Tag: "Liberty Media"

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

| April 15, 2020

Alpha Media Makes Cost Saving Moves. In a press release, Alpha Media announces that as a result of the coronavirus pandemic’s effects on the radio industry’s advertising revenue, it “has taken painful steps similar to those of other media companies and announced temporary furloughs, the elimination of some positions, and a reduction of hours for certain employees. Prior to these actions, the members of Alpha’s executive leadership team proactively reduced their own compensation.”  Alpha Media CEO Bob Proffitt states, “Alpha Media continues to work through many difficult decisions to cope with the current challenges we all face brought about by COVID-19. We are positioning the company to weather this challenge while trying to keep our valued team members safe and be poised to recover quickly once the crisis has passed.”

RAB’s ‘Business Unusual’ Online Presentation to Feature Dave Ramsey. In a special, live presentation on Tuesday, April 21, the Radio Advertising Bureau, as part of its “Business Unusual” initiative, is hosting a live, online presentation called “Leading for Success During and After COVID-19” featuring nationally syndicated financial talk media superstar Dave Ramsey.  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber will speak with Ramsey for this leadership-through-unprecedented times session focused on what broadcasters need to be thinking about to weather the storm while serving their communities of listeners and advertisers.  The session starts at 1:00 pm EST and registration is free to RAB members.

Special Interest Groups Appeal to DOJ to Prevent Liberty Media Acquisition of iHeartMedia. Six special interest groups – American Economic Liberties Project, Artist Rights Alliance, Center for Digital Democracy, Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Open Markets Institute, and Public Citizen – have appealed to Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim to reject a possible acquisition of iHeartMedia by Liberty Media.  Liberty has not made any offers to iHeartMedia but it’s been widely reported in recent months that Liberty – which has a controlling stake in SiriusXM and Pandora and a minority stake in Live Nation/Ticketmaster – is interested in adding iHeartMedia to its portfolio of media companies.  The artist rights and consumer groups say, “With just its current holdings, including Pandora and SiriusXM and a major stake in Ticketmaster/LiveNation, Liberty Media already has far too much control over the music ecosystem.  With artists, performers, and consumers already facing unprecedented uncertainty and risk, DOJ should put the brakes on this dangerous threat to creative livelihoods and consumer options.”

Brian Lang to Lead Townsquare Media’s ‘New Jersey 101.5.’ With the departure of Ron deCastro from the president and chief revenue officer position at Townsquare Media’s news/talk WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5,” the company promotes Brian Lang to the market president and chief revenue officer position.  Lang was most recently regional market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare’s Portland, Portsmouth, and Augusta, Maine operations.  Townsquare SVP of operations Rob Williams says, “Brian has distinguished himself as a leader since joining Townsquare in 2014.  By building a team of exceptional managers and talent, Brian’s markets have been among our top performers year after year.  When the opportunity arose, Brian was the natural choice to lead the exceptional team at ‘New Jersey 101.5,’ which represents the best in live and local media.” Local media chief operating officer Erik Hellum adds, “‘New Jersey 101.5’ is a very special and powerful news/talk station, keeping New Jersey informed and connected in a way that no other media outlet can.  A brand like ‘New Jersey 101.5,’ and the very talented team behind that brand, deserve a strong and experienced leader who can help protect, lead, and evolve it, and there is no one better prepared to do that than Brian.”  Meanwhile, back in Maine, the company promotes regional VP of sales Christine Sieks to regional market president of Northern New England.  She’ll continue her RVP of sales duties.

TALKERS News Notes. Former U.S. Congressman and former Chicago and syndicated talk show host Joe Walsh is promoting his new book, F*ck Silence: Calling Trump Out for the Cultish, Moronic, Authoritarian Con Man He Is (2020, Broadside Books).  Walsh, who hosted a local show at Salem Media Group’s WIND-AM, Chicago and was syndicated via the Salem Radio Network before he left radio to challenge Donald Trump for the Republican nomination, recently was a guest on former WGN-AM morning host Steve Cochran’s podcast…..As part of Beasley Media Group’s ongoing Community of Caring public service campaign, the Boston station group that includes sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 FM The Sports Hub” and four music brands is working in conjunction with Safety Insurance, RCN, and Sam Adams to raise $100,000 in support of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Covid-19 response efforts for Healthcare workers through the newly launched Healthcare Heroes initiative.  Beasley Boston vice president and market manager Mary Menna comments, “We wanted to provide our listeners with the opportunity to recognize and thank our Healthcare Heroes for the extraordinary sacrifices they are making during this crisis through this fund.”…..Entercom’s Pittsburgh station group that includes news/talk KDKA-AM raised funds to provide more than 1.5 million meals for people in need through Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.  Yesterday’s “Feed the Need Radiothon,” directly benefits displaced workers who are utilizing the emergency drive up distribution sites as well as food pantries in and around the Pittsburgh region…..Skyview Networks’ franchise partners are airing “best of” games to provide their affiliate networks with sports content for their listeners.  Skyview says it is important to them that they keep their loyal fans engaged and connected, and the company is proud to provide the distribution and inventory management for these games.  Franchises providing replays and “best of” content currently include: Major League Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers, and the National Hockey League’s Arizona Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Minnesota Wild.

Coronavirus Statistics and Projections, Trump Orders Halt to WHO Funding, Scrutiny of China’s Handling of the Outbreak, Trump vs Governors, CDC/FEMA Reopening Plan, Financial Markets Activity, and the Presidential Race and Voting by Mail Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/14). The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S., the death toll and projections about future cases; President Trump orders a suspension of funding to the World Health Organization, alleging it was slow to respond to the crisis; scrutiny of China’s handling of the initial outbreak of the coronavirus; President Trump’s claim that he had ultimate authority while governors of states form regional coalitions to coordinate actions; the CDC and FEMA reveal they are developing a plan to reopen the economy in the safest possible way; the world’s financial markets respond to the pandemic; and the issue of voting by mail for the November elections were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERSmagazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Sales and management pro Ron deCastro joins MediaCo to serve as the market president for New York, in charge of the company’s hip hop WQHT “HOT97” and urban contemporary WBLS.  He was most recently market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media’s news/talk WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5.”  MediaCo president and chief operating officer Patrick Walsh comments, “Ron is the perfect choice to lead ‘HOT97’ and WBLS.  Our investment plans will enable these iconic brands to impact our audiences and clients in even more meaningful ways.  Ron’s deep experience in building winning digital and broadcast teams in and around New York will be invaluable as we deepen the relationship that our brands and personalities have with our audiences in the tristate area and around the world.”…..SupeRadio is syndicating the Atlanta-based morning show “The Streetz Morning Takeover” hosted by “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta” reality show star and rapper Yung Joc, Shawty Shawty, and Sue Solo.  Program creator Steve Hegwood says, “This is America’s only authentic hip hop morning show and it is highly rated and battle-tested under one of the most difficult and competitive situations imaginable.  ‘The Streetz Morning Takeover’ is built to win in every possible scenario and in every market.  It has all the bells and whistles needed for great morning radio including tested and proven benchmarks backed by a great team who lives and appreciates the hip hop lifestyle.  I’m excited to be working with Eric Faison at SupeRadio, and Gary Bernstein of Oceanic Tradewinds in what we believe will be the birth of the next great urban syndicated product.”…..WAWZ, Zarephath, New Jersey “STAR 99.1” announces that current afternoon co-hosts Dave Moore and Kristen James are moving to morning drive on “STAR 99.1” beginning April 20.  Director of programming Matt Stockman says, “Great radio stations are built on the daily foundation created by an engaging, entertaining morning show and I believe that Dave and Kristen have the talent, experience, and desire to lay that foundation every day.”

Friday, December 13, 2019

| December 13, 2019

Report: Liberty Media Seeks Control or Ownership of iHeartMedia.  According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Liberty Media is asking the Department of Justice for permission to up its stake in iHeartMedia.  Currently, Liberty owns 4.8% of iHM.  The WSJ’s sources say the deal that Liberty is seeking permission for would give it control or “outright ownership.”  One source says Liberty has not decided “what kind of transaction, if any, it would proceed with should it receive permission.”  Liberty Media currently owns 33% of Live Nation – the concert business that then-Clear Channel spun off in 2005 – and 71% of SiriusXM Holdings.  The WSJ piece notes that Justice Department officials are asking “interested parties” how they’d be affected by a major live events business and a leading radio company being co-owned.

Radzik to Program ’98.5 The Sports Hub’ in Boston. At Boston sports talker WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Rick Radzik is named the station’s new program director, effective immediately.  Beasley Media Group announces Radzik is assuming the role being vacated by Mike Thomas, who heads to Chicago to become market manager for the ESPN-owned and Good Karma-managed WMVP “ESPN 1000.”  Radzik has been the station’s assistant program director since the station signed on in August of 2009.  Prior to that, he’d served for 15 years as a producer at all-news WBZ-AM, overseeing Boston Bruins broadcasts.  He began his career at crosstown WEEI-AM (when it was a news station) producing the Bruins and Boston Celtics broadcasts, as well as various talk shows.  Beasley Media Group Boston director of programming Cadillac Jack says, “Rick has been a key member of the ‘Sports Hub’ programming team since the station’s inception.  The knowledge he has amassed over the past decade, coupled with his relationships and passion for continuing our winning history, make him uniquely qualified to lead the ‘Sports Hub’ into the 2020s and beyond!”

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (12/13).  The new episode titled “Meddling and Muddling!” reviews the week of December 9-13, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Sebastian Gorka, talk show host, Salem Radio Network; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City;  Joan Michelson; Executive producer/host, GreenConnectionsRadio.com; Bob Lonsberry, talk show host, WHAM, Rochester/WSYR, Syracuse; Doug Stephan, talk show host, Stephan Multimedia; and Scott James Matheson, Mayor-elect, Valdosta, Georgia. This acclaimed news/talk radio show first airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm. It then airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA. It also appears on the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

‘Cats Roundtable’ Show Joins ‘Florida Man Radio.’ The weekly “Cats Roundtable” show hosted by Red Apple Group president and CEO John Catsimatidis is being added to the program schedule at JVC Media’s WDYZ-AM/W288CJ, Orlando and WYGC-FM, High Springs (Gainesville market) “Florida Man Radio.”  Catsimatidis’ company Red Apple Media recently entered into a deal to acquire venerable WABC-AM, New York from Cumulus Media for $12.5 million.  That deal has not closed yet.  JVC president and CEO John Caracciolo says, “‘The Cats Roundtable’ radio show is perfect for ‘Florida Man Radio.’  John’s unique take on the news and his A-list celebrity interviews are fascinating conversations that keep listeners coming back for more.  We have been very successful with his show on our Long Island station and know this is a great fit for our growing ‘Florida Man Radio’ network.”

The Trump Impeachment Proceedings Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 9-13. The articles of impeachment against President Trump were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing in the top spot on the Talkers TenTM.  Tied at #2 this week was Russia’s meddling in the U.S. elections and the inspector general’s report on the FBI’s surveillance practices.  At #3 was Time magazine’s selection of Greta Thunberg as Person of the Year and the greater topic of climate change, followed by the deadly Jersey City shooting and the rise of anti-Semitism at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio this week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

TALKERS News Notes. The WGBH, Boston and PRI-produced program “Innovation Hub” takes a look at the rise of conservative talk radio and its influence on the America political scene on its most recent episode.  Joining host Kara Miller is author and University of Pennsylvania scholar-in-residence Brian Rosenwald.  His book, Talk Radio’s America: How an Industry Took Over a Political Party That Took Over the United States (2019, Harvard University Press) examines the theory.  The teaser of the radio show says, “When Rush Limbaugh’s conservative talk radio program began in Sacramento in the 1980s, no one could have guessed that he would not only reinvigorate AM radio but also create a new format that would help remold the American political landscape.”  Check out the program here…..The WFAN watch continues as Newsday’s Neil Best writes that the odds-on replacement for Mike Francesa in afternoon drive on the Entercom sports talk station is midday team Evan Roberts and Joe Benigno.  He also says that Maggie Gray and Mark Malusis are “favorites” to serve as the midday personalities.  Francesa left his regular full-time role with the station a couple of weeks ago but will contribute to The Fan’s on-air content with a nightly, half-hour show at 6:00 pm.  WFAN has made no announcements about its plans for the station as of today (12/13)…..Chicago media maven Robert Feder writes today about longtime Chicago radio personality Turi Ryder’s new podcast that takes its name from her fictionalized memoir, She Said What?  Ryder co-hosts the show with Kathryn Lake and she tells Feder she’ll drop two podcasts each week, no longer than 15 minutes in length.  You can check it out here…..Condolences to the family and friends of longtime radio journalist Pete Combs, who died in Atlanta after a three-month battle with lung cancer at age 61.  Combs had been working at Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta since May of 2018.  He previously worked for WSB from 2006 through 2015 but left for KOMO-AM, Seattle before returning last year.  During his career, he worked at stations including: WGST-AM, Atlanta; KRLD-AM and the Texas State Network, Dallas; USA Radio News, Dallas; WINK-AM Fort Myers; and WBT-AM, Charlotte.  He also reported for TV station in Charlotte and Tulsa during the early 1990s.  See the rest of WSB’s tribute to Combs here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Sales pro Dawn Girocco is named director of sales for Cumulus Media’s country KSCS “New Country 96.3,” country KPLX “99.5 The Wolf,” and CHR KLIF-FM “Hot 93.3” in Dallas.  She was most recently vice president/market manager for Cumulus Los Angeles.  Cumulus Dallas/Houston RVP Dan Bennett comments, “Being able to get someone of Dawn Girocco’s experience and success back in our company to join our Dallas team as a key sales management leader is a great plus for Dallas and our company.  Dawn’s past success in Los Angeles speaks for itself and we can’t wait for her to get started here in Texas.”…..Alpha Media promotes Danny Dwyer to assistant program director for country KUPL, Portland “98.7 The Bull” and inks him to a new, multi-year deal.  Dwyer will continue to host the midday show and continue his role as music director.  Alpha Portland SVP and market manager Lisa Decker states, “The energy and dedication Danny brings on and off the air to our ‘Bull Nation’ listeners, musicans, artists, labels, advertisers’ and community partners are an incredible asset to our station.  His leadership with station events and promotions including our St. Jude Radiothon and Countryfest concert are irreplaceable.”…..Seven-time GRAMMY Award-winning singer/songwriter Alanis Morissette, who is planning a 31-date North American tour next year, performed a special acoustic set of the album Jagged Little Pill in its entirety on December 2 at New York’s legendary The Apollo.  That show will be broadcast exclusively on SiriusXM today (12/13) through December 22…..Air personality Brittany Rose joins Townsquare Media’s CHR WJBQ, Portland as co-host alongside Lori Voornas and Jeff Parsons on the “Q Morning Show,” effective January 2.   She was most recently with Townsquare Media’s WEBB-FM, Augusta “B98.5.”…..Cumulus Media’s alternative WWWX, Appleton, Wisconsin “96.9 The Fox” announces the nationally syndicated “The Dave and Mahoney Morning Show” takes over the morning slot, effective Monday (12/16).

