Tag: "Lee Habeeb"

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

| September 16, 2020

Entercom’s WSCR, Chicago Fires Dan McNeil After Sexist Tweet. Chicago sports talk personality Dan McNeil has been let go by Entercom after his Monday evening tweet criticizing the wardrobe of ESPN sideline reporter Maria Taylor. His tweet suggested that Taylor’s outfit made her appear as if she were hosting a porn awards show. McNeil co-hosted the afternoon drive show with Danny Parkins. Entercom regional president Rachel Williamson issued the following in a memo to staff: “Dan McNeil is no longer an employee at ‘The Score.’ For each one of us our words have power. For our brands and on-air personalities that is amplified and brings increased responsibility how we choose to use our voices. Last night’s tweet, and its degrading and humiliating tone to a fellow female broadcaster, was unacceptable. We have the best teams in Chicago, and we must continue to hold ourselves to high expectations to continue to be leaders in our organization, our industry and our community. We apologize to all who were offended by Dan’s words, especially Maria.” Danny Parkins continues to host the afternoon show solo for now.

Salem Radio Network Distributing Christian Networks Special Broadcast. The title of this Saturday’s program is “Where Is America Headed? Finding Faith in a Time of Fear” and airs live from 8:30 pm to 10:30 pm ET (9/19). Salem Radio Network tells TALKERS magazine that a nationwide coalition of Christian radio networks are joining forces to present the program. “The title of the broadcast was prompted by uncertainty and unrest in our country, and the need for all Americans to hear how they can have faith and hope in a time of fear by following 2 Chronicles 7:14.” Guests will include Vice President Mike Pence and Joel C. Rosenberg, New York Times bestselling author of Implosion, Can America Recover from Its Economic, and Spiritual Challenges In Time?, both of whom will be interviewed by David Brody of CBN.

‘Our American Stories’ Passes 260 Affiliate Mark.  The two-hour daily talk show “Our American Stories” continues to show steady growth on news/talk stations across America.  The show is a highly produced, storytelling narrative hosted by Lee Habeeb that breaks the mold of most shows programmed on commercial talk radio. Habeeb who is also CEO of the program’s distributor, American Private Radio, tells TALKERS, “‘Our American Stories’ is a celebration of our rich heritage through the power of storytelling. On each broadcast we profile Americans from all walks of life, past and present, who have made a positive impact in American culture. ‘Our American Stories’ tells the stories of innovators in the arts, sports, business and music world, along with technology, science, and the military. Listeners hear stories of business leaders big and small, of what people of faith do in the public square, of leadership in sports and in your family, and the celebration of hard work and risk-taking, all presented in a non-partisan manner.” The show has proven to be a successful ratings-getter as evidenced by the impressive numbers it is gathering at heritage station WHO, Des Moines.  According to iHeartMedia, Des Moines VP/programming Mike Dorwart, “In the last four quarters, ‘Our American Stories’ has averaged just over a 13-share in Persons 12+ in their timeslot on NewsRadio 1040 WHO.”  For more information about the show, please click here.

MPR Parts Ways with KCMP, Minneapolis Jock Eric Malmberg. Public media firm Minnesota Public Radio has let triple A KCMP-FM, Minneapolis air personality Eric Malmberg go in the aftermath of the unexpected resignation of MPR reporter Marianne Combs, who left because editors did not approve her story that investigated alleged inappropriate behavior toward eight women by Malmberg. When this story broke earlier this week, Malmberg was not named by Combs. But MPR said in a piece on its own website, “Our hosts have to be able to attract an audience that wants to listen to them and trusts them and over the last 36 hours those conditions have changed for Malmberg.” Initially, Combs’ public resignation seemed to imply that the story had been spiked, but in a subsequent tweet she stated, “While the editors have not gone so far as to cancel the story, they have shown such a complete lack of leadership that I no longer have any confidence they will handle the story appropriately.”

Skyview Networks to Handle Ad Sales for AP’s Radio News. Effective January 1, 2021, Skyview Networks will begin exclusively representing The Associated Press’ network audio sales. In this multi-year deal, Skyview will rep AP’s 15-second advertising units that radio affiliates run adjacent to their program content. AP vice president and general manager for Americas media Michael Fabiano says, “As a longtime supporter of the broadcast radio industry, The Associated Press is pleased to supply our premium radio station inventory to support the best media mix advertisers seek. We are excited about working with Skyview and the potential to increase our brand presence across radio stations and advertisers.”

2020 Radio Mercury Finalists Announced. The Radio Advertising Bureau announces that the finalists for the 2020 Radio Mercury Awards have been announced and 94 radio spots made the cut, covering 12 awards in nine categories created by advertising agencies, production companies, radio stations, streaming companies and students. Finalists range from regional to large advertising agencies and radio stations, as well as national and local advertisers. The spots cover categories including automotive, consumer packaged goods, entertainment, government services, healthcare, insurance, quick-serve restaurants, telecommunications, travel and hospitality. This year’s entries were judged on their creativity, originality, execution and effective communication of a brand’s message. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber says, “We felt strongly that the Radio Mercury Awards must go on this year. This year’s finalists prove that creativity does and can flourish no matter what, and we are so excited to celebrate this year’s work at the virtual awards presentation.” You can see (and hear!) all of the finalists here. The winners will be announced virtually on October 6.

TALKERS News Notes. A new election-themed podcast is being co-produced by CNN Audio and iHeartRadio. The show, “Election 101,” demystifies the American political system while offering a unique perspective on the inner workings of the electoral process. It’s hosted by CNN correspondent Kristen Holmes and “answers questions that are weighing heavy on the minds of Americans as we approach this unprecedented presidential election. Each episode of this 10-part series serves as an explainer for listeners who may be overwhelmed by our current political environment, while offering a ‘back-to-basics’ narrative that explains the stakes and consequences of our long-standing institutions and how they play into American elections, including: the two-party system, mail-in voting, voter security, gerrymandering, the Electoral College, political conventions, and campaign finance.”…..AdLarge Media’s digital audio division, cabana, is exclusively representing the fictional fantasy podcast “Carcerem” for ad sales. AdLarge says, “‘Carcerem’ is an original audio fantasy series from Shane Salk Productions that features a star-studded cast, original music, and immersive sound design. More like a movie than an audio play, the captivating series puts listeners in the middle of the action. Featuring sword fights, monster attacks, giant battles, heartbreak, and humor, the first season of ‘Carcerem’ launches September 22 with 32 episodes and more than 120 characters.”…..UNINTERRUPTED, the all-digital sports programming network founded by LeBron James and Maverick Carter, and SiriusXM are launching season two of the weekly football podcast series, “17 Weeks.” This year the show features Seattle Seahawks safety Jamal Adams, New Orleans Saints receiver Emmanuel Sanders, and Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Eric Ebron. The series will again be narrated by former NFL receiver Nate Burleson, with new episodes made available on the SiriusXM and Pandora apps starting September 17…..The Talk Shows USA-syndicated “Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk” program adds three new affiliate stations. Now airing the weekend program are: East Arkansas Broadcasters’ KBTM-AM/K267AS, Jonesboro, Arkansas; Townsquare Media’s KFYO-AM/K236CP, Lubbock, Texas; and iHeartMedia’s KCOL-AM, Fort Collins, Colorado.

The Presidential Election/Mail-In Voting, COVID-19 Stats/Schools and Colleges Outbreaks, Western Wildfires, Hurricane Sally, Attacks on Police, Breonna Taylor Settlement/BLM Movement, New COVID Stimulus Deal, and Google Senate Anti-Trust Hearing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/15). The November presidential election and the controversy over mail-in voting procedures; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. and the outbreaks at schools and on college campuses; the deaths and destruction from the numerous wildfires in California, Oregon, and Washington; Hurricane Sally’s impending landfall in the Gulf Coast; the spate of attacks on police officers; the city of Louisville settles with the family of Breonna Taylor for $12 million; the congressional battle over a new COVID stimulus deal; and Tuesday’s Google anti-trust hearing before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee 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. WEZN-FM, Bridgeport, Connecticut “Star 99.9” morning team Anna Zap and Jay Raven (below) are being syndicated via a deal between Connoisseur Media and Compass Media Networks. Connoisseur airs “The Anna & Raven Morning Show” on both WEZN and its WALK-FM, Patchogue, New York (Long Island). Connoisseur CEO Jeffrey Warshaw says, “The response to Anna & Raven in Long Island really confirmed our belief that their sense of humor, benchmarks, and likability are universal. Anna & Raven have proven they can win in PPM markets, diary markets, and against the best local and national morning drive talent in the country.” Compass Media Networks CEO Peter Kosann adds, “The time is right for Anna & Raven to go national. Stations are hungry for a proven morning show with universal appeal from a marketing partner ready to help them win.”…..Premiere Networks extends its partnership with national radio host and R&B legend Keith Sweat. He’ll continue to host the evening R&B show “The Sweat Hotel,” currently heard on more than 60 affiliate stations. Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott says, “Keith Sweat’s name is synonymous with R&B. His unparalleled connection to the music, the artists and listeners has been the driving force behind our successful partnership for the last 13 years.  We couldn’t be happier to extend our relationship for years to come.”…..The three-hour, weekly classic R&B program “The Classics With Mr. & Mrs. R” (at left) joins Fishnet Syndication. As part of this deal, Fishnet will handle all marketing, advertising, and affiliate sales beginning immediately. Fishnet says, “‘The Classics With Mr. & Mrs. R’ brings radio stations the best of R&B from back in the day, like Michael Jackson, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Mary J, Janet Jackson, and of course Whitney along with the amazing Al Green.”…..Townsquare Media’s country WITL-FM, Lansing brings aboard Cadillac Jack and Erica Gray for morning show duties. Townsquare Media Lansing market president Zoe Burdine-Fly says, “We are beyond excited to have Caddy & Erica joining our team in Lansing as the morning show of our heritage WITL brand. Their experience and passion to deliver local content to our dedicated audience will be instrumental in the continued success of the station.”

Monday, August 10, 2020

| August 10, 2020

Monday Memo: Say It Shorter. In this week’s concise column, consultant Holland Cooke barely says ANYTHING, “and that’s the point.” Read it here.

The Presidential Race, Biden VP Choice Speculation, Vote-By-Mail Debate, and Stimulus Exec Orders Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend (8/8-9). The November presidential election, speculation over Joe Biden’s pending VP selection, the failure of Congress to arrive at a new stimulus package with President Trump responding by signing contestable executive orders to move the process along  as well as the controversy over his ongoing allegation that voting by mail encourages voter fraud were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this weekend according to TALKERS research of the most talked about topics on issues-oriented news/talk radio. Other heavily discussed topics over the weekend included the school closing debate and COVID-19 stats and projections.

Pending Business: Talk to the Winners. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes about how radio sales professionals should have faith in the resilience of local, small business based on the premise that many WILL survive the COVID-19 era.  He suggests that radio sellers seek out those whose innovation clearly has them on a winning track and talk directly to them, customizing campaigns that are in sync with their efforts. Read it here.

Update: WAMU-FM Sexual Harassment. As we reported here last week (TALKERS, 8/5), American University-owned public news/talk outlet WAMU-FM, Washington, DC is in a state of chaos over sexual harassment allegations. WAMU-owned publication DCist ran a Rachel Kurzius-written story detailing allegations of harassment and improper behavior by former WAMU-FM reporter Martin Di Caro. Numerous employees were asking for station general manager J.J. Yore to resign, something he said he was not prepared to do. That situation changed, however, late last week as the station’s six-year general manager has indeed stepped down. Vice president of people and external affairs/chief of staff Seth Grossman states, “American University thanks JJ for his years of service to WAMU; we wish him well as he pursues his next endeavor. We are announcing a series of critical steps designed to address issues in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, human resources, and management, as well as how matters of misconduct are handled at WAMU. These actions are a combination of immediate and longer-term steps to accelerate WAMU’s work to enhance culture and workplace. The changes will provide important support to the WAMU staff, who we thank for continuing to focus on producing award-winning journalism that the Washington, DC region relies on amid this period of change. We believe these actions will offer support for the entire WAMU team and provide a foundation for the station’s next chapter.” An interim general manager will be named in “the next four to six weeks.” In addition, a human resources employee relations consultant with “proven experience in improving organizational culture and creating inclusive workplaces” will be put in-place. Interim chief content officer Monna Kashfi becomes the permanent chief content officer, overseeing WAMU and DCist. WAMU’s former chief content officer, Andi McDaniel, left the station last month to join Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM, Chicago as president and chief executive officer; McDaniel begins those duties next month. As indicated in the The DCist piece, McDaniel was well aware of Di Caro’s behavior, having signed off on a “Level III Final Written Warning for Serious Misconduct” given to Di Caro after “almost two years” of complaints.

