Tag: "KOZN"

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

| August 14, 2019

And the (Topical) Hits Just Keep on Coming – Stay focused on China!  Although the news itself can hardly be called “good,” news/talk radio continues to be the beneficiary of a non-stop tsunami of intensely compelling topics playing out on multiple tracks that has kept the format a major appointment destination for news junkies as well as people with a casual interest in current events. According to TALKERS research, yesterday’s (8/13) most-discussed topic remained the mysterious and controversial death of Jeffrey Epstein (which it has been all week) followed closely by the economic implications of the US-China trade war.  The Hong Kong protests have generated enormous interest and people are still extremely engrossed in the Dayton/El Paso shootings which have spawned opinions and analysis of gun control legislation, violence in American entertainment and the nation’s handling of mental illness.  According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “It appears that talk show hosts would be wise to stay focused on China and educate themselves to every aspect of its Communist government’s relentless strategy to compete with US interests on all fronts going forward from a position of unfair trade practices to outright hostility for what will likely be years to come.”

Arizona Coyotes Now Skating With KGME. As part of a multi-platform broadcast and streaming agreement between iHeartMedia Phoenix and the Arizona Coyotes, iHM sports talk KGME “Fox Sports 910” takes over as the NHL team’s principal radio outlet. Additionally, the Arizona Coyotes Audio Network will provide exclusive content via the iHeartRadio app (when the NHL season starts on October 3). Coyotes’ games were previously carried by Bonneville Phoenix-owned KMVP-FM “Arizona Sports 98.7.” According to iHeartMedia Phoenix market president Linda Little, “The entire team at iHeartMedia is excited to be the new home for the Arizona Coyotes, especially at such an exciting time for the team. Working together, we will build our all-in agreement between the Arizona Coyotes and ‘Fox Sports 910’ across our entire iHeartMedia platform of well-known audio brands in Phoenix and on our iHeartRadio app.” The Coyotes were recently acquired by California-based Meruelo Group, whose holdings include Meruelo Media. Coyotes president and chief executive officer Ahron Cohen comments, “We are thrilled to partner with ‘Fox Sports 910.’ As we strive to build and cultivate new Coyotes fans, this multi-dimensional partnership – including iHeartMedia’s multitude of media platforms – provides us with unparalleled touchpoints to a broad cross-section of the Valley’s population. Equally important is iHeart’s ability to deliver an exceptional fan entertainment experience for all of our robust Coyotes content that will enhance our fans’ connectivity to the team.” Play-by-play announcer Bob Heethuis will return for his 15th season with the team and Paul Bissonnette will be back as analyst. All 82 regular-season games will air on “Fox Sports 910” and simulcast on Tucson sibling KTZR “Fox Sports 1450 AM.”

KOZN Prepares Severe Homecoming. Host of “The Bottom Line” on SummitMedia-owned sports talk KXSP “AM 590 ESPN Omaha,” Mike’l Severe, returns to cross-town NRG Media’s similarly-formatted KOZN “1620 “The Zone” tomorrow (Thursday, 8/15) after a five-year absence. Severe and Damon Benning will form “Severe and Benning in the Morning” (6:00 am – 10:00 am). NRG Omaha market manager Mark Shecterle comments that University of Nebraska football national champion Benning and local radio/television sports personality Severe “will offer listeners a new blend of morning sports radio. They will be able to give listeners an intense focus on all local sports. We are excited to bring back Mike’l Severe to the NRG family.” Former morning show co-host Gary Sharp transitions to mid-days (10:00 am – 2:00 pm) replacing Nick Bahe. Shecterle notes that Sharp will have “the platform to fully exhibit his expertise in sports analysis and his legendary interviewing skills. Gary has deserved his own show for a while and we are thrilled that he will be anchoring our mid-day slot. By moving [Sharp] to mid-days, we truly believe we have a sports-talk line-up second to none.” John Bishop and Josh Peterson-hosted “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” continues in afternoon drive (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm), while Nebraska football post game show, “Big Red Over Reaction,” will be simulcast on KOZN’s classic rock cluster-mate KOOO “101.9 The Keg.”

iHM Wheeling/Parkersburg Boosts Bommer to MP. The onetime vice president of business operations for the Wheeling Nailers, Craig Bommer, is named market president for iHeartMedia’s West Virginia stations in Wheeling and Parkersburg. Region president for iHeartMedia Pittsburgh and West Virginia Tim McAleer states, “I am excited for Craig to lead and demonstrate his leadership capabilities as market president by helping to grow each market’s revenue.” Bommer remarks, “This opportunity is a new and exciting challenge in my career path. I look forward to working with everyone to help build upon the success each market has achieved.” The West Liberty University alum began his career at iHeartMedia in 2016 as senior vice president of sales for the company’s Wheeling and Parkersburg stations. Those outlets include: news/talk WWVA “News Radio 1170”; news/talk WLTP “News Radio 910”; sports talk WBBD “Fox Sports AM 1400 Wheeling”; WEGW “Eagle 107.5 The Rock Station”; adult contemporary WKWK “Mix 97.3”; WOVK “Country 98.7”; CHR WVKF “Kiss 95.7”; classic hits-oldies WDMX “Mix 100”; WNUS “Country 107”; and CHR WRVB “102 The River.”

TALKERS News Notes. After working at Premiere Networks the past 21 years, senior director of affiliate sales Tom Garrett departs. Garrett previously programmed in Rockford (Illinois) at WROK & WZOK. In addition he was responsible for non-traditional revenue event marketing for Connoisseur’s Rockford and Quad Cities (Illinois-Iowa) stations ….. The relationship between afternoon drive talent George Plaster and Ryman Hospitality Properties’ WSM-AM, Nashville has come to an end after one month. In a tweet sent out yesterday (Tuesday, 8/13), Plaster writes, “Sorry to pass this [a]long, but I have parted ways with WSM-AM. My intention is to begin a podcast with a target around Labor Day. Thanks to all of you who supported us.” Plaster hosted “Sports Night” shows in Nashville on sports talk stations WGFX “104.5 The Zone” and WPRT “102.5 The Game,” as well as WWTN “Super Talk 99.7.” He took a break from radio three years ago but joined WSM-AM in 2017 for a weekend program; Plaster’s weekday effort commenced July 15 ….. Brand manager/morning host of Townsquare Media Bangor (Maine) sports talk WEZQ “92.9 The Ticket,” Dale Duff, will segue to 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm, effective next Monday (8/19). Duff makes room for Wayne Harvey’s 6:00 am – 8:00 am “Morning Line.” Harvey has worked at Bangor stations WABI-TV and WZON-AM “The Zone.”

The Return of the Pitch Pod. For the second straight year, attendees of “Podcast Movement 2019” can venture inside CUMULUS MEDIA’s Westwood One “Pitch Pod” and tell their story for a chance to win consultative services from the Westwood One Podcast Network. This mini-studio is located in the main hallway of the conference. The Podcast Movement kicked off yesterday (Tuesday, 8/13) and runs through this Friday (8/16) in Orlando at Rosen Shingle Creek.

Urban One, Smith Slapped with Sexual Harassment Suit. On the same day “Hurricane” Dave Smith exited as Radio One Atlanta’s vice president of programming/operations, former urban contemporary WHTA “Hot 107.9” on-air personality Feleg Abraham (using the air name Shorty Mack) filed a lawsuit in the (Georgia) state court of Fulton County alleging multiple instances of sexual harassment by her then-boss (Smith). After working at “Hot 107.9” for 14 months, Abraham left in February 2018 and now does mid-days for Davis Broadcasting Columbus, Georgia urban contemporary WFXE “Foxie 105.” Radio One parent, Urban One regional vice president Timothy Davies last week declined to comment about Smith’s dismissal; however, in a published report last Monday (8/5), Smith claims he was terminated owing to “a misunderstanding.” Urban One executive vice president/chief administrative officer Karen Wishart states, “The allegations made by Feleg Abraham against Dave Smith, both former employees of Urban One, are unsettling. As a company founded by an African-American woman [Cathy Hughes] with a long history of empowering women in the workplace, Urban One takes these allegations very seriously. After Ms. Abraham left Urban One to take a new job, we were notified of her complaint and conducted a thorough, independent investigation. In light of the ongoing litigation, we cannot provide further comment on this matter.” Charges in Abraham’s lawsuit include intentional infliction of emotional distress by Smith; negligent infliction of emotional distress by Urban One; negligent hiring, retention, and supervision; assault and battery; and false imprisonment. The suit claims Smith made “unwanted sexual comments about Ms. Abraham’s body and would often ask her when he would be allowed to see her naked.” It references an incident that allegedly took place on May 22, 2017 in which Smith is said to have trapped Abraham in his office. As Rodney Ho reports in The Atlanta Journal Constitution, a statement regarding the lawsuit released yesterday afternoon (Tuesday, 8/13) by Smith reads, “This is an organized attempt by some former employees looking to capitalize on the #MeToo climate. I categorically deny these disgusting statements. I have no further comment.”

 More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Music director and afternoon drive host of Entercom Miami classic hits-oldies WMXJ “102.7 The Beach,” DJ Holiday, adds even more responsibilities as assistant program director. Entercom South Florida senior vice president/market manager Keriann Worley explains, “This is a natural move for DJ Holiday and our station. DJ Holiday has grown up with this music and has an intimate knowledge of the market, having spent many nights spinning at Miami clubs. We’re thrilled to have him step up into the APD role and look forward to his increased contributions to the station’s success.” Holiday, who has been with “The Beach” since it debuted in 2016,  opines, “There’s always something new to learn and room to grow professionally. I’d like to extend my heartfelt thanks to my Entercom family for the opportunity to do so.” … KNDD “107.7 The End” mid-day talent “Alyssa” is promoted to music director at the Entercom Seattle alternative outlet. Program director Leslie Scott remarks that, “In her three years here, Alyssa has proven to be a huge music lover, a supporter of all things ‘107.7 The End,’ and a champion of the power of radio. I can think of no better team in alternative than ours and Alyssa’s new position reinforces that.” Alyssa notes, “It is an honor to be part of this incredible team. I’m looking forward to jumping into this role under the guidance of Leslie and [assistant program director/afternoon drive talent] Walt [Flakus].” … Effective this Friday (8/16), seven-month KXOJ “94.1 Tulsa’s Christian Music Station” evening show host Jeremiah St. James adds assistant program director duties at the Stephens Media Group contemporary Christian station. According to Stephens Media Group owner David Stephens, “Jeremiah is one of those rare talents whose potential seems limitless. He is forward-thinking and is more about where radio is going than where it has been.” SMG senior vice president of programming & technology/KXOJ program director Bob Thornton notes, “Jeremiah is a gifted imaging and branding specialist who is going to bring a tremendous amount of energy and new ideas to our building.” ….. Program director Caleb James exits NRG Media Omaha rhythmic CHR KOPW “Power 106.9” and hot AC KQKQ “Sweet 98.5.”

 

 

July 2019 PPM Data. July 2019 ratings information has been released for San Antonio, Sacramento, and Pittsburgh. Nielsen Audio’s July 2019 survey period covered June 20 – July 17. Managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@Talkers.com) provides his “Takeaways” from these three PPM-markets.

San Antonio

Spoken-Word Formats – The rollercoaster ride continues for iHeartMedia news/talk WOAI “News Radio 1200 – San Antonio’s News, Traffic, & Weather,” which was +1.1 in April (4.2 – 5.3, 6+); an equally divided -1.0 in May and June (5.3 – 4.8 – 4.3,  6+); and now +.7 in July (5.0, sixth to fifth, 6+). Up until April when it logged a 5.3, WOAI hadn’t reached the five-share level (6+) since August 2016’s 5.2. For the third month in a row, Alpha Media news/talk KTSA “Stay Connected” loses one-tenth (1.5 – 1.4 – 1.3 – 1.2 – 1.1, #22 to #24, 6+).

In June, KTSA’s sports talk sibling KZDC “ESPN San Antonio” and iHeartMedia’s KTKR “Ticket 760 – San Antonio’s Sports Station” were tied at #32. Both are flat at .3 (6+) and are again deadlocked – this time at #30.

This is the seventh report in a row Texas Public Radio news/talk KSTX (+.3, #16 to #12) logs a 6+-share between 3.3 – 3.7 (3.5 – 3.7 – 3.4 – 3.1 – 3.1 – 3.0 – 3.3, 6+).

San Antonio Music Formats – Roaring back from June’s one-half share loss with a July uptick of eight-tenths (3.8 – 4.6, 6+), Alpha Media adult hits KJXK “102.7 Jack-FM – Playing What We Want” returns to the top ten (#11 to #7). Prior to June – when it slipped to 3.8 – San Antonio’s version of “Jack” last fell below a four-share (6+) in “Holiday” 2018 (3.5). Enjoying a July 2019 jump of eight-tenths as well and zooming from #17 to #11 is iHeartMedia Spanish contemporary KZEP “104.5 Latino Hits,” which records its third bump in succession for a collective +1.4 (2.1 – 2.4 – 2.7 – 3.5, 6+). This (3.5) is the first time in exactly one year that “Latino Hits” hits a three-share (3.1, July 2018). Five successive negative or neutral trends resulted in a nearly 50% decline (-.6) of its 6+-stat (1.4 – 1.1 – 1.0 – .8 – .8 – .8, 6+), but iHeartMedia regional Mexican KQXT-HD3 answers with a gain of seven-tenths to 1.5 (#22, 6+). When Univision Radio rhythmic hot AC KVBH gained one-tenth in June (to 2.1, 6+), it suspended at four a consecutive string of negative or neutral moves that accounted for an overall -1.4 (3.4 – 3.1 – 3.1 – 2.9 – 2.0, 6+). “The Vibe” now adds another six-tenths to 2.7 (#20 to #16, 6+). In mid-April, Tejano KXTN transitioned to KVBH “The Vibe.” While Cox Media Group classic hits-oldies KONO-FM is the market pacesetter the fifth month in a row, “101.1 San Antonio’s Greatest Hits” erodes by -1.1 (8.2 – 7.1, 6+). Whereas May’s +1.1 took KONO-FM to 8.5, its highest 6+-stat since September 2018’s 8.8, July’s 7.1 is its  lowest 6+-showing since 6.0 in “Holiday” 2018. “San Antonio’s Greatest Hits” had been in the runner-up slot five successive times before progressing to #1 in March. Significant alternating ups/down continue for Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian KZLV. In the last four reports, San Antonio’s version of “Positive & Encouraging K-Love” has been +.5 (April); -1.0 (May); +1.5 (June); and now -1.2 in July (3.9 – 2.7, 6+). KZLV spirals from #10 to #16. Entering the July 2019 sweep, Alpha Media regional Mexican KSAH notched three straight positive or neutral trends netting nine-tenths (2.3 – 2.6 – 2.6 – 3.2, 6+). That entire increase drifts away with a -.9 to 2.3 (#13 to #19, 6+). June’s 3.2 was its best 6+-showing since November 2018 (3.3). Four consecutive up or flat trends by iHeartMedia CHR KXXM accounted for an overall gain of four-tenths (3.4 – 3.6 – 3.6 – 3.8 – 3.8, 6+) but “96.1 Now” (#11 to #14) falters by seven-tenths to 3.1, its lowest 6+-stat since December 2018 (3.1, as well). Within two-share range (6+) 19 sweeps in a row before dialing up a June gain of eight-tenths to 3.2 (6+), Univision Radio Spanish contemporary KMYO regresses by one-half share to 2.7 (#13 to #16, 6+). June’s 3.2 marked the first time since December 2017’s 3.0 that “Latino Mix 95.1” hit a three-share (6+). There’s just no separating Cox Media Group-owned KCYY “Y-100 San Antonio’s New Country Leader” and iHeartMedia’s KAJA “KJ-97 San Antonio’s #1 Country Station.” They both showed June decreases of two-tenths and now July losses of one-half share: KCYY is 7.2 – 6.9 – 6.4 (6+) and KAJA is 6.2 – 6.0 – 5.5 (6+). The country rivals are anchored at second and third, respectively. Recent shifts for “Y-100” include: -.8 (December); -1.1 (“Holiday” 2018); +1.8 (January 2019); +.6 (February); -.6 (March); +.6 (May); and -.5 (July). “KJ-97” has been +.5 (September 2018); -1.1 (October); +1.0 (December); -1.0 (“Holiday” 2018); +3.0 (January 2019); –1.9 (March); and -.5 (July).

Sacramento

Spoken-Word Formats – Immediately following an erosion of nine-tenths this time last month, iHeartMedia-owned news/talk KFBK “Sacramento’s News, Weather and Traffic Station” repeats its June 6+ AQH-share (5.2) and market rank (fifth). Co-owned KSTE “Talk 650” continues an alternating down/up pattern that commenced in December 2018 and includes July’s positive spike of seven-tenths (2.4 – 2.3 – 2.5 – 2.3 – 2.7 – 2.3 – 2.6 – 2.5 – 3.2 (#14 to #12, 6+).

In five consecutive sweeps without an increase, Bonneville’s KHTK lost exactly half (-.6) its 6+ AQH share (1.2 – 1.2 – .9 – .8 – .6 – .6, 6+), but “Sports 1140” ends the slide with a one-tenth gain to .7 (#26 to #23, 6+). It is now tied with Entercom’s KIFM-AM “ESPN Radio 1320,” which repeats June’s .7 (#24 to #23, 6+).

Albeit flat in seventh-place, Capital Public Radio news/talk KXJZ notches its third straight increase for an overall +1.5 (3.5 – 4.5 – 4.7 – 5.0, 6+); December 2018’s 6.9 is the highest 6+-stat in its PPM-history. Northern California Public Broadcasting’s KQEI has an October 2018 through July 2019 topline of .6 – .6 – .7 – .6 – .7 – .7 – .6 – .7 – .5 – .7 – .6 (#24 to #25, 6+).

Sacramento Music Formats – There is interesting June 2019 – July 2019 movement for Lotus Communications regional Mexican stations with the KVMX call letters. On the plus side, KVMX-FM – which notched a .3 (6+) in April, May, and June – hangs out a multiple of seven in July to 2.1 (+1.8, 6+) and pops in the top twenty at #15. On the other hand, KVMX-AM, which was trending .9 – 1.1 – 1.4 – 1.7 (6+) for a collective March 2019 through June 2019 gain of +.8, vanishes from print in July. After checking in with a 1.3 (#20, 6+) in June, Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian KLVB disappears as well. Frozen on 4.2 (6+) in March, April, and May before slipping to 4.1 (6+) in June, iHeartMedia urban-rhythmic oldies KHYL adds six-tenths to 4.7 (6+) as “V-101” progresses from tenth to eighth. Notwithstanding it is #1 the sixth month in a row (including January’s first-place tie with iHeartMedia news/talk KFBK), Entercom-owned KSEG “96.9 The Eagle – Sacramento’s Classic Rock” falters -1.1 in June/July (8.9 – 8.3 – 7.8, 6+). “The Eagle” held the lead position ten consecutive survey periods before shifting to #2 in December. Seven of its recent fluctuations include -1.1 (November 2018); -.8 (“Holiday” 2018); +1.0 (February 2019); -.5 (April); +.9 (May); -.6 (June); and -.5 (July). In each of the last 16 survey periods, Entravision Communications’ KNTY notched a 6+-share between 2.0 – 2.5. That streak comes to an end as KNTY drops eight-tenths to 1.3 (#16 to #19, 6+). That’s not the only thing though that KNTY dropped during the July 2019 sweep: Country “101.9 The Wolf” became regional Mexican La Tricolor and is simulcasting KRCX (1.7 – 1.6, -.1, flat at #18). Returning all of June’s half-share increase and one-tenth more (2.3 – 1.7, -.6, 6+), Spanish adult hits sibling KXSE “104.3 La Suavecita” slips from #15 to #17; June’s 2.3 was its best 6+-stat since 2.4 in November 2018. Three straight downturns (5.6 – 5.0 – 4.2 – 3.7, 6+) by Entercom alternative KKDO produce a combined -1.9 and “Alt 94.7” exits the top ten (#9 to #11). This immediately follows April’s gain of nine-tenths. While it repeats at #2, iHeartMedia classic rocker KYRV “93.7 The River” surrenders three-tenths to 6.3 (6+), thus halting four consecutive upticks that netted a +1.4 (5.2 – 5.3 – 5.5 – 5.7 – 6.6, 6+). Adult contemporary stations hold this California market’s eighth and tenth slots in July 2019. Specifically, Entercom’s KYMX “Mix 96 – Today’s Hits/Yesterday’s Favorites,” without a gain the past three sweeps for a collective -1.6 (6.2 – 5.7 – 4.6 – 4.6, 6+), picks up one-tenth to 4.7 (#8, 6+). Meanwhile, iHeartMedia’s KBEB “92.5 The Breeze” is off two-tenths in June/July (4.1 – 4.1 – 3.9, 6+). “Mix” and “The Breeze” continue at eighth and tenth, respectively. June’s 4.6 was the weakest 6+-stat for “Mix” since September 2015’s 4.5. Formerly “92.5 The Bull – #1 for New Country,” KBEB transitioned to adult contemporary as “The Breeze” in early-November (2018). It netted a +2.1 in three straight positive spikes (2.4 – 3.1 – 3.7 – 4.5, 6+), in advance of March/April’s -.8 (4.5 – 4.3 – 3.7, 6+).

Pittsburgh

Spoken-Word Formats – As a result of six straight February 2019 through July 2019 decreases (5.1 – 4.6 – 4.3 – 4.1 – 3.7 – 3.3 – 3.2, 6+), Entercom’s KDKA-AM “News Radio 1020” is -1.9 and slips from #11 to #12.

Co-owned sports talk/Pirates flagship KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan,” which dropped seven-tenths in May (6.8 – 6.1, 6+), forfeits the two-tenths it picked up in June (6.1 – 6.3 – 6.1, 6+) but carries on in fourth-place. The ultra-consistent September 2018 through June 2019 topline for iHeartMedia sports talk WBGG 970 AM – ESPN Pittsburgh” is 2 – .2 – .2 – .3 – .2 – .2 – .2 – .2 – .3 – .2 – .2 – .2 (#23 to #17, 6+).

Bouncing back from June’s loss of six-tenths with a July increase of three-tenths, Essential Public Media news/talk WESA “90.5 Pittsburgh’s NPR Station” progresses from tenth to ninth and is trending 4.2 – 3.6 – 4.2 – 3.6 – 3.9 (6+).

Pittsburgh Music Formats – In four straight decreases, iHeartMedia alternative WXDX was an overall -1.8 (4.8 – 4.3 – 4.4 – 3.1 – 3.0, 6+); however, “105.9 The X” erases one-third of that deficit with a July uptick of six-tenths (3.6, #12 to #11, 6+). July 2019’s top three “Steel City” finishers are separated by one-half share. The combination of iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies WWSW “94.5 3WS” gaining four-tenths and co-owned rock WDVE sputtering by twice that margin (9.5 – 8.7, -.8, 6+) results in “3WS” progressing from third to first and WDVE segueing from first to second. WWSW is a combined +1.2 in June/July (7.7 – 8.5 – 8.9, 6+) with July’s 8.9 its best 6+-stat since 13.6 in “Holiday” 2018 when “94.5 3WS” was #1. The six most recent shifts for WDVE, which was #1 the past five reports, are: +.8 (February); +.8 again (March); -.9 (April); +.6 (May); +.6 again (June); and -.8 (July). In four straight upticks, Steel City Media adult hits WRRK was +2.3 (6.9 – 7.4 – 8.0 – 8.2 – 9.2, 6+), but “96.9 Bob FM” relinquishes eight-tenths in July to 8.4, sliding from second to third. In June, “Bob” reached the nine-share level (9.2, 6+) for the first time since December 2017’s 9.0. The just-concluded positive streak directly follows a -1.8 in three consecutive sweeps without an increase (8.7 – 7.7 – 7.7 – 6.9, 6+). As Steel City Media-owned hot AC WLTJ “Q-92.9” records its third straight boost for a net gain of nine-tenths (3.0 – 3.1 – 3.7 – 3.9, unchanged at #9, 6+), Entercom’s similarly-formatted WBZZ “Star 100.7” has its third consecutive down or flat report for an overall loss of nine-tenths (5.0 – 5.0 – 4.4 – 4.1, flat at #8, 6+). The +2.0 advantage WBZZ held over WLTJ in April is down to two-tenths. Apparently, it is that time again for Forever Media to pull its Nielsen Audio subscription as five Forever Media stations that have been listed in April, May, and June disappear from print, as they’ve done before. The five are: classic hits-oldies WKPL (1.7, June 2019, 6+); classic country WLYI (1.4, June 2019); country WOGI (.9, June 2019, 6+); country WOGG (.8, June 2019, 6+); and classic hits-oldies WPKL (.7, June 2019, 6+).