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

| December 4, 2018

Armstrong & Getty Launch in National Syndication. KSTE, Sacramento-based morning program Armstrong & Getty – Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty – is rolling out into national syndication.  The program is currently heard on 15 stations in the Western U.S., including KGO, San Francisco; KFMB-AM, San Diego; KEX, Portland; KKAT, Salt Lake City; KHHO, Seattle; and more.  But that’s going to change as the program goes fully national.  Craig Whetstine is handling affiliation relations for Armstrong & Getty Media and reports that the show is fed live on XDS from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm ET.  He adds, it would be “a great alternative for stations looking to replace Laura Ingraham with another live show in that daypart.”  Whetstine can be reached at 503-975-6153 or emailed at craig@armstrongandgetty.com.  Check out this video of a “behind-the-scenes” tour with Armstrong & Getty.

Report: Liberty Media Seeking Up to 35% of Reorganized iHeartMedia.  According to a story in the New York Post, John Malone-led Liberty Media is talking with iHeartMedia’s creditors to acquire approximately a 35% ownership in the post-Chapter 11 iHeartMedia.  The piece suggests that “gaining control of iHeart would give Liberty a music four-pack, as it already owns 71 percent of publicly listed SiriusXM Radio. Sirius in September agreed to buy streaming service Pandora Media. Liberty also owns 33 percent of listed Live Nation Entertainment, which owns Ticketmaster.”  The story goes on to note that post-Chapter 11, “creditors Pimco and Franklin Resources will own about 25 percent of the business, while Liberty, which owns $660 million of iHeart debt, will end up with between 4 percent and 5 percent of iHeart post-bankruptcy.  Liberty in June unsuccessfully tried to buy 40 percent of iHeart at a $2.9 billion valuation…Liberty is expected to want only a minority iHeart stake so it does not have to consolidate financials and hurt Liberty’s trading multiple.”

News Anchor Judy Pielach Takes WGN-AM Buyout. According to a report by Chicago media maven Robert Feder, WGN afternoon news anchor Judy Pielach is taking the buyout being offered by Tribune Media.  Her last day handling the news on the afternoon show with Roe Conn and Anna Davlantes will be December 21.  She’s been with the station for 32 years.  Also taking the buyout are engineers Aubrey Mumpower and Ben Cortez.  The future ownership of WGN-AM is up in the air as television operator Nexstar has successfully bid to acquire Tribune Media and, should the deal make it through the regulatory process, most media watchers believe Nexstar would sell the lone radio outlet.  Potential suitors include iHeartMedia, Entercom, and Hubbard since all three companies have space under the ownership caps in Chicago.

Chris X Joins KSEV, Houston for Afternoon Show. Houston talk station KSEV names Chris X host of the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm daypart.  The station is owned by Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick who introduces him as “a strong conservative and the new generation of conservative talk.”  Chris X says, “I couldn’t be happier to be part of ‘The Voice of Texas.’ Houston is my hometown and I’ve been listening to this station for the last 30 years.  There is plenty of anger and division out there, but I prefer to embrace this sociological environment with a little humor and lot of common sense, which has been lacking in today’s political discourse.”

Westwood One to Rep Fox News Radio Programming. Beginning on December 31, Westwood One will begin representing ad sales for FOX News Radio’s long-form talk programming.  As such, Westwood One will be the exclusive seller for FNR’s Brian Kilmeade, Todd Starnes, and Tom Shillue programs as well as the weekday and weekend editions of Benson & Harff,” the weekend “I’ll Tell You What with Perino & Stirewalt,” “FOX News Sunday,” and “From Washington” shows. WWO president Suzanne Grimes states, “Westwood One is known for unique, exclusive, premium content partnerships with iconic brands, and FOX News Radio is a terrific addition to our portfolio.  We’re excited to bring this impressive talk lineup to blue-chip advertisers on our radio, podcast, and streaming channels.”

TALKERS News Notes. This week, FOX News Radio is covering the passing of former President George H. W. Bush and the memorial services with live reports for all radio affiliates through Thursday, December 6.  Gurnal Scott, Jared Halpern, Jon Decker, Jeff Monosso and Tonya J. Powers are leading the coverage.  Additionally, FOX News Headlines 24/7 will provide updates every 15 minutes on SiriusXM…..Chicago urban talk outlet WVON is presenting a five-part radio docu-series reporting on “the declining Black population in what was once considered America’s Black Mecca.”  The program is titled, “Exodus: Movement of the People,” and will chronicle the two migrations that occurred in the past century; the first that made Chicago home to more than 1.2 million Blacks and the series of occurrences which has caused the decline of nearly 300,000 of its residents.  WVON reporter and special assignment producer Josh McGhee wrote and produced the five-part series that includes exclusive interviews from a number of long-time residents, historians, demographers, and urban planners.  It will air Monday through Friday at 7:50 am, 11:50 am, 4:50 pm and 7:50 pm on WVON from December 9 – December 13, and can also be accessed live on the iHeartRadio…..NPR president and CEO Jarl Mohn announces he will transition into the role of president emeritus of the media organization when his contract runs out at the end of June, 2019.  In a memo to NPR staff, Mohn also announced that he and wife Pam are donating $10 million to the organization to demonstrate their commitment to helping it “achieve long-term financial stability, particularly at a time when journalism is under economic and political pressures.”   The NPR board of directors are beginning a search for the company’s next chief…..Glamour and iHeartMedia are premiering the first episode of “Broken Harts,” Conde Nast’s first investigative podcast in collaboration with HowStuffWorks.  The series features director Justine Harman and books editor Elisabeth Egan joining field reporter Lauren Smiley to explore the case of Jennifer Hart, her wife Sarah their six adopted children who all died after Jennifer Hart drove off a cliff in California, killing all eight of them.  Also, from iHeartMedia on the iHeartRadio platform is “The Ron Burgundy Podcast.” The audio series will launch on the iHeartRadio Podcast Network in early 2019, co-produced by Funny Or Die.  The first of 24 episodes will launch in the first quarter of 2019.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Launches Year-End Appeal. The Broadcasters Foundation of America has launched its annual year-end appeal for tax-deductible personal donations to the Guardian Fund and corporate contributions to the Angel Initiative.  The year-end drive asks broadcasters to reflect on their success and good fortune and give back with a tax-deductible personal or corporate donation that will help the Broadcasters Foundation continue its mission of delivering financial assistance to broadcasters in acute need.  The BFoA is a 501(c)3 charity, and the only charitable organization devoted exclusively to broadcasting professionals.  The year-end giving campaign comes as more broadcasters than ever before are reaching out for monthly or emergency relief. This year, the Broadcasters Foundation will award more than $1.3 Million in aid, surpassing last year’s record-setting figure of more than $1 million.  Close to $300,000 of this year’s total is for the emergency assistance that is disbursed quickly to broadcasters whose lives or homes have been affected by the unprecedented number and severity of natural disasters, including Hurricanes Maria, Florence, and Michael and the wildfires in California.  Monthly aid is distributed to qualifying broadcasters who have been confronted with unexpected medical emergencies, including life-threatening critical illnesses and devastating tragic accidents.  BFoA chairman Dan Mason says, “Our lives can change in the blink of an eye.  In its 70-plus years of existence, the Broadcasters Foundation has provided financial aid to every broadcaster who qualified. It is only through the generosity of the people in our industry that the Broadcasters Foundation can continue to deliver this much-needed assistance to those in our profession who need it most.”

Trump-Russia Investigation, the Passing of George H.W. Bush, Migrants at U.S. Border, Government Shutdown Threat, Russia-Ukraine Tensions, Brexit Process, Paris Protests, College Football Playoffs, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/3). The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the death of former President George H. W. Bush; the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border where migrants seeking entry into the U.S. have amassed; the threat of a government shutdown over border wall funding; the tensions over the military incursion into Ukraine by Russia; the status of Britain’s exit from the European Union; the rollback of the gas tax in France after violent protests in Paris; the NCAA’s College Football Playoff selections; and the weekend’s NFL 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. Radio personality Brian “Sludge” Haddad is returning to Chicago from Philadelphia where he’s been creative director at Entercom’s sports talk WIP to host the morning show on alternative WKQX.  Haddad and co-host Ali Mattacola and executive producer Justin NettlebeckBrian Phillips has been hosting the morning show for past year and will transition to a part-time role with the station…..Former country WMIL, Milwaukee and country WKTI, Milwaukee personality Karen Dalessandro joins Saga Communications’ rock WKLH, Milwaukee for fill-in work.  She was most recently with WKTI before the station flipped to sports talk as Good Karma Brands assumed operations…..Programming pro Brad Hansen, most recently with country KRST, Albuquerque, is named operations manager for Townsquare Media’s Northern Colorado cluster that includes country KUAD and four other music formatted stations.

November 2018 PPM Data – Part Four. November 2018 ratings information has been released for Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen Audio’s November 2018 survey period covered October 11 – November 7.  See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@Talkers.com) provides his “Takeaways” from all 12 of these PPM-markets.

Austin Spoken-Word Formats – A November gain of four-tenths to 4.5 (6+) by Emmis news/talk KLBJ-AM erases its combined -.3 in September and October (4.4 – 4.3 – 4.1, 6+) as “News Radio 590 AM” progresses from ninth to eighth. This (4.5) is its highest 6+-share since March (4.6).

Regaining the one-tenth it lost in October (2.5 – 2.4 – 2.5, 6+), Genuine Austin Radio sports talk KTXX continues at #16. “The Horn” posted a +.5 in June; was -.9 in July; and +1.0 in September. The 2.5 in November (and September) is its best 6+-stat since December 2016 (2.5, as well). Albeit flat at #24, iHeartMedia’s similarly-programmed KVET-AM “1300 AM The Zone” has more than doubled its 6+-share as a result of seven straight sweeps without a loss (.3 – .3 – .5 – .5 – .5 – .5 – .6 – .7, 6+).

This is the third straight month at #1 for University of Texas at Austin-owned news/talk KUT (8.6 – 8.5, -.1, 6+), which had been a collective +1.5 in September and October (7.1 – 7.9 – 8.6, 6+).

Austin Music Formats – After dropping three-tenths in October, University of Texas at Austin-owned triple A KUTX erases it with an increase twice that margin (2.1 – 2.7, +.6, #18 to #15, 6+). Just before October’s -.3, “98.9 The Austin Music Experience” was up an overall six-tenths via six straight sweeps without a loss (1.8 – 1.8 – 1.9 – 2.4 – 2.4 – 2.4 – 2.4, 6+). Unchanged in the runner-up slot, Emmis adult hits KPBA “103.5 Bob-FM” is a cumulative +1.0 in three straight up or flat moves (7.3 – 7.8 – 7.8 – 8.3, 6+). Conversely, regional Mexican sibling KLZT “107.1 La Z” is off a collective seven-tenths in October and November (5.5 – 5.4 – 4.8, fourth to sixth, 6+), while co-owned KLBJ-FM is a collective -1.3 in three straight sweeps without an increase; “93.7 The Rock of Austin” departs the top ten (4.7 – 3.8 – 3.8 – 3.4, #10 to #11, 6+). The last three sweeps have found Entercom adult contemporary KKMJ -1.2 (September); +1.2 (October); and now -.5 in November (6.7 – 6.2, 6+), but “Majic 95.5” continues at #3. Its 6.7 in August and October is its strongest 6+-stat since “Holiday” 2017’s 12.4. Level at #20, urban AC KKMJ-HD3 hasn’t had a decrease since February and is up three-tenths in that stretch (1.2- 1.3 – 1.3 – 1.3 – 1.3 – 1.3 – 1.4 – 1.5 – 1.5 – 1.5, 6+). Off by one-half share in addition to KKMJ  is KVET-FM “98.1 The Austin, Texas Original” (5.1 – 4.6, sixth to seventh, 6+). Before posting a +.6 in September, the iHeartMedia-owned country outlet was an overall -1.7 in four straight downward trends (6.4 – 6.1 – 6.0 – 5.6 – 4.7, 6+). Moving from fifth to fourth is co-owned and similarly-programmed KASE (5.3 – 5.4, +.1, 6+), which has been within 5.1 – 5.7 range (6+) in each of the last 10 ten survey periods. “Austin’s #1 For New Country” was -.5 (May); +.5 (June); -.5 (July) and a combined +.6 in August and September. Up two-tenths (1.3 – 1.5, 6+), Genuine Austin Radio-owned KOKE-FM “Austin’s Country Alternative” returns to the top twenty (#21 to #20). With a combined +.6 in August and September (.8 – 1.0 – 1.4, 6+), KOKE-FM erased three straight decreases that produced a loss of six-tenths (1.4 – 1.2 – 1.1 – .8, 6+).

Raleigh Spoken-Word Formats – Down four-tenths to 5.9 (6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WTKK dips from fifth to sixth. In September and October, “106.1 Stay Connected” was a collective +1.2 (5.1 – 5.5 – 6.3, 6+). A July increase of four-tenths halted three down or flat trends that produced a loss of three tenths (5.3 – 5.1 – 5.1 – 5.0, 6+). Having nearly doubled (+.8) its 6+-share in eight straight sweeps without a loss (1.0 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.2 – 1.4 – 1.5 – 1.7 – 1.8, 6+), Curtis Media Group news/talk WPTF “News Radio 680” falters by two-tenths in November to 1.6 (#17 to #18, 6+).

A cumulative +.6 in September and October (1.8 – 2.2 – 2.4, 6+), Capitol Broadcasting sports talk WCMC “99.9 The Fan” surrenders two-tenths to 2.2 (#14 to #16, 6+). Its increase of four-tenths in September stopped three losses in a row that accounted for more than a 50% reduction (-2.1) of its 6+-share (3.9 – 2.6 – 2.0 – 1.8, 6+).