Coronavirus Affects Cumulus’ Q2 Numbers. Second quarter figures for Cumulus Media include a 47.8% year-to-year revenue decrease to $146 million. The company witnessed its net income transition from a gain of $42.9 million to a loss of $6.4 million and adjusted EBITDA dropping from $61.8 million to -$6.4 million. Despite the pandemic’s material impact on revenue, Cumulus Media president/chief executive officer Mary G. Berner explains, “The company generated over $90 million of cash in the quarter through quick and decisive expense actions, strong working capital management, and the completion of sale of land in Bethesda, Maryland. Ending the quarter with nearly $200 million of cash, we have entered into an agreement to monetize our tower portfolio for more than $210 million, proceeds which will further add to our liquidity and contribute to significant incremental debt paydown.” She adds, “Our demonstrated ability to rise to a challenge, strong liquidity position, and resilient balance sheet are critical assets as we operate through this uncertain environment. We believe we remain very well-positioned to drive long-term shareholder value through continued aggressive debt reduction and the execution of our growth initiatives.” Broadcast station revenue was down 51.6% to $114.2 million. Spot revenue was off 55.6% and network revenue declined by 42.7%. Meanwhile, digital revenue was up .7% to $20.3 million.

COVID-19 “Impacts” Townsquare Q2 Results. Commenting on selected results for the second quarter that ended June 30th, Townsquare Media chief executive officer Bill Wilson remarks that, as expected, the company’s “second quarter financial results were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.” Net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA declined 34.5% and 93.1%, respectively, as compared to the prior year. Advertising net revenue throughout the quarter, however, “experienced sequential improvement,” Wilson reports. “Together with our Live Events, net revenue has experienced the brunt of the negative business impact.” To Wilson’s point, one second quarter highlight is that, compared to the second quarter of 2019, Live Events net revenue decreased 99.5%. Wilson observes that by the end of the second quarter, “Advertising net revenue had materially improved, from -42.1% in April to -29.6% in June and continued to show improvement through July and early-August.” Townsquare Interactive added approximately 900 net subscribers, ending the quarter with approximately 20,750 subscribers, with Wilson commenting, “Townsquare Interactive’s growth continued in the second quarter, with net revenue increasing 10.5%, at an Adjusted Operating Income margin in excess of 30%, marking the ninth consecutive quarter of 850 (or more) net subscriber additions. During this pandemic, the Townsquare Interactive team became a tremendous resource for their local clients by strengthening online presence and capabilities and powering their online communication strategy. Our thesis has always been, that Townsquare Interactive is a recession-resistant subscription business and will continue to grow its revenue and subscriber base throughout the year.” Wilson explains that Townsquare Media “enacted approximately $1.7 million of monthly fixed cost savings during the second quarter, in addition to the reduction of variable costs related to the decline in revenue, which led to total direct operating expenses declining 14.8%, compared to the prior year. In addition, we have reduced our planned capital expenditures, which declined 30% in the second quarter compared to the prior year. Our board of directors elected to cease paying our quarterly dividend moving forward. Even with all the challenges and unknowns during this pandemic, we have not had to alter our core strategy. Instead, the pandemic placed a spotlight on the need to double-down on executing our existing long term strategy. We believe our ‘Local First’ strategy, together with our talented team and diversified and differentiated product offering, ensures that Townsquare will emerge from this crisis well-positioned for the future. Although a very tough Q2, we believe our revenue, profit and cash flow results will be among the best in the radio – as well as in the local media – industry.” 

Why Are “You” Voting? That’s the simple question iHeartMedia is putting forth to listeners, cultural influencers, athletes, and musicians. It’s in advance of the November election, of course, when – in addition to the presidential contest – Americans will be voting for 35 Senate seats and all 435 House of Representative seats. Soundbites start today (Monday, 8/10) and run until Election Day (11/3). President of iHeartMedia entertainment enterprises John Sykes states, “With voter turnout expected to hit record numbers, ‘Why I’m Voting’ presents a rare opportunity for people of all backgrounds and beliefs to have their voices heard by millions of their fellow Americans before we cast our votes.” Listeners can record/submit their own 20 second or less audio or video message. Meanwhile, also debuting today (8/10) and running through Election Day is iHeartMedia’s longer-form “Why I’m Voting” podcast, which will feature conversations with a wide-range of celebrities on why/how this year’s election will shape our future. The podcast will showcase personal stories behind why voting means so much for our nation. The “Why Are You Voting” series of soundbites will air on iHeartMedia’s 850+ broadcast radio stations in 160 markets, podcasts, social media platforms, and the iHeartRadio app.

Podcast Ad Spending to Surpass $1 Billion Next Year. That forecast further predicts that more than one in five digital radio ad dollars will go toward podcasts. By the end of this year, podcast ad spending in the United States will reach $782 million, up 10.4% from last year, giving it a 21% share of the US digital radio ad market. Spending is expected to jump nearly 45% next year to $1.13 billion. Insider Intelligence eMarketer forecasting director  Shelleen Shum comments, “Growth in podcast advertising spend will be more resilient this year relative to digital radio advertising as a whole, which will see double-digit declines. The continued growth in podcast advertising is no surprise, as investments have made podcasts accessible to a wider audience. The news genre, a focus of many podcast advertisers, has performed well during the pandemic. While some ad campaigns were paused due to the uncertainty from COVID-19 lockdowns, we expect a rebound in Q3 and Q4. One key challenge in podcast advertising is the lack of uniformity in measurement. [The Interactive Advertising Bureau] has released a set of guidelines to establish a common set of ad metrics for podcasts, which should bring some standardization to the industry and give advertisers more confidence.” This year, 105.6 million people in the US will listen to podcasts, the first time podcast listening will surpass 100 million.

KYW Silences Familiar Sound. Owing to pandemic-related budget cuts, a number of well-known voices on spoken-word and music-intensive formats across the country have been eased off the air. A longtime fixture at Entercom Philadelphia’s KYW “News Radio 1060” is gone, but it had nothing to do with the bottom line or COVID-19 – and it isn’t a human. The station has eliminated the teletype sound effect that – for decades – has been played underneath its news broadcasts. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, KYW program director/brand manager Alex Silverman remarks to The Philadelphia Inquirer, “They stopped making the ribbons for the trusty teletype in 1986 and our supply finally ran out; so, old reliable is out of commission until further notice.” To that, co-owned WIP “Sports Radio 94” brand manager Spike Eskin mocks in a tweet, “Just excuses again from Alex Silverman. Are we to believe he couldn’t find a new one on Ebay, or simulate the sound somehow? Does he think we are fools?” On a more serious note, Silverman states, “As technology has evolved over the years, so has KYW. The sound of the station should reflect the modern, nimble, multi-platform news organization we’ve become.”  KYW has recently updated its jingle and logo. Entercom’s other top ten market news and news-talk hybrids include: WCBS-AM and WINS, New York City; KNX, Los Angeles; WBBM-AM & WCFS-FM, Chicago; KCBS-AM, San Francisco; and KRLD-AM, Dallas.

Leadership Training Program Accepting 2021 Applications. Designed to prepare senior-level broadcasters to advance into ownership or executive positions, the NAB’s Broadcast Leadership Training (BLT) program is accepting applications through August 19 for next year’s session. BLT program founder and dean/ ShootingStar Broadcasting founder, president, chief executive officer Diane Sutter states, “As we transition to a hybrid online and in-person model, we look forward to expanding the reach of the Broadcast Leadership Training program. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we cultivate the next class of diverse industry leaders and equip them with the knowledge and training to advance their careers.” As it moves into its 21st year, this executive MBA-style program teaches the fundamentals of purchasing, owning, and operating radio and television stations to senior-level broadcast professionals. All education sessions planned through the end of 2020 will be held online, with the starting gathering to be held next month (9/24 – 25). Broadcast professionals from all areas of the industry, including general managers, sales managers and department heads, as well as regional and corporate executives, are encouraged to apply. Fellowship opportunities are available for women and people of color. The complete schedule will be made available in early-October.

TALKERS News Notes. Starting one week from today (Monday, 8/17) and lasting through next Thursday (8/20), ABC News Radio is set to cover this year’s Democratic National Convention and plans to do the same  the following week (8/24 – 27) for the Republican National Convention. Aaron Katersky and Karen Travers will anchor; Alex Stone, Ryan Burrow, and Jim Ryan are slated to serve as reporters; and Steve Roberts joins for analysis. Multiple one-minute “Status Reports” will air each night, as will the network’s daily Brad Mielke-hosted podcast, “Start Here.” Meanwhile, each day during the conventions, the Karl & Klein-hosted podcast “Powerhouse Politics” will release special editions featuring interviews and analysis …  Former iHeartMedia Jacksonville senior vice president of programming Tommy BoDean joins Cumulus Media as operations manager of its four-station Melbourne (Florida) cluster, which includes sports talk WLZR “1560 The Fan.” Cumulus Media regional vice president Pete DeSimone comments, “I am really excited Tommy is joining the Cumulus Melbourne team. He’s going to make an immediate impact – and at a time [when] programming and operational leadership are critical.” BoDean adds, “The world we live in is changing every minute; radio has not just an opportunity, but an obligation, to get plugged in and help. Now is the perfect time to step into a role that both challenges and excites me every day.” In addition to his OM duties for WLZR and classic rock WROK “95.9 The Rocket,” BoDean will be the day-to-day program director for CHR WAOA “107.1 A1A” and country WHKR “102.7 Nash FM.” He previously was operations manager for iHeartMedia Cincinnati and programmed Nashville CHR WNFN “Hot 106.7.” …  Effective today (Monday, 8/10), Bustos Media Tucson’s KVOI “AM 1030 The Voice” adds “The Joe Walsh Show” to its weeknight (7:00 pm – 9:00 pm) lineup and shifts “Our American Stories with Lee Habeeb,” which had been in that slot, to 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm … Twenty-year Spokane television and radio journalist Teresa Lukens will return to Morgan Murphy Media Spokane’s KXLY-AM “920 News Now” next Monday (8/17) as morning drive co-host. After three years as a reporter on KXLY-TV’s “Good Morning Northwest,” Lukens transitioned to radio as morning host on co-owned KXLY-FM “Classy 99.9 FM” and then as news anchor on KXLY-AM. Lukens left KXLY-TV in 2010 and hosted “Health Matters” on Spokane public television outlet KSPS.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Every Friday this month, iHeartMedia San Antonio joins forces with San Antonio Metro Health for the “Friday Night Virtual Dance Party” (7:00 – 7:30 pm). Participating stations within the iHM cluster include adult contemporary KQXT “Q-101.9”; CHR KXXM “96.1 Now;” country KAJA “KJ-7″; and Spanish contemporary KZEP “104.5 Latino Hits.” According to iHeartMedia San Antonio senior vice president of programming Jason McCollim, “There is nothing like the power of music. [We] are excited to partner with our friends at San Antonio Metro Health for ‘Friday Night Virtual Dance Party’ [and] look forward to raising our community spirit during these challenging times – all while abiding by the state’s safety guidelines to fight the COVID-19 virus.” Mayor Ron Nirenberg notes, “We want to send an encouraging and positive message to San Antonio to keep doing the things that make our city great, but do them in a safe way so we can continue to stop the spread.” …  A country music special hosted by four-time Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan is among several, three-hour ABC Audio Labor Day weekend specials. “Luke Bryan: Born Here Live Here Die Here” takes listeners through each song on Bryan’s new album, which has produced three #1 singles. “Labor Day Rock Salute: Frontline Edition – From Speakeasy” honors frontline workers who stepped up during COVID-19. Hosted by ABC Audio’s Matt Wolfe, the special features hits from artists including ZZ Top, Alice Cooper, and Stevie Nicks. Top rock artists will also share what they’ve been up to during lockdown. Meanwhile, the Aaron Katersky-hosted  news special “How America Works Now” explores how people are coping through the pandemic. It questions what the future of American life and labor may look like, and puts a spotlight on those adapting to the new normal  … “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” takes over 12:00 midnight – 5:00 am duties in Santa Rosa, California on Amaturo Sonoma Media Group-owned KFGY “Froggy 92.9 Today’s Country.” Alan comments, “Our show is excited to be a part of the ‘Froggy 92.9’ lineup. We already feel like part of the ‘Froggy’ family. I can’t wait to get to Sonoma for a visit to wine country.” Amaturo Sonoma Media Group vice president of programming and operations Jim Murphy notes, “Cody creates unique, multiplatform content that really resonates with country fans; we couldn’t be happier to welcome him to the ‘Froggy’ family. The station’s revised lineup includes: Amber & Tanner (5:00 am – 10:00 am); Jenn (10:00 am – 3:00 pm); Dano (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm); Lia (7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight); and “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” (12:00 midnight – 5:00 am) … Former four-year wakeup duo at Hubbard Broadcasting St. Louis’ WIL “New Country 92.3, Bud Ford and Jerry Broadway (“Bud & Broadway”), sign with Houston-based SuiteRadio for morning show syndication, gearing up for next month’s start (9/7). The show will be represented on a market exclusive basis by Colbert Media Group. Prior to exiting WIL this past May, “Bud & Broadway” worked in Tulsa and Dothan, Alabama.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

| June 16, 2020

Longtime St. Louis Radio Personality Guy Phillips to Retire from KTRS-AM. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Guy Phillips will retire from news/talk KTRS where he’s been afternoon drive host since February of 2018. Phillips joined KLSQ-FM in 1979. It changed calls to KYKY-FM and he left the Entercom hot AC in 2018 to join KTRS. He tells the paper, “I’d say I thought about (retiring). I’m going to be 68 and I have a granddaughter now, our first. So, it just seemed like the right time.” Phillips was originally co-hosting the show with Julie Buck but she left in early 2019 and Heidi Glaus has been his co-hosted since then.

