After two weeks of upsets on the tennis courts, I felt that the timing was right on our final broadcast from Indian Wells to wrap up with a positive surprise. We offered Jason a full-time opportunity to not only take our 3 to 6 pm weekday slot, but to join our management team and put his vision in play for social media and other multimedia opportunities that are likely to involve expanding some of our local talent beyond the iHub Radio platform and local market.” In addition to hosting afternoons, Page will be director of multimedia platforms for the media outlet.  McMullen is giving up hosting the afternoon show to focus on management responsibilities. McMullen says iHub Radio is hyper-focused on its local connection to a marketplace rather than proactively seeking a national or global audience.  He adds that as the platform nears its first anniversary and continues to increase its weekly unique audience numbers that rival the terrestrial competition and double the time spent listening of most traditional talk stations, the company will enter its second year with an eye towards creating a handful of programming products that could ultimately be part of the terrestrial radio landscape by 2020.

Cox Media Group: Study Shows Our Customers Are ‘More Satisfied.’ The results of a three-year study designed to measure advertiser expectations and perceptions of traditional and digital advertising at CMG indicates CMG customers rate many CMG advertising solutions at least two to three-times higher than non-CMG advertisers rate similar competitor services on return on investment.  The survey of more than 450 businesses – including CMG customers and non-CMG customers – was done by research firm Magid. The advertising solutions include programmatic advertising, digital video, native, and traditional media.  Cox Media Group EVP of content, digital strategy, technology, and research Marian Pittman says, “This is part of the culture and commitment at Cox Media Group.  Our entire team is focused on driving results for our advertisers, providing innovative solutions and being a true partner for our clients.  We have a relentless focus on tracking, monitoring and optimizing every advertisers’ campaign.  The results of the survey show our clients agree.”

Westwood One’s 2019 Audioscape Report Highlights Podcasting and Smart Speaker Data. The company says this report examines the podcast and smart speaker consumer, listener, and user trends, podcast consumption among smart speaker users, and marketer and agency sentiment for advertising in podcasts and smart speaker environments.  Westwood One reveals some of what it calls the key findings on podcasting and smart speakers: 1) The podcast audience is maturing with the median age advancing from 29 in 2017 to 35 in 2018.  However, 2) podcast listeners are far more engaged and one-and-a-half times more attentive than social media audiences.  3) Smart speaker ownership has tripled in two years with 23% of U.S. households owning a smart speaker, and 4) GenXers – adults between the ages of 35 and 54 – represent the largest segment of smart speaker owners (38%). See more here.

TALKERS News Notes.  WIBC-FM, Indianapolis-based, independently syndicated talk host Tony Katz adds Emmis Communications’ KLBJ-AM, Austin to his roster of affiliate stations for his “Tony Katz Today” program, effective April 15. Katz hosts the “Tony Katz and the Morning News” on WIBC-FM and his “Tony Katz Today” talk show airs live from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET.  KLBJ-AM program director Mark Caesar says, “We are very excited about Tony Katz joining the NewsRadio KLBJ lineup.  Tony is a great guy who knows how to blend his excellent sense of humor with his strong insight on the day’s biggest stories.”…..MSG Networks and ESPN O&O WEPN, New York “ESPN New York 98.7FM” announce a new multi-year agreement that ensures the station continues to serve as the radio home of the New York Knicks and New York Rangers.   WEPN has served in this role since 2004.  “ESPN New York” vice president and general manager Tim McCarthy says, “We are proud to continue our 15-year relationship with the New York Knicks and New York Rangers.  As ‘98.7 ESPN’ continues to expand our listener base, the Knicks and Rangers serve as an integral component of our programming lineup.”…..Bonneville International’s sports talk KMVP-FM, Phoenix “Arizona Sports” inks a deal to serve as the radio and digital home for the Phoenix Rising FC for the 2019 season.  As part of the deal, “Arizona Sports” will stream all Phoenix Rising FC games live on ArizonaSports.com as well as air three Phoenix Rising FC games on sister KTAR-AM “ESPN 620,” beginning in June.  The partnership will also include a dedicated page of Rising coverage on ArizonaSports.com along with a weekly podcast hosted by Kellan Olson.

Mueller Investigation Aftermath, Obamacare Battle, Jussie Smollett Case, Green New Deal Vote, Israel-Gaza Tensions, Brexit Redux, NBA Action and NCAA Tournament Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/26).The aftermath of Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation; the battle between the Trump administration and Democrats over the status of the Affordable Care Act; the Illinois state prosecutor’s decision not to charge actor Jussie Smollett; the U.S. Senate vote on the Green New Deal; the tensions in Israel over the missile strike from the Gaza Strip; the uncertainty surrounding the Brexit status; and NBA action and the NCAA Tournament 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 Charese Fruge is no longer with Radio One as the CHR format captain and program director for CHR outlets KROI, Houston and WNOW, Indianapolis.  Fruge had previously served with the old CBS RADIO in Houston as vice president of programming and operations manager as well as PD for KHMX and KKHH…..On-air personality Amber “Alabama” Cole is the new morning show contributor for iHeartMedia’s CHR KBKS, Seattle “106.1 Kiss FM.”  She exited the company’s Chicago country outlet WEBG “Big 95.5” where she was midday host back in December…..Griffin Communications announces that country recording artist Joe Diffie is joining the KXBL, Tulsa “Big Country 99.5” air staff, hosting the midday show.  Diffie is based in Nashville and will voice track the program, even when he’s on the road this summer.  Station program director Brian Jennings says, “Joe’s music is a reflection of the dominance of Oklahoma artists that have become part of the country music soundtrack across the nation. And ‘Big Country’ is the only station in Tulsa that is positioned to properly celebrate that legacy.  Think about the influence that Oklahoma music has on the nation: Joe Diffie, Reba,Garth, Vince Gill, Toby Keith, Ronnie Dunn, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood…shall I go on? Having Joe on as part of the team brings Tulsa pride to his national status.  I am so proud.”

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