Over the last five survey periods, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill news/talk WUNC “91.5 North Carolina Public Radio” has gone from third to first (June, +9); first to third (July, -1.1); third to first (August, +1.2, 6+); first to second (September, -.4+); unchanged at second; and now in November, second to third (8.3 – 7.4, -.9, 6+).

Raleigh Music Formats – Powered by a +1.8 to 7.1 (6+), Capitol Broadcasting adult contemporary WRAL “Mix 101.5” zooms from eighth to fourth. The massive November increase obliterates its collective -1.7 in September and October (7.0 – 5.8 – 5.3, 6+). Earlier this calendar year, “Mix” was an overall +2.6 via three April, May, and June improvements; -1.3 (July); +.6 (August); and a collective -1.7 in September and October. Roaring back from October’s loss of two-tenths with a November uptick of nine-tenths (9.4 – 10.3, 6+), Radio One urban AC WFXC “Foxy – Today’s R&B and Classic Soul” is on top for the third straight month with its strongest 6+-stat (10.3) since January’s 10.7. While it notches a gain of eight-tenths (2.5 – 3.3, 6+), Curtis Media Group CHR WPLW “Pulse FM – All The Hits” remains at #12. It is a bit over two-shares (6+) behind iHeartMedia’s similarly-formatted WDCG “G-105 Raleigh’s #1 Hit Music Station” (5.5 – 5.4, -.1, seventh to eighth, 6+). Prior to posting a one-half share increase in October, “G-105” was a combined -1.3 in four straight down or flat trends (6.3 – 5.7 – 5.7 – 5.2 – 5.0, 6+). Just after adding one-tenth in October, Curtis Media Group’s WQDR “94.7 QDR Today’s Best Country” erodes by -1.7 (8.0 – 6.3, 6+), segueing from third to fifth with its lowest 6+-stat (6.3) since “Holiday” 2016’s 6.0. With a +1.0 in September, WQDR halted three straight downward moves that led to a collective -1.2 (8.1 – 7.7 – 7.2 – 6.9, 6+). Its format rival – iHeartMedia-owned WNCB “B-93.9 #1 For New Country” – is an overall -1.0 in three downturns in a row (3.3 – 2.9 – 2.5 – 2.3, #12 to #14, 6+). A four-tenths decrease in September suspended at four its consecutive string of increases that netted six-tenths (2.7 – 3.0 – 3.1 – 3.2 – 3.3, 6+).

Indianapolis Spoken-Word Formats – By tacking on seven-tenths to a full-share October increase, Emmis news/talk WIBC – which was off seven-tenths in September – progresses from fifth to third.

Just as they were in October, WIBC sports talk sibling WFNI “The Fan – Indy’s Sports Center” and iHeartMedia’s similarly-formatted WNDE “Indy’s Sports Station” are tied at #16. Both are up one-tenth to 2.3 (6+). WFNI improved by six-tenths in September, while WNDE notched a one-half share gain in October.

Off a combined three-tenths in September and October (4.4 – 4.3 – 4.1, 6+), Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Broadcasting news/talk WFYI erases that deficit with a one-half share increase to 4.6 and is back in the top ten (#11 to #9).

Indianapolis Music Formats – Despite being off one-tenth to 9.9 (6+), Cumulus Media’s WJJK is #1 for the fifth month in a row. The loss, however, does pull the plug on five successive uptrends which yielded a +3.2 (6.8 – 7.3 – 7.9 – 8.6 – 9.7 – 10.0, 6+). In October, “Classic Hits 104.5” reached 10.0, the highest 6+-share in the station’s PPM-history. Within 4.3 – 4.9 range (6+) in each of the last seven sweeps (4.7 – 4.9 – 4.3 – 4.8 – 4.5 – 4.6 – 4.5, 6+), Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian WKLU “Positive & Encouraging K-Love” erodes by one full-share to 3.5 (6+) and departs the top ten (#9 to #12, 6+). While the FM signal of Entercom hot AC WNTR “107.9 The Mix” falters by one-half share (#13 to #12, tied with WKLU) and continues a down/up pattern that started in June (4.3      – 3.2 – 4.1 – 3.7 – 4.0 – 3.5, 6+), its online “stream” debuts at .6 (#22, 6+). Five straight decreases by Radio One CHR WNOW for a collective -1.3 (3.7 – 3.6 – 3.5 – 3.3 – 2.5 – 2.4, 6+) send “100.9 Radio Now” from #14 to #15. Dropping from third to fourth, Emmis adult contemporary WYXB “B-105.7” is off a collective seven-tenths in October and November (7.5 – 7.1 – 6.8, 6+), following four consecutive up or flat moves for an overall +1.4 (6.1 – 6.6 – 6.6 – 6.8 – 7.5, 6+). The market’s (6+) country share shrinks one full-share as Emmis-owned WLHK “Country 97.1 Hank FM” sputters by seven-tenths (5.7 – 5.0, sixth to eighth, 6+), while Cumulus Media’s WFMS “95.5 The Country Station” falters by three-tenths (8.3 – 8.0, second, 6+). “Hank” improved by six-tenths in October after September’s -1.5. On top in April, May, and June, WFMS has been -.5 (February); +1.0 (April); +.5 (May); -.5 (July); -.7 (August); and +.9 (October).

Milwaukee Spoken-Word Formats – While it relinquishes 40% of October’s massive +2.5 (10.4 – 9.4, -1.0, 6+), Good Karma Brands news/talk WTMJ repeats at #1. “Wisconsin’s Radio Station” is the key station of the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Bucks, and Milwaukee Brewers. Adding nine-tenths to October’s +.4 (6.0 – 6.9, 6+), iHeartMedia’s similarly-formatted WISN vaults from ninth to fifth. In advance of October, “News/Talk 1130” was a combined -2.1 in four straight decreases (7.7 – 6.9 – 6.7 – 6.2 – 5.6, 6+).

The market’s sports talk scene has become more crowded as – approximately three-quarters through the November sweep – Good Karma Brands shifted country WKTI (3.4 – 2.3, -1.1, #12 to #15, 6+) to “94.5 ESPN.”   In addition, co-owned, Jackson-licensed WAUK “ESPN Milwaukee” debuts with a .5 (#20, 6+). It is tied there with iHeartMedia’s WOKY “The Big 920,” which has quintupled its 6+-share in seven successive sweeps without a loss (.1 – .1 – .1 – .2 – .2 – .3 – .4 – .5, 6+). Meanwhile, Entercom’s WSSP “Sports Radio 105.7 The Fan” drops four-tenths to 1.5 (#16 to #17, 6+), snapping at four its consecutive string of increases that accounted for a collective +.7 (1.2 – 1.3 – 1.4 – 1.5 – 1.9, 6+).

Flat at #12, University of Wisconsin news/talk WUWM follows October’s gain of seven-tenths with a +.2 (3.4 – 3.6, 6+). Prior to October, WUWM ranked #14 for three straight months and had been within 2.0 – 2.9 range (6+) for 17 consecutive sweeps. The June 2018 – November 2018 topline for Wisconsin Public Radio news/talk WHAD is .9 – .9 – .7 – .9 – .7 – .8 (flat at #19, 6+).

Milwaukee Music Formats – As of November 1, iHeartMedia-owned WMIL “FM 106.1 – Milwaukee’s Best Country” is without a direct format competitor as Good Karma Brands’ WKTI “94.5 KTI Country” has transitioned to sports (see above). Already making the most of the situation, WMIL is a collective +2.2 in three positive spikes in succession, including November’s +1.3 (5.3 – 5.6 – 6.2 – 7.5, fourth to third, 6+). WKTI finishes its country tenure with an overall -2.1 in six straight decreases (4.4 – 4.3 – 4.2 – 3.8 – 3.5 – 3.4 – 2.3, 6+). After an astonishing 43 consecutive ratings periods at #1, iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies WRIT “95.7 Big FM – Milwaukee’s Greatest Hits” was knocked out of the top spot in October by Good Karma Brands news/talk WTMJ. WRIT trailed WTMJ by 2.5 shares in October but, with a gain of eight-tenths (7.9 – 8.7, steady at #2) and WTMJ dropping one full-share, “Milwaukee’s Greatest Hits” narrows the lead to seven-tenths. Notwithstanding that is an overall -1.3 in four negative moves in succession (4.1 – 3.8 – 3.6 – 3.3 – 2.8, 6+), Milwaukee Radio Alliance alternative WLUM “FM 102.1 Sounds Different” manages to improve from #14 to #13. Flat at #6, Saga Communications’ WHQG “102.9 The Hog – Everything That Rocks” is off one-half share in three successive modest downturns (5.8 – 5.5 – 5.4 – 5.3, 6+), while co-owned rhythmic CHR WNRG “Energy 106.9” more than doubles (+.9) its 6+-share with its third straight gain (.8 – 1.2 – 1.5 – 1.7, #17 to #16, 6+).

Nashville Spoken-Word Formats – Once again, Cumulus Media news/talk WWTN “Super Talk 99.7” – which departs the top ten – logs a month-to-month fluctuation of two-tenths (4.0 – 3.8, -.2, #10 to #11, 6+). Dating back to March, it has – in that stretch – been 3.5 – 3.7; 3.7 – 3.5; 3.5 – 3.3; 3.3 – 3.5; and 3.8 – 4.0 (6+).

The May 2017 – November 2018 topline for iHeartMedia news/talk WLAC “Talk Radio 1510” (#20 to #19) indicates a (6+) high of 1.4 and (6+) low of .8: 1.1 – 1.1 – 1.1 – .9 – .9 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.1 – 1.0 – 1.4 – 1.3 – 1.1 – 1.3 – 1.2 – 1.1 – 1.2 – .8 – .7 – 1.1 – 1.2.

Having more than doubled (+3.3) its 6+-share in four consecutive up or flat moves (3.0 – 3.0 – 3.6 – 5.0 – 6.3, 6+), Cumulus Media sports talk WGFX “104.5 The Zone” surrenders nine-tenths in November to 5.4 (fifth to seventh). October’s 6.3 was the highest 6+-share for the Tennessee Titans’ flagship since January’s 6.5. Steady at #18, Cromwell Group-owned sports talk WPRT “102.5 The Game” is a collective +1.0 via three consecutive improvements (.7 – .8 – 1.3 – 1.7, 6+), wiping out roughly half of its -1.9 in four straight decreases (2.6 – 2.5 – .9 – .8 – .7, 6+).

Owing to three setbacks in succession, Nashville Public Radio news/talk/classical hybrid WPLN-FM “NPR News and Classical Music” is a collective -1.5 (4.9 – 4.6 – 3.6 – 3.4, #12 to #14, 6+).

Nashville Music Formats – Transforming October’s loss of seven-tenths into a November gain of nine-tenths (8.1 – 9.0, 6+), Midwest Communications adult contemporary WJXA “Mix 92.9 – Your Life, Your Music” sets the pace for the 10th successive ratings period. Among its fluctuations this calendar year are: -6.7 (January); +1.0 (February); -.5 (May); +1.0 (June); +.9 (August); -.9 (September); -.7 (October); and now +.9 (November). As a result of four upticks in a row (4.4 – 4.8 – 5.5 – 5.8 – 6.4, sixth to fifth, 6+), iHeartMedia CHR WRVW “107.5 The River” is a combined +2.0. This (6.4) is its highest 6+-share since 6.6 in March. A loss of one-half share to 2.6 (#14 to #16, 6+) by Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian WLVU “Positive & Inspiring K-Love” suspends five consecutive sweeps without a loss that generated an overall increase of eight-tenths (2.3 – 2.3 – 2.4 – 2.4 – 3.1 – 3.1, 6+). In three straight downturns, iHeartMedia-owned WNRQ “105.9 The Rock – Nashville’s Classic Rock” is a combined -1.3 (7.8 – 7.6 – 6.6 – 6.5, third to fourth, 6+). August’s 7.8 was the best 6+-stat for WNRQ, which was an overall +1.5 via four consecutive increases (6.3 – 6.4 – 6.7 – 6.8 – 7.8, 6+), since January (7.8, as well). In the market’s three-way country battle, Cumulus Media’s WSM-FM “95.5 Nash Icon” (-1.0 in September) logs an improvement of eight-tenths (5.8 – 6.6, sixth to third, 6+), while co-owned WKDF “103.3 Nash FM” posts its third increase in a row for a +.7 (3.6 – 3.7 – 4.0 – 4.3, stable at #10, 6+). At the same time, iHeartMedia’s WSIX “The Big 98 – Nashville’s #1 for New Country,” which had been +1.2 (4.3 – 5.1 – 5.5, August-September-October), falters by one-half share (5.5 – 5.0, eighth to ninth, 6+).

Providence Spoken-Word Formats – An overall +1.1 in four straight increases (3.7 – 4.0 – 4.4 – 4.5 – 4.8, 6+), Cumulus Media news/talk WPRO-AM “News Talk 630” advances from eighth to seventh. Its August increase halted three straight down or flat sweeps for a -1.0 (4.7 – 3.9 – 3.9 – 3.7, 6+). A combined +.6 via four consecutive sweeps without a loss (1.1 – 1.3 – 1.5 – 1.7 – 1.7, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WHJJ “Providence’s News, Traffic, and Weather” is steady at #12. This directly follows an overall loss of nine-tenths through five straight decreases (2.0 – 1.8 – 1.7 – 1.5 – 1.3 – 1.1, 6+). Returning the one-tenth it picked up in October (.5 – .6 – .5, 6+), Cumulus Media-owned WPRV “AM 790 Talk & Business” continues at #21. In five straight Providence sweeps without a loss, iHeartMedia Boston’s WBZ-AM “News Radio 1030” is up three-tenths (.8 – .8 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.1 -1.1, #16 to #17, 6+).

Up or flat for the fourth time in a row for a net gain of two full-shares (3.4 – 4.1 – 4.1 – 4.8 – 5.4, 6+), Entercom sports talk WVEI inches up from seventh to sixth. Before dropping six-tenths in July, WVEI was a collective +1.2 in three upticks in a row (2.8 – 3.4 – 3.9 – 4.0, 6+).