Thursday, May 16, 2019

| May 16, 2019

2019 RTDNA Newsroom Survey Shows More Radio News Being Produced, More Staff Added. The 2019 RTDNA/Lawrence Herbert School of Communication at Hofstra University Newsroom Survey – conducted annually for the past 25 years by Emeritus Distinguished Professor Bob Papper – indicates that “more radio and TV stations are producing more news, hiring more staff, investing in investigative and community-service reporting and adapting to changing technology.”  The news for commercial news/talk radio stations isn’t necessarily good since it appears greater participation in the survey by public radio newsrooms and major market newsrooms has beefed up those numbers.  Papper says, “The latest RTDNA/Hofstra University Survey shows the typical (median) radio news operation had a full-time news staff of one – the same as it’s been since I started doing these surveys 25 years ago.  All told, 80.8% of all multi-station local groups operate with a centralized newsroom.  That’s down 3 points from last year’s 84.1%.  The biggest differences in radio news staffing are between commercial and non-commercial stations. Along with a news director, the average commercial radio station has half a reporter (0.5) while the average non-commercial station has almost 2 (1.9). On the other side, the average commercial station has about a third of a person (0.3) in sports, and the average non- commercial station has zero. Usually, we go from year to year in radio news staffing with little to no change. Not this year. The median – or typical – number of radio news people at a station remained at 1.  That’s the same number it’s been for the quarter century that I’ve been doing this survey. But the average number of radio news people (per station) in this year’s survey soared from 2 to 3.1.  That’s a huge jump. And while we see that jump at its most pronounced at major market stations, every market category went up.”  Read more here

WMFS, Memphis to Launch ‘Giannotto & Jeffrey’ Afternoon Show. Sports talk WMFS-AM/FM, Memphis “92.9 FM ESPN” is launching a new 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm show featuring Mark Giannotto and Jeffrey Wright on Monday (5/20). Giannotto is a lead columnist for the Memphis Commercial Appeal who previously was a sports reporter for the Washington Post.  Wright serves as producer for the station’s 9:00 am to 11:00 am show hosted by Geoff Calkins and lead fill-in host.  The station says Connor Dunning will serve as the show’s executive producer. Dunning also is the social media/web/marketing lead for Entercom Memphis.

WSGW’s ‘Listen to the Mrs.’ Debuts in Podcast Form. The “Listen to the Mrs.” show has aired on WSGW, Saginaw, Michigan for the past 66 years, making it one of the longest-running talk shows in Michigan.  Now, the program that began as an “on-air, kitchen-to-kitchen network sharing recipes and homemaker tips over the phone” is morphing into a podcast.  Alpha Media announces the debut of the podcast version of “Listen to the Mrs.” with co-hosts Ann Williams (left) and Art Lewis (right).  Williams serves as the station’s news director and Lewis hosts the daily 9:00 am to 10:00 am program on the station.  Operations manager Dave Maurer says, “While we still like to hear from people raving about a great dish they had and sharing the recipe, the days of listeners calling to ask if we have a meatloaf recipe have given way to the Internet browser. Our new approach is sharing food trends, new cooking methods, and lifestyle information.”  WSGW has published 11 limited edition cookbooks over the past 30 years.  Only number 11 remains available.

KOZN, Omaha Hosts Olympic Champion Katie Ledecky. Olympic swimming champion Katie Ledecky (center) is pictured above with sports talk hosts Gary Sharp (left) and Damon Benning (right).  She appeared on the station’s morning show to promote the Olympic Swim Trials returning to Omaha.

TALKERS News Notes. The Tampa Bay Times is reporting that Bubba the Love Sponge is in danger of losing his Bubba Raceway Park property in Ocala, Florida that contains a racetrack, and his Bubba Radio Network studios.  The paper says he’s facing foreclosure on the property as Valley National Bank is suing him saying he owes more than $94,000 after defaulting on a line of credit…..The Weiss Agency – a talent agency representing award-winning local and nationally syndicated radio personalities and producers – is launching TWA Podcast Studio and its first program is, “Ghost Magnet with Bridget Marquardt.”  Celebrity paranormal investigator Bridget Marquardt is best known as a star of E! Networks’ “The Girls Next Door.”  In this podcast, she embarks “on an exploration of self-described ghost magnets and the spirits, poltergeists, and pookas they attract.”   This newly launched podcast division is headed by radio and publishing pro Joe Garner and will develop, produce, and distribute podcasts with the agency’s roster of talent as well as third party partnerships with outside talent and producers…..Westwood One News is presenting a Memorial Day Weekend program that takes listeners back to 1939, titled, “America on the Eve of War.”  The half-hour program is hosted by Westwood One News correspondent Barbara Kusak and explores the events leading up to the year Germany invaded Poland, Britain and France attacked Germany, and World War II was launched.  It’s available to affiliates for air Friday, May 21 through Monday, May 24…..The nationally syndicated “Motley Fool Money” radio show hosted by Chris Hill adds Hutton Broadcasting’s KTRC, Santa Fe to its roster of affiliate stations…..Pictured below is FOX Sports Radio personality Clay Travis – host of “Outkick The Coverage with Clay Travis” – at the Regions Tradition Celebrity Pro-Am golf tournament at the Greystone Golf & Country Club in Hoover, Alabama last week.  From left to right are: Widespread Panic lead singer John Bell, Travis, professional golfer Steve Stricker, singer/American Idol winner Taylor Hicks, and University of Georgia head football coach Kirby Smart.

U.S.-China Trade War, Alabama Abortion Law, 2020 Presidential Politics, Trump Immigration Reform Plan, U.S.-Iran Tensions, and China’s Moon Exploration Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/15). The trade war between the U.S. and China; the passage of a strict anti-abortion law in Alabama and the threat to Roe v Wade; New York Mayor Bill de Blasio enters the Democratic race for the nomination in 2020; President Trump announces his immigration reform plan; the military tensions between the U.S. and Iran; and China’s exploration of the dark side of the moon 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. New York City air personality Cubby moves over from iHeartMedia’s hot AC WKTU to the company’s adult contemporary WLTW “106.7 Lite FM” to co-host the morning show with Christine Nagy.  He takes over for Bob Bronson, who left the station last Friday after 10 years hosting mornings.  Cubby’s move from WKTU means Carolina Bermudez will host the WKTU morning show solo until a new co-host is named.  WLTW PD and iHeartMedia AC brand manager Chris Conley says, “Cubby is one of New York’s most entertaining and highly respected on-air personalities, and we’re incredibly excited that he’ll be joining the ‘Lite FM’ family.”…..Country WQNU, Louisville “Q103.1” names Kristin Monica afternoon drive personality and assistant program director, taking over for Kevin “Gravy” Canup, who is now serving as SummitMedia’s Knoxville cluster operations manager. Monica was most recently with Cumulus Media’s country WFYR, Peoria…..Bustos Media Holdings acquires KRCW, Royal City, Washington from Farmworkers Educational Radio Network, Inc. for $200,000.  Bustos Media CEO Amador Bustos says, “The purchase of KRCW will give us our ninth FM station in Eastern Washington.  Starting today (5/15), KRCW will be operated under an LMA and become part of the popular “LA MAQUINA” radio network.  KALIL & CO., INC. was the exclusive broker for this transaction.

April 2019 PPM Data – Round Two. April 2019 ratings information has been released for Washington (D.C.), Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen Audio’s April 2019 survey period covered March 28 – April 24. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@TALKERS.com) provides his “Takeaways” from all 12 of these PPM-markets.

Washington, DC

Spoken-Word Formats – Following three straight improvements that yielded a collective +2.5 (4.3 – 5.7 – 6.6 – 6.8, 6+) and its best 6+-stat (6.8) in the PPM-era, Cumulus Media news/talk WMAL relinquishes 52% of that increase with a -1.3 to 5.5 (fourth to fifth, 6+). For the ninth sweep in succession, Radio One’s WOL “News Talk – Where Information Is Power” is unlisted; it posted a .2 (6+) in August 2018.

Adding eight-tenths to the one-tenth it gained in March (3.0 – 3.1 – 3.9, 6+), Entercom sports talk/Nationals flagship WJFK-FM “106.7 The Fan” jumps from a three-way tie at #13 into the top ten (#9). Steady at #23, Radio One’s similarly-formatted WTEM “980 The Team” is up a combined three-tenths in March/April (.5 – .7 – .8, 6+).

In addition to being an overall -1.7 in three straight setbacks (10.4 – 9.8 – 9.7 – 8.7, 6+), Hubbard all-news WTOP, which had sole possession of first place the past three sweeps, now shares the lead. January 2019’s 10.4 is its best 6+-performance since March 2018 (10.4, as well). Stuck on .4 (6+) in February and March, Entercom business news outlet WDCH adds one-tenth to .5 (6+) and stays at #25.

Albeit down two-tenths (8.9 – 8.7, 6+), American University-owned news/talk WAMU moves from second-place to a first-place tie with WTOP. Prior to gaining three-tenths in March, “The Mind Is Our Medium” was -2.2 (“Holiday” 2018); +2.5 (January 2019); and -1.2 (February).

Washington, DC Music Formats – Steady in sixth-place, contemporary Christian WGTS “91.9 Christian Music Radio” is an overall +1.8 as a result of four upticks in succession (3.5 – 3.6 – 3.9 – 4.6 – 5.3, 6+). The Atlantic Gateway Communications outlet erases its -1.4 through four straight September 2018 through “Holiday” 2018 declines (4.9 – 4.5 – 4.0 – 3.8 – 3.5, 6+). A combined +.7 in March/April (2.7- 2.8 – 3.4, 6+), Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications-owned WETA “Classical 90.9” advances from #16 to #13. Within three-share range (6+) in each of the last 24 ratings periods, Radio One urban contemporary WKYS gains two-tenths to 4.0 (6+) and carries on in eighth-place. The last time WKYS wasn’t between 3.0 – 3.9 (6+) was May 2017 (2.9). While it remains in third-place for the fifth time in a row, its urban AC cluster-mate WMMJ “Majic” forfeits four-tenths to 7.8 (6+), thus curtailing six successive increases that netted a +1.8 (6.4 – 6.7 – 6.8 – 7.4 – 7.5 – 7.9 – 8.2, 6+). Its format foe – Howard University’s WHUR – drops one-tenth in back-to-back reports (6.5 – 6.4 – 6.3, 6+) yet progresses from fifth to fourth. Its March loss of one-tenth pulled the plug on three successive upticks that accounted for a +1.2 (5.3 – 6.2 – 6.4 – 6.5, 6+). Ups/downs continue for iHeartMedia adult contemporary WASH “97.1 Washington’s Variety of the ‘80s ‘90s and Today,” which was a combined +5.6 in December/“Holiday” 2018 (4.8 – 7.3 – 10.4, 6+); sputtered by -6.1 (January); rebounded with a +.7 (February); regressed by -.6 (March); and now adds one-tenth in April (4.4 – 4.5, steady at #7).

Boston

Spoken-Word Formats – Even though iHeartMedia news/talk WRKO remains at #14, “AM 680 – The Voice of Boston” is without a loss the fourth time in a row for an overall gain of four-tenths (2.1 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 2.4 – 2.5, 6+). November 2018’s 3.2 is its best 6+-stat in more than four years (3.3, November 2014). Conversely, co-owned WXKS-AM “Talk 1200” is down or flat for the third straight time (.6 – .5 – .4 – .4, #27, 6+).

While it continues in third-place, Beasley Media Group-owned WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” is off one full-share via three straight down or flat trends (7.2 – 6.4 – 6.4 – 6.2, 6+). Recent fluctuations for the key station of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots (as well as the Bruins and Celtics) include +.4 (September 2018); +.9 (October); +.8 (November); -1.0 (December); +.5 (“Holiday” 2018); +1.6 (January 2019); and -.8 (February). Meanwhile, Entercom-owned WEEI-FM has been -.5 (September 2018); +.5 (October); +.6 (November); -2.0 (December); -.7 (“Holiday” 2018); +1.7 (January 2019); -1.0 (February); -.5 (March); and now +.6 in April (3.2 – 3.8, 6+). The flagship of the 2018 World Series champion Boston Red Sox returns to the top ten (#11 to #10), although it is actually down six-tenths from a year ago (4.4, #9, April 2018, 6+).

A combined +1.3 in January/February (4.3 – 5.5 – 5.6, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned news-talk hybrid WBZ-AM “News Radio 1030” is unchanged from March in 6+ share (5.0) and market rank (sixth).

Major shifts continue for Boston University news/talker WBUR, which was -1.5 through five consecutive down or flat August through “Holiday” 2018 ratings periods (5.7 – 5.5 – 5.5 – 5.5 – 5.1 – 4.2, 6+); +1.5 (January); and now -2.4 in three drops in a row (5.7 – 4.6 – 4.1 – 3.3, #8 to #11, 6+). WGBH Educational Foundation news/talk WGBH is off a combined seven-tenths in March/April (2.7 – 2.2 – 2.0, #18 to #19, 6+).

Boston Music Formats – Anchored in seventh-place, Beasley Media Group’s WKLB is an overall +1.3 in four straight upticks (3.5 – 3.6 – 3.7 – 4.2 – 4.8, 6+). By gaining one-tenth in January, “Country 102.5” applied the brakes to seven successive down or flat reports that accounted for a combined -1.2 (4.7 – 4.5 – 4.3 – 4.2 – 3.8 – 3.8 – 3.7 – 3.5, 6+). Format challenger – iHeartMedia-owned WBWL “101.7 The Bull Boston’s #1 For New Hit Country” – is without a loss the fifth time in succession for a net gain of four-tenths (1.8 – 1.8 – 1.8 – 1.8 – 1.9 – 2.2, #20 to #16, 6+). An overall +2.2 through four consecutive up or flat trends (5.6 – 6.2 – 6.8 – 7.8 – 7.8, 6+), Beasley Media Group classic hits-oldies WROR “105.7 – 80s & More” repeats at #1. In the market’s CHR contest, iHeartMedia-owned WXKS-FM “Kiss 108 – Boston’s #1 Hit Music Station” has a January 2019 through April 2019 topline of 7.3 – 7.4 – 7.3 – 7.1 (6+) and carries on in the runner-up slot, while Entercom’s WODS “103.3 Amp Radio” is in two-share range (2.2, -.2, #14 to #16, 6+) for the 18th time in a row. February’s 7.4 is the highest 6+-showing since August 2018’s 7.8 for “Kiss,” which was #1 from January 2018 through November 2018, as well as January 2019 and February 2019. Gaining one-tenth (each) are Entercom hot AC WWBX “Mix 104.1 – Boston’s Best Variety” (3.8 – 3.9, tenth to ninth, 6+) and Cumulus Media’s similarly-formatted WXLO “104.5 XLO” (#20 to #19), which reaches the market from Worcester. Up seven-tenths in four consecutive positive or flat trends (1.3 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.9 – 2.0, 6+), WXLO has its best 6+-stat since November 2014 (2.0, as well).

Miami

English-Language Spoken-Word Formats – This marks the fourth consecutive sweep without a loss for iHeartMedia news/talk WIOD “News Radio 620 – Miami’s News, Traffic, & Weather Station,” which gains one-half share in that timeframe (2.2 – 2.4 – 2.4 – 2.5 – 2.7, #18 to #17, 6+).

Extending a positive streak as well is Entercom’s WAXY “Sports Talk 790 The Ticket,” which scores two-tenths in five straight positive or flat sweeps (.6 – .6 – .6 – .7 – .7 – .8, #27 to #25, 6+). Before picking up one-tenth in February, “The Ticket” was down or flat three successive reports for a loss of three-tenths (.9 – .6 – .6 – .6, 6+). Co-owned WQAM “Sports Radio 560” returns the two-tenths it picked up in March (.5 – .7 – .5, #27 to #29, 6+). March’s +.2 ended three consecutive sweeps without an increase that led to a decrease of four-tenths (.9 – .9 – .6 – .5, 6+).

Advancing from #20 to #19, Dade County School Board news/talk WLRN is up one-tenth in back-to-back reports (2.1 – 2.2 – 2.3, 6+).

Miami Music Formats – In addition to bouncing back from a March forfeiture of one-tenth with an April increase of six-tenths (2.9 – 3.5, 6+), Cox Media Group CHR WFLC “Hits 97.3” leaps into the top ten (#14 to #10). Prior to slipping to 2.9 (6+) in March, WFLC had been within 3.0 – 3.7 range (6+) in each of the previous 15 survey periods. Its format rival – iHeartMedia-owned WHYI “Y-100 Miami’s #1 Hit Music Station” – has a steady December 2018 through April 2019 topline of 2.9 – 2.9 – 2.9 – 2.5 – 2.6 – 2.5 (6+) and slips from #17 to #18. When “Y-100” added one-tenth in March, it curtailed five straight reports without an increase for a collective loss of nine-tenths (3.4 – 3.3 – 2.9 – 2.9 – 2.9 – 2.5, 6+). The two rivals are separated by one full-share (6+) in April, compared to three-tenths in March. Notwithstanding a drop of one-tenth (7.4 – 7.3, 6+), Cox Media Group-owned adult contemporary WFEZ “Easy 93.1” is #1 for the fourth report in succession (which includes February’s three-way tie at #1). Its March increase of eight-tenths completely wiped away February’s decline of that magnitude (7.4 – 6.6 – 7.4, 6+). Entering the “Holiday” 2018 sweep, “Easy 93.1” finished on top seven straight times. Carrying on in third-place is Entercom’s similarly-formatted WLYF “101.5 Lite FM,” which has a January 2019 through April 2019 topline of 6.4 – 6.6 – 6.2 – 6.2 (6+). An overall +1.9 through three October 2018 through “Holiday” 2018 gains in succession (5.4 – 5.7 – 6.2 – 7.3, 6+), “Lite FM” notched its best 6+-stat (7.3 in “Holiday” 2018) since January 2018’s 7.4. Adult contemporary outlets “Easy” and “Lite” traded places with each other in January, as WFEZ went from second to first and WLYF segued from first to second. Consequently, for the 12th straight ratings period, an adult contemporary controls or has a share of Miami’s lead position (6+). Off a combined eight-tenths in March/April (4.9 – 4.8 – 4.1, 6+), Spanish Broadcasting System Spanish tropical WXDJ “El Zol 106.7” drops from seventh to ninth. As a result of four successive down or flat moves, co-owned WCMQ “Zeta 92.3” is -1.0 (6.1 – 5.8 – 5.7 – 5.7 – 5.1, fourth to sixth, 6+). Still in that SBS cluster, Spanish contemporary WRMA “Ritmo 95.7” is off six-tenths in March/April (3.4 – 3.3 – 2.8, 6+) and fades from the top ten (#10 to #16). In the market’s urban contemporary contest, Cox Media Group’s WEDR “99 Jamz” has lost eight-tenths via three straight declines (5.2 – 4.7 – 4.5 – 4.4, ninth to eighth, 6+), while iHeartMedia-owned WMIB “103.5 The Beat” has a consistent January 2019 through April 2019 topline of 2.9 – 2.7 – 2.9 – 2.9 (6+) and remains at #14.

Seattle

Spoken-Word Formats – Stabilizing from March’s -1.1 (5.9 – 4.8), KIRO-FM is unchanged in 6+-share (4.8) and market rank (fourth). The Bonneville news/talk outlet was a combined +1.0 in January/February (4.9 – 5.6 – 5.9, 6+). Co-owned KTTH “Conservative Talk Radio” has lost roughly 43% of its 6+-stat (-.9) in March/April (2.1 – 1.4 – 1.2, #22 to #23, 6+), following a January/February increase of six-tenths (1.5 – 1.9 – 2.1, 6+). It is now tied with Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned KVI “Talk Radio 570,” which falters four-tenths in March/April (1.6 – 1.3 – 1.2, #24 to #23, 6+), after gaining seven-tenths in January/February (.9 – 1.4 – 1.6, 6+).

Tacking on a massive +1.4 to a March gain of eight-tenths (2.1 – 2.9 – 4.3, 6+), Bonneville’s KIRO-AM “ESPN 710” rockets into the top ten (#17 to #6). In four consecutive November 2018 through February 2019 declines (4.1 – 3.9 – 3.8 – 3.0 – 2.1, 6+), the Mariners’ flagship lost roughly 50% (-2.0) of its 6+ AQH share. Down one-tenth (1.4 – 1.3, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned KJR-AM “Seattle’s Sports Radio 950” remains at #22.

In four straight reports without a loss, KOMO was up seven-tenths (2.4 – 2.4 – 2.9 – 3.0 – 3.1, 6+), but the Sinclair Broadcast Group all-news operation forfeits three-tenths to 2.8 (6+) and slides from #15 to #18.

On the heels of March’s -1.0 (8.0 – 7.0, 6+), KUOW craters by another -1.3 to 5.7 (6+) and segues to second after three months in a row at #1. The Northwest Public Radio news/talk outlet was a combined +2.1 in January/February (5.9 – 7.4 – 8.0, 6+).

Seattle Music Formats – Winning ways continue for iHeartMedia-owned KZOK “102.5 Seattle’s Classic Rock Station,” which nets +1.9 in five straight bumps (3.7 – 3.9 – 4.4 – 4.5 – 4.8 – 5.6, 6+), progressing from fourth to third. Immediately in advance of this streak, KZOK was -1.6 in four consecutive ratings periods without an increase (5.3 – 5.1 – 4.9 – 4.9 – 3.7, 6+). Even though it has logged five successive up or flat sweeps for a collective +1.4 (2.1 – 2.1 – 2.4 – 2.8 – 3.3 – 3.5, 6+), Hubbard Broadcasting’s “New Country 98.9 The Bull” KNUC backslides from #12 to #13. The three most recent shifts for Classic Radio, Inc.-owned KING “98.1 Listener-Supported Classical Music” are +.9 (February); -.5 (March); and now +.7 in April (2.4 – 3.1, #21 to #15, 6+). Its October 2018 through January 2019 topline was a consistent 2.2 – 2.1 – 2.2 – 2.0 – 2.0 (6+). Sandwiching a 2.5 (February and March) between a 3.0 in January and April (3.0 – 2.5 – 2.5 – 3.0, 6+), iHeartMedia rhythmic CHR KUBE “Seattle’s #1 For Hip-Hop” progresses from #20 to #17. Despite losing a collective four-tenths in three straight down or flat trends (7.0 – 6.8 – 6.8 – 6.6, 6+), Hubbard Broadcasting CHR KQMV moves from second to first. It is the first time at #1 for “MOViN’ 92.5 – Seattle’s #1 Hit Music Station” since November 2018. An overall +1.5 through three consecutive increases (3.7 – 3.8 – 5.1 – 5.2, 6+), Entercom adult contemporary KSWD “94.1 The Sound” relinquishes a -1.1 to 4.1 (#3 to a three-way tie at #8, 6+). As the result of six successive months (May 2018 through November 2018) without a loss (3.3 – 3.3 – 3.3 – 3.8 – 4.2 – 4.9 – 5.0, 6+), country KMPS-turned-AC KSWD was +1.7. Overtaking “The Sound” is adult contemporary rival, Hubbard Broadcasting’s KRWM “Warm 106.9,” which records a 4.8 for the third time in the last four reports (4.8 – 4.0 – 4.8 – 4.8, 6+). Entering the January sweep, “Warm” more than tripled (+7.8) its 6+-share as the result of three straight improvements (3.4 – 4.1 – 8.8 – 11.2, 6+); KRWM was #1 in December and “Holiday” 2018. Faltering by six-tenths are Entercom’s KKWF “100.7 The Wolf – #1 For Country” (4.1, seventh to eighth, 6+) and Crista Ministries contemporary Christian KCMS-FM “Spirit 105.3” (2.7, 6+), which drifts from #12 to #19. Prior to April, “The Wolf” was a cumulative +1.4 as a result of three straight bumps (3.3 – 4.3 – 4.5 – 4.7, 6+), while “Spirit” was up one-half share in February/March (2.8 – 3.2 – 3.3, 6+). In four straight sweeps without an increase, Sinclair Broadcast Group hot AC KPLZ is a collective -2.0 (5.1 – 3.8 – 3.7 – 3.1 – 3.1, flat at #15, 6+); moreover, “Star 101.5 Today’s Best Mix” has its lowest 6+-stat (3.1) since May 2017’s 3.0.