Florida Air Personalities Test Positive for COVID-19. According to a piece in the Tampa Bay Times, WHPT, Tampa “102.5 FM The Bone” air personalities Mike Calta and Anthony “Spanish” Polichemi, as well as three DJs from Beasley Media Group’s hip hop WLLD “Wild 94.1” have tested positive for COVID-19. Calta and his cast members work for Cox Media Group and are broadcasting from home studios for now. Beasley closed its St. Petersburg offices to all but essential employees after a staffer there tested positive.

KMZQ, Las Vegas Morning Host Heidi Harris Tests Positive for COVID-19. Las Vegas morning drive talk host Heidi Harris told listeners via Facebook that she’s tested positive for COVID-19. Harris writes that she started with a cough last Thursday and, after getting worse that night, called in sick on Friday. She says she got considerably sicker over the weekend with intense body aches but did not suffer breathing troubles or nausea. She intends to do her radio show from home assuming she’s able to handle it.

TALKERS EXCLUSIVE:  A Conversation with Lee Habeeb of “Our American Stories.”  The two-hour, nightly syndicated storytelling radio show, “Our American Stories” produced by American Private Radio, continues to pick up major affiliates and receive stellar reviews. It is now making an impact in Texas having recently added KTRH, Houston and KRLD-AM, Dallas to its growing roster of what now totals more than 225 news/talk stations across the US.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison recently conducted a fascinating conversation with American Private Radio CEO and the host of “Our American Stories,” Lee Habeeb.  They discuss the program’s unique business model and non-partisan, storytelling approach to unifying the American public through positivity and a knowledge of history. To listen to the conversation in its entirety, please click 

      here
.

BLM Protests/Rayshard Brooks Killing, Seattle CHOP, COVID-19 Statistics/Beijing Outbreak, U.S. Re-Opening, SCOTUS Gay-Transgender Ruling, John Bolton Book, and Russia Jails Accused U.S. Spy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/15). Protests in New Mexico, Tennessee, and Oregon and the police killing of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta; the status of the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest in Seattle; the COVID-19 statistics in the U.S. and the current outbreak in Beijing; the re-opening of states across the U.S.; the Supreme Court’s ruling against firing on the grounds of being gay or transgender; former Trump national security adviser John Bolton’s book prepares for release; and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan is sentenced to 16 years hard labor by Russia for espionage were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WIND-AM, Chicago morning news anchor Amy Jacobson’s ban from Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has been rescinded. Jacobson – with the assistance of the Liberty Justice Center – sued Pritzker and his press secretary after they banned her from press briefings because she appeared at a rally to protest the governor’s stay-at-home orders. They argued she lost her journalistic cred for taking “an extreme position” on the issue and speaking out about it. The Illinois attorney general’s office did not explain its decision but simply stated Jacobson is allowed to participate in press briefings “to the same extent that any other media is allowed to participate.”…..At yesterday’s iHeartMedia Annual Meeting of Stockholders, Gary Barber and Brad Gerstner were elected to the company’s board of directors to serve as Class I directors, each for a three-year term ending at the 2023 annual meeting of stockholders. Barber is co-founder of Spyglass Entertainment and previously served as chairman and CEO of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Gerstner is founder and CEO of Altimeter Capital…..Newsday’s Neil Best writes that Entercom New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says he won’t rule out bringing former WFAN sports talk host Craig Carton back to the station after he completes his prison sentence for running a Ponzi scheme to pay off gambling debts. Oliviero says it’s the question he gets asked the most. “I understand why people would ask that, especially based on our long history. But the answer is: Who knows? There are so many variables. That said, if a time in the future came where Craig had gotten his life back on track, fulfilled all that was asked of him and was in a position to resume his career, of course we’d talk and discuss.” Fifty-one-year-old Carton is one year into a three-and-a-half-year sentence in a minimum-security prison.

Cleveland Radio Stations to Present ‘Justice for All.’ Five radio groups operating in Cleveland are cooperating to present a 90-minute program titled, “Justice For All: A Conversation about Race, Equality and Inclusion,” that will air on 21 stations tomorrow (6/17) afternoon at 1:00 pm ET. The program will feature Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson, Police Chief Calvin Williams and other area civic leaders. The show is being anchored by former WOIO-TV news anchor Romona Robinson. Broadcasters Radio One, iHeartMedia, Entercom, Good Karma Brands, and Salem Communications issued the following joint statement: “A discussion as significant as this one requires all of us to come together and listen to each other. Together, our radio stations reach more than 95% of the people in Cleveland – people of all ages, races, and backgrounds. We all recognize this unique inflection point in the history of our city and our country. Now is the time to share in a meaningful dialogue that allows us to hear people on all sides, recognize our similar views and discuss how we can begin to work together toward meaningful progress, including justice and equity for all.”

New Format for 2020 Radio Mercury Awards Announced. The Radio Mercury Awards Advisory Council and the RAB executive committee are announcing “a shift to the 2020 awards competition, a new slate of award categories and a virtual event in lieu of the previously publicized NYC event.” Submissions to the 2020 Radio Mercury Awards are free and open to agencies, advertisers, radio stations/groups, production companies and students. There will be no prize monies or trophies given in 2020. Current Radio Mercury Awards entrants will have their work automatically moved into the 2021 competition. Additionally, 2020 winners will be automatically entered into the 2021 competition. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber says, “The Radio Mercury Awards has a long-lasting heritage and reputation in recognizing outstanding radio creative. The advertising and radio industries have put a lot of heart and soul into serving their consumers during COVID-19, and we are looking forward to honoring the excellence of the creative community.” Honorees will be announced via a livestream event at 7:00 pm ET on October 6, 2020.

MIW Radio Group Announces Mentoring Program’s 2020 Class. The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group introduces the MIW Group Mildred Carter Mentoring Program’s Class of 2020. Each year, four candidates from the radio industry, representing the sales, marketing, programming, and digital disciplines, are selected annually for the mentoring program. The 2020 class is comprised of the following professionals (pictured above from l-r): Nicki DellaPosta, general sales manager, Entercom, Chicago; Jill Masek, director of sales, NRG Media, Lincoln, Nebraska; Dana Schaeffer, producer, ABC News Radio, New York; and Alyson Sprague, senior director of research & analytics, iHeartMedia. Entercom VP national agency partnerships Lindsay Adams, chair of the 2020 MIW Group Mentoring Committee and a 2006 graduate of the program, says, “The quantity and quality of candidates desiring to develop their careers in radio is astounding. Given the challenges we have all faced this year, the program will prove to be even more valuable to our 2020 mentees who highly reflect the excellence we’re seeing in applications. Let the mentoring begin!”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In San Antonio, Alpha Media flips KTFM-HD/W277CX from classic hip hop to rhythmic CHR as “WE 103.3.” Alpha Media executive vice president of content/programming Phil Becker comments, “Hip hop is the most consumed music in the world and one that our company is passionate about and believes in. The addition of ‘WE 103.3’ to our San Antonio cluster gives us the ability to offer our advertisers a new demographic and puts us in a great position to continue to be one of the markets most listened to radio operators.” The brand will be programmed by current CHR KTFM-FM program director Ernie Martinez…..On June 25, iHeartMedia and sponsor P&G are presenting “Can’t Cancel Pride: A COVID-19 Relief Benefit for the LGBTQ+ Community, ” a virtual relief benefit designed to help raise visibility and funds for LGBTQ+ communities most impacted by COVID-19. Artists taking part in the event include: Adam Lambert, Big Freedia, Billy Porter, Katy Perry, Kim Petras, Melissa Etheridge, Sia, Ricky Martin, and more. iHeartMedia says the celebration will culminate in a one-hour special hosted by Elvis Duran and actress and LGBTQ+ advocate Laverne Cox. It will stream on iHeartRadio’s Facebook and Instagram pages, iHeartRadio’s PrideRadio.com and broadcast on iHeartMedia stations nationwide and on the iHeartRadio app June 25 at 9:00 pm local time…..WTHR-TV, Indianapolis reports the death of Radio One regional Mexican “La Grande 105.1” program director Grisel Barajas. The 31-year-old also was a TV personality on Telemundo Indy. She died on Sunday (6/14) after being in a motorcycle accident. Barajas was a passenger on the motorcycle driven by her boyfriend, who survived the crash. Radio One RVP Deon Levingston states, “The sudden passing of Grisel Barajas has deeply shocked and saddened us. As the program director for ‘La Grande 105.1,’ Grisel was a valued colleague and trusted friend. She was taken away from us too soon and will be missed by all of us at Radio One Indianapolis and the entire Urban One family. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Grisel’s family and friends.”

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

| March 25, 2020

‘New Jersey 101.5’ to Hold 2nd Coronavirus Town Hall. The Townsquare Media news/talk station announces it will present its second Town Hall broadcast addressing the COVID-019 pandemic, focusing on health and medical issues Thursday (3/26) at 7:00 pm.  WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” says special projects director and morning news anchor Eric Scott “leads the news and digital departments in linking a statewide audience with New Jersey’s top doctors fighting the pandemic, in a listener-driven, call-in format.”  Scott – who will anchor live from the New Jersey 101.5 studios with guests joining by phone – will speak with: Dr. Margaret Fisher, infectious disease specialist at RWJBarnabas Health (also the medical director at Unterberg Children’s Hospital and chair, Department of Pediatrics, Monmouth Medical Center); Dr. Manisha Parulekar, program director and chief of the Division of Geriatrics at Hackensack University Medical Center; and Dr. Kevin Slavin, director of quality for Hackensack Meridian Health Children’s Services, specializing in pediatric infectious diseases.  The station is streaming the program on Facebook Live and via NJ1015.com.

Triton Digital: News/Talk Gets COVID-19 Streaming Bump. According to data from Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics service, listening to streams of news/talk-formatted radio stations increased 4% from the week of March 2-6 to the week of March 13-19.  The format’s streaming share grew from 29% to 33%, as news of the COVID-19 disruption hitting the U.S. took over the news cycle.  Triton says from the week of March 2-6 to the week of March 13-19, the share of streaming contributed by sports talk radio held constant at 8%, while music radio’s share of streaming declined from 64% to 59%.  The report adds that consumption patterns by device remain very stable, with streaming on mobile devices increasing from 49% to 51% of the total. The share of streaming on desktops/laptops decreased slightly from 27% to 25%, while smart speaker’s share of consumption held stable at 21%.  Triton Digital president of marketing development John Rosso says, “Radio in every form – broadcast, streaming audio, and podcasts – remains a trusted and relied upon medium for news and entertainment in the United States.  Despite the dislocation of many workers, this data shows the remarkable stability of the medium, as well as the importance of radio in delivering information in a time of crisis.”

Connoisseur Media CEO Jeff Warshaw’s Open Letter to the Industry: “We are in the midst of a crisis. It’s incredibly painful to our business, as it is to countless other industries. Our communities are reeling.  This crisis is going to end.  But radio’s troubles didn’t start a few weeks ago, when the coronavirus began its attack on our country. Competition for our audiences has never been fiercer. National revenue had hit a rough patch. Public radio companies were trading at their lows. Deal-making had ground to a standstill. It was harder than ever to grow our radio revenues. Certainly, there are bright spots and pockets of opportunity, and our industry is doing a terrific job tirelessly serving our communities during this unprecedented time. That having been said, I don’t think many of us were looking fondly at the halcyon days of Q4 2019.  As difficult as this crisis is, we have an opportunity to turn this disease into a cure.  Our logs are wide open. What we allow to happen to our product once things return to ‘normal’ is entirely up to us. Although our company has tried to maintain reasonable commercial loads, we can do much better. Let’s take this opportunity to clean up our clocks, maintain lower spot loads, stop incessant bonus commercials, reduce endless promos. Demonstrate integrity for the value of our products and give our listeners more of what they crave.  The universe is doing for us what we would not and could not do for ourselves. We have the opportunity to emerge from this dark time with a brighter flame than we have seen for years. What we do from here may make all the difference.”