After logging a +.4 in September and October (1.8 – 2.2 – 2.6, 6+), The Wheeler School’s news/talk WELH surrenders six-tenths of that combined +.8 in November (2.0, 6+), dropping from ninth to tenth. In advance of adding four-tenths in September, WELH was off one-half share in six straight sweeps without an increase (2.3 – 2.3 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 2.1 – 2.0 – 1.8, 6+). It is tied at #10 with WGBH Educational Foundation news/talk WGBH, which follows October’s one-half share gain with a loss of three-tenths (2.3 – 2.0, 6+). In September, WGBH returned the four-tenths it earned in August (1.8 – 2.2 – 1.8, 6+). Immediately prior to the May sweep, these two outlets finished back-to-back four straight times and were tied in May at #10.

Providence Music Formats – Having lost a combined eight-tenths in three straight setbacks (2.6 – 2.5 – 2.1 – 1.8, 6+), Cumulus Media rhythmic CHR WWKX “Hot 106” bounces back with a gain of one-half share to 2.3 (6+) and enters the top ten (#11 to #9). Stable at 9.4 (6+), adult contemporary cluster-mate WWLI “Lite Rock 105” is #1 for the fourth month in a row. June’s 10.3 is its highest 6+-stat since 12.3 in “Holiday” 2017. Forfeiting 90% of its combined September and October +1.0 (4.5 – 5.1 – 5.5, 6+), iHeartMedia hot AC WSNE “Coast 93.3” slips to 4.6 (-.9, sixth to eighth, 6+). Off by one-half share each are Hall Communications’ WCTK “Cat Country 98.1” (8.7 – 8.2, second to third, 6+) and iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies WWBB “B-101” (6.9 – 6.4, flat at #5, 6+). Ironically, both “Cat Country” and “B-101” were up one-half share in October. Prior to October’s +.5, WWBB was a  combined -1.7 in August and September.

Norfolk – With a one-half share increase (1.2 – 1.7, 6+), iHeartMedia alternative WNOH has its best 6+-stat (1.7) since April’s 1.8 as “Alt 105.3” breaks into the top ten (#11 to #9). Nearly tripling (+1.2) its 6+-share in four upticks in succession (.7 – 1.0 – 1.3 – 1.5 – 1.9, 6+), rhythmic hot AC sibling WMOV “Movin’ 107.7” advances from ninth to eighth. Immediately prior to this particular run, “Movin’ 107.7” lost 86% of its 6+-share (-4.3) through seven successive sweeps without an increase, (5.0 – 1.6 – 1.3 – 1.1 – 1.1 – 1.1 – .9 – .7, 6+). Although it is without an increase for the third sweep in a row for a -2.4 (15.5 – 13.7 – 13.7 – 13.1), Entercom urban AC WVKL “Smooth R&B from Yesterday & Today” is #1 for the 24th straight time and posts a 6+-share of 11.0 or higher for the 32nd time in the last 33 sweeps. Its 15.5 in August sets the record for highest 6+-performance by any Norfolk station in the PPM-era. Following five consecutive months in the runner-up slot, iHeartMedia urban contemporary WOWI falls to fourth, as “103 Jamz” is a combined -2.0 in October and November (8.2 – 7.0 – 6.2, 6+). Its erosion of -1.2 in October curtailed five consecutive up or flat moves that yielded an overall gain of nine-tenths (7.3 – 7.4 – 7.9 – 8.1 – 8.1 – 8.2, 6+). In four consecutive (albeit slight) decreases (6.3 – 6.2 – 5.9 – 5.8 – 5.7, 6+), Entercom adult contemporary WWDE is off a combined six-tenths and segues from fourth to fifth; “101.3 2WD” was +1.3 in June and July (5.0 – 5.5 – 6.3, 6+). The rollercoaster ride continues for Saga Communications’ WNOR “99 Rocks,” which was an overall -2.5 via four straight declines (8.3 – 7.3 – 6.1 – 6.0 – 5.8, 6+); roared back with a +1.1 in October; and is now -.6 (6.9 – 6.3, 6+) but carries on at #3. Flat at #7, Entercom hot AC WPTE “94.9 The Point” falters by one-half share to 2.9, its lowest 6+-stat since April (2.9, as well). There are two new Norfolk entries this month, the online “stream” of Entercom’s WNVZ “Z-104 Norfolk Rhythmic Music,” which debuts with a .4 (#14, 6+) and the online “stream” of co-owned urban AC WVKL “Smooth R&B from Yesterday & Today,” popping on with a .1 (#15, 6+).

Greensboro Spoken-Word Formats – By adding four-tenths to October’s +.3 (3.8 – 4.2, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WPTI “94.5 Your News, Talk, & Sports Station” climbs from tenth to ninth; WPTI was down eight-tenths in September.

Flat at #16, Curtis Media Group sports talk WSJS “Triad Sports” hands over half of October’s +.2 (.4 – .3, -.1, 6+). Going into the October sweep, WSJS lost 75% (-.6) of its 6+ AQH share as a result of six straight down or flat moves (.8 – .6 – .5 – .4 – .2 – .2 -.2, 6+).

One streak continues for Wake Forest University news/talk WFDD and another one ends. It’s the sixth consecutive time that “88.5 Public Radio for the Piedmont” finishes at #13, but after four straight up or flat trends that netted four-tenths (2.0 – 2.0 – 2.1 – 2.3 – 2.4, 6+), WFDD falters by one-half share to 1.9 (6+). Its +.1 in August concluded at four a consecutive string of down or flat monthlies for an overall -.5 (2.5 – 2.3 – 2.2 – 2.0 – 2.0, 6+). Meanwhile, the May through November topline for University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill news/talk WUNC (unchanged at #15) is: 1.1 – 1.0 – .9 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.1 – .8 (6+).

Greensboro Music Formats – Adding one full-share (10.4 – 11.4, 6+), Entercom urban AC WQMG “97.1 QMG The Best R&B and Old School” finishes at #1 for the 11th straight sweep and 24th straight time that it is in double-digits (6+). October’s +.2 pulled the plug on five successive decreases that resulted in a net loss of -2.0 (12.2 – 12.0 – 11.2 – 10.9 – 10.5 – 10.2, 6+). After being off a combined nine-tenths in three straight declines (10.0 – 9.7 – 9.6 – 9.1, 6+), adult hits cluster-mate WSMW  “98.7 Simon Says We Play Everything” picks up two-tenths to 9.3 (6+) and stays in the runner-up slot for the 11th straight sweep. A July gain of nine-tenths halted five consecutive decreases that accounted for an overall -2.5 (11.6 – 11.4 – 10.4 – 10.3 – 9.4 – 9.1, 6+). Having occupied the #12 position for five consecutive sweeps, WMKS “100.3 Kiss FM All the Hits” bumps up to #11. The iHeartMedia CHR was +.5 in September (2.9 – 3.4, 6+); -.6 in October (3.4 – 2.8, 6+); and now +.9 in November (2.8 – 3.7, 6+). Prior to August, “Kiss” was a collective -1.4 in three downward moves in a row (4.1 – 3.7 – 3.2 – 2.7, 6+). Remaining at #3 with its highest 6+-showing (8.5) since 16.1 in “Holiday” 2017, adult contemporary sibling WMAG “99.5 – The Triad’s Best Variety” is up or flat for the third straight month for a collective +1.7 (6.8 – 7.9 – 8.5 – 8.5, 6+). In the market’s always competitive country battle, iHeartMedia-owned WTQR “Q-104.1 – #1 for New Country” gains three-tenths (6.4 – 6.7, 6+), while Entercom’s WPAW “93.1 The Wolf” falters by four-tenths (5.9 – 5.5, 6+). The two rivals remain at #5 and #7, respectively. “Q-104.1” was a combined -.8 in October and September; “The Wolf” was up one-half share in October.

West Palm Beach Spoken-Word Formats – Answering October’s loss of four-tenths with a November increase of six-tenths (2.0 – 2.6, 6+), Alpha Media’s WFTL “News Talk 850” progresses from #12 to #11. October’s -.4 ended at four its consecutive string of upticks that netted seven-tenths (1.7 – 1.9 – 2.1 – 2.3 – 2.4, 6+). Conversely, after gaining one-half share in October, iHeartMedia news/talk WJNO “1290 The Palm Beaches’ News & Talk” drops one-tenth to 2.3 (#11 to #12, 6+). WJNO was a combined -1.0 in August and September (2.9 – 2.3 – 1.9, 6+). This is the third straight month at 1.8 (6+) for co-owned news/talk WZZR “Real Radio 94.3 – Real Talk for the Palm Beaches,” which slips from #13 to #14; WZZR gained one-half share in August. In addition to erasing the four-tenths it gained through three straight increases (.9 – 1.0 – 1.2 – 1.3, 6+), Miami news/talk sibling WIOD departs the top twenty (.9, #18 to #22, 6+).

Three straight improvements by WLRN resulted in a collective +1.0 (2.9 – 3.1 – 3.4 – 3.9, 6+), but the Dade County School Board news/talk station forfeits 60% of that increase (3.3, -.6, sixth to eighth, 6+).

West Palm Beach Music Formats – Tacking on one-half share to October’s robust +1.1 and advancing from sixth to fifth is WAY Media contemporary Christian WAYF (3.9 – 4.4, 6+). “WAY-FM Uplifting-Upbeat-Real” was down one-half share in September but now has its best 6+-share (4.4) since January’s 5.3. Stable at #10, iHeartMedia Spanish contemporary WRLX “Mia 92.1” is +1.3 through five positive spikes in a row (1.5 – 1.6 – 2.1 – 2.2 – 2.7 – 2.8, 6+). Its similarly-formatted Miami sibling, WZTU “94.9 Donde Viven Tus Hits,” debuts at #22 in West Palm Beach with a .8 (6+). Having posted an overall +1.7 in five consecutive reports without a loss (9.0 – 9.3 – 9.3 – 9.4 – 10.0 – 10.7, 6+), Alpha Media hot AC WRMF relinquishes all of that increase and one-tenth more to 8.9 (6+). The -1.8 represents the largest (6+) October 2018 – November 2018 decrease by any station in the 12 PPM-markets shown here. Even so, “97.9 Variety from the 90s and Now” is #1 for the 11th survey period in a row. Its 10.7 in October was the highest 6+-share for WRMF since November 2017’s 11.2. The market’s two mainstream adult contemporary outlets continue to remain close together as iHeartMedia-owned WOLL “Today’s Kool 105.5” adds two-tenths to October’s +.1 (5.4 – 5.6, 6+) but drops from a second-place tie to third, while Alpha Media’s WEAT “Sunny 107.9” improves by four-tenths (4.6 – 5.0, 6+) and remains at #4. Prior to October’s increase, “Kool” was an overall -1.2 via three straight decreases (6.5 – 6.3 – 6.1 – 5.3, 6+). “Sunny” was up four-tenths in August and September, but then down six-tenths in October.

Jacksonville Spoken-Word Formats – Over the course of the last five survey periods, Cox Media Group news/talk WOKV has been -.7 (July); +.5 (August); -.6 (September); +2.0 (October); and now +.6 in November to 11.2, its best-ever 6+-stat in the PPM-era. The station’s “old” record of 10.6 (6+) was set … this time last month. Moreover, “104.5 – Jacksonville’s News, Weather, and Traffic” repeats at #1. Prior to October, the last time WOKV finished first was in May when it scored a 9.3 (6+).

Having logged a .5 (6+) in each of the last three sweeps, iHeartMedia sports talk WFXJ “Sports Radio 930” improves three-tenths to .8 (#20 to #18, 6+).

As a result of three consecutive downward moves (3.4 – 2.8 – 2.7 – 2.2, 6+), public news/talk WJCT is a combined -1.2 and remains at #13.

Jacksonville Music Formats – Within 4.2 – 4.7 range (6+) in each of the last seven survey periods (4.2 – 4.4 – 4.5 – 4.7 – 4.4 – 4.7 – 4.4, 6+), iHeartMedia urban AC WSOL records a gain of eight-tenths to 5.2, its best 6+-showing since 5.3 in March; “V-101.5” carries on at #8. Not only is Cox Media Group CHR WAPE an overall +1.6 through five straight upticks (5.4 – 5.7 – 5.9 – 6.0 – 6.4 – 7.0, fifth to fourth, 6+), “95.1 Jacksonville’s #1 Hit Music Station” has its strongest 6+-share (7.0) since “Holiday” 2016’s 7.4. In the market’s adult contemporary tussle, WAPE sibling WEZI remains on a roll: “Easy 102.9” is an overall +1.9 through four straight improvements (3.4 – 4.2 – 4.7 – 4.8 – 5.3, 6+). This immediately follows three straight down or flat trends that produced a collective -1.2 (4.6 – 4.6 – 4.2 – 3.4, 6+). Simultaneously, Renda Broadcasting’s similarly-formatted WEJZ “96.1 Jacksonville’s Official Work Station” is a collective -2.7 via three straight setbacks (10.6 – 9.8 – 8.6 – 7.9, 6+). August’s 10.6 was the best 6+-showing for WEJZ, which was #1 in June, July, August and September, since “Holiday” 2017’s 11.9. WEZI and WEJZ remain at #7 and #3, respectively. After debuting in October with a 1.1, Delmarva Educational Association contemporary Christian WCRJ “The Joy FM” adds one-half share to 1.6 (#17 to #16, 6+). Following six successive downward moves that resulted in an overall -2.2 (5.9 – 5.8 – 5.7 – 4.8 – 4.6 – 4.4 – 3.7, 6+), Renda Broadcasting-owned WGNE notches a +.4 to 4.1 (6+) as “Gator Country 99.9” repeats at #9. Despite a loss of seven-tenths (9.2 – 8.5, 6+), Cox Media Group classic hits-oldies WJGL “96.9 The Eagle” is in the runner-up slot for the third month in a row.

Memphis Spoken-Word Formats – Regaining the three-tenths it lost in October (3.4 – 3.1 – 3.4, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WREC “600 AM – Memphis’ News, Traffic, & Weather” remains in tenth-place. July’s +.2 to 3.1 (6+) interrupted five straight sweeps without an increase for an overall loss of six-tenths (3.5 – 3.3 – 3.2 – 3.2 – 3.0 – 2.9, 6+).

Off six-tenths in July, Entercom sports talk WMFS “ESPN Sports Radio” has followed with four straight gains for an overall +.9 (2.3 – 2.4 – 2.9 – 3.0 – 3.2, #12 to #11, 6+).