Detroit

Spoken-Word Formats – Having posted a 3.7 (6+) in January, Cumulus Media’s WJR “News Talk 760” notches a 3.5 for the third month in a row (#14 to #15, 6+).

Locked on 5.0 (6+) in February and March after January’s 5.2 (6+), Entercom sports talk/Tigers flagship WXYT-FM“97.1 The Ticket” is up four-tenths to 5.4 (eighth to sixth, 6+).

Co-owned WWJ erodes by eight-tenths in back-to-back reports (7.7 – 6.9 – 6.1, 6+) as “News Radio 950” shifts to the runner-up slot after a March-only stay in first-place. WWJ was a combined +1.6 in January/February (6.1 – 7.5 – 7.7, 6+).

For the fourth time in succession, WUOM logs a fluctuation of three-tenths (1.6 – 1.9 – 1.6 – 1.3 – 1.6, 6+); the Michigan Public Media news/talk facility returns to the top twenty (#21 to #20). Wayne State University news/talk WDET is down one-tenth in consecutive reports and trades places with WUOM (1.5 – 1.4 – 1.3, #20 to #21, 6+).

Detroit Music Formats – Down six-tenths in February, Cumulus Media’s WDRQ “93.1 Nash FM” has gained nine-tenths in March/April (1.6 – 1.9 – 2.4, #19 to #18, 6+). This (2.4) is its highest 6+-stat since July 2018’s 2.5. Country rival, Entercom-owned WYCD “99.5 – Detroit Country Music,” surrenders half of March’s +.4 with an April loss of two-tenths (5.1 – 4.9, seventh to eighth, 6+). As was the case with “Nash FM,” WYCD regressed by six-tenths in February, as well. It’s been a seesaw experience lately for Beasley Media Group-owned WCSX. In March, “94.7 – Detroit’s Classic Rock” sputtered by -1.3 (7.8 – 6.5, 6+) to shift from first to second. Now in April, it loses another two-tenths (6.5 – 6.3, 6+) yet reclaims the top spot. The March/April decline of -1.5 follows back-to-back gains of nine-tenths (6.0 – 6.9 – 7.8, 6+). January’s +.9 erased half of December/“Holiday” 2018’s -1.8 (7.8 – 6.6 – 6.0, 6+). WCSX spent four straight months at #1 before being dislodged in September. As of March, “Detroit’s Classic Rock” has a direct competitor in the form of iHeartMedia’s WLLZ “106.7 Detroit’s Wheels,” formerly alternative WDTW “Alt 106.7.” In its first monthly report, “Wheels” – resurrecting the WLLZ call letters used in the “Motor City” in the 1980s and 1990s – more than doubled (+1.9) the 6+-share on that frequency in February (1.5 – 3.4, 6+). “Wheels” now adds four-tenths to 3.8 (#15 to #14, 6+). A combined +.8 in three consecutive sweeps without a loss (4.6 – 4.8 – 5.4 – 5.4, 6+), Entercom classic hits-oldies WOMC “104.3 Detroit’s Greatest Hits” falters by two-tenths to 5.2 (sixth to seventh, 6+). Its CHR sibling, WDZH “Amp Radio,” transitioned to adult contemporary in early-November (2018), as “98.7 The Breeze.” With its new format, “The Breeze” is an overall +1.7 in six successive reports without a loss (2.3 – 2.7 – 2.7 – 2.9 – 3.6 – 4.0 – 4.0, #12 to #11, 6+). The station it is chasing – iHeartMedia AC WNIC – has eroded by nearly two-thirds (-11.8) over the past four sweeps (17.9 – 7.1 – 6.6 – 6.2 – 6.1, 6+) yet inches up from third to a second-place tie. Its 17.9 in “Holiday” 2018 is by far the largest 6+ AQH share by any Detroit station in the PPM-era. Via four straight increases, WNIC more than tripled (+12.2) its 6+-share (5.7 – 6.2 – 6.6 – 12.2 – 17.9, 6+); “The Best Variety of the ‘80s, ‘90s, & Today” was #1 in December 2018 and “Holiday” 2018.

Phoenix

Spoken-Word Formats – Locked on 3.4 (6+) in January and February, Bonneville news/talk KTAR-FM follows with a March/April gain of eight-tenths (3.4 – 4.1 – 4.2, 6+) and stays in eighth-place. Albeit flat at 2.6 (6+), iHeartMedia’s KFYI “News Talk 550” nonetheless climbs from #18 to #17.

An increase of one-tenth (2.3 – 2.4, 6+) is enough to push Bonneville sports talk/Arizona Diamondbacks flagship KMVP-FM “98.7 Arizona Sports” into the top twenty (#22 to #20). In a noteworthy Spanish sports talk development, Univision Radio’s KHOV “Univisión Deportes Radio” gains one-half share (.1 – .6, #32, 6+).

While off one-tenth in back-to-back-reports (3.6 – 3.5 – 3.4, 6+), Maricopa County Community College news/talk KJZZ carries on at #12; KJZZ was a combined +1.1 in January/February (2.5 – 3.2 – 3.6, 6+).

Phoenix Music Formats – After trending 6.5 – 5.4 – 5.3 (January – February – March, 6+) for a net loss of -1.2, Hubbard Broadcasting’s KSLX “Classic Rock 100.7” erases that deficit completely with an April +1.2 to 6.5 (6+) and repeats in the runner-up slot. It trails iHeartMedia adult hits KYOT “95.5 The Mountain – We Play Everything” by one-tenth. The four latest shifts by “The Mountain,” which is #1 for the third month in a row, are -1.2 (“Holiday” 2018); +1.6 (January/February); -.8 (March); and +.7 in April (5.9 – 6.6, 6+). An overall -9.7 through just three drops in succession (15.0 – 7.0 – 6.3 – 5.3, 6+), adult contemporary sibling KESZ pulls the plug by gaining two-tenths to 5.5, but backslides from second to third. January’s -8.0 halted four positive increases in a row that netted +8.9 (6.1 – 6.6 – 6.9 – 9.7 – 15.0, 6+), with 15.0 its highest 6+-showing since 16.4 in “Holiday” 2017. Within 3.0 – 3.9 range in each of the last seven sweeps (3.9 – 3.5 – 3.4 – 3.5 – 3.4 – 3.0 – 3.4, 6+), Entercom’s KMLE “Country @ 107.9” dials up +.6 to 4.0, its best 6+-showing since September 2018 (4.0, as well) and cracks the top ten (#13 to #10). Entering the March sweep, iHeartMedia’s KNIX improved by one-half share via five consecutive survey periods without a loss (4.6 – 4.7 – 4.7 – 4.7 – 5.0 – 5.1, 6+). In March/April, however, “102.5 Today’s Best Country” has now lost eight-tenths (5.1 – 4.5 – 4.3, sixth to seventh, 6+). Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian KAIZ “Air 1 – Worship Now” debuts with a .5 (#34, 6+). Up a collective nine-tenths via three successive improvements (2.8 – 3.1 – 3.2 – 3.7, 6+), Farmworker Educational Radio regional Mexican KNAI “101.9 La Campesina” loses all but one-tenth of that increase (2.9, -.8, #11 to #15, 6+). Sputtering by seven-tenths are Univision Radio Spanish adult hits KOMR “Amor 106.3” (2.0, #17 to #22, 6+) and iHeartMedia regional Mexican KOY “El Patron” (#27 to #31, 6+). In four straight sweeps without a loss, “Amor 106.3” more than doubled (+1.4) its 6+-stat (1.3 – 1.3 – 1.5 – 1.7 – 2.7, 6+), while “El Patronexactly doubled (+.7) its 6+-figure (.7 – 1.4) in March and more than quadrupled its (6+) January showing. Not only does a loss of six-tenths to 3.3 (6+) knock Entercom rhythmic CHR KALV “Live 101.5” out of the top ten (#10 to #13), it suspends three sweeps without a loss that accounted for a gain of nine-tenths (3.0 – 3.4 – 3.5 – 3.6 – 3.9, 6+).

Minneapolis

Spoken-Word Formats – Transforming its March decrease of seven-tenths into an increase more than twice that magnitude (3.3 – 4.8, +1.5, 6+), Entercom-owned Twins flagship WCCO returns to the top ten (#12 to #8). By gaining eight-tenths in January/February, “News Radio 830” ended six straight down or flat moves accounting for an overall -1.2 (4.4 – 4.4 – 4.4 – 4.4 – 4.1 – 3.8 – 3.2, 6+). Although off one-half share in March/April (3.4 – 3.2 – 2.9, 6+), after being +1.2 in January/February (2.2 – 3.3 – 3.4, 6+), Hubbard Broadcasting news/talk KTMY “My Talk 107.1” remains at #13. In three straight down or flat trends (3.3 – 3.3 – 2.8 – 2.6, unchanged at #16, 6+), iHeartMedia’s KTLK “Twin Cities News Talk AM 1130” has lost seven-tenths.

Immediately after gaining four-tenths, which halted four declines in succession resulting in a -2.3 (6.7 – 5.7 – 5.6 – 4.9 – 4.4,  6+), KTLK cluster-mate KFXN erodes by nine-tenths (4.8 – 3.9, 6+) and departs the top ten (#8 to #12). Prior to November, “Sports Radio 100.3 K-Fan” logged four consecutive increases that yielded a +3.0 (3.7 – 3.8 – 4.9 – 6.5 – 6.7, 6+). Posting its fourth report in a row without a loss for a net gain of two-tenths (.6 – .7 – .7 – .7 – .8, 6+), Hubbard Broadcasting sports talk KSTP-AM “ESPN 1500” carries on at #24.

Continuing its down/up sequence that began in December 2018 (4.2 – 4.0 – 5.0 – 4.3 – 4.7 – 4.6, 6+), Minnesota Public Radio news/talk KNOW slips from ninth to tenth.

Minneapolis Music Formats – Tacking on an impressive +1.1 to March’s +.1 (5.5 – 5.6 – 6.7, 6+), Cumulus Media-owned KQRS leaps from fifth to second. “Minnesota’s Classic Rock,” which had been within five-share range (6+) in each of the last 13 sweeps, has its best 6+-stat (6.7) since December 2016’s 6.9. A collective +1.9 via three straight bumps (4.6 – 5.2 – 5.6 – 6.5, 6+), University of Northwestern St. Paul contemporary Christian KTIS-FM advances from fifth to third. “Twin Cities Christian Radio – Always Uplifting” reaches the six-share threshold (6.5, 6+) for the first time since January 2016’s 6.4. The Twin Cities’ (6+) hot AC share escalated by +3.1 (January); deflated by -1.3 (February); improved by +.8 (March); and is +1.0 in April. That latter increase is equally divided between Hubbard Broadcasting’s KSTP-FM “KS-95” (7.0 – 7.5, repeating at #1, 6+) and iHeartMedia-owned KTCZ “Cities 97.1” (4.2 – 4.7, #11 to #9, 6+). “KS-95” was +1.9 in January; regressed by -.8 in February; and was +.6 in March. Meanwhile, after plummeting nine-tenths in “Holiday” 2018 to 3.3, its lowest 6+-performance since April 2018 (3.3, as well), “Cities 97.1” was +1.2 (January) -.5 (February); and +.2 in March (4.0 – 4.2, level at #11, 6+). With a February gain of seven-tenths, mainstream CHR cluster-mate KDWB progressed from third to first. In March, “101.3 The Twin Cities’ #1 Hit Music Station” repeated February’s 7.0, its best 6+-stat since September 2018’s 7.2, and shared the top spot with KSTP-FM. An April decline of six-tenths to 6.4 (6+), however, sends KDWB from a first-place tie to fourth. Co-owned classic hits-oldies outlet KQQL “Kool 108” has lost roughly 54% (-6.8) of its 6+ AQH share through four straight negative or flat trends (12.6 – 6.3 – 6.3 – 6.3 – 5.8, third to fifth, 6+). An overall +1.2 in four successive improvements (1.9 – 2.3 – 2.5 – 3.0 – 3.1, 6+), Northern Lights Broadcasting rhythmic CHR KZGO “Go Radio – Modern Minnesota Music” has that streak halted with a loss of two-tenths (2.9, #14 to a three-way tie at #13, 6+).

San Diego

Spoken-Word Formats – By gaining two-tenths in consecutive sweeps (4.0 – 4.2 – 4.4, ninth to eighth, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk KOGO “News Radio 600” eliminates February’s loss of four-tenths. January’s one-half share increase curtailed three straight down or flat trends that accounted for a collective forfeiture of eight-tenths (4.7 – 4.7 – 4.0 – 3.9, 6+). An overall +.9 as a result of four successive increases (1.6 – 1.9 – 2.0 – 2.4 – 2.5, 6+), Tegna news/talk KFMB-AM “AM 760 – Talk & Breaking News” progresses from #19 to #18. After picking up one-tenth in March to halt five consecutive San Diego losses that eventuated in a collective -.6 (1.7 – 1.3 – 1.2 – 1.2 – 1.2 – 1.1, 6+), iHeartMedia Los Angeles’ similarly-formatted KFI “AM 640” regresses by two-tenths to 1.0 (#22 to #23, 6+).

Entercom-owned KWFN “97.3 The Fan” nearly doubles March’s .9 (1.7, +.8, 6+) as the flagship of the Padres  advances from #23 to #21. Meanwhile, iHeartMedia’s KLSD “Fox Sports 1360 San Diego’s Sports Station” does double February’s 6+-stat (.4 – .5 – .8  #27 to #25, 6+). Even though Interamericana de Radio’s XPRS-AM was +.7 through four consecutive up or flat trends (.9 – .9 – 1.5 – 1.6 – 1.6, #21, 6+) with 1.6 its best 6+-performance since February 2018 (1.6, as well), “The Mighty 1090” has gone silent.

Three straight gains by San Diego State University-owned news/talk outlet KPBS resulted in a +2.6 (5.1 – 7.2 – 7.5 – 7.7, 6+), but it craters by -1.7, the largest (6+) March 2019 – April 2019 decrease of any station in the 24 PPM-markets we’ve reviewed so far, to 6.0 (6+). Even so, KPBS is on top for the fourth month in a row.

San Diego Music Formats – Adding nine-tenths to March’s +.3 (4.7 – 5.0 – 5.9, 6+), Entercom classic hits-oldies KXSN “Sunny 98.1 – San Diego’s Greatest Hits” jumps from fifth to second with its best 6+-stat since October 2018 (5.9, as well). As a result of four straight setbacks (6.6 – 6.0 – 4.6 – 4.5 – 4.3, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned CHR KHTS was a cumulative -2.3, but “Channel 93.3 – San Diego’s #1 Hit Music Station” rebounds with a combined March/April +1.2 (4.3 – 4.8 – 5.5, seventh to fourth, 6+). By adding an April increase of six-tenths to a one-tenth gain in March (1.9 – 2.0 – 2.6, 6+), Local Media San Diego-programmed alternative XTRA-FM “91-X” advances from #20 to #17. Faltering by eight-tenths (each) are iHeartMedia-owned KGB “San Diego’s Classic Rock” (fourth to seventh) and Univision Radio Spanish adult hits KLQV “Amor 102.9” (2.8 – 2.0, #15 to #20). An overall +2.2 through three consecutive improvements (3.7 – 3.8 – 4.5 – 5.9, 6+), KGB is -1.4 in March/April (5.9 – 5.3 – 4.5, 6+). In February, “San Diego’s Classic Rock” reached the five-share level (5.9, 6+) for the first time since May 2018’s 5.1. A March uptick of eight-tenths by “Amor 102.9” stymied three down or flat moves in a row that accounted for a collective loss of nine-tenths (2.9 – 2.8 – 2.8 – 2.0, 6+). Following three bumps in a row for a net increase of one-half share (2.7 – 2.8 – 3.0 – 3.2, 6+), iHeartMedia’s KIOZ “Rock 105.3” surrenders the entire spike (2.7, -.5, 6+) and falls from #12 to #16. In three consecutive improvements, Local Media San Diego-programmed urban-rhythmic oldies XHRM was a collective +1.3 (4.6 – 4.8 – 5.1 – 5.9, 6+), but “Magic 92.5, The Beat of San Diego” surrenders four-tenths to 5.5 (second to fourth, 6+).

Tampa

Spoken-Word Formats – Owing to a downturn of nine-tenths to 3.6, iHeartMedia-owned news/talk WFLA “970 Tampa Bay’s News Radio” has its successive string of increases which netted a +1.4 (3.1 – 3.6 – 4.3 – 4.5, 6+) halted at three and drifts from the top ten (#7 to #13, 6+).

Frozen on 2.9 (6+) in January and February, Cox Media Group news/talk WHPT “102.5 The Bone – Real, Raw, Radio” added two-tenths in March, but regresses by six-tenths in April (3.1 – 2.5, #15 to #17, 6+). A January gain of three-tenths interrupted three straight down or flat sweeps that accounted for a -1.0 (3.6 – 3.6 – 3.4 – 2.6, 6+).

Down by a combined six-tenths in February/March (2.3 – 2.1 – 1.7, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned WDAE “620 Tampa Bay’s Sports Radio” answers with an April spike of nine-tenths to 2.6 (6+) as the Rays’ key station jumps from #19 to #16.

The “Holiday” 2018 through April 2019 topline for University of South Florida news/talk WUSF is: 1.7 – 2.0 – 2.1 – 1.9 – 1.7 (#18 – #19, 6+).

Tampa Music Formats – A mini-slide by Radio Training Network contemporary Christian WCIE that resulted in a one-half share loss (4.4 – 4.0 – 3.9, 6+) concludes as “The Joy FM” notches a +1.0 to 4.9 (6+) and vaults into the top ten (#11 to #6). Anchored at #8, iHeartMedia-owned urban contemporary WBTP “95.7 The Beat” is without a loss the sixth successive sweep for a +1.2 (3.1 – 3.2 – 3.6 – 3.7 – 4.2 – 4.2 – 4.3, 6+). In three-share range (6+) in each of the last 16 reports, Cox Media Group CHR WPOI breaks out a +.7 to 4.1 (#13 to #10, 6+), as “Hot 101.5 – Tampa Bay’s New Hit Music” reaches the four-share level for the first time since “Holiday” 2017’s 4.0. It overtakes iHeartMedia’s similarly-formatted WFLZ “93.3 Tampa Bay’s #1 Hit Music Channel,” which is trending 4.4 – 4.0 – 4.0 (February – March – April, #9 to #11, 6+). The consecutive string at #1 for Cox Media Group adult contemporary WDUV hits 81, but “Lite Favorites” is a cumulative -4.7 in four straight setbacks (13.7 – 11.8 – 11.6 – 10.6 – 9.0, 6+). This (9.0) is its lowest 6+-showing since October 2018’s 8.9 and ends its streak of reaching double-digits (6+) at five. Its January decrease interrupted three straight gains that netted +4.8 (8.9 – 9.7 – 10.8 – 13.7, 6+). “Holiday” 2018’s 13.7 is the highest 6+-stat for any Tampa station since WDUV’s 14.9 in “Holiday” 2015. On the heels of March’s mammoth +2.1, co-owned WXGL “107.3 The Eagle – Tampa Bay’s Classic Hits” relinquishes roughly 43% of that gain (7.5 – 6.6, -.9, 6+) but repeats in the runner-up slot. In five successive sweeps without an increase prior to the March report, “The Eagle” was an overall -1.5 (6.9 – 6.6 – 6.0 – 5.7 – 5.4 – 5.4, 6+); it last reached the seven-share level (6+) in August 2018 (7.1).

Denver

Spoken-Word Formats – After posting January’s 4.8 (6+), iHeartMedia news/talk KOA “Colorado’s News, Traffic, & Weather Station” was frozen on 4.7 (6+) in February and March. The flagship of the Colorado Rockies notches a half-share increase in April to 5.2 (seventh to fifth, 6+). Co-owned KHOW “Talk Radio 630” has a “Holiday” 2018 through April 2019 topline of 1.1 – 1.4 – 1.4 – 1.1 – 1.3 (#25 to #24, 6+).

While flat at #17, Bonneville-owned KKFN is a collective -1.5 in three straight setbacks (4.1 – 3.3 – 2.9 – 2.6, 6+). “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan” was -1.2 December/“Holiday” 2018; +.9 (January 2019); and -.8 (February). KSE Radio Ventures’ KKSE-FM “Attitude Sports Radio 92.5” doubles February’s 6+ stat (.3 – .4 – .6, 6+) and continues at #27.

Not only does Colorado Public Radio news/talk KCFR erase 45% of March’s -2.0 with a +.9 to 6.5 (6+), it reclaims the top spot. KCFR was a combined +1.2 in January/February (6.4 – 7.1 – 7.6, 6+) and was #1 in September 2018, October, and November before segueing to #2 in December. Surrendering the three-tenths it picked up in March (1.5 – 1.8 – 1.5, 6+), Community Radio for Northern Colorado news/talk KUNC falls from #19 to #21.

Denver Music Formats – Good news continues for Entercom rhythmic CHR KQKS, which is a collective +1.7 in four straight up or flat trends (2.9 – 2.9 – 3.0 – 3.8 – 4.6, 6+). Moreover, “KS-107.5” cracks the top ten (#13 to #9). Improving by one-half share (each) are hot AC sibling KALC “Alice 105.9” (4.5, #11 to #10, 6+) and classic rock cluster-mate KQMT “99.5 The Mountain” (4.7 – 5.2, seventh to fifth, 6+). KALC gained seven-tenths in February (4.0 – 4.7, 6+), curtailing three straight downturns that were responsible for a loss of seven-tenths (4.7 – 4.5 – 4.1 – 4.0, 6+), but was down seven-tenths in March (4.7 – 4.0, 6+). Repeating in the runner-up position, Bonneville’s country KYGO is +1.4 via four straight up or flat trends (4.3 – 4.6 – 5.0 – 5.7 – 5.7, 6+). Leaping from fifth to third, iHeartMedia’s KRFX “Classic Rock 103.5 The Fox” nets +1.4 in four straight sweeps without a loss (4.0 – 4.0 – 4.6 – 5.2 – 5.4, 6+). The four most recent fluctuations for KSE Radio Ventures’ classic hits-oldies KXKL are +1.2 (January); -.6 (February); +1.2 (March); and -.9 in April (6.3 – 5.4, 6+). “Kool 105 – Denver’s Greatest Hits” concludes its March-only stay at #1 and segues to #3. On the heels of March’s increase of seven-tenths (4.6 – 5.3, 6+), Bonneville adult contemporary KOSI “101.1 Real-Music-Variety” plummets by -1.3 to 4.0 (6+), fading from the top ten (#4 to #12). An overall +7.9 in three straight sweeps without a loss (4.9 – 4.9 – 7.6 – 12.8, 6+), KOSI was #1 in December and “Holiday” 2018 (with a 12.8, 6+), but was a combined -8.2 in January/February (12.8 – 5.3 – 4.6, 6+). The last time any Denver station reached the 12-share level (6+) was more than four years ago (KOSI, 12.4, “Holiday” 2014). Owing to three successive setbacks, Entravision’s KJMN “La Suavecita 92.7” is an overall -1.2 (4.7 – 4.2 – 4.0 – 3.5, 6+), slipping from #11 to #13.

Baltimore

Spoken-Word Formats – While it remains at #11, independent news/talk WCBM “680 Stimulating Talk – Breaking News” is down or flat the third time in a row for a collective loss of four-tenths (3.4 – 3.4 – 3.1 – 3.0, 6+). This is the third time in the last four survey periods that Hearst Television news/talk WBAL “News Radio – Expect More” logs a 2.7 (2.7 – 2.8 – 2.7 – 2.7, #13 to #12, 6+). Having doubled (+.3) its 6+ Baltimore stat in four straight up or flat sweeps (.3 – .3 – .4 – .5 – .6, 6+), Cumulus Media Washington, DC news/talk WMAL is off one-tenth to .5 (#26 to #28, 6+).

Following three slips in a row that resulted in a -1.0 (4.9 – 4.4 – 4.1 – 3.9, 6+), Entercom sports talk/Orioles flagship WJZ-FM “105.7 The Fan” slices the deficit in half with a half-share gain to 4.4 (tenth to eighth, 6+).

Co-owned business news WDCH answers March’s loss of four-tenths with an April uptick of seven-tenths (.9 – 1.6, 6+) and returns to the top twenty (#21 to #16).

Off by one-half share in back-to-back reports (3.4 – 2.9 – 2.4, 6+), Your Public Radio news/talk WYPR “88.1 Your NPR News Station” slips from #12 to #13; WYPR was a combined +1.1 in January/February (2.3 – 3.1 – 3.4 (6+). American University-owned news/talk WAMU, which gained one-tenth in March, drops three-tenths (1.5 – 1.2, #17 to #19, 6+).

Baltimore Music Formats – In addition to being a robust +2.2 in March/April (7.6 – 8.3 – 9.8, 6+), Radio One urban contemporary WERQ “92 Q Jams” is #1 for the third straight time and reaches the nine-share level (6+) for the first time since July 2016’s 9.2. Its January +1.0 applied the brakes to three consecutive declines that resulted in a -1.2 (7.9 – 7.7 – 7.0 – 6.7, 6+). Up one-half share in March, Entercom gospel WLIF-HD2 surrenders nearly twice that magnitude (1.9 – 1.0, -.9, #16 to #20, 6+). After posting a 15.2 (6+) in “Holiday” 2018, adult contemporary sibling WLIF-FM is trending 6.5 – 6.6 – 6.4 – 5.8 (third to fourth, 6+). Still in that Entercom cluster, WWMX “Mix 106.5 Baltimore’s Best Mix,” which had been without a loss four times in a row for a collective +1.0 (4.2 – 4.2 – 4.8 – 4.8 – 5.2, 6+), falters by four-tenths to 4.8 (6+) but continues in sixth-place. Following three positive spikes in a row for a net gain of six-tenths (1.6 – 1.8 – 1.9 – 2.2, 6+), iHeartMedia alternative WWDC “DC-101” drops two-tenths to 2.0 (#14 to #15, 6+). For the eighth sweep in a row, Peter and John Radio Fellowship contemporary Christian WRBS-FM is unlisted; “95.1 Shine FM – Baltimore’s Positive Hits Station” was #13 in August 2018 (2.6, 6+).

St. Louis

Spoken-Word Formats – The only station in the 24 PPM-markets we’ve highlighted so far making a (6+) March 2019 to April 2019 increase of at least two full-shares is Entercom news/talk KMOX “The Voice of St. Louis” (5.1 – 7.3, +2.2, 6+). Moreover, the St. Louis Cardinals flagship makes one of the most significant leaps within the top ten by vaulting from seventh to a first-place tie. The last time KMOX occupied the top spot was October 2018 (8.4, 6+). A combined +.8 in January/February (1.7 – 2.2 – 2.5, 6+), co-owned KFTK “FM News Talk 97.1” is now off four-tenths in March/April (2.5 – 2.2 – 2.1, #17 to #18, 6+).

After back-to-backs losses of one-half share (4.1 – 3.6 – 3.1, 6+), Hubbard sports talk WXOS “101 Sports” picks up one-tenth to 3.2 (#16 to #15, 6+).

Having posted a February gain of four-tenths, University of Missouri news/talk KWMU is now -1.3 in March/April (4.5 – 3.7 – 3.2, #14 to #15, 6+).

St. Louis Music Formats – The three most recent fluctuations for iHeartMedia’s KSD are +.5 (4.0 – 4.5, 6+, February); -.5 (4.5 – 4.0, 6+, March); and now +.9 in April (4.0 – 4.9, 6+), as “93.7 The Bull – #1 For New Country” reenters the top ten (#12 to #9). In late-2018, KSD was -.8 (August); +.5 (October); +.9 (November); -.5 (December); and -.6 in “Holiday” 2018. Its format rival – Hubbard Broadcasting’s WIL “New Country 92.3” – was up seven-tenths in March, but sputters by three-tenths in April (6.1 – 5.8, 6+), slipping from fourth to sixth. In February, WIL was down six-tenths to 5.4, its lowest 6+-stat since “Holiday” 2017 (5.4, as well). A genuine model of consistency, urban AC cluster-mate KATZ-FM has recorded a 6+-share between 2.1 – 2.5 in each of the last 16 sweeps. In April, however, “100.3 The Beat” erupts with a one-half share gain to 2.7 (6+) and continues at #17. Hubbard Broadcasting’s KSHE “95 Real Rock Radio” was tied for February’s top spot with iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies KLOU and then took sole possession of first-place in March. Now in April, KSHE again has to share the lead – this time with Entercom news/talk KMOX (see above). The six most recent shifts for KSHE are +.5 (December); -.7 (Holiday” 2018); +2.0 (January 2019); -.5 (February); +1.3 (March); and -1.6 in April (8.9 – 7.3, 6+); 8.9 is its highest 6+-share since November 2016 (8.6). Aforementioned KLOU “103.3 St. Louis’ Greatest Hits” was +1.6 in January but has since floundered by -1.7 in three dips in succession (7.9 – 7.6 – 6.8 – 6.2, third to fourth, 6+).

Thursday, February 28, 2019

| February 28, 2019

Mike Thompson Named PD for NRG Media’s Omaha AM Stations. Programming pro Mike Thompson is joining NRG Media to serve as AM stations operations manager/program director for the company’s Omaha properties.  He’ll oversee sports talkers KOZN “1620 The Zone” and KZOT “1180 Zone 2,” news/talk KOIL, and regional Mexican KMMQ-AM/K258DC “La Nueva 99.5.” NRG Media market manager Mark Shecterle says, “Mike will be a great addition to our already talented and award-winning staff.  He has an outstanding programming mind as well as a strong sales mentality.”  Thompson has served with ESPN in New York and Los Angeles, in addition to WCNN, Atlanta; KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas and WABC, New York. He says, “I am excited to join a great brand of sports and news talk with NRG Media in Omaha.  NRG Media’s slogan is Great Local Radio – for me that’s what I am all about.  Working with market manager Mark Shecterle and talented hosts and producers, it will be rewarding to always live up to that slogan.”  Thompson has most recently been involved in acting and voice work in L.A. He begins at NRG Media Omaha today.

Scott Vowinkle to Lead Sales Effort at NRG Omaha. Sales pro Scott Vowinkle returns to the Omaha market to take on the director of sales position for NRG Media’s seven-station cluster that includes news/talk KOIL, and sports talk duo KOZN “1620 The Zone” and KZOT “1180 Zone 2.”   Vowinkle was most recently with Cumulus Media as general sales manager in Beaumont, Texas.  He previously worked in the Omaha market with Scripps.

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 January 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk radio. Sports talk bounced back from the Holiday 2018 survey with 68% of stations going up (weekly 6+ AQH share), led by Boston sports talkers WEEI-FM (+1.7) and WBZ-FM (+1.6).  About half the sports talk stations on the panel were up year-over-year and the two biggest gainers benefitted from the Kansas City Chiefs’ playoff success.  Entercom’s KCSP was up 1.1 share and Union Broadcasting’s WHB was up an even 1.0 share.  It’s rare that a sports talk station ranks first in its market, but Entercom’s WIP, Philadelphia accomplished that by riding the Philadelphia Eagles’ playoff run to a #1 ranking with a 7.2 share. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Nielsen Q4 2018 Revenue Down 5.8%; Audio Ratings Segment Dips 2.3%. Financial data from the fourth quarter of 2018 and the full year are being released by Nielsen Holdings plc – the media ratings and consumer behavior research company. Looking at the fourth quarter, revenue for the entire company was $1.66 billion, down 5.8% compared to the same period in 2017.  The company posted a net loss of $952 million in Q4, compared to 2017’s Q4 gain of $84 million.  The audio ratings division operates within the company’s Watch segment.  It earned $128 million during Q4, down 2.3% from 2017’s $131 million. For all of 2018, revenue from the audio ratings segment was off just 0.8% on earnings of $497 million, compared to $501 million for the full-year 2017.  Nielsen CEO David Kenny states, “2018 was a challenging year but we delivered on our key operational metrics for the second half and positioned ourselves for 2019.  I am excited to join Nielsen at such a pivotal time in the company’s history.  Our focus for 2019 is on transforming into a truly product-driven, technology organization, able to make faster, bolder decisions.  We expect these strategies to translate into improved performance in 2019 and beyond as we increase our value to clients.”  Kenny also addresses the strategic review being undertaken that could see the company sold.  “The strategic review is ongoing and the board is working with urgency on this process. As previously discussed, this could include continuing to operate as a public, independent company, a separation of either Nielsen’s Global Media or Global Connect segment, or a sale of the whole company.  The process that we are undertaking will enable us to determine the best path forward in order to maximize value for all of our shareholders.”

Talk Radio Fact-Finding Tour of Ireland Planned.  A group of diverse talk radio broadcasters is getting ready to take a comprehensive tour of Ireland in early April.  The tour will include a six-day, guided visit to some of the Emerald Isle’s most iconic attractions and interview opportunities with some of Ireland’s most important leaders from the fields of politics, international relations, business, the arts, food, technology, and history.  Organized by the DC Radio Company in conjunction with the Irish government’s tourism bureau, the project marks a return to the type of international fact-finding missions that were a talk radio staple in the 1990s and early 2000s.  DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones tells TALKERS, “I am so excited to get the ball rolling again on these trips that provide hosts and their listeners with the opportunity to take a real deep-dive into the culture of other countries around the world.  And now in the age of the Internet, tours like this give stations and networks the opportunity to tease the interviews with short clips on the air and full, long-form programs and specials on their websites.  Plus, they are attractive content packages for local and national sponsorships.”  Jones is a well-known talk radio figure who, in addition to having major market credentials at several top stations in Washington, Boston, Detroit, and Nashville, as well as in national syndication, served more than a dozen years as a senior White House correspondent for the Talk Radio News Service before launching the DC Radio Company last year.  Her live commentaries are familiar to listeners in hundreds of markets.  She has been involved with a number of the successful talk radio fact-finding missions that brought hosts to such diverse countries as Taiwan, Israel, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, and more.  Talk broadcasters signed up for the Irish tour include, Doug Stephan of the syndicated “DJV Morning Show,” Danielle Lin of the syndicated “The Art of Living and Science of Life,” Kate Delaney of the syndicated  “America Tonight” program, Michael Zwerling, owner of KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz, and Scott Thompson, owner of Big Radio, a group of eight radio stations located in Monroe, Wisconsin; Freeport, Illinois; Janesville, Wisconsin; Beloit, Wisconsin; and, South Beloit, Illinois.  Ireland’s 2019 tourism theme is “Fill Your Heart with Ireland.”  According to Jones, more international trips of this nature are being planned as several nations have expressed strong interest in creating communication ties with American talk radio.

Comrex to Debut New Rackmount Audio Codec at NAB Show. This updated version of the popular rackmount Comrex ACCESS – the ACCESS NX Rack – will be unveiled at the NAB Show in Las Vegas taking place from April 6-11.  Comrex says the industry standard Comrex ACCESS Rackmount (first released in 2005) is being updated to incorporate the technical advances from the last decade.  The ACCESS NX Rack features completely new hardware, allowing for AES67, AES3, or analog audio I/O.  ACCESS NX Rack can connect to Wi-Fi and 4G modems and supports a wide range of connection protocols and audio encoders.  It’s driven via a new HTML5-based web user interface.  Further, it is compatible with all Comrex IP audio codecs as well as the Comrex FieldTap smartphone app.  ACCESS NX Rack also includes Comrex CrossLock technology, a proprietary suite of tools that solidify connections over IP networks.  By sending two identical streams through two separate networks (redundancy mode), CrossLock provides a fail-safe in the event that the primary network falters.  ACCESS NX Rack also includes HotSwap, a new function included with the latest version of ACCESS firmware. HotSwap allows users to designate one network as a backup that will only engage when the primary network has failed. Fall-over to backup happens in a matter of seconds, and fallback is seamless.

Broadcasting from CPAC.  Pictured above is Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher (left) posing for a pic with the newest member of the SRN syndicated talk show host family, Dr. Sebastian Gorka (right).  The two are producing their programs live from the American Conservative Union’s Conservative Political Action Conference taking place in National Harbor, Maryland through Saturday.

TALKERS News Notes. WCCO, Minneapolis is getting its new imaging package from noted radio voice-over and imaging legend Sandy Thomas’ new company, CORE Voice Imaging and Sound Design (a division of Thomas Voice Imaging). The Entercom heritage news/talker is re-branding with the assistance of the new imaging package with reportedly positive initial results.  The highly charged package features Thomas and his wife Rebecca.  Check out a demo of the WCCO package here.  Interested stations can reach Sandy Thomas at 800-516-3370 or email CORE@ThomasVoiceImaging.com…..The news of President Trump’s breaking off talks with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un came on short notice and SRN News vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS that their affiliate stations were able to hear it live, thanks to their coverage.  Tradup says that via its longform news channel SNN Right, they were able to go live with the breaking news and deliver audio from the live news conference from Hanoi that had been moved up that included President Trump’s wide-ranging remarks on the summit, political battles facing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his reaction to Michael Cohen’s testimony, new negotiations with China on trade, and other breaking news…..WBUR, Boston produced “On Point” is presenting its first special four-part series from co-host Meghna Chakrabarti that explores the nation’s complicated housing landscape, titled, “Where We Call Home.”  It debuts March 4.  Chakrabarti will investigate the changing landscape of neighborhoods across America and the economic, social, aesthetic, and political forces that factor in to where and how Americans choose to live.

Michael Cohen Testimony, Trump-Kim Jong Un Meeting, India-Pakistan Tensions, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls, Trump-Russia Investigation, Border Wall/Emergency Declaration, Venezuela Unrest, and NBA/NCAA Hoops Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/27). Wednesday’s congressional testimony by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen; President Trump’s Hanoi meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un; the military tensions between India and Pakistan over the disputed Kashmir region; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in the 2020 election; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the U.S.-Mexico border wall project and challenges to President Trump’s emergency declaration; the situation in Venezuela as Nicolas Maduro clings to power; and NBA and NCAA basketball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. This season of ABC TV’s “American Idol” debuts on March 3 and iHeartMedia is joining ABC in promoting the show with a radio special hosted by Ryan Seacrest and broadcast across more than 90 iHeartMedia AC and hot AC radio stations nationwide.  The thirty-minute special will air Sunday, March 3 and feature songs from current “American Idol” judges and past contestants, exclusive content and information about the iconic series…..Cumulus Media announces that Justin Taylor is the new operations manager for its Oxnard-Ventura, California cluster and program director for country KHAY.  He’s taking over for the retiring Chris Cox, who will step down on March 4 after a 45-year career in radio. Taylor says, “I could not be happier to be joining [RVP] Sommer Frisk and her amazing team as the operations manager for Ventura /Oxnard, and even more excited to take over the ACM nominated K-HAY!”

Thursday, February 1, 2018

| February 1, 2018

iHeartCommunications Declines to Make $106 Million Cash Interest Payment. This move, like Cumulus Media’s similar tactic last fall, is designed to spur action in the company’s efforts to restructure its debt.  Today, iHeartCommunications, Inc. (iHeartMedia is the parent company of iHeartCommunications) announced that its board of directors elected not to make a cash interest payment of $106 million (due today, 2/1) to holders of its 14% senior unsecured notes due 2021 as active discussions continue among its lenders, noteholders, and financial sponsors regarding a comprehensive debt restructuring.  “The board elected not to make the payment in connection with ongoing efforts to proactively and comprehensively address the company’s capital structure.  The decision will not trigger an event of default under the indenture as the company will utilize a 30-day grace period under the indenture during which it retains the right to make the interest payment to the holders of the notes and remain in compliance with the indenture governing the notes.  The board is considering options as part of its strategy to achieve a comprehensive restructuring of the company’s debt.”

SiriusXM Q4 Revenue Up 8%.  The satellite radio company did take a loss of $37 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, but that was due to a $185 million charge associated with the revaluation of the company’s deferred tax assets as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. For the year of 2017, SiriusXM’s net revenue was positive to the tune of $648 million.  In the fourth quarter, SiriusXM recorded a decrease of approximately $72 million in the fair value of its investment in Pandora, reversing the prior quarter’s unrealized gains.  The satcaster reports that it gained 1.56 million self-pay subscribers during 2017 to put its total self-pay subscribers at approximately 27.5 million.  SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “The fourth quarter capped a strong year for SiriusXM and was our best quarter for self-pay subscriber growth in five years. We exceeded all of our 2017 subscriber and financial guidance, even after increasing these targets during the year.  I am particularly pleased that we achieved this growth in an environment of slowing auto sales.”

‘Radio War’ Gets KBME, Houston Booted from Super Bowl Radio Row.  A good old-fashioned radio war tactic escalated tensions between iHeartMedia’s KBME, Houston “SportsTalk 790” and Entercom’s KILT-AM “Sportsradio 610,” resulting in KBME losing its credentials to broadcast from the Super Bowl LII radio row.  It all started when KBME morning host Josh Innes sent his producer, Jim Mudd, to video KILT-AM’s Seth Payne and Mike Meltser as they did their show.  It had the intended consequence of riling up Payne, who soon was in a verbal argument with Innes.  Audio from the confrontation ended up on both stations’ airwaves.  WEEI, Boston’s Gerry Callahan and Kirk Minihane (mornings on the Entercom sports talk station) were broadcasting their show nearby and captured the donnybrook on video.  After it was all over, the NFL removed KBME from the radio row.  See the Houston Chronicle’s story and the WEEI-shot video here.

KXL, Portland Announces New Afternoon Team. The new afternoon drive team for Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM, Portland “FM News 101” is Lucinda Kay and Cooper Banks.  Kay is promoted from her part-time position with the station.  She has an extensive background in radio and television news.  She launched her career in journalism in 1994, working as a TV news anchor and reporter – in both English and Spanish – for several years.  She hosted her own talk show in Spokane.  She started freelancing for KXL in 2016.  Cooper Banks worked as an afternoon DJ at KWKJ, Warrensburg, Misourri in 2004.  He was hired as news director for KMXL/KDMO, Joplin, Missouri two years later.  He later jumped to KMBZ, Kansas City as a producer, reporter, and news anchor.  Alpha Media Portland content director Bruce Collins says, “I am extremely excited to work each day with Cooper and Lucinda.  They have the talent that will take KXL to a new level in pm drive.”

Westwood One at Super Bowl LII.  The official network radio partner of the NFL and Super Bowl LII reports that it is on the scene in Minneapolis preparing for its coverage of the game.  Westwood One says it’s been busy taping interviews and special features for the coverage.  In addition, its personalities (and some from partner NBC Sports Radio) have been visiting radio row.  Above is Super Bowl XXXI-winning coach Mike Holmgren (center), one of Westwood One’s Super Bowl LII analysts, doing an interview with KKFN, Minneapolis “K-FAN” personalities Dan Barriero (right) and Justin Gaard (left).

26th Wing Bowl Takes Place Tomorrow Morning.  With SportsRadio 94WIP’s Wing Bowl 26 taking place tomorrow morning at the Wells Fargo Center, the official weigh-in takes place tonight, live on WIP, Philadelphia from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm from Chickie’s and Pete’s.   The Entercom sports talk station has scheduled 29 eaters to record their official “eating” weight and record their age, height, and hometown.  Members from each eater’s entourage and Wingettes will be on hand to cheer on their favorite eaters to victory.  This year, WIP personalities Marc Farzetta, Ava Graham, Al Morganti, and Rhea Hughes will also compete in Wing Bowl 26.  The Overall Winner of Wing Bowl 26 gets a 2018 Hyundai Sonata courtesy of Colonial Hyundai of Downingtown, plus Steven Singer Jewelers is presenting $5,000 cash and a custom Championship Medal and Ring.  The First Responders Champion Prize is a Harley Davidson XL 883N Iron Sportster Motorcycle courtesy of Barb’s Harley Davidson.  The Wingette of the Year walks away with $5,000 Courtesy of Dr. Steven Davis & Davis Cosmetic Surgery, and Best Wing Bowl 26 Entourage wins $5,000 cash, courtesy of Steven Singer Jewelers.

NRG Media Names New General Managers in Omaha and Wausau.  There are new general managers at NRG Media’s Omaha and Wausau station groups.   Kurt Luchs leaves the Wausau, Wisconsin station group where he’s been GM for almost five years to lead the Omaha cluster that includes news/talk KOIL and sports talkers KOZN and KOZT.  In Wausau, Aleese Fielder is promoted from director of sales to general manager.  NRG Media president/CEO Mary Quass says, “The goal of NRG Media is to be a destination company for our team to build a career, so I am very excited to be able to promote from within.  These promotions are well deserved, together Kurt and Aleese turned Wausau around and helped make it one of the most successful markets in the company.  We like to reward a job well done and these moves are a definite win-win for two very talented teams.

Major National Programming Executives Set to Speak at TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! The roster continues to grow as the 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention continues to name what will be a stellar list of some 50 or more leaders from the programming, talent, sales, management, ownership and technical sectors of the field. Convention organizers have named (in alphabetical order): Canadian radio giant Bell Media national news/talk format head (and PD of NEWSTALK 1010, Toronto), Mike Bendixen; iHeartMedia SVP of news/talk/sports programming, Chris Berry; Salem Media Group SVP/director, spoken word format, Phil Boyce; and Cumulus Media EVP of content and programming, Mike McVay. These outstanding individuals join (in alphabetical order) Beasley Broadcasting CEO, Caroline Beasley; Premiere Networks/FOX News Channel star Sean Hannity; Westwood One president, Suzanne Grimes; PodcastOne founder/executive chairman Norm Pattiz; and Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott as conference speakers. More speakers will be announced here in the days and weeks ahead leading up to the event. For more information about TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! see story below.

TALKERS Convention Early Bird Discount Ends Tomorrow! The opportunity to attend the 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important convention at a significantly reduced registration fee comes to an end tomorrow (Friday, February 2 at 5:00 pm ET). Those registering before the deadline will save $50. TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will take place on Friday, June 8 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan. The conference will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the new digital age and at the dawn of a rapidly accelerating era. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology – the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing the modern-day talk broadcaster and broadcasting organization. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. Like its predecessors, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch, and a closing cocktail reception — all in a single power-packed day! Full agenda details, speaker roster and hotel information will be posted in TALKERS during the days and weeks ahead. As is customary with TALKERS conventions, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students. Because seating is limited, and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments costs $329 per person. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

TALKERS News Notes. In the Winchester, Virginia market, Centennial Broadcasting changes the simulcast of classic country on WZFC-FM, Strasburg, Virginia and will instead simulcast its news/talk WINC, Winchester “Newstalk 1400” on WZFC’s 104.9 FM signal.   Company market manager Larry Weiss says, “Centennial Winchester is excited about the prospects of extending the reach of our highly regarded ‘Newstalk 1400’ station programming further south in the Shenandoah Valley, utilizing the powerful WZFC signal.  This move will allow us to extend the news/talk brand, including our roster of well-established national hosts, south of Winchester into the Warren and Shenandoah County areas.”…..WVLZ, Knoxville “Sports Radio 1180” owner Doug Mathews is selling the station to fellow Knoxville station owner Aaron Ishmael.  He owns crosstown oldies WKCE.  Ishmael begins operating WVLZ under an LMA today (2/1).  The Knoxville News reports that two WVLZ personalities Tony Basilio and Jayson Swain – have ended their brokered arrangements with WVLZ.  It’s not known if Ishmael intends to change the sports talk format…..JVC Media signs an extension to carry Frank MacKay’s two programs – “Breaking it Down” and “52 Players” – on WRCN, Riverhead (Long Island) and WSWN, Belle Glade, Florida (West Palm Beach).