TALKERS News Notes. In Seattle, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM is producing a daily podcast addressing the COVID-19 pandemic titled, “COVID-19: Seattle Podcast.”  Longtime station personality Dave Ross and ‘KIRO Radio’ reporter Aaron Granillo will “condense the most important updates of the day into a short podcast format for the benefit of our community.  Together they will follow government officials, healthcare workers, business leaders, and local residents who are making crucial, early decisions … decisions that will soon guide, or warn, the rest of the country.”  It will be released each afternoon.  Station program director Bryan Buckalew says, “I think Dave Ross, with his decades of news experience, and Aaron Granillo, with his reporter’s sensibility, are uniquely capable of examining the effects of the coronavirus pandemic as it expands in Washington state and across the nation.”…..FOX News Radio launches a new weekday evening edition of the daily podcast “The FOX News Rundown” dedicated to the latest developments of the coronavirus pandemic.  The newly re-titled program “The FOX News Rundown Podcast: Global Pandemic” is being hosted by FNC foreign correspondent Trey Yingst and debuts on March 30.  On the program, Jerusalem-based Yingst will be joined by medical experts and fellow reporters to discuss the wide-ranging impacts of COVID-19 around the world…..The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reports that Entercom sports talker WFAN, New York is giving weekend show hosting responsibilities to its daily stars in lieu of the usual weekend hosts, presumably to save some payroll expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic.  He says that “Boomer & Gio,” “Moose & Maggie,” and “Joe & Evan” are hosting Saturday and Sunday programs and Mike Francesa – currently only hosting the 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm show on WFAN – is doing a 9:00 am to 1:00 pm show on Sundays.  However, longtime WFAN weekend host Richard Neer will be heard hosting the Sunday night 10:00 pm to 2:00 am show via CBS Sports Radio Network on “The Fan.”…..Cadence13 – a division of RADIO.COM – is unveiling the second season of the podcast “Gangster Capitalism” that it says “offers an unflinching look at white collar corruption and the dark side of the American dream”  This season explores the NRA.  Cadence13 chief content officer Chris Corcoran says, “As we further develop and expand our C13Originals slate, we’re prioritizing impactful and ambitious documentaries geared around culture, business, moments in time, music and more.  Our objective is about finding the right stories, and how we tell and express them, so that the audience can immerse itself in what we believe will create conversation and engagement.”…..AdLarge Media signs a deal with Remote News Service (RNS) to serve as its exclusive ad sales representative.  Remote News Service is owned and led by senior anchor Lesley Lotto…..Pictured below is Westwood One News White House correspondent Bob Costantini in the radio pool seat in the newly re-designed social distancing briefing room awaiting yesterday’s coronavirus task force news conference.  The pink sticker on his lapel is confirmation that the White House took his temperature and it is normal.

Coronavirus Status in U.S., Stimulus Package Debate, Global Stocks Surge, U.S.-China Relations, India Locks Down Entire Country, and Olympics Postponed Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/24). The latest numbers on confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S.; the negotiations in the U.S. Senate to craft a coronavirus stimulus package; global stocks surge on news that the Senate is close to a stimulus package; relations between the U.S. and China as the COVID-19 blame game ramps up; Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi orders lock down of 1.3 billion citizens; and the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo are postponed among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

NEED CONTENT TO FILL SPORTS GAPS?  ‘Our American Stories’ Reaches Out to Sports Talk Stations with Programming to Temporarily Fill Holes in Their Schedules.  The producers of the highly popular syndicated spoken-word program “Our American Stories” tell TALKERS, “We are pleased to announce we are making ‘Our American Stories’ available to sports stations on a temporary basis with no contract to fill holes in their schedule resulting from the shut downs in the sports industry due to Covid-19.  No strings attached.”  The statement continues, “We have had several sports stations reach out to us and ask if they could use our content temporarily to fill holes in their lineup as so many sporting events have been cancelled.”  A number of the episodes in the archives of the program directly address sports-oriented themes including: “The Heart of Kobe Bryant’s Memorial Service,” “He Made A Wood Bat For His Son… Now He Outsells Louisville Slugger,” “The Bird and Magic Story: Love, Friendship, and Basketball” and “I Shall Not Fail Those With Whom I Serve.”  “Our American Stories” host and founder Lee Habeeb adds, “At this time in our country, Americans need to be encouraged and reminded that our nation is one that has persevered through tumultuous times and have hope that we will again prevail. We can help with that encouragement through the power of storytelling.”  Interested stations should click here or contact Bryan Dawson at 720-737-2950 or bdawson@oanetwork.org.

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk.  February is not traditionally a good month for the sports talk format, but the February 2020 PPM survey was especially bad as only two stations in our panel showed any weekly, 6+ AQH share gain from January 2020.  And even there Entercom’s WMC-AM, Memphis (0.1 to 0.3) and iHeartMedia’s WYGM-AM, Orlando (1.1 to 1.2) showed increases that were essentially meaningless.  Year-over-year, about as many stations shows ratings increases (45%) as saw decreases (42%), with big gainers including iHeartMedia’s KXFN, Minneapolis “The Fan” (+2.4), Capitol Broadcasting’s WCMC-FM, Raleigh (+1.3), and Entercom’s KGMZ-FM, San Jose (+1.1) leading the pack.  The highest-ranking sports talk station during the February survey was Entercom’s WFAN in the Long Island market, finishing the month at #3.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Hotwire Communications Adds Newsmax TV to Video Service. Southeastern U.S. telecom firm Hotwire Communications and Newsmax Media announce a new distribution deal to deliver Newsmax TV to basic tier video service in seven major Florida markets – Miami/Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach/Fort Pierce, Fort Myers/Naples, Jacksonville/Brunswick, Tampa/St. Petersburg/Sarasota, Orlando/Daytona/Melbourne and Tallahassee/Thomasville – as well as the Atlanta and Savannah markets in Georgia, the Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville and Charlotte markets in North Carolina, and the Greenville/Spartanburg/Ashville/Anderson markets in South Carolina.  Newsmax TV SVP of content distribution Andrew Biggers says, “Newsmax is excited to have Hotwire on board as our newest affiliate, and we look forward to working together to deliver what its customers have been asking for — an alternative voice within news media.  And with Hotwire’s reach throughout these markets, Newsmax will be exposed to a broad audience seeking news they can trust.”  Hotwire Communications is an all-fiber service provider that has been providing triple-play telecommunication services since 2000.  Hotwire offers a full suite of services to residential, commercial, hospitality, government, smart city, and educational customers in 14 states, primarily concentrated in the Southeast.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Taking place in Sunday’s 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET timeslot on FOX Television originally for the iHeartRadio Music Awards, iHeartMedia and FOX announce “FOX Presents the iHeart Living Room Concert for America” to provide entertainment relief and support for Americans to help fight the spread of COVID-19 and to celebrate the resilience and strength of the nation during this pandemic.  Hosted by Elton John, the event will feature performances by Alicia Keys, Backstreet Boys, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mariah Carey, Tim McGraw, and more, from their own homes, filmed with their personal cell phones, cameras, and audio equipment, to ensure the health and safety of all involved.  In addition to airing on FOX, the program will air across iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide, as well as via the iHeartRadio app. The benefit special will be broadcast commercial-free and, in addition to the music, will pay tribute to the front-line health professionals, first responders, and local heroes who are putting their lives in harm’s way to help their neighbors and fight the spread of the virus.  It also will encourage viewers to support two of the many charitable organizations helping victims and first responders during the pandemic: Feeding America and First Responders Children’s Foundation…..On-air pro Jeff Lewis Neal joins the WHZT, Greenville, South Carolina-based “Dex & Barbie T Morning Show.”  SummitMedia also airs the program on rhythmic CHR WKHT “Hot 104.5” in Knoxville and rhythmic CHR KPHW, Honolulu “Power 104.3.”  SummitMedia Greenville operations manager Mike Klein says, “I’m excited to welcome Jeff Lewis Neal to ‘Dex & Barbie T Morning Show.’  He’s the missing piece of the puzzle to take us to the next level on air and online.”…..Music director Kendall Stewart is promoted to program director for Saga Communications triple A WCNR, Charlottesville, Virginia.  She makes the jump after Jeff Sweatman resigned from the position.  Stewart says, “The last four-and-a-half years at ‘106.1 The Corner’ have been the most formative in my career so far and I can’t express how grateful I am to Jeff Sweatman for everything that he has taught me.  I love this station and the amazing music town that I get to live in – Charlottesville – has been through a lot in recent years, but the tragedy that we faced in 2017 has only made us stronger as a community.  I am honored to be a part of it and to have the opportunity to further serve the people of this city and I can’t wait to hit the ground running.”

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

| October 15, 2019

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s September 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the news/talk format.  Roughly the same number of news/talk stations were up (36%) – weekly, 6+ AQH share – as were down (38%), comparing August numbers to September numbers (the rest were flat).  Gainers were led by Entercom’s KMOX, St. Louis (+1.4) and Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville (+1.4).  Comparing September 2018 to September 2019, 48% of the stations on our panel were down, while 39% were up and the remainder were unchanged.  Year-over-year gainers were led by iHeartMedia’s WJNO, West Palm Beach (+1.9), CMG’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville (+1.8), and iHeartMedia’s WREC, Memphis (+1.8).  Four news/talk stations ranked #1 in their markets (6+) during the September PPM survey: CMG’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta; iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati; Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5”; and CMG’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

‘Our American Stories’ Offers Veterans Day Special. For this year’s Veterans Day on November 11, American Private Radio – the company that produces the nationally syndicated “Our American Stories with Lee Habeeb” – is making available a special two-hour Veterans Day Radio Tribute for that Monday.  APR says, “The program will feature stirring letters and biographical accounts from all the major battles in U.S. history and the lessons they offer as we honor our veterans, past and present.”  Stations wishing to air this commercial-free, two-hour FTP downloadable program (or satellite delivered via XDS feed) should call “Our American Stories” at 855-276-8020 or visit them on online at OurAmericanNetwork.org.

Entercom Unveils ‘Rewind’ Technology for Sports, News, and Talk Shows. The ability to pause and rewind live radio shows is becoming available for users of Entercom’s RADIO.COM, according to the company.  The RADIO.COM REWIND feature automatically records the last 24 hours of broadcast content on enabled stations and makes it easy for the user to navigate to their favorite show and begin listening from any point in the broadcast.  Entercom says this feature is debuting on its most popular sports, news, and talk stations with more shows added over time and adds that this new functionality marks the first-ever, all-in-one, on-demand audio experience for broadcast radio content.  Entercom chief digital officer J.D. Crowley comments, “As a leader in audio, we are thrilled to introduce innovative technology that will transform the way audiences consume and engage with broadcast radio by reimaging it for a digital environment.  RADIO.COM REWIND provides a best-in-class listening experience by delivering the premier news, talk, and sports audio content our audience wants, whenever and however they want it.”  The feature allows audiences to start their listening experience from any point in any show and select a playback speed up to two times the original speed. Listeners can also quickly and easily return to the live broadcast at any time. In the coming months, audiences will also be able to share moments of live broadcast radio content for distribution on social media and via email.

Premiere Networks to Rep FNTSY Sports Radio Network. The FNTSY Sports Radio Network – a collaboration between owner SportsGrid and the Elvis Duran Group – is announcing a partnership with Premiere Networks for the latter to serve as national ad sales rep.  EDG partner/CEO David Katz comments, “This partnership propels us further into the multi-billion-dollar industry of fantasy sports, priming us to take full advantage of the medium’s meteoric growth, particularly since the recent legalization of sports wagering.  With industry leader Premiere Networks by our side, there’s no stopping us.”  The Elvis Duran Group says that since partnering with FNTSY Sports Network, it has assembled broadcast teams to report live from such events as the National Fantasy Baseball Championships (NFBC) and has launched new programming, including the daily show, “Fantasy Sports Today,” hosted by fantasy sports talker Craig Mish and Joe Pisapia, sports analyst and author of the number-one-selling Fantasy Black Book series.