Memphis Music Formats – The market’s top three stations are all in double-digits (6+). Boasting the largest (6+) October 2018 – November 2018 upswing by any station in the 12 PPM-markets shown here (8.8 – 10.7, +1.9, 6+), Cumulus Media urban-rhythmic oldies WRBO advances from third to second. Moreover, this (10.7) is the highest 6+-share for “Soul Classics and Today’s R&B” in its PPM-history. Prior to adding two-tenths in October, WRBO was a combined -1.4 in four successive sweeps without an increase (10.0 – 9.3 – 8.8 – 8.8 – 8.6, 6+). Anchored at #5, iHeartMedia gospel WHAL “95.7 Halleluiah – Memphis’ Inspiration Station” is up one full-share in three straight positive spikes (4.6 – 4.7 – 5.3 – 5.6, 6+). This streak directly follows six successive down monthlies in a row for a collective -2.7 (7.3 – 7.2 – 7.1 – 6.1 – 4.8 – 4.8 – 4.6, 6+). Having logged six downward moves in succession for an overall -2.7 (9.8 – 9.4 – 8.5 – 8.2 – 8.1 – 7.2 – 7.1, 6+), urban contemporary sibling WHRK “K-97.1 – Memphis’ Only Hip-Hop and R&B” is up three-tenths to 7.4 (6+) and remains at #4. A gain of three-tenths to 4.7 (ninth to seventh, 6+) by WMC-FM “FM 100 Today’s Best Mix” pulls the plug on four straight decreases that accounted for a combined -2.4 (6.8 – 6.0 – 5.3 – 5.1 – 4.4, 6+). Entering the July sweep, the Entercom hot AC was an overall +2.3 in four straight increases (4.5 – 4.9 – 5.2 – 5.5 – 6.8, 6+). Basically stabilizing after October’s massive +2.4, its adult contemporary cluster-mate, WRVR “104.5 The River,” is off one-tenth (11.0 – 10.9, 6+), repeating at #1. October’s 11.0 is its best 6+-stat since “Holiday” 2017’s 12.9. Its format rival – Cumulus Media’s WKIM “98.9 The Bridge” (steady at #14) – is an overall +.7 in five consecutive reports without a loss (1.4 – 1.6 – 1.7 – 1.7 – 1.9 – 2.1, 6+). When co-owned WGKX lost two-tenths in September, it suspended three straight increases that netted +1.8 (3.4 – 3.9 – 4.5 – 5.2, 6+). “Kix 106 Today’s Best Country,” however, falters by one-half share in back-to-back (October and November) sweeps (5.0 – 4.5 – 4.0, 6+), segueing from #7 to #9.

Hartford Spoken-Word Formats – On the heels of October’s +.8, Entercom news/talk WTIC-AM is off two-tenths (7.0 – 6.8, 6+0 but continues in fifth-place. Going into the October sweep, “News Talk 1080” notched a 6.2 (6+) in each of the previous three sweeps. Thus far this calendar year, Red Wolf Broadcasting news/talk WDRC-AM “AM 1360 The Talk of Connecticut” has an ultra-consistent topline: 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.2 – 1.2 – 1.2 – 1.0 – 1.2 – 1.1 – 1.0 – 1.2 – 1.1 (6+) and remains at #14.

Despite faltering by four-tenths (2.0 – 1.6, 6+), iHeartMedia sports talk WUCS “97.9 ESPN Hartford” advances from #13 – #12.

A combined +1.1 in three positive spikes in a row (3.5 – 4.0 – 4.3 – 4.6, 6+), Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network news/talk WNPR “Connecticut’s Public Media Source for News & Ideas” progresses from ninth to eighth. Directly in advance of this streak, WNPR was -2.4 after seven straight down or flat trends (5.9 – 5.9 – 5.5 – 4.2 – 3.6 – 3.5 – 3.5 – 3.5, 6+). Meanwhile, University of Massachusetts-owned WFCR “New England Public Radio” has a collective loss of one-half share through three negative moves in succession (1.6 – 1.5 – 1.2 – 1.1, flat at 14, 6+). An August gain of three-tenths halted five successive down or flat trends that led to a -1.2 (2.5 – 1.8 – 1.4 – 1.4 – 1.4 – 1.3, 6+).

Hartford Music Formats – While unchanged at #11, Red Wolf Broadcasting’s Spanish tropical WMRQ-HD2 displays an increase of seven-tenths (2.4 – 3.1 6+). In addition to being an overall +1.4 via three straight improvements (6.4 – 7.0 – 7.2 – 7.8, 6+), iHeartMedia’s WWYZ “Country 92.5” marches from fourth to second with its highest 6+-stat since May (7.8, as well). Up four-tenths to 6.8 (unchanged at #6, 6+), Entercom rhythmic CHR WZMX “Hot 93.7” applies the brakes to five straight decreases that accounted for a -1.9 (8.3 – 8.2 – 7.8 – 7.0 – 6.7 – 6.4, 6+). Albeit down eight-tenths (11.4 – 10.6, 6+), its adult contemporary cluster-mate, WRCH “Lite 100.5,” is #1 for the 28th consecutive ratings period and is in double-digits (6+) for the 25th time in the last 27 sweeps. Following July’s -2.2, “Lite” rebounded with a +1.2 in August, which stymied four straight March through July downward moves that accounted for a -4.1 (14.3 – 13.2 – 13.1 – 12.4 – 10.2, 6+). Faltering by eight-tenths as well is iHeartMedia CHR WKSS (7.9 – 7.1, 6+), which slides from second to fourth with its lowest 6+-stat since April’s 6.9. As a result of three straight declines (5.7 – 5.4 – 5.0 – 4.4, 6+), Red Wolf Broadcasting’s WDRC-FM “102.9 The Whale – Hartford’s Classic Rock” is an overall -1.3 and slips from eighth to ninth.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

| July 10, 2018

WSJ: Liberty Still Interested in iHeartMedia.  After taking its offer of $1.2 billion for 40% of iHeartMedia off the table a couple of weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that now Liberty Media is “working on revamping its original offer.”  The story goes on to say that Liberty’s return to the table could signal a bidding war between it and private equity firm Silver Lake.  Last week, the New York Post reported that Silver Lake is in talks with iHM.  The Wall Street Journal story says Silver Lake has made an offer for 20% of the reorganized iHeart, though a dollar figure is not being reported.  Both Liberty – owner of a controlling interest in SiriusXM and a minority interest in Pandora – and Silver Lake are also said to be in talks with iHeartMedia creditors Franklin Advisors Inc. and Pacific Investment Management Co., both of which are expected to control the post-reorganization iHeartMedia.  For Liberty, the obvious synergies make it an attractive suitor with iHeart itself stating in a recent filing that Liberty’s original offer didn’t take into account some $500 million in annual synergies.

TALKERS News Notes. A Louisburg, Kansas woman prevailed at the U.S. Supreme Court when it ruled a lower court should not have dismissed her civil rights complaint against local police officers who ordered her to stop praying in her own home. The case developed after neighbors called police on Mary Anne Sause because she was listening to Michael Savage too loudly.   She claims police didn’t tell her why they were there, and she became frightened and asked to pray.  She says the officers then attempted to stop her from praying.  Read the account in The Hutchinson News here…..At the Podcast Movement event in Philadelphia on July 24, Edison Research will present the results of its latest podcasting study.  Titled, “Podcasting’s Next Frontier: 100 Million Listeners,” the address promises to “provide a research-based road map for the podcasting industry to grow audience and increase exposure to podcasts.”  It will provide “attendees with a look at the tens of millions of Americans who say they know what podcasting is but haven’t (yet) become regular listeners to the medium.”…..Fort Myers rock outlet WRXK “96 K-Rock” drops the Bubba the Love Sponge program from the morning drive daypart.  The Beasley Media Group station had Bubba’s show in morning drive there for the past 10 years and says an announcement about the new morning show is forthcoming. Beasley’s decision comes just days after Bubba Clem and Nielsen settled their lawsuits against each other…..Entercom Atlanta inks a deal with Georgia State University for sports talk WZGC “92.9 The Game” and sister news/talk WAOK to broadcast the school’s football and men’s and women’s basketball games, beginning with the 2018-19 season.   Entercom Atlanta SVP and market manager Rick Caffey says, “Expanding our sports content is an important part of our strategy to remain the leaders in sports radio.  We remain strong advocates of our local community and of delivering quality content to our city and beyond.  This agreement with Georgia State University is another step in that direction and we look forward to an exciting season with an excellent sports program.”  As part of the partnership, “92.9 The Game” will also host weekly interviews with Georgia State football coach Shawn Elliott on “Mornings with John and Hugh.”  Men’s basketball coach Ron Hunter will join “Dukes and Bell” for a weekly interview.

TALKERS Continues Posting Videos Today of the Recent TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Convention – Today’s Post: Special Luncheon Greetings by WNYM (AM 970 The Answer), New York Morning Host Joe Piscopo and “Humanitarian of the Year” Award Presentation to the Late Matt Patrick.  Today (7/10), TALKERS magazine continues posting individual events from the recent TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! convention held in New York City on June 8.  Each business day, another session will be posted in the order that they originally took place.  Today’s 11th installment is a video of convention luncheon greetings by WNYM (970 AM The Answer), New York morning host Joe Piscopo with an introduction by Salem SVP Phil Boyce; and the posthumous presentation of the “Humanitarian of the Year” award to the late Texas and Ohio radio talk show host Matt Patrick by Michael Harrison with an acceptance by his widow and show producer, Paula Ryan.   Already posted: the panel discussion titled “Adding the Video Component to Talk Radio” moderated by Livestream head of news, Clayton Rose and featuring panelists Krantz Media Group CEO, Gary Krantz and KTRS, St Louis host, McGraw Milhaven; the panel discussion titled “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in 2018” moderated by TALKERS VP/executive editor, Kevin Casey; introduced by Crossover Media Group managing member, Ron Hartenbaum; and featuring panelists Asa RX host, AsaBold Gold Media Group CEO, Vince BenedettoHowie Carr Radio Network president, Kathy CarrWestwood One president, Suzanne Grimes; WBAL, Baltimore president/GM, Cary Pahigian; and KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz owner, Michael Zwerling.  Other videos already posted include the special presentation by Amplifi Media CEO, Steven Goldstein titled “Radio Broadcasters and Smart Speakers with an introduction by GCN personality, Dr. Daliah Wachs ;  a special presentation by PodcastOne chairman and CEO, Norm Pattiz titled “Radio Broadcasters and Podcasting” with an introduction by Voice of America and National Public Radio anchor/reporter, Lori Lundin;  a special presentation by WFAN personality, Mike Francesa titled “Sports Talk’s Role in Media and Popular Culture” with an introduction by author and former radio producer, Bernadette Duncan;  Salem SVP, Phil Boyce’s address titled “What Has Donald Trump Done to Talk Radio?”; the fireside chat between TALKERS publisher, Michael Harrison and Beasley Media Group CEO, Caroline Beasley including Harrison’s presentation of the 2018 “Woman of the Year” award to Beasley; Harrison’s fireside chat with FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel mega-star, Brian Kilmeade with an introduction by Westwood One syndicated host, Walter Sterling and special remarks by Sean Hannity; opening remarks by the convention’s co-emcees, TalkersRadio GM, David Bernstein and Good Day Networks/DJV Show CEO/host, Doug Stephan; KGO, San Francisco host, Ethan Bearman delivering the event’s welcoming remarks and Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host, Brad Shepard introduction of Bearman.  Also posted: the presentation of the Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech (“Freedom of Speech Award”) by TALKERS managing editor, Mike Kinosian to SiriusXM Satellite Radio host, book publisher, Hunter College professor, and former New York Daily News/Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, Karen Hunter.  To view the page, please click here.

Former KSTP, Minneapolis Talk Host Barbara Carlson Dies at 80.  Twin Cities talk radio fans are remembering Barbara Carlson, the former KSTP-AM, Minneapolis talk show host who died yesterday (7/9) at age 80 after a battle with lung cancer.  Carlson was a two-term Minneapolis city councilor during the 1980s. Prior to that, she was married for more than 10 years to former Minnesota Republican Governor Arne Carlson.  She hosted her talk show at KSTP from 1990 to 2002. See the Twin Cities Pioneer Press obit here.

Trump Supreme Court Nomination, Illegal Immigration Policy-Judge Rejects Trump Request, Trump-Russia Investigation/Impending Putin Meeting, U.S.-China Trade War, U.K Brexit Complications, Thailand Cave Rescues, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/9).  The anticipation and announcement of Brett Kavanaugh as nominee for Supreme Court Justice; the Trump administration’s illegal immigration policies and a federal judge’s rejection of administration’s bid to modify child detention policy; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the planned meeting between President Trump and Vladimir Putin; new tariffs and concerns over a U.S.-China trade war; the challenges facing British Prime Minister Theresa May in executing the British exit from the EU; the rescue of the boys’ soccer team from flooded caves in Thailand; and Major League Baseball 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.  Programmer and air personality Eliseo “Short-E” Cierra joins iHeartMedia’s Fort Myers station group to serve as program director for hip hop WBTT “105.5 The Beat” and hot AC WZJZ “Y100.1.”  He was most recently music director and an air personality at Entercom’s hip hop KSFM, Sacramento.  iHeartMedia Fort Myers SVP of programming Louis Kaplan states, “I’m thrilled to welcome Short-E to iHeartMedia Fort Myers. He genuinely understands our market and brings adept format experience and lively energy to our team.  He’ll be leading two of our most popular brands, ‘105.5 The Beat,’ which has been a huge success for over 15 years, and ‘Y100,’ the area’s home for the Elvis Duran show, and I know his vast industry knowledge and creativity will take our stations to even higher levels.”…..iHeartMedia Los Angeles names Tamo Sein midday personality at alternative KYSR “ALT 98.7,” effective July 16.  KYSR program director Lisa Worden says, “We believe the ‘ALT 98.7’ audience will immediately take to Tamo’s relatable and down-to-earth approach.  Plus, she loves alternative music and is a food and wine enthusiast!  She’ll fit right in with LA.”  Sein comes to LA from iHeartMedia Charlotte where she was APD and music director at alternative WEND “105.5 The End.”.….Hubbard Radio’s country WIL-FM, St. Louis officially welcomed Mason and Remy to their new gig as afternoon drive team on the station. They take over for Stacey and Jonah, who move over to the company’s adult hits WARH “106.5 The Arch” for afternoons.  The changes took effect yesterday (7/9)…..S-R Broadcasting flips KRKO-AM/K237GN from sports talk to classic hits. General manager Chuck Maylin says the new station is “custom designed to meet the musical appetites of local listeners, with a strong focus on information and activities of importance and interest in the greater Snohomish County area.”

Thursday, June 21, 2018

| June 21, 2018

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk.  More than half of the sports talk stations in PPM markets saw their 6+ weekly AQH shares rise compared to the April survey (54%).  Better still, 65% of sports stations realized positive 6+ movement compared to the same ratings period a year ago.  There are no sports talk stations ranking #1 in their market (6+), however Entercom’s WFAN, New York ranked #3 in the Long Island market and the company’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh also ranked #3.  See the entire report here.

Bloomberg: iHM Still Open to Takeover Talks After Shooting Down Liberty.  According to a report today by Bloomberg, Liberty Media officially retracted its $1.8 billion takeover offer to iHeartMedia (on 6/15) after some creditors apparently balked at the offer for a 40% equity stake in the company, saying it wasn’t enough.  However, iHeartMedia is still open to takeover talks – including with Liberty Media – as it tries to work its way through Chapter 11 reorganization.  Experts quoted in the piece say they expect Liberty to come back with another offer because Liberty hasn’t been acquiring iHM debt in order to get a fraction of that back in bankruptcy reorganization.  It wants leverage at the bargaining table.

Beasley Adds FM Translator to News/Talk KDWN, Las Vegas.  Las Vegas news/talker KDWN-AM officially begins life on the FM band today (6/21) as Beasley Media Group adds translator K268CS at 101.5 FM to the station’s transmission.  At the same time, the station re-brands as “The New 101.5FM/720AM The Talk of Las Vegas.”  The translator is located “high atop the Stratosphere in Las Vegas.  The decision to create a simulcast broadcast stems from the company’s market research and a desire to offer Las Vegas residents an alternate way to hear KDWN’s locally originated programming, along with a venerable line-up of personalities that will include Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin.”  Beasley Las Vegas VP and market manager Dennis Gwiazdon adds, “We’re truly excited about this new opportunity to expand KDWN’s presence in the Las Vegas market.  Not only does this provide our listeners with an additional choice to enjoy KDWN’s programming, but an FM simulcast immediately adds value to our advertising customers.”

TRN Seeks Permission to Appeal Case Against Westwood One.  Radio company Talk Radio Network is asking Southern District of New York bankruptcy court Judge Shelley Chapman to give it relief from the automatic stay so it can appeal the Oregon federal court dismissal of its case against Westwood One and others.  TRN says it filed a timely appeal of the previous dismissal but Cumulus Media’s entry in to Chapter 11 last fall put an automatic stay in place that prevented the Eleventh Circuit Appellate Court from taking up the case.  Now that Cumulus has exited Chapter 11, TRN wants to continue the appeal process.  It’s also asking for an extension in which to file its Opening Brief in the Westwood One case.  Fellow defendants in the case are: Compass Media Networks, WYD Media Management, WYM Media Management, Lew Dickey Jr., and Charles SteinhauerMark Masters-led TRN has claimed in a number of previous suits that Westwood One and the other defendants all conspired to monopolize the radio syndication ad sales market and that Westwood One also committed breach of fiduciary duty, among other allegations.

TALKERS News Notes. Award-winning hospitality figure, New York Times best-selling author, entrepreneur, and television personality Jon Taffer is partnering with PodcastOne to present his new podcast, “Jon Taffer: No Excuses.”  The new program debuted this week with fan-voted guest Big Cat from Barstool Sports.  The weekly show “features the Bar Rescue star’s trademark straight talk and unapologetic approach to daily topics, current events and celebrity interviews. In addition to his genuine opinions and in-your-face analysis on these topics, Jon will offer tough-love advice to fans in the interactive program.”…..Conservative media figure Armstrong Williams – who had a long career hosting a radio talk show on AM stations – is putting his SiriusXM program to bed. Williams tells the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal that he will focus all of his attention on his television station company, Howard Stirk Holdings.  He’s not exiting the performance side of the business entirely as he’ll continue to host his eponymous TV show and will keep producing his podcast…..Scripps executive Tom Langmyer is being honored by the Buffalo Broadcasters Association with entrance into its Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2018.  Langmyer, who currently serves as VP of News, Talk and Sports and GM for news/talk WTMJ and country WKTI in Milwaukee, is a Buffalo native and former WGR-AM traffic reporter.  He’s being honored with the Buffalo Bob Smith Award bestowed upon a native broadcaster who achieves national prominence…..WBUR, Boston announces the winner of its Next Great Show Content and has selected “McSweeney’s Presents.”  The program was submitted – and beat about 400 other program pitches – by McSweeney’s Internet Tendency editor Chris Monks as a way of bringing the online magazine’s humor and insight to radio.  Monks says, “I am thrilled that WBUR chose my idea for the Next Great Show contest.  I look forward to making a radio version of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and the challenge of not bringing shame upon my family of avid WBUR listeners.”  The program is said to be a “satirical look at the world, from pop culture, to politics, to the playground, featuring work of the country’s best established and up-and-coming writers and comics.”

Illegal Immigration Policy/Peter Fonda Tweet, Trump Trade War, U.S.-North Korea Meeting, Cops Kills Black Teen in Pittsburgh, World Cup, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/20).  The controversy over the separation of children from parents in the crackdown on illegal immigration and the related case of Peter Fonda’s Tweet about separating President Trump’s son from his family; the tariffs being tacked on foreign goods and concerns about  global trade war; the aftermath of President Trump’s meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un; the death of an unarmed black teenager at the hands of a police officer in Pittsburgh; the World Cup tournament in Russia; and Major League Baseball 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. Detroit radio personality Lauren Crocker signs a new contract with Cumulus Media’s hot AC WDVD where she’s co-host of the ‘Blaine Fowler Morning Show.”  She joined the program in 2015.  Program director Robby Bridges says, “It sounds clichéd, but it is the absolute truth.  When Lauren first walked in and interviewed with me seven years ago, I knew then she was going to be a superstar.  To see her flourish as co-host of ‘The Blaine Fowler Morning Show’ alongside Blaine and Matty, become a fixture in the Detroit market, work with local charities and appear on ‘Dish Nation’ and WDIV-TV’s ‘Live in the D’ is just terrific.  Lauren’s star is still on the rise and I’m so glad she’ll be with us at Cumulus into the next decade!”…..In Chicago, Cumulus signs alternative WKQX personalities Walt Flakus and Lauren O’Neil to multi-year contracts.  Flakus is assistant program director, music director, and evening personality.  He’s been with WKQX since 2014.  Midday personality O’Neil is entering her seventh year with the station.  Cumulus Chicago VP and market manager Marv Nyren states, “There’s no greater joy than being able to work with incredibly talented people, and Walt and Lauren are two of the most creative, hard-working, and talented people I’ve had the privilege to work with.  They are an essential part of what truly separates us from our competition every day.  Together, Walt, Lauren and the entire staff make 101WKQX one-of-a-kind.”…..WBBM-FM, Chicago morning personality Kevin Buchar, a.k.a. DreX, is off the air as he recovers from complications that arose from a previous surgical procedure.  In the interim, co-host Nina and producer Gabe Ramirez are handling the show duties…..Colorado Springs classic rock KKFM “Classic Rock 98” appoints Jonathan “J.P.” Peletis afternoon drive host and promotions director.  Cumulus Media Colorado Springs operations manager Bobby Irwin says, “J.P. brings to KKFM and our station cluster an awesome mix of radio rock show, digital marketing and promotions experience, with passion for the Colorado lifestyle.”…..Longport Media agrees to sell Atlantic City CHR WWAC “AC 102.7” to Educational Media Foundation for $570,000.  EMF will convert the station into a non-profit and flip it to a Christian music format…..iHeartMedia and MediaLink combined to host the seventh annual intimate VIP Dinner in Antibes, France during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.  On Tuesday evening (6/19), the VIP Dinner included a special performance by Jon Bon Jovi.  Attendees included corporate officers from such firms as Unilever, AT&T, Google, Vivendi, Conde Nast and others.  Katie Couric and Ryan Seacrest were also in attendance.  Picture below are (from l-r): Gayle Troberman, chief marketing officer for iHeartMedia; Tom Poleman, chief programming officer for iHeartMedia; Rich Bressler, president, COO and CFO of iHeartMedia; Jon Bon Jovi; John Sykes, president of entertainment enterprises for iHeartMedia; Bob Pittman, chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia; and Tim Castelli, president of national sales and marketing partnerships for iHeartMedia.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

| March 6, 2018

Will Tomorrow Be the Day iHeartMedia’s Future Becomes Clearer? On Sunday, iHeartMedia and Consenting Lenders entered into a Forbearance Agreement that put off iHM’s defaut on an interest payment on 14% Senior Notes until midnight tomorrow (3/7).  That gives both sides more time to work out a solution to the company’s $20 billion in debt and avoid putting the matter into the hands of a bankruptcy judge.  Analysts watching this case are taking note of the fact that John Malone’s Liberty Media purchased $400 million of iHM’s debt last week and now becomes a creditor in the event of a bankruptcy.  Just how important Liberty’s involvement as a creditor becomes remains to be seen but, remember that Liberty came to the aid of SiriusXM when it needed cash and now controls a majority interest in that company.  A lot of the consumer press stories covering the iHeartMedia debt saga that TALKERS editors have seen imply the company is on the verge of “failure.”  But the reality – borne out by its quarterly financial reports – is that the company is making money.  It’s just not making enough to cover interest payments on the massive debt.  The latest term sheet from iHeartMedia summarizes a proposed restructuring of the company that would reduce its debt (in exchange for equity) to $5.75 billion.  As part of the proposed terms, it would spin off Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings.

And ‘The Loop’ in Chicago Goes to…Educational Media Foundation!  At first, today’s FCC filing to transfer classic rock WLUP-FM, Chicago from Merlin Media to non-profit Christian broadcaster Educational Media Foundation for $21.5 million seems surprising, but EMF did recently acquire KSWD, Los Angeles from Entercom and, unlike many secular, commercial broadcasting companies, it has money in the bank.  If approved, it’s expected that EMF will install its “K-Love” Christian contemporary format on the station.  Unfortunately, the deal means the current staff – including morning personality Erich “Mancow” Muller – will be out of work.  The other Merlin Media station still on the block in Chicago is alternative rock WKQX.

Salem Media Group LMAs KPAM, Portland.  In a press release issued Monday (3/5), Salem Media Group acknowledges that it is operating news/talk KPAM, Portland and adult standards KKOV “Sunny 1550” – both stations in the process of being sold by Pamplin Broadcasting to Intelli LLC.  The presser is titled, “KPAM is Alive and Well” and notes that KPAM airs “live and local drive-time programs – ‘First Edition’ from 6am to 10am and ‘Afternoon Northwest’ from 3pm to 6pm – and syndicated programs such as ‘The Clark Howard Show,’ ‘The Schnitt Show,’ ‘The Michael Medved Show,’ and ‘The Joe Pags Show.’  Hourly news, weather, and sports as well as drive-time traffic are also featured.”

WRKO, Boston Adds Joe Pags Show for Evenings.  The WOAI, San Antonio-based Joe Pags show – hosted by Joe Pagliarulo – is joining the program lineup of iHeartMedia’s WRKO, Boston.  The Joe Pags show – heard in more than 100 markets across the country – airs in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot.  WRKO program director Michael Czarnecki says “We are thrilled to have Joe join the WRKO weekday line up.  Joe does so much more than just political talk.  He entertains, makes you think, makes you laugh, heck he even sings.  This makes him the perfect addition to the WRKO family.”  Pagliarulo states, “When you hear the call letters WRKO, you hear heritage – and a station most hosts can only dream of being on.  I’m psyched beyond words that my show is coming to this amazing station.  It’s an opportunity I cherish and simply cannot wait to talk with the great people of Boston on a daily basis.  Thank you so much to the management team for the trust and support!”

Saga Communications’ Fourth Quarter Net Revenue Rises 2.3%.  During 2017, Saga Communications executed the sale of its television stations and purchased radio stations in Charleston and Hilton Head, South Carolina.  Those transactions resulted in net income increasing $9.9 million during the fourth quarter of 2017 and $36.5 million for the year.  Saga reports that net revenue increased 2.3% to $31.5 million during Q4.  For the entire year, net revenue decreased 0.7% to $118.2 million.  For the fourth quarter, operating income decreased $433,000 to $5.3 million when adjusted for the $1.5 million charge for impairment of intangible assets.  Station operating expense increased 5.4% to $23.2 million (station operating expense includes depreciation and amortization attributable to the stations) primarily due to the acquisition of the Charleston and Hilton Head radio stations.  Free cash flow was $6.3 million compared to $7.6 million last year.  Same station net revenue decreased 4.2% to $29.5 million primarily due to a decrease in gross political revenue of $1 million and same station operating expense decreased 2.5% to $21.5 million for the quarter.

Urban One Reports Q4 2017 Net Revenue Down 4%.  The silver lining in this fourth quarter 2017 financial report from Urban One is that broadcast and digital operating income increased 2.8% compared to the same period in 2016.  But overall, net revenue was approximately $109 million, a decrease of 4% from the same period in 2016.  Adjusted EBITDA was approximately $38.7 million for the quarter, compared to $30.9 million for the same period in 2016, an increase of 25.6%.  Urban One president and CEO Alfred C. Liggins, III says, “Overall, we produced a strong quarter from an Adjusted EBITDA standpoint, and as a result we were able to show full year Adjusted EBITDA growth, despite the challenging market conditions.  Our core radio revenues were up slightly for the quarter, excluding the impact of political revenues.  Our TV advertising revenues suffered from weak ratings delivery, which was somewhat offset by growth in affiliate revenues.  Our digital business benefitted from the integration of our acquisition of the Bossip, Madame Noire and Hip Hop Wired brands, and was up significantly in both revenue and Adjusted EBITDA compared to prior year.  We were able to control costs, most notably at TV One and Corporate.  During the quarter, we repurchased a further $20 million of our 9.25% notes at a discount, and we remain strongly committed to reducing net leverage.”