State of the Union Address, FBI Memo Controversy, Trump-Russia Investigation, DACA Status/Immigration Policy, Gowdy to Leave Congress, Flu Epidemic, Social Media Fraud, Black Panther Film, and Super Bowl LII Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/31). Tuesday evening’s State of the Union Address by President Trump; the battle over whether to release the FBI memo that alleges law enforcement abuses and Congressman Adam Schiff’s allegation that Congressman Devin Nunes made changes to the memo; Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives; the status of the Obama-era DACA Act and the Trump administration’s immigration policy; Congressman Trey Gowdy announces he will not seek re-election; the flu epidemic that’s sweeping the U.S.; the social media scandal involving allegations numerous high-profile people bought artificial followers from a firm called Devumi; the new superhero film Black Panther; and the build-up to Super Bowl LII were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Powerful Candid Conversation with WABC, New York Personality Curtis Sliwa on Harrison Podcast. New York City radio icon Curtis Sliwa is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” Sliwa, whom Harrison describes as a “performance artist,” is the founder and leader of the grassroots crime fighting organization the Guardian Angels, as well as serving as the chairman of the New York State Reform Party. Sliwa is a longtime Big Apple talk show host heard mostly on WABC during the past few decades. He is currently recovering from serious surgery in the aftermath of an ongoing battle with Crohn’s Disease and other gastroenterological issues – resulting in him having to dry out from opioid addiction. Harrison and Sliwa talk about a range of subjects including prescription drugs, the state of radio, street crime, politics, Donald Trump and the peculiar nature of ego. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Some of the performers taking part at the March 11 iHeartRadio Music Awards are being announced by iHeartMedia.  The fifth “fan-fueled” iHeartRadio Music Awards takes place at the Forum in Los Angeles and will feature: Ed Sheeran, Cardi B, Maroon 5, Camila Cabello, Charlie Puth and Backstreet Boys will be among the performers.  The event is being hosted by Hailey Baldwin and DJ Khaled and is being simulcast live on TBS, TNT and truTV at 8:00 pm ET…..Alpha Media Dayton names programming pro Bo Matthews operations manager for the cluster and content director for adult hits WGTZ “92.9 Jack FM” and country WCLI “101.5 Hank FM.”  Matthews was most recently SVP of programming for iHeartMedia Cincinnati.  He began his career in Youngstown, Ohio with then-Jacor and worked his way up the programming ladder at Clear Channel and iHeartMedia.  Alpha Media EVP of content Scott Mahalick comments, “Bo is a world-class, ‘A’-level programmer who is energized, pursues excellence as a habit, and understands the mission and how to achieve it.  We look forward to his leadership on the Alpha content team.”…..Envision Networks announces that its ‘90s rock weekend show “The Core” adds new affiliates, bringing the Envision Rock Network affiliate count to more than 350.  Adding the program are: KUBQ, La Grande, Oregon; WTCX, Ripon, Wisconsin; and WKBH, La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

| January 27, 2015

price howardGetting It Partly Wrong and Absolutely Right.  Disaster preparedness expert Howard B. Price – director, business continuity for ABC Television – writes in a piece in TALKERS today (1/27) that even though parts of the Northeast escaped the dire predictions of Winter Storm Juno, it’s better that people were overprepared.  For those upset with officials for shutting down roads and, in some cases, entire cities, Price says, “No one should EVER blame the messengers for decisions governments and businesses take based on scientific facts that were trumped – as they sometimes are – by the forces of nature.  Better to plan for what turns out to be unnecessary, then to be caught flat-footed when circumstances are worse than you anticipated.”  Keep in mind that as we publish this piece on Tuesday, parts of New England are indeed getting a lot of snow, combined with high winds.  Read more from Price here.

foxcarolynCarolyn Fox: My Prescription for Radio Success.  Radio pro Carolyn Fox writes about the key tenets to help personalities succeed in the radio business – even in this era.  In this piece she presents five points radio personalities should understand in order to have success in a business that’s contingent upon connecting with listeners.  “Great radio is nothing more than real humans connecting with other real humans aurally,” Fox says, “Don’t overcomplicate the message because my kid is banking on you to resuscitate radio so he too can pay back his college loans.”  Read Carolyn Fox’s piece here.

leykistomnonameTom Leykis’ The New Normal Reports 2014 Profit.  It’s been three years since Tom Leykis – free from the confines of his old contract with CBS RADIO – debuted his own internet talk program via a digital platform operating within his company The New Normal LLC.  Leykis says that his gross revenue for 2014 was $524,952, an increase of 60% over 2013’s gross, and a net profit of $2,187.  He goes on to say that this profit “will most likely exceed the combined net profits of the radio industry’s two largest companies (representing 1,310 or 11% of all US commercial radio stations).”  Pointing to the balance sheets of large radio operators iHeartMedia and Cumulus Media, Leykis says “iHeartMedia has not earned a net profit since at least 2008 according to its own 10K report.  Despite recent claims of ‘accelerated growth,’ iHeart’s best showing since 2008 was the second quarter of 2010 when it showed a net of negative $204.2 million…Cumulus Media, which is number two to iHeartMedia in stations owned, has shown a slight profit in 2014, with earnings per share for 2014 so far reported at $0.04 per share and net revenue of $159.34 million as of the third quarter of 2014.”  TALKERS editors note that while profits are certainly a challenge for companies with large debt service, it can be argued that the two companies mentioned (and the others not) employ thousands of people, support workers’ families and in turn contribute to the economy in a bigger way than a small company that actually earns a profit.  Still, Leykis says his point is that it doesn’t take big corporate backing to produce a successful media venture.  “In the end, this news doesn’t exactly make my day.  I made a fantastic living in the radio business and I still have many friends in the industry who are afraid of what the future holds.  I could have retired young and lived comfortably forever.  This project is to show radio folks that there’s a future for them if they’re willing to work hard.”

Westwoon One Super Bowl AdsWestwood One to Recognize Excellence in Audio Creativity. It has become an annual event for the syndicator to recognize the best radio commercials within perhaps the year’s biggest sporting event – the Super Bowl. Westwood One‘s senior vice president of sports sales & marketing Brandon Berman explains that the Cumulus Media division created the “Sound Awards” to “connect with – and to encourage – marketers, creatives, and brands to join forces and showcase the power of sound. Our Super Bowl broadcast is the perfect environment for advertisers to leverage their commercial creative, thanks to our incredible reach and sheer volume of audience across platforms. Following the crowning of a Super Bowl Champion, we look forward to crowning an advertising champion.” Westwood One’s play-by-play coverage of SuperSeahawks - Patriots Bowl XLIX between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks originates this Sunday (2/1) from suburban Phoenix (Glendale). The “Super Bowl Sound Awards for Excellence in Audio Creativity” will feature national ads airing on Westwood One’s Super Bowl XLIX broadcast, as well as SiriusXM Radio, NFL.com/Audiopass, NFL Mobile from Verizon, and on the American Forces Radio Network. Last year’s winner, Motel 6, earned the top spot with a parody on how to use AutoCorrect.  Other top vote getters were Tilted Kilt, Subway, Exergen, and Taco Bell. Voting opened yesterday (Monday, 1/27) at 3:00 pm (ET) and runs through next Tuesday (2/3) at 12:00 noon; winners will be announced next Wednesday (2/4).

XEPRS-AMXEPRS-AM, Padres Extend “Mighty” Agreement. The pact between Broadcast Company of the Americas’ sports outlet XEPRS-AM “The Mighty 1090” and the National League West San Diego Padres covers this year’s MLB season and next year. BCA president Mike Glickenhaus comments, “We are very excited to continue our relationship with the Padres. We believe very strongly in the [team’s] vision for theSan Diego Padres future and we are looking forward to being a part of it.” Padres president Mike Dee remarks, “We are thrilled and excited because this really is a good partnership. ‘The Mighty 1090′ is where San Diego fans go for their sports and the Padres are glad to be part of it.” XEPRS-AM has been the Padres’ flagship since 2004; the station is licensed to Rosarito Beach, Baja California (Mexico).

Odds & Sods.  Former Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Mike Rogers joins Hudson Institute as a Distinguished Fellow.  In this role, he’ll focus on cyber-warfare and security, counterterrorism, and national security policy.  Rogers currently hosts the nationally syndicated feature “Something to Think About withrogersmike Mike Rogers” for Westwood One and is a CNN national security contributor…..At the Omaha cluster of NRG Media, AM radio operations manager Neil Nelkin announces he’s leaving the position and the station group he’s been at for more than two decades.  The company’s Omaha AM properties include: sports talkers KZOT and KOZN, news/talk KOIL, and Spanish-language KMMQ…..There’s a changing of traffic reporters at Tribune’s WGN, Chicago as the station informs traffic service Radiate Media that it’s dropping 10-year personality Leslie Keiling and will replace her with Judy Pielach, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder…..Ashley Lopez is named political reporter for Kentucky Public Radio’s WFPL, Louisville.

Johnjay and RichJohnjay and Rich Suggest Non-Traditional Super Bowl Accommodations. Capitalizing on the fact that this Sunday’s Super Bowl is being played in their flagship market, Phoenix-based syndicated morning talents Johnjay and Rich maintain they are prepared to rent out their studio. Emphasizing they are offering the “full Super Bowl experience,” the duo cites computers, buffet breakfasts/lunches, convenient parking, and color television as tongue-in-cheek selling points to would-be renters. According to a video they shot, the 3.5-day rate to rent their studio is approximately $160.

WW1probowl15Busy Week in Arizona for Westwood One.  Pictured here is the crew that covered last weekend’s NFL Pro Bowl game at University of Phoenix Stadium – also the site of this weekend’s Super Bowl XLIX.  Westwood One is the exclusive national radio partner of the NFL.  From left to right are: producer Aaron Cummins, announcer Scott Graham (the voice of NFL Films), executive producer Howard Deneroff, and NFL Hall of Famer Rod Woodson.

Obama Tax Plan, ‘American Sniper’ Film Controversy, 2016 Presidential Prospects, East Coast Blizzard, and Super Bowl/DeflateGate Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/26).  The proposal by President Obama to hike taxes on the rich to assist the middle class; the controversial responses to the film “American Sniper”; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the blizzard hitting the East Coast; and Sunday’s Super Bowl and chatter about the DeflateGate issue were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, May 16, 2014

| May 16, 2014

ramseydaveClear Channel to Go ‘Real Talk 760’ in Denver.  The flip of progressive talk KKZN, Denver “Colorado’s Progressive Talk” reported earlier this week is confirmed with details.  The station will feature financial and personal help programs and take the positioning statement “Real Talk 760 – Real Life, Real Solutions.”  The lineup, beginning Monday (5/19), is as follows: Bloomberg  Radio and Wall Streetbohannonjim Journal Radio Network programming during the 3:00 am to 10:00 am “Money in the Morning” program block; a simulcast of sister news/talk KHOW’s Troubleshooter Tom Martino from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon; Dave Ramsey from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm (starting June 2); Clark Howard from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Dr. Joy Browne from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm with Jim Bohannon from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm.  In a statement, CC Denver market president Pat Connor says, “We’re excited to bring a new genre of talk programming to Colorado.  We’re confident ‘Real Talk 760’ will be a trusted source of information and entertainment for our listeners.”

compasslogoNancy Abramson Named VP Affiliate Sales & Strategic Partnerships at Compass.  Respected talk radio pro Nancy Abramson joins Compass Media Networks in the newlyabramsonnancy created position vice president of sales & strategic partnerships.  In the new post she’ll “drive strategic partnerships with radio stations and content providers.”  Compass CEO Peter Kosann states, “We are incredibly lucky to have Nancy join us.  Great people are the key to this business and Nancy fits this description.”  Abramson will work out of the company’s Rye, New York offices.  She comments, “It is an honor to join Compass Media Networks.  The company has done a brilliant job amassing an incredible content portfolio and I cannot wait to work with our distribution partners.”

osgoodcharlesWestwoodOne Inks Charles Osgood to Multi-Year Renewal.  Iconic CBS News figure Charles Osgood and WestwoodOne will continue their relationship for some years to come as the two sides agree to terms to continue producing “The Osgood File” series.  Osgood states, “I’m looking forward to bringing morewestwoodone logo of ‘The Osgood File’ to the millions of listeners across the country who tune in each weekday morning.  My producer Ray Bassett and I look forward to continuing the great partnership with our colleagues at CBS News and WestwoodOne who make it all possible – and so enjoyable.  See you on the radio!”  Osgood’s radio work has been honored over the years with two Peabody Awards, the RTDNA Murrow Award, an NAB Marconi Award, and a Radio Mercury Award.

Fourth Round of April PPM Data Released. PPM data from the fourth of four groups of 12 markets for the April 2014 period (March 27 – April 23) has been released by Nielsen Audio.  Those markets include: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication, RadioInfo, has all the (subscriber) numbers here.  Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.

2014 NYC logo 150Four Dynamic Solo Speakers to Present Spectrum of Views and Information at Talkers New York 2014 — Hannity, Francesa, Edelman and Del Colliano to Appear in Key Addresses.  The agenda continues to grow as the 17th annual installment of talk media’s longest running and most important convention – Talkers New York 2014 — is now less than five weeks away.  The power-packed, one-day, industry-only gathering will provide its luminous attendees with more than 65 speakers participating in five panel discussions, an awards ceremony, the legendary and original Talk Rumble, a product and idea exhibit, and four dynamic solo presentations.  Kicking off the day with the traditional TALKERS General Keynote Address will be Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity discussing key issues including his vision of news/talk’s future.  That will be followed by WFAN, New York legend Mike Francesa delivering the second annual TALKERS Sports Keynote Address in his unique, no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is style; highly respected, personal finance advisor and syndicated radio host, Ric Edelman will deliver a special presentation offering retirement planning information specifically geared to radio professionals shifting from employee to self-employed status during this economically transitional era in the business; and noted radio industry observer and Inside Music Media publisher, Jerry Del Colliano will offer up a serving of potent insights about “Radio in the Digital Era.”  According to TALKERS publisher and conference director Michael Harrison, “Each of these solo speakers brings something very special to the table and we couldn’t be more delighted having them serve our attendees in their key roles.”  The event takes place on Friday, June 20 at the iconic India House located at One Hanover Square in the heart of New York City’s historic Financial District.  Registration (open only to people who are employed in the radio industry or associated media companies and broadcasting students) is $249 per person and covers all events, presentations and sessions including breakfast, lunch, day-long refreshments and closing reception.  Talkers New York 2014 is expected to be sold out before June.  Registrations can only be booked by telephone with credit card.  For registration or sponsorship information call 413-565-5413. To see up-to-the-minute agenda details and hotel information, please click here.

boomercartonWFAN, New York’s Boomer & Carton Welcome the Gin Blossoms to ‘Summer Kickoff Party.’  The event will take place at D’JAIS in Belmar, New Jersey next Friday, May 23 as WFAN, New York morning drive team Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton will broadcast their show live for the inaugural Memorial Day “Summer Kickoff Party” on the CBS RADIO sports talk station.  The Gin Blossoms will perform live during the show and will serve as special guests on the program.

lordrichOdds & Sods. Sports talk KILT-AM, Houston personality Rich Lord is being replaced as the sideline reporter for Houston Texans radio broadcasts by John Harris, who recently joined the Texans as a media contributor.  He most recently worked at KGOW, Houston and the affiliated Yahoo! Sports Radio network.  According to David Barron in the Houston Chronicle, the move was not a reflection on Lord but a means of raising Harris’ profile…..CBS RADIO Philadelphia partners with the Schuylkill Navy of Philadelphia around the Stotesbury Cup Regatta presented by the Tri-State Toyota Dealers, the largest high school rowing event in the world.  As part of the partnership, the CBS Radio Sponsorship Group will serve as a marketing, media and sponsorship arm for the Stotesbury Cup, which has been held continuously on the Schuylkill River since 1927, attracting almost 6,000 high school athletes from over 200 high schools and over 30,000 spectators for the two-day event.  The 2014 Stotesbury Cup Regatta takes place today and tomorrow.

hartmannthomTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Radio America’s “Dana Show” with Dana Loesch joins new stations KXL-FM, Portland; KFQD-AM, Anchorage; WIBW-AM, Topeka; WGKA-AM, Atlanta; WAAM-AM, Ann Arbor; and KNWZ, Palm Springs…..“Gun Talk” with host Tom Gresham is now part of the program schedule at KWQW, Des Moines “98.3 The Torch.”…..WYD Media’s Thom Hartmann moves to afternoon drive on Saga Communications’ progressive talk WNYY, Ithaca…..New affiliates for The Wall Street Journal Radio Network‘s “MarketWatch Reports” include: KROI, Houston; KQTH, Tucson;  and KOA and KKZN, Denver.  KKZN also picks up “The Wall Street Journal This Morning” and “The Wall Street Journal This Weekend.”…..The “Motley Fool Stock Watch” daily feature is added to the programming at WNOS, New Bern, North Carolina.

koznmanning‘OMAHA, OMAHA!’ Peyton Manning’s in Town.  Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning – whose use of the word “Omaha” when barking out audible signals on the gridiron was the subject of much discussion and jocularity last season – visited the city for the 60th Annual B’nai B’rith Charity Sports Banquet on May 15 at Century Link Center.  The event was attended by more than 1,200 people and KOZN, Omaha “1620 The Zone” morning hosts Gary Sharp (left) and Damon Benning (right) got the chance to snap a pic with Manning (center) while welcoming him to the city.

Boko Haram Kidnappings/Militant Islamism Top News/Talk Stories for Week of May 12-16.  Landing atop the Talkers TenTM this week is the kidnapping of the schoolgirls in Nigeria by the militant Islamic group Boko Haram and the U.S.’s role in the situation.  At #2 was the report on Antarctic glacial melt and debate over climate change.  Following at #3 was the 2016 presidential race and the matter of Hillary Clinton’s health and at #4 was the mid-term elections and primary race results.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Friday, July 19, 2103

| July 19, 2013

wrightcurtis show logoCurtis Wright and George Bell to Launch Wilmington, NC Talk Station Monday.  After splitting from Cumulus Media in late 2012 and partnering with area businessman and local Republican activist George Bell, Curtis Wright began producing his “On the Beat” internet talk program from the duo’s Talk Media TV studios in February of this year.  Now, Wright and Bell are launching news/talk outlet “My Talker” on class A FM WMYT, Wilmington, North Carolina at 106.7 on Monday July 22.  The station will feature Wright’s program in morning drive followed by Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck, Courtside Entertainment’s Laura Ingraham, and Premiere’s Sean Hannity.  Other network shows to be carried include: TRN’s Andrea Tantaros, Premiere’s “Coast to Coast AM,” “Handel on the Law,” Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, Gary Sullivan, Leo Laporte and more.

wnymlogoFormer Governor David Paterson Officially Joins ‘AM 970 The Answer’ in New York.  The former governor of New York has been co-hosting the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm show alongside Curtis Sliwa – dubbed “Curtis and the Gov” – for about a month now but Salem Communications announces David Paterson officially joins the WNYM in a permanent capacity.  Sliwa, who’s been pulling double duty at the station forpatersondavid some time, will continue to host the morning show solo from 6:00 am to 9:00 am.  After leaving the governor’s office, Paterson joined WOR, New York but exited that station when Clear Channel bought it from Buckley Broadcasting.  He says of returning to the air, “I am ecstatic at the prospect of returning to talk radio at ‘AM 970 The Answer’ and co-hosting with one of the living legends in the business, Curtis Sliwa.  Working with Curtis, as opposed to being a solo host, gives me a wider berth to air my opinions and strike up an interesting back-and-forth with an outspoken and articulate critic on everything.”  WNYM VP/GM Jerry Crowley, who hired Paterson while working at WOR, states, “There was no more beloved or recognizable figure in talk radio than the Gov.  It’s amazing how fast he became skilled behind the microphone.  He created quite a buzz when he first started reading commercials and our clients simply loved it.  He was a big part of our success.”

wfanfantasy4WFAN, New York Prepares to Launch 4th Annual Fantasy Phenom Challenge.  CBS Radio sports talk WFAN, New York is kicking off its 4th annual Fantasy Phenom Challenge next week at Modell’s Sporting Goods on Columbus Avenue in New York City.  This promotion is a contest for local listeners to show the station their sports talk chops and win a chance to host a program on WFAN.  The contest begins Thursday at 12:00 noon at the Columbus Ave. Modell’s location, then moves to the Edgewater, New Jersey location on Saturday, July 27 and to the Plainview, New York location on Tuesday, July 30.  At each location the station will audition up to 100 contestants who must deliver a 2-minute rant in front of the judges. Winners move on with the final five competing for the ultimate prize at Mike Francesa’s “End of Summer” bash and radio show broadcast live on-air and online at www.wfan.com from Bar A in Lake Como, New Jersey on Friday, August 23.  WFAN operations manager and CBS Radio New York VP of programming Mark Chernoff says, “Once again it’s ‘Fantasy Phenom’ time on ‘The Fan.’  This year we’re partnering with Modell’s Sporting Goods to hold first round auditions at three of their area stores as we look for another grand prize winner who will receive a weekly air shift for a year on WFAN and this year as an added bonus, the winner will receive a two year lease of a brand new Lester Glenn Hyundai.  Let the fun begin!”

saboconclaveWalter Sabo Interviewed by Bob Shannon at The Conclave.  In a riveting one-on-one presentation, Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo was interviewed by The Conclave executive director Bob Shannon yesterday (7/18) during the conclusion of the second day of the three-day industry gathering in Minneapolis.  Sabo discussed a number of the highlights of his colorful career in radio and explained his view of the evolving relationship between popular culture and video on the internet.  The consultant also discussed radio’s need to take more chances on new concepts and stop the practice of playing follow the leader.  The Conclave concludes today (7/19) with “Game Day” sessions geared to sports radio and a trip this evening to a Minnesota Twins baseball game.

bahenickNRG Media’s ‘1620 The Zone’ in Omaha to Launch Nick Bahe Show.  Sports talker KOZN, Omaha “1620 The Zone” announces former Creighton University hoops star Nick Bahe becomes part of the lineup with a daily 11:00 am to 2:00 pm eponymous program.  The station says Bahe’s program joins the “entirely live and local” lineup.  Bahe’s show follows lead-in “Sharp & Benning” and is followed by “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” with hosts John Bishop and Mike’l Severe in afternoon drive.

katzpresspartyJeff Katz Takes Part in Boston Herald Online Program.  Boston-based talk media personality Jeff Katz (most recently with Clear Channel’s former news/talk WXKS-AM, Boston) is pictured here on the set of the Boston Herald’s “Press Party” program that is part of the paper’s online initiative.  Seen here (from l-r) are: Joe Battenfeld (formerly of FOX 25/Boston), Jaclyn Cashman (formerly of WWLP-TV/Springfield), Tito Jackson (Boston City Councilor), Katz, and Dr. Bob Rosenthal (Chairman of Suffolk University Communications Department).

Odds & Sods.  ESPN Radio – which will broadcast 17 NFL games this season – announces it’ll kick off the season with Tennessee at Pittsburgh on Sunday, September 8…..Cumulus Media’s WWLS, Oklahoma City renews its deal with the NBA’s Thunder to continue serving as flagship station for the team.  The two sides recently signed a multi-year agreement that provides for Spanish-language play-by-play on sister WKY.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update.  Pilot Media’s WRPW, Bloomington, Illinois adds “America Tonight” with host Kate Delaney to the program schedule….. WestStar MultiMedia Entertainment’s Kim Komando program adds new affiliates: WWIQ, Philadelphia; KSRO, Santa Rosa, California; KYKN, Kaiser, Oregon and KXLY, Spokane…..Sports talk show “From the Press Box to Press Row” with Donal Ware adds new affiliates KKNO, New Orleans and WVWI, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

Zimmerman Verdict Aftermath Top News/Talk Story for Week of July 15-19.  The aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict landed atop the Talkers TenTM as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week.  Coming in at #2 was the implementation of the Affordable Care Act – ObamaCare.  At #3 was the IRS’ scrutiny of conservative groups and individuals and following at #4 was immigration reform and amnesty.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Monday, July 1, 2013

| July 1, 2013

emmisEmmis Delivers “Really Fun” Q1 Earnings Report.  With net revenue up 6% in Emmis’ fiscal Q1, CEO Jeff Smulyan was positively giddy during Friday’s investor’s conference call.  The company reported net revenue of $36.9 million andsmulyanjeff operating income up 536% from $1.1 million to $7 million.  Smulyan said, “More than that, our markets were up 5% and I haven’t seen markets up 5% in the American radio industry in quite some time.  So we think it bodes well.  We are thrilled.  We think it bodes well not only for the company, but for the industry.”  Smulyan was eager to talk about the FM receivers in cell phones project he’s championed and is very excited about where the project stands right now, especially with the support from the broadcasting industry, stating, “From the very largest broadcasters to the very smallest, support has been nearly unanimous.  I think I had one broadcaster in the top 75 group that said I don’t want to support this and I personally talked to probably 60 to 65 of those groups.  The support has been remarkable.  It’s been very gratifying.  I think we are on the verge of a game-changing event in this industry.  I can’t announce specific times, but stay tuned, we will be able to announce industry support and then as we are done with our contractual arrangements, we will be able to announce when all this comes together.  But the first step in that process is coming together, which we now have clearly demonstrated that we’ve done.”

cochransteveSteve Cochran Exits Salem’s WIND, Chicago.  Chicago Media writer Robert Feder tips us that longtime Windy City talk radio personality Steve Cochran has exited Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago with both sides agreeing not to renew his contract.  Cochran currently also hosts the daily 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show at KTRS, St. Louis from Chicago.  Feder speculates that it wouldn’t be surprising to see Cochran appear on WGN, Chicago as the Tribune news/talk station is in re-tooling mode.  The station recently ousted late night host Turi Ryder and expanded the evening sports talk show hosted by David Kaplan to 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight.  It also cut “The Noon Show” hosted by Carol Roth.  Cochran was on the air at WGN for 10 years prior to being let go in 2010.

millerchrisDigital Media Expert Chris Miller: “Come up with a plan!”  Noted radio industry digital media consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller says one of the questions he is asked most often by businesses of all types trying to make sense of their place in social media is, “What’s the return on investment?”  The more honest statement he hears is, “I know I need to be doing more with social media, but I don’t know what I should do.”  Miller states, “I see social media and content marketing make the needle move for businesses, but there’s one thing you have to do before you’ll see results with it: do it correctly.”   In a new column posted today (7/1) Miller writes, “The first step in doing it correctly is to come up with a plan.”  He offers four steps to help you create your new, effective social media strategy, especially designed for radio stations. They include 1) stating with your “measurables,” 2) determining who you are, 3) putting your plan into action, and 4) communicating and evaluating.  To read all the details, please click here.

mancowMancow Muller to Co-Star in History Channel Reality Show.  TRN-FM’s Erich “Mancow” Muller will co-star with his brother Mark Muller in the History Channel’s new series, “God, Guns and Automobiles” premiering Mondayhistory channel logo July 8.  The show is described as “an American reality show revolving around the Muller families and an auto dealership named Max Motors. Located in the tiny rural town of Butler, Missouri, Mark Muller makes car deals the old fashioned way.  No trade or sales stunt, no matter how outrageous or controversial, is off the table if it can help him compete against the big city dealers.  Nationally syndicated radio host Mancow Muller is his business partner, and he joins the show with an oddball staff that works the deals.  The Muller’s take pride in Max Motors as the embodiment of the values and spirit of the heartland of America.”

corcoranjcJC Corcoran to Host Late Morning Show on KFNS, St. Louis.  In a story obviously related to last Friday’s TALKERS report about KFNS, St. Louis morphing from sports to guy talk, longtime St. Louis radio personality JC Corcoran – who left the market in March to host the morning drive show at Clear Channel’s classic rock KKRW, Houston “93.7 The Arrow” – will begin hosting the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show on KFNS on July 8.  Corcoran will follow Tampa-based Bubba the Love Sponge when that show starts clearing on the station.  Corcoran tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he’ll do the show from Houston but eventually plans to have a St. Louis-based co-host.  He jokes to TALKERS, “And this time they can’t run me out of town ‘cuz I’m already gone!”

feinburgtoddBoston Talk Host Todd Feinburg Subs on WBZ-AM.  Longtime Boston morning host Todd Feinburg tries his hand at hosting evenings this week as he fills in on CBS Radio’s WBZ-AM, Boston “Newsradio 1030.”  Feinburg sits in Monday through Wednesday from 8:00 pm to 12:00 midnight for Dan Rea.  Feinburg recently parted company with Entercom news/talk WRKO after nearly 10 years at the Boston talker.  He can be reached at todd@toddtalk.com.

ktaram logoBonneville’s KTAR-AM, Phoenix Adds Dan Bickley to Middays; Debuts Live and Local Morning Show.  Bonneville-owned sports talk outlet “Arizona Sports 620” (KTAR-AM) in Phoenix announced additions to its program schedule with the hiring of AZCentral sports columnist and longtime sports radio host Dan Bickley to the midday show beginning July 29.  Bickley will be partnered with Vince Marotta for the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm program.  Additionally, the station announces the return of Doug Franz and Ron Wolfley to morning drive, moving Dave Burns and John Gambadoro to the afternoons.  Bonneville Arizona vice president and market manager Scott Sutherland states, “It doesn’t get much bigger than adding the highest profile local sports media personality in Arizona to our already powerhouse team of dynamic hosts and insiders.  It’s also a momentous day for the ‘Arizona Sports’ brand as we’re ecstatic to once again offer Phoenix the only live-and-local sports morning show in the market.”

sileodanDan Sileo Subs on WMEN, West Palm Beach.  Sports talk host Dan Sileo sits in for Orlando Alzugary in the afternoon drive slot this week on JCE Licenses LLC’s WMEN, Royal Palm Beach (West Palm Beach market).  Sileo – who worked for years at Clear Channel’s WDAE, Tampa – most recently did an 11-month stint at Beasley Broadcasting’s WQAM.  He notes that he was fired from his last two gigs for controversial statements he made on the air and tells TALKERS, “I’m very excited about the chance to see if I can make it a week without getting fired.”

cclogoClear Channel Spent $1.17 Million on Lobbying in 2013 Q1.  The blog RadioSurvivor tips TALKERS to the fact that Clear Channel’s lobbying tally for the first quarter of 2013 hit $1.17 million as reported in a U.S. House of Representatives disclosure form.  According to the report, CC’s lobbying focused on: “Congressional oversight and legislative proposals regarding the Federal Communications Commission proceedings on broadcast localism MM docket #04-233;  Congressional oversight and legislative proposals regarding the Federal Communications Commission proceeding on local radio ownership rules – MM docket #09-182; Congressional oversight and legislative proposals regarding broadcast decency enforcement; Congressional oversight and legislative proposals regarding tax incentives and loan guarantees to encourage diversity of ownership of telecommunications businesses. H. Con. Res. 16 / S. Con. Res. 6;  ‘Supporting Local Radio Freedom Act,’ all provisions; Congressional oversight and legislative proposals regarding low power FM stations; Congressional oversight and legislative proposals regarding privacy; and Congressional oversight and proposals regarding emergency communications systems as pertaining to EAS and FCC oversight.

istookernestOdds & Sods.  The Fourth of July holiday week provides a number of fill-in opportunities.  Former congressman and talk radio personality Ernest Istook will sit in for Cumulus Media NetworksEric Harley and Gary McNamara who host the “Red Eye Radio” overnight program on Friday, July 5…..Program director Gregg Henson begins hosting a nightly 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show called “Pittsburgh Sports Night” on Clear Channel‘s news/talk WPGB-FM, Pittsburgh.  Thehensongregg station’s website bills it as a show featuring “the best sports personalities in Pittsburgh, like Mark Madden, Tim Benz, Stan Savran, David Todd and Mike Prisuta…..NRG Media’s KOZN, Omaha secures a three-year deal to air the radio play-by-play for Creighton Men’s basketball as the school transitions to the Big East Conference.  NRG Omaha market manager and KOZN GM Andy Ruback states, “It’s just tremendous to earn the rights as the exclusive partner for Creighton Men’s Basketball. It’s an honor for ‘The Zone’ to serve our listeners, advertisers and Creighton with this winning program.”…..Clear Channel‘s WDAY-AM, Fargo inks a new three-year deal with the University of North Dakota to air the school’s football and men’s hockey games along with other sports play-by-play and associated programming beginning in August…..WZUS, Decatur, Illinois “Talk 101 FM” talk show host Tara Nickerson is honored with the Silver Dome for Medium Market Personality of the Year by the Illinois Broadcasters Association.  She hosts the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm “Daily Wrap” program.

barberrickLongtime Denver Talk Show host Rick Barber Dies at 67.  The family of Rick Barber – who hosted the overnight show on Clear Channel’s KOA, Denver for 30 years – announces Barber passed away due to complications from ALS.  The family writes to Westword that, after a radio career that began while in the Army in the 1960s, “Barber came back to Denver in 1982 and took a seat in the overnight chair on KOA.  Rick also did television in the Denver market, as well.  ‘The Rick Barber Show’ aired for an unprecedented thirty years.  Rick’s final show on 850 KOA was in early 2012.  ‘He was a facilitator of topics and education — that’s what his show was all about. He always considered his show a radio magazine, and not just a talk show. Dad loved his listeners,’ said son Ian Barber.  In his final interview, Rick Barber talked about his time on the air.  ‘My footprint should be somebody who made you laugh, made you feel comfortable, made you feel good.  That’s how I want to be remembered.  I want them [the audience] to think of me as the guy who did it my way.  Including going out: my way.’”

Friday, June 21, 2013

| June 21, 2013

cclogoFemale AEs Sue Clear Channel Jacksonville Charging Age and Gender Bias.  The suit against Clear Channel filed in United States District Court Middle District of Florida Jacksonville Division alleges that three account executives – Angela Myhand, Monique Blue and Jessica Downs – had accounts taken from them by management and given to Caucasian and/or male sales staffers without explanation, without hearing of complaints by clients and without receiving any discipline by management for mishandling the accounts.  The plaintiffs also alleged they were given no reason for the actions.  After contacting the EEOE, they allege listening devices were installed on their offices phones but not on telephones in other sales staffers’ offices.  The three are charging management violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, allege retaliation for involvement in a protected activity plus other allegations and are seeking unspecific damages plus attorneys’ fees.

americaweekendlogoEnvision Radio Networks Adds Meteorologist John Wetherbee to ‘America Weekend’ Program.  Citing the need to provide information to listeners across the nation about extreme weather, the nationally syndicated “America Weekend” program enlists the expertise of American Meteorological Society-sealed,wetherbeejohn National Weather Association-certified meteorologist and 30-year radio veteran John Wetherbee as chief stormcaster.  Envision says Wetherbee “will be keeping an eye on the skies to provide live reports on major severe weather developments and how they may impact travel, business and our nation.”  Program executive producer Kipper McGee states, “As we have learned, many significant weather events happen on weekends.  John adds a unique national perspective that is absent from most weekend news/talk programming.”  “America Weekend” airs live each Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm ET and is hosted by Paul Harris, Turi Ryder, and other top talk talent.

nj1015nnjbaawards‘New Jersey 101.5’ Honored with Two Awards at NJBA Convention.  Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” was honored at this week’s New Jersey Broadcasters Association convention with “Best of” awards in two categories: 1) “Best Public Affairs” Award for the station’s monthly show “Ask the Governor.”  The award was presented to Eric Scott (left) and his team of Christopher Knight, Chris Swendeman and Matthew White; and 2) “Best Promotions” Award for the “Big Joe Jersey Talent Show.”  The award was presented to Ray Handel (right) and his team of Big Joe Henry and Dan Specht.

More Station Honors from State Broadcasters Associations.  This is the time of the year when state broadcasters associations hold their annual awards ceremonies and there are two more to report:  In Illinois, Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago took top honors at the 2013 Illinois Broadcasters Association Silver Dome Awards, held June 19 in Peoria.  For the sixth year in a row, the IBA recognized WGN Radio as the Chicago Market Station of the Year at its annual best-in-state awards ceremony.  In addition to being named Chicago Market Station of the Year, WGN Radio also earned first placewgnlogo honors in five categories:  major market personality for Mike McConnell, best newscast for Judy Pielach, best station website for wgnradio.com, best play-by-play team for Chicago Cubs broadcasters Pat Hughes and Keith Moreland, and best humorous commercial for “Chicago Food and Wine,” produced by Jason Skaggs.  WGN president and general manager Jimmy de Castro says, “It is a great honor to receive the award for Chicago Market Station of the Year by the Illinois Broadcasters Association.  To be recognized by our industry peers is a reflection of the tremendous talent and dedication from our staff to continue to provide the quality of programming our community expects from WGN Radio.”

wgacawardIn Georgia, Beasley Broadcast Group’s WGAC-AM/FM, Augusta, for the 12th consecutive year, was named the Georgia Association of Broadcasters “Radio Station of the Year.”  New this year is the fact that WGAC was honored in the large-market category, which includes Atlanta.  For the past eleven years, WGAC was awarded Radio Station of the Year in the medium-market category.  Pictured here are (l-r) Beasley Augusta VP/market manager Kent Dunn, news director Mary Liz Nolan, and WGAC program director Harley Drew with the “Gabby” Award.  Dunn comments on the victory, “I am extremely proud of the WGAC-AM/FM staff for bringing home our 12th consecutive Gabby for ‘Radio Station of the Year.’  This year is even more special due to the added competition of being placed in the division that includes stations in Atlanta.”

herskovitzalThe Sale Doesn’t End When the Client Signs the Contract.  According to H&H Communications president, TALKERS columnist and highly regarded industry sales maven Al Herskovitz, the subject of “making commercials work effectively so the client is more likely to renew” was one of the buzzes of conversation in the halls at the recent Talkers New York 2013.  In a column posted today (6/21) Herskovitz writes about the deadly consequences of hosts that rush through live reads, spots that are overloaded with too many words, six-minute spot sets of boring ads that seem interminable to the listener and sales reps who don’t pay attention to the process after the deal is signed.  He does, however, offer praise to those hosts who ARE doing a good job serving the advertisers and names names.  To read Herskovitz’s entire column, click here.

raytomTOM RAY:  Listening to Your Syndicated Show on an Affiliate is Different than Listening in the Studio.  That’s a good piece of advice from one of the industry’s most respected engineering consultants.  In a new column posted today (6/21) by TALKERS technical editor and columnist Tom Ray, he points out that timing in the real world of an actual on-the-air radio station — in terms of commercial breaks and liners — can be a different thing than running the show in the studio or looking at its elements on paper. He says by listening to the show on an affiliate you will most likely learn something that will help you avoid all-too-common mistakes in timing that create sloppy and embarrassing audio pileups and make the show better for both you as a syndicator and the affiliate carrying your program.  To read it, click here.

allengaryliveWOOD, Grand Rapids Morning Host Gary Allen Hosts Last Show Today; Retires After 32 Years at Station.  On Thursday, Clear Channel Grand Rapids declared it “Gary Allen Day” as the legendary Grand Rapids radio personality broadcast live from the market’s Celebration Cinema North in recognition of his 32 years on the air at WOOD and his retirement from the station after today’s broadcast.  Allen announced his retirement eight months ago stating that at age 65 there are still some things he wants to do.  He tells WOOD-TV, “I want to be remembered as the guy that people woke up to on the radio in the morning, you have fun, we gave them the news, we gave them the weather, we gave them the traffic and between the group at WOOD, we gave them some laughs, too.”  Photo: WOOD-TV

Odds & Sods.  WMAL, Washington morning drive co-host Larry O’Connor is sitting in for Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Dennis Miller on June 24 and 25…..And in another WMAL-related note, former Congressman Ernest Istook will host the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm program tomorrow (6/22)…..Sports USA will syndicate the Little League World Series radio broadcasts again this summer.  The company will offer the US Championship Game on August 24 and the International Championship on August 25.

koznpearlmanChancellor Perlman in the House.  NRG Media’s KOZN, Omaha “1620 The Zone” hosted University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Harvey Perlman on the “Sharp & Benning in the Morning” program for a full hour on Thursday, June 20 to discuss college athletics.  Topics covered included pay for athletes, Nebraska in the Big 10 Conference, athletic department salaries and numerous others.  Pictured here are (from l-r) Gary Sharp, Perlman and Damon Benning.

NSA Surveillance Program Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 17-21.  The National Security Agency’s surveillance of phone and email activities, its ties to stopping terrorist attacks and the making public of the program by former contractor Edward Snowden were the top stories discussed on news/talk radio this week, landing the issue atop the Talkers TenTM.  Following at #2 was the “Gang of 8” amnesty deal for illegal immigrants.  At #3 was President Obama’s Berlin speech and his nukes reduction proposal broached at the G8 summit in Belfast earlier in the week.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

daveramsey logoCool Assistant Engineer Job Opportunity! The Dave Ramsey Show has a really good job opportunity for an assistant engineer at the company’s headquarters in Brentwood, Tennessee.  If you have experience running a radio type console, have knowledge of ISDN Codecs, are experienced using video and video router/matrix, have knowledge of level3/Vyvx lines and have the ability to learn and take directions — then this job might be for you.  For full details about the position and its requirements/opportunities, click
http://www.daveramsey.com/company/view-all-jobs/ and then click on the Assistant Engineer.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “The Freedom Feens” featuring Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi and syndicated by Genesis Communications Network is added to the program schedule at KDGO, Durango, Colorado…..Good Parts Media reports the acquisition of its 100th affiliate.  The parent company of “The Hookup,” Mr. Prep and The Locker Room prep services reports it has hit this milestone in only its second year of doing business…..The national syndicated “My Cool Inventions” show with Akos Jankura and John Cremeans is added to the program schedule at WRSB, Rochester, New York and KMET, San Bernardino.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

| October 2, 2012

TRN Promotes Jerry Doyle to Network Slot Where Savage Aired.  Calling it the show with which “stations will get more light and less heat, a show that they can sell locally with pride, but also a show that will respect its stations, advertisers and audiences with a brilliance that sets great shows apart from good ones,” Talk Radio Network moves Jerry Doyle into the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm PT time slot formerly held by Michael Savage.  TRN states, “For too long, we’ve had to choose between ratings and salability, but no longer…Jet pilot, Wall Street investment banker for 10 years, Hollywood star for 12 years, former congressional nominee and now radio giant who has earned his right to this spot for close to nine years, Jerry Doyle is the future of talk radio.  He will bring massive audiences through word of mouth because he is brilliant and funny, showing both emotional and intellectual range that is beyond rare.”  As it announces Doyle’s move into the West Coast afternoon drive slot, TRN promises, “He understands the advertising business like few others; Jerry is a triple-rated William Morris Agency voice-over artist who has voiced national ads for AT&T, Chevrolet, TGI Fridays, Anheuser-Busch, Panasonic, The US Armed Forces and many others.  Jerry will work with his stations reading their ads and promos, because he understands radio isn’t about host ego, it’s about high levels of performance, and it’s about business.”  Michael Savage exited TRN last week after winning in arbitration to get out of his contract with the syndicator.  Filling in for Doyle’s program in his previous network time is Dr. Bill Wattenburg until a permanent replacement is named.

CBS Sports Radio Announces Scott Ferrall to Be Late Night Host.  When CBS Radio’s new 24/7 national sports talk network kicks off in January, longtime sports talk pro Scott Ferrall will hold down the 10:00 pm to 2:00 am ET slot with his “Ferrall on the Bench” program.  So far, we know the new CBS Sports Radio network will feature Jim Rome for the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot followed by Doug Gottlieb from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.  Network director of programming Eric Spitz says, “Scott is widely recognized as having set the standard for what a successful national evening sports radio show should be.  He’s got an amazing knowledge of sports that rivals even the most noted experts, and with his fast-paced style of high-octane sports talk, listeners and our affiliates are guaranteed to get the very best program each and every night.”  Ferrall is currently hosting a sports talk show for SiriusXM.  In the past he has worked for SportsNet New York, several NHL properties, Fox Sports Radio, and Sportsfan Radio Network, as well as major market stations in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Miami and Pittsburgh.

Don Wade Update from Chicago.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports that WLS-AM, Chicago morning host Don Wade came through his brain surgery successfully and is resting at home, according to wife and on-air partner Roma.  In case you missed it, the longtime WLS-AM morning personality was diagnosed with a growth in early September for which he underwent surgery last Thursday.  Now, the Wades’ agent, Eliot Ephriam, tells Feder, “The surgery went as expected and Don came out of it really well.  We’re awaiting the results of tests and that will determine what’s next.”  Don Wade is expected to remain at home for several weeks.  Station executives report the duo had good ratings news as the September PPM numbers indicate WLS-AM was #1 with listeners 12+ from 6:00 am to 10:00 am scoring a 7.0 share – the program’s highest ratings in more than four years.

Genesis Communications’ SportsTalkFlorida Aligns with NBC Sports Radio.  Several months ago, Genesis Communications stated it was going to drop the ESPN Radio affiliation for its sports talk stations WHBO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando.  Now the company reveals its programming plans and its new affiliation with the fledgling NBC Sports Radio network.  The stations have been named “NBC Sports Talk 1040 The Team Tampa Bay” and “NBC Sports Talk 1080 The Team Orlando,” respectively.  The new lineup at the two stations includes: local host David Baumann in AM drive; DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; local host Whitney Johnson from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; for PM drive, WHBO airs local host Charlie Bernstein and WHOO broadcasts local duo Mike Tuck and Jerry O’Neill; both stations air NBC’s Erik Kuselias.  Both outlets are carrying sports news updates from NBC Sports Radio.

Clark Howard Returns to Middays at WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando.  The Mel Robbins program, heard from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at Cox Media’s WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando will exit that time slot and Clark Howard will return to that time slot beginning October 12.  Howard was bumped to the late night 10:00 pm to 1:00 am slot back in March when WDBO brought Robbins aboard for a live midday program.

 

KOZN, Omaha Names Damon Benning Morning Co-Host.  Former Nebraska running back and 1996 Orange Bowl MVP Damon Benning is named co-host of the 7:00 am to 11:00 am show alongside Gary Sharp on NRG Media’s “1620 The Zone.”  Benning has served as an analyst on the Big Ten Network, NET Television, Cox Communications, and made numerous guest appearances on “1620 The ZONE” over the years.  Today he begins on-air duties on “Sharp & Benning in the Morning” with KOZN sports director Gary Sharp.  NRG Media Omaha market manager Andy Ruback says, “For years we have had Benning on the station as he has been a vital part of our broadcast team and our extensive Husker coverage.  Now, we will be able to take advantage of his expertise full time, all year long.”

WISN, Milwaukee Talk Host Mark Belling Faces Backlash for “Thug” Comments.  Community activists in Milwaukee are promising a rally on Thursday to demand an apology from Clear Channel Media and Entertainment talk host Mark Belling who hosts the PM drive show on news/talk WISN.  Activists in the market are upset with comments Belling made about Derek Williams – an African-American man – who died in the back of a Milwaukee Police squad car.  An account from the Milwaukee Journal states Williams pleaded with officers for help saying he could not breathe but they ignored his pleas and he died.  The case was recently reclassified as a homicide.  Critics say Belling’s characterizing Williams as a “dirty, rotten thug” was inappropriate and not relevant to the care he should have received while in police custody.

Odds & Sods.  CBS Radio’s KRLD-AM, Dallas “Newsradio 1080” announces the hiring of award-winning weatherman Bob Goosmann as chief meteorologist for the station.  VP of news/talk/sports Bruce Gilbert states, “Bob lives and breathes North Texas weather and greatly respects KRLD’s commitment to accurate and dependable forecast information every ten minutes.  ‘NewsRadio 1080 KRLD’ listeners can rely on him, not only for accurate forecasts, but also for the information they need to stay safe when severe weather strikes.”  Goosmann most recently served as chief meteorologist for KDAF-TV, Dallas…..Clear Channel’s Quad Cities cluster enters into a deal with New Young Broadcasting Holding Company’s KWQC-TV, Davenport, Iowa that has the TV station producing news and weather content for news/talk WOC and other cluster stations in exchange for CC creating daily entertainment reports for the television station.

Clear Channel’s WTAM Scores Indians Renewal.  According to Northeast Ohio’s Chronicle-Telegram, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WTAM, Cleveland has won the rights to Indians baseball – for how long, though, is not known.  The report has not been confirmed by Clear Channel.  WTAM – which has been the home of Indians baseball for the past 14 years – was reportedly getting a strong challenge for the play-by-play rights from CBS Radio’s crosstown sports talk WKRK “92.3 The Fan.”

Obama-Romney Debate Preview, Iran Nukes Threat, Potential New ObamaCare Challenge, and Fate of ‘Fast and Furious’ Guns Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/1).  The looming presidential candidate debate; concern over Iran’s nuclear weapons program; a new, potential  Supreme Court challenge to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act; and the charge that guns from the ‘Fast and Furious’ program ended up in Mexican drug cartel’s hands were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

| August 23, 2012

Tom Owens Out at Clear Channel.  With the constant comings and goings of radio people these days – even executives – it’s tough to call anything a “shocker,” but Tom Owens has been part of the Clear Channel organization since its merger with the old Jacor back in 1998.  Owens began with Jacor as programmer at rocker WEBN, Cincinnati and moved up to the top of the corporate programming ladder there before the merger.  He was the head of Clear Channel programming until last fall when Tom Poleman was named president of national programming platforms and Owens was given the EVP of programming research and strategy title.  During his time there, Owens was no stranger to the pink slip process – of course, participating in it from the position of handing them out.  Now, as CC consolidates its programming research and ratings research groups into the national programming platforms division under Poleman, Owens leaves the company.  The official word from Clear Channel is that Owens will still contribute to its strategic programming on a “consultant basis.”  Sometimes in modern-day corporate jargon, that’s a nice way of saying, sayonara.

Emmis Picks Up Two Stations in Terre Haute.  The purchase of sports talk combo WSDM-FM at 92.7 and WSDX-AM at 1130 (both licensed to Brazil, Indiana) from Crossroads Investments must be approved by the FCC but Emmis will be operating the duo under an LMA beginning September 1.  Emmis Terre Haute general manager James Connor says in a statement, “We are excited to add the ESPN brand to the Emmis Terre Haute cluster of stations which includes WWVR-FM classic rock 105.5 The River and HI-99 WTHI-FM the Wabash Valley’s Country Station.  We will continue to serve the listeners of Terre Haute, Brazil and the surrounding communities with quality programming and our continued commitment to community service.”  In addition to ESPN programming, the combo airs local sports talk host Vaso Michels’ 5:00 am to 7:00 am program.

Talk Host Martha Zoller Loses Bid for Congress in Runoff Election.  Gainesville, Georgia-based talk host Martha Zoller – who left her talk radio career to run for the new 9th Congressional District seat in Georgia – lost the Republican primary runoff to Georgia State Representative Doug Collins.  In a message to supporters, Zoller stated, “I do not know what the future holds for me but I do know that there’s still work to be done.  Don’t stop fighting for what you believe … don’t give up hope in the future of this great nation … and don’t for a second believe that your efforts over the last year were in vain.”  Whether or not Zoller makes a talk host comeback is uncertain but she has hinted to the Georgia media that she is not done with her political aspirations.

Super Agent Eric Weiss Played Significant Role in Heidi & Frank/KLOS Marriage.  One of the most prominent behind-the-scenes movers and shakers in the radio talent rep business, Eric Weiss of the LA-based Weiss Agency, first had the idea that Heidi and Frank would make a good fit in mornings at KLOS as far back as one year ago.  According to Southern California radio historian Don Barrett of LARadio.com, Weiss had the idea that the duo would be perfect for mornings at the heritage LA album rocker when rumors began to surface that Mark & Brian might be heading into their final contract year before he even represented them stating, “I pursued the idea – spoke with both sides about it, and was able to help bring it to fruition.”  There’s a huge lesson and insight in this for those who wonder how big time media talent agents operate.  It is not just a matter of “get me a job.”  Top agents smell potential connections and often put themselves in the mix as catalysts to a marriage before the main parties involved even think of it themselves.  At RadioInfo and TALKERS, we are often asked by zealous-but-unproven talent yet to earn a track record if we can “recommend a good agent.”  Our answer:  “Any agent who would sign you as a client at this point in your career wouldn’t be a ‘good’ one.”

Karel Program to Air on CRN Digital Talk Radio.  San Francisco-based talk host Charles Karel Bouley’s “The Karel Show” begins daily distribution via CRN Digital Talk Radio.  The famously liberal and openly gay talk host began his talk career in 1998 on KFI, Los Angeles with his late partner Andrew Howard.  Since then he’s also worked at KGO, San Francisco.  CRN president and CEO Mike Horn states, “Karel raises questions, brings humor and creates compelling conversation with listeners and guests alike and we’re especially pleased to bring his outstanding show to CRN.”  Karel has a national profile through his radio career, his books, blogs, syndicated columns (Huffington Post) and television appearances as both commentator and actor.  He says, “CRN continues to blaze a trail in delivering content to listeners across America.  I’m so glad they are taking the show.  From the beginning, Mike Horn has been an advocate and I knew we’d get to this day.”  The program airs live on CRN 2 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET.

SiriusXM Board of Directors Sued by Shareholders; Suit Has No Merit Says TALKERS Legal Editor.  The City of Miami Police Relief and Pension Fund, a SiriusXM shareholder, is contending that the SiriusXM board of directors has failed to prevent John Malone-led Liberty Media from assuming control over the satcaster.  The suit, filed in Delaware Chancery Court, contends Malone and other Liberty-appointed members of the board are preventing other board members from “adopting anti-takeover provisions even if doing so would be in the best interests” of shareholders.  Late yesterday, Delaware Chancery Court Judge Leo Strine ruled he would not stop Liberty from acquiring more shares as the plaintiffs had requested.  He further stated he would hear expedited motions within the next month to decide if the investors’ case should go forward.  But TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says what Liberty is doing is within its legal rights.  In fact, Weisman says SiriusXM could be in breach of contract if it attempted to stop Liberty’s actions.  Read Weisman’s exclusive analysis here.

Fox NFL Analyst Mike Pereira to Appear on KNBR, San Francisco This Season.  NFL fans know former NFL VP of officiating Mike Pereira as the guy the Fox play-by-play team cuts away to when there’s a questionable call on the field that needs illumination.  Now, Pereira will be part of the KNBR morning show with Gary Radnich and Larry Krueger for “The Rule Book” show Monday mornings at 9:30 during the NFL season.  Program director Lee Hammer states, “We’re excited to have Mike join the KNBR family.  In every NFL game, we see calls that leave fans in total disbelief.  As the former head of officiating for the NFL, Mike will not only explain the rule, but try to explain why the official made the call.  Mike no longer works for the league, so he’ll be critical when necessary and have the freedom to say when the officials clearly missed the call.”  With the possibility of the league’s officials sitting out due to a contract dispute with the league and replacement officials working games, this could be a huge programming coup on Monday mornings for KNBR!

Mancow Chicago Video Simulcast a Done Deal.  The “Mancow Experience” will be seen by Chicagoans on WPWR-TV – channel 50 in Chicago – from 6:00 am to 8:00 am beginning this fall .  The Chicago Tribune reports what was teased earlier this summer is being confirmed by station management.  The other aspect of this news for Erich “Mancow” Muller is that his show will have a new physical home base as production of the TRN nationally syndicated radio program will move to WPWR’s North Michigan Avenue studios.  WPWR VP and general manager Mike Renda says, “This fall, Chicagoans will get a backstage pass into one of the most provocative radio programs in this market.  Viewers will have unlimited access into Mancow’s madness, with a live, unedited simulcast that will bring this dynamic voice to life.”  Mancow’s show is heard in the market on suburban WJJG.

New York’s WFAN Scores Eli Manning Appearances.  New York Football Giants flagship WFAN, New York signs Giants QB Eli Manning to a multi-year deal to have Manning join PM drive host Mike Francesa at 5:05 the day after every Giants game during the season and the post-season.  Vice president of programming for CBS Radio New York and WFAN operations manager Mark Chernoff says, “As the team’s flagship radio station, we’re proud to be the leading source of Giants news for football fans across the tri-state area.  Having Eli every week is guaranteed to give listeners the best commentary, insight and discussion with a perspective only he can offer on the New York Giants.  This will be appointment radio at its best.”

Salem Radio Network Gears Up for Convention Coverage.  Dallas-based Salem Radio Network is prepping to cover the Republican National Convention in Tampa beginning on Monday. SRN vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup reports a full battery of SRN news staffers — including White House correspondent Greg Clugston and SRN U.S. Senate correspondent Linda Kenyon — will join SRN talk hosts Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and others at the network’s broadcast headquarters in the Tampa Bay Times Forum.  Tradup tells TALKERS magazine, “We’ll either present superb Republican Convention coverage or the most over-staffed hurricane coverage in the history of 21st century radio…or both!”  Tradup states the organization will also cover the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte the following week, and will include what it calls a “truth squad” led by former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett who hosts SRN’s “Morning in America” program.

NRG Media’s “The Zone” Omaha Sports Outlet Launches “Fully Interactive” Post-Game Show.  Sports talk KOZN, Omaha announces the debut of the “Big Red Over-Reaction” post-game show that will immediately follow Nebraska Cornhuskers football games this season.  The station is touting the program as  “fully interactive” saying it “will immediately feature fan reaction via on-air and digital and social media, providing instant vent-and-release by Cornhusker fans nationwide via over-the-air call-in, Twitter tweets, Facebook posts, Huskermax.com and e-mails.”  The show will feature The Zone’s legendary former Husker National Champion Blackshirt Jason Peter.  Peter will be joined by “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” co-hosts John Bishop and Mike’l Severe and Jason’s morning show co-host Gary Sharp of “Sharp & Peter in the Morning.”  NRG Media Omaha general manger Andy Ruback says, “We have the talent and the capability to deliver a program that the market has never seen before.  Our personalities have a combined total of nearly 100 years of experience with Nebraska football and we believe that fans will appreciate our unique approach to post-game programming that they have never had before.”

Yahoo! Sports Radio Names Doug Russell and Mark Carman PM Drive Hosts.  The slot opened up when Yahoo! host Travis Rodgers was moved to the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET slot on the network.  Doug Russell moves up from the network’s evening program and Mark Carman has worked at Houston Texans flagship KILT, Houston as well as WGN, Chicago.

Organization Files Petitions with FCC to Deny Renewal of Fox-Owned TV Stations.  The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is asking the FCC to deny renewal of the broadcast licenses of three Fox TV stations – two in Washington, DC and one in Baltimore – because of News Corp.’s involvement in hacking scandals in England, according to The Hill.  TV licenses, like radio broadcast licenses, come up for renewal every eight years and the three stations in question applied for renewal in June.  Their licenses are set to expire in October.  According to the story, CREW asked the commission to pull the licenses to all 27 Fox-owned TV stations back in May – citing the clause in FCC regulations that it only grants licenses to those of “good character” – but the FCC has taken no action.  The commission rarely takes action in cases of ethics complaints and it is not expected to act on CREW’s complaint.

Presidential Campaign, Todd Akins Campaign Status, Prince Harry Naked Partying Incident, Merkel-Euro Zone Tensions, and Hurricane Threatens Tampa GOP Convention Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/22).  The U.S. presidential campaign; Missouri Rep. Todd Akins campaign status in wake of “legitimate rape” comment; the fallout over Prince Harry’s naked partying in Las Vegas; German chancellor Angela Merkel’s difficult decision regarding Greece and the future of the euro zone; and the hurricane threat to next week’s GOP convention in Tampa were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

| July 17, 2012

Merlin Media Abandons News Format in New York and Chicago.  As indicated earlier today, Merlin Media held a major pair of staff meetings in New York and Chicago this morning and as speculated it was to announce a significant change in the operations of its two major properties in these markets.  According to reports, the Randy Michaels-headed company flipped WEMP, New York‘s “FM News 101.9” shortly after 10:00 am ET to “New Rock 101.9.”  Chicago’s “FM News 101.1” (WIQI) has been recast as a hot AC, “i101.”  It has been less than a year since these all news formats were launched with a tremendous amount of industry buzz – but the ratings and critical evaluations fell terribly short of expectations.

Paul Finebaum, Citadel and Former GM Bill Thomas Settle Lawsuit.  Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum, Citadel and former WJOX, Birmingham general manager Bill Thomas have reached an amicable settlement in their claims regarding Finebaum’s employment at the station, now owned by Cumulus.  The terms are not being released but the upshot is Finebaum will work out his contract with the station that ends in January of 2013.  Whether he will negotiate to re-sign with the station beyond that or seek to join another broadcast outlet is unknown.  In a joint statement, Thomas and Finebaum say that claims were contested and the settlement in no way constitutes an admission by any party concerning the validity or invalidity of any claim, counterclaim, or defense raised in the litigation.  Further, Finebuam says, “I am particularly pleased that the claims involving Bill Thomas are resolved.  I have known Bill for many years and have valued his advice.  We both regret that we became personally entangled in what was essentially a business dispute with former management and we look forward to repairing our relationship.”  Cox Media’s crosstown sports talk outlet WZNN continues to express interest in acquiring Finebaum’s services after his deal with Cumulus runs out, as reported in the Birmingham News.  But Finebaum’s attorney, Russ Campbell, says his client will issue no comment on his future intentions.  The original legal claims included Finebaum’s contention that Thomas and Citadel coerced him into signing a contract addendum that worked against his best interests and Citadel claimed Finebaum negotiated with another party in violation of his contract.  Finebaum’s show is heard in some 30 markets in the Southeast and is also available on SiriusXM.

Courtside Entertainment Group Breaks Simone Bienne Out with Daily Features.  British psychosexual and relationship therapist Simone Bienne – a co-host on the nightly nationally syndicated “Loveline” radio show – is featured on a new twice-daily vignette called “Lovelink with Simone Bienne.”  Each evening Bienne is part of the “Loveline” show with Dr. Drew Pinsky and Mike Catherwood.  Now Courtside Entertainment offers what it calls “her unique professional insight with a distinctly female perspective through two, one-minute commentaries every weekday.”  Courtside owner Norm Pattiz says, “Simone Bienne is a bottle rocket of energy, insight and intelligence.  We are delighted to have lured her across the pond to the States and are confident American radio listeners will be as taken with her charm, wit and knowledge as we are.”

Staff Meetings at Merlin Media’s New York and Chicago Stations Scheduled for Today.  As the two all-news FMs approach their first anniversary, the word on the street is that staff meetings have been called for this morning at WEMP-FM, New York and WIQI, Chicago.  Industry watchers are aware the ratings for the two all-news stations have not budged much since their debut last August and although there is no insight into what staffers can expect to hear this morning, staff meetings like this usually indicate a major change of some sort.

Drew Anderssen Moves from KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa to WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando.  Program director Drew Anderssen, who’s been programming Cox Media’s KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa for the past 12 years, moves to the company’s Orlando cluster to take the program director role at news/talk WDBO-AM/FM beginning August 6.  Cox Media Orlando vice president and market manager Susan Larkin says, “Drew has had an incredibly successful track record leading the KRMG brand.  His talent and passion for digital innovation will be a great asset not only for WDBO but for our entire cluster.”  Anderssen replaces Steve Holbrook who left the Cox Orlando operations in June after almost 30 years with the company.

Scottie Nell Hughes Joins Cast of Politichicks.  The online media site Politichicks.TV announces SNH Media president Scottie Nell Hughes joins the staff of the “all-in-one web destination that addresses the concerns of conservatives from the women’s point of view.”  Hughes’ company handles PR for talk radio personalities Rusty Humphries, Michael Berry and Mark Skoda, among others.  Now she becomes part of the Politichicks team.  Politichicks executive producer Beverly Zaslow says, “Scottie Nell brings a valuable energy and passion to a group of dynamic women and her background in talk radio has taught her to think on her feet and not be afraid to ask hard questions.”  Hughes joins the other “politichicks” – former “Dallas” cast member Morgan Brittany, “The Young & the Restless” cast member Ann-Marie Murrell, activist Sonnie Johnson and talk radio host Dr. Gina Loudon as co-host.

John Bishop Named Co-Host on KOZN, Omaha’s “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” Show; Gary Sharp Named Station’s Sports Director.  There’s been another change in the lineup at NRG Media’s sports talk KOZN, Omaha after Matt Schick – the host recently named to replace Kevin Kugler on the show – accepted a position with ESPNU (ESPN’s college sports channel).  John Bishop, most recently program director and co-host of the morning drive show at KOZN’s sister station KLIN, Lincoln, Nebraska, will take over the co-hosting duties alongside Mike’l Severe on “Unsportsmanlike Conduct.”  Kugler had announced he would be leaving the show to take a position with the Big Ten Network and will continue to contribute to KOZN on a limited basis.  NRG Omaha operations manager Neil Nelkin says, “We hire great talent on the ZONE as it’s a station sports figures and leaders tune to.  Bishop is well known throughout sports circles in Nebraska, namely as a distinguished sportscaster with decades of experience with Husker athletics, Creighton sports and the College World Series.  Bishop more than has the credentials, experience and the chops for this role on The ZONE…now I want to keep him for a while.”  Additionally, Nelkin announces Gary Sharp returns to Nebraska to take the sports director and morning show co-host position at sister station KZOT.  Sharp most recently worked with Minnesota Twins minor league club the Ft. Myers Miracle.  Prior to that he was sports director at the Nebraska Sports Network.  He’ll co-host the KZOT morning show with Jason Peter.  He says, “I am extremely excited for the opportunity to return to radio at a great station and most importantly to return to Nebraska.  We’ve had some great success here in Fort Myers and I will miss the people and relationships I have developed in baseball.  I am sure Jason is chomping at the bit to get started and I am sure we will have some spirited sports conversations that will make great radio.”

Clear Channel Seeks WHBA for Calls for Its New Boston FM.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment will take over the operation of alternative rocker WFNX, Boston on Monday and the request of new call letters WHBA gives no clue as to what format the station will assume when the change takes place.  The Boston Globe is planning to put the alternative format online and has already hired some of the WFNX staff to run it.  Talk radio fans in Boston might like to see an FM signal for the company’s WXKS – Talk 1200 – but those calls certainly don’t seem very news/talky, do they?  Regardless, the wait is on and let the speculation continue!

Cumulus Promotes Dave Crowl, Shuffles Market Managers.  Cumulus Chicago market manager Dave Crowl adds more regional vice president duties in addition to continuing to oversee Chicago’s news/talk WLS-AM and classic hits WLS-FM but the company brings Donna Baker up from Houston to take over the market manager position in Chicago.  Cumulus RVP Chuck Bortnick steps into Houston to oversee that market and will take on additional RVP duties for the region.

TALKERS magazine Publishes Debut “Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America.”  The editors of TALKERS magazine are pleased to announce the publishing of the first annual TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk.  A companion to its “sister list” – the annual Talkers 250 Featuring the Heavy Hundred that ranks talk radio hosts working in the news/talk and general talk genres – the editors of TALKERS magazine, with input from industry leaders, present the debut class of this annual feature honoring the sports talk radio industry’s 100 most important hosts, duos or ensembles.  In order to create this list, the editors took into account a combination of hard and soft factors and the results are, admittedly, subjective.  Staying true to the realities of the media business, ratings and revenue are two of the major factors – some would say they are the only factors worth considering – but the editors also took into account other qualities that help create a list that is reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor and still give credit where credit is due.  Those qualities include:  courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent and uniqueness.  View the 2012 TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk here.

A Tribute to WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa.  The number-one ranked sports talk host on this year’s TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk is WFAN, New York PM drive host Mike Francesa, who’s spent the past 23 years as dean of sports talk in the nation’s biggest market.  Fellow WFAN personality Richard Neer writes that Francesa’s “relentless curiosity and work ethic, along with his relationship with some of the biggest names in television broadcasting, gave him unique insight” that served as a foundation for a sterling sports media career.  Read Richard Neer’s tribute to WFAN’s Mike Francesa here.

2012 Presidential Race, Penn State Report, Hillary Clinton in Egypt, Welfare Work Requirement Issue, and Weak Retail Sales Numbers Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/16).  The 2012 presidential campaign; the Louis Freeh-led report on the Penn State-Jerry Sandusky case; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to post-election Egypt; the controversy over the Obama Administration’s relaxing of welfare work requirements; and weak retail sales figures were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

Monday, July 2, 2012

| July 2, 2012

Clear Channel Denver Announces Three New Talk Programs.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s three Denver-market spoken-word outlets are adding new live and local programming this month.  At KOA, a new evening sports talk show will debut at 7:00 pm on July 9 called, “PrimeTime Sports with Andy Lindahl.”  Lindahl has been an anchor and sports reporter with KOA since 1999 and is co-host of the station’s “Bronco’s GameDay” and “Broncos PrimeTime” as well as serving as a sideline reporter for Broncos and University of Colorado football.  At KHOW, the station is announcing a permanent show for the afternoon drive daypart featuring progressive David Sirota and conservative Michael Brown called, “The Rundown with Sirota & Brown.”  Sirota is an author and syndicated columnist who had served as host of the cluster’s progressive talk outlet KKZN.  Brown – former Undersecretary of Homeland Security under George W. Bush – had hosted an evening program on KOA.  Sirota and Brown take over the slot held by Dan Caplis and Craig Silverman who hosted the show for the past eight years.   Finally, at progressive talker AM 760 Colorado’s Progressive Talk (KKZN), KCNC-TV, Denver reporter Gloria Neal takes over the morning drive show from 7:00 am to 10:00 am on July 16.  Neal served as a news anchor at KOA in the past.

Lionel Hosts Early Morning Show at WPIX-TV, New York.  Commentator, talk host and podcast innovator Lionel of LionelMedia.com adds to his duties at Tribune’s WPIX-TV where he does commentary for the 5:00 pm and 10:00 pm news as he begins hosting the station’s early morning news program from 4:00 am to 6:00 am beginning today (7/2).  The expanded role for the uniquely talented Lionel allows him to bring his one-of-a-kind perspective on the issues to New York viewers in a broadened format that programmers at WPIX believe will be an effective lead-in to its morning news programming.  As reported by FishbowlNY, a memo from WPIX-TV news director Bill Carey indicates the program will be conversational in style and allow Lionel’s natural delivery to lead the program’s direction.  Lionel also presents several short form commentaries daily on Merlin Media‘s FM properties in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia.

Fourth of July Holiday Week a Bonanza for Fill-In Hosts.  This year the Fourth of July holiday falls on Wednesday and that mid-week holiday means more hosts take some or even all of the week off, leading to a whole bunch of programming time to fill and plenty of work for fill-in hosts.  Talk host and former Arizona Congressman J.D. Hayworth counts himself among the busy talk hosts working this week.  He begins the week sitting in on the morning drive show at Cumulus Media’s KSFO, San Francisco today and tomorrow.  On Wednesday, he’ll be the guest host on Cumulus Media NetworksMike Huckabee show and, later that night, he’ll be heard on CBS Radio’s WPHT, Philadelphia from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight.  On Thursday and Friday, Hayworth will host the “Morning Rush” program simulcast on WRDU-FM, Raleigh and WPTI-FM, Greensboro, North Carolina.  And on Saturday, he’ll sit in hosting the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm program at WLS, Chicago.

Former St. Louis Talk Host Gets Life for 2005 Murder.  Leonardo Drisdel once hosted “The Human Factor” talk show at WGNU, St. Louis.  In 2005, he confessed to his wife that after a drug binge with a local woman named Cassandra Kovack, he beat her to death claiming that a voice ordered him to kill her.  Drisdel was sentenced to life in prison on Friday, June 29.

 

Going for the Gold!  Six-time Olympic gold medalist Amy Van Dyken (c) joins KOZN, Omaha’s “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” co-hosts Mike’l Severe (l) and Kevin Kugler (r) on their program as it broadcast live from the U.S. Olympic swim trials in Omaha.  Van Dyken is co-host with Rob Dibble on Fox Sports Radio Network’s “Fox Sports Tonight.”

Thursday, June 28, 2012

| June 28, 2012

News Corp. Splits Its Assets in Two.  News Corporation officially announces it will chop its company into two separate, publicly traded companies, one consisting of its entertainment properties and the other its  publishing assets.  The issue was decided at yesterday’s board meeting.  Under the plan, the entertainment division will include the TV and movie businesses – Twentieth Century Fox, the Fox broadcast network, Fox News Channel and the other cable networks.  The publishing arm will consist of the newspapers – The Wall Street Journal, The Times of London and The Australian as well as the other publishing assets — including Harper Collins.  This will presumably also include The Wall Street Journal Radio NetworkSNL Kagan reports the two primary reasons for executing the split are to distance the more profitable entertainment assets from the phone hacking scandal — this reason has been denied by CEO Rupert Murdoch — and to encourage investors who are keen on the entertainment side but not the publishing business.  The first nine months of News Corp.’s 2012 fiscal year saw the entertainment division bring in $18.66 billion in net operating revenue while the publishing division’s net operating revenue was $6.22 billion.  However, analysts are not in agreement that the split will encourage that much investment and ultimately be as valuable to the entertainment side’s stock as it might appear at first blush.

Yahoo! and Clear Channel Agree to Content Sharing Deal.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment and Yahoo! partner on a distribution and cross-promotional deal in which Yahoo! will use the iHeartRadio digital platform as its official digital radio service while Yahoo! will be able to promote its content across CC’s 850 radio stations.  Yahoo! recently entered into deals with ABC News and CNBC to distribute jointly produced content across websites and television.  Interim Yahoo! CEO Ross Levinsohn – who is working to turn the struggling digital media company around and give it a focused direction – says of the pact, “This partnership will expand our ability to provide consumers and advertisers with the best premium content available and provide Clear Channel with unmatched digital reach.”  Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman says, “We were thrilled when Ross approached us about this partnership.  We like the direction Yahoo! is going and by working together we can accelerate growth for the both of us.”

The NFL’s Buffalo Bills Sue Cumulus Over “Incentive Rights Fee.”  Buffalo Bills play-by-play aired on Cumulus Media’s (and previously Citadel’s) WGRF-FM and WEDG-FM, Buffalo for the past 13 seasons through the 2011 season and now the team is suing Cumulus for what it says is the company’s failure to pay the “incentive rights fee” of about $1 million, according to the Buffalo News.  The suit states the incentive rights fee equals half the broadcaster’s gross revenues from the sale of related programming or advertising in connection with any Bills game, after accounting for certain costs.  The suit also contends, “For the 2011 NFL football season, the reasonable value of the exclusive radio broadcast rights and perquisites was believed to be at least $2.4 million, of which an amount believed to be at least $1 million remains due and owing.”  Attorneys for the team say Cumulus was to provide an independent auditor’s report on gross revenue and net revenue for the 2011 season and that has yet to happen.  The Buffalo News reports attempts to get a comment from Cumulus had not been successful.

Tom Leykis and Lionel on Strategies for Taking Talk Content to the Web.  This video from the recent 2012 TALKERS New Media Seminar – New York features The New Normal chief and talk radio legend Tom Leykis and LionelMedia.com personality Lionel discussing from-the-trenches strategies for bringing talk content – live streaming shows and podcasts – to the web.  The biggest challenge to this initiative is letting people know you are there and enticing them to listen.  Hear Leykis and Lionel speak about their work in this medium on this exclusive panel discussion in the TALKERS TV box on this page.  (Videography by Art Vuolo of Vuolo Video)

TuneIn Brings Major Broadcasters Cox Media Group, Emmis and Entercom Aboard.  Digital audio service TuneIn continues to build its roster of content with the signing of three of America’s big broadcasting companies to deals to distribute their audio.  Cox Media Group, Emmis Communications and Entercom radio stations will be heard on the TuneIn service that boasts 30 million monthly active listeners.  In announcing the deal, the chiefs of the three companies tout the enhanced distribution this will give their content.  Cox president Doug Franklin states, “As we transform into a digital media company, Cox Media Group is extending our great local brands to as many digital platforms as possible to seamlessly provide our audiences with the programming they want where and when they want it.  TuneIn leads the industry with their listener-first approach to everything they do, and we are excited to offer our broadcasts to the growing and vastly important digital audience.”  Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan comments, “Emmis is excited by today’s announcement.  We want to follow our listeners and deliver our content to the platforms they choose to use.  The TuneIn platform will provide our listeners from coast to coast another connection point with their favorite radio brands.”  And Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “This is a great deal for Entercom, for TuneIn and most importantly for our listeners. We are very pleased to align Entercom with such an innovative company as TuneIn, which will deliver our terrific local programming to a wider, digitally engaged audience.  Together, Entercom and TuneIn will deliver existing and new fans the best listening experience possible.”

Glenn Hall Named Managing Editor at TheBlaze.  Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts announces former editor in chief at TheStreet joins TheBlaze as managing editor.  The company states Glenn Hall will “oversee the day-to-day management and long-term editorial planning of TheBlaze.com’s editors and writers.”  Hall served as editor in chief at TheStreet until this past March and, according to comScore audience rankings, helped grow TheStreet into the 10th largest online financial media group, surpassing CNBC.com.  TheBlaze president and chief strategy officer Betsy Morgan says, “In under two years, we have attracted a growing team of over 25 reporters with a diverse range of experience ranging from a former CIA officer to CNN contributors.  We are excited to take our team to the next level with Glenn Hall who brings a strong track record of leading and overseeing high-quality coverage and award-winning journalism to TheBlaze.” Hall comments, “TheBlaze is an amazing web phenomenon that shows media can thrive in the new digital age provided the focus and mission are aligned with the needs of the audience.  I am excited about the opportunity to help grow this brand and raise the bar for digital journalism.”

CNN Suffers Worst Primetime Ratings Quarter in 21 Years; Cable News/Talk Network Makes Programming Changes.  TVNewser reports CNN’s 2012 second quarter primetime ratings were at their worst in 21 years with 446,000 total viewers and 129,000 in the adults 25-54 demo.  Compared to the second quarter of 2011, CNN is down 35% in total viewers in Total Day.  The numbers are similar in primetime with the network down 35% in total viewers and 41% in the adults 25-54 demo.  For individual shows, it’s hard to compare since the schedule has shifted and the same shows didn’t air at the same times last year.  But “Piers Morgan Tonight” (which hasn’t moved) is down 29% in total viewers and 33% in adults 25-54.  There is a bit of good news for the network as TVNewser reports June Nielsen numbers show younger viewers are increasing boosting Piers Morgan 9% in June, Anderson Cooper 5% and Erin Burnett 24%.  Meanwhile, the Time Warner cable news/talk network makes some programming changes: The seven-month-old “Early Start” show sees co-host Ashleigh Banfield move to the 11:00 am ET slot and newcomer John Berman becomes co-host of the program with Zoraida Sambolin.  Also, Kyra Phillips leaves CNN for duties at sister channel HLN.

KOZN, Omaha’s Kevin Kugler Transitions to National Correspondent Duties.  Sports talk host Kevin Kugler, currently co-host of the “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” afternoon show at NRG Media’s KOZN, Omaha – 1620 AM The Zone – will become a national sports correspondent for the station as he moves to a full-time position with the Big Ten Network – the conference’s TV network.  Kugler also serves as a play-by-play announcer for NFL football and NCAA basketball on the Dial Global Radio Networks and he will remain in that capacity.  KOZN program director Neil Nelkin states, “Kevin now gets a chance to cut his teeth as a play-by-play host for the Big 10 and still stay on The Zone.  It has been a joy and a privilege to watch Kevin as he evolved into a national sports correspondent.”  Kugler’s duties with The Zone will be as analyst, interviewer and guest anchor.  On his career transition, Kugler says, “This opportunity affords me the chance to remain on The Zone and stay in Omaha.  Although this is a new chapter for my career, I am still staying on my ‘home’ at 1620 The Zone but I will have even more insight to offer as a result of the various exclusive interviews and event coverage I will be able to do on BTN.”

KXL, Portland Names Dan Mitchinson PM Drive Co-Anchor.  Dan Mitchinson has been evening news anchor at Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle.  On July 9 he begins his new position with Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland where he’ll co-host the station’s “Portland’s Afternoon News” with Lacey Evans.  In a statement, Mitchinson says, “KXL is certainly one of the best-known news/talk stations in the country and one of the things that excites me the most it’s not just telling stories, but the way we’re able to start conversations with our listeners.  Anyone can read the news or check their Twitter account.  What KXL does best is tell passionate stories that make you feel even more involved with the city I now get to call home.”

The Anticipated ObamaCare Ruling, the Aftermath of the Arizona Illegal Immigration Law Decision, the 2012 Presidential Campaign, the Colorado Wildfires, and Eric Holder Contempt Vote Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/27).  The anticipation of the Supreme Court’s ruling on President Obama’s Affordable Care Act; the aftermath of the Court’s decision on the Arizona illegal immigration law; the ongoing 2012 presidential campaign; the wildfires raging through Colorado and the attempt by House Republicans to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt in connection with the ‘Fast and Furious’ program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

| June 19, 2012

Ralph Barbieri Sues KNBR, San Francisco.  Longtime San Francisco sports talk host Ralph Barbieri is suing Cumulus Media’s sports talk outlet KNBR claiming the station fired him in April based on his age and disabilities.  Barbieri’s attorney tells the San Francisco Chronicle station officials told Barbieri he was being let go for coming to work late and not preparing.  Barbieri had co-hosted the PM drive show with Tom Tolbert since 1996 as “The Razor and Mr. T” and attorney Angela Alioto says, “If you look at the ratings, Mr. Barbieri and Mr. Tolbert were number one or two until the day he was terminated.  The fact is, before they knew he was sick, those excuses didn’t exist – and they renewed his contract.”  In late 2011, Barbieri announced he’s been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and the station renewed his contract a month later.  Barbieri, who is seeking $10 million in damages, went on crosstown sports talk outlet KGMZ-FM to explain the suit and said Cumulus market manager Bill Bungeroth and OM Lee Hammer expressed to him he sounded tired on the air and chastised him for having to use the restroom often because of his medications.  He says he was also criticized for being late because of medical appointments.  The Chronicle reports Cumulus Media has not responded to requests for comment.

Glenn Beck Merges GBTV Under “The Blaze” Banner.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk radio star Glenn Beck has been operating two of his pioneering digital initiatives – The Blaze website and internet video station GBTV – under separate names.  Now, Beck is moving GBTV and the new Marketplace by Markdown, under The Blaze umbrella.  He states in an interview with CNN, “I didn’t like the name GBTV from the very beginning for a couple of reasons; one, it’s a little egocentric, and two, it’s television, which doesn’t describe necessarily what we do.”  So Beck is merging the three properties in to what he calls “a world-class multimedia network” – The Blaze.  Asked about Beck’s move by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “There are cases in which a personal name becomes a platform brand –such as Trump, Forbes and Ford – and they worked out well.  But NBC wasn’t named Sarnoff, CBS wasn’t named Paley and Playboy wasn’t named Hefner.  I think Beck is refining his approach to continuing his successful journey as a 21st century media pioneer.”

Dave Ramsey Jumps to News/Talk KRLD, Dallas.  Nationally syndicated financial talk sensation Dave Ramsey is now heard on CBS Radio’s news/talk KRLD, Dallas from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm nightly.  Ramsey’s program had previously been carried by Cumulus Media’s crosstown KLIF.  CBS Radio Dallas VP of news/talk/sports Bruce Gilbert, states, “We are thrilled to have Dave Ramsey join our team at Newsradio 1080 KRLD.  His wisdom, knowledge and passion have garnered him many fans in North Texas and we’re proud to be the new home for his growing and successful program.”

iPad Era Creates Opportunities for News Writers.  Consultant Holland Cooke reports to TALKERS from Blogworld/New York and says opportunities for writers adept at concise delivery of information are everywhere.  “As iPod and iPhone have, stable mate iPad is, once again, demonstrating how facile new devices change the way we consume information/entertainment content, and how we interact.”  Read more from Holland Cooke at Blogworld here.

 

Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Promotes Darren Davis to EVP of National Programming Platforms.  Darren Davis has worked his way up from programming Clear Channel’s WASH-FM, Washington to his new post as executive vice president of national programming platforms for the company.  CC states Davis “will work closely with Tom Poleman (president of national programming platforms) to oversee all aspects of the division and the ongoing development and execution of Clear Channel’s national advertising and programming integrations.  He will continue to manage the Programming Operations Center; the Brand Management in-house format team; and the company’s highly effective Premium Choice network.”  Poleman says of Davis, “Over the past few years, Darren has been instrumental in transforming everything from our systems of communication to the way we maximize our best programming assets.  His efforts continue to give Clear Channel the competitive advantage and resources to be even more relevant and effective in the evolving market place, offering our listeners, partners and advertisers, products and content that nobody else can.  He has clearly earned the opportunity to grow within our company and he will continue to be an integral part of our team and our future.”

JT the Brick Featured on Las Vegas Newscast.  Fox Sports Radio Network late night talk host JT the Brick was recently featured on local television station KLAS-TV, Las Vegas in a piece on the effect of social media on sports talk radio.  JT broadcasts his nightly FSRN program from studios in Las Vegas.  In the piece, JT explains the pros and cons of using social media – Twitter, Facebook and others – to bring content to his show and to interact with fans.

 

Local Combo Serves Florida Panhandle Market During Flood Emergency.  Program director Paul Stadden tells TALKERS magazine ADX Communications’ news/talk WNRP, Pensacola and sister country FM were on the scene keeping local residents informed when 13 inches of rain fell on Escambia County last weekend causing widespread flooding and some $150 million in damage.  Stadden says, “Using the staffs of both stations, employees covered the flooded streets and reported full time from the Escambia County Emergency Operations Center until the state of emergency was lifted Monday morning.”  Pictured here is WNRP news anchor Cooper Davis on the air during the marathon coverage of the disaster.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  CBS Radio’s all-news WCBS, New York takes home three New York State Broadcasters Awards at ceremonies held last night in Bolton Landing, New York.  The station won for “Outstanding Local Newscast” (Hurricane Irene), “Outstanding Feature Story” (The Sock Lady-10 Years Later) and “Outstanding Local Sporting Event” (The New York City Marathon)…..WBZ, Boston’s Joe Mathieu will host Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo on today’s monthly “WBZ NewsWatch” hour-long interview program as the Massachusetts legislature finalizes its new fiscal year budget…..Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee show will gain a major market affiliate as it joins the lineup at Francis Battaglia-owned KFNX, Phoenix.  The program will air live in the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm daypart…..Las Vegas-based syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs is being honored by the UNLV Honors College with her selection as the “2012 Honors College Alumna of the Year.”  The school states it is the “highest and most prestigious award given by the college and recognizes Wachs’ impact on UNLV through the significant contributions she’s made to society in your professional field and through her personal achievements.”

2012 Presidential Race, Russia Sends Warships to Syria, Rodney King Dies, George Zimmerman Legal Issues and Roger Clemens Acquitted Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/18).  The 2012 presidential campaign; Russia’s announcement it will send warships to Syria; the death of historical figure Rodney King at age 47; the growing legal troubles for George Zimmerman and his wife; and baseball great Roger Clemens’ acquittal on perjury charges were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Woodhead in The Zone.  That’s New England Patriots running back (and Nebraska native) Danny Woodhead (c) in the booth with KOZN, Omaha’s Damon Benning (l) and Mike’l Severe (r).  The NRG Media sports talk station is broadcasting live from the 2012 NCAA College World Series – six hours daily for 14 days – and had the chance to catch up with Woodhead as he stopped by The Zone’s broadcast booth.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

| June 5, 2012

Neal Boortz Announces Retirement from Daily Talk Radio; Hermain Cain to Take Over WSB and Syndicated Shows.  Yesterday’s bombshell was a surprise to the talk media industry as 42-year talk veteran and legend Neal Boortz announced he will retire from the radio business on January 18, 2013.  In a joint statement from Cox Media and Dial Global – also aired on Boortz’s flagship WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta – Boortz said, “Believe me, this wasn’t a decision I made lightly.  I love this business and everything it has afforded me.  I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to be doing my talk show for 42 years.  I’ll certainly miss the listeners and callers; but most of all I’ll miss my radio family, executive producer Belinda Skelton and researcher Cristina Gonzalez.”  WSB says Herman Cain, who previously hosted the evening show on WSB before running for president, will take over the slot on WSB and will launch his own nationally syndicated talk show on January 21, 2013.  Cox Media Atlanta VP and market manager Dan Kearney says Boortz will continue to record his daily rants that will air several times a day on WSB. Dial Global SVP/GM of news and talk Amy Bolton says, “Neal’s fearless wit and intellect made him phenomenally successful.  It has been terrific working with such a tremendous talent all these years.  He will be missed, but his successor couldn’t be more perfect.  Herman has the experienced radio chops and is a bona fide media and political personality with a huge loyal following.  We look forward to a seamless transition and continued success with our affiliates and advertisers for many years to come.”

Two Former Governors to Speak at New Media Seminar/NYC.  In an interesting turn of ironic symmetry, two former governors — one a Republican, the other a Democrat — who have gone on to become major talk show hosts, will appear and speak at the sold-out New Media Seminar in New York City this Thursday, June 7.  Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, now nationally syndicated on radio by Cumulus Media and presented on cable by Fox News Channel, is scheduled to deliver a special address discussing his evolution from presidential politics to talk media and his take on the nature of public discourse in America.  Former New York Governor David Paterson, now heard daily in the Big Apple afternoons on Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR, will make an appearance at the NMS Freedom of Speech Luncheon where he will greet attendees to the Empire State and discuss the important role of community service in radio.  To see the complete New Media Seminar agenda click here.  For information call 413-565-5413.

NRG Media Adds Another Sports Talker to the Omaha Market.  The success of its existing “Zone” brand of sports talk on KOZN 1620 and the market’s hunger for more sports is the reason NRG Media is adding more sports with the flip of talk KOIL at 1180 AM to sports as “Zone 2.” Operations manager Neil Nelkin states, “We have enjoyed such enormous success with our Zone brand with our local and national sports programming that we needed to expand the brand even further to fill the market’s need. With the Zone 2 on the air, we will now be able to offer even more local college play-by-play with powerful local franchises such as Creighton University, the Storm Chasers, special broadcast coverage of 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London featuring 1620 The Zone’s Kevin Kugler, and play-by-play of the Chicago Cubs and Kansas City Royals.” Zone 2 will carry programming from Yahoo! Sports Radio as well as DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio‘s Dan Patrick.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  CBS Radio CEO Dan Mason will be honored with the 2012 National Radio Award at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas on Friday, September 21…..The progressive political convention Netroots Nation will take over SiriusXM‘s Left channel on Saturday, June 9 will air live programming from the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment‘s WGY-AM/FM, Albany takes three New York State Associated Press Awards: for Best Regularly Scheduled News Program, Best Spot News (Hurricane Irene Coverage) and Best Enterprise Reporting (Halloween Sex Offender Enforcement). The station also received special mention for Best News Special (Clear View public affairs program), Best Spot News (August Earthquake Coverage), and General Excellence in Use of Medium (Halloween Sex Offender Enforcement)…..Sports USA announces its full lineup of college football play-by-play broadcasts available for the coming 2012 season that begins with Boise State vs. Michigan State on August 31. Sports USA president Larry Kahn says this is the company’s 12th season presenting the “College Football Game of the Week.”…..Lincoln Financial Media promotes Donna Mairs from regional sales manager to national sales manager for its South Florida operations. Mairs will represent sports WAXY, Miami among other stations in South Florida…..Journal Communications names Jason R. Graham vice president and corporate controller.

2012 Presidential Race, Sinking Global Financial Markets, Wisconsin Recall Election, and Jerry Sandusky Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/4).  The 2012 campaign for president; tepid jobs and manufacturing data plus the Euro Zone instability and their impact on the global financial markets; the Wisconsin recall election of Republican Governor Scott Walker; and the start of the Jerry Sandusky trial were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Only You.  That’s Las Vegas-based syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (r) with Sonny Turner of the Platters (l). Dr. Wachs tells TALKERS that Sonny and she met up at a convention center in Vegas where she was emceeing at an event for the Corner4Success Foundation that benefits community outreach programs including the Girls Club. Turner is a fan of hers and Daliah says she and he will sing together at a future event – a dream of hers!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

| January 11, 2012

SCOTUS Hears Broadcast Indecency Arguments; Sweeping Changes Unlikely.  TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says although Attorney Carter Phillips – representing Fox Television – argued convincingly that broadcasters are responsible to their audiences and advertisers and would not, therefore, engage in a “race to the bottom” with regard to indecency, he believes the Supreme Court will not throw out the current indecency rules as some broadcasters might hope it would.  Attorneys representing the Federal Communications Commission, Fox Television and ABC Television argued before the Court yesterday for the first time since the Pacifica case in 1978.  Read Attorney Weisman’s analysis here.

TRN Entertainment Syndicates Former KGO Weekender Dr. Bill Wattenburg.  Bill Wattenburg was one of the KGO, San Francisco talk show hosts let go by Cumulus Media in December.  Now, TRN Entertainment begins offering Dr. Wattenburg in national syndication Sunday evenings from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am ET beginning January 22.  TRN Entertainment CEO Mark Masters says, “We are ecstatic to have a person of Dr. Bill Wattenburg’s caliber join our network.  His vast knowledge of science and physics will enlighten all of his listeners.  We believe he will quickly develop legions of dedicated fans that want to improve their personal knowledge and way of life.”  Bay Area talk radio listeners are aware of Dr. Wattenburg’s credentials but the rest of the nation may not know that he is a senior research scientist at the Research Foundation, California State University, Chico; and a scientific consultant for the University of California Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and many other institutions.  He is a former nuclear weapons designer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; a former member of the US Air Force Scientific Advisory Board; and a former UC Berkeley professor of electrical engineering.  TRN Entertainment describes Dr. Wattenburg’s show as “mostly an open-line, listener-driven call-in show in which he answers questions ranging from fixing cars to physics, and everything in between.  His combination of experiences and scientific background give him a great wealth of knowledge that he applies to entertain and inform his audience.”

Clear Channel Takes Another Step Toward Making iHeartRadio a Ubiquitous Media Application.  The broadcast giant announces it is making its application programming interface (API) and affiliate program available to third parties and developers so they can integrate its content and services into their own products, web pages and apps.  Clear Channel states, “Developers will have the opportunity to create their own innovative versions of iHeartRadio on their platforms.  The iHeartRadio API includes access to many of the service’s features, including its live broadcast and digital-only stations and Custom Stations as well as a deep social media integration.”  Clear Channel Digital president Brian Lakamp says, “Opening our API will unlock exciting opportunities to enrich the unique, combined live and custom radio experience that only iHeartRadio provides.  This move also builds on our commitment to be everywhere our listeners expect us to be, with the best products and services.”  The company is clearly moving full-speed-ahead to compete in digital media distribution device race and this is another smart move to try to enhance iHeartRadio’s useage.

CBS Radio Names Two More to WNEW-FM, Washington Staff.  When CBS Radio’s all-newser WNEW-FM, Washington debuts on January 19, Lisa Baden will be handling the traffic reporting in one of the nation’s most congested commuter markets and Jill Schlesinger joins the station for twice-hourly business reports.  Baden has been broadcasting traffic reports in the DC market for two decades, most notably with crosstown WTOP-FM and Metro Traffic before that.  Schlesinger is editor-at-large of CBS Moneywatch and also hosts her own nationally syndicated weekend financial talk program syndicated by Dial Global.

Premiere Networks’ Andy Dean Hits 50-Affiliate Mark.  Nationally syndicated talk host Andy Dean, host of “America Now,” marks the 50-affilliate plateau.  Premiere Networks SVP of affiliate relations Peter Tripi says, “The rapid growth we’ve experienced with this program is a testament to Andy’s talent, dedication and hard work.  We look forward to reaching many more milestones together.”  Dean’s program is heard on talk outlets across America including WSB, Atlanta; KSTE, Sacramento; WHIO-AM/FM, Dayton; WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville; and KNST-AM/FM, Tucson.

National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Announces Honorees.  It’s the time of year when the NSSA announces winners of its best-of honors for their accomplishments in 2011.  Here are just a few of those just announced:  WGN, Chicago morning sports anchor and Northwestern Wildcats football and basketball play-by-play announcer Dave Eanet is named the 2011 Illinois Sportscaster of the Year.  WGN VP/GM Tom Langmyer states, “Dave Eanet is a tremendous broadcaster and a class act.  His passion, integrity and professionalism are apparent in everything that he does and we’re proud to have him on the WGN radio team.”…..Drew Deener of Sports Radio 790 WKRD, Louisville is named Sportscaster of the Year in the State of Kentucky.  Deener hosts “The Early Birds Morning Show” and “The Cardinal Insider” on WKRD.  He also serves as the TV play-by-play voice of University of Louisville football and basketball on WHAS-TV…..KOZN, Omaha’s Kevin Kugler, host of the popular sports talk program “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” and play-by-play host of the College World Series, earns the Nebraska Sportscaster of the Year award for the eighth year.  KOZN program director Neil Nelkin states, “It truly is remarkable that someone this early on his career would be recognized at this level and at this frequency.  It just goes to show how much talent Kevin has behind the mic and in the world of sportscasting.”

Former St. Louis PM Drive Team Thom and Jeff Begin Internet Initiative.  The longtime PM drive team at Emmis’ alternative KPNT, St. Louis, Thom West and Jeff Burton, are producing an internet talk show available via iTunes or their website.  Thom and Jeff were “downsized” in August and began producing podcasts in September.  They say they are now averaging 40,000 downloads per day.  The team has grown to include Scottie “Boom Boom,” Coach, and Kara the Lesbian.  Daily guests add to the non-stop entertainment including comedians, visits from bands, athletes, and local and national celebrities.  Jeff Burton says, “I really enjoyed the old radio show but with the added people and no FCC regulations we are free to do and say whatever we want…and we do!”

Longtime WMAL, Washington Personality Bill Trumball Dies at 77.  Bill Trumball retired from WMAL, Washington in 1996 after spending more than 35 years with the station.  He was partnered with Chris Core on the “Core and Trumball” show for many of those years.  He passed away on January 10 from respiratory failure.

New Hampshire Primary, Iran Saber-Rattling and World Financial Markets Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/10).  The GOP race to take the nation’s first primary election of the 2012 presidential campaign, the ongoing saber-rattling by Iran and speculation about its drive to develop nuclear weapons and the state of the world’s financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio across America yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.