TALKERS News Notes. A new podcast venture is coming from iHeartMedia and actor, comedian, and producer Will Ferrell.  The new “Big Money Players Network” – focusing on comedy shows – will roll out in 2020.  The network is preparing to launch 10 podcasts – scripted and unscripted – over the next 24 months produced by Ferrell and iHeartMedia that will be available on iHeartRadio and everywhere else podcasts are heard.  iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne says, “Will Ferrell is one of the greatest comedians of our lifetime and the unique synergy between Will and iHeartMedia will continue to lead us in accomplishing even more great audio content together.  We’ve worked extremely close with Will over the past year and our listeners love what we’ve offered them so far.  The creative opportunities that an iHeart and Will Ferrell collaboration offer are limitless and we can’t wait to introduce fresh, hilarious, new content to listeners.”…..Greg Likens leaves his weekend sports talk host position at Entercom’s WAXY-AM, Miami “790 The Ticket” for work outside the radio business.  During his career in sports media, he served as producer for WQAM, Miami’s Joe Rose morning show…..Envision Networks’ home improvement show host Eric Goranson of “Around The House With Eric G.” is named among the Top 50 Innovators of 2019 in Kitchen and Bath Design.  The list was created and voted on by kitchen and bath design industry peers to highlight innovators whose work, creativity, and professionalism are leading the industry.  Goranson says, “I am honored that my industry peers and colleagues placed me in the top 50 innovators for 2019.”

Impeachment Inquiry, Ukraine Controversy, U.S. Syria Policy, 2020 Presidential Race/Ohio Debate, Catch and Kill Book, and Fort Worth Cop Kills Black Woman Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/14). The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against President Trump; the controversy over Rudy Giuliani’s and the Bidens’ activities in Ukraine; the fate of the Kurds and the Trump Administration’s Syria policy; the 12 Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020 and tonight’s debate in Ohio; the sexual predation allegations against NBC execs and the rape allegation against Matt Lauer outlined in Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill book; and a now-fired Forth Worth police officer kills a black woman in her home were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A change in the programming department at SummitMedia’s Springfield, Missouri station group as Bo Jaxon exits after seven months as operations manager and PD/morning drive host for country KTTS.  Handling mornings for now is KTTS personality Nancy Simpson…..Pictured below at KKFR, Phoenix’s “POWERHOUSE 2019” concert featuring Chris Brown and Ty Dolla $ign are (from l-r): KKFR afternoon drive host Crisco Kidd along with DJ Automatic, Dana Cortez, and Anthony A of the “Dana Cortez Show.”

Monday, August 26, 2019

| August 26, 2019

Joe Walsh Says He’ll Challenge Trump for GOP Nomination. As teased on Friday (8/23), former Illinois GOP congressman and talk radio host Joe Walsh officially announced on Sunday that he will begin a GOP primary campaign to challenge President Trump for the GOP nomination.  Walsh hosts the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight program on the Salem Radio Network. It’s not clear right now when he’ll leave his radio show, but it’s a safe bet it will be very soon.  As a politically conservative broadcasting company, the SRN and Salem Media Group brass can’t be thrilled about Walsh’s decision. However, conventional wisdom says Walsh has no chance to take the nomination from Trump since the president enjoys overwhelming support from Republicans. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison, weighing in on the syndicated host’s announcement states, “The extraordinary amount of press surrounding this development illustrates just how powerful talk media has become during the age of Trump.  We all know that talk radio and cable news/talk TV have been consistently influential platforms in the post-Fairness Doctrine decades.  However, the sheer measurable power this bubbling influence has amassed in the age of Trump is jaw dropping to say the least.  Regardless of your opinion of Donald Trump, the fact that the president of the United States is a huge talk media fan and constantly demonstrates it through his use of social media, shout-outs, and political appointments has been the most significant booster rocket imaginable in elevating talk media beyond junior status to equal-if-not-greater influence and prestige as the so-called mainstream media.  Look at the amount of attention his tweets garnered for Wayne Allyn Root last week.  The fact that Joe Walsh – a radio talk show host with a microscopically short resume of elective service – could get so much more coverage than former governors William Weld and Mark Sanford sends an important message.  Radio and TV talk personalities are, in a growing number of cases, on the same level as major elected officials.  In an industry where anecdotal qualitative influence is every bit as important as murky quantitative metrics, everyone in the talk business owes a debt of gratitude to President Trump.  All I can say is, Mr. President, ‘Keep listening and watching!’” Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story stated FOX News had ignored the story.  Actually, FOX News published this story on Sunday and devoted reports on FOX News Channel to the story.

Neal Boortz Ends WSB-AM, Atlanta Commentary.  Six years after retiring from his daily radio talk show, radio legend Neal Boortz does his last commentary feature for his old flagship station WSB-AM/WSBB-FM. In his final piece for the station, Boortz says he looks forward to paying less attention to the news because he believes the country is headed for disaster due to young people knowing more about LGBTQ history than American history.  He says, “I’m going to just enjoy my friends, family and my travels while the rest of you see if you can pull this country back from the brink.” Hear his commentary here.

LaDona Harvey Re-Ups with KOGO, San Diego. Longtime station personality LaDona Harvey signs a new contract with iHeartMedia’s news/talk KOGO, San Diego to continue as morning personality through 2022.  Harvey served as news anchor and then midday talk host before being partnered with Ted Garcia in morning drive in 2014.  Station program director Brian Long says, “When we re-launched Newsradio 600 KOGO, it was clear that LaDona had the versatility needed to shift from a popular local news/talk host to become a strong morning news personality without missing a beat.  LaDona and Ted Garcia together every morning share a chemistry that connects with San Diegans and serves to entertain and inform KOGO listeners every weekday morning.”

New Affiliate Stations for ‘Our American Stories.’ The nationally syndicated “Our American Stories” radio program announces the program is being added to the program schedules at stations including: iHeartMedia’s KHOW, Denver; Bustos Media’s KVOI, Tucson; American General Media’s KVEC, San Luis Obispo; Entercom’s KNSS-AM/FM, Wichita; and Kensington Digital Media’s WRSW-AM, Warsaw, Indiana.  Lee Habeeb is host of the program and CEO of American Private Radio, producer and syndicator of the show.  Habeeb comments that he’s “grateful for the new markets and the opportunity to bring more listeners together in a positive listening environment.  These stations, along with our 210 other affiliate partners are a testament that listeners want more than just political talk.  They want a positive experience that radio does really well, which is just what ‘Our American Stories’ delivers.

Ken Lagana Named EVP of Digital Sales for Entercom. Digital sales executive Ken Lagana is appointed to the newly created position of executive vice president of digital sales for Entercom, effective September 10.   Lagana was most recently head of sales and marketing for podcast technology firm Megaphone.  In this new role, Lagana will lead sales strategy for the company’s digital business, including RADIO.COM, and its newest podcast acquisitions – Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Studios.  Entercom chief digital officer J.D. Crowley says, “I have known Ken a long time and have immense respect for the large digital businesses he’s helped build.  Ken has an incredible reputation in the industry for creating innovative programs at scale that solve challenges for marketers.  We’re excited to welcome him to the team as we continue to help shape the rapidly growing digital audio marketplace.”

Envision and Radio PA State Network Partner for Sports Report. This partnership between Envision Networks and Radio PA State Network will result in EnvisionVirtualServices Sports Reports being distributed to more than 50 radio stations throughout the Keystone State.  The feature his presented by sports reporter Andrew Scaglione who delivers twice-daily reports (and one report on Saturday).   Scaglione says, “The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has such a rich sports history spanning from the high school level all the way up to the pros.  It’s a privilege to provide daily sports reports to stations around the state and keep folks up to date on Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, State College, Williamsport, and everywhere in between.”

Monday Memo: YouTube Tweaks.  YouTube is a powerful platform and it’s real crowded.  Every second, one hour of video is uploaded.  If you just “throw something up there,” you’re probably not capitalizing on the benefits of YouTube.  Consultant Holland Cooke suggests that before your video joins that torrent, take a look at some valuable tips here.

U.S.-China Trade War/G7 Summit, Hong Kong Protests, Joe Walsh to Challenge Trump in Primary/2020 Presidential Race, Israel Strikes Iranian Targets, and Andrew Luck Retires from NFL Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The tariff battle between the U.S. and China, the world’s financial markets’ reactions to them, and the meetings that took place at the G7 in France over the weekend; the protests against Chinese aggression in Hong Kong; talk host and former congressman Joe Walsh announces his Republican presidential bid and the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the Israeli military strikes against Iranian targets near Damascus, Syria; and the shocking retirement from pro football by Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Forever Media to Buy Lebanon, Pennsylvania Duo. The stations – news/talk WLBR-AM and adult contemporary WQIC-FM “Soft Rock 100.1” – are being sold by family-owned Lebanon Broadcasting Company to Forever Media.  The deal gives Forever 64 stations in 11 markets.  Lebanon president Lynn Deppen says, “WLBR/WQIC has been in the Etter family for over 70 years.  Since my sons have independent careers, I made the decision to sell to Forever Media. Forever Media is an excellent company consisting of community-oriented radio stations.  They empower local managers with key decision-making authority and encourage local community interests to be a factor in any decision.”  Greg Guy of Patrick Communications represented the seller in this deal.

Barr Bids Buck Bon Voyage. Pictured above is Premiere Networks personality Buck Sexton (left) with U.S. Attorney General William Barr (right) at Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC. last Thursday night (8/22).  Sexton, host of “The Buck Sexton Show,” had an impromptu going away celebration at the hotel as he leaves Washington to move to New York City.  Barr made an appearance to wish Sexton well as he returns to his home state.

TALKERS News Notes. Sports media personality Josh Innes is launching a podcast.  The former KBME, Houston and WIP, Philadelphia sports talk host tells ForbesJonathan Berr that he intends to target sports fans in Philly and Houston with separate shows for each market.  He says he understands that there are a ton of podcasts out there and that compared to big stations, he’s a small business.  He says he plans to target local advertisers who can’t afford to advertise on major market radio stations…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Vivianne Linou  is promoted to executive producer of WGN, Chicago’s Steve Cochran morning show. The Tribune Broadcasting station promoted Mary Sandberg Boyle from that position to director of news and operations back in May.  Linou joined WGN as a producer back in March after having previously served with Entercom’s crosstown all-news WBBM-AM/WFCS-FM…..Alpha Media’s Portland sports talk KXTG-AM drops the FM translator simulcast of its programming.  The station signaled the end of the broadcast on K275CH with the re-branding of its social media accounts that eliminate the 102.9 FM frequency…..Saga Communications swaps FM translators as a simulcast of news/talk WGAN-AM, Portland.  It goes from W288CU, PORTLAND at 105.5 FM to W253DA at 98.5 FM…..ESPN launches a new college football podcast featuring lead analysts Kirk Herbstreit and David Pollack plus SportsCenter’s Kevin Negandhi.  The “ESPN College Football Podcast- Herbie & Pollack” publish three times per week through the season with Negandhi hosting all episodes. Herbstreit will co-host on Mondays and Pollack will do so on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. West Palm Beach country outlet WIRK names Moriah Daniels midday personality.  Daniels began her radio career eight years ago as an intern for the then-CBS Radio station, now owned and operated by Hubbard Radio.  WIRK operations manager and brand/content director Bruce Logan states, “As a program director, there is nothing better than inheriting great talent!  When I started the search to transition ‘New Country 103.1’ from a voice-tracked show to a live and local show in West Palm Beach, I was thrilled to find Moriah sitting mere feet from my office dutifully serving our sales team.  She expressed interest, I went through the entire search process and in the end, there was no one I’d rather have as WIRK’s At-Work host.”…..Air personality Pat Gallagher returns to the Madison market to assume the morning show duties on Mid-West Family’s alternative WRIS “The Resistance.”  Company VP of programming Randy Hawke says, “Pat helped define alternative music in Madison.  It’s so important to have him here and be a part of it.”  Gallagher worked in alternative radio in Madison for 27 years before joining Mid-West Family Madison for a brief time then heading to WCNR, Charlottesville, Virginia to do mornings…..Radio personality and doo wop enthusiast Ron Farber appeared on WMTR-AM, Morristown, New Jersey over the weekend as guest and co-host on the station’s “Doo Wop Drive” program from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm on August 23.   It was a homecoming of sorts as Faber hosted the Friday night doo wop show from 2005 through 2008…..Air talent Scotty Kay joins the new morning program at Entercom’s country WUSN, Chicago.  Kay was most recently on air at Cumulus Media’s CHR KLIF-FM, Dallas “HOT 93.3.”  He joins morning show hosts Katie BrightJason Pullman, and Erin Creedon on the program…..In Los Angeles, Doug “Sluggo” Roberts is named assistant program director and music director for classic rock KLOS.  Roberts currently hosts weekend programs on SiriusXM’s “1St Wave” and “Lithium” channels.  He’s also worked at alternative KROQ and adult hits KABC-FM in Los Angeles.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

| June 19, 2019

‘Our American Stories’ Tops 200-Affiliate Mark. The nationally syndicated program “Our American Stories” announces that Entercom’s heritage news/talk outlet WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte is one of a number of new affiliate stations that has added the program to its schedule, helping the program break the 200-affiliate plateau.  Additional new stations picking up the show include: 1TV.com’s KIKO-AM, Mesa, Arizona “The Bull 1340”; 3 Daughters Media Inc’s WMNA-AM/FM, Gretna, Virginia and WGNA-AM, Roanoke; HRN Broadcasting’s WZGM-AM, Asheville, North Carolina; and Midwest Communications’ KDAL-AM, Duluth, Minnesota. The program is a production of American Private Radio and CEO and program host Lee Habeeb says, “There is no such thing as a ‘sure thing’ is this business.  At a time when talk radio is top-heavy with what divides us as Americans, listeners are responding to our nightly program that celebrates the country so many of us love and care about – and the values that made the country what it is today.  I want to say thank you to the station managers at KABC, Los Angeles; WTMJ, Milwaukee; KPRC, Houston; WCCO, Minneapolis/St. Paul; KFAB, Omaha; KMOX, St. Louis; KFXR, Dallas; WHO, Des Moines; KOA, Denver; WBOB, Jacksonville; WHFS, Tampa; KMZQ, Las Vegas; KKFT FM, Reno; KJJC, Salt Lake City; KSCO, Santa Cruz; and now the heritage blowtorch WBT in Charlotte – so many additional station managers who trust our vision of ‘Our American Stories.’  My team of writers, producers, and sales people are truly humbled.”

Joe Pags Show Hits 125-Affiliate Milestone. The WOAI, San Antonio-based “Joe Pags Show” – hosted by Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo – is happy to announce it has surpassed the 125-affiliate mark with the recent addition of the following stations to its roster: WPHT, Philadelphia; KSEV, Houston; WLOB-AM, Portland; WOOD-AM/FM, Grand Rapids; and WIMA-AM, Lima, Ohio.  Joe Pags says more stations are preparing to add the show and he hopes to be able to announce more new affiliate stations soon.  The program is syndicated by Compass Media Networks and airs live from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET.

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format.  The big winner comparing the April survey to the May survey is Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco, which rises by three-tenths to a 6.6 share (weekly 6+ AQH). Comparing May of 2018 to May 2019, KCBS-AM is again the top achiever, going up 1.2 shares in the San Francisco market.  However, the same station loses 1.2 shares in the adjacent San Jose market, year-over-year. Both KCBS-AM and Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington ranked #1 in their markets during the May survey. WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago ranked #2. See the entire report here.

RTDNA Names 2019 National Murrow Award Winners. The Radio Television Digital News Association announces the winners of the 2019 National Murrow Awards.  More than 4,600 entries were received in 16 categories and 100 local and network radio, television, and digital news organizations are being honored for 122 examples of outstanding journalism.  The winners at the national level also include Student Murrow Awards in five categories of audio, video, and digital reporting.  RTDNA executive director Dan Shelley says, “The RTDNA National Edward R. Murrow Awards recognize local and national news stories that uphold our Code of Ethics, demonstrate technical expertise and exemplify the importance and impact of journalism as a service to the community.  Winning a Murrow Award means that a news organization has provided exemplary public service to its viewers, listeners and readers.”  Some highlights of this year’s awards include: CBS News Radio wins for Overall Excellence, Breaking News Coverage, and for Newscast for “CBS World News Roundup; Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington repeats its 2018 win for Overall Excellence in large market radio; ABC News Radio wins the Excellence in Innovation award for its podcast, “Start Here,” and for Sports Reporting for “America’s Next Pastime”; Entercom all-news station WCBS-AM, New York is honored for Excellence in Video and all-news KCBS-AM, San Francisco wins Best Newscast.  See all the winners here.

WABC, New York Adds New Clint Arthur-Hosted Saturday Night Show. The program is called “The Greatest Show of All Time” and features celebrity entrepreneur Clint Arthur. It airs Saturday nights at 7:00 through November 6, 2019.  Arthur says, “The mission of this show is personal, professional, and spiritual transformation for entrepreneurs, business owners, CEOs and anyone responsible for improving their own life and who wants to be more, do more and have more.  As a native New Yorker, I am thrilled by this opportunity to give back to the city that made me who I am today.”  Arthur is the author best-selling books: What They Teach You at The Wharton Business School, Speaking Game: 7-Figure Speaker Secrets, and The Greatest Book of All Time.  He’s a regular guest on television, having appeared on such programs and networks as “The Today Show,” “Mornings with Maria,” CNN, HLN, BBC, SkyNews, and “Good Day LA.”

Two Sales Pros Join Salem Surround. The new digital ad agency Salem Surround adds two media sales pros.  Andy Massingill is named regional digital sales director for the West Region and Jon Latzer holds the same title for the East Region.  The new agency from Salem Media Group “offers a comprehensive suite of digital marketing services to develop and execute audience-based marketing strategies for clients on both local and national levels.”  Massengill most recently served with Adams Publishing Group in Minnesota.  Latzer was most recently with Alpha Media as the regional interactive sales director. Salem SVP of broadcast digital Jamie Cohen says, “These two new hires are the next step in Salem’s strategy to provide 360-degree marketing support to our clients and partners.  Jon and Andy bring a unique mix of both radio and vast digital experience to the table which I’m confident will provide our teams and our clients with the ability to see the value in all forms of audience we can deliver.”

TALKERS News Notes. WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island talk show host John DePetro is pictured here outside the Amway Arena in Orlando prior to last night’s Trump 2020 campaign kick-off. DePetro says that with the help of Qgolive, his program will be mobile this summer.  He broadcast yesterday’s program from Orlando…..Former WEEI, Boston morning co-host and current Barstool Sports personality Kirk Minihane is holding a press conference today (6/19) to address the lawsuit being filed against him and Barstool Sports by Somerville, Massachusetts Mayor Joseph Curtatone.  The mayor was recently interviewed by Kirk Minihane who pretended to be Boston Globe writer Kevin Cullen.  A couple of weeks after finding out he’d been duped, Curtatone filed a suit alleging Minihane violated Massachusetts General Laws by using “fraudulent means” to get his permission to be recorded.  Barstool CEO David Portnoy posted a statement saying he doesn’t know if Minihane broke the law or not but hopes the case goes to trial to provide “the best content of all time.”  Portnoy implies his father, attorney Michael Portnoy, would represent Barstool.

Trump’s Orlando Re-Election Rally, 2020 Presidential Race, Trump’s Illegal Immigrants Deportation Promise, Iran Tensions, Slavery Reparations Hearing, and Dominican Republic Deaths/Illnesses Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/18).  Last night’s Orlando rally to kick off President Trump’s re-election campaign; the Democrats competing for the nomination in the 2020 presidential race; Trump’s statement that ICE will be deporting millions of illegal aliens next week; the tensions over Iran’s enrichment program and the U.S.’s threat of military action; today’s hearing on slavery reparations before a House Judiciary subcommittee; and the spate of deaths and illnesses among travelers to the Dominican Republic were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the Anchorage, Alaska market Last Frontier Mediactive flips rock KZND to alternative as “94.7 Alternative Anchorage.”  Kellen Pierce is the program director and says, “I’m thrilled to be programming Anchorage’s exclusive home for alternative music!  Alaskan fans of modern and present alternative will now be able find their favorite new artists alongside some of the best alternative from the 90s to now!”…..iHeartMedia appoints Don Pollnow market president for the company’s four-station Wichita cluster that includes country KZSN-FM “102.1 The Bull,” CHR KZCH-FM “Channel 96.3,” adult contemporary KRBB-FM, “B98,” and alternative KTHR-FM “ALT 107.3.”  Pollnow was most recently vice president and market manager for Cumulus Media‘s Green Bay station group…..Westwood One announces that the syndicated “Adam Bomb Show” adds three new affiliate stations to its roster.  Now airing the program are KYIS-FM, Oklahoma City; KWPW-FM, Robinson, Texas; and WMXV-FM, Florence-Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

Monday, May 6, 2019

| May 6, 2019

Cumulus Media Names Brian Philips EVP of Content and Audience; Mike McVay to Return to Consulting. Effective today, radio and television executive Brian Philips is being appointed executive vice president, content and audience for Cumulus Media, taking over for Michael McVay, who is returning to full-time consulting, with Cumulus as his first client.  Philips previously served as president of Viacom/MTV Network’s CMT channel.  The press release notes that there, Philips led “the music network’s successful forays into long-form script series, tentpole awards shows, concert specials, and feature films.  He also developed CMT’s successful national radio network.”  Prior to working in TV and film, Philips worked in radio programming with such stations as Cumulus’ WNNX-FM and WWWQ-FM in Atlanta, and KPLX-FM, Dallas.  Cumulus Media CEO Mary Berner says, “We are excited that Brian is joining our leadership team.  A highly accomplished executive, leader, and innovator with substantial experience across today’s media landscape, he comes to us with an impressive and successful track record of growing ratings and expanding audiences.  We look forward to benefiting from the skills and expertise he brings to his new role. I would also like to thank Mike for his significant contributions to Cumulus and for being such a great partner to me.”  McVay underscores that the decision to leave Cumulus and return to consulting was entirely his.  In praising McVay, Berner adds, “Mike’s accomplishments since his appointment as EVP, content and programming in 2015 are too numerous to count.  To name just a few, under Mike’s leadership of the office of programming, we reversed four years of ratings share declines, and saw years of ratings share growth.  We are currently posting the best ratings since 2011 on some of our biggest and most important stations.  Mike has helped to expand Westwood One’s programming, participating in the launch of several new shows, including the very successful ‘The Ben Shapiro Show.’  Mike has also led us in increasing our reach beyond over the air listening to include smart speakers and all online listening.”

Monday Memo: Show Me Your Show. On smart talk stations, weekends are appointment listening and might be the two most profitable days of the week, “NOT incompatible goals” according to consultant Holland Cooke.  “Yet,” he notes, “programming Saturdays and Sundays can be high-maintenance for stations, and getting airtime is challenging for talent.” In this week’s Monday Memo, HC recommends a win-win road map to weekend airtime.  Read it here.

Simonson Named Director of Sales at Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach. Radio sales pro Gregory Simonson is appointed director of sales for Hubbard Radio’s recently acquired West Palm Beach station group that includes news/talk WFTL, Fort Lauderdale and sports talk WMEN, Royal Palm Beach “640 The Hurricane,” and four music-formatted stations.  Simonson was most recently general sales manager with Beasley Media Group’s Fayetteville, North Carolina cluster.  Hubbard Radio SVP and market manager Elizabeth Hamma states, “I’m very happy to welcome Gregory to the Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach family.  His extensive track record of success in traditional and digital media as well as his passion for helping sales people succeed make Gregory a perfect choice to lead our sales team to new heights.”  Last fall, Hubbard agreed to acquire the cluster from Alpha Media for $88 million.

‘Our American Stories’ Passes 180-Affiliate Mark. The nationally syndicated “Our American Stories” program from American Private Radio announces the addition of eight new affiliate stations to the program’s roster, putting over the 180-station mark. APR president and show host Lee Habeeb says, “Stations told us they wanted a radio program that wasn’t always about politics, to give listeners a break from the news cycle.  More importantly, they love the topics we share every night, and we take great pride in putting stories together that touch our listeners’ hearts and minds.  People walk away feeling better when they listen to ‘Our American Stories.’”  New stations include Entercom’s news/talk WCCO-AM, Minneapolis-St. Paul.

TALKERS News Notes. A new podcast is being launched starring iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman, titled, “Math & Magic: Stories From the Frontiers of Marketing,” on the iHeartPodcast Network beginning on May 14.  The program will feature interviews with “visionary executives from the media and entertainment industries.”  In the first two episodes. Pittman talks with Maurice Levy, who, during his tenure as CEO of Publicis Groupe, increased the value of the company by 100 times and expanded a French agency into a true global advertising and communications leader; and Scooter Braun, renowned talent entrepreneur, investor and entertainment executive who boosted the careers of international superstars such as Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, and many others…..Boston Herald-based nationally syndicated columnist and Boston Herald Radio show host Adriana Cohen recently hosted President Trump on her weekly program. Cohen tells TALKERS that the almost-20-minute interview went viral after being picked up by Politico, Boston Globe, Newsweek, Fox News, The Blaze, The Hill, and others…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that staffers at Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM are getting some backing from fellow union members as they negotiate with the company for raises for the newsroom’s eight assistant producers.  The Writers Guild of America will rally outside the WBBM studios in the Prudential Building today (5/6)…..Washington University in St. Louis is awarding seven people with honorary degrees at a ceremony during the school’s 2019 commencement on May 17 and one of those is SiriusXM Urban View talk host Joe Madison.  The commencement address will be delivered by Michael Bloomberg.  Madison graduated from Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in 1971…..WTMJ, Milwaukee cleaned up at the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Awards Gala in Madison over the weekend.  The Good Karma Brands news/talk station won first place in 21 categories, including: News/Talk Large Market Station of the Year, Radio News Operation of the Year (Large Market); Social and Digital Operation of the Year (Large market); Best Newscast: Wisconsin’s Afternoon News; and more. Pictured below with the station’s awards are WTMJ staffers (from l-r): Nick Van Wagenen, Erik Bilstad, Jordan Gasiorowski, Steve Wexler, Steve Scaffidi, Jane Matenaer, Jay SorgiBrad Lane, Doug Russell, Melissa Barclay, and Mike Spaulding.

Mueller Report/Trump on Mueller Testimony, 2020 Presidential Politics, China Trade War Escalation, U.S.-Iran Tensions, North Korea Missile Test, Israel-Gaza Violence, ‘Game of Thrones,’ Avengers: Endgame, Kentucky Derby Disqualification, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The aftermath of the release of the Mueller Report and President Trump’s tweets saying Robert Mueller should not testify before congress; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; markets react as Trump threatens to ramp up U.S.-China trade war; U.S. carrier group heads to Iran in response to reports of Iranian threats to U.S. interests in the region; reaction to North Korea’s latest missile test; the rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza; Sunday’s episode of “Game of Thrones”; the Avengers: Endgame movie sets new record; the Kentucky Derby winner is disqualified; and the NBA playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

George Beasley Inducted into PA Radio Hall of Fame. Pictured above is Beasley Broadcast Group founder and chairman George Beasley at center with his wife Ann and surrounded by their family at the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters’ 2019 Gold Medal Awards Dinner yesterday (5/5) in Hershey where he was inducted into the PAB’s Hall of Fame.  Beasley was inducted with fellow honorees: comic and actor/director Bob Saget, Pittsburgh Steelers great and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis, and C-SPAN correspondent Steve Scully.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Los Angeles alternative rocker KROQ announces the debut of the afternoon drive “Stryker and Klein” program featuring Ted Stryker (left) and Kevin Klein (right).  Entercom Los Angeles SVP and market manager Jeff Federman says, “Pairing Stryker and Klein is something we could never have imagined just a few years ago.  Individually, they’ve both had tremendous success throughout their careers.  Adding great content to our afternoon programming is something that we’re very committed to and these guys do a fantastic job connecting the music to fun and interesting conversations.”  Stryker has been with the station since 1999.  Klein hosted mornings on the company’s KITS-FM, San Francisco “Live 105.” He was slated to be the morning host at sports talk KWFN, San Diego but the infamous Coronado Bridge social media post bit derailed his gig on that station…..The search is on for the new morning show at Entercom’s country WUSN, Chicago “US99” after Doug Stylz and Justin Roman exited the station on Friday (5/3).  The duo previously hosted the morning show at sister CHR WBBM-FM, “B96” before taking on the morning show role at “US99.”…..Premiere Networks-syndicated evening personality Delilah recently hosted the “Our Town, Our Heroes Celebration,” a local event recognizing listeners for their outstanding work in the Wilmington, Delaware area, produced by Beasley-owned affiliate WJBR, Wilmington “Mix 99.5.”  In addition to helping honor local citizen’s Delilah was surprised by WJBR as the station honored her for her philanthropic efforts with her non-profit foundation, Point Hope, that serves as a voice for forgotten children in the U.S. foster care system and in West Africa.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

| April 30, 2019

Entercom Net Revenue Up 3% in First Quarter of 2019. Net revenue for Entercom Communications Corp. was $309 million in the first quarter of 2019 – an increase of 3% over the $300.6 million figure for the same period in 2018.  Operating income soared to $30.4 million, up from $5.7 million in the first quarter of 2018. At the same time, total operating expenses decreased 5.6% from last year to $278.6 million.  Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “I am pleased to report that Entercom delivered another strong quarter of performance as revenues increased 3% and Adjusted EBITDA surged 42%.  Our transformational investments in new products and capabilities and the hard work of our team are beginning to pay off as we capitalize on our scale and the abundant growth opportunities in audio. Second quarter revenues are pacing up by more than 4% and we are excited about our progress across multiple areas of the business and by the dynamic future ahead.”   Today’s report also states that “later today, the company expects to issue $325 million in 6.50% senior secured second-lien notes due 2027.  The company plans to use the proceeds of the issuance, as well as cash on its balance sheet and borrowings under its revolver, to repay $425 million of its senior secured Term Loan and to pay fees and expenses related to the issuance.” At the end of the first quarter, Entercom had outstanding $1.29 billion of senior debt under its credit facilities and $400 million in senior notes.  The company reports having $68 million in cash on hand.

Nielsen Reports Q1 Financials; Audience Measurement Revenue Up 1.5%.  As the company’s board of directors continues to consider selling all or part of Nielsen Holdings plc, the company reveals its revenue for the first quarter of 2019 was down 2.9% (on revenue of $1.56 billion), however was up 0.4% on a constant currency basis, compared to the first quarter of 2018.  The company recently renamed its Watch and Buy segments. They are now Nielsen Global Media and Nielsen Global Connect, respectively.  During Q1, revenue in the Nielsen Global Media segment increased 0.2% to $826 million, or 1.3% on a constant currency basis, compared to the first quarter of 2018.  Revenue in Audience Measurement increased 1.5%, or 2.2% on a constant currency basis, primarily due to continued client adoption of Nielsen’s Total Audience Measurement system, partly offset by pressure in local television measurement. Nielsen CEO David Kenny states, “Our first quarter results were ahead of our expectations, reflecting solid execution and continued focus on improving operational and financial rigor across Nielsen.  While I’m pleased with our first quarter results, we have a significant opportunity to accelerate our growth rate over time as we leverage and build on our incomparable data assets, our global footprint, and the critical role we play in the media and FMGC (fast moving goods company) industries.  We have begun our transformation into a truly product-driven, technology organization, able to make faster, bolder decisions that drive greater value for our clients and for Nielsen.”

Report: Erick Erickson Planning New Late Morning Show on Athens News/Talker. According to a report in the Atlanta Journal Constitution by Rodney Ho, WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta personality Erick Erickson noted on his Facebook page that he’s planning a new talk show for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart that would focus on Georgia news and politics.  Ho reports that WSB program director Pete Spriggs says the show is in the planning stages right now and the company’s news/talk WGAU-AM/W254CJ, Athens would be the show’s flagship.  Erickson would continue to host his afternoon show at WSB. Erickson says he believes that local news outlets are failing to give enough attention to Georgia news and the drive time shows focus too much on the national political scene.

Lars Larson Receives Honor from Right to Work Organization. KXL-FM, Portland-based talk radio host Lars Larson – also heard nationally via Compass Media Networks – is being given the “Lewis and Annabelle Fetterman Right to Work Communication Award” from The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.   The annual honor goes to an individual for their work in highlighting the injustices of compulsory unionism.  Larson says, “When my flagship station, FM News 101 KXL hired me, I got my first taste of forced unionism.  I arrived at my shiny new $9/hr job as afternoon anchor and editor in March of 1980. A big talk guy, whose name I have forgotten, walked up to me and introduced himself as the shop steward and told me in no uncertain terms, ‘You will join the union.’  I told him I had no interest in unions and no intention of joining.  He told me, ‘You’ll join or our contract says you’ll be fired in 30 days.’  Needless to say, I joined, paid the union and endured its extortion.  Years later at KXL, I happily joined an effort to decertify the union (it took two years but it succeeded).  I believe that every American worker should have the right to join a union or to decline union membership.  27 states now recognize this ‘right to work’ philosophy.  Nearly all of the Democratic Party candidates for president of the United States have vowed to kill section 14b of the Fair Labor Relations Act that allows for the ‘right to work.’  I have now worked 44 years in radio and television and have spent most of those years NOT IN A UNION by choice.  Every American should have that choice.”

WGN-AM and Crain’s Chicago Strengthen Relationship. This enhancement of the content integration between Tribune’s WGN Radio and Crain’s Chicago Business will bring Crain’s reporters to the air on WGN live from their Chicago newsroom, beginning Monday (5/6).  Each weekday, “The WGN Radio Crain’s Chicago Business Desk” will feature Crain’s reporters twice daily on WGN during newscasts at 7:00 am and 5:00 pm, in addition to listeners hearing the top business news of the day at 12:50 pm during the “Wintrust Business Lunch” program.  Crain’s publisher and executive editor Jim Kirk says, “We’re very happy to expand our relationship with WGN.  The station’s unique relationship with its listeners is a natural for Crain’s as we continue to look for ways to grow our journalism beyond our traditional platforms.”

Entercom and Waze Enter into Multiplatform Partnership. This deal between Entercom and traffic app Waze will – among other things – allow users of both Waze and Entercom’s RADIO.COM app to benefit from each other’s content.  As part of the deal, RADIO.COM will be integrated into the Waze app, so that Waze drivers can get audio content – including local news and sports, local broadcast traffic reports, and the music stations – with ease.  They’ll have access to the RADIO.COM playback and discovery controls, including favorite, local, and recently played stations, directly in the Waze app.  The partnership also allows Entercom to integrate the Waze community-based traffic data into its live and over-the-air traffic reporting across its radio stations. Entercom stations will utilize the Waze data to provide enhanced, real-time and hyperlocal traffic reporting to listeners on all platforms.

Progressive Insurance Named ‘Radio Marketer of the Year.’ The insurance company is being honored with the “Radio Marketer of the Year” award at the 2019 Radio Mercury Awards at SONY HALL in New York City on June 6.  The award is being given to Progressive Insurance “in recognition of the company’s long-term partnership with the radio industry to reach and engage consumers.  Their powerful radio creative differentiates the brand in a crowded category and significantly contributes to record sales for Progressive.” RAB president and CEO and chair of the Radio Creative Fund Erica Farber says, “Progressive Insurance and its creative advertising partner Arnold Worldwide continue to be tremendous partners to the radio industry. Broadcast radio is delighted with the ongoing collaboration with CMO Jeff Charney and his team, and we look forward to their continued innovation in the audio space.”  Charney comments, “Understanding the ‘art and science’ of the medium is key to putting out breakthrough radio campaigns.  It allows us to produce compelling and disruptive content that pushes toward the creative edge in all the right ways.  We sweat every second of each spot, and this recognition proves our company’s out-create approach drives powerful results.”

Sue McNamara Named EVP of Sales for PodcastOne. Sales pro Sue McNamara is appointed to the position EVP of sales for the Eastern U.S. for PodcastOne.  She comes to PodcastOne with a resume that includes roles SVP of advertising sales at CBS Corporation, EVP of sales at Interep, and VP of sales at Total Traffic Network.  PodcastOne executive chairman and founder Norm Pattiz says, “When looking for someone to fill this position, we spoke to a number of our advertisers, and the one name that kept coming up was Sue McNamara.  After our first meeting at our Los Angeles headquarters, I understood exactly why.  She knows audio.  She not only understands advertisers’ goals and needs, she’s been instrumental in creating new, creative opportunities for them.  She’s a perfect fit for podcasting and that makes her the perfect choice for PodcastOne.”

TALKERS News Notes. The online-only broadcasts from the sports talk hosts of “The Mighty 1090” have ended. As reported by KGTV-TV, San Diego, the sports talk format that was bumped off Mexican signal XEPRS on April 11 is no longer an online venture either.  Broadcast Company of the America’s pulled the plug on the digital feed at around 2:00 pm yesterday (4/29), ending almost three weeks of online only content.  The staff were asked to come to the studios and retrieve their belongings.  KGTV-TV notes that BCA previously lost two other of its Mexican signals – XHPRS, formerly a classic hits station, and XEPE, also a sports talk station – after negotiations with the Mexican owners broke down…..WMFS-FM, Memphis “ESPN 92.9” sports talk personality Eric Hasseltine is exiting the Entercom station after almost eight years hosting the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm program.  Hasseltine is also the radio play-by-play voice for the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies, a position he will continue to hold. WMFS program director Brad Carson says Jeffrey Wright, producer for the station’s Geoff Calkins show, will host the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm daypart for now. Hasseltine says the decision to leave the station was entirely his and adds that it was not an easy decision to make…..Urban news/talk WURD, Philadelphia is bringing air personality Solomon Jones back to the station to host the morning drive “Wake Up with WURD” program, effective Monday (5/6).  Jones tells the Philadelphia Tribune, “I’m pleased to be able to come back.  I missed the audience at WURD and I’m anxious to be able to get started again and to just impact our community.  Doing what I do at WURD is familiar and I think it is ministry.  I want to make sure that our community is informed and engaged.  There are some things that we need to really be talking about and take action on.”…..Cox Media Group’s news/talk KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa hosted nationally syndicated digital expert Kim Komando at a luncheon today (4/30).  KRMG invited 225 listeners to the Women in Business Luncheon presented by Community Care College.  KRMG program director Levi May states, “Kim Komando is a real power player in both the media and technology fields and it’s an honor that she chose Tulsa to visit in 2019.  We are thrilled to have an opportunity to put her in front of our listeners in an intimate setting where she can talk about her successes and share her tips with other women.”  In addition to Komando’s appearance, KRMG news director April Hill moderated a panel discussion of Tulsa businesswomen.

77WABC’s Sid Rosenberg Speaks at NYTimes Protest.  Pictured above is WABC, New York personality Sid Rosenberg (holding mic) at a protest outside the offices of The New York Times.  The co-host of the “Bernie & Sid in the Morning” program addressed the crowd gathered to protest the publication of a cartoon depicting President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that’s being called anti-Semitic.

2020 Presidential Politics, Trump Sues Banks, Dems Impeachment Talk, NYTimes Cartoon Criticism, Venezuela Political Unrest, Southern Border Crisis, Game of Thrones, Avengers: Endgame Movie, NBA Playoffs, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/29). Democrat Joe Biden’s rise in the polls and the politics surrounding the 2020 presidential campaign; President Trump sues to prevent Deutsch Bank and Capital One from releasing personal and Trump business financial information; the talk of presidential impeachment among congressional Democrats; the criticism of the New York Times cartoon depicting Trump and Netanyahu as being anti-Semitic; Juan Guaido’s attempt to lead a military uprising against the Maduro government in Venezuela; the migrant status at the U.S.-Mexico border; Sunday’s “Game of Thrones” episode in the HBO series’ final season; the Avengers: Endgame movie; the NBA playoffs: and MLB 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. Denver country outlet KYGO has a new program director as Bonneville names Brian Michel to the position.  Michel was most recently with iHeartMedia as SVP of programming for the Atlanta station group…..iHeartMedia announces that Taylor Swift is joining the lineup of KISS-FM, Los Angeles’ Wango Tango concert being held on Satuday, June 1 at The Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California…..SiriusXM is getting ready to present Florida Georgia Line performing in a special invitation-only event at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.  The private show will be the first time the GRAMMY-winning duo has performed at the legendary venue and will air on SiriusXM on May 29…..LBI Media names Wynette Gallegos Ortiz director of sales for the Houston market.  Ortiz will lead LBI Media’s sales and operations activities for all of its radio properties and EstrellaTV’s sports and event activations in Houston.  Ortiz has been with LBI Media since 2001, starting as an account executive and quickly moving up the ranks and into management as local sales manager and eventually as general sales manager.

Monday, March 11, 2019

| March 11, 2019

Monday Memo: Infinite Dial 2019. Consultant Holland Cooke writes in this week’s Monday Memo that if you missed the Edison Research/Triton Digital “Infinite Dial 2019” webinar last week, it’s well worth an hour to watch the video and flip through the slides.  If you’re thinking “an HOUR?” you may FIND an hour after reading his short version in this week’s column that you can read here.

FNC’s Tucker Carlson Unapologetic for Bubba the Love Sponge Appearances. Conservative media figure and FOX News Channel talk show host Tucker Carlson is not apologizing for comments made during his appearances on the Bubba the Love Sponge radio show between 2006 and 2011.  Variety reports that liberal media watchdog organization Media Matters for America dug up some recordings of Carlson – a regular guest on the show during that period – that include him making a “pejorative statement about Arianna Huffington, Britney Spears and Alexis Stewart, Martha Stewart’s daughter,” as well as downplaying the actions of “Warren Jeffs, the religious leader who had been placed on the FBI’s most-wanted fugitive list on charges he had arranged marriages between his adult male followers and underage girls.”  Last night, Carlson issued the following statement, “Media Matters caught me saying something naughty on a radio show more than a decade ago.  Rather than express the usual ritual contrition, how about this: I’m on television every weeknight live for an hour. If you want to know what I think, you can watch.  Anyone who disagrees with my views is welcome to come on and explain why.”

‘Our American Stories’ Adds New Affiliates in Denver and Omaha. The nationally syndicated “Our American Stories” program from Lee Habeeb’s American Private Radio adds iHeartMedia’s KOA, Denver and KFAB, Omaha to its roster of affiliates.  The two-hour, daily magazine-style radio drama is also now being heard on Ashley Communications’ KVEL AM, Vernal, Utah; Alpha Media’s WSGW-AM/FM, Saginaw, Michigan; and Tri-County Broadcastings’ WLVA FM, Lynchburg, Virginia.  Habeeb says he is humbled by the continued success of his non-political program that focuses on “what brings America together,” and adds “these partnerships confirm Americans do love well-produced radio programs that entertain and inform.”

John Batchelor Show Broadcasts from Azerbaijan This Week. The WABC, New York-based and Westwood One nationally syndicated John Batchelor show will broadcast live from the Republic of Azerbaijan this week (3/11-15) in conjunction with the Embassy of Azerbaijan and sponsored by multimedia software firm Scala Inc.  Batchelor is joined by colleagues Christopher Nixon Cox and Monica Crowley “traveling the old Silk Road of Marco Polo to the new Silk Road of energy, on the shore of the vast Caspian Sea Basin in the South Caucasus.” Batchelor says, “From Baku, the sparkling growing capital of Azerbaijan, I will head north to the Russian border at Dagestan.  This is the mountain pass route of the ancient Silk Road.  There is much to learn about how the region will prosper as the Silk Road is reawakened with highways, railroad beds and communication networks that link the savvy manufacturers of East Asia to the rich consumer markets of Asia Minor, Russia, and the European Union.  Returning to Baku, I will venture to the critical oil and gas hub at Sangechal, from where energy resources are sent through Georgia to Turkey and the Mediterranean Basin — and soon via the Southern Gas Corridor to Europe.  Importantly, I will be able to interview many private and public voices about the economic development of Azerbaijan and also the region.”

iHeartRadio’s ‘Bear and a Banjo’ Podcast Produced by Legendary Talent. A new, musical podcast will launch later this year on iHeartMedia’s iHeartRadio platform called “Bear and a Banjo.” iHM calls it a first-of-its-kind. It’s created by Jingle Jared, Dennis Quaid, and five-time Grammy winner Jason “Poo Bear” Boyd (“Despacito,” “Where Are You Now,” “I’m the One” and “Peaches and Cream”) with musical contributions from producer T Bone Burnett (“O Brother, Where Art Thou?” and “Crazy Heart”) and original lyrical contribution from Bob Dylan.  Each episode of the eight-part series will tell a self-contained story about a character called Mister Bear.  Bear is a traveling musician who visits different towns across America and impacts people’s lives before vanishing again.  He is often preceded into town by J. Banjo, a charming huckster/card player/preacher/medicine salesman who acts as Bear’s promoter and hype man.  Quaid says, “This is the beginning of an entirely new era of podcasts. With ‘Bear and a Banjo,’ we are delving into a more sophisticated form of storytelling that brings the audience into a lush and rich world – not just through words, but music.”

Josh Rahmani Named SVP National and Network Sales for Radio One and Reach Media. Sales pro Josh Rahmani is promoted from his vice president, national sales for Radio One post to SVP, national and network sales for Radio One and Reach Media.   Company CEO David Kantor says, “Josh has led our national radio team for several years.  He was instrumental in developing and implementing our corporate sales and partnership effort.  Based on this success it made great sense to put our network team under his direction.  All our national sales efforts are now under his direction.  Josh’s commitment and passion for what we do at Radio One has been exhibited over the years, consistently delivering leadership throughout the company and maintaining great relationships with our partners in advertising and sponsorship.”  Rahmani has served with Radio One since 2005.

TALKERS News Notes. According to a report from Chicago media maven Robert Feder, WLS-AM, Chicago news reporter Jennifer Keiper resigns from the station where she’s been afternoon news anchor.  The station expects to announce the new afternoon anchor soon.  Meanwhile, Feder reports Keiper commenting, “WLS-AM has treated me well over the last four and a half years, but I felt I had done all I could do there and that it was time for a change.  I have left on very friendly terms and look forward to my next challenge.”…..The independently syndicated “Free Talk Live” show featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds new affiliate stations.  Freeman notes that in some instances his libertarian-minded show has taken over the dayparts formerly held by progressive talker Norman Goldman, who recently wrapped production of his program.  New affiliates for “Free Talk Live” include KBBR-AM, North Bend, Oregon. The program has also moved to air live on KABQ-AM, Albuquerque from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm…..CRN Digital Talk Radio adds “Feed Your Face with Merrill Shindler” to its network roster, effective today (3/11). CRN president and CEO Michael Horn says, “Merrill Shindler is the best culinary and travel expert in the country.  Merrill has been a guest on many of our programs and we are delighted to produce his show for national consumption.”

CORRECTION: Ronn Owens Report Continues on KGO.  The March 7 report in TALKERS about the new program schedule at Cumulus Media‘s KGO, San Francisco stated the longtime KGO personality Ronn Owens was gone from the program schedule.  That is incorrect and the 10-minute “Ronn Owens Report” continues to be heard three times daily as part of the revised programming schedule on KGO.  TALKERS regrets the error.

TalkersRadio in the Community.  Los Angeles media figure, community organizer and TalkersRadio personality Meg McDonald (r) – who was recently elected president of the Studio City Beautification Association – is pictured with California State Assembly member Adrin Nazarian (D) at the Studio City Residents Association appreciation dinner at Carla’s Café on the CBS Studio Center lot in Studio City on Saturday evening (3/9).  The appreciation dinner is an annual event to say thank you to SCRA volunteers, vendors, local businesses and officials who help enhance the quality of life in Studio City.   Nazarian represents the 46th Assembly District which encompasses the central-southern San Fernando Valley.  To listen to McDonald’s short-form feature “MEG!” please click here.  MEG! is now available for terrestrial radio clearances.  Interested stations can call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

U.S.-Mexico Border Wall, Trump-Russia Investigation, Democrats’ Omar Problem, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls/Socialism Debate, Ballooning U.S. Budget Deficit, Venezuela Blackout, Jaguar Attacks Selfie-Taker, Ethiopian Airlines Crash, and NBA/NCAA Hoops Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The state of illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border and President Trump’s budget request for $8.6 billion for a border wall; the status of the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the anti-Semitism accusations leveled against Rep. Ilhan Omar; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020 and the internal battle between younger, more socialist-leaning Democrats and the older ones; the report of the U.S. budget deficit rising 77% in the past year; Caracas, Venezuela deals with blackouts amidst Nicolas Maduro’s claim the U.S. sabotaged the substation; a zoo-goer in Phoenix is attacked by a jaguar after she jumped the boundary to take a selfie; the deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash and the mass grounding of new Boeing 737 Max 8 airplanes; and NBA and NCAA basketball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Tampa market on-air pro Nick Van Cleve is retiring from Cox Media Group’s classic hits WXGL “107.3 The Eagle” at the end of this month.  In addition to his 15-year gig with WXGL, he’s also served with WXTB-FM, WYNF-FM and WFUS-FM in the Tampa market.  He tells the Tampa Bay Time retirement is “a logical stepping off point for me and my wife. We want to spend time in North Carolina and do some traveling.  I did some backpacking in Europe and got the travel bug.  And I’ve grown weary of getting up at 4:30 am.”…..Alpha Media adds programming responsibilities for rhythmic CHR KTFM, San Antonio “Energy 94.1” to national director/digital content Ernie Martinez’s role with the company.  Alpha VP of content Phil Becker states, “Working alongside Ernie in our corporate roles, I have witnessed time and time again his prowess as a programmer.  His desire to infuse both his digital expertise and proven track record as a programmer is exactly what KTFM needs.”…..Afternoon personality Rick Daniels is leaving Cumulus Media’s country KIZN, Boise after almost three years for a new, yet-to-be-announced position in a market closer to his children…..Emmis Communications flips triple A KGSR-FM, Austin to adult contemporary “Star 93.3.”   The signal had been a simulcast of the “Austin City Limits Radio” format that continues to air on the KGSR-HD2 and K246BD signals…..This morning, country artist Maren Morris dropped by the studios of the nationally syndicated Ty Bentli Show in Nashville to talk about the release of her highly anticipated sophomore album, GIRL.  Pictured below are (from l-r): TJ, Morris, and Bentli.

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