TALKERS News Notes. Sports giant ESPN announces James Pitaro is the company’s new chief, taking over for John Skipper, who suddenly stepped down from his position in December in order to address what was termed a long-time substance abuse issue.  Pitaro has been serving the Walt Disney company in an executive capacity in the digital realm.  Pitaro will also serve as co-chair of Disney’s television segment…..JVC Media’s Long Island news/talk outlet WRCN, Riverhead “LI News Radio 103.9 FM” is presenting a “Spring Back to Business” event designed to be a “networking social get-together” on March 26 at its studio operations at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma.  Station personality Frank MacKay will introduce FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio personality Brian Kilmeade who will take part in a Q&A with attendees.

Bill Lally Dies After Battle with Cancer.  Family, friends and the Southern California radio community are mourning the loss of Bill Lally, who passed away over the weekend after a long battle with cancer.  Lally was a longtime operations manager and APD at KFI, KLAC and KTLK in Los Angeles who exited the company in 2009 during the massive round of layoffs that took place at then-Clear Channel that year.  Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Lally had also served with WABC, New York; Westwood One; WMCA; and CBS RADIO during his career.

Trump-Russia Investigation/Sam Nunberg Subpoena, Financial Reforms Rollback, North Korea-South Korea Talks, Trump Tariffs/Trade War, Senate School Safety Bill, Netanyahu-Trump Meeting, the Oscars, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/5).  The investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents and the bizarre media tour by former Trump aide Sam Nunberg after being subpoenaed by special counsel Robert Mueller; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell proposes rolling back reforms enacted after the 2008 financial crisis; North Korea’s Kim Jong Un meets with South Korean officials; President Trump’s proposed steel and aluminum tariffs and House Speaker Paul Ryan’s move to block them; the U.S. Senate proposes a school safety bill in the aftermath of the Parkland, Florida shooting; embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trip to Washington and his meeting with President Trump; Sunday night’s Academy Awards show; and NBA 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.  The morning show at iHeartMedia’s hip hop WUSL, Philadelphia “Power 99” adds Roxy Romeo to the cast.  She’ll join the “Rise & Grind Morning Show” featuring Mikey Dredd and Mutha Knows, effective March 12.  iHM Philly director of urban programming Derrick Corbett says, “To be able to add a talent the likes of Roxy to our staff is phenomenal.  She’s an incredible personality who has the ability to make you feel as if you’ve known her for years upon first listen. We’re excited to be able to share her voice with the city of Philadelphia, and that she’s chosen to make ‘Power 99’ her new home.”  Romeo was most recently midday jock, APD and music director at the company’s “REAL 103.9” in Las Vegas…..Nate Bell is named program director at iHeartMedia’s hip hop WJLB and urban contemporary WMXD “Mix 92.3” in Detroit.  EVP of urban/hip hop programming Doc Wynter says, “We are so excited to have Nate back in our urban programming brain trust.  He was missed, but it was destiny for him to come back to iHeartMedia.  Things are about to heat up in Detroit!”…..In Charlotte, iHeartMedia names Brooke Morrison afternoon personality for CHR WHQC “Channel 96.1.”  Station PD A.J. says, “We are very excited about what Brooke will bring to Charlotte.  Her high level of engagement, work ethic and passion for music and entertainment make her a superstar on and off the air.  I look forward to her joining the team as we build the next chapter of ‘Channel 96.1.’”

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

| February 27, 2018

Liberty Media Puts in Offer for iHeartMedia Ownership.  Out of the blue, Liberty Media – controlling owner of SiriusXM and minority stakeholder in Pandora – is offering $1.159 billion for a 40% stake in the new iHeartMedia.  This comes as iHeartMedia is very close to defaulting on a $103 million debt payment that could push the company into bankruptcy.  As it stands, iHeartMedia is negotiating with senior creditors to arrive at a pre-packaged bankruptcy that would greatly reduce the company’s $20 billion in debt in exchange for equity.  The Liberty offer is designed not to replace the current offer by senior creditors but to add Liberty to the mix.  Liberty’s offer is for a 20% stake held by Liberty, another 20% held by SiriusXM, four seats on the new company’s nine-member board, and Clear Channel Outdoor would be spun off as a taxable transaction.  Some experts say this offer has no chance of being accepted.  Sources quoted in a New York Post story say the offer undervalues iHM’s 850 radio stations – putting its value of iHeartMedia at $7.5 billion, less than the $8.5 billion Franklin Resources places on it.  Franklin is leading the senior creditors group.  One source expects iHM to proceed with a bankruptcy filing on March 3.

Post Theater Columnist Michael Riedel Named WOR, New York Morning Co-Host.  It’s been four months since radio talk host Todd Schnitt exited iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOR.  He’d been co-hosting the morning program with Len Berman but was unable to come to terms on a renewal agreement.  Now, the company announces that New York Post theater critic Michael Riedel will join Berman on 710 WOR for the “Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning” program.  In addition to his work for the Post, Riedel hosted the PBS program “Theater Talk” for 24 years and published the best-seller, Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway.  iHeartMedia calls the new show a “four-hour variety show, showcasing the most important stories of the day to New Yorkers, including local news, entertainment, humor, political stories, and interviews with newsmakers and celebrities.”  WOR program director Tom Cuddy says, “After a four-month search, we are super fortunate to have a triple-triple threat like Michael joining WOR.  He has been a successful newspaper writer for decades.  He co-hosted a TV show for over 20 years and now he’s joining us in a full-time capacity to pursue a lifelong passion for radio.”  Len Berman is quoted saying, “I couldn’t be more excited to have Michael as my new co-host,” said Berman.  I loved working with him when he was guest hosting.  We come from two different worlds: Michael from newspaper and Broadway, me from TV and sports.  Factor in that we don’t see eye to eye politically and I’m convinced it all adds up to entertaining morning radio.”

The Honorable Senator from California, Mr. Michael Savage?  Is this just Savage shtick or is Westwood One-syndicated talk show host Michael Savage really serious about being courted to challenge Dianne Feinstein for her U.S. Senate seat?  The Los Angeles Times reports Savage told his audience that “some very important people” are asking him to run for the seat as an independent, and he put the question of whether he should run to his audience.  Though it’s hard to imagine the 76-year-old talk host giving up his radio show (he’d have to, right?) and traveling all over the Golden State to campaign (an exhausting business, to be sure), Savage has wasted no time in using this to express his political wish list for California.  Savage says his platform would include such polarizing issues as eliminating multi-lingual ballots (English only) and building a wall on the Mexican border that would be a “citadel,” all while lowering California’s tax rate (that’s not really up to the U.S. Senate, though).  The Times notes that Feinstein, who was just dealt a blow by the California Democratic Party with its non-endorsement of her as she seeks a fifth full term, has a war chest of $9.8 million.

FOX News Radio’s Todd Starnes to Moderate NRB Conference Panel.  The focus of the panel will be Internet censorship and will talk place Thursday (3/1) as part of the NRB International Christian Media Convention in Nashville.  FOX News Radio nationally syndicated personality Todd Starnes will moderate the panel discussion with panelists including Salem Radio Network personalities Larry Elder and Dennis Prager, plus Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, and Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser.

SRN’s Tom Tradup at World Premiere of New Christian Film. Christian musical artist Brandon Heath (left) is pictured here with Salem Radio Network vice president/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (right) last night (2/26) at the world premiere of the film, I Can Only Imagine, based on the hit song by Mercy Me.  Tradup was joined on the red carpet by stars Dennis Quaid, Trace Adkins, and artists Mandisa, Michael W. Smith and others.

TALKERS News Notes. College station WRHU, Hempstead, New York “Radio Hofstra University 88.7 FM” is airing the Long Island Nets Coach’s Show every Friday at 4:00 pm, hosted by WRHU’s Bryan Clark and featuring Nets coach Ronald Nored.  WRHU airs play-by-play of the NBA G League team that’s affiliated with the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets…..SiriusXM is broadcasting games from 24 NCAA Division I college basketball conference tournaments this postseason, offering live play-by-play of 134 men’s and women’s conference tournament games to a nationwide audience.  It will air every men’s tournament game from the ACC, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC, American Athletic, and Mountain West conferences, and select games from the Ivy League Tournament.  Listeners also get every game of the Women’s ACC and SEC Tournaments.  Conference tournament broadcasts heard on SiriusXM are produced by ESPN Radio, Westwood One, IMG, Learfield, and Compass Media.

Gun Control Debate, Parkland Shooting Investigation, NRA vs Delta, Trump-Russia Investigation, SCOTUS Declines Trump Request on ‘Dreamers’ Policy, Universal Basic Income Proposals, Xi Jinping Power Grab, PyeongChang Winter Olympics, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/6).  The debate over gun control issues in the aftermath of the Parkland, Florida school massacre; the investigation into prior complaints about Nikolas Cruz and whether police acted appropriately during the shooting; the NRA’s lashing out at Delta and other companies for ending their business relationships with the lobbying organization; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the Supreme Court declines to rule immediately on President Trump’s wish to kill the DACA; the proposals for a universal basic income for those Americans below the poverty line; the move by Chinese president Xi Jinping to eliminate his term limit and remain president indefinitely; the post-mortem on the PyeyongChang Winter Games; and NBA 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. On-air pro Nicholaus “Niko” Petrou is named morning co-host at Entercom’s Phoenix country outlet KMLE “@ 107.9.”  Niko is partnering with Nina D. for KMLE’s new “The Breakfast Buzz” program.  He was most recently at the company’s New York alternative station WBMP “Alt 92.3” as APD, music director and midday personality.  He also worked in NYC as evening personality at CHR WHTZ “Z100.”  Niko says, “After almost 20 years in the radio industry, I’m looking forward to taking on the challenge of mornings.  Given the opportunity to work with such a legendary team and station, I’m excited to bring what I have to offer to Phoenix.  A huge thanks to Tim Richards, Dave Pugh, Mike Moore, Chris Oliviero and Pat Paxton for the confidence in me. Nina D. and I are going to have a blast waking up the KMLE Nation.”…..In Albany, Pamal Broadcasting is announcing two new executives who’ve joined the organization.  A.J. Bodden is named market manager for the six-station radio cluster in Albany.  He comes to Pamal from Townsquare Media where he managed a division of the company’s corporate live events business.  Simultaneously, John Damboragian is named Pamal’s new director of digital and will oversee digital sales and assets for all of Pamal’s 23 radio stations.  He was most recently digital manager for Gannett Media in New York’s Westchester County.

A Serious Loss for Howard Stern

| April 15, 2013

By Steven J.J. Weisman
TALKERS
Legal Editor

sternhowardBOSTON — Sometimes it is, as Mel Brooks commented in his movie “The History of the World, Part One,” good to be the king.  But other times it is not.  Howard Stern, the self-proclaimed (and not too far off) “King of All Media” took a hit last week when the dismissal of his lawsuit against Sirius XM Radio, Inc. in which he sought more than $300 million in stock awards was upheld by the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

| October 3, 2012

Talkers New Media Seminar LA set for Thursday, October 11 is Sold Out!   The agenda is basically set and most of the sponsors announced for the forthcoming Los Angeles installment of TALKERS magazine’s two-part New Media Seminar 2012 (the first part took place in New York on June 7).   According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “The venue is intimate and even kind of funky making for a very relaxed and informal environment – conducive to the kind of communicative and networking environment we hope to achieve.  The problem, however, is that unlike industry events that are held in convention centers and big hotels, we are working with a finite amount of seating and space which we are obligated by city regulations not to exceed.”  TALKERS New Media Seminar LA is scheduled for Thursday, October 11 between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm in association with the Los Angeles Press Club at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood.  Registration has only been open to working media. A registration “stand-by” list is being maintained until this Friday (10/5) for those willing to take a chance. Some sponsorships however are still available.  For stand-by registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.  The agenda for the event is as follows:

9:00 am – 9:50 am
Bagel Breakfast Party
Sponsored by Brent’s Deli 

9:50 am – 10:00 am
Welcoming Remarks

Speaker:  Michael Harrison, Publisher, TALKERS

10:00 am – 10:15 am
Morning Keynote

Speaker:  Norm Pattiz, CEO, Courtside Entertainment

10:20 am – 11:00 am
Panel Discussion

“The Big Picture: Spoken Word Radio”

Moderator:  Michael Harrison, Publisher, TALKERS

Panelists (in alphabetical order):

Phil Boyce, VP/Director, Spoken Word Format, Salem Communications

Ron Hartenbaum, President, WYD Media

Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC

Don Martin, VP Programming, Fox Sports Radio/OM KLAC, Los Angeles

Mike McVay, Senior VP Programming, Cumulus Media

Harvey Nagler, VP, CBS Radio News

11:05 am – 11:20 am
Special Presentation

“Interactivity and Video: The Key to Your Business Future”

Speaker:  Walter Sabo, Chairman, Sabo Media

11:25 am – 11:35 am
Special Presentation

“The Radio Personality as Entrepreneur”

Introduction:  Jeff Wasserman, President, Life Coach Media

Speaker:  Ken Rutkowski, host, “Business Rock Stars,” KFWB, Los Angeles

11: 40 am – 12:20 pm
Panel Discussion

“The Challenges of Hosting a Talk Show in 2012”

Moderator:  Mike Kinosian, Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief, TALKERS

Panelists:

Jerry Doyle, Host, Talk Radio Network

Heidi Harris, Host, KRLA, Los Angeles

Lars Larson, Host, Compass Media Networks/ KXL, Portland

Doug Stephan, Host, “Good Day”

Alan Stock, Host, KDWN, Las Vegas

Eric Weiss, president, The Weiss Agency

12:25 pm – 12:40 pm
Special Presentation

“Woman of the Year Award”

Introduction:  Carole Marks, CEO, Talk Media, Inc.

Presenter:  Stephanie Miller, Host, WYD Media

Recipient:  Robin Bertolucci, PD KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles

Sponsored by TuneIn

12:45 pm – 1:00 pm
Special Presentation

“Database Your Tribe…Now!”

Speaker, Holland Cooke, Consultant, Holland Cooke Media

1:00 pm – 1:50 pm
Lunch
Sponsored by Brent’s Deli 

1:50 pm – 2:20 pm
Panel Discussion

“Making Money in Talk Radio:  Challenges and Opportunities”

Introduction: Michael Zwerling, President, Michael Zwerling Media/Owner KSCO, Santa Cruz

Moderator:  Brent Seltzer, Host, Podjockey

Panelists:

Bob Moore, President, Courtside Entertainment

Rusty Humphries, Host, Talk Radio Network/WGST, Atlanta

Michael Zwerling, President, Michael Zwerling Media/Owner KSCO, Santa Cruz

More TBA

Sponsored by Michael Zwerling Media

2:25 pm – 3:05 pm
Panel Discussion

“The State of Talk Programming”

Moderator:  Kevin Casey, VP/Executive Editor TALKERS

Panelists (in alphabetical order):

Skip Essick, PD, KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno

Kevin LaRue, PD KSL, Salt Lake City

Andy Ludlum, PD, KNX, Los Angeles

Garret Lewis, PD/morning host, KNST, Tucson

Dave Sniff, PD, KFMB, San Diego

Chuck Tyler, PD, KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles

Sponsored by Premiere Networks

3:10 pm – 3:45 pm
Panel Discussion

“The Modern Day Pioneers”

Moderator:  Patt Morrison, Host/Interviewer, KPCC, Los Angeles; Columnist, Los Angeles Times

Panelists (in alphabetical order):

Ian Freeman, Co-Host, Free Talk Live

Sam Hasson, President/Founder, LATalkRadio.com

Michael Horn, CEO, CRN Digital Talk

Tom Leykis, President/Host, The New Normal

Shadoe Stevens, Host, Mental Radio, Sirius/XM Satellite Radio

Sponsored by CRN Digital Talk

3:45 pm – 4:20 pm
Panel Discussion

“The Art of the Show”

Moderator:  Bill Moran, President, Bill Moran & Associates

Panelists (in alphabetical order):

Jerry Doyle, Host, Talk Radio Network

Bill Handel, Host, KFI, Los Angeles

Karel, Host, KGO, San Francisco

Neil Larrimore, PD, KFYI/KGME, Phoenix

Eric Stanger, VP Operations, The Sean Hannity Show, Premiere Networks

Sponsored by TRN

4:20 pm – 5:00 pm
Afternoon Sessions and Keynote

TBA

SPONSORS

Americans for Limited Government, BMX/XtreMedia, Brent’s Deli, Christie Communications, Comrex Corporation, CRN Digital Talk, Federation for American Immigration Reform, Focus Communications, Inc., Free Talk Live, LATalkRadio.com, Life Coach Media, Podjockey, Premiere Networks, Talk Radio Network, Talk Radio News Service, TuneIn, WYD Media, Michael Zwerling Media.

September PPM Numbers: Some Talk and Sports Highlights.  TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian reports on the September PPM numbers rolling in and notes the movement of some stations of interest to talk and sports radio watchers.

  • In market #7 Washington, DC, a nine-tenths August-September improvement helps propel American University‘s WAMU to #1, unseating Hubbard‘s WTOP-FM (#3), which slides -1.1 to 7.1, the news outlet’s lowest point since April’s 6.5.
  • For the sixth straight month, Washington Nationals’ flagship WJFK-FM (CBS Radio‘s “The Fan”) bests Red Zebra format rival WTEM (“The Team”), however, WTEM (#20) gains one-half share and WJFK-FM (#18) is down one-tenth.
  • In market #8 Philadelphia, gaining one-half share are CBS Radio’s “Sports Radio 94 WIP-FM” (3.7, #12) and public news/talk WHYY (3.5, #13).
  • For the seventh straight month, “Newsradio 1060 KYW” is in the 6.1 – 6.7 range (6.5, -.2 from August) and, as in August, the CBS Radio-owned facility is #1.
  • In market #9 Atlanta, in August, WSB-AM had a 4.8, which was its lowest 6+ share since registering a 4.2 in September 2010.  The Cox Radio talk outlet bounces back though with a +.9 to 5.7 and ranks fifth, versus #9 in August.
  • In market #10 Boston, remember “Rush Radio” on WXKS-AM?  That was how the Clear Channel talk station positioned itself for about one year, beginning in March 2010.  In mid-August of this year, Rush Limbaugh surfaced on cross-town WRKO and the Entercom talker gains nine-tenths to 2.4, its strongest 6+-share since March (2.5).
  • For the first time in the last seven monthlies, New England Patriots flagship WBZ-FM (CBS Radio-owned “The Sports Hub”) overtakes Entercom format competitor WEEI-FM.  The two sports properties were tied in March (3.5) with WEEI-FM holding the upper hand from April through August.  In September though, WBZ-FM gains eight-tenths (4.5, #8) while Red Sox flagship WEEI-FM drops two-tenths (4.1, #9).

For more PPM data and ratings analysis, visit the ratings section at our sister publication RadioInfo’s site here.

FCC to Consider Liberty Media Control of Sirius.  The FCC is calling for public comment on Liberty Media Corp.’s application to take de jure (legal) control of Sirius XM Radio.  Sirius did not sign that application, filed in August, but the Commission is deciding to move forward anyway.  Back in May, the FCC turned down a request for de facto (effective) control by Liberty, which now has an effective 48% stake in the satellite radio company.   Petitions to deny are due November 1, initial opposition due November 13, and final rebuttals by November 20, likely to be followed by several weeks of FCC deliberation.  The two companies have been at odds for a long time with John Malone’s Liberty looking to takeover Sirius.  In 2009, Sirius received a $530 million loan from Liberty to avoid bankruptcy.  There’s much speculation about Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin’s plans if Liberty gains control. His contract with Sirius is up at end of this year.  As reported yesterday, Karmazin is speaking at Liberty’s 2012 investor conference in New York on October 10, just two weeks before the first public comments are due at the FCC.

Saga Declares Special Cash Dividend.  The Saga board announces a special cash dividend of about $7 million — a dividend of $1.65 per Class A or B Common Stock.  Shareholders of record on November 15 receive the dividend, funded by cash on the company’s balance sheet, on December 3.  Ed Christian’s Saga, headquartered in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, owns or operates radio and TV stations in 26 markets and four regional radio networks.

Upgrade to FREE.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke’s latest piece for TALKERS is about some of the tools of the media trade – namely netbooks and tablets.  But it’s about more than that if you step back and look at the big picture.  He points to digital app expert Beth Ziesenis – AskBethZ – as someone who cuts through with her message (and her business) because she’s clearly focused on her objective.  Read what Holland Cooke has to say about these issues here.

 

Odds & Sods. SiriusXM will feature “Pete Dominick’s Electoral College Tour” on its POTUS channel prior to each presidential debate, beginning this evening in Denver.  Dominick is a stand-up comedian and regular on the POTUS channel and his special shows will emanate from the University of Denver, Hofstra University and the University of Virginia in which he’ll host a special one-hour forum with students and faculty – before the presidential debate and live from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET – to talk about the issues that matter most to them in this election…..Chicago Bulls home basketball games will be heard in Spanish on Univision’s WRTO, Chicago “La Tremenda 1200” through the 2014-2015 season.  Omar Ramos and Matt Moreno have the play-by-play.

Benghazi Security Request Controversy, Presidential Debate Preview, Pennsylvania Voter ID Rule Blocked, and Iran Nukes Threat Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/2).  Controversy over a report the U.S. consulate in Benghazi requested more security but was denied prior to the attack on the Libyan embassy; Wednesday’s coming presidential debate; a part of Pennsylvania’s voter ID law is struck down; and Iran’s nuclear weapons program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, August 31, 2012

| August 31, 2012

Talk Radio Wraps Up Major Week of High-Profile Broadcasting and News Gathering. The Republican National Convention week was a busy one for the country’s news/talk stations as well as more than 100 outlets that chose to broadcast live from radio row in Tampa and many more than that sent hosts, staffers and news people to the city to cover the convention and report back to their markets.  According to a report issued to TALKERS by the Republican National Committee, this year’s radio row generated some 1,551 radio interviews smashing 2008’s record of 1,263.  The convention radio row is not only fertile ground upon which to produce a live broadcast with a huge pool of political experts, candidates and surrogates available as guests in one compact location, but it is also an opportunity to get some national attention as Compass Media NetworksTodd Schnitt did on Fox News Channel (upper left photo).  Talk hosts in major markets and nationally syndicated stars certainly have the ability to book big-name guests via phone but the chance to actually rub elbows with big political stars, speak with them face-to-face and chat in a “live” situation is unique to this political season.  It also provides members of the talk radio community with a place and reason to meet and network in a working situation conducive to enhancing existing relationships and forging new ones. The Ernest Istook program, hosted by the former congressman and produced by WYD Media, also emanated from the convention site this week and gave Istook the opportunity to chat with U.S. Rep. and former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann (here at right).

Yankees Baseball Stays on WCBS, New York for at Least One More Season.  The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick reported it earlier yesterday and CBS Radio confirms it in a release.  Apparently the Yankees have rejected overtures from ESPN to join the company’s new FM-enhanced sports talk outlet WEPN for they will stay with WCBS for the 2013 season.  Numerous industry watchers had expected to see a big bidding war for Yankees baseball and perhaps we’ll see that next season but if this report is correct, it’ll be another year before CBS Radio and Disney/ESPN battle it out for Yankees rights.

Bill Rehkopf Returns to KDKA, Pittsburgh.  The former morning news man at CBS Radio’s KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh returns to the Steel City after being involved in the start-up of the company’s Washington, DC all-newser WNEW-FM.   Rehkopf was the featured morning drive anchor at the station.  Now, he’ll anchor KDKA-AM’s “KDKA Afternoon News” from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Current anchor Rose Ryan-Douglas remains with the station to work on the PM drive show.  In a statement, Rehkopf says, “Working in the nation’s capital was extremely exciting and rewarding.  However, my family and I have deep roots in Pittsburgh and this is a terrific opportunity at KDKA.  It’s a perfect professional fit for me and works well for my family.  I look forward to providing Pittsburgh with a quality program of essential news, information and entertainment to wrap up their work day.”

Reports of Mel Selling Sirius XM Shares Raises Eyebrows.  In a release issued after yesterday’s closing bell, news from Sirius XM Satellite Radio that CEO Mel Karmazin will be selling an additional 30 million shares of the publicly traded company (Sirius XM SIRI) this fall has both Wall Street and radio industry observers speculating as to what it means. Considering the timing involved – Mel’s contract is up this year and major investor Liberty Media (LMCA) is closing in seeking control – there is evidence to support the educated guess that the company’s chief is heading for the door.  Other possibilities include that Mel is simply cashing in his chips for a job clearly well done or that it is a maneuver to throw an obstacle in the way of Liberty taking control.  The price to exercise the 30 million options shares is $0.43. This means the shares will cost Karmazin $12,900,000. If he were to sell them all at $2.50 the price would be a cool $75,000,000, delivering a profit of $62,100,000.  Analyst Spencer Osbourne writes in the Seeking Alpha newsletter, “I can imagine that the news relating to an insider at Sirius XM selling 30,000,000 shares will not be well received by the market. Be prepared, because this news is going to cause some wild speculation and debate. I would not be surprised to see the stock price move down on this news. Between the Liberty cloud and now the Karmazin cloud, the uncertainty is building for Sirius XM.”

NBC Sports Radio Announces Affiliates for Next Week’s Launch.  As NBC Sports Radio and partner Dial Global prepare to debut their late night and overnight sports talk radio shows and hourly sports news reports on Tuesday, September 4, the list of affiliates for the programming is being made public.   The build-up to a national affiliate base with a big rollout is always a challenge and NBC is gearing up with a lot of medium and small market stations for its sports talk shows and has some major market clears on small or outlying signals.  For example, The Amani & Eytan 10:00 pm to 1:00 am show will air in markets including Huntsville, Santa Barbara, Evansville and Roanoke.  But it will also clear secondary signals in the Washington, DC, Denver and Charlotte markets.  Both Amani & Eytan and the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm Erik Kusilias show will be heard on WPOP, Hartford.  To see where the shows will debut, click here.

Emmis Delivers Good News to Staff in the Form of Bonuses.  Emmis Communications CEO Jeff Smulyan issued an e-mail memo to staffers informing them that they would be receiving cash bonuses to reward their loyalty and dedication to the company during these tough economic times.  Full-time employees will be getting a $1,000 bonus while part-time staffers will each get $250.

Salem Communications to Pay Q3 Dividend.  The board of directors of Salem Communications declares a dividend for the third quarter of 2012 that will pay shareholders of Class A and Class B common stock 3 and ½ cents per share.  The dividend will be paid to all shareholders of record as of September 14 and will be paid on September 28.

Katie Couric’s TV Talk Show to Debut on September 10.  The show, titled simply, “Katie,” will be broadcast in syndication beginning on Monday, September 10 and all media eyes will be on the television legend as she begins a new chapter in her career.  She was once the most popular personality in morning talk television but Katie Couric left to take the helm of the “CBS Evening News,” a job that even her harshest critics would admit is probably beyond anyone’s ability to succeed in this day and age.  But as Howard Kurtz examines in his excellent piece in the Daily Beast, the question is whether Couric’s newsy approach to issues and distant personality will grab daytime TV viewers.  Couric clearly appears to be bucking the trend in what makes successful daytime talk TV but she appears determined.  Read Kurtz’s piece here.

Attention Radio Sales Staffers! Your Job Was Born 90 Years Ago This Week.  This week marks the 90th anniversary of the first sale of radio time.  It was back in 1922 when New York radio station WEAF – owned by Bell Telephone Company – sold a 10-minute commercial to the Hawthorne Court Apartments in Jackson Heights, New York for $50.  At about 5:00 pm on August 28, 1922 a pitch for the apartment complex was made to anyone who happened to be listening and the business of commercial radio was born.  It didn’t take off like a rocket, as radio historians will tell you, but it certainly was the beginning of an industry.  NPR produced a fantastic segment commemorating this event.  Listen to the segment or read the transcript at NPR’s site here.  (Photo: MTM Enterprises)

The Economy, Health Care and Foreign Policy Issues Topped the Talkers TenTM for the Week of August 27 – 31.  These issues, as related to the presidential campaign and set against the backdrop of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  Coming in at #2 on this week’s chart was the RNC speeches.  At #3 was the mainstream media’s coverage of the RNC and the firing of Yahoo! News bureau chief David Chalain and at #4 was Tropical Storm Isaac.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top talk topics as discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Dial Global’s Jim Bohannon and “Jill on Money” join the program lineup at WZKT, Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland…..Benztown Radio Network morning show “The Todd N Tyler Radio Empire” hosted by Mike Tyler and Todd Brandt replaces the syndicated version of Mark & Brian at KXFM, Santa Maria/San Luis Obispo…..“Malcolm Out Loud” is added to the programming at KKYT, Ridgecrest, California.

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