Tag: "Mary Berner"

Monday, December 10, 2018

| December 10, 2018

Report: Cumulus Interested in WGN-AM, Chicago.  According to a report by Chicago media writer Robert FederCumulus Media – owner of news/talk WLS-AM, classic hits WLS-FM and alternative WKQX – is interested in buying legendary news/talk WGN-AM.  Television station company Nexstar has bid to acquire Tribune Media – 42 TV stations, numerous digital properties and cable channel WGN America – for $4.1 billion.  A report in Crain’s Business Chicago indicates that although Nexstar is “in no hurry” to sell WGN-AM, it is not planning to build out a  radio division and will likely sell the station.  None of the major radio operators are up against the AM ownership cap in Chicago so Cumulus, Entercom, Hubbard or iHeartMedia could be contenders to acquire the station.  Feder says that Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner told staffers Cumulus would be interested in the station.

John Hanson Named Program Director for WCCO-AM, Minneapolis.  Taking over after the departure last month of station OM and PD Andy Bloom as program director for news/talk WCCO-AM is John Hanson.  He joins the station from the company’s Kansas City sports talk duo KCSP “610 Sports Radio” and KWOD “1660 The Score.”  Entercom Twin Cities SVP and market manager Shannon Knoepke says, “John brings extensive knowledge of the Minneapolis community to his new role with 830 WCCO. I trust our listeners will enjoy the innovative and exciting programing that he will add to the station.”  Prior to joining Entercom in 2013, Hanson co-hosted “Twin Cities Live” on KSTP-TV, Minneapolis.

Jeff Styles Returns to the Air in Chattanooga. Former WGOW-FM, Chattanooga morning drive personality Jeff Styles is back on the air in the market today on Brewer Broadcasting’s news/talk WPLZ-HD4/W224AZ “NoogaRadio 92.7 FM” for a daily show in the 8:00 am to 10:00 am slot.  Styles was let go from WGOW by Cumulus Media after being arrested during a road rage incident in which he was shot in the arm by the other motorist.  The case was bound over to a grand jury but the charges against him were dropped.  WGOW subsequently named midday host Brian Joyce host of “The Morning Press” with co-hosts Jim Reynolds and Kevin West.  Styles’ new program is called “Fred the Show” – Fred stands for Free Radio Every Day – and Styles says, “I’m excited to have a platform to listen, and talk to, listeners again…I’m chomping at the bit, excited to stir things up!”

Doug McIntyre to Exit KABC, Los Angeles. Longtime KABC-AM, Los Angeles personality Doug McIntyre announces he’s leaving the Cumulus Media news/talk station after his contract expires at the end of this month.  McIntyre is also a columnist for the Los Angeles Daily News.  In a Tweet, McIntyre says, “Time for me to say goodbye.  After 22 years, I will do my last show at KABC this Friday, December 14th.  What a great run and wonderful experience it has been.  This was a tough call, but I appreciate KABC management for for respecting my decision.”

Nielsen Audio: News/Talk Top Format in PPM Markets.  According to data from Nielsen Audio, overall (Persons 6+), news/talk is the most-listened-to radio format of 2018 to this point with 10% of the AQH audience. Looking at the 25-54 demographic, CHR was again the dominant format with 8% of the AQH audience.  Although news/talk’s audience skews older, it still was the third most-listened-to format (tied with adult contemporary) with 7% of the AQH audience.  Keep in mind that Nielsen lumps public radio news/talk in with its commercial brethren and that certainly adds some youth to that figure, as it likely does with the 18-34 demo, in which news/talk scores 4.3% of the AQH share.

The Bob & Tom Show Renews with iHeartMedia for 13 Affiliate Stations. The nationally syndicated “Bob & Tom” show announces it has struck a renewal deal with iHeartMedia to continue being carried by 13 of the company’s radio stations, including home base WFBQ, Indianapolis; WQMF, Louisville; WTUE, Dayton and more.  The program is distributed by Westwood One.  Show host Tom Griswold says, “Thanks to [EVP/GM iHeartMedia national programming group] Brad Hardin and all the folks at iHeart for keeping our long relationship moving forward.  Many of these stations have been with us for years, so they are jewels in the ‘Bob & Tom’ crown.  Actually, we started our syndication at WFBQ and we’re happy to continue our close and unique tie with that special group in Indianapolis.”

Kim Komando Show to Air on Bloomberg TV in January. Beginning on Saturday, January 5, the new, television version of the weekly Kim Komando program will air on the Bloomberg Television Network at 4:00 pm ET.  Komando’s show is produced by her WestStar Multimedia Entertainment firm and the TV show will be produced at WestStar’s $8 million broadcast center in Phoenix.  Komando says, “We’re thrilled to take our content to an international audience.  We’re taking what we’ve perfected on the airwaves over the last 20 years, reaching millions of Americans each week and sharing it worldwide.  How cool is that?”  The press release says that the program “will be expertly produced to speak to Bloomberg’s loyal audience of business executives, industry leaders, investors, and entrepreneurs.”  Komando adds, “We’re all about tech wellness and helping consumers use technology to enrich their lives and improve their businesses.”

TALKERS News Notes. In a report by Paul Farhi in The Washington Post, it’s revealed that NPR employs “an army of temps” that for them creates a “workplace of anxiety and insecurity.”  Farhi writes, “Without temporary workers — who are subject to termination without cause — NPR would probably be unable to be NPR.  Temps do almost every important job in NPR’s newsroom: They pitch ideas, assign stories, edit them, report and produce them.  Temps not only book the guests heard in interviews, they often write the questions the hosts ask the guests.”  Temp workers are covered under NPR’s union contract and they make a base salary as per that contract.  According to the piece, about 20%-22% of NPR’s 483 union staffers are temps…..iHeartMedia and Learfield announce that new Milwaukee sports talk outlet WRNW “97.3 The Game” will serve as the new radio home of the Wisconsin Badger Sports Network in Milwaukee.   iHeartMedia division president Jeff Tyler comments, “We have enjoyed great success with many of our new sports/talk and entertainment brands and are excited about the launch of ‘97.3 The Game’ for Milwaukee and Southwestern Wisconsin.  We are also pleased to continue and expand our longtime partnership with Learfield’s Badgers Sports Properties and the University of Wisconsin with ‘The Game,’ ‘The Big 920’ and all the other Milwaukee stations and of course our iHeartRadio brand.”…..National radio rep firm Gen Media Partners announces its acquisition of  Regional Reps and The Tacher Company.  In a press release, GMP says, “While the newly acquired companies will continue to operate on behalf of the radio stations they represent, Gen Media Partners’ combined roster of 4,000 radio station partners will create more opportunities for national advertisers, particularly when they are looking for scale in radio.”  GMP CEO Kevin Garrity says, “With the increased scale and reach, we can develop more national opportunities and generate more agency business for our independent radio partners, while we continue to provide the exceptional service and support that are our hallmark.”  Regional Reps chairman Stuart Sharpe exits while Greg Tacher and Joe Costello of The Tacher Company and Jeff Slivka of Regional Reps remain with their respective companies and take on expanded roles within the Gen Media Partners organization.

Trump-Russia Investigation, Trump Cabinet, Financial Markets Activity, Charlottesville Murder Conviction, Southeast Winter Storm, Paris Riots, Huawei CFO Arrest, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; changes in the Trump cabinet as William Barr to be nominated for attorney general, Heather Nauert to be UN ambassador; and questions arise about a new chief of staff; the huge stock selloff and the activity on the world’s financial markets; James Alex Fields Jr. is convicted of murder in the death of Heather Heyer at the 2017 Charlottesville protests; a winter storm dumps heavy snow in the Southeast; France continues to deal with violent protests over economic matters; the tense U.S.-China relations after the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver, BC; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Save the Date! TALKERS Convention Set for Friday, June 7, 2019 in New York City. Save the date and register as an “early bird” to save on the cost. The 22nd annual installment of the longest-running, most-important national talk media convention has been set for Friday, June 7, 2019 in New York City. Talkers 2019: Telling the Story will take place again at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan. The conference will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, one-on-one conversations and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. Like its predecessors, Talkers 2019: Telling the Story will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch, and a closing cocktail reception — all in a single, power-packed day! Full agenda details, speaker roster and hotel information will be posted in TALKERS during the days and weeks ahead. As is customary with TALKERS conventions, Talkers 2019: Telling the Story is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students. Because seating is limited, and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments, costs $329 per person. However, those registering before 5:00 pm ET on December 21, 2018 pay only $279. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

PPM Analysis: Urban Contemporary. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November 2018 PPM survey, today looking at urban contemporary.  Three PPM market urban contemporary stations had improved more than a share over the November 2017 survey: Urban One’s WQOK, Raleigh “K97.5” (up 1.5); iHeartMedia’s WZRL, Indianapolis “Real 98.3” (up 1.4); and Urban One’s WERQ, Baltimore “92 Q Jams” (up 1.1). There are no urban contemporary outlets that rank #1 in their markets (6+), but WQOK, WERQ, and iHeartMedia’s WUBT, Nashville all ranked #2 in their respective markets in the November 2018 survey. See the whole report here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The Toledo Blade reports a major shuffle of morning show talent at the Cumulus Media cluster in Toledo.   Beginning next Monday (12/17), classic hits WRQN morning hosts Cliff and Lyn will join Gary Shores on country WKKO-FM, 99.9 “K-100.”  Denny Schaffer’s morning team moves from hot AC WQQO-FM to WRQN.   Meanwhile Eric Chase, who handles evenings on WQQO, assumes mornings on the station.  The following Monday (12/21), Jeremy “Pyke” Peterson takes over mornings on classic rock WXKR-FM as Mark Benson retires after a 22-year stint with the station…..In Seattle, Michael Kraig exits Hubbard Broadcasting’s country KNUC where he’d been handling the evening show.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

| November 14, 2018

Laura Ingraham to Transition Radio Show to Podcast in January. Talk media personality Laura Ingraham will end her 17-plus years of hosting a live radio talk show in January and launch an original podcast via PodcastOne.  Ingraham, who joined FOX News Channel’s prime-time lineup last fall, has also been hosting her late morning radio show syndicated via Courtside Entertainment.  She says, “While hosting a prime-time television show and raising three children on my own, continuing a three-hour morning radio show was no longer feasible.  Although I will greatly miss my radio listeners and affiliates, working late nights and early mornings has taken a toll on my family life.  Plus, my radio audience is smart, savvy and committed, and I know most will follow my new show in the format that is revolutionizing the audio world – digital podcasting.”  She adds, “Without phenomenal producers, a committed sales team, great station managers and program directors — and of course my loyal advertisers – this show wouldn’t have been possible.  Now it’s time for a new adventure.”   PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz states, “Due to her HUGE success on the FOX News channel, daily podcasts are a much better fit for Laura’s hectic schedule and provides her listeners in all markets access at any time to the new Laura Ingraham show podcast.  She’s at the top of her game and her new original podcasts will fit perfectly on PodcastOne.”

Cumulus Q3 Net Revenue Down 1.7%. The third quarter financial numbers for Cumulus Media have been released and the company reports Q3 net revenue of $282.3 million – an dip of 1.7% from the same period in 2017.  Net income was $12.7 million and adjusted EBITDA was $62.1 million.  Due to its emergence from Chapter 11 reorganization earlier this year, the company notes in its report that “for the purposes of the analysis of the results presented herein, the company is presenting the combined results of operations for the period June 4, 2018 to September 30, 2018 of the Successor Company with the period January 1, 2018 to June 3, 2018 of the Predecessor Company.  Although this presentation is not in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States, the company believes presenting and analyzing the combined results allows for a more meaningful comparison of results for the nine month period ended September 30, 2018 to the nine months ended September 30, 2017.”  Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner comments, “In our first full quarter of operations since emerging from Chapter 11, our positive momentum continued and we remain focused on the path ahead.  We delivered another quarter of Adjusted EBITDA growth – approximately 50 basis points on a reported basis and 3.9% when adjusting for the impact of USTN and our exit from WLUP-FM in Chicago.  Additionally, in early October, we completed a $50 million prepayment of our term loan using cash generated from operations, demonstrating both our ability to produce significant free cash flow and our commitment to pay down debt with that cash.  We continue to believe that our key growth initiatives, including our digital businesses at the Cumulus Radio Station Group, our rapidly expanding podcast business and pricing and inventory management improvements across the Company, as well as our substantial free cash flow generation, position the Company well to create value for all our stakeholders.”

iHeartMedia Names Future Board of Directors.  When iHeartMedia emerges from Chapter 11 reorganization, it will have a new board of directors and today the company announces who will sit on the board.  Current board chairman and CEO Bob Pittman and current president, COO and CFO Rich Bressler will continue to serve on the board with five new board members.  They are: former Walt Disney Company executive Jay Rasulo; Spyglass Entertainment co-founder and former MGM Inc. chairman and CEO Gary Barber; Altimeter Capital founder and CEO Brad Gerstner; private investor and director for both Aptiv plc and Arconic Inc Sean Mahoney; and Drawbridge founder and CEO Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan.  Bob Pittman comments, “We are excited about both the depth and range of our new board members.  We know our ability to draw on the experience of this unique combination of leaders in their respective fields will give us an unparalleled competitive advantage as we build our next level of growth.”

Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity Hits 600-Affiliate Mark. After a little more than 17 years in national syndication, Premiere Networks talk radio superstar Sean Hannity reaches the milestone of 600 affiliate stations.  Premiere states, “Hannity’s provocative, informed, and passionate commentary on news and politics has amassed a loyal following of more than 18 million listeners monthly.  Broadcasting live on weekdays from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET, the 2017 National Radio Hall of Fame inductee and two-time Marconi Award winner is one of the most prominent and influential talk radio hosts in the country, whose political foresight and focus on the American agenda has made him the second most-listened-to talk radio host in the U.S.”  Hannity comments, “I am humbled and appreciative to not only our 600 amazing affiliates, but also to the listeners of this radio show in each and every city. Thank you for this honor!”

Good News for Comrex ACCESS and BRIC-Link II Users; HotSwap Feature Now Available.  This new HotSwap feataure allows users of Comrex’s IP audio codecs ACCESS and BRIC-Link II to back up dedicated links.  This long-sought reliability feature allows users to back up their studio-to-transmitter link or other dedicated link with a wireless modem.  CrossLock is Comrex’s powerful technology for increasing network reliability and allows codecs to use multiple IP networks at once.  CrossLock lets users bond networks together so that more bandwidth is available.  Alternately, in redundancy mode, users can send identical streams down both networks.  Until now, however, it hasn’t been possible to designate one network as primary and a second network to be used only when the primary fails.  HotSwap lets users select a network that will only be engaged if the primary network fails.  The system will warn of this status with a contact closure, and automatically fallback to the primary once it’s restored.  Fall-over to backup happens in a matter of seconds, and fallback is seamless.  For ACCESS codecs, any supported modem can be used as a back-up.  For BRIC-Link II, only Comrex Connect Modems are supported.  4G LTE Comrex Connect Modems are available for purchase through any Comrex dealer.  When ordering, ask for the NX model of Connect Modem.  Verizon, AT&T, and International versions are available.  HotSwap is included in firmware version 4.3, which is available now for all ACCESS and BRIC-Link II codecs.  Users can download it for free using Device Manager.

TALKERS News Notes. Sports talk personality Orlando “Big O Alzugaray exits Entercom’s WQAM, Miami after a four-year stint hosting the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm program.  He’d previously served with the station from 1997 through 2010…..The National Radio Hall of Fame announces it is creating a new award called the “One to Watch,” chosen by the NRHoF nominating committee.  It was inspired by radio legend Art Laboe, the active radio performer with the longest continuous period of service on air for 75 years and a 2012 National Radio Hall of Fame Inductee.  The inaugural “One to Watch” award will be given to Westwood One’s Ben Shapiro…..At Salem Media Group’s Pittsburgh cluster, Brad Marshall is named general manager.  The station group includes news/talk WPGP “1250 The Answer” and its two Christian-formatted outlets.  During his career, Marshall has served with iHeartMedia and Cumulus Media in Youngstown, Ohio…..In more Salem Media Group news, the company chooses software provider Aptivada to power the company’s contesting, promotions, database management, and newsletters…..AdLarge Media’s digital audio advertising unit cabana adds the investigative podcast “Bear Brook” from New Hampshire Public Radio to its content portfolio.  The podcast, hosted by NHPR reporter Jason Moon, centers around a decades-old mystery involving four unidentified bodies found in two barrels in New Hampshire’s Bear Brook State Park in the 1980s. The first six episodes of “Bear Brook” garnered more than 1.1 million downloads…..NuVoodoo Media Services promotes Eric Cohen to the newly created position of executive vice president, finance. New York-based Cohen joined NuVoodoo Media Services earlier this year as vice president of finance…..iHeartMedia’s sports talk KBME, Houston re-ups with the Houston Astros to continue serving as the ballclub’s flagship radio station for play-by-play broadcasts.

Deadly California Wildfire, CNN-White House Suit, Florida Recount/Kemp-Abrams Contest/AZ Senate Race, Melania Trump-Mira Ricardel Matter, New Amazon HQs Revealed, Dow Dips Again, Michelle Obama Book Tour, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/13). The California wildfire that has claimed 48 lives so far; CNN’s suit against the White House requesting the return of Jim Acosta’s WH credentials pass; the re-count troubles in Florida, the Stacey AbramsBrian Kemp Georgia governor’s race, and Kyrsten Sinema’s AZ senate seat victory; Melania Trump’s move to oust deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel; Amazon reveals new HQ locations; the Dow loses another 100 points; Michelle Obama’s Becoming book tour; and the week’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. Program director Derek Harper announces Jarard J is the new evening personality at Urban One’s urban AC WAMJ-FM, Atlanta “MAJIC 107/5/97.5,” effective November 19.   About his new gig, Jarard J says, “When Hurricane Dave and Derek Harper chose me, it illustrated the confidence and faith that the leadership team has in me and I was both humbled and honored.  I feel like a first round draft pick.  I am excited and ready to ball.”…..On-air pro Karen Blake exits Cape Cod Broadcasting’s hot AC WQRC, H “99.9 The Q” after five years as the morning personality…..Envision Networks’ “Full Metal Jackie Radio” joins the program schedule at AJG Corporation’s rock WCLG-FM, Morgantown, West Virginia to air from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight on Fridays.  And check out host Jackie Kajzer at right holding her KILPOP 2018 Metal Programmer of the Year award.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

| August 21, 2018

Cumulus Media Q2 Net Revenue Down 1.8%. The 2018 second quarter financial report from Cumulus Media Inc. comes a bit late – the company had let the SEC know its first post-bankruptcy report would be tardy.  Net revenue for Cumulus (reflecting the combined results of the Successor and Predecessor Companies in connection with the emergence from Chapter 11) for the second quarter was $285.2 million, down 1.8% from the same period a year ago.  For the six months ended June 30, 2018, Cumulus reported net revenue of $548.9 million, down 1.0% from the first six months of 2017.  Cumulus reports in two segments: the Cumulus Radio Station Group and Westwood One.  The radio station group reported net revenue of $203 million – down 2.5% from a year ago, and Westwood One’s net revenue was $81.2 million – up 0.1%. President and CEO Mary Berner comments, “In the second quarter, we emerged from Chapter 11 with new and supportive ownership, a billion dollars less debt and results that demonstrate our operational and financial momentum, despite industry challenges and the distractions posed by our Chapter 11 proceedings.  Normalizing those results for $4.8 million of write-offs related to United States Traffic Network’s well-publicized financial problems, our Adjusted EBITDA grew in the quarter by 5.5%.  Looking forward, we are excited about the potential of our digital products, improved pricing, and inventory management across the entire platform and our young but fast-growing podcasting business to supplement the performance of our core business.  These growth drivers, combined with our continued focus on operating fundamentals, our reduced debt load, our ability to generate significant free cash flow, and our renewed focus on optimization of our portfolio of assets, position us well to build substantial shareholder value in the quarters and years to come.”

Cumulus Signs Traffic Deal with TTWN. On the same day it announces its second quarter financials and references the $4.8 million write-off related to its deal with United States Traffic NetworkCumulus announces its new deal with iHeartMedia-owned Total Traffic & Weather Network to be the exclusive provider of traffic content.  This is an addition to the existing deal for TTWN to provide weather content.  TTWN will provide real-time traffic reports and data to Cumulus’ 441 radio stations nationwide.  Additionally, TTWN’s 24/7 News division will provide news support, including anchored news and reporting services.

Quinn & Rose Back on Pittsburgh Airwaves. The Pittsburgh radio duo “Quinn & Rose” – Jim Quinn and Rose Somma-Tennant – is returning to the air in the Steel City, this time on iHeartMedia’s sports talk WBGG-AM/W292DH “ESPN Pittsburgh” on September 24.  The two enjoyed a long stint on the company’s former Pittsburgh FM news/talk WPGB (now country music) but exited the station in 2013.  The two have worked separately since then on various platforms.  Their show on WBGG will air from 8:00 am to 10:00 am daily.

New Boston Operations Center for iHeartMedia.  The photos above are of the new studios and offices of iHeartMedia in Boston.  At left is a lounge area outside an on-air studio and at right is a portion of the all-news WBZ-AM newsroom.  It’s a 43,000-plus square foot state-of-the-art facility that also includes news/talk WRKO-AM, talk WXKS-AM, and seven music outlets.  iHeartMedia says the “innovative space is designed to invoke collaboration and to embody the iHeartMedia brand.  In addition to cutting-edge design elements, the studios will feature digitally advanced technology and resources for talent and programmers that will help them connect even faster and easier with listeners delivering even more great content to the Boston community.”  The facility was designed by Michael Beneville.

PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an analysis of the performances of stations serving as flagships for Major League Baseball teams. As the 2018 season unfolds, see how the 6+ weekly AQH shares of flagship stations are affected. Among some of the comparisons presented are flagship stations ratings fluctuations from June 2018 to July 2018 as well as from July 2017 to July 2018.  Based on July 2018 PPM data, flagships with the largest market shares (6+) are: WLW, Cincinnati (Reds); WTMJ, Milwaukee (Brewers); and KMOX, St. Louis (Cardinals). See the entire report here.

TALKERS News Notes. As reported by Chicago media maven Robert Feder, radio icon Mike North is the subject of a new film being developed by Chicagoans Jeremy Morrison and Adam Rifkin.  The biopic of the hot dog vendor-turned sports talk radio giant is set for production in 2019…..It may seem elementary to industry insiders but the how and why of the appeal of sports talk radio to male consumers is the focus of a recent piece in The New York Times.  Writer Jason Notte speaks with representatives of ESPN Audio and Entercom, as well as marketers who’ve had success advertising on sports talk radio.  That includes a law firm specializing in divorce that’s been a regular advertiser on Portland, Oregon’s three sports talk stations.  Read the piece here…..Washington, DC all-news WTOP-FM is moving into new studios in Chevy Chase, Maryland in December or January.  According to a piece in Bethesda Magazine, the new location at 5425 Wisconsin Ave. on Wisconsin Circle is just over the Washington, DC line in Maryland.  The Hubbard Radio all-news station has been at its current Idaho Ave. location since 1989.

Trump-Russia Investigation, Trump Security Clearance Strategy, Church Sexual Abuse Scandal, Manafort Trial/Expected Cohen Charges, Asia Argento Sexual Assault Payoff, MTV VMA Awards/Aretha Franklin Tributes, Western Wildfires/Air Quality, NFL Pre-season and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/20). The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; President Trump’s removal of security clearances from his critics; the Pennsylvania Catholic Church sexual assault scandal; the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the likelihood of charges being filed against Michael Cohen; Harvey Weinstein accuser Asia Argento’s reported payoff to a young man for alleged sexual assault; the MTV VMA awards show and the related Aretha Franklin tributes; the wildfires in the U.S. West and the region’s poor air quality; NFL pre-season action and the Major League Baseball playoff push were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Charese Fruge is joining Radio One to serve as the format captain for CHR for the company and to program hit radio stations WNOW-FM, Indianapolis “Radio Now 100.9” and KROI, Houston “Radio Now 92.1.”  Her most recent radio gig was with CBS RADIO as PD for then-CHR KKHH, Houston and sister hot AC KHMX.  Fruge will be based in Indianapolis…..On-air pro Jenny D is the new morning drive personality on Bonneville’s adult contemporary KOSI, Denver, effective September 4.  She joins current morning star Sean Henry on the wake-up show.  Bonneville Denver vice president and general manager Bob Call says, “We have had our eye on Jenny ever since she interned with KYGO a decade ago. Listeners adore her as she brings the real-life experiences of being a wife and a mom to the radio every morning.  Denver is home for Jenny and we are excited she is making the jump up the dial to KOSI.”…..Air personality Nikki Preston returns to her radio roots as the midday personality on Inland Empire Broadcasting’s rock KCAL-FM, Riverside.  She launched her career as a morning show producer at the company’s classic hits outlet KOLA-FM.  She says, “I am super amped to be back rockin’ the Inland Empire and getting the opportunity to work with such an incredibly talented group of people.”  At the same time, the station promotes promotion director and part-time air personality Brandon “4orty” Kessel to co-host of the “Tons of Rock in the Morning” show with host Patrick Tish.  Kessel is also adding music director duties and will assist with other programming responsibilities…..In Akron, Ken Steel is promoted to program director for Rubber City Radio’s country WQMX.  Steel is also afternoon drive personality and he assumes the PD role from Sue Wilson who exited at the end of June…..Midwest Communications brings Aaron Santini aboard as operations manager for its Evansville, Indiana cluster that includes country WLFW, rock WABX, adult contemporary WIKY, and CHR WSTO. He was most recently serving with CHR WKHQ.  He says, “I cannot overstate how excited I am to be joining the Midwest Communications family.  I want to thank VP/MM Tim Huelsing and VP programming Jeff McCarthy for allowing me the privilege of stepping into the OM role at such an amazing cluster.  I’m looking forward to working with the incredible team already in place in Evansville.”…..The Premiere Networks-syndicated CHR program “The Kane Show” announces the launch of three new podcasts. They are: “The Kane Show’s Last Resort” in which the cast expands upon what went down during the show.  It’s where everyone shares a little bit more into their personal lives and gives a final say on what they talk about; “The Kane Show Remix” is everything that happened in the past week smashed into one; and “The Kane Show Presents: Ghosted” in which the cast helps listeners figure out why they got “ghosted” in their relationship by reuniting couples and letting them share their side of the story to set the record straight, once and for all.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

| August 9, 2018

Tribune Terminates Sinclair Merger Agreement. Included in our story yesterday which dealt with Sinclair Broadcast Group’s second-quarter earnings report (Talkers.com, 8/8) was the following quote from Sinclair president and chief executive officer Chris Ripley who addressed the pending acquisition of Tribune Media Company: “We are working with them to analyze approaches to the regulatory process that are in the best interest of our companies, employees, and shareholders.” It was announced early today that not only is the marriage between the two entities over, Tribune Media is suing Sinclair Broadcast Group for breach of contract; the suit was filed today (Thursday, 8/9) in Delaware Chancery Court. The proposed $3.9 billion deal hit a snag when the FCC designated it for a hearing, a red flag that the transaction would most likely not be approved. Last month, FCC chair Ajit Pai raised “serious concerns” about the deal, which originally would have reached roughly 70% of U.S. households. Tribune is charging that, “In an effort to maintain control over stations it was obligated to sell, Sinclair engaged in unnecessarily aggressive and protracted negotiations with the Department of Justice and the FCC over regulatory requirements; refused to sell stations in the markets as required to obtain approval; and proposed aggressive divestment structures and related-party sales that were either rejected outright or posed a high risk of rejection and delay – all in derogation of Sinclair’s contractual obligations.” Tribune further claims, “Sinclair’s entire course of conduct has been in blatant violation of the merger agreement; but for Sinclair’s actions, the transaction could have closed long ago.” According to Tribune chief executive officer Peter Kern, “In light of the FCC’s unanimous decision, referring the issue of Sinclair’s conduct for a hearing before an administrative law judge, our merger cannot be completed within an acceptable timeframe, if ever. This uncertainty and delay would be detrimental to our company and our shareholders. Accordingly, we have exercised our right to terminate the merger agreement, and, by way of our lawsuit, intend to hold Sinclair accountable.” Revenue for Tribune’s only radio property – Chicago news/talk WGN – is not broken out in the company’s second-quarter financials. “Notwithstanding our disappointment regarding the outcome of the [Sinclair] transaction,” Kern remarks, “we are extremely pleased with our second quarter results, which were very strong. Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA grew 69% versus the prior year period and 84% for the first half of the year. While net core advertising revenues declined 6%, we were able to drive consolidated revenue growth of 6% when excluding the impact of barter revenues, with solid growth in retransmission and carriage fees revenues and political advertising revenue. Our disciplined focus on cost management drove programming expenses down 29% and corporate and other cash expenses, excluding transaction costs, down 19% over the prior year period.”

Rumor Becomes Fact: Warner Is WW One’s Lead MNF Analyst. Just this past Tuesday (Talkers.com, 8/7), we referenced a report by Richard Deitsch in The Athletic, hinting that Hall of Fame QB and NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner would join Kevin Harlan as Westwood One’s lead analyst for “Monday Night Football” and the Super Bowl. It is now official: Warner’s first broadcast will be in a little over four weeks (9/10), when the Oakland Raiders host the Los Angeles Rams. He becomes only the fourth regular “MNF” analyst for Westwood One since its broadcast partnership with the NFL began 40 years ago. The others were Boomer Esiason (2000-2017); Matt Millen (1996-2000); and Hank Stram (1978-1984, 1987-1995). Ever since he retired from the NFL, Warner insists he has “been blessed” with tremendous broadcasting opportunities. “I am grateful to Westwood One for this opportunity and for believing in me with this role. The bar has been set extremely high by Boomer Esiason and others. I look forward to grabbing the torch, working hard, and maintaining the sense of excellence that has become synonymous with Westwood One. I also look forward to continuing my relationship with Kevin Harlan, who I believe is one of the best play-by-play people in the business.” Westwood One president/Cumulus Media executive vice president of marketing Suzanne Grimes states, “We have been proud partners of the NFL for more than four decades and our best-in-class broadcasts feature the brightest stars from the league. Kurt Warner is a keen observer with a great eye and unique analysis. He adds another layer of authenticity, knowledge, and expertise to our roster. He is an incredible asset for our loyal and passionate listeners and engaged advertisers.” Westwood One Sports executive vice president/executive producer Howard Deneroff adds, “To have a player, and person, of Kurt Warner’s caliber become our lead analyst is incredibly exciting. We look forward to Kevin and Kurt working together full-time. We are confident that they will continue the legacy of great Westwood One broadcast teams which have informed and entertained listeners on Monday nights for decades.” A 2017 inductee in the pro football Hall of Fame, Warner played 12 seasons in the NFL, leading two different franchises (St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals) to Super Bowl appearances. He was the NFL’s MVP in 1999 and 2001. He and wife, Brenda, created “The First Things First Foundation,” dedicated to impacting lives by promoting Christian values, and “Treasure House,” which provides a supportive living environment for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Multi-Year TuneIn, Cumulus Deal Expands Streaming Partnership. The arrangement between the two principals calls for streaming of Cumulus Media’s 441 stations in 90 markets, as well as shows on co-owned Westwood One Podcast Network on the TuneIn platform. Cumulus Media president and chief executive officer Mary Berner remarks, “We understand that consumers engage with content across multiple platforms and devices. We put our listeners first, and we have made it our mission to provide a modern and platform-agnostic listening experience. Expanding our partnership with TuneIn takes our distribution and promotional opportunities to the next level, exposing our portfolio of leading stations, shows, and programs to new fans.” TuneIn chief executive officer John Donham states, “As the world’s leader in live digital audio, we are thrilled to provide our listeners access to some of the best live-station programming across sports, news, talk, music, and entertainment, as well as popular podcasts and other on-demand content offered by Cumulus Media. We look forward to a long and successful partnership as we grow the next chapter of the audio business together.” Heretofore, Cumulus Media stations have been available through iHeartRadio, as well as TuneIn.

Salem Media Group Reports Mixed Q2 Results. Second-quarter total revenue for Salem Media Group increased .2% to $66.3 million; net broadcast revenue rose 2.7% to $50.6 million; and station operating income held steady at $13.3 million. Conversely, operating income fell 84.4% to $1.3 million and net income spiraled from a gain of $1.3 million to a loss of $2.2 million. In addition, EBITDA dropped 40.8% to $6 million and Adjusted EBITDA fell 9.4% to $11.2 million. A full-slate of Salem Radio Network talk shows aired on news/talk WBIX, Boston but, in early-January (2018), Salem Media Group agreed to sell “The Buzz” for $685,000 to the International Church of the Grace of God, which – through an LMA – flipped the station to a Portuguese format; the sale was finalized approximately two months ago (6/20). The second-quarter included a $5.7 million net loss on the sale of stations in Omaha and land in Covina, California. Salem Media Group projects third-quarter total revenue to be flat or up 2% from 2017’s $65.4 million.


Round Three of July 2018 PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets, including Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Cincinnati, Orlando, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 survey period covered June 21 – July 18. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.

TALKERS News Notes. Under newly-signed five-year deals, Joe Bowen and Jim Ralph will return calling Toronto Maple Leafs hockey games. The NHL team’s radio broadcasts are split between Rogers sports talk CJCL “Sports Net 590 The Fan” and Bell Media sports talk CHUM “TSN Radio 1050.” Per The Toronto Sun, the deal is for radio only. This year’s Hockey Hall of Fame Foster Hewitt award winner – Bowen – has been calling Toronto Maple Leafs games since 1982; Ralph has been on the broadcasts since 1997 ….. Morning driver John Hines is retiring at the end of the month from heritage Entercom Minneapolis news/talk WCCO. Newly-arrived (from Entercom Philadelphia) operations manager Andy Bloom is holding on-air auditions to fill that upcoming “News Radio 830” vacancy. In a station memo obtained by City Pages, Bloom writes, “My only interest is getting someone that will generate an audience. The fact is, the majority of news/talk radio listeners are center-right.” ….. Former San Francisco 49ers defensive end Dennis Brown is named co-host of KNBR’s pregame and postgame NFL coverage. This marks the 14th year of 49ers football on the Cumulus Media San Francisco sports talk outlet. Program director Jeremiah Crowe comments, “We are thrilled to welcome Dennis Brown to the KNBR family. Dennis brings a Super Bowl champion’s perspective to our coverage, and he will maintain a regular analyst role throughout the week during our primetime talk programming. The addition of Dennis further strengthens KNBR’s NFL roster as the strongest in all of sports radio.” Brown, who was a 49ers television analyst from 2012 – 2017, adds, “As a Bay Area native, I’m very excited to be joining KNBR’s game-day broadcast team. I’ve listened to KNBR for decades and jumped at the opportunity to join their pregame and postgame coverage.” Brown was the 47th overall pick in the 1990 NFL draft and played all seven years of his career for San Francisco, including 1995, when he was part of the team that won Super Bowl XXIX ….. Meanwhile, in Seattle, Dave Wyman is named radio analyst for the NFL’s Seahawks on Bonneville-owned flagships KIRO-AM “710 ESPN Seattle” and news/talk KIRO-FM “Radio 97.3.” The former linebacker (Seahawks and Denver Broncos) will work alongside play-by-play announcer Steve Raible during the regular season; Jen Mueller and John Clayton return as sideline reporters ….. Cleveland-based podcast production and radio syndication network Front Porch Media Network acquires Pit Pass Media Group, producers of weekly two-hour motorcycle racing podcast “Pit Pass Moto,” which has had 785,015 episode downloads in the last four years. Front Porch chief executive officer Michael DeAloia notes, “We look forward to enhancing the brand and building new content. We continue to concentrate on building a dynamic and engaging podcast portfolio. ‘Pit Pass Moto’ is a prestigious podcast and one that merits additional resources and investment.” The podcast’s partner and guest host Ed Kuhlenkamp remarks, “We are excited about the Front Porch Media acquisition and what it means for the show’s fans. We believe Front Porch Media has the resources required to take the ‘Pit Pass Moto’ brand to the next level.”

Harrison Podcast Resurrects 36-Year-Old Interview with Apple I and Apple II Inventor Steve Wozniak. In commemoration of Apple, Inc. reaching the historic milestone of a one trillion dollar valuation, TALKERS founder Michael Harrison dug up a 36-year-old interview that he conducted with Apple, Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak, the designer and inventor of the original Apple I and II personal computers. It is the centerpiece of this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Originally aired in 1982 on the pioneering national cable TV talk show “Harrison’s Mic,” the 24-minute conversation explores the beginnings of Apple Computer, Inc. (as it was then called) from what was a relatively recent perspective (it was only six years old). More importantly, it reveals the prescient thinking and perspective of one of the most important electronic designers and computer scientists of the digital era (and eventual philanthropist) when he was only 32 years old and society had merely scratched the surface of the revolution about to change the way people live and think. This fascinating interview is a must-listen for pop culture enthusiasts and media freaks. Michael Harrison states, “I am only first understanding the level of historical and intellectual gold that exists in the thousands of interviews, specials and broadcasts collecting dust in my archives that go back a half-century. We never realized when this content was being created in those early days that it would be of such historical interest and value. It just seemed like disposable pop content of the moment. This gem of a conversation with the great Steve Wozniak, which I hadn’t heard in more than three decades, is a prime example. I am so happy to share it in 2018 upon the milestone of Apple setting such astonishing records.” To listen to the interview in its entirety, please click here.

Mueller Investigation; Ohio Special Election/Primaries; Manafort Trial/Gates Testimony, California Wildfire and the Environment, Trump China Tariffs, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Discussed Yesterday (8/8). The Robert Mueller probe; the special election in Ohio and key primaries in several states, the trial of Paul Manafort highlighted by the damaging testimony of Rick Gates; the deadly California wildfires and their possible causes; and MLB action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday (8/8), according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. “Summer Camp,” a two-day, outdoor music concert showcasing the different sounds of alternative rock, will be held this Saturday (8/11) and Sunday (8/12) at Redmond, Washington’s Marymoor Park. Entercom Seattle’s KNDD “107.7 The End” hosts the tenth annual event, which will feature – among others – AWOLNATION, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Manchester Orchestra, Robert DeLong, and Elle King. A portion of the ticket sales will go to Pearl Jam’s “Home Fund” to fight homelessness in Seattle. The “Home Fund” is part of the Vitalogy Foundation, which supports the efforts of non-profit organizations and their work in the fields of community health, the environment, arts and education, and social change ….. Changes at Cumulus Media Syracuse find CHR WNTQ “93-Q The #1 Hit Music Station” music director/afternoon drive talent Rick Roberts boosted to assistant program director/digital content manager, while production director Joey Walker takes over as “93-Q” mid-day host/digital content manager for alternative WAQX “95-X” and rock WXTL “105.9 The Rebel.” Operations manager Tom Mitchell comments, “We are pleased to promote from within. In these new roles, both Rick and Joey will apply valuable fresh perspective to market leader ’93-Q.’ Rick assumes all APD duties, along with digital content oversight/management and the afternoon-drive air shift. Joey brings talent and enthusiasm to the ’93-Q’ midday slot. Both will continue to develop new opportunities for us in the digital and social media realm.” ….. Former 12-year vice president of operations for Rubber City Radio Akron’s WQMX “94.9 Your Station – Your Country,” Sue Wilson Cordle, restarts her voiceover business with Sue Wilson Creative. She previously was Cleveland adult contemporary WDOK’s director/programming for 12 years; a programming consultant for McVay Media; and director/programming of Salem Cleveland contemporary Christian WFHM “95.5 The Fish” and co-owned Christian talk WHKW “AM 1220 The Word.” ….. In conjunction with the National Association of Black-Owned Broadcasters (NABOB), Kizart Media Partners (KMP) will present the 18th annual “Power of Urban Radio Forum” October 4th and 5th in Washington, DC. This year’s National Service awardee, Procter & Gamble chief business officer Marc Pritchard, will be the keynote speaker. KMP founder/managing director Sherman Kizart notes, “We continue the tradition of bringing together influential marketers and advertising agencies to discuss the incomparable value that the African-American market and urban radio bring as key communications elements. The event coincides with NABOB’s 42nd annual Fall Broadcast Management Conference. NABOB and PURF conference registrations are $200 for members; $400 for non-members ….. Chicago media reporter Robert Feder is first to report that, sometime next year, legendary “Windy City” programmer/on-air talent Tommy Edwards will publish his memoir, which will feature stories of Edwards’ 54-year radio career. Highlights will surely include his time working with the iconic Larry Lujack and moonlighting as public address announcer for the Chicago Bulls. Four years ago, Edwards retired from CBS Radio’s classic hits-oldies WJMK “K-Hits 104.3” (now Entercom-owned urban-rhythmic oldies WBMX “104.3 Jams”) ….. Grammy-nominated country artist Cam will serve as the first host of Slacker Radio’s “Women Crush Everyday” (#WCE Country), a channel devoted to introducing and elevating female country artists. “Women Crush Everyday” will feature commentary and playlist selections from ladies in the music industry. Slacker’s country format captain Jess Wright declares, “We have amazingly talented women making music in Nashville and they deserve to be heard. In 2017, more than 97% of the artists who appeared on the year-end country top 40 were male. This doesn’t reflect the quality of music created by women – it reflects a lack of support from the gatekeepers of country music who believe that women have limited commercial appeal. Through Slacker, we can bring the music of female country artists directly to our audience, curated by the people who are most passionate about it – the women in Nashville’s music industry.” ….. Interim general manager of Bellevue Community College-owned KBCS, Seattle – Carol Handley – is named director of music programming at Friends of 88.5 FM’s KNKX in the same market and will begin her new duties one week from next Monday (8/20). Director of content Matt Martinez notes, “Carol has proven success in building and nurturing teams and on-air talent; an entrepreneurial spirit; and a love of storytelling. With her deep roots in the Seattle music scene, I am confident she will redouble our commitment to supporting this vital and vibrant community.” Handley succeeds Nick Francis, who is retiring after 13 years in that position. In Seattle’s July 2018 Nielsen Audio PPM report, KNKX ranks #14, dropping the six-tenths it gained in June (3.0 – 3.6 – 3.0, 6+).

Rod Shares Red Roses With Dresdale. During his interview with ABC Radio‘s Andrea Dresdale (r), one of the most prolific pop star interviewers in radio, the ageless Rod Stewart (l) discussed his new album “Blood Red Roses” and his headlining tour with Cyndi Lauper.

 

 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

| May 2, 2018

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Approves Cumulus Plan.  The company announces that the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York has confirmed its Plan of Reorganization.   Cumulus Media says it expects to emerge from Chapter 11 before the end of the quarter, after the conditions to the Plan are satisfied.  Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner says, “The Court’s approval of our Plan allows us to complete the balance sheet restructuring that is critical to the success of our turnaround strategy.  With a firmer financial foundation in place, we look forward to continuing to implement the business initiatives that have already taken this Company so far.  The financial and operational progress we have already experienced are a testament to the tenacity and commitment of the entire Cumulus team.  We also greatly appreciate the ongoing support of our advertisers, vendors, and affiliates as we continue to provide high-quality programming to our millions of listeners across the country.”  Prior to entering Chapter 11 reorganization, Cumulus was saddled with more than $2 billion in debt.  Upon completion of the restructuring process, the company says its debt will have been reduced by more than $1 billion and it “will have greater financial flexibility with which to support its ongoing business transformation.”

Entercom Simulcasts Sports Content on KGMZ-AM, San Francisco.  KGMZ-AM, San Francisco is now simulcasting content from Entercom’s sister sports talk outlet KGMZ-FM “95.7 The Game.”  The company says in addition to carrying the daily lineup of Joe Fortenbaugh, Lorenzo Neal and Dan Dibley in mornings; Matt Steinmetz & Daryle “The Guru” Johnson in late mornings; Greg Papa in early afternoons; Damon Bruce in afternoon drive and Chris Townsend in evenings; the station will also air Oakland A’s baseball when conflicts arise with Golden State Warriors playoff hoops. Entercom San Francisco SVP and market manager Gregory Nemitz says, “With the overlap of play-by-play between our athletic partners, we launched sports content on the AM frequency to provide our fans with more options to listen to all of their favorite games.  This also gives us the opportunity in the future to create additional exclusive programming on 1550 AM to super serve Bay Area sports fans.”

2018 Hofstra University/RTDNA Newsroom Survey Released. The 2018 edition of the Hofstra University/RTDNA Newsroom Survey is being released and is available for purchase for $25.  The survey provides insight into the state of local news in television and radio.  The Bob Papper-authored survey also reports on salaries in newsrooms.  This year’s survey indicates that radio news salaries rose 2.8% compared to the year prior.  That’s one-tenth of a point behind average U.S. wages.  See more here.

Trump-Russia Investigation, Mexico Border Security/Caravan Asylum Seekers, Iran Nuclear Deal, Tom Brokaw Allegations, North-South Korea Talks, Kanye West Controversies, Rising Oil Prices, MLB Action, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/1).  The investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents, including special counsel Robert Mueller’s list of questions for President Trump and the threat of a subpoena; security at the U.S.-Mexico border and the status of “caravan Asylum seekers”; President Trump’s stance on the Iran nuclear deal and Israel’s attempt to suggest Iran has been dishonest; allegations NBC news icon Tom Brokaw made unwanted sexual advances to women years ago; the proposed peace talks between North and South Korea and President Trump’s role in the process; Kanye West’s recent series of controversial statements and vocal support of President Trump; rising oil prices and speculation about higher summer gas prices; Major League Baseball action; and NBA playoff games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. No one at iHeartMedia Houston is commenting but it’s being reported in numerous places that KBME, Houston morning sports talk host Josh Innes has been suspended by the station, ostensibly for his part in an on-air feud with fellow host Adam Clanton, who last week exited the station where he was co-host of the afternoon drive show with Jayson Braddock and Sean Jones.  The reason for his departure is not clear but it’s being speculated that the feud had something to do with it……Next Wednesday (5/9) is the debut of the Gregg “Opie” Hughes podcast on the Westwood One Podcast Network.  The company says that “Opie Radio” will “feature Opie hitting the streets and podcasting from surprise locations with his famous friends, including Carl Ruiz from the Food Network, comedians Vic Henley and Sherrod Small, and many more.”  New episodes will be released every Monday and Wednesday. Cumulus EVP marketing and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes says, “Westwood One Podcast Network is the ideal platform for Opie to open up and tell his story.  Opie is a star, with a massive following and great chemistry with our head of digital content, Tim Sabean.  This is a new chapter for Opie and we’re giving him the creative freedom to develop a unique podcast that will reveal his true nature.” Check out the show’s teaser here…..Envision Networks says its syndicated “Our Auto Expert” vignette – featuring auto expert Nik Miles – is now syndicated to more than 700 affiliate stations.  Miles is quoted saying, “There are 268 million cars on the road in America.  We are the original Car Nation.  We celebrate our freedom and our mobility every day by driving.  We think that’s why we have been so successful talking to people about something they love and something they spend their hard earned money on.”  Affiliate stations receive a daily, 45-second audio report for use on-air and online, plus two videos per month to use on their website and on demand…..Cumulus Media appoints Jim Riley vice president and market manager for its Buffalo station group that includes sports talk WHLD.  Riley returns to Buffalo where he was GSM for the cluster before leaving to head up the company’s Erie cluster in 2005…..CBS News is relaunching “Intelligence Matters” – the podcast hosted by former CIA Acting Director and CBS News national security contributor Michael Morell.  The first podcast (released 5/2) features an in-depth interview with former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden.  Morell says, “The podcast will educate listeners on the complex national security issues facing the nation and do so in a way that is entertaining and non-partisan, a place free of politics, just like national security should be.  Each podcast will deliver listeners critical insight into how the U.S. national security and intelligence community operates as well as an insider perspective on the world around us from people who know best.”…..The “Bob & Tom Show” signs a new, multi-year agreement with Westwood One to continue their syndication arrangement.  Show co-host Tom Griswold says, “Our show is getting bigger and better all the time, thanks to our great relationship with Westwood One.  In the dizzying world of digital technology, including an ever-changing radio world, it’s terrific to be part of the Westwood One team.  They understand the importance of great content, and the ability to deliver it on multiple media platforms.”  The program is heard on some 100 affiliate stations…..CBS News Radio executive editor and correspondent Steve Dorsey is a finalist in this year’s Livingston Awards from the University of Michigan for his breaking story of the Cuba attacks and subsequent reportage.  CBS says that “Steve is one of three audio entries and the ONLY commercial radio finalist in a sea of top journalists from The New York Times, the Washington Post, The New Yorker and others.”  The Livingston Awards are funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the University of Michigan to support the vital role of a free and independent press. The awards bolster the work of young reporters, create the next generation of journalism leaders and advance civic engagement around powerful storytelling”…..iHeartRadio launches a new, daily news podcast called, “The Daily Dive” – a 15-minute podcast that posts each weekday at 6:00 am ET.  The program is hosted by Los Angeles-based producer, writer and editor, Oscar Ramirez.  You can hear the new program on iHeartRadio here…..ABC Radio and Skyview Networks gave some of their advertisers a VIP experience at Monday’s season premiere of “Dancing with the Stars: Athletes” live from Hollywood on ABC-TV.  Pictured below Tonya Harding and Sasha Farber are ABC Radio’s Steve Jones and Skyview’s Jeanne Marie Condo and Kim Ball along with invited radio advertising buyers.

TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Is Nearing an Early Sellout. The organizers of TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! TALKERS magazine’s 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – set for Friday, June 8 in New York City – is on course to again be an early sellout. Next Friday, May 11 at 5:00 pm ET has been set as the absolute cut-off date past which new registrations will no longer be taken – although according to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “We might have to stop taking registrations before that because the number of bodies we can accommodate at this basically intimate gathering is indeed finite.” The power-packed program will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology, as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to on-air and online broadcasting professionals. See the list of speakers and up-to-the-minute agenda as well as registration, hotel and sponsorship information by clicking here. The conference takes place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater in the colorful Chelsea District of Manhattan and organizers have arranged for a special hotel deal for conference attendees right across the street at the Hilton New York Fashion District located at 152 West 26th Street, New York. A special block of remarkably priced rooms has been reserved for convention attendees. They will only be available until May 8 or until they sell out – which can come at any moment. The TALKERS editorial board strongly recommends that industry professionals planning on attending the convention make their registrations and hotel reservations as quickly as possible.

Christine Hassler Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Best-selling author, keynote speaker, master coach, podcaster and TV host Christine Hassler is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” A world-renowned evangelist for the nascent field of “Spiritual Psychology,” Hassler is the co-host and relationship expert on TLC’s “The Spouse House,” in addition to hosting a weekly podcast titled, “Over It & On With It.” Harrison and Hassler engage in a deep-dive conversation about the intersection between mind and soul, including social media addiction, the characteristics of Millennials, and dealing with life’s major disappointments. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box for “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The KKDA, Dallas-based “DeDe in the Morning” show, hosted by DeDe McGuire, is being launched into national syndication via Compass Media Networks.  KKDA “K104” owner Service Broadcasting, McGuire and Compass expect to debut the national rollout in July.  McGuire – former longtime co-host of the Doug Banks syndicated program – says, “It is an absolute honor to enter national syndication.  With humility, excitement and pride, all of us at ‘DeDe in the Morning’ are 100% committed to continuing to put in all the hard work to make our program a success for our prospective affiliates and national sponsors.”.….Comic Maurice “Moe” Williams is joining the cast of Yea Networks’ syndicated “The Bert Show,” featuring Bert Weiss, Kristin Klingshirn, and Davi Crimmins.  Williams will re-locate to Atlanta where the program is based at CHR WWWQ “Q100.”…..Nia Marciante is named promotions director for iHeartMedia‘s country WMZQ and adult contemporary WASH-FM in Washington.  iHeartMedia Washington marketing director Kim Sauer says, “Nia is the final piece to an incredibly strong promotions team here in the Washington, D.C. region.  I know Nia is the right choice to raise the bar for the WASH and WMZQ brands in the market.”  Marciante joins the Washington cluster from iHeartMedia Philadelphia, where she served as promotions assistant…..iHeartMedia alternative rock WRFF, Philadelphia “Radio 104.5” is bringing back its popular Summer Block Party Series that takes place on June 3, July 22, and August 12.  Acts signed up for this summer’s free concerts include: AWOLNATION, lovelytheband, Flora Cash, Wallows, and Deadfellow…..iHeartMedia’s CHR WRVW, Nashville “107.5 the River” announces the lineup for its first-ever “Summer Kickoff Party” takin place on May 25.  Performing will be Jack & Jack, In Real Life, and Logan Henderson…..Entercom’s alternative KRBZ, Kansas City “96.5 The Buzz” is presenting the “Buzz Beach Ball” on July 29.  Acts performing will include: Portugal. The Man, AWOLNATION, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Blue October, Joywave, Robert DeLong, The Getup Kids, lovelytheband, Hembree, Mt. Joy, MANSIONAIR, andL.I.F.T…..iHeartMedia country outlet WEBG, Chicago “BIG 95.5”  presented Jason Aldean at Joe’s on Weed St. on Sunday (4/29) and raised more than $32,000 for Susan G. Komen for Breast Cancer research. Pictured below (l-r) are: WEBG program director Lance Houston, WEBG personality Trace in the Truck, Aldean, WEBG afternoon host Brooke Taylor, WEBG promotions director Kelsey King, and WEBG morning personality Alabama.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

| April 4, 2018

ABC Radio and Skyview Networks Expand Radio Syndication Efforts.  A statement from both companies says ABC Radio and Skyview Networks are “further aligning” their resources to “identify, develop and syndicate talent and programs to broadcast radio.”  For its part, ABC Radio will seek out talent syndication opportunities – for both music and news/talk formats – and will handle the affiliate sales angle, while Skyview Networks will take care of national sales and distribution.  ABC Radio VP/GM Steve Jones states, “We are building on the momentum and tremendous success we’ve already seen in our existing partnership.  ABC Radio has always represented creative and innovative programming and we are excited to offer programmers and talent a new, stable business environment to grow and monetize their brands.”  Skyview Networks president Ken Thiele adds, “The timing of our syndication partnership couldn’t be more perfect.  We’ve heard from a significant number of programs and clearly there is a need for another syndication option in the marketplace.  We’re growing and continue to make substantial investments in technology and our staff, and it’s paying off.  This new venture is really a reflection of the dynamic synergies between ABC Radio and Skyview, and our positive business trajectory.”  In July 2016, ABC Radio and Skyview Networks renewed their content, ad sales, affiliate sales and audio distribution agreement.

Cumulus and Merlin Strike a Deal for WKQX, Chicago.  On Tuesday evening, Cumulus Media announced that it has arrived at a deal to acquire Chicago alternative rock WKQX from Merlin Media.  Cumulus has been operating the station under a local marketing agreement, but when it filed to reorganize under Chapter 11, it asked the court to void a number of its prior agreements that it considered onerous.  The WKQX LMA included a “put-and-call” that would have allowed Merlin to force Cumulus to buy the station at a predetermined price (the “put”). The combo deal included WLUP-FM, but Merlin found another willing buyer in Education Media Foundation, which is acquiring WLUP for $50 million.  As part of this deal, Cumulus Media is also getting the intellectual property of “The Loop.”  The speculation in Chicago is that the company will transform classic hits WLS-FM into “94/7 The Loop.” Cumulus CEO Mary Berner says, “After operating the station for the past four years, we are delighted to be able to bring this beloved station under Cumulus’ ownership on economic terms that make sense for our business.  We look forward to continuing to deliver the best alternative rock programming to our devoted listeners in the Chicago area for years to come.”  Though no price for WKQX in included in the press release, media trade RBR-TVBR is reporting the price tag is $18 million.

Janet Bro Named COO at USA Radio Networks. Rising from vice president/general sales manager to chief operating officer at USA Radio Networks is Janet Bro.  The company announces that this promotion comes as the company completes its corporate relocation from Phoenix to its flagship station offices at KBDT-AM, Dallas. USA says that in this new position, Bro will lead the networks, including the company’s stations in Chicago, Dallas and Minneapolis, as well as five properties in Nevada.  USA says, “Bro comes from a distinguished career in media and advertising.  She began in radio/TV at Bradley University, has owned and operated three FM stations in Illinois and managed others before embarking on a two-decade adventure with Verizon’s Yellow Pages.”  USA Radio Networks CEO Fred Weinberg says, “Our goal is to create news and programming that we and our affiliates can be proud of. We’re not Democrats or Republicans, we’re Americans and that’s how we see the news.  Janet is the perfect person to push this forward.”  USA Radio Networks provides news and long-form talk programming for some 500 affiliates across the country.

Still No Kevin Klein at ’97.3 The Machine’ in San Diego.  Yes, Entercom’s KEGY, San Diego “97.3 The Machine” is still playing rock music and comedy bits during morning drive, five days after air personality Kevin Klein was to debut as host of the new station’s AM drive show.  He’s still listed on the station’s website, so it’s unlikely he’s been let go.  What is likely is that Entercom is still negotiating with the San Diego Padres over the station’s role as flagship for the MLB club.  The Padres either stay or they go.  If they stay, one line of thought is that the station veers from the guy talk/sports hybrid to a pure sports talk station (in order to assuage the team). But if the Padres take their play-by-play elsewhere, perhaps Kevin Klein takes to the air as morning host and the station keeps its “edge.”  It’s hard to imagine Entercom letting this go beyond this week and it must be very difficult to sell time on a station thats format is in question.  In case you’ve missed the backstory, Klein posted a promotional Tweet for his show that poked fun at the city’s Coronado Bridge and its history as a site of so many suicides.  That upset many San Diegans, as well as the Padres.  But, that wasn’t the only issue.  According to comments made to the San Diego Union Tribune by Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler, the club hasn’t been happy with the station’s general tone. Fowler told the paper that the team would get through the opening series of the season and then “sit down and evaluate it,” meaning the team’s relationship with the station.

Larry Kudlow to Do Regular Guest Spot on WABC’s John Batchelor Program. The new director of the National Economic Council – Larry Kudlow – is going to join John Batchelor each Tuesday evening at 9:00 as a guest on Batchelor’s WABC, New York radio program.  The station says that the Tuesday night guest spots “will include other colleagues and will cover topics including the economic health of the U.S. and its allies and trading partners.”  WABC program director Craig Schwalb states, “Kudlow and Batchelor have been working together on-air each week since 2004.  It is a joy to learn that the Trump administration is willing to make the country’s new economic adviser available to the national and global audience of ‘The John Batchelor Show.'”

Cooke: The Class of ’68 Turns 68.  Media consultant Holland Cooke writes today about the value of Baby Boomers to talk radio.  On the 50thanniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Cooke notes many of the cultural touchstones that affected the generation.  He says that while Millennials now outnumber the Boomers, the Baby Boom generation outspends the Millennials at retail.  That’s an important fact for radio sales people who are selling upper-demo radio formats like news/talk.  See his piece here.

TALKERS News Notes. We have a new date in the legal saga between Bubba the Love Sponge and Nielsen Audio.  After suddenly postponing Monday’s scheduled start of the courtroom proceedings, the two sides are being called in for a status conference on April 10.  Perhaps we’ll learn more about the trial schedule after that. Nielsen is suing Bubba for $1 million in damages for his part in a PPM ratings manipulation plot in the Tampa market…..Salem Media Group re-brands KDZR, Lake Oswego, Oregon from its former “Talk 1640” to “AM 1640 The Patriot.” Also, in Oregon, Salem rebrands KPAM, Portland – the station it’s operating under an LMA – to the familiar “AM 860 The Answer.”  Some programming adjustments take place on KPAM as the SRN-syndicated Dennis Prager grabs an hour from the local Tim Hohl and Terry Travis morning show.  Courtside Entertainment’s Laura Ingraham show replaces Clark Howard in middays, and the afternoon drive show featuring Michael Herrington and Eric Peterson changes from “Afternoon Northwest” to “The Afternoon Answer.”…..Today (4/4) Alpha Media is joining World Concern to raise funds to “Cure 1 Million Kids.”  As part of World Health Week, Alpha Media stations in 49 markets are working to raise money to cure children living in developing countries of parasites that can cause blindness, malnutrition, disease and even death.  Alpha Media CEO/president Bob Proffitt remarks, “We are so proud and honored to work with World Concern for this one-day push to help save children’s lives.  We are passionate to use the power of our Alpha community of listeners and business clients to do what we can to help those less fortunate.  World Concern is a wonderful organization that will take what we raise and make a difference in a young person’s life.”

Broadcasters Foundation of America Launches ‘Broadcasting Hope’ Campaign.  A new industry-wide campaign is being launched by the Broadcasters Foundation of America, called, “Broadcasting Hope.” The goal of the initiative is to reach broadcasters across the country with trade ads, social media, and more to ensure that broadcasters in acute need know they can apply for aid from the Broadcasters Foundation.  It is the only charity devoted exclusively to providing financial assistance to broadcasters whose lives have been devastated by illness, accident, or disaster.  BFoA chairman Dan Mason says, “There are broadcasters in local markets across America who may qualify for aid, and it’s imperative that they know the Broadcasters Foundation can be a life support.  The radio and TV trade publications and members of the National Alliance of State Broadcast Associations have been very supportive in helping us expand awareness of the Foundation’s charitable mission.”

U.S.-China Trade War, Trump-Russia Probe, Ingraham-Hogg Feud, YouTube Shooter, U.S.-Mexico Relations/Illegal Immigration Battle, Spotify Stock Market Debut, Villanova Beats Michigan, MLB Action and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/3).  The brewing trade war between the U.S. and China as both countries impose tariffs; the investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents and Robert Mueller’s notice to President Trump’s lawyers that the investigation continues but the president is not a target right now; the feud between FOX News Channel’s Laura Ingraham and Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg; the woman shooter who injured four before taking her own life at the YouTube campus in California; the relations between the U.S. and Mexico and President Trump’s threat to use the military to guard the border; digital audio giant Spotify goes public; Villanova beats Michigan to claim the NCAA title; the first week of MLB action, 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.  Newly flipped country KNUC, Seattle re-brands as “The NEW 98.9 The Bull.”  Lisa Adams is the program director at the Hubbard Radio station and she says, “Welcome to the next evolution of 98.9, a personality all its own.  More BULL, more MUSIC, more FUN.”  She also says the station plans to make its final additions to the air staff soon…..Also from Hubbard Radio, the Chicago cluster announces that sales pro Nancy O’Brien is promoted to director of sales for hot AC WTMX, classic rock WDRV “The Drive,” adult contemporary WSHE, and in-house digital media services arm 2060 Digital.   O’Brien has most recently been serving as national sales manager Midwest region for the company…..Neuhoff Media tweaks CHR WWHX-FM, Bloomington, Illinois to a rhythmic CHR station with the new brand, “HOT 100 The Beat of BloNo.”  Neuhoff Media Bloomington vice president and general manager Danielle Outlaw says, “‘HOT 100’ is the only station designed specifically for the 18-34-year-old audience in Bloomington-Normal.  The music, the connection, the interactivity, the engagement and the beat.  Bloomington-Normal was ready for ‘HOT 100,’ we’re thrilled by the reaction, the future has arrived, it’s ‘HOT 100.’”

Thursday, March 29, 2018

| March 29, 2018

Don Imus Says ‘Good-Bye’ to Listeners After 50 Years On-Air.  Today (3/29) was the last live “Imus in the Morning” program on WABC, New York.  Don Imus served up an emotional monologue as only he could do, then left the broadcast booth and let “best-of” Imus show segments play for the rest of the morning.  Imus was forced into an early retirement by Cumulus Media’s need to cut costs as it moves through Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.  He said, “I know in my heart there’s been nobody ever better on the radio than me.  I mean that.  I’m telling you how it is.  Nobody ever did this.  Nobody.  But, it wasn’t me who did this.  I’m gonna miss you.  Because you were the one – and I don’t know who ‘you’ is – I always thought and still think I was always talking to one person.  I didn’t know if you were male or female, I just knew there was one person that I talked to and that would listen to me…I know you’re going to miss me, but you have no idea how much I’m gonna miss you.”

Ben Shapiro Returns to Radio with Westwood One-Distributed Daily Podcast.  Conservative media star Ben Shapiro says, “The Daily Wire and Westwood One are doing something unprecedented; we’re launching the first podcast-to-talk-radio transition ever.  And we’re doing it in five of the top 10 DMA markets in the country, which is amazing in and of itself — no show launches with this constellation of stations.  We already have an enormous digital audience and we can’t wait to extend that audience to more traditional platforms.”  Cumulus Media-owned stations WABC, New York; KABC-AM, Los Angeles; WLS-AM, Chicago; WMAL-AM/FM, Washington; WYAY-FM, Atlanta and KKAT, Salt Lake City will air the program, as well as Bonneville‘s KTTH, Seattle (where Shapiro previously hosted his own talk radio show).  WLS-AM will air the program nightly from 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm.  In New York, the show replaces the Curtis Sliwa-hosted “The Drive at Five” program at 5:00 pm ET.  WABC program director Craig Schwalb tells staff in a memo, “Curtis has held down the ‘Drive at Five’ for about two years and has done a magnificent job making that hour a strong round-up of the news of the day with the Curtis touch.  And yet, we have been given the opportunity to air one of the hottest commentators in the country in Ben Shapiro.  To say that he has hit the podcast world by storm would be an understatement.  Everyday, he is one of the top podcasters in any genre, ranking in the top 10 or top 15.  It’s for a reason.  He is brilliant, informative, and opinionated.  This podcast to broadcast is in the perfect spot between Savage and Levin.”

Curtis Sliwa to Appear at WLS-AM-Sponsored Screening of Vigilante.  Speaking of New York City icon Curtis Sliwa, he is in Chicago today for tonight’s appearance at the Chicago premiere of the Guardian Angel’s film Vigilante at the NBC Tower.  The event is taking place at the WLS-AM 890 Sound Lounge performance theatre and is being hosted by WLS-AM morning personalities Big John Howell and Ramblin’ Ray Stevens.  Sliwa will take part in a Q&A with premiere attendees.  He’s hosting his WABC, New York show from Chicago today.

WABC, New York Officially Announces Chris Plante Show for Late Mornings.  A couple of weeks ago TALKERS magazine reported that WABC, New York program director Craig Schwalb told the staff that WMAL-AM/FM, Washington-based talk host Chris Plante would be filling the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart when the “Bernie & Sid Show” moves to mornings on April 2.  Now, the station makes that official, welcoming Plante to the lineup.  The press release says the New York audience knows Plante from his work covering the U.S. military and intelligence community for CNN.  Plante says his political party is “Practi-crat,” “because of my distinctly practical political leanings…As any school child knows, as a broadcaster, if you could choose one radio station in one market in the English-speaking world, it would be WABC in New York.  I’m honored to join the team.”

Cumulus Media Releases Q4 2017 and Full-Year Financial Figures; Radio Group Down 3.9%.  The company as a whole reports net revenue down 1.9% compared to the fourth quarter of 2016.  Separating the radio station group from syndicator and sales arm Westwood One, the radio station group dipped 3.9% in Q4 of 2017, while Westwood One rose 2.5%.  For all of 2017, Cumulus Media net revenue was basically flat at $1.13 billion; the radio group was down 1.9%; and Westwood One was up 2.8%.  President and CEO Mary Berner says, “Our 2017 financial performance is a true testament to our employees’ hard work and commitment to our turnaround plan.  Having also made the decision to definitively address our overleveraged balance sheet, we look forward to completing our financial restructuring and continuing our progress in the months ahead.”

Cumulus Responds to Objections to Plan of Reorganization.  After Wednesday’s filing of objections to Cumulus Media’s Plan of Reorganization by the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors and the Cross-Holder Committee, the company issued the following statement: “Today’s objections to our Plan of Reorganization by the UCC and the Cross Holders were anticipated – they are normal parts of the restructuring process and will not impact our restructuring timeline.  We look forward to emerging from the restructuring process with a stronger foundation and to continuing to execute our turnaround plan which remains on track both operationally and financially.  Both objections largely reiterate statements that have already been made through the restructuring, which we believe have no merit, and we remain confident that we will successfully address these claims through the Court process.”

PPM Analysis: Public News/Talk. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February PPM survey, today focusing on public news/talk.  Comparing the January and February PPM surveys, 38% of public news/talk stations saw their 6+ AQH shares go up while 46% went down.  A year-over-year comparison indicates that 54% of stations in the survey went up (6+), with 36% losing AQH share.  During the February survey, two public news/talk stations – KQED, San Francisco and KOPB, Portland – ranked #1 in their respective markets.  KQED also was #1 in the adjacent San Jose market.  See the whole report here.

TALKERS News Notes. Boston-based New England talk show host Howie Carr just published his latest book, this one a jab at Hillary Clinton’s book of the same name, titled, What Really Happened: How Donald J. Trump Saved America from Hillary Clinton.  President Trump Tweeted praise for Carr’s book.  “@HowieCarrShow just wrote a book which everyone is talking about.  He was a great help.  He is a veteran journalist who had a great influence in NH and beyond.  He calls it the most amazing political campaign of modern times.  The book is called, ‘What Really Happened.’ Enjoy!”…..ESPN adds a new podcast from Bomani Jones to is slate of podcasts.  “The Right Time with Bomani Jones” launches on Tuesday, April 3.  New, hour-long episodes will drop each Tuesday and Thursday.  Jones says, “I’m really looking forward to rebooting ‘The Right Time’ and moving it into the future.  We want to do as much as we can with the flexibility of the podcast format to take what was a three-hour radio show and make it into an even better podcast.  I really think the audience we served before – many of whom consumed the show digitally – will be happier with what’s next and the content will attract new listeners.”…..SiriusXM is again providing comprehensive national audio coverage of the 2018 Major League Baseball season.  Subscribers can access live play-by-play of every regular season and postseason game, as well as 24/7 news, talk and analysis on the exclusive MLB Network Radio channel.

Trump-Russia Investigation, Stormy Daniels Case, Kim Jong Un in China, Stevens’ Second Amendment Repeal Suggestion, Parkland Student-Ingraham Feud, California Sanctuary Cities Controversy, ‘Roseanne’ Re-Boot,’ Sacramento Unrest, the NCAA’s Final Four, NFL Rule Changes, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/28). The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the suggestion by Republicans that the FBI, CIA, and the Obama Administration coordinated early in the investigation; the legal actions targeting President Trump related to the Stormy Daniels affair allegation; North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un visits Chinese President Xi Jinping; the controversy over Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’ editorial calling for a repeal of the Second Amendment; the feud between Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg and FOX News’ Laura Ingraham; the legal battles over the California sanctuary cities policies; the success of the first episode of the “Roseanne” re-boot and Roseanne Barr’s support of President Trump; the unrest in Sacramento in the aftermath of the fatal police shooting of Stephon Clark; the NCAA Men’s tournament Final Four; free agency signings in the NFL; today’s MLB season openers; 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.  In Chicago, Entercom makes changes in morning drive at CHR WBBM-FM “B96” and ousts “The J Show” with host J Niice, a.k.a. Jamar McNeil, and cast members Gabe, Shelly, and Minnie.  Meanwhile, Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports that Kevin Buchar, a.k.a. DreX, is headed back to the Windy City to assume the morning daypart there…..Beasley Media Group adult hits WBEN-FM, Philadelphia is welcoming Emmy Award-winning celebrity chef Rachael Ray as keynote speaker at the station’s 2nd annual “Her Story Luncheon” on Saturday, April 14.   The luncheon is being hosted by Kathy Romano, host of 95.7 BEN FM’s “Her Story” program.  The Saturday morning show features dynamic women who are making a significant impact in the community…..iHeartMedia’s hip hop WKTU, New York reveals the lineup for this summer’s “KTUphoria 2018” concert at Jones Beach Theater.  Performing this year will be: Dua Lipa, Ne-Yo, Charlie Puth, Enrique Iglesias, Sting & Shaggy, Pitbull and more to be announced…..Midwest Communications names Corey Schaefer brand manager for CHR KOYY, Fargo “Y94.”

Friday, February 2, 2018

| February 2, 2018

TALKERS Convention Early Bird Discount Ends Today!  DON’T MISS THE DISCOUNT!  The opportunity to attend the 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important convention at a significantly reduced registration fee comes to an end today (Friday, February 2) at 5:00 pm ET.  Those registering before the deadline will save $50.  TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will take place on Friday, June 8 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan.  The conference will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age.  This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations.  It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals.  Like its predecessors, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch, and a closing cocktail reception — all in a single, power-packed day!  Full agenda details, speaker roster and hotel information will be posted in TALKERS during the days and weeks ahead. As is customary with TALKERS conventions, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students.  Because seating is limited, and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments costs $329 per person.  However, those registering before 5:00 pm ET TODAY pay only $279.  The convention is already well on its way to being an early sellout.  To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

Tim Clarke Upped to VP of Audience and Content for Radio at Cox.  In this new role, Tim Clarke will “set the overarching content strategy for radio — programming, new content development, content distribution, audience growth and measurement” for Cox Media Group.  Clarke has been serving CMG as senior director of digital audience for radio.  The company says that “vice president of programming Steve Smith will continue in his critical role to oversee CMG format leaders and work directly on radio programming with radio stations and brand managers.”  Smith will report to Clarke in this new structure.  Clarke says, “It is an honor to take on these expanded responsibilities.  Cox is truly an incredible organization and I am so grateful for all of the opportunities I have been afforded throughout my 13-year career here.  This is an exciting, transformative time for the media business and Cox Media Group has the best radio brands and digital products in local media.”

Cumulus and Merlin Agree to Path Forward for WKQX and WLUP-FM in Chicago.  With stations operator Cumulus Media in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and unwilling to buy the two Chicago rock stations for the previously contracted price of $50 million, stations owner Merlin Media and Cumulus have agreed to the following new terms.  Cumulus will continue to operate the stations under the local marketing agreement but will not be bound to purchase the alternative and classic rock outlets.  Merlin will continue to present the stations to prospective buyers.  Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner says, “We’re pleased to reach this mutual agreement, which establishes a clear path forward for these stations and our employees in Chicago following months of negotiations with Merlin.  We continue to be interested in permanently acquiring these stations on economic terms that make sense for our business.  In the meantime, as we have for the past several years, Cumulus will continue to operate WKQX-FM and WLUP-FM while Merlin seeks a new owner.  Importantly, nothing is changing in the near-term.  It is business as usual for team members, advertisers and partners, and we look forward to achieving a favorable outcome for all parties involved.”  The new agreement with Merlin provides for an approximately three-month extension of the LMA with additional extensions thereafter, exercisable upon mutual agreement by Cumulus and Merlin.

Bankruptcy Judge Relieves Cumulus of Contract Responsibilities. Yesterday, Cumulus Media was in court for a hearing before bankruptcy Judge Shelley Chapman.  As you’re aware, the company asked the court to let it out of some 20 contracts that it deemed were untenable – including the Merlin deal in Chicago noted above.  Judge Chapman agrees to let Cumulus out of all the deals – the Chicago Bulls had already arranged to move their radio play-by-play from WLS-AM to Entercom’s crosstown WSCR – except a content distribution agreement that Westwood One has with CNBC.

Alpha Media Names Format Captains; Greg Martin to Lead News/Talk/Sports.  Nine format captains are named by Alpha Media, with news/talk KTSA and sports talk KZDC, San Antonio operations manager and content director Greg Martin appointed to lead the news/talk/sports formats.  Alpha has this to say about Martin: He’s “spent the better part of his career doing top 40 at great stations such as KKSS, Albuquerque; KHFI, Austin, KQKS, Denver; and KTFM, San Antonio.  Several years after returning to San Antonio in 1999 to do afternoons on KTFM, Greg eventually transitioned into operations and programming ‘News Talk 550’ KTSA and ‘ESPN San Antonio’ day-to-day.”  Speaking about the new roles, Alpha Media EVP of content Scott Mahalick says, “We are always proud to promote from within Alpha.  Our format captains have been carefully selected based on their experience, format expertise, reliability, and performance.  I look forward to seeing great success happen from this collaboration.”  Other format captain appointments are: rock/alternative/AAA – Kenny Vest; classic hits/oldies – Rick Hirschmann; country – Joe “MoJoe” Roberts; hot AC/AC – Leo Baldwin; CHR – Ben Davis; urban/urban AC/Gospel – Darrick “Brown” Williams; rhythmic/throwbacks – Mark “TicTak” Allen; and Spanish – Alfonso Flores.

Former All-News KQV, Pittsburgh Sold for $55,000.  Once upon a time, KQV, Pittsburgh was a big-time CHR station serving the market.  Later it morphed into an all-news station operated by the Dickey family’s Calvary Inc. (not the Atlanta Dickeys of Cumulus fame).  Just before the holidays, Calvary revealed that the news format was just too expensive to continue operating the station and that, after much soul-searching, it would be selling the heritage signal.  Now we learn that Bob Stevens – a principal of Broadcast Communications Inc. – is buying the station for $55,000.  This deal is a “limited asset purchase agreement” and Stevens will move the transmitter location for the station to the one occupied by his current property, WEDO, McKeesport, Pennsylvania.

PPM Analysis: Public News/TalkTALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents this analysis of the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2017 PPM survey, today focusing on public news/talk.   Given that the Holiday survey period takes place at a time of year that pulls people out of their usual listening habits, it’s not surprising that “only about one of every five stations on this public news/talk panel are up December 2017 – ‘Holiday’ 2017 (22%, 6+) while 72% are down; the remaining 6% of the sample is flat.”  However, comparing Holiday 2016 6+ ratings to Holiday 2017, “more than six of 10 stations from our eligible public news/talk sample are up year-to-year (64%); 26% are down; and the remaining 10% are unchanged from a year ago.”  No public news/talk station ranked #1 in its market during the Holiday survey, but four ranked #2: KQED, San Francisco (and in the nearby San Jose market; KUOW, Seattle; KPBS, San Diego; and KOPB, Portland.  See the whole report here.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly Tips FOX News’ Brian Kilmeade.  White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (right) poses for a pic with FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio star Brian Kilmeade (left) after appearing on Kilmeade’s radio show and telling his listeners that President Trump will release the secret FBI surveillance memo very soon.  Kilmeade Tweeted out this pic and the scoop from Kelly.

TALKERS News Notes. It’s the end of an era for New Orleans Saints fans as local radio play-by-play legend Jim Henderson, a.k.a. Hondo, is retiring from his booth duties after 31 years with Entercom’s WWL-AM/FM.  Entercom New Orleans market manager Chris Wegmann says, “Jim has been a beloved member of our team at WWL in New Orleans for many years.  He made a very complex job look easy and raised the bar for sportscasters everywhere.  I speak on behalf of the entire WWL family when I say we will miss Jim dearly, as will all New Orleans Saints fans across the Gulf South and throughout the country.  We wish him the absolute best on his next chapter.”…..The compensation committee of Cumulus Media agrees to extend the contract of EVP of corporate marketing and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes.  She’ll also be getting a raise, effective July 3, bumping her annual salary to $650,000.  The new deal puts Grimes under contract with the company through July 2020.  As with most corporate executives, her contract also includes a bonus structure and the ability to earn stock options…..The talk radio show “Vegas Never Sleeps with Steven Maggi” is going national via the Biztalk Radio Network.  Maggi calls his show a “weekly romp to Las Vegas, the capital of fun, food and entertainment” that provides “a look behind the scenes of world-class hotels, dining, gaming, special events and conventions.”  Maggi began hosting the program in 2016 and he says the Sunday 11:00 am ET show is “the perfect addition for stations looking for a weekend program that brings the excitement and energy of Las Vegas to their market.”

Trump’s State of the Union Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 29-February 2.  This week’s State of the Union Address from President Trump was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the Trump-Russia investigation and whether the president will talk with special counsel Robert Mueller.  Coming in at #3 was the controversy over the potential release of the secret FBI surveillance memo, followed by the status of the Obama-era DACA act and the administration’s immigration policy at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Programmer Jason Carr joins the iHeartMedia Cleveland cluster to serve as program director for alternative “ALT 99.1 FM” (WMMS-HD2/W256BT) and assistant program director for rock WMMS.  iHeartMedia North Ohio Region president Keith Hotchkiss comments, “Jason Carr comes to Cleveland after spending 10-plus years programming and running stations in Florida.  I’m excited for him to head north, experience the Cleveland winter, contribute to the growth of ‘ALT 99.1 FM’ and further strengthen the brand of ‘100.7 WMMS.’”…..Entercom announces a branding tweak and air-talent changes on some of its San Diego stations.  First, alternative KBZT leaves behind the “FM 94/9” brand and is now “ALT 949.”  The air talent moves are reflected in the new lineups at adult contemporary KYXY and classic hits KXSN “Sunny 98.1.”  KYXY’s new schedule is: Susan DeVincent in mornings, Dorothy Tran in middays, Joe Rosati in afternoons and Sherry Knight for evenings.  At KXSN, AJ and Sara host mornings, Dave Mason is in middays, Gene Knight hosts afternoons and Brooks O’Brian is the night personality…..As reported first by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Entercom’s triple A WXRT, Chicago announces plans to drop the 43-year-old Sunday night “Jazz Transfusion” program hosted by Barry Winograd.  The show’s final edition will be this Sunday at 11:00 pm.

Friday, January 19, 2018

| January 19, 2018

Ed McLaughlin Dies at 91.  The man who founded EFM Media Management and launched Rush Limbaugh into national syndication – and consequently changed the face of radio – has died at the age of 91 after a long illness.  Edward F. McLaughlin was in a hospice facility in Palm Beach, Florida.  As TALKERS magazine reported earlier this week, the Broadcasters Foundation of America announced it would be honoring McLaughlin with its 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award on March 5 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City during its Golden Mike Award event.  During McLaughlin’s 14-year career leading the ABC Radio Networks, McLaughlin oversaw the acquisition of “American Top 40 with Casey Kasem,” launched “American Country Countdown with Bob Kingsley,” and grew the affiliate base of the Paul Harvey programs to some 1,000 stations.   In 1984, he formed EFM Media Management and began syndicating the Dr. Dean Edell show.  After hearing Rush Limbaugh on KFBK, Sacramento he moved him to WABC, New York and began syndicating his 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET program.  It provided the launch pad for Limbaugh’s rise to syndication success.  He sold the Rush Limbaugh program to Jacor Media in 1997.  McLaughlin’s work in national radio syndication included numerous achievements, including his teaming ABC with CBS and NBC in 1980 to establish the first digital satellite distribution system  — Americom Digital Delivery System (ADDS) — which replaced telephone lines in connecting networks with affiliated stations, the antiquated system that had been used since the early 1940s.  He also guided the creation and distribution of network music and entertainment programming circa 1979.  Prior to that it had largely been news and information.  McLaughlin was a chairman emeritus of the Broadcasters Foundation of America.  He succeeded Ward L. Quaal as chairman.  BFoA president Jim Thompson says, “He was a genius at creating content and talent development.”  Whitney Global Media chairman William O’Shaughnessey says, “He was a great raconteur who often held court at the ‘21’ bar where he did a lot of business entertaining out-of-town affiliates.”  The McLaughlin family will hold a private service and is planning a memorial celebration in June.

Sabo: ‘Make It Bigger’ Ed McLaughlin.  Consultant Walter Sabo writes today about the qualities that made the late Edward F. McLaughlin the legendary broadcaster that he was.  First and foremost, says Sabo, was his mandate that for a project to succeed, one had to “make it bigger.”  Sabo says, “Ideas that were big enough for Ed inspired him to become fully engaged in the project.  He would marshal every resource of ABC to make a project a success — from legal, to financial, to engineering, to marketing, to the television network.  When Ed called, the corporation cooperated.  He knew that a key part of his job was to give his team access to the resources of the corporation and he was a genius at persuading all of ABC to support the radio network.  When he supported a project, he believed it was his job to find the money.  And he always found the money.”  Read Sabo’s entire column here.

Cumulus Makes Hard Decisions in Chicago.  As reported by Chicago media maven Robert Feder, Cumulus Media has announced it is shedding its unprofitable deals to broadcast Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls play-by-play.  It is also choosing not to acquire music-formatted stations alt rocker WKQX and classic rock WLUP-FM from Merlin Media (Cumulus has been operating the duo under an LMA).  As Feder notes, Cumulus is working through Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and president and CEO Mary Berner says in a statement, “As part of our operational turnaround, we have been focused on taking proactive steps to address unprofitable areas of our business.  We are taking this action because the economic terms of these legacy contracts guarantee that we lose money and, as such, continuing them in their current form is not in Cumulus’s best interests.”

WOC, Quad Cities Names Dave Levora Morning Host.  New WOC, Quad Cities morning personality Dave Levora comes to the station from his most recent position as an account executive for WQAD-TV, Quad Cities.  He’s hosted morning radio programs in the market in the past on music-formatted stations, including KJOC, WXLP, and KIIK.  Levora will co-host the morning show at the iHeartMedia news/talk station with program director Dan Kennedy.  He’ll continue to host the half-hour “Quad Cities Brewed” program on WQAD-TV that explores the Midwestern Craft Brew scene.  Kennedy comments, “We’re excited to bring Dave into the WOC ‘News Talk 1420’ family.  He’s already familiar with radio in the Quad Cities and I have no doubt that our listeners will love him!”

WSKO, Syracuse Adds New Local Show to Lineup.  Programmer Tom Mitchell promotes executive producer Paul Esden to air personality with his own afternoon program called “Drive Time Sports” at Cumulus Media’s WSKO, Syracuse “The Score 1260.”  Esden has been the executive producer of the station’s Bud & The Manchild” late morning show for the past two years.  Mitchell says, “This is a marvelous opportunity for Paul.  His unique and energetic style, opens up a fresh perspective to cover not only local sports, but also the best in the national sports arena every day!”  Esden has also covered Syracuse University sports as a senior columnist for Inside the Loud House for the past two years.

SuperTalk Mississippi Adds Country Star Steve Azar to Lineup. The program is called “A Mississippi Minute with Steve Azar” – a reference to his song “Mississippi Minute” – and airs Thursdays and Fridays from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm.  TeleSouth Communications says his show airs on the SuperTalk Mississippi format that’s heard on stations covering all of Mississippi’s 82 counties.  SuperTalk CEO Steve Davenport says, “We’re excited to add Steve Azar to the lineup.  His passion for Mississippi fits right in with our mission – to serve the millions of people who live in our state.”  In a press release, the company says, “Spend five minutes with Steve Azar and you’ll see why he is the Music and Culture Ambassador of Mississippi.  His love for the Magnolia State is evident in everything he does.  This modern-day Renaissance man is a hit songwriter, recording artist, music producer, golfer, philanthropist and now – radio host.”

Trump’s Alleged ‘Shithole’ Comment and Threat of Government Shutdown Tie for Top News/Talk Stories This Week.  The allegations that President Trump called certain Caribbean and African countries “shitholes,” and the threat of a federal government shutdown tied for the most talked about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the status of the Obama era DACA, the Trump Administration’s larger immigration policy, and the issue of the Mexican Wall.  Coming in at #3 was the Trump-Russia probe and the related testimony of former White House senior adviser Stephen K. Bannon, followed by the report that 2017 was the warmest year on record at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Classic rock WMMZ, Berwick, Pennsylvania is purchased by Vince Benedetto’s Bold Gold Media Group for $700,000.  The class A FM’s primary signal covers a region southwest of the Wilkes Barre-Scranton market.  The seller is Joseph Reilly’s Columbia FM Inc.  The station switched calls from WHLM-FM to WMMZ last year…..In New England, Townsquare Media begins airing “The Big Breakfast” – with hosts Bill Fox and Kira Lew (based at country WOKQ, Portsmouth, New Hampshire) – on sister station country WPKQ, Portland, Maine “103.7 The Peak.”  To make room, current WPKQ morning personality Annie Snook moves to the midday show on the station.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

| November 30, 2017

Cumulus Enters Chapter 11; Move Will Erase $1 Billion in Debt.  This Chapter 11 restructuring between Cumulus Media and some secured lenders comes as little surprise.  In fact, many industry watchers and media experts believed it was imminent when Mary Berner was brought in as president and CEO, replacing Lew Dickey.  That’s because during her tenure as CEO of Reader’s Digest Association, she led it through a pre-packaged bankruptcy.  Now, Cumulus announces the Restructuring Support Agreement with “certain of its secured lenders, among others, holding, in the aggregate, approximately 69% of the company’s term loan to reduce the company’s debt by more than $1 billion.”  In its press release about this maneuver, the company says it “expects all operations, programming and sales to continue as normal throughout this restructuring process.  The company has ample cash on hand, combined with funds generated from ongoing operations, to support the business during the financial restructuring process, and as a result, it does not intend to seek debtor-in-possession financing.”  Mary Berner states, “Over the last two years, we have focused on implementing a business turnaround to reverse the company’s multi-year ratings, revenue and EBITDA declines, create a culture that fosters motivated and engaged employees, and build an operational foundation to support the kind of performance we believe Cumulus is capable of delivering.  As we have demonstrated in many measurable ways – including increased ratings, revenue market share gains, improved employee satisfaction, reduced employee turnover and, over the last several quarters, our return to year-over-year EBITDA and revenue growth – that turnaround has not only been successful but is continuing.  However, as we have noted consistently, the debt overhang left by previous years of underperformance remains a significant financial challenge that we must overcome for our operational turnaround to proceed.  The actions we are taking today to address our balance sheet are a critical step forward for Cumulus.  We will use this restructuring process to relieve the financial constraints on our continued progress, allowing us to focus our resources on investing in our business and people to strengthen our competitiveness and ultimately drive growth.  We have ample cash to support our operations and service our advertisers, vendors and affiliates during this period, and we look forward to becoming an even stronger partner to all of them when we complete this important phase of our turnaround strategy.  We appreciate the tremendous efforts of the Cumulus team throughout the business turnaround and thank our employees for continuing to be the true force driving our success.”

Garrison Keillor Latest to Fall Under Allegations of Sexual Impropriety.  The longtime host of public radio’s “A Prairie Home Companion” is being taken off the radio by Minnesota Public Radio, which had been distributing Garrison Keillor’s “The Writer’s Almanac” and re-broadcasts of the Keillor-hosted “A Prairie Home Companion” (the current program hosted by Chris Thile will continue under a new, yet-to-be-announced name).  MPR president Jon McTaggert stated in a press release, “Garrison Keillor has been an important part of the growth and success of MPR, and all of us in the MPR community are saddened by these circumstances.  While we appreciate the contributions Garrison has made to MPR and to all of public radio, we believe this decision is the right thing to do and is necessary to continue to earn the trust of our audiences, employees and supporters of our public service.”

Weisman: The Law Behind the Matt Lauer FiringTALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes today about the legal aspects of the firing of “Today” show host Matt Lauer.  Weisman states that Lauer, like most everyone working in media who is under contract, has a morals clause in his contract that allows employers to fire those who violate that clause, without having to pay out their contract.  Many contracts also provide for mandatory arbitration of disputes.  Read Weisman’s entire column here.

TALKERS News Notes. Next month, Rob Sussman – nephew of KSFO, San Francisco morning personality Brian Sussman – joins Delmarva’s WXDE, Lewes, Delaware “Delaware 105.9” to host a daily talk show.  For the past couple of years, Rob Sussman has been serving at KBUR, Burlington, Iowa as news director…..As reported by Crain’s Detroit Business, Cumulus Media signs a new 10-year lease to continue broadcasting from the historic Fisher Building in Detroit’s New City area.  News/talk WJR and sister stations country WDRQ “NASH FM 93.1” and hot AC WDVD broadcast from the office tower.  Crain’s notes that WJR moved into the building in 1928…..Debtor-in-Possession Mississippi Valley Broadcasters, LLC and White Eagle Broadcasting, Inc. have retained Kalil & Co. to explore the sale of news/talk WLFN, LaCrosse, Wisconsin and sister stations country WQCC, classic rock WKBH, classic hits KQEG, and adult contemporary WLXR.

GOP Tax Reform Plan, NBC Fires Matt Lauer/MPR Cuts Ties with Keillor, Conyers/Franken Sexual Impropriety Allegations, Trump Anti-Muslim Re-Tweet, North Korea ICBM Test, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/29).  The progress Republicans are making in bringing their tax reform plan to a vote; NBC fires longtime ‘Today’ show host Matt Lauer after allegations of sexual impropriety and the related firing of Garrison Keillor by Minnesota Public Radio; the effects of recent allegations of sexual impropriety involving Senator Al Franken and Congressman John Conyers; President Trump’s re-tweet of anti-Muslim videos; North Korea’s testing of a long-range ICBM and U.S. officials’ threats of war; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

SRN’s Larry Elder Talks Anthem Protests on FOX Business.  Pictured above is Salem Radio Network talk host Larry Elder on FOX Business Network with Stuart Varney discussing the national anthem protests and the state of the ratings for NFL games.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Distributed More Than $1 Million in 2017.  By the end of this year, the Broadcasters Foundation of America will have hit a milestone distributing grants for more than $1 million in aid to broadcasters in acute need.  The BFoA says this is a record-setting figure.  At the same time, it announces the launch of its year-end appeal for personal donations to the Guardian Fund and corporate contributions to the Angel Initiative.  BFoA chairman Dan Mason says, “What’s even more striking is that there are still broadcasters across our industry who need our help.  It is incumbent on everyone in our industry to help ensure that the Broadcasters Foundation can continue to provide this much-needed financial assistance to our colleagues.”  Grants from the Broadcasters Foundation have risen from $61,000 in 2000 to this year’s unprecedented level.  Included in the 2017 figure is more than $200,000 in emergency aid that was distributed to broadcasters whose lives were impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, the California wildfires, or other disasters.  BFoA president Jim Thompson adds, “Requests for aid have multiplied over the past several years, and we have been able to help every qualifying broadcaster who sought assistance from us.  As we enter the season of giving, I ask every broadcaster to review any good fortune that our business has bestowed upon them and consider donating to help our colleagues in need.”

Pioneer Valley Radio Continues to Brighten Western Massachusetts with Hyper-Local Coverage and Community Involvement.  Now in its third year of service to its region, hyper-local Pioneer Valley Radio continues to gain traction as an online radio outlet and “media station” in Western Massachusetts.  Pictured at the recent opening ceremonies of the annual Springfield “Bright Nights” holiday lights spectacular in the city’s Forest Park are (l-r) local keyboard favorite Richard Mitnick, Pioneer Valley Radio GM and program host Brad Shepard, and Spirit of Springfield president Judy Matt.  Brad Shepard entertained the crowd singing a two-hour medley of Christmas and holiday favorites.  Shepard is a legendary local personality and “man about town” who is a favorite among area radio listeners in Greater Springfield where he has been heard for more than two decades as morning host on WMAS, WHYN, and now Pioneer Valley Radio. He is also a significant figure in local theater, stand-up comedy and serves as emcee of major community events.   (Photo courtesy of The Republican.)

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the Orlando and Daytona Beach markets, Entercom flips another former CBS RADIO CHR to alternative rock.  This time it’s WQMP “AMP 101.9.”  The station is licensed to Daytona Beach but is a 90 kw class C FM that covers the Orlando market as well.  The new station is branded “ALT 101.9 FM, Orlando’s New Alternative.”  Entercom president of programming Pat Paxton states, “In a city with a rapidly evolving demographic, we are thrilled to fill this void in radio in Orlando.  ‘ALT 101.9 FM’ caters to the tech-savvy, engaged and active Orlando audience and will provide an exciting and unique experience for listeners who are currently underserved with today’s radio choices in Orlando.”

Envision Networks Offers Holiday Programming. A full lineup of holiday programming is being offered by Envision Networks.  The company says there are “new and returning favorites to the Envision Networks lineup covering traditional offerings, contemporary shows, production assistance and holiday fun stuff.”  The shows include: “The 100 Greatest Christmas Hits of All Time with Wink Martindale,” from a list of songs compiled through data collected from Billboard Magazine and listings of the Christmas tracks most played on radio over the past decade; “The Jim Brickman Show: A Joyful Christmas,” a program with no network commercials in a modular track format with or without music; “The Live Ride,” a holiday edition of this show with Nashville insider and host Johnny Stone; “Annual Chop Shop Christmas Special with Trans-Siberian Orchestra,” in which host Steve Black was recorded at the Council Bluffs, Iowa rehearsal for TSO’s 20th anniversary winter tour; plus more, including holiday imaging packages.

Elvis Duran Group’s 3rd Annual Carney Awards to Air on National TV on Saturday. Nationally syndicated radio personality Elvis Duran (center) is pictured with executive producer Jim Katz (left) and Elvis Duran Group CEO/executive producer David Katz (right) on the red carpet at taping of “The Elvis Duran Group’s 2017 Carney Awards” at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, California.  The awards honor Hollywood’s leading character actors for their outstanding achievements.  This year’s awards ceremony with be broadcast on NBC Universal’s COZI TV this Saturday (12/2) at 9:00 pm ET.  This year William H. Macy, Wendie Malick, William Fichtner, Richard Kind and Xander Berkeley were honored while Allison Janney, Jeff Garlin, Clark Gregg, Dan Lauria and Titus Welliver presented.  ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” host Tom Bergeron was host.

Round One of November PPM Ratings Released. The first of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio‘s November 2017 PPM survey is released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s November 2017 survey period covered October 12 – November 8. View all the 6+ ratings from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Takeaways” from these 12 PPM markets. Please note the Entercom takeover of CBS Radio was concluded nine days after the final day of the November 2017 sweep (11/17); we will cease using CBS Radio references beginning with the December 2017 sweep.

TWELVE TAKEAWAYS

1) New York – The top two “Big Apple” finishers both post gains of four-tenths, with iHeartMedia adult contemporary WLTW tacking onto October’s one-half share surge (6.1 – 6.6 – 6.9, 6+). Moreover, “106.7 Lite FM” is #1 for the third straight time and has its best 6+-share since February’s 7.1. After finishing at #1 for three consecutive months, “Lite FM” dropped to #2 in August. Its loss of seven-tenths in that sweep (6.7 – 6.0, 6+) completely erased three straight gains that yielded that exact margin (6.0 – 6.1 – 6.5 – 6.7, 6+). A one-tenth increase in May halted four straight declines that produced a collective -7.3 since “Holiday” 2016 (13.3 – 7.2 – 7.1 – 6.2 – 6.0, 6+). Not only does CBS Radio all-news WINS, a cumulative +1.6 via four straight upticks (4.7 – 4.9 – 5.4 – 5.9 – 6.3, 6+), repeat in the runner-up slot, it crosses the six-share level (6+) for the first time in its PPM-history. When it notched a +.2 in August, WINS halted four straight dips that resulted in a collective -1.1 (5.8 – 5.3 – 5.1 – 4.8 – 4.7, 6+). Co-owned and similarly formatted WCBS-AM, which had notched a 2.7 (6+) in three of the previous five ratings periods (2.7 – 2.7 – 2.6 – 2.9 – 2.7, 6+), drops one-tenth to 2.6 (6+), but is unchanged at #13. Sports talk sibling WFAN-FM is without a loss for the fifth straight month for a collective +1.7 since June (3.5 – 3.9 – 4.1 – 4.6 – 5.2 – 5.2, 6+), inching up from sixth to fifth. The 5.2 (in October and November) represents its best-ever 6+-stat in the PPM-era and first time above the five-share level (6+). On two prior occasions, “The Fan” registered a 4.5 and it reached a 4.6 (6+) in September 2017. In the market’s rhythmic CHR contest, Emmis’ WQHT picks up one-tenth to 3.4 (6+), ending three consecutive dips that resulted in a cumulative loss of nine-tenths (4.2 – 3.8 – 3.6 – 3.3), as “Hot 97” returns to the top ten (#11 to #10). In the process, it overtakes iHeartMedia’s WKTU, off one full-share over its last three sweeps (4.0 – 3.6 – 3.4 – 3.0, 6+), slipping from #10 to #11. Having registered back-to-back gains of four-tenths in September and October (4.5 – 4.9 – 5.3, 6+), Spanish Broadcasting System-owned Spanish tropical WSKQ “La Mega 97.9” relinquishes all but one-tenth of that collective +.8 (4.6, -.7, fifth to seventh, 6+). Down or flat for the fourth consecutive sweep for a combined -1.1 (6.6 – 6.1 – 5.5 – 5.5 – 5.5, 6+), classic hits-oldies WCBS-FM repeats at #4. “New York’s Greatest Hits” exited the #1 spot in September after only a one-month stay there. Its one-half share dip in August curtailed at four a streak of successive up or flat trends that generated a combined seven-tenths (5.9 – 6.1 – 6.1 – 6.2 – 6.6, 6+). Prior to August, the last time “New York’s Greatest Hits” was at #1 was in May. Even though iHeartMedia-owned WAXQ is without an increase for the fifth straight time for a combined loss of eight-tenths (5.5 – 5.3 – 5.3 – 5.1 – 4.8 – 4.7, 6+), “Q-104.3 New York’s Classic Rock” actually improves from a seventh-place tie to sixth.

2) Los Angeles – Last year marked the end of an eye-popping 67 consecutive years that Vin Scully served as the play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The National League West team made it to the World Series this year for the first time since 1988 and its 1.7 (6+) in November 2017 matches the audience draw for KLAC in Vin’s swan song (1.7, 6+, November 2016) as the iHeartMedia sports talk/Dodgers flagship trots out a +.7 (1.7, 6+). “AM 570 Sports” leaps from #31 in October to #25 in November. Remaining in sixth-place, news/talk cluster-mate KFI is without a decrease for the fifth time in a row and is trending 3.5 – 3.5 – 3.4 – 3.5 – 3.5 – 3.3 – 3.4 – 3.5 – 3.5 – 3.9 – 4.1 since January (6+). In what represents its farewell ratings period, Entercom classic rock KSWD “The Sound” hauls out a gain of six-tenths (2.2 – 2.8, 6+), rocketing from a three-way tie at #19 to #12. Just over a week after the November sweep concluded, Educational Media Foundation officially closed on “The Sound” and flipped it to contemporary Christian KKLQ “Positive & Encouraging K-Love.” The last song played by “The Sound” in an emotional November 16 finale that drew considerable social media and local television coverage was The Beatles’ “The End.” Despite being up or flat for the seventh ratings period in a row for a net gain of one-half share (.8 – .9 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.2 – 1.3, 6+), KSPN “ESPN LA 710” – the flagship of the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Lakers – backslides from #28 to #30. With a gain of two-tenths to 2.7 (6+), iHeartMedia-owned KYSR-FM pulls the plug on eight consecutive down or flat trends for a collective loss of seven-tenths (3.2 – 3.1 – 3.0 – 2.9 – 2.9 – 2.7 – 2.6 – 2.5 – 2.5, 6+); “Alt 98.7 – LA’s New Alternative” advances from #17 to #13. After nine up or flat monthlies in a row for an overall gain of one full-share (1.8 – 2.0 – 2.1 – 2.1 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 2.4 – 2.5 – 2.7 – 2.8, 6+), its format foe – CBS Radio’s KROQ – stumbles by two-tenths in both October and November (2.8 – 2.6 – 2.4), sliding from #14 to #18. September’s 2.8 was its strongest 6+-showing since June 2016’s 2.9. Having been down or flat the past five monthlies for an overall loss of three-tenths (1.5 – 1.5 – 1.4 – 1.3 – 1.2 – 1.2, 6+), University of Southern California’s classical KUSC wipes out that deficit with a +.4 to 1.6 (#28 to #26, 6+). The #1/#2/#3 finish for iHeartMedia includes hot AC KBIG “My-FM,” which – despite a loss of one-half share (6.4 – 5.9, 6+) – is on top for the tenth straight ratings period. In October, “My-FM” regained in its entirety the four-tenths it squandered in September (6.4 – 6.0 – 6.4, 6+). Prior to September’s -.4, “My-FM” posted four successive up or flat trends that netted eight-tenths (5.6 – 5.8 – 5.8 – 6.1 – 6.4, 6+). In a three-way tie for second in October, mainstream CHR sibling KIIS “102.7 Kiss-FM” has sole possession of the runner-up slot in November. “Kiss-FM” gains three-tenths to 4.8 (6+), thus halting at four a consecutive string of down or flat sweeps that produced a collective loss of one-half share (5.0 – 4.7 – 4.7 – 4.6 – 4.5, 6+). Part of October’s three-way runner-up logjam as well was adult contemporary cluster-mate KOST, which drops one-tenth (4.5 – 4.4, 6+) and segues to third-place. When “Coast 103” picked up two-tenths in October, it halted three consecutive off-trends that resulted in a combined decrease of one-half share (4.8 – 4.7 – 4.5 – 4.3, 6+). In September, co-owned urban contemporary KRRL reached the three-share level (6+) for the first time since January, but “Real 92.3 – LA’s Home for Hip-Hop” falters by nine-tenths (3.4 – 2.5, 6+), drifting out of the top ten (#9 to #15). This marks the fifth successive sweep without an increase for CBS Radio classic hits-oldies KRTH “K-Earth 101,” which is off seven-tenths in that stretch (5.1 – 4.8 – 4.8 – 4.8 – 4.5 – 4.4, 6+), dropping from a second-place tie to third (with KOST). Following six straight sweeps in second-place, smooth AC sibling KTWV “The Wave” is a collective -1.7 in three successive declines (5.9 – 5.2 – 4.3 – 4.2, 6+) and repeats at #5.

3) Chicago – Having fallen off the top twenty in October (2.5 – 2.2, #21, 6+), iHeartMedia hot AC WLIT “93.9 My-FM” rebounds with an increase of six-tenths to 2.8, catapulting all the way into a four-way scrum at #12. Over and above repeating at #1, its format rival – Hubbard’s WTMX “101.9 The Mix” – registers its sixth straight improvement for a collective +1.7 (4.6 – 4.6 – 4.6 – 5.0 – 5.2 – 5.8 – 6.3, 6+). The last time “Mix” reached the six-share level (6+) was in May 2013 (6.4). WTMX had finished in the runner-up slot in July, August, and September. Co-owned classic rocker WDRV “97.1 The Drive,” however forfeits seven-tenths (3.9 – 3.2, 6+), tumbling from fifth to tenth with its lowest 6+-showing since “Holiday” 2016’s 3.1. Along with WLIT, another player in that four-way logjam at #12 is Tribune Media Company news/talk WGN, which gains three-tenths to 2.8 (6+, up from #17 in October). In doing so, WGN applies the brakes to eight straight ratings periods without an increase for a collective -1.7 (4.2 – 4.2 – 3.9 – 3.3 – 3.1 – 2.8 – 2.8 – 2.5 – 2.5, 6+). Immediately prior to this just-concluded streak, WGN posted three consecutive sweeps without a loss for an overall one-half share gain (3.7 – 4.0 – 4.2 – 4.2, 6+). It is a mixed bag for the market’s two main sports talk outlets. On the plus side, WMVP picks up one-half share and is a collective +1.1 via three straight gains (1.3 – 1.5 – 1.9 – 2.4, #22, 6+); “ESPN Chicago 1000” reaches the two-share mark for the first time since March (2.1). At the same time, after posting a full-share gain in October (3.9 – 4.9, 6+), CBS Radio-owned Chicago Cubs flagship WSCR “670 The Score” (fourth to sixth, 6+) surrenders -1.3 to 3.6, its lowest 6+-stat since March’s 2.2. Tied at #7 are iHeartMedia mainstream CHR WKSC “103.5 Kiss FM – Chicago’s #1 Hit Music Station” and CBS Radio-owned WBBM-FM “Chicago’s B-96.” “Kiss” is off for the third straight sweep for an overall loss of seven-tenths (4.1 – 3.8 – 3.6 – 3.4, 6+) yet is actually up from eighth in October, while “B-96” improves by one-tenth, (3.4, up from ninth in October 6+), ending five consecutive down or flat trends for a collective -.7 (4.0 – 3.9 – 3.8 – 3.7 – 3.4 – 3.3, 6+).

4) San Francisco – For the 11th successive time, Northern California Public Broadcasting’s KQED-FM and CBS Radio-owned all-news KCBS-AM rank first and second, respectively. At this time last month, KQED-FM had a rather slim, one-half share lead over KCBS-AM. That advantage nearly quadruples, however, as KQED-FM rolls out a massive +1.3 in November (7.3 – 8.6, 6+), while KCBS-AM (up eight-tenths in October) drops one-tenth (6.8 – 6.7, 6+). October’s 6.8 by KCBS-AM is its strongest 6+-performance since February (6.8, as well). After adding one-half share in August (7.1 – 7.6, 6+), KQED-FM relinquished 60% of that increase in September (7.3, -.3, 6+). A gain of four-tenths in July halted at four a successive streak without an increase that produced a -1.0 (7.7 – 7.3 – 7.0 – 6.7 – 6.7, 6+). When KCBS-AM added two-tenths in September to 6.0 (6+), it ended four consecutive down or flat monthlies that yielded a loss of one-half share (6.3 – 6.1 – 6.0 – 5.8 – 5.8, 6+). Doubling its 6+ stat since August via four straight positive spikes (1.7 – 2.3 – 2.4 – 2.9 – 3.4, 6+), Cumulus Media news/talk KSFO progresses from tenth to seventh. Co-owned KNBR picks up three-tenths to 3.1 (6+), halting six straight down or flat trends for a cumulative -1.4 (4.2 – 4.1 – 3.5 – 3.2 – 3.2 – 3.0 – 2.8, 6+) and “The Sports Leader” returns to the top ten (#13 to #9). Posting a one-half share increase and leaping from #18 to #12 is University of Southern California classical KDFC, a collective +.9 as the result of its sixth straight sweep without a loss (1.8 – 1.9 – 1.9 – 2.0 – 2.1 – 2.2 – 2.7, 6+). Faltering by seven-tenths each and both, as a result, departing the top ten are iHeartMedia rhythmic CHR KYLD “Wild 94.9 – The Bay’s #1 Hit Music Station” (2.7, #7 to #12, 6+) and Univision Radio Spanish adult hits KBRG “100.3 Mas Variedad” (3.3 – 2.6, #8 to #14, 6+). “Wild” had been in three-share territory (6+) in each of the last 18 survey periods. Varying only seven-tenths from October 2016 through November 2017, iHeartMedia urban contemporary KMEL “#1 for Hip-Hop and R&B in the Bay Area” (flat at #14) is nonetheless down one-tenth for the fourth straight time (3.3 – 3.0 – 2.9 – 3.3 – 3.1 – 3.0 – 3.0 – 3.1 – 3.0 – 2.9 – 3.0 – 2.9 – 2.8 – 2.7 – 2.6, 6+). This is the eighth month in a row that KUFX “98.5 K-Fox – The South Bay’s Classic Rock” is unlisted in San Francisco, but it still appears in print in San Jose. The station’s March 2017 6+-San Francisco stat was 1.5.

5) Dallas – Albeit steady at #14, CBS Radio-owned sports talk KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan” has more than doubled its 6+-share as a result of nine straight up or flat trends, (1.4 – 1.5 – 2.0 – 2.0 – 2.1 – 2.1 – 2.4 – 2.6 – 2.9 – 3.1, #18 to #14, 6+). In 12 monthly reports since “Holiday” 2016, co-owned news/talk KRLD-AM (#22 to #21) has been within a high of 2.4 (November 2017) and a low of 2.0 (2.1 – 2.3 – 2.0 – 2.0 – 2.3 – 2.2 – 2.1 – 2.2 – 2.1 – 2.1 – 2.2 – 2.4, 6+). Off a collective six-tenths via six straight down or flat trends (3.4 – 3.4 – 3.3 – 3.1 – 3.1 – 3.1 – 2.8, 6+), Service Broadcasting urban contemporary KKDA-FM “K-104 Hip-Hop and R&B” is up four-tenths to 3.2, climbing from #15 to #13. Dating back to April, iHeartMedia’s KEGL “97.1 The Eagle Rocks’ (unchanged at #9) has been trending 3.0 – 3.4 – 3.0 – 3.0 – 3.4 – 3.4 – 3.4 – 3.4 (6+). Eight-tenths of a share separates the top seven stations. At the top of the leader board is a tie between Cumulus Media country outlet KPLX “The Wolf” (5.3 – 5.0, -.3, 6+), which is #1 for the 11th successive time and iHeartMedia classic rocker KZPS “Lone Star 92.5 (4.8 – 5.0, +.2, 6+). After four straight gains that netted nine-tenths (4.6 – 4.7 – 5.0 – 5.2 – 5.5, 6+), KZPS was down or flat the next four ratings periods for an overall loss of one full-share (5.5 – 5.4 – 5.4 – 4.9 – 4.5, 6+). Owing to a +.3 in October, however, “Lone Star 92.5” progressed from sixth to third. Behind “The Wolf” and “Lone Star” at #3 (up from fifth in October) is iHeartMedia CHR KHKS “106.1 Kiss-FM,” which gains three-tenths to 4.7 (6+); “Kiss” had been down in each of the past four monthlies for a combined -1.4 (5.8 – 5.5 – 5.3 – 4.8 – 4.4, 6+). Trending 3.7 – 3.8 – 3.9 – 3.9 (6+) since July for a modest gain of two-tenths, Salem Media Group contemporary Christian KLTY “94.9 Your Life … Inspired” falters by six-tenths to 3.3 (6+) and exits the top ten (#8 to #11, 6+). A loss of one-half share (4.7 – 4.2, fourth to seventh, 6+) takes CBS Radio classic hits-oldies KLUV “98.7 K-LUV” to its lowest 6+-stat since January 2015 (4.2, as well). In addition to plummeting from the top ten as the result of a -.4 to 3.0 (#9 to #15, 6+), Univision Radio Spanish contemporary KDXX “Latino Mix” snaps at eight its consecutive string of up or flat trends that netted a +1.5 (1.9 – 2.0 – 2.4 – 2.6 – 2.6 – 3.0 – 3.0 – 3.3 – 3.4, 6+).

6) Houston – When the Houston Astros won the team’s first-ever World Series, it proved to be a ratings bonanza for its flagship, iHeartMedia-owned KBME “Sports Talk 790,” which cracks the top twenty with a gain of eight-tenths (1.3 – 2.1, #20, 6+). By way of comparison, “Sports Talk 790” logged a .7 (6+, #25) in November 2016. Improving by eight-tenths as well (to 3.8 6+) is CBS Radio Spanish contemporary KLOL which hadn’t had an increase in the last three sweeps for a collective -.6 (3.6 – 3.2 – 3.0 – 3.0, 6+); “Mega 101 FM” vaults from #17 to a three-way tie at #10 with its best 6+-stat since April’s 4.2. Noncommercial contemporary Christian KSBJ “89.3 – God Listens” (4.8, eighth to fifth, 6+) erases the six-tenths it lost through three straight down or flat trends (4.8 – 4.6 – 4.2 – 4.2, 6+). Yet another Houston outlet putting an end to three consecutive down or flat moves is Cumulus Media CHR KRBE “104.1 – Houston’s #1 Hit Music Station,” which picks up one-half share (4.6, ninth to seventh, 6+). KRBE was a cumulative -.7 since July (4.8 – 4.4 – 4.4 – 4.1, 6+). Conversely, Radio One urban AC KMJQ is off three-tenths (to 7.4, 6+), thus ending three straight gains that netted seven-tenths (7.0 – 7.1 – 7.2 – 7.7, 6+), but “Majic 102.1 The People’s Station” is #1 for the third time in succession. “Majic” spent six consecutive months on top before segueing to #2 in August. It was +1.4 in May; -.6 in June; and -.7 in July. Up a combined +1.0 in back-to-back monthlies (6.9 – 7.2 – 7.9, January – February – March, 6+), “Majic” returned all of it in April (6.9, 6+) before notching May’s +1.4. The rollercoaster ride continues for iHeartMedia adult contemporary KODA “Sunny 99.1,” which gained eight-tenths in August; lost it all in September; picked up one-half share in October; and now surrenders eight-tenths in November (6.4 – 7.2 – 6.4 – 6.9 – 6.1, 6+). Displaced from the top in September and falling to third, “Sunny” repeats in the runner-up slot. Immediately prior to September’s -.8, KODA was a collective +1.7 via four straight up or flat monthlies (5.5 – 5.5 – 5.8 – 6.4 – 7.2, 6+) and notched its strongest 6+-stat since “Holiday” 2016 (10.3). Up a combined full-share in September and October (3.6 – 4.3 – 4.6, 6+), co-owned KTBZ “94.5 The Buzz – Houston’s Rock and Alternative” fades by eight-tenths as well (3.8, sixth to tenth, 6+). Having lost eight-tenths in October, Cox Media Group classic rock KGLK “The Eagle” regresses by another seven-tenths in November (5.9 – 5.2, flat at #4, 6+). Up or flat for a collective +1.2 February through July (5.3 – 5.7 – 5.9 – 6.2 – 6.5 – 6.5, 6+), “The Eagle” stumbled in August with a -1.1, but responded in September with a +1.3 to 6.7, the strongest 6+-share in its PPM-history. On the heels of October’s stunning +1.6, Univision Radio regional Mexican KLTN returns one-half share (4.7 – 6.3 – 5.8, 6+) and carries on in third-place. It was -.5 in March; +.7 in April; -1.1 in June; -.7 in July; and +.7 in August. Following three straight negative trends that yielded a combined -1.5 (8.0 – 7.4 – 6.7 – 6.5, 6+), KLTN brought back 60% of that deficit in January (+.9), jumping from third to first. It was a very quick stay there though as KLTN surrendered -1.3 in February (7.4 – 6.1, 6+) and dropped to third. Declining by one-half share as well is Liberman regional Mexican KEYH (.8 – .3, #32, 6+). Owing to seven straight up or flat trends, Univision Radio’s similarly-formatted KQBU more than quadrupled its 6+-share (.2 – .3 – .3 – .4 – .6 – .7 – .7 – .9, 6+), but “Que Buena 93.3” slips three-tenths to .6 (#25 to #28, 6+). Having improved its 6+-share by 2.5 times through eight consecutive sweeps without a decrease (.8 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.1 – 1.1 – 1.1 – 1.3 – 1.7 – 2.0, 6+) CBS Radio’s KILT-AM “Sports Radio 610” returns four-tenths to 1.6 (#21 to #23, 6+).

7) Atlanta – In what proves to be a solid ratings period for urban ACs in “The ATL,” Cox Media Group’s WALR “Kiss 104.1” advances by seven-tenths (5.8, 6+), while Radio One-owned WAMJ “Majic – The Real Sound of Atlanta” improves by six-tenths (4.9, eighth to sixth, 6+). The +.7 not only pushes “Kiss” from fifth to second, it applies the brakes to four consecutive declines that eventuated in a cumulative -1.1 (6.2 – 5.9 – 5.6 – 5.3 – 5.1, 6+). Meanwhile, “Magic” rebounds from a combined one-half share loss in September and October (4.8 – 4.6 – 4.3, 6+). Regarding the market’s CHR contest, Cumulus Media’s WWWQ “Q-100 Atlanta’s New Hits” drops two-tenths to 4.5 (seventh to eighth, 6+), while iHeartMedia-owned WWPW “Power 96.1 Atlanta’s #1 Hit Music Station” improves by that same margin (4.0 – 4.2, tenth to ninth, 6+). “Q-100” was locked on 4.7 (6+) in September and October. Down or flat in four straight ratings periods for a net loss of four-tenths (4.3 – 4.1 – 4.1 – 3.9 – 3.9, 6+), “Power” gained one-tenth in October. Those group owners are involved in another close skirmish between two of the market’s country properties, with iHeartMedia’s WUBL “94.9 The Bull – Atlanta’s #1 For New Country” (4.0 – 4.1, +.1, three-way tie at #10 to #11, 6+) holding a four-tenths advantage over Cumulus Media-owned WKHX “Kicks 101.5 – Atlanta’s #1 For Country Hits” (3.4 – 3.7, +.3, #15 to #13, 6+). At the same time, Woman’s World Broadcasting-owned WTSH “Georgia Country” has lost roughly 70% of its 6+-stat in five successive down or flat trends since June (1.8 – 1.3 – 1.3 – 1.0 – .7 – .5, #30, 6+). A gain of two-tenths by Cumulus Media news/talk WYAY (1.7, #20 to #19, 6+) applies the brakes to four straight negative or flat trends that resulted in an overall loss of six-tenths (2.1 – 1.8 – 1.8 – 1.8 – 1.5, 6+). After registering three straight increases for a collective +1.6 (8.6 – 8.9 – 9.9 – 10.2, 6+), Cox Media Group news/talk WSB-AM relinquishes two-tenths to 10.0 (6+), but is #1 for the 23rd successive ratings period. Prior to June’s +.2, WSB-AM had been down or flat the previous four sweeps for a combined loss of -2.1 (10.7 – 9.9 – 9.5 – 9.5 – 8.6, 6+). January 2017’s 10.7 represents WSB-AM’s best-ever (6+) PPM-performance. In addition to dropping from second to fourth (5.6, 6+), Salem Media Group contemporary Christian WFSH “104.7 Fish” has its string of successive flat or progressive trends that netted a +1.8 end at four (3.9 – 3.9 – 4.3 – 5.3 – 5.7, 6+). Frozen on 3.7 (6+) in June and July and then on 4.0 (6+) in September and October, Radio One gospel WPZE stumbles by one-half share to 3.5, its lowest 6+-share since August 2016’s 3.4, with “Praise 102.5” spiraling from the top ten (#10 to #15).

8) Philadelphia – Notwithstanding that it is unchanged at #14, iHeartMedia urban-rhythmic oldies WISX is a collective +1.5 via five consecutive up or flat trends (2.0 – 2.4 – 2.6 – 2.9 – 2.9 – 3.5, 6+); “Philly’s Real 106.1 – #1 for Throwbacks” had been within 2.0 – 2.9 range (6+) in each of the last 18 survey periods. A combined +3.5 as the result of four straight increases (4.5 – 5.3 – 6.4 – 7.5 – 8.0, 6+), CBS Radio sports talk outlet/Philadelphia Eagles flagship WIP establishes two milestones: It is #1 for the first time in the PPM-era and records its best-ever 6+-stat. Off a collective full-share in June and July (5.5 – 4.7 – 4.5, 6+), WIP gained eight-tenths in August. At 10 – 1, the Eagles have the NFL’s highest winning percentage; at this time last year, WIP was #7 (4.9, 6+, November 2016). The market’s other FM sports facility – Beasley Media Group’s WPEN “97.5 The Fanatic” – records its fifth straight up or flat trend for a collective +1.1 (1.6 – 1.7 – 1.7 – 2.0 – 2.4 – 2.7, 6+) as the key station of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers climbs from #18 to #15. Even though it adds two-tenths (7.6 – 7.8, 6+) and has its highest 6+-share since February’s 7.9, Jerry Lee-owned adult contemporary WBEB “Today’s 101.1 More FM” is dislodged from #1 and segues to #2. Prior to September, the last time “More FM” occupied the top spot was February when it ended a seven-straight month run there. In addition to posting its lowest 6+-share since “Holiday” 2016’s 5.5, CBS Radio-owned classic hits-oldies WOGL declines for the fourth straight month for an overall -1.9 (7.5 – 7.4 – 6.6 – 6.2 – 5.6, fourth to fifth, 6+). Showing losses of one-half share each are Beasley Media Group-owned WMMR “93.3 Everything That Rocks” (5.0 – 4.5, flat at #6, 6+); iHeartMedia urban contemporary WUSL “Power 99 – Philadelphia’s Hip-Hop and R&B” (4.1 – 3.6, #7 to #13, 6+); and Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian WKVP “Positive & Encouraging K-Love” (1.3, #19 to #21, 6+). When WMMR gained four-tenths in October, it halted five straight down or flat trends that resulted in a combined -1.4 (6.0 – 5.7 – 5.3 – 4.8 – 4.8 – 4.6, 6+). This marks the first time “Power 99” is below a four-share (6+) since May 2016’s 3.7. WKVP was locked on 1.8 (6+) in September and October.

9) Long Island – Tied with KQED-FM (see San Francisco above) for largest (6+) October 2017 – November 2017 increase by any station in the 12 PPM-markets highlighted here, Connoisseur Media hot AC WALK-FM “Real Variety 97.5” shakes off October’s -.9 with a +1.3 (6.3 – 5.4 – 6.7, 6+) to advance from second to first, which is where it was between June and September. After three consecutive surges that generated a +2.1 (4.2 – 5.1 – 5.3 – 6.3, 6+), WALK-FM dropped one-tenth in July; bounced back with a +.7 in August; and surrendered six-tenths in September. A full-share decrease in March (5.2 – 4.2, 6+) resulted in “Real Variety” tumbling from fourth to seventh, but it jumped to first in April with a gain of nine-tenths. It is a short one-month stay at #1 for iHeartMedia New York City CHR WHTZ “Z-100,” which is down three-tenths (5.8 – 5.5, 6+) and shifts to third. “Z-100” had a June 2017 – September 2017 pattern of 5.0 – 4.9 – 5.0 – 4.9 (6+). Sandwiched between WALK-FM and WHTZ is CBS Radio’s WFAN “The Fan” (third to second), logging its fourth straight increase for an overall +1.9 (4.0 – 4.2 – 4.6 – 5.3 – 5.9, 6+). Gaining one-half share each are Cox Media Group’s WBAB “Long Island’s Only Classic Rock” (5.0 – 5.5, fifth to third, 6+), which has its best-ever 6+ PPM-performance; iHeartMedia New York City’s similarly-formatted WAXQ “Q-104.3” (3.4 – 3.9, tenth to seventh, 6+); and Emmis urban AC WBLS “107.5 – #1 For R&B” (3.2 – 3.7, #11 to #9, 6+). An October dip of three-tenths by “Q-104.3 halted at nine its successive string of up or flat trends that netted a +1.1 (2.6 – 2.6 – 2.9 – 3.3 – 3.3 – 3.4 – 3.7 – 3.7 – 3.7 – 3.7, 6+). This is the 14th sweep in a row that WBLS has been within 3.0 – 3.9 range (6+). Rhythmic CHR sibling WQHT “Hot 97” gains three-tenths (2.4 – 2.7, 6+) and inches up from #16 to #14. It is within 2.0 – 2.9 territory (6+) for the 36th consecutive ratings period. As it returns to the top ten (#11 to #10), Connoisseur Media classic hits-oldies WBZO “103.1 Max FM” adds two-tenths to 3.4 (6+), pulling the plug on six successive sweeps without an increase for a -1.5 (4.7 – 4.5 – 4.4 – 4.3 – 4.3 – 3.6 – 3.2, 6+). After being up or flat for seven straight months for a cumulative +1.6 (2.2 – 2.3 – 2.5 – 2.6 – 2.7 – 2.7 – 3.2 – 3.8, 6+), Cumulus Media hot AC WPLJ “New York’s 95.5 PLJ” forfeits seven-tenths to 3.1 and departs the top ten (#8 to #11, 6+). Eroding by seven-tenths as well and also exiting the top ten is CBS Radio all-news WCBS-AM (3.7 – 3.0, #9 to #12, 6+), which has a three-share showing (6+) in Long Island for the 13th consecutive sweep. This is the fourth time in succession that Cox Media Group CHR WBLI (flat at #6) records a negative trend (6.2 – 5.6 – 5.2 – 4.9 – 4.3, 6+) and it is an overall -1.9 since July.

10) Riverside – By doubling its 6+-share (1.2 – 2.4, 6+), All-Pro Broadcasting’s KHTI “Hot 103.9 – Move to the Music” jumps into the top ten (#12 to #8). Prior to November, “Hot” was off a collective nine-tenths in six straight down or flat trends (2.1 – 1.8 – 1.5 – 1.4 – 1.3 – 1.3 – 1.2, 6+). Owing to its third straight monthly without a decrease (3.2 – 3.5 – 3.5 – 4.1, 6+), Univision Radio regional Mexican KSCA “Zona MX 101.9” (seventh to fourth) has its best 6+-share in the Inland Empire since April’s 4.9. This marks the fourth consecutive up or flat trend for LC Media urban-rhythmic oldies KQIE “Old School 104.7” (3.3 – 3.3 – 3.4 – 3.6 – 3.9, unchanged at #6, 6+), which is +.6 since July. Steady at #9, Good News Radio contemporary Christian KSGN “89.7 Family Friendly” is a combined +.5 in four straight ratings periods without a decrease (1.6 – 1.6 – 2.1 – 2.1 – 2.1, 6+). KSGN had been trending 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.8 – 1.8 – 1.8 – 1.8 (6+) and, in September, reached the two-share level (6+) for the first time since December 2015’s 2.0. Despite gaining one-tenth to 3.8 (6+), halting three straight dips for an overall loss of eight-tenths (4.5 – 4.2 – 3.8 – 3.7, 6+), iHeartMedia rhythmic CHR KGGI backslides from fifth to seventh. While it is on top for the 25th consecutive ratings period, Entravision Spanish adult hits KLYY “Jose” falters by eight-tenths (7.7 – 6.9, 6+). When “Jose” gained three-tenths in August, it ended six consecutive decreases for a net loss of -2.7 (9.4 – 9.2 – 8.6 – 8.3 – 8.1 – 7.9 – 6.7, 6+). It was in that stretch that “Jose” fell below a seven-share for the first time since May 2016’s 6.5. In October, Anaheim Broadcasting classic hits-oldies outlet KOLA was just two-tenths behind “Jose,” but KOLA fades by -1.5 to 6.0, nine-tenths off the pace, but is still in second-place. In back-to-back sweeps (September and October), KOLA gained a combined +2.4 (5.1 – 6.5 – 7.5, 6+). KOLA was in second-place six straight times before dropping to third in “Holiday” 2016 and was back at #2 between January and July (2017). A combined +1.0 in April and May (5.2 – 5.6 – 6.2, 6+), KOLA repeated June’s -.2 in July (6.2 – 6.0 – 5.8, 6+). Its -.4 in March ended at five a string of consecutive fluctuations by one-half share (7.1 – 6.6 – 6.1 – 5.6 – 6.1 – 5.6, 6+) for a collective -1.5. Slipping from third to fourth, Univision Radio Spanish contemporary KLVE “K-Love 107.5” is an overall -1.2 in its third straight decline (5.3 – 4.9 – 4.7 – 4.1, 6+). Co-owned Spanish adult hits KRCD improved its 6+-share by 2.5 times in three straight increases (.6 – .7 – 1.2 – 1.5, 6+), but “Recuerdo” slips by three-tenths in November to 1.2 (#11 to #14, 6+).

11) San Jose – Within 3.0 – 3.6 range (6+) in each of the past ten (10) survey periods, CHR KMVQ “99.7 New Hit Music Now!” breaks out a +1.0 (3.2 – 4.2, 6+) to progress from tenth to sixth. Improving by a cumulative +1.8 via four successive progressive spikes (3.5 – 4.0 – 4.5 – 4.9 – 5.3, 6+), iHeartMedia hot AC KIOI “Star 101.3 – More Music, More Variety” climbs from fourth to third. Two Bay Area sports talk outlets improve by one-half share each: Cumulus Media’s KNBR “The Sports Leader” (3.2, #15 to #13, 6+) and Entercom-owned KGMZ “95.7 The Game” (#28, 6+). Regaining the one-half share it lost in October, KNBR was without an increase in San Jose the past six months for an overall -1.5 since April (4.2 – 4.2 – 3.4 – 3.3 – 3.3 – 3.2 – 2.7, 6+). In four straight upticks, “The Game” has nearly tripled its 6+-share (.4 – .5 – .5 – .6 – 1.1, 6+). Advancing by one-half share as well is iHeartMedia adult contemporary KISQ “98.1 The Breeze” (3.6, #12 to #11, 6+), which had been -1.3 in three straight negative or flat trends (4.4 – 3.7 – 3.1 – 3.1, 6+). Setting the pace in San Jose for the fourth straight time, Northern California Public Broadcasting’s KQED-FM is an overall +1.3 in three consecutive gains (6.9 – 7.3 – 8.0 – 8.2, 6+). Recapturing 80% of the cumulative -1.5 it lost in four straight downward moves (7.6 – 7.5 – 7.2 – 6.3 – 6.1, 6+), KQED-FM advanced from third to first in July. Unlisted in San Jose since posting a 5.1 (6+) in the “Holiday” 2015 report, KQED-FM returned in January 2017 by recording a 6.9 (6+) to finish at #1 and had been on top through April. This represents its highest 6+-share since reappearing the first of this year. Slipping from ninth to tenth, Univision Radio regional Mexican KSOL “Que Buena” is off one-tenth to 3.8 (6+), thus curtailing at four a consecutive string of up or flat trends that generated a +1.1 (2.8 – 3.0 – 3.0 – 3.3 – 3.9, 6+); October’s 3.9 is its best 6+-share in San Jose since December’s 4.1. After being a combined +2.3 in August and September (3.7 – 4.8 – 6.0, 6+), Alpha Media classic hits-oldies KBAY “94.5 Bay FM – The Bay’s Greatest Hits” is a collective -2.0 in October and November (6.0 – 4.9 – 4.0, 6+), skidding from fourth to eighth. September’s 6.0 was its strongest 6+-stat since 8.0 in the “Holiday” 2016 report, whereas 3.7 is its weakest since July’s 3.7. Off by six-tenths each are Univision Radio Spanish adult hits KBRG “100.3 Mas Variedad” (5.4 – 4.8, third to fourth, 6+) and Empire Broadcasting’s KRTY “Hot Country 95.3” (4.2, flat at #6, 6+), which was locked on 4.8 (6+) in September and October. In addition to falling from a three-way tie at #19 to #20, Cumulus Media news/talk KSFO slips by one-tenth to 2.1 (6+), ending three straight up or flat trends that netted seven-tenths (1.5 – 1.7 – 1.7 – 2.2, 6+).

12) Middlesex – A pair of adult contemporary outlets combine for a +1.6. Specifically, iHeartMedia’s WLTW “Lite-FM” hangs out a full-share improvement to advance from sixth to third, while Beasley Media Group-owned WMGQ “Magic 98.3” increases by six-tenths (3.5 – 4.1, tenth to seventh, 6+). This is the fourth straight Middlesex-Somerset-Union gain for “Lite-FM” for an overall +1.6 (4.3 – 4.4 – 4.6 – 4.9 – 5.9, 6+) and its best 6+-showing here since February (5.9, as well). Unchanged at #5, CBS Radio New York City sports talk WFAN-FM “The Fan” registers its third straight increase for an overall +1.4 (3.8 – 4.3 – 5.1 – 5.2, 6+). For the eighth time in the last ten sweeps (and fourth straight), iHeartMedia rhythmic CHR WKTU registers a 2.8 (2.8 – 2.8 – 2.8 – 3.0 – 2.8 – 2.9 – 2.8 – 2.8 – 2.8 – 2.8, 6+) and stays at #15. Not only does it post a positive spike of nine-tenths (7.3 – 8.2, 6+) for its strongest 6+-stat since 8.2 in September 2016, Townsquare Media news/talk WKXW is #1 for the 11th consecutive ratings period. As a result of a “Holiday” 2016 – January 2017 increase of one-full-share (6.8 – 7.8, 6+), “New Jersey 101.5” returned to #1 following one month in the runner-up slot. Prior to “Holiday” 2016, when it was -.7 (6+), WKXW spent 12 consecutive ratings periods on top. Owing to its third straight increase (2.5 – 2.9 – 3.1 – 3.6, 6+), iHeartMedia urban contemporary WWPR is a collective +1.1, with “Power 105.1 New York’s Hip-Hop and R&B” cracking the top ten (#13 to #10). Eroding by one full-share (5.3 – 4.3, 6+), Spanish Broadcasting System-owned Spanish tropical WSKQ “La Mega 97.9” drops from third to sixth with its lowest 6+-showing in Middlesex since February (4.3, as well). Having trended 3.7 – 3.8 – 3.9 – 3.8 (June through September, 6+), iHeartMedia New York City CHR WHTZ “Z-100” improved by six-tenths in October to 4.4, its best 6+-stat in Middlesex-Somerset-Union since 4.5 in March. In November, however, “Z-100” surrenders nine-tenths to 3.5 (6+) and departs the top ten (#7 to #11). Dropping by eight-tenths each are Emmis urban AC WBLS “107.5 – #1 For R&B” (6.8 – 6.0, repeating at #2, 6+) and Univision Radio Spanish tropical WXNY “X-96.3” (3.2 – 2.4, #11 to #16, 6+). After more than doubling its 6+-share via eleven (11) straight up or flat trends (.4 – .5 – .5 – .6 – .6 – .7 – .8 – .9 – .9 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.0, 6+), Press Communications’ WKMK “Thunder 106 – Jersey’s Best Country” drops two-tenths to .8 (#25 to #26, 6+).

Thursday, November 9, 2017

| November 9, 2017

FCC Grants Approval of Entercom-CBS Merger. The Federal Communications Commission has issued its decision approving the merger of Entercom and CBS RADIO.  “We have reviewed the proposed merger, the applications for its approval, and related comments. We conclude that the applicants are fully qualified and that grant of the Merger Applications and the Trust Applications, subject to the conditions set forth herein, will serve the public interest, convenience, and necessity.”  In the 20-page decision, the FCC explains its denial of the Petition to Deny filed by longtime Entercom adversary Edward R. Stolz II (and Deborah J. Niaman).  It also reminds Entercom that CBS officers Leslie Moonves and Joseph Ianniello may serve as Temporary Directors for the new corporation for only six months.

Cumulus Media Reports Flat Net Revenue for Third Quarter; WW1 Up 5.5%.  Net revenue for the third quarter of 2017 was up just a little over $1 million, resulting in a 0.4% increase from the same period a year ago.  For the first nine months of 2017, Cumulus Media’s net revenue was flat at $841 million.  President and CEO Mary Berner comments, “As we noted when we announced our preliminary results in October, our strong third quarter performance plainly demonstrates that our operational turnaround plan is working.  The entire Cumulus team has shown great commitment to maintaining our momentum.  By executing our foundational operating initiatives and continuing to develop growth opportunities, we are confident that we can build on our success despite the challenging industry environment.  We are also focused on addressing our excessive debt load on a parallel track to our operational turnaround plan.  As previously disclosed, we are working with our advisors to proactively explore a range of alternatives to restructure our balance sheet and we are continuing productive discussions with our creditors. Regardless of the path forward, we have ample cash to operate our business.  Our goal remains to reduce our debt so we can focus our time and resources on investments in our people, key technologies, and initiatives that will ultimately drive sustainable, long-term growth.”  Cumulus breaks its operations in to two segments, Radio Station Group and Westwood One.  The Radio Station Group’s net revenue was down 1.6% while Westwood One was up 5.5% from the same period in 2016.  For the first nine months of this year, the Radio Station Group was down 1.3% and Westwood One was up 3% compared to the first nine months of 2016.

Dave Ramsey’s ‘Smart Money’ Live Event in Phoenix.  Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey brought his “Smart Money” live event to Phoenix on Tuesday (11/7) where he presented at the sold-out Christ’s Church of the Valley.  The program was also streamed live online to attendees across the country.  Ramsey combined forces with local affiliate KTAR “News 92.3 FM” to promote the event.  Ryan Hatch, vice president of content and operations Bonneville Phoenix, says, “It is no surprise to us that both Dave’s radio show and his events continue to be in high demand.  His passion and commitment in helping others is unmatched.”  Pictured above (from l-r) are: Ilene Thompson, director of partner and community services; Dave Zadrozny, KTAR sales manager; Paul Ihander, KTAR news director; Ramsey; Becky Kaiser, “Arizona Sports” sales manager; and Connie Drushel, HR director.

PPM Analysis: NFL Flagships. Managing editor Mike Kinosian takes a look at station ratings (6+) based on the latest PPM data from Nielsen Audio for stations that serve as flagships for play-by-play for NFL clubs.  Among the comparisons presented in this report are how stations fared from the September PPM survey to the October PPM survey.  Kinosian says, “Slightly more than three of every four of these particular NFL flagships (76%) improve between September 2017 – October 2017, with one in 10 holding steady (10%) and the remaining 14% of the sample is down from September.”  Looking at year-over-year comparisons, the sample of flagship stations was split about 50-50, with half seeing 6+ ratings increases and the other half seeing declines.  Check out Kinosian’s entire report here.

Craig Carton Officially Pleads Not Guilty.  Former WFAN, New York morning drive co-host Craig Carton was in federal court in Manhattan yesterday (11/8) at which time he pleaded not guilty to fraud charges.  The feds allege that Carton and a partner committed securities and wire fraud when they solicited investors to contribute millions to their concert ticket re-sale business.  The feds allege that those investments were made based on the belief that Carton had deals in place to acquire blocks of tickets but that no such deals existed.  During a statement to reporters yesterday, Carton said, “The real fact is that my business was licensed by the State of New York to sell tickets.  The real fact is that I bought and sold thousands of tickets at arenas no more than a few miles from where I stand right now and had pending deals in place to buy and sell many more.  The real fact, that you guys couldn’t possibly know, is that about a week and a half ago the government conceded to my lawyers that I had a legitimate ticket-selling business, and that I’ve been selling tickets for a long time.”  Carton resigned from his position with WFAN shortly after being indicted.  Read the Bergen Record’s story here.

Scott Fitzgerald MIA from WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte.  The 9:00 am to 12:00 noon talk host at Entercom’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte is missing from his show and his bio has been scrubbed from the station website.  Today (11/9), former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory sat in with WBT morning host Bo Thompson for the 9:00 am to 10:00 am hour, then weekend host Vince Coakley hosted the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show.  There’s no official word from Entercom on permanent plans for the daypart.

TALKERS News Notes.  Affiliates of FOX News Radio have Thanksgiving programming in the form of a special show hosted by Brian Kilmeade.  The “FOX & Friends” and “Brian Kilmeade Show” host recently published “Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans: The Battle That Shaped America’s Destiny (Sentinel, 2017) and the program addresses that story.  FOX says, “Brian, along with the top experts in history and politics, will give you the play-by-play into how, against all odds, General Andrew Jackson defeated the British from capturing New Orleans in a pivotal battle that helped make America into what she is today.”  The special will be available for download on the FOX News Radio affiliate website the week of November 19th…..Entercom Buffalo promotes account executive Adam Haker to the local sales manager position for the cluster that includes news/talk WBEN-AM, sports talker WGR and WWKB, as well as hot AC WTSS “Star 102.5,” CHR WKSE “Kiss 98.5,” alternative WLKK “Alt Buffalo,” and rhythmic oldies WWWS…..Salem Radio Network talk star Hugh Hewitt is pictured at left addressing the Indiana Hospital Association – a gathering of doctors and administrators – at their annual conference on the future of healthcare and the role of hospitals in infrastructure spending.  Hewitt originated his SRN show from Indianapolis, then returned to Washington to tape his weekly, Saturday morning program that airs on MSNBC…..This Saturday, CBS RADIO launches the “Eye on Veterans” radio program that aims to provide military veterans and their families with “relevant and useful information about finance, healthcare, and transitioning back into civilian life.”  The weekly, two-hour program is produced by CBS RADIO’s ConnectingVets.com, a national, multi-media resource linking military veterans and their families to relevant information, resources, solutions and, most importantly, each other.  It will air on CBS News Radio affiliates, including CBS RADIO all-news and news/talk stations WCBS-AM, New York; KNX-AM, Los Angeles; WCCO-AM, Minneapolis; and WTIC-AM, Hartford.

Trump in China, North Korea Nuclear Threats, GOP Tax Reform Plan, Virginia and New Jersey Democrat Governor Victories, Mueller Trump-Russia Investigation, Donna Brazile Clinton Campaign Critique, Texas Church Massacre Aftermath, Twitter’s 280 Character Limit, CMA Awards, Sexual Assault Cases Fallout, Roy Halladay Death, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/8).  The presidential trip to China; the rhetoric between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program; the GOP tax reform plan; Democrat victories in the Virginia and New Jersey governor races; Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents; the blowback from Democrats against Donna Brazile for her criticism of the Clinton campaign; the aftermath of the Texas church massacre; Twitter ups its character limit to 280; last night’s Country Music Association awards; the expanding number of sexual assault accusations and the effects on careers; former star pitcher Roy Halladay dies in a plane crash; 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.  At iHeartMedia’s Phoenix cluster, Lady La moves from her evening show on hot AC KMXP “MIX 96.9” to the company’s CHR KZZP “104.7 KISS FM” to host the afternoon drive program.  Taking over the evening show at KMXP is Reid Spivey, who continues to host weekends on KZZP and serve as music director for both stations…..Premiere Networks announces that Suzette Rodriguez joins “The Johnjay & Rich Show” as a co-host, effective immediately.  The syndicated program – hosted by Johnjay Van Es and Rich Berra – is based at KZZP, Phoenix.  Rodriguez says, “When I was asked to be a fourth member on ‘The Johnjay and Rich Show,’ I freaked out!  I’ve always listened to the show, and everyone I know listens to the show.  I’m beyond grateful and excited to join an amazing team.  I’m ready to learn from the best and start a new journey.”…..Tomorrow (11/10) at 7:00 pm ET on SiriusXM’s Hits 1 channel, Taylor Swift will perform an exclusive acoustic performance in front of a select group of SiriusXM subscribers in celebration of the release of her sixth studio album, reputation.  SiriusXM chief content officer Scott Greenstein says, “We are delighted to welcome Taylor Swift back to SiriusXM on the day of reputation’s release.  A true, one-of-a-kind artist, Taylor will be performing to a special group of SiriusXM listeners in a wonderfully intimate setting.  We can’t wait to hear songs from her new album reputation and share this experience with our lucky subscribers.”…..Next Thursday (11/16), iHeartMedia’s nationally syndicated urban morning show “The Breakfast Club” – hosted by DJ Envy, Angela Yee and Charlamagne Tha God – will present an all-day radiothon called #Change4Change to benefit The Gathering for Justice, a charity that sponsors movements such as The Women’s March, Justice League NYC and Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

| October 26, 2017

Will November 16 Be the Day the Radio-Newspaper Cross-Ownership Ban Dies?  Testifying before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Communications and Technology yesterday, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai explained that serval proposals to ease regulations on broadcasters will be taken up at the Commission’s November 16 Open Meeting, the cross-ownership ban among them.  Radio operators and newspapers have long sought to end the ban on cross-ownership of their media platforms and it seems likely – with a 3-2 Republican majority on the Commission – that the 42-year-old rule will be eliminated.  Arguing that the rule – designed to ensure a diversity of news sources for consumers – is outdated, Pai told the subcommittee, “If you believe as I do that the federal government has no business intervening in the news, then we must stop the federal government from intervening in the news business.”  Pai said the media landscape has changed dramatically over the years and pointed to Google and Facebook and an example of that.  “Online competition for the collection and distribution of news is greater than ever and just two internet companies claim 100% of recent online advertising growth.  Indeed, their digital ad revenue this year alone will be greater than the market cap of the entire broadcasting industry.”

Westwood One Unveils Radio’s First ROI Guarantee.  In an effort to build confidence in the power of radio to give a return on investment to advertisers, Westwood One is announcing the “first-ever, industry-wide ROI Guarantee in the audio space based upon irrefutable evidence of radio’s powerful return on advertising spend.”  WW1 says that “the results, as proven by Nielsen, have continually shown exceptionally strong evidence of radio’s positive ROI across 23 national studies measuring sales results for multiple brand category campaigns.”  The press release explains how the program works.  “Westwood One will partner with qualifying clients to accomplish their business objectives.  Additionally, because campaign creative influences 50% of sales lift, the commercial creative will be pre-tested and benchmarked against industry audio creative test norms to ensure consumer impact and resonance.  Nielsen will measure return on advertising spend on behalf of the radio campaign, which includes all media that run across the entire broadcast radio landscape, as well as Westwood One, by matching Media Monitors ad occurrences with Portable People Meter listening, Nielsen credit card data and in-store CPG purchase data from Nielsen Catalina Solutions.  If ROI is not positive, Westwood One will run no-cost supplemental media weight sufficient to deliver the guaranteed ROI.”  Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes says, “We have seen stunning radio ROI data across the board and are convinced of radio’s ability to generate a positive return, so much so that we are offering the ROI Guarantee to our advertisers.  Given secular trends across the media landscape, brands are deeply concerned over ad fraud, viewability, and questionable metrics.  Marketers demand solutions that reach their target customers and generate results. The Westwood One ROI Guarantee elevates radio as the measurable mass reach medium that, simply put, delivers.”

Cumulus Offers Preliminary Operating Results for Third Quarter.  Ahead of the November 9 release of official financial figures and the subsequent investor conference call, Cumulus Media is presenting some “preliminary operating results” along with some commentary from CEO Mary Berner.  Today’s press release says the company expects to report net revenue in a range of $286 million to $288 million with net income in a range of a loss of $0.3 million to a gain of $1.7 million…Adjusted EBITDA performance for the three months ended September 30, 2017 is expected to show growth in a range of 3% to 6% year-over-year.  Berner states, “The strong preliminary results for the third quarter provide further evidence that our turnaround plan is taking hold.  We are encouraged by our continuing operating and financial momentum in the face of negative industry trends.  This quarter, we delivered our seventh straight quarter of ratings share growth at the station group along with revenue share gains for our fifth straight quarter at the station group and third straight quarter at Westwood One.  Most importantly, it was the second straight quarter of year-over-year growth in revenue and Adjusted EBITDA.  While the company has ample cash to operate our business, Cumulus continues to be constrained by an excessive debt load.  With the assistance of outside advisors, we are proactively exploring a range of alternatives with our lenders and noteholders to restructure the balance sheet and reduce debt.  Our objective is to be able to redirect more of our time and resources to where they can have the greatest impact on our future – investing in our employees, in key technologies and in initiatives that drive growth.”

SiriusXM Q3 Revenue Up 8%.  Reporting on third quarter results, SiriusXM announces that its revenue for the period was up 8% over the same period a year ago.  Revenue for the quarter was $1.4 billion.  The company reports, “Net income totaled $276 million in the third quarter 2017, up 42% from $194 million in the third quarter 2016….free cash flow in the third quarter 2017 grew 22% to $434 million, compared to $357 million in the third quarter 2016.”  SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer states, “SiriusXM delivered a very strong third quarter despite headwinds from slowing auto sales and the impact of severe weather in many parts of the United States. We recorded our best-ever quarter for adjusted EBITDA and its corresponding margin — which reached 39.9%.  SiriusXM is pleased to once again raise our full-year guidance for revenue, adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow.  In September, we also completed our $480 million strategic investment in Pandora and recently announced a 10% hike in our quarterly dividend.”  SiriusXM says total subscribers reached 32.2 million during the quarter and 27 million self-paying subscribers.

Radio Talent to Appear on C-Endorsement Videos for Cumulus.  The power of radio talent endorsements is being harnessed by Cumulus Media for its C-Endorsement Videos – “local personality-branded video endorsements will appear as pre-roll video ads before content on popular and reputable third-party websites visited by consumers within a local advertiser’s specific target audience including age, gender, geography, and behavioral characteristics.”  Cumulus VP, digital operations and business development Larry Linietsky states, “Radio personality endorsements are effective marketing solutions because of the trusted relationship listeners have with their favorite local DJs and hosts.  With audiences spending up to four hours every day with these personalities, research shows that nearly 80% trust on-air personalities like friends.  Given the combination of the time spent and the trust built, it is no wonder that over 50% of the audience reports their favorite personalities influence their opinions.  Now is the perfect time to harness the tremendous influence our talent has with local audiences into the digital world via C-Endorsement Videos as part of the growing Cumulus Digital C-Suite.”

Sean Hannity Executive Producer of Faith-Themed Film, Let There Be Light.  Actor and director Kevin Sorbo tells FOX News about his new film called, Let There Be Light, a production involving FOX News Channel and Premiere Networks superstar Sean Hannity.  Sorbo tells FOX that he and Hannity have known each other for years and Hannity approached him about doing a project together because he likes Sorbo’s movies.  Sorbo says the protagonist is an atheist who undergoes a transformation after the death of his son and his failed marriage. Hannity calls the film a real-life emotional rollercoaster.  “If you want to avoid the typical formulaic Hollywood movie model of sex, violence and cartoon characters and watch a movie that can truly impact your life, this is the movie for you and your entire family.”  See the FOX News piece here.

Menendez Promoted at WGN, Chicago. Windy City news pro Stephanie Menendez is being promoted by Tribune news/talk WGN to director of news and operations for the station.  Menendez joined the station in 2008 as a producer.  She then was elevated to executive producer, assistant program director and operations manager.  She is quoted saying, “I am excited for this opportunity to lead our news team as we continue to curate strong content 24/7.  We have the best team of journalists, hosts and producers in the city and I look forward to seeking innovative ways to further expand WGN Radio’s presence in the digital space.”  WGN vice president of content & programming Todd Manley states, “Stephanie has the zest our team needs to tell remarkable Chicago stories.  Every day I’m grateful for the way she leads and collaborates.”

NPR Seeing Growth in Content Consumption.  It wasn’t that long ago that The Current, the trade publication that reports on public media, wrote a piece detailing the listenership woes the content provider was experiencing: an aging listenership to NPR Member stations and five years of declining listenership to its morning and afternoon programs.  That article was published in October of 2015.  Today, NPR is gleefully reporting that via radio, podcast listenership and visits to NPR.org, it is reaching 99 million people per month.  Moreover, NPR states that, based on spring 2017 numbers from Nielsen Audio, “the total weekly listeners for all programming on NPR stations reached an all-time high of 37.7 million.”  The Fall 2016 election cycle brought a lot of listeners to news and news/talk radio stations.  NPR says it still isn’t seeing any falloff almost one year later.  “Both ‘Morning Edition’ and ‘All Things Considered’ retained the remarkable growth seen during the Fall 2016 election cycle.  Their weekly audience is at 14.63 million and 14.6 million listeners, respectively.  NPR is also happy with its younger demos, reporting that 28% of all 25-54 year olds listened to an NPR Member station at least once a month, 16% listened at least once a week, and 6% of all 25-54 listened at least once a day.”  Read more here.

Clinton-DNC Trump Dossier Case, Trump Tax Overhaul, Sexual Harassment Accusations, North Korea Nuclear Threats, Uranium One Investigation, Deadly Niger Ambush, and MLB World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/25).  The revelation that the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee funded the Trump-Russia dossier; the Trump-GOP tax overhaul process; the numerous public allegations of sexual harassment; North Korea’s nuclear threats against the U.S.; the investigation into the Obama Administration’s deal with Russia-backed Uranium One and whether the Clinton Foundation benefitted from the deal; the aftermath of the ambush on U.S. troops in Niger that left four dead; and the Dodgers-Astros World Series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

WHO, Des Moines’ Van Harden and Bonnie Lucas Spend Night in Scariest Place Ever.  Pictured here are WHO, Des Moines morning personalities Van Harden (right) and Bonnie Lucas (left) broadcasting from the place Google ranked the scariest place in America.  The two spent the night in the Villisca, Iowa home of the Moore family who, along with two house guests, were bludgeoned to death with an axe in 1912.  The killer(s) of the eight victims were never found.  Harden tells TALKERS, “Very odd things have been happening in the house ever since the murders.  We were not allowed to sleep on the beds, so we slept on the floor in sleeping bags, although between creepy sounds, unexplained happenings and the radio engineer’s loud snoring, there wasn’t much sleep.  Axe marks still remain on the walls and the case remains unsolved.  Footsteps were heard in other parts of the house when all the broadcast crew was accounted for. Weird things popped up on cell phones, including a picture of a room ceiling with 2 arms hanging out of it.  And when play balls were put on the floor, they mysterious started moving on their own in different directions.”

 

 

Kelsea Ballerini Thanks the NASH Folks!  Country sensation Kelsea Ballerini is pictured above on the NASH Campus of Cumulus Media in Nashville presenting a platinum record in recognition of her debut album, The First Time (Black River Group).  Pictured here are (from l-r): John Shomby, NASH director of programming and PD for WKDF “NASH FM 103.3”; Ballerini; Mike McVay, EVP, content & programming, Cumulus Media and Westwood One; and John Kilgo, VP, label relations, Cumulus Media.

Monday, October 2, 2017

| October 2, 2017

Las Vegas Concert Massacre Dominating Radio Discussions.  The day after an apparently lone gunman fired a semi-automatic gun at the crowd attending the “Route 91 Harvest Festival” concert at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas killing at least 50 people and wounding many more, the story is the primary topic of discussion on not just news/talk radio, but most other radio formats.  Beasley Media Group reports that country KCYE “102.7 The Coyote” morning personality Mike West was at the event and shot the video you can see here (the photo of the Mandalay Hotel at left is a still from the video).Thankfully, the quality of the video prevents viewers from seeing the carnage as it happened, but the sound of the gun steadily firing is haunting, to say the least.  Beasley says that news/talk KDWN news director John Shaffer and the KCYE team have been broadcasting continuous updates as well as encouraging people to donate blood through United Blood Service.  In addition, there is a “family” update/info phone number (1-866-535-5654) and a Facebook page for people to check-in called, The Violent Incident In Las Vegas, where individuals can check in as “safe” and others can check to see if family and friends are safe.  Beasley suspended its National Cash Contest today across the entire company and will instead donate the money to an official victim’s fund.  Tomorrow, Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher will originate his nationally syndicated talk show from Las Vegas with “second-day leads” from police officials, first responders, and others involved.   Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup says, “Mike Gallagher broke major news from his past broadcasts from shootings at Columbine High School, Virginia Tech and Orlando’s Pulse nightclub and he’s second-to-none in delivering live broadcasts that unravel senseless shootings like Sunday’s Mandalay Bay tragedy.”  TALKERS founder Michael Harrison says, “The non-stop barrage of monumentally consequential stories being processed by news/talk hosts in this compelling era is unprecedented in my memory.  Now, this Las Vegas tale of horror ratchets it up to yet a higher level of intensity, if such a thing is even possible.”

Report: Cumulus in Talks with Creditors Over Debt Load.  According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, Cumulus Media has entered into talks with two groups of creditors.  The story by Soma Biswas says that those familiar with the talks say it could lead to a bankruptcy filing by Cumulus.  The bulk of Cumulus’ debt comes due in 2019 – not very far away in the business world.  Cumulus CEO Mary Berner has reported slight improvement in the company’s overall station ratings and says the culture of the company – along with the employee turnover rate – has improved dramatically.  Read the WSJ piece here.

Jim Hayes Returns to KFNS, St. Louis.  This from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, reporting on Friday (9/29) that Jim “The Cat” Hayes is returning to “The Morning After” program on Randy Markel-owned sports talk station KFNS, St. Louis.  Dan Caesar’s story notes that last week it was announced Hayes would be leaving the show he co-hosted with Tim McKernan and Doug Vaughn, ostensibly because the early wake-up, combined with his other duties for FOX Sports Midwest, were too much, although Caesar reports other sources say money was a factor.  Regardless, McKernan and Hayes had been in constant contact hoping to get Hayes back on the program and that led to Markel and Hayes working out a new deal.  Read the whole story here.

Ken Carson New Ops Manager at News/Talk WMAY, Springfield, Illinois; Programming Changes Announced.  Programming pro Ken Carson is appointed to the operations manager position at Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s Springfield, Illinois news/talker WMAY “970-AM & 94.7-FM.”  The company says Carson, who begins his duties tomorrow (10/3) will initially be responsible for all programming and promotional functions for WMAY.  Carson has most recently been operating his own production and voice-over firm.  During his career, he’s worked for Cox Media Group, Citadel Broadcasting, and Saga Communications.  Mid-West Family Broadcasting Springfield general manager Harvey Wells comments, “We conducted a nationwide search for this position and, right from the start, Ken’s qualifications rose to the top. After several conversations and a trip to the Land of Lincoln, it was an easy decision to bring Ken aboard.  At the same time, the station announces it’s bringing former morning host Greg Bishop back to the station to co-host the program with Ray Lytle.  Lytle says, “Greg and I know each other very well.  I’m totally psyched to be working with him again.”  The morning show is followed by Mike Wennmacher and Johnny Molson’s “Mike and Molson” program.  That’s being shortened to one hour as the two will take over creative production and voice duties for all four Mid-West Family Broadcasting Springfield radio stations.  Market pro and current sister country WUSW morning personality (as well as CMA Award winner!) Brian Pierce is launching a talk show on WMAY from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.  He’ll continue his WUSW morning show duties.

Thom Hartmann Retires from Hosting RT America’s ‘The Big Picture’ Program – Holland Cooke Steps in as Replacement.   After seven years hosting the RT America television show “The Big Picture,” progressive talk media mainstay Thom Hartmann has announced he will be leaving the nightly program to devote more time to his mega-successful daily, three-hour radio program (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm ET).  His final installment was aired this past Friday (9/29).  The DC-based commentator also tells TALKERS he and his wife (and executive producer) Louise Hartmann want to be able to spend more time in Portland, Oregon closer to their children.  Hartmann’s cross-platform radio program has been on the air since 2003 and is ranked by TALKERS as the leading progressive news/talk show in the radio industry.  He tells TALKERS, “Having complete editorial control over a TV show syndicated internationally into more than 700 million homes was a great (and rare) opportunity.  We worked hard not to do ‘sports’ or ‘soap opera’ when covering politics, and instead focus on issues; we believe we accomplished a lot in that regard. We’re grateful to RT for the opportunity, and for fully honoring our contractual independence at all times.”  Replacing Hartmann as host of RT America’s “The Big Picture” brand is noted media consultant and TALKERS columnist and correspondent Holland Cooke.  Cooke is a former radio programmer and talent who came to national prominence during his tenure as PD of all-news WTOP, Washington, DC.  In recent years, he emerged as a significant presence on cable news/talk TV as a regular guest of host Ed Schultz when he was on MSNBC and came along with Schultz when he moved to RT America.  Cooke says, “Woody Allen was right: ‘80% of life is showing up.’ I showed up 20 years ago in Fargo, North Dakota to consult KFGO, where I met Ed Schultz. You’ll recall a TALKERS profile I wrote about him back then. I figured he was goin’ places. Eventually, those places included MSNBC and RT America, where Ed often used me as a ‘talking head.’  On the MSNBC ‘Ed Show,’ I was Mr. Friday, available on Friday nights when true big shots were out having a life. Ed introduced me to his boss at RT, who invited me aboard.”  Hartmann introduced Cooke to the audience during the last segment of his final show.  (To view it, click here).  Although Hartmann’s program was weeknights, the new iteration hosted by Cooke will debut on October 6 as a ½ hour weekend show to start, airing Fridays at 7:00 pm and 10:30 pm with several replays over the weekend.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is booked as a guest on the first program.  According to Cooke, “We will continue to produce ‘The Big Picture’ at RT America headquarters in Washington DC, where I’ll work on Thursdays and Fridays.  On the front half of the week, I will continue to be based out of Block Island, Rhode Island consulting a select roster of radio stations, shows, and hosts, and contributing to TALKERS and publishing my monthly newsletter.”  In addition to Schultz, RT America also features programs hosted by Larry KingJesse Ventura and others.  It is part of the larger RT Network, a global multilingual television news network based in Moscow, Russia.  It is a non-profit organization with studios and bureaus in New York City, Miami and Los Angeles, in addition to Washington, DC.  Holland Cooke will be TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison’s guest on the next installment of the media-oriented PodcastOne podcast “Up Close and Far Out” scheduled to be posted tomorrow (10/3).

New Hampshire Jury Awards $274.5 Million to Plaintiffs Defamed by Talk Host.  Mortgage broker Michael Gill brokered a talk radio show on Lakes Media’s news/talk WTPL, Concord and used some of that airtime – as well as a billboard campaign – to defame three area businessmen, a jury recently decided.  Last week, the jury awarded Andy Crews, Dick Anagnost, and William Greiner $274.5 million that Gill must pay the three.  Gill used the billboards and his radio show to relentlessly accuse the three of operating a heroin distribution ring in New Hampshire, though he never indicated there was any evidence that was the case.  Read the New Hampshire Union Leader story here.

TALKERS News Notes.  News radio pro Pat Carroll is joining Bloomberg Radio to serve as the lead anchor on the company’s new Boston financial news station WRCA/W291CZ “106.1FM/1330AM.”  She will also join her new colleagues (Tom Moroney, Peter Barnes, Anne Mostue and Dan Pierce) on the “Bloomberg Bay State Business” program slated for expansion next month.  Carroll was a longtime staffer at WCBS-AM, New York where she served as morning drive anchor, co-host of the “Opening Bell Report,” and a staff reporter.  She’ll be based in NYC…..Townsquare Media closes on its purchase of Western Massachusetts radio stations from Gamma Broadcasting and Berkshire Broadcasting.  Those stations are: news/talk WBEC-AM, hot AC WBEC-FM, classic hits WUPE-AM/FM (and an FM translator at 94.1 FM), adult contemporary WNAW-AM, adult contemporary WSBS-AM (and translator W277CJ at 103.3 FM).  Kalil & Co., Inc. represented Gamma and Berkshire…..Last Saturday (9/30), 600 local children in need received brand-new beds through the 2017 “Beds for Kids” project – a joint effort of Seattle Police and KIRO Radio 97.3 FM.  KIRO-FM afternoon personalities Ron & Don have been dedicated and passionate advocates for this project since its inception in 2014.  It was created in 2014 by Seattle police officers Jeremy Wade and Ryan Gallagher after responding to a 911 call where they discovered two young girls had been sleeping on the floor of their home.  They later returned to that same home with brand new beds, both purchased from their own pockets. More than 1,100 beds will have been donated to children through Beds for Kids from 2014-2017.

NFL Anthem Protests, ‘SNL’ Trump Sketch, Puerto Rico Devastation-Trump vs San Juan Mayor, North Korea Tensions, O.J. Simpson Freed, Catalan Independence Vote, MLB Playoffs, College Football, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The actions of NFL players during the national anthem at yesterday’s games; “Saturday Night Live” begins its new season with a Donald Trump sketch; the devastation of Puerto Rico and President Trump’s verbal war with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz; North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s statement that the U.S. and North Korea have open channels to talks; O.J. Simpson leaves prison; the weekend’s referendum for Catalonia to secede from Spain; the Major League Baseball playoff scenario; Saturday’s college football games; and Sunday’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Programming pro Robby Bridges re-signs with Cumulus Media to continue serving as director of FM programming for the company’s Detroit cluster that includes: hot AC WDVD, country WDRQ, and classic country WDRQ-HD2.  Bridges is also on Cumulus’ hot AC and country format SWAT teams and anchors PM drive on WDVD.  Cumulus Detroit OM Mike Wheeler says, “Robby is an ideal programming partner.  He lives and breathes these radio stations and that love shows in what comes out of the speakers and in the quality of the team he’s built.”…..At Mid-West Family Broadcasting in Springfield, Illinois, adult contemporary WNNS program director Chris Murphy is officially named the program director for sister country outlet WUSW, removing the “interim” from his title…..Today, urban contemporary WDAS “Philly’s Best R&B and Throwbacks” is honoring local personality Tony Brown on the occasion of his 45th anniversary in radio.  The tribute will take place at 8:00 pm this evening (10/2) at Relish.  Brown says, “I never imagined my radio career would span 45 years, but then again, I love it so much that I never thought of doing anything else.”  Brown currently hosts WDAS’ evening show, “The Quiet Storm.”

 

 

Round One of September PPM Ratings Data Released.  The first of four rounds of ratings Information from Nielsen Audio’s September 2017 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s September 2017 survey period covered August 17 – September 13.  See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Takeaways” from these 12-PPM markets below.

TWELVE TAKEAWAYS

1) New York – A gain of six-tenths (1.8 – 2.4, 6+) enables Cumulus Media’s country-formatted WNSH “94.7 Nash FM” to vault from #20 to a three-way tie at #15. Even though it is without a decrease for the eighth successive sweep and is up seven-tenths in that stretch (3.6 – 3.6 – 3.6 – 3.7 – 3.8 – 4.2 – 4.2 – 4.2 – 4.3, 6+), iHeartMedia urban contemporary WWPR “Power 105.1 New York’s Hip-Hop and R&B” backslides from eighth to ninth. Progressing by one-half share each are CBS Radio all-news and sports talk siblings WINS (4.9 – 5.4, fifth to third, 6+) and WFAN-FM “The Fan” (ninth to seventh, 6+). By notching a +.2 in August, WINS halted four straight dips that resulted in a collective -1.1 (5.8 – 5.3 – 5.1 – 4.8 – 4.7, 6+). Not only is this the third straight gain for “The Fan” (3.5 – 3.9 – 4.1 – 4.6, 6+), which is a collective +1.1 since June, 4.6 is its best-ever 6+-stat in the PPM-era. On two prior occasions, New York Yankees flagship “The Fan” registered a 4.5 (6+). Co-owned classic hits-oldies WCBS-FM “New York’s Greatest Hits,” however, is a combined -1.1 in August and September (6.6 – 6.1 – 5.5, 6+) and exits the #1 spot after just a one-month stay there. Its one-half share dip in August curtailed at four a streak of successive up or flat trends that netted a combined seven-tenths (5.9 – 6.1 – 6.1 – 6.2 – 6.6, 6+). Prior to August, the last time “New York’s Greatest Hits” was at #1 was in May. In back-to-back months, 6.1 (6+) is what is required to set the pace in New York City – only this time – it is iHeartMedia adult contemporary WLTW hitting that mark (6.0 – 6.1, +.1, 6+), with “106.7 Lite FM” again taking over at #1. Its loss of seven-tenths in August (6.7 – 6.0, 6+) completely erased three straight gains that yielded that exact margin (6.0 – 6.1 – 6.5 – 6.7, 6+). After finishing at #1 for three consecutive months, “Lite FM” dropped to #2 in August. A one-tenth increase by “Lite” in May halted four straight declines that produced a collective -7.3 since “Holiday” 2016 (13.3 – 7.2 – 7.1 – 6.2 – 6.0, 6+). Dropping from #13 to #14, Cumulus Media hot AC WPLJ “New York’s 95.5 PLJ” is off by two-tenths to 2.6 (6+), ending at five its successive string of up or flat trends that netted four-tenths (2.4 – 2.4 – 2.4 – 2.5 – 2.6 – 2.8, 6+). Format rival – CBS Radio’s WNEW-FM “Fresh 102.7” – is flat at 3.0 and remains at #12 (6+). The two hot AC competitors were tied at 2.6 in July, but “Fresh” had held the advantage over WPLJ in each of the previous seven ratings periods. Notwithstanding that it hasn’t had an increase in the last eight ratings periods (1.4 – 1.4 – 1.4 – 1.3 – 1.3 – 1.3 – 1.2 – 1.2 – 1.2, 6+), Cumulus Media news/talk WABC has lost just two-tenths in that timeframe and slips from #21 to #22. Two streaks come to an end for the market’s major CHRs. Specifically, iHeartMedia-owned WHTZ “Z-100” drops four-tenths to 4.5 (fifth to eighth, 6+), ending three up or flat months for a +.3 (4.6 – 4.7 – 4.9 – 4.9, 6+), while CBS Radio’s WBMP “92.3 Amp” picks up one-tenth to 2.0 but stays at #19 (6+); “Amp” was down or flat the past four sweeps for a collective loss of four-tenths (2.3 – 2.3 – 2.0 – 2.0 – 1.9, 6+).

2) Los Angeles – Not only does iHeartMedia urban contemporary KRRL haul out an impressive +.9 (2.6 – 3.5, 6+), “Real 92.3 – LA’s Home for Hip-Hop” rockets from #15 all the way to part of a three-way logjam at #6. Moreover, “Real” has its best 6+-stat since flipping from urban-rhythmic oldies KHHT “Hot 92.3” in February 2015. Without a decrease for a ninth consecutive monthly for an overall gain of one full-share in that period (1.8 – 2.0 – 2.1 – 2.1 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 2.4 – 2.5 – 2.7 – 2.8, 6+), CBS Radio-owned alternative KROQ has its strongest 6+-showing since June 2016’s 2.9, yet drops from a three-way tie at #12 to #15. Similarly-programmed/iHeartMedia-owned KYSR-FM “Alt 98.7 – LA’s New Alternative” is down or flat for the seventh time in a row for a collective loss of seven-tenths (3.2 – 3.1 – 3.0 – 2.9 – 2.9 – 2.7 – 2.6 – 2.5, 6+) and skids from #15 to #18. Off by nine-tenths in three straight declines (3.1 – 2.6 – 2.3 – 2.2, 6+), Univision Radio Spanish adult hits KRCD “Recuerdo” recaptures seven tenths to 2.9 (6+) and catapults from #20 to a three-way tie at #12. Its Spanish contemporary sibling KLVE “K-Love 107.5,” however, falters by seven-tenths (4.2 – 3.5, 6+) and carries on at #6. An August gain of one-half share (1.4 – 1.9, 6+) elevated Pasadena City College news/talk KPCC to its best 6+-showing since February’s 2.1, but “89.3 The Voice of Southern California” drops two-tenths to 1.7, sliding from #22 to #24 (6+). The “stream” though of the American Public Media Group-operated facility debuts with a one-half share to check in at #40 (.5, 6+). Even though only advancing by two-tenths, KSPN “ESPN LA 710” hasn’t had a decrease in the past five ratings periods (.8 – .9 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.0, 6+). Owing to an increase of three-tenths to 1.9 (#22, 6+), 93.9 Holdings regional Mexican KXOS “Radio Centro 93.9” halts at five a skein of down or flat trends that accounted for a loss of seven-tenths (2.3 – 2.2 – 2.0 – 1.7 – 1.6 – 1.6, 6+). Following four successive up or flat trends that netted eight-tenths (5.6 – 5.8 – 5.8 – 6.1 – 6.4, 6+), iHeartMedia hot AC KBIG “My-FM” surrenders half that gain to 6.0 (-.4, 6+), but is #1 for the eighth straight ratings period. When KBIG dropped one-tenth in April, it ended three straight uptrends, which netted a combined full-share gain (4.7 – 5.1 – 5.2 – 5.7, 6+). February’s +.1 (5.1 – 5.2, 6+) was enough for it to depart the runner-up slot it held the previous three sweeps and take over at #1.  This marks the third straight time that its CHR and adult contemporary cluster-mates KIIS “102.7 Kiss-FM” (5.0 – 4.7 – 4.7 – 4.6, 6+) and KOST “Coast 103” (4.8 – 4.7 – 4.5 – 4.3, 6+) are without increases, but they remain at #4 and #5, respectively. The January through September trending for news/talk sibling KFI is 3.5 – 3.5 – 3.4 – 3.5 – 3.5 – 3.3 – 3.4 – 3.5 – 3.5 (seventh to sixth, 6+). Meanwhile, co-owned, similarly-formatted KEIB’s March through September line is 1.0 – .9 – .9 – .8 – .8 – .8 – .7 (#35, 6+). While it maintains its #2 ranking for the sixth straight sweep, CBS Radio smooth AC KTWV “The Wave” forfeits the six-tenths it gained in August and one-tenth more (5.9 – 5.2, -.7, 6+). Between March and July, “The Wave” trended a very consistent 5.5 – 5.5 – 5.3 – 5.4 – 5.3 (6+). For the fourth time in the last five sweeps, classic hits-oldies sibling KRTH “K-Earth 101” registers a 4.8 and is unchanged at #3, (4.8 – 5.1 – 4.8 – 4.8 – 4.8, 6+). A combined -.7 via three consecutive declines, Univision Radio regional Mexican KSCA “Zona MX 101.9” dips from #18 to #20 (2.8 – 2.5 – 2.4 – 2.1 6+). At #28, University of Southern California’s classical KUSC is down or flat for the fourth consecutive time (1.5 – 1.5 – 1.4 – 1.3 – 1.2, 6+).

3) Chicago – Rebounding from an August loss of seven-tenths with a September gain of six-tenths (6.7 – 6.0 – 6.6, 6+), iHeartMedia urban AC WVAZ “V-103 Today’s R&B and Throwbacks” is on top for the eighth successive month. The -.7 in August halted four consecutive up or flat trends for a +1.1 (5.6 – 5.6 – 5.8 – 6.1 – 6.7, 6+). Finishing in the runner-up slot as it did in July and August, Hubbard hot AC WTMX “101.9 The Mix” is without a loss for the fourth straight time for a collective gain of six-tenths (4.6 – 4.6 – 4.6 – 5.0 – 5.2, 6+), while iHeartMedia-owned/similarly-programmed WLIT “93.9 My-FM The Best Variety” is trending 2.4 – 2.6 – 2.5 (6+) and falls from a four-way logjam at #17 to #19. Three straight modest increases have netted Cumulus Media-owned WLS-FM four-tenths (2.8 -3.0 – 3.1 – 3.2, 6+), with “94.7 Chicago’s Classic Hits” carrying on at #11, while CBS Radio’s similarly-formatted WJMK “K-Hits 104.3” remains at #17 (2.6 – 2.7, +.1, 6+). Trending 1.1 – 1.0 – 1.1 – 1.1 – 1.3 – 1.0 – 1.1 – 1.2 (6+), Univision Radio Spanish urban WVIV “Latino Mix 93.5” loses roughly half of its 6+-stat (.7, -.5, #27, 6+), with .5 its lowest (6+ AQH) performance in the PPM-era. After recording five straight up or flat trends for a collective +1.6 (2.6 – 2.6 – 2.9 – 3.4 – 4.1 – 4.2, 6+), CBS Radio-owned WUSN surrenders four-tenths to 3.8 (6+), slipping from fourth to fifth; 4.2 in August was the best 6+-showing for “US-99 Chicago’s Hottest Country” since October 2014’s 4.4. Steady at #21, its format rival – iHeartMedia’s WEBG “Big 95.5 Chicago’s New Country” – regains one-tenth of the six-tenths it lost in August (2.8 – 2.2 – 2.3, 6+). Down or flat for the seventh straight ratings period for a collective -1.7 (4.2 – 4.2 – 3.9 – 3.3 – 3.1 – 2.8 – 2.8 – 2.5, 6+), WGN fades from #15 to #19. Immediately prior to this particular streak, the Tribune Media Company news/talk outlet posted three consecutive sweeps without a loss for an overall one-half share gain (3.7 – 4.0 – 4.2 – 4.2, 6+). Finishing at #25, Cumulus Media’s similarly-programmed WLS-AM has lost a collective one-half share in five successive down or flat trends (1.8 – 1.7 – 1.7 – 1.7 – 1.7 – 1.3, 6+). By picking up three-tenths to 2.9 (#17 to #14, 6+), Chicago Public Media news/talk WBEZ breaks its 2.3 – 2.6 – 2.3 – 2.6 (6+) pattern. Albeit that it is flat at 3.9 (6+), CBS Radio-owned sports talk/Chicago Cubs flagship WSCR “670 The Score” jumps from seventh to fourth, while ESPN Radio’s WMVP adds two-tenths to 1.5 (6+), ending at five a consecutive string of down or flat trends that accounted for a loss of eight-tenths (2.1 – 1.7 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.5 – 1.3, 6+). While unchanged at #8, WSCR cluster-mate WBBM-FM “Chicago’s B-96” is without an increase for the fourth straight time for a collective -.6 (4.0 – 3.9 – 3.8 – 3.7 – 3.4, 6+), while iHeartMedia mainstream CHR WKSC “103.5 Kiss FM – Chicago’s #1 Hit Music Station” drops three-tenths (4.1 – 3.8, 6+) and remains in fifth-place. Trending 1.4 – 1.5 – 1.6, April – May – June (6+), Window to the World classical WFMT is unlisted for the third consecutive month.

4) San Francisco – Down a collective six-tenths in July and August (4.3 – 4.0 – 3.7, 6+), iHeartMedia hot AC KIOI “Star 101.3 – More Music, More Variety” regains all but one-tenth to climb from fifth to a fourth-place tie (4.2, +.5, 6+). As a result of a +.4 to 3.6 (6+), CBS Radio-owned/similarly-formatted KLLC “Alice @ 97.3” (eighth to seventh) pulls the plug on three straight decreases that accounted for the loss of one-full-share (4.2 – 3.9 – 3.7 – 3.2, 6+). After adding one-half share in August (7.1 – 7.6, 6+), Northern California Public Broadcasting’s KQED-FM relinquishes 60% of that increase (7.3, -.3, 6+), but is on top in San Francisco for the ninth successive time. A gain of four-tenths in July halted at four a successive streak without an increase that produced a -1.0 (7.7 – 7.3 – 7.0 – 6.7 – 6.7, 6+). In each of the nine sweeps that KQED-FM has finished first, the runner-up is CBS Radio-owned all-news KCBS-AM, which adds two-tenths to 6.0 (6+), thus curtailing four consecutive down or flat monthlies that yielded a loss of one-half share (6.3 – 6.1 – 6.0 – 5.8 – 5.8, 6+). As they did in August, adult contemporary stations finish third and fourth, but the order changes. Specifically, Entercom’s KOIT-FM “96.5 Better Music for a Better Workday” – off for the fifth consecutive time for an overall loss of -1.2 (5.5 – 5.3 – 5.0 – 4.8 – 4.4 – 4.3, 6+) – nonetheless advances from fourth to third, while iHeartMedia-owned KISQ “98.1 The Breeze” squanders 75% of August’s +.4 (4.5 – 4.2, -.3, 6+) to slip from third to fourth. Slumping from eighth to tenth, Cumulus Media-owned San Francisco Giants flagship KNBR “The Sports Leader” is down or flat for the fifth time in a row for a cumulative -1.2 (4.2 – 4.1 – 3.5 – 3.2 – 3.2 – 3.0, 6+). At the same time, the key station of the Oakland A’s – Entercom’s KGMZ “95.7 The Game” (#25 to #26) – has lost more than 50% of its 6+-share since June in three successive sweeps without an increase (2.1 – 1.1 – 1.1 – 1.0, 6+); May’s +.3 put an end to a 1.7 – 1.8 – 1.7 – 1.8 – 1.7 (6+) trending. Regressing by six-tenths each are Univision Radio regional Mexican KSOL “Que Buena,” which plummets from #10 to #16 (2.4, 6+), and Spanish Broadcasting System’s similarly-programmed KRZZ “93.3 La Raza” (2.0, #16 to #19, 6+). “Que Buena” was up seven-tenths via three straight up or flat trends (2.3 – 2.7 – 3.0 – 3.0, 6+), while “La Raza” halts a string of four consecutive improvements that netted a +1.2 (1.4 – 1.7 – 2.0 – 2.2 – 2.6, 6+). The three stations tied at #13 in August with a 2.7 (6+) – Entercom urban AC “102.9 The Bay’s R&B”; iHeartMedia 1980’s hits KOSF “iHeart80s @ 103.7”; and Cumulus Media classic rock KSAN “107.7 The Bone” – all drop one-tenth to 2.6 and are now linked at #12. A collective +.8 in June and July (2.5 – 2.7 – 3.3, 6+), KBLX surrendered 75% of that gain in August (-.6, 6+). Prior to July, the last time KBLX reached the three-share level was in April 2016 with a 3.0 (6+). This concludes eight straight sweeps without a loss for KSAN which was up six-tenths in that stretch (2.1 – 2.1 – 2.1 – 2.1 – 2.3 – 2.5 – 2.5 – 2.6 – 2.7, 6+); KOSF had registered a 2.7 (6+) in three of the previous five ratings periods. The significantly consistent October 2016 through September 2017 6+-line for iHeartMedia urban contemporary KMEL “#1 for Hip-Hop and R&B in the Bay Area” (#12 to #11) is 3.3 – 3.0 – 2.9 – 3.3 – 3.1 – 3.0 – 3.0 – 3.1 – 3.0 – 2.9 – 3.0 – 2.9 – 2.8. As the result of five straight (minor) decreases (2.5 – 2.4 – 2.3 – 2.2 – 2.0 – 1.9, 6+), Entercom rhythmic hot AC KRBQ “Q-102.1 The Throwback Station” is down six-tenths and slides from #19 to #20. For the sixth straight month, Entercom-owned KUFX “98.5 K-Fox – The South Bay’s Classic Rock” is unlisted in San Francisco, but it still appears in print in San Jose. The station’s March 2017 6+-San Francisco stat was 1.5.

5) Dallas – In three straight down or flat trends, Univision Radio regional Mexican KLNO faltered by a collective nine-tenths (4.5 – 4.1 – 4.1 – 3.6, 6+) but “Que Buena 94.1” recoups all of it – and then some – with a +1.3 to 4.9, zooming from eighth to second (6+). This is the strongest 6+-stat for “Que Buena” since 5.3 last November. Notching its seventh consecutive up or flat trend for a +1.4 (1.9 – 2.0 – 2.4 – 2.6 – 2.6 – 3.0 – 3.0 – 3.3, 6+), Spanish contemporary cluster-mate KDXX “Latino Mix” is steady at #11. All three of the market’s sports properties are involved in various ratings streaks. In the case of Cumulus Media’s KTCK “The Ticket,” a one-half share increase to 3.1 (#16 to #13, 6+) pulls the plug on three straight monthlies without an increase that resulted in a -.7 (3.3 – 3.0 – 3.0 – 2.6, 6+), whereas in seven straight up or flat trends, CBS Radio-owned KRLD-FM “105.3 The Fan” (#19 to #18) has nearly doubled its 6+-share (1.4 – 1.5 – 2.0 – 2.0 – 2.1 – 2.1 – 2.4 – 2.6, 6+). Meanwhile, a gain of two tenths to 1.3 (#31, 6+) helps KESN “ESPN Dallas 103.3” apply the brakes to four consecutive sweeps without an increase (1.7 – 1.7 – 1.5 – 1.5 – 1.3, 6+). Trending 5.6 – 5.8 – 5.7 (July – August – September, 6+), Cumulus Media country outlet KPLX “The Wolf” is #1 for the ninth successive time. July’s 5.6 was the lowest 6+-share for “The Wolf” since “Holiday” 2016’s 4.7. Not only is co-owned KSCS up in back-to-back months to inch up from fifth to fourth (4.4 – 4.6 – 4.7, 6+), “New Country 96.3” registers the highest 6+-share in its PPM-history. Slipping by one-half share each are iHeartMedia CHR KHKS “106.1 Kiss-FM,” down for the third straight time (5.8 – 5.5 – 5.3 – 4.8, second to third, 6+) and CBS Radio classic hits-oldies KLUV “98.7 K-LUV,” which returns its one-half share gain in August (4.6 – 5.1 – 4.6, third to fifth, 6+). Following four straight increases that netted nine-tenths (4.6 – 4.7 – 5.0 – 5.2 – 5.5, 6+), iHeartMedia classic rock KZPS “Lone Star 92.5” (fourth to sixth, 6+) is without an increase for the fourth successive time for an overall loss of one full-share (5.5 – 5.4 – 5.4 – 4.9 – 4.5, 6+). From the first of the year through September 2017, the 6+-line for Radio One rhythmic CHR KBFB “97.9 The Beat” (#17 to a three-way tie at #15) is 2.8 – 2.9 – 2.9 – 2.7 – 2.8 – 2.7 – 2.7 – 2.5 – 2.7, while iHeartMedia’s KEGL “97.1 The Eagle Rocks’ (unchanged at #10) has been trending 3.0 – 3.4 – 3.0 – 3.0 – 3.4 – 3.4 (6+) since April. Another model of consistency (February through September) is Service Broadcasting urban contemporary KKDA-FM “K-104 Hip-Hop and R&B” (3.2 – 3.2 – 3.4 – 3.4 – 3.3 – 3.1 – 3.1 – 3.1, #11 to #13, 6+). Although flat at 2.2 (6+), Cumulus Media news/talk WBAP returns to the top twenty (#21 to #20). It is one-tenth ahead of CBS Radio’s somewhat similarly-formatted KRLD-AM (flat at #22), whose ten (10) trends since “Holiday” 2016 have been within a high of 2.3 and a low of 2.0 (2.1 – 2.3 – 2.0 – 2.0 – 2.3 – 2.2 – 2.1 – 2.2 – 2.1 – 2.1, 6+).

6) Houston – Hurricane Harvey began making its presence felt in southern Texas on August 25, approximately one week after the start of the September 2017 survey period. There are no significant (6+) spikes though among the market’s news/talk outlets as iHeartMedia’s KTRH “AM 740 Houston’s News, Weather, & Traffic Station” is up a modest two-tenths (3.7 – 3.9, #13 to #12, 6+) and co-owned KPRC “AM 950 – Houston’s More Stimulating Talk Radio” gains one-tenth (.2 – .3, 6+) and can be found in a six-way logjam at #30 with Dan Patrick’s KSEV “AM 700 – The Voice of Texas,” which is actually down one-tenth (.4 – .3, 6+). Meanwhile in the public news/talk arena, University of Houston-owned KUHF adds one-tenth to August’s one-half share gain (2.7 – 3.2 – 3.3, #15 to #14). Without a decrease between February and July for a collective +1.2 (5.3 – 5.7 – 5.9 – 6.2 – 6.5 – 6.5, 6+), Cox Media Group classic rock KGLK stumbled in August with a -1.1. Over and above responding in September with a +1.3 (5.4 – 6.7, 6+) to progress from third to second, “The Eagle” records the strongest 6+-share in its PPM-history. An improvement of nine-tenths (2.0 – 2.9, 6+) lifts Liberman regional Mexican KTJM “La Raza” (#20 to #17) to its highest 6+-share since April 2016 (2.9, as well). Co-owned and similarly-programmed KEYH “La Ranchera” is up one-half share (.2 – .7, 6+) and checks in at #27, where it is tied with another station in the format – Univision Radio’s KQBU “Que Buena 93.3” – which has more than tripled its 6+-share in six straight up or flat trends (.2 – .3 – .3 – .4 – .6 – .7 – .7, 6+). In seven consecutive sweeps without a decrease, CBS Radio’s KILT-AM “Sports Radio 610” has more than doubled its 6+-share (.8 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.1 – 1.1 – 1.1 – 1.3 – 1.7, #22, 6+). While the main FM signal of iHeartMedia alternative KTBZ “94.5 The Buzz” shows a seven-tenths increase to 4.3 (6+) and cracks the top ten (#14 to #9), its regional Mexican HD2 channel, which debuted in August at #20 with a 1.1, erodes by seven-tenths to .4 and freefalls to #29 (6+). “The Buzz” curtails at four a string of consecutive losses that produced a -.8 (4.4 – 4.2 – 4.1 – 3.9 – 3.6, 6+). This marks the fifth consecutive increase for Radio One CHR KROI “92.1 Radio Now” (#23) for a collective gain of one-half share (.9 – 1.0 – 1.1 – 1.1 – 1.2 – 1.4, 6+). Up one-tenth in both August and September (7.0 – 7.1 – 7.2, 6+), urban AC cluster-mate KMJQ “Majic 102.1 The People’s Station” returns to #1 from the runner-up slot. “Majic” spent six consecutive months on top before segueing to #2 in August. Its previous three trends were +1.4 (May); -.6 (June); and -.7 (July). Up a combined +1.0 in back-to-back monthlies (6.9 – 7.2 – 7.9, January-February-March, 6+), “Majic” returned all of it in April (6.9, 6+) before notching May’s +1.4. Displaced from the top and falling to third is iHeartMedia adult contemporary KODA “Sunny 99.1,” which relinquishes in its entirety the eight-tenths it gained this time last month (6.4 – 7.2 – 6.4, 6+). Immediately prior to September’s -.8, “Sunny” was a collective +1.7 via four straight up or flat monthlies (5.5 – 5.5 – 5.8 – 6.4 – 7.2, 6+) and notched its strongest 6+-stat since “Holiday” 2016 (10.3). The rollercoaster ride continues for CBS Radio hot AC KHMX, as “Houston’s Mix 96-5,” was +.6 in June; -.6 in July; +.6 in August; and now -.5 in September (3.2 – 3.8 – 3.2 – 3.8 – 3.3, #12 to #14, 6+). Following four straight gains that yielded a cumulative +1.3 (2.3 – 2.5 – 2.7 – 3.1 – 3.6, 6+), “Mix” lost four-tenths in May. Locked on 5.1 (6+) in June and July and then slipping two-tenths to 4.9 (6+) in August, adult hits sibling KKHH “95.7 The Spot” is (like “Mix”) off by one-half share (4.4, fifth to seventh, 6+).

7) Atlanta – In addition to hanging out a lofty increase of one full-share (8.9 – 9.9, 6+), Cox Media Group news/talker WSB-AM is #1 for the 21st straight ratings period. Prior to June’s +.2, WSB-AM had been down or flat the previous four sweeps for a combined loss of more than two full-shares (10.7 – 9.9 – 9.5 – 9.5 – 8.6, 6+). Even though runner-up, CBS Radio urban contemporary WVEE “V-103 The People’s Station,” adds one-tenth to 6.0 (6+), ending three straight down or flat trends (6.5 – 6.2 – 6.2 – 5.9, 6+), it trails WSB-AM by nearly four shares. January 2017’s 10.7 represents WSB-AM’s best-ever (6+) PPM-performance. WSB-AM isn’t the only Atlanta station posting an August 2017 – September 2017 +1.0 though as Salem Media Group contemporary Christian WFSH “The Fish” does so as well (4.3 – 5.3, 6+), propelling “The Fish” from ninth to third. When WFSH picked up four-tenths in August, it halted four straight down or flat trends (5.4 – 5.0 – 4.5 – 3.9 – 3.9, 6+) that resulted in a combined -1.5. Trending 2.6 – 2.5 – 2.6 – 2.4 – 2.5 (6+) since April, CBS Radio sports talk WZGC “92.9 The Game” logs a +.7 to 3.2, its strongest 6+-share since January’s 4.4, and moves from #17 to #16. Within 4.1 – 4.5 range (6+) the past 12 survey periods, Cumulus Media CHR WWWQ “Q-100 Atlanta’s New Hits” improves by one-half share and rockets into the top ten (4.2 – 4.7, #12 to #6, 6+); iHeartMedia’s similarly-programmed WWPW “Power 96.1 Atlanta’s #1 Hit Music Station” is without an increase for the fourth straight time (4.3 – 4.1 – 4.1 – 3.9 – 3.9, 6+), but advances from #13 to #12. Declining by one-half share each are Radio One gospel WPZE “Praise 102.5 – Atlanta’s Inspiration Station” (4.5 – 4.0, #8 to #11, 6+); iHeartMedia’s country-formatted WUBL “94.9 The Bull” (4.3 – 3.8, #9 to #13, 6+); and Entercom hot AC WSTR “Star 94.1 – Today’s Best Mix” (3.4, #13 to #15, 6+). A +.8 in August by “Praise” pulled the plug on three straight sweeps without an increase that accounted for a combined loss of six-tenths (4.3 – 4.0 – 3.7 – 3.7, 6+). A collective +1.9 as the result of seven successive upticks (2.6 – 2.8 – 2.9 – 3.4 – 3.6 – 4.0 – 4.2 – 4.5, 6+), “The Bull” dropped two-tenths in August. July’s 4.5 was its best 6+-showing since 4.6 in July 2016. Meanwhile, the September loss curtails five consecutive positive trends by “Star” that netted a +.9 (3.0 – 3.1 – 3.3 – 3.7 – 3.8 – 3.9, 6+). In the market’s competitive urban AC battle, Cox Media Group’s WALR “Kiss 104.1” is off three-tenths for the third consecutive ratings period (6.2 – 5.9 – 5.6 – 5.3, 6+) but remains at #3, while Radio One-owned WAMJ “Majic – The Real Sound of Atlanta” drops two-tenths and slips from fifth to seventh (4.8 – 4.6, 6+). Segueing from fourth to fifth, Cox Media Group’s WSRV “Classic Hits 97.1 The River” is a collective -1.8 as the result of its fourth straight downward trend (6.7 – 6.6 – 5.9 – 5.2 – 4.9, 6+). A loss of one-tenth in June concluded at five its streak of consecutive gains that generated a +2.3 (4.4 – 4.6 – 5.1 – 5.9 – 6.2 – 6.7, 6+). For the fourth time in the last five sweeps – including the last three – Cumulus Media news/talk WYAY logs a 1.8 and remains at #18 (6+).

8) Philadelphia – Just as two Atlanta stations improved month-to-month by +1.0 (see above), a pair of Philadelphia outlets are +1.1 from August. Specifically, iHeartMedia urban AC WDAS-FM “Philly’s Best R&B and Throwbacks” is 6.0 – 7.1, jumping from fourth to second (6+), while CBS Radio sports outlet WIP is 5.3 – 6.4 and remains at #5. Regarding WDAS-FM, the +1.1 applies the brakes to four straight decreases that accounted for a combined -1.0 since May when it was #1 (7.0 – 6.8 – 6.2 – 6.0, 6+). Off a collective full-share in June and July (5.5 – 4.7 – 4.5, 6+), WIP gained eight-tenths in August. The market’s other FM sports facility – Beasley Media Group’s WPEN “97.5 The Fanatic” – records its third straight up or flat trend (1.6 – 1.7 – 1.7 – 2.0, #19 to #18, 6+). One-tenth ahead of “Philly’s Best R&B and Throwbacks” is Jerry Lee-owned adult contemporary WBEB “Today’s 101.1 More FM,” which picks up one-half share to advance from #3 to #1 (6.7 – 7.2, 6+). It is the first time at the top spot for “More FM” since February when it ended a seven-straight month run there and its highest 6+-share since February’s 7.9. Format rival – CBS Radio-owned WTDY “Today’s 96.5” – surrenders six-tenths (2.8 – 2.2, 6+) to slip from #16 to #17. Knocked off the top is its classic hits-oldies sibling WOGL, which sputters by eight tenths to 6.6 (6+) and drops to fourth. The 6+-shares for WOGL in its three straight months at #1 were 7.2 – 7.5 – 7.4 (6+). It returned to the top spot in June after transitioning from first to third in May. As the result of five straight down or flat trends, Beasley Media Group-owned WMMR “93.3 Everything That Rocks” is -1.4 (6.0 – 5.7 – 5.3 – 4.8 – 4.8 – 4.6, sixth to seventh, 6+). Continuing an up/down pattern (3.0 – 3.1 – 2.1 – 2.4 – 1.8, 6+), Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian WKVP “Positive & Encouraging K-Love” is off by six-tenths in September and dips from #18 to #19. Consistently trending between 4.1 and 4.4 (6+) in each of the past seven sweeps, iHeartMedia CHR WIOQ is off three-tenths to 3.8 (6+). “Q-102 Philly’s #1 Hit Music Station” drops from ninth to tenth, where it is tied with co-owned WRFF “Radio 104.5 – Philadelphia’s Alternative Rock,” which registers a 3.8 (6+) for the third consecutive time. Still in that iHeartMedia cluster, urban-rhythmic oldies WISX “Real 106.1 – #1 for Throwbacks” is a collective +.9 via its third consecutive gain (2.0 – 2.4 – 2.6 – 2.9, #17 to #15, 6+). Frozen on 3.8 (6+) in May and June and then on 3.7 (6+) in July and August, Radio One urban AC WRNB “100.3 R&B + Old School” dips three-tenths to 3.5 (#11 to #13, 6+).

9) Long Island – Within 4.0 – 4.5 (6+) range since the “Holiday” 2016 report, Cox Media Group-owned WBAB erupts with a +1.1 (4.3 – 5.4, 6+), leaping from fifth to second. In addition, “Long Island’s Only Classic Rock” crosses the five-share threshold (6+) for the first time in its PPM-history. After being down one full-share as the result of six consecutive sweeps without an increase (2.5 – 2.4 – 2.1 – 2.1 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.5, 6+), Cumulus Media’s WNSH “94.7 Nash FM” recoups half that loss with a +.1 to 2.0 and returns to the top twenty (#23 to #20, 6+). Advancing by one-half share as well and climbing from #14 to #12 is its hot AC sibling WPLJ “New York’s 95.5 PLJ,” which is up or flat for the sixth straight time for a cumulative +1.0 (2.2 – 2.3 – 2.5 – 2.6 – 2.7 – 2.7 – 3.2, 6+); 3.2 is its highest 6+-share in Long Island since July 2016 (3.2, as well). While it remains at #9, iHeartMedia classic rock WAXQ “Q-104.3” extends to nine its successive string of up or flat trends that has netted a +1.1 (2.6 – 2.6 – 2.9 – 3.3 – 3.3 – 3.4 – 3.7 – 3.7 – 3.7 – 3.7, 6+). After three consecutive gains that generated a +2.1 (4.2 – 5.1 – 5.3 – 6.3, 6+), Connoisseur Media hot AC WALK-FM dropped one-tenth in July; bounced back with a +.7 in August; but surrenders six-tenths in September (6.2 – 6.9 – 6.3, 6+). Even so, “Real Variety 97.5” is #1 for the fourth consecutive sweep. A full-share loss in March (5.2 – 4.2, 6+) resulted in “Real Variety” tumbling from fourth to seventh, but it jumped to first in April with a gain of nine-tenths. Down or flat for the fifth successive sweep for a -1.1 (4.7 – 4.5 – 4.4 – 4.3 – 4.3 – 3.6, 6+), classic hits-oldies sibling WBZO “103.1 Max FM” drifts from fifth to tenth. Off seven-tenths as well is New York City’s WABC, which has seen its 6+-share in the Long Island report cut by more than 50% in six straight down or flat trends (3.0 – 2.5 – 2.5 – 2.3 – 2.1 – 2.1 – 1.4, 6+); the Cumulus Media news/talker exits the top twenty (#19 to #23). At the same time, similarly-programmed/iHeartMedia-owned New York Mets flagship WOR regresses by one-half share (2.9 – 2.4, 6+), skidding from #12 to #16. Following six straight months of logging a 2.0 (6+), urban contemporary cluster-mate WWPR “Power 105.1” dips to 1.9 but stays at #21 (6+). Dropping from a third-place tie to fifth, CHR sibling WHTZ “Z-100” has a June 2017 – September 2017 pattern of 5.0 – 4.9 – 5.0 – 4.9 (6+). Within 2.0 – 2.9 range (6+) for the 34th straight sweep, Emmis rhythmic CHR WQHT “Hot 97” is off one-tenth (2.4 – 2.3, 6+) and drops from #16 to #17.

10) Riverside – Honors for largest (6+) August 2017 – September 2017 improvement for any station in the 12 PPM-markets listed here go to the Inland Empire’s KOLA, which doubles August’s -.7 with a gain twice that margin (5.1 – 6.5, +1.4, 6+). The Anaheim Broadcasting classic hits-oldies outlet moves from #3 back to the runner-up slot it held between January and July; KOLA was in second-place six straight times before dropping to third in “Holiday” 2016. A combined +1.0 in April and May (5.2 – 5.6 – 6.2, 6+), KOLA repeated June’s -.2 in July (6.2 – 6.0 – 5.8, 6+). Its -.4 in March ended at five a string of consecutive fluctuations by one-half share (7.1 – 6.6 – 6.1 – 5.6 – 6.1 – 5.6, 6+) for a collective -1.5. It now trails Entravision Spanish adult hits KLYY “Jose” (7.0 – 7.7, +.7, 6+), which is #1 for the 23rd consecutive ratings period, by 1.2 shares (6+). When “Jose” gained three-tenths in August, it ended six consecutive decreases for a net loss of -2.7 (9.4 – 9.2 – 8.6 – 8.3 – 8.1 – 7.9 – 6.7, 6+); “Jose” fell below a seven-share for the first time since May 2016’s 6.5. After five consecutive sweeps without a decrease which produced a +2.2 (7.2 – 7.5 – 7.5 – 8.3 – 8.7 – 9.4, 6+), “Jose” lost two-tenths in February. Improving by one-half share each are Good News Radio contemporary Christian KSGN “89.7 Family Friendly” (2.1, steady at #10, 6+) and Univision Radio Spanish adult hits KRCD “Recuerdo” (.7 – 1.2, #14 to #13, 6+). KSGN had been trending 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.8 – 1.8 – 1.8 – 1.8 – 1.6 – 1.6 (6+) and it reaches the two-share level (6+) for the first time since December 2015’s 2.0. Contrasted to KOLA, Liberman Broadcasting regional Mexican KRQB “Que Buena 96.1” posts the highest (6+) August 2017 – September 2017 decrease in any of these 12 PPM-markets (2.6, -1.6, fifth to eighth, 6+). Moreover, it curtails at three its consecutive skein of increases that netted a +1.1 (3.1 – 3.5 – 4.0 – 4.2, 6+). Steady at #4, CBS Radio country outlet KFRG “K-Frog” sputters by eight-tenths (4.9 – 4.1, 6+). Unchanged at #12, All-Pro Broadcasting’s KHTI “Hot 103.9 – Move to the Music” is off a collective eight-tenths in five straight down or flat trends (2.1 – 1.8 – 1.5 – 1.4 – 1.3 – 1.3, 6+).

11) San Jose – On the heels of August’s +1.1 (3.7 – 4.8, 6+), Alpha Media classic hits-oldies KBAY “94.5 Bay FM – The Bay’s Greatest Hits” goes one-tenth better with a +1.2 to 6.0, its strongest 6+-stat since 8.0 in the “Holiday” 2016 report. In addition, “Bay FM” cruises from fifth to third. Three straight down or flat trends caused Lazer Broadcasting regional Mexican KXZM to lose exactly half of its 6+-share (3.0 – 2.6 – 2.6 – 1.5, 6+); however, “Radio Lazer 93.7” responds with a +.7 to 2.2, vaulting from #26 to a three-way tie at #18. Increasing by seven-tenths as well – but flat at #12 – is Cumulus Media news/talk KGO (2.5 – 3.2, 6+), which has its best 6+-stat since January’s 3.3. Improving by one-half share in both August and September (3.5 – 4.0 – 4.5, 6+), iHeartMedia hot AC KIOI “Star 101.3 – More Music, More Variety” climbs from ninth to seventh. This represents the most potent 6+-stat for “Star” in San Jose in over five years (4.7, August 2012, 6+). Registering a gain of one-half share as well are Empire Broadcasting’s KRTY “Hot Country 95.3” (4.3 – 4.8, seventh to sixth, 6+); iHeartMedia’s KMEL “#1 for Hip-Hop and R&B,” which had been trending 2.3 – 2.2 – 1.9 – 1.9 (6+), but is now 2.4 (#19 to #16, 6+); and CBS Radio-owned KITS, which was 1.9 – 1.7 – 1.7 – 1.6 and goes to 2.1, the first time “Live 105 – The Bay Area’s Alternative” (#21) crosses the two-share level (6+) since last October’s 2.0. Recapturing the four-tenths it lost in August, Northern California Public Broadcasting’s KQED-FM (7.3 – 6.9 – 7.3, 6+) is #1 for the third straight time, breaking August’s tie with CBS Radio all-news outlet KCBS-AM, which is off two-tenths (6.9 – 6.7, 6+) and takes over at #2. Recapturing 80% of the cumulative -1.5 it lost in four straight downward sweeps (7.6 – 7.5 – 7.2 – 6.3 – 6.1, 6+), KQED-FM advanced from third to first in July. Unlisted in San Jose since posting a 5.1 (6+) in the “Holiday” 2015 report, KQED-FM returned in January 2017 by recording a 6.9 (6+) to finish at #1 and had been on top through April. When KCBS-AM added three-tenths in May, it ended a string of three consecutive down or flat trends that produced a -.6 (6.7 – 6.7 – 6.3 – 6.1, 6+). Immediately after adding one full-share in August, Entercom adult contemporary KOIT-FM “96.5 Better Music for a Better Workday” forfeits all of it plus another one-tenth (3.8 – 4.8 – 3.7, -1.1, 6+), sliding from fifth to ninth, with its lowest 6+-share in San Jose since last November’s 2.9. August’s +1.0 ended at four its consecutive streak of negative or flat trends that resulted in a loss of seven-tenths (4.5 – 4.4 – 4.1 – 3.8 – 3.8, 6+). It is a slightly similar situation for Alpha Media hot AC KEZR “Mix 106 – Today’s Best Music,” which more than wipes out August’s +.6 with a -.9 in September (6.0 – 5.1, 6+) to fall from third to fourth; 6.0 in August was its highest 6+-share since March 2015 (6.0, as well). Having picked up one-half share in July, iHeartMedia adult contemporary KISQ has followed with a -.7 in August and now a -.6 in September (3.9 – 4.4 – 3.7 – 3.1, 6+), with “98.1 The Breeze” spiraling from #10 to #15.

12) Middlesex – Without a decrease in each of the last six ratings periods for a collective +1.4 (3.6 – 3.8 – 4.1 – 4.4 – 4.7 – 4.7 – 5.0, 6+), CBS Radio classic hits-oldies WCBS-FM “New York’s Greatest Hits” inches up from fifth to fourth with its highest 6+-share since reaching 5.1 in February 2016. Progressing by one-half share in August and September (5.0 – 5.5 – 6.0, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned WAXQ “Q-104.3 New York’s Classic Rock” continues at #3 and has its highest 6+-share in this New Jersey market in exactly one year (6.0, September 2016, 6+). It regressed by six-tenths in July to curtail at six a successive string of up or flat trends that yielded a +.9 (4.7 – 5.0 – 5.1 – 5.1 – 5.1 – 5.2 – 5.6, 6+). Wiping away August’s one-half share loss with September’s one-half share gain is Spanish Broadcasting System Spanish contemporary WPAT “93.1 Amor” (2.7 – 2.2 – 2.7, 6+), which climbs from #20 to #17. A gain of one-half share enables CBS Radio sports talk WFAN-FM “The Fan” (3.8 – 4.3, tenth to seventh, 6+) to register its highest 6+-share since January 2016’s 4.5. As the result of ten (10) straight up or flat trends, Press Communications’ WKMK “Thunder 106 – Jersey’s Best Country” (#25) has more than doubled its 6+-share (.4 – .5 – .5 – .6 – .6 – .7 – .8 – .9 – .9 – 1.0 – 1.0, 6+). Despite turning over two-thirds of August’s gain of six-tenths (7.4 – 7.0, -.4, 6+), Townsquare Media news/talk WKXW is #1 for the ninth consecutive ratings period. As a result of a “Holiday” 2016 – January 2017 increase of one-full-share (6.8 – 7.8, 6+), “New Jersey 101.5” returned to #1 following one month in the runner-up slot. Prior to “Holiday” 2016, when it was -.7 (6+), WKXW spent 12 consecutive ratings periods on top. Carrying on at #2, Emmis urban AC WBLS drops one-tenth to 6.6 (6+), thus ending three consecutive gains that netted a +1.5 – all but two-tenths coming as a result of August’s +1.3 (5.2 – 5.3 – 5.4 – 6.7, 6+). Up by a combined one-half share in July and August (3.9 – 4.2 – 4.4, 6+), Beasley Media Group adult contemporary WMGQ “Magic 98.3” falters by eight-tenths to 3.6, falling from sixth to tenth (6+). Picking up one half share in back-to-back ratings periods (4.5 – 5.0 – 5.5, June – July – August, 6+), Spanish Broadcasting System Spanish tropical WSKQ “La Mega 97.9” returns 60% of that full-share gain (4.9, -.6, third to fifth, 6+). This marks the sixth time in the last eight sweeps that iHeartMedia rhythmic CHR WKTU (#13 to #14) records a 2.8 (2.8 – 2.8 – 2.8 – 3.0 – 2.8 – 2.9 – 2.8 – 2.8, 6+). It is tied at #14 (down from #13 in August) with Univision Radio Spanish contemporary WXNY “X-96.3,” which is down or flat for the sixth successive month for a collective -.7 (3.5 – 3.5 – 3.1 – 3.1 – 3.1 – 2.8 – 2.8, 6+).

Thursday, September 21, 2017

| September 21, 2017

Cumulus Media CEO Mary Berner Talks Culture Change in Chief Executive.  Two years into Mary Berner’s role as chief executive officer of Cumulus Media, Berner writes a piece for Chief Executive magazine about her work to change the culture of the company.  Calling it her “Culture Fix Playbook,” Berner says that in 2015, Cumulus “was in a free fall: four straight years of declines in radio listenership, four straight years of revenue declines, three straight years of EBITDA declines, and underperforming acquisitions which had saddled the company with an untenable debt load. We also had lousy systems, crumbling infrastructure, and unhappy employees who told us in surveys that the ‘dysfunctional,’ ‘toxic,’ and ‘lousy’ culture was the primary reason for the company’s poor performance.”  In the piece, she outlines her strategy for turning around the culture of Cumulus.  Read it here.

Monroe Named Production Director at WTMJ/WKTI Milwaukee.  The Milwaukee radio operations of E.W. Scripps announces that Frank Monroe is named production director.  In this role, he’ll be guiding the commercial production department for news/talk WTMJ and country WKTI.  He was most recently with Matrix Broadcasting’s Crystal Lake, Illinois radio group where he also was midday personality on hot AC WZSR.  Scripps Radio Milwaukee vice president Tom Langmyer says, “Frank is an experienced, creative leader who will drive results for our local advertisers.  His customer service, professionalism, voice work and commercial copywriting stand out.”

PodcastOne Debuts ‘Music Connection Podcast’ with Randy Thomas and Arnie Wohl. This new program from PodcastOne “brings to life Music Connection Magazine, a well-known industry publication led by publisher Eric Bettelli for 40 years.”  It presents exclusive interviews with music business legends including: Sting, Daryl Hall, Jimmy Page, and the hottest rising stars, such as Haim, Mondo Cozmo and Anderson Paak.  It’s co-hosted by voice-over star Randy Thomas (Academy Awards, Emmy Awards, Tony Awards, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and more) and music biz manager and promoter Arnie Wohl (Michael Jackson, Paula Abdul, and Coldplay).   Thomas says, “A giant ‘thank you’ to Norm Pattiz and the entire PodcastOne team for helping us bring the ‘Music Connection Podcast’ to life.  We are jazzed to be able to access the incredible resources at PodcastOne, as well as Music Connection’s network of musicians, producers, and executives from 40 years of incredible interviews about the music industry – which is why we call this a podcast from the people who make music, for the people who love music!”

RAB Study: Radio Ads Drive Search Results.  The press release says that this study, commissioned by the Radio Advertising Bureau, was conducted by Sequent Partners, Media Monitors, and In4mation Insights in June and July of this year in the top 31 markets.  Based upon its analysis of over 2,100 local radio ads across six different categories, the study concludes that these campaigns realized a “29% incremental lift in search results.”  Media Monitors president and CEO Philippe Generali says, “The study proves that radio significantly impacts digital behaviors and activities – and is even more relevant in a digital and e-commerce world.”  Sequent Partners’ Alice K. Sylvester adds, “Radio continues to be undervalued and we are uncovering incremental benefit that radio consistently provides to advertisers.  It was also clear that there is an opportunity to increase this benefit with smart, measurement-informed, placements and creative approaches.”  RAB makes the full study available to members.  It also offers the video presentation from the recent NAB/RAB Radio Show session on its website.

TALKERS News Notes. Former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory is making daily appearances on Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte in the form of commentaries.  The former governor also served as mayor of Charlotte during his political career.  During his first appearance on the WBT morning program, he criticized the Charlotte City Council and Mayor Jennifer Roberts for not having a prayer session prior to the meeting.  The tradition of a pre-meeting prayer is controversial in light of a recent court case ruling the Rowan County Commission’s pre-meeting prayer method was illegal…..ABC News is launching a new news series and podcast it calls a “multiplatform docu-series,” titled “A Murder on Orchard Street,” that investigates the cold case murder of Burke O’Brien in New York in 2003.  ABC News producer and reporter Christina Kiely, who covered the O’Brien case moment-to-moment in 2003, joins ex-NYC detective Kenny Silvia in a renewed effort to solve the crime and bring the murderer(s) to justice…..This afternoon WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” host Kevin McCullough is broadcasting live from Lower Manhattan restaurant Giardino D’Oro.  Show segments today will include: a debate of Italian food questions; should Christopher Columbus’ statue be taken down?; a debate among NYC mayoral candidates; plus a live, fried calamari eating contest.

A “Talk” Down Memory Lane: The Great Kiddie TV Shows and Hosts of the Past.  In somewhat of a change of pace, the award-winning PodcastOne media series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” explores the lost art and genre of the television “kiddie show” that was a mainstay of popular culture from the late ‘40s to the early ‘70s.  Harrison is joined by veteran broadcaster Brad Shepard, an entertainment industry historian and GM/morning host of Pioneer Valley Radio (www.PioneerValleyRadio.com) in Springfield, Massachusetts.  Harrison and Shepard discuss such shows as “Howdy Doody,” with Buffalo Bob Smith; “Kukla, Fran and Ollie” with Fran Allison; Shari Lewis; “Andy’s Gang” with Andy Devine (and the infamous “Froggy the Gremlin” pictured at left), “Winky Dink” with Jack Barry; “Ding Dong School” with Miss Frances; Soupy Sales, “Wonderama” with Sonny Fox, Chuck McCann; “The Merry Mailman” with Ray Heatherton and so much more.  To listen to this fun and entertaining romp through fascinating media history, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Cassidy-Graham Health Care Bill, Hillary Clinton Book Tour, Trump-Russia Investigation, Trump at UN, Maria Ravages Puerto Rico, Deadly Mexican Earthquake, Climate Change Debate, ‘Sanctuary’ Issue, MLB Playoff Push, and NFL Action/TV Ratings Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/20).  The Cassidy-Graham health care bill with which Republicans hope to replace ObamaCare; Hillary Clinton’s What Happened book tour; the investigation into former Trump operative Paul Manafort and Russian agents; President Trump’s speech before the UN General Assembly and his meeting with African leaders; Hurricane Maria decimates Puerto Rico; rescue efforts after Mexico City’s deadly earthquake; the renewed debate over man-made climate change; controversy over California’s vote to make it a “sanctuary state”; the playoff push in Major League Baseball; and the week’s NFL action and talk of sinking television ratings for NFL games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. New York hot AC WNEW-FM, “Fresh 102.7” announces a lineup shift as Mike Adam is promoted from his fill-in role to the afternoon drive slot.  That move bumps Cane from PMs to the evening show.   Adam previously worked part time at sister CHR WBMP “92.3 AMP Radio.”  WNEW program director Jim Ryan says, “Mike’s experience in CHR in Philly and on our sister station, ‘92.3 AMP,’ will help WNEW grow with an active audience.”  The station also announces that Matt Sneed is taking over the Saturday and Sunday midday shows…..Hubbard Radio moves Josh “JT” Holleman from evenings to middays at country WIL, St. Louis “New Country 92.3.”  Program director Scott Roddy says, “JT’s work ethic, positivity, willingness to take direction and follow strategy – in concert with his amazingly fun and interactive sound – make him perfectly appealing to our young female demo!”  The change means APD and music director Danny Montana now handles the evening shift…..Programming pro David Dean is named the PD at iHeartMedia’s country KWNR, Las Vegas “95.5 The Bull.”  Dean was most recently program director at the company’s country WNOE, New Orleans…..The new morning show at CBS RADIO’s CHR KEGY, San Diego “ENERGY 103.7” is Tonya Gonzalez and Sean “Sonic” Leckie.  The program launched back on September 12.  KEGY program director Chris Patyk comments, “There’s no mistaking the drive and passion Tonya and Sonic have for winning.  Their chemistry together is undeniable and they know this city and the ‘ENERGY’ listeners.”

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

| September 12, 2017

Report: Laura Ingraham Set to Host Prime Time FNC Show.  According to a CNN Money report, talk radio host and conservative media figure Laura Ingraham is joining FOX News Channel for a prime-time show.  The report cites sources who requested anonymity because the deal is not official just yet.  But, the story says Ingraham will take over the 10:00 pm ET slot and the Sean Hannity show will move to 9:00 pm ET.  The program “The Five” moves back to the 5:00 pm hour, replacing the “FOX News Specialists” – the show that was canceled with the exit of Eric Bolling from the network last Friday.  FNC told CNN Money there is no deal in place, but that’s standard operating procedure prior to an official announcement.  Ingraham, who has hosted a nationally syndicated talk radio program for almost two decades, is a regular contributor to FOX News Channel.

WLW, Cincinnati Lets Tracy Jones Go. It appears that this is another budget-related move on the part of iHeartMedia management as former Cincinnati Reds player Tracy Jones was fired from his WLW, Cincinnati afternoon drive gig alongside Eddie Fingers on Friday (9/8).  WVXU’s John Kiesewetter reports that early afternoon personality Bill Cunningham told his listeners yesterday (9/11) that it was a corporate decision and was not a reflection of Tracy Jones’ performance.  Jones started with WLW hosting the “Extra Innings” post-game show after weekend Reds games.  In 2008, he was partnered with Eddie Fingers (who moved over from sister rock station WEBN) to host afternoons, replacing the retired Gary Burbank.

Entercom Debuts Newell Normand Show on WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans.  Yesterday (9/11) was the official debut of the Newell Normand show on Entercom’s New Orleans news/talk WWL-AM/FM.  The program features retired Jefferson Parish sheriff Newell Normand and airs from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.  Normand takes over the daypart from Garland Robinette, who recently retired from the station.  Entercom New Orleans VP/market manager Chris Wegmann comments, “Today marks a historic day for WWL.  Newell commands the respect needed to host middays on WWL.  He was a popular and powerful leader in politics who wants to continue to be a positive influence on our community.  We have every belief that Newell will be an opinion leader, and his legacy of excellence will grow on the most powerful station in the Gulf South.”

Nielsen Announces Delay in Ratings Reports.  With its headquarters in the Tampa area affected by Hurricane Irma, Nielsen issued the following statement about the issuance of ratings reports: “Our first priority and thoughts are for the safety of our clients, Nielsen associates, and communities in which we operate and serve.  The team that reports ratings has evacuated the Tampa Bay area due to Hurricane Irma.  Therefore, our ratings will be delayed in the near term. We are actively monitoring the situation in Florida and will provide another update as soon as we know more.”

Beasley Florida Stations in Good Shape.  Based on Monday morning’s report from Beasley Media Group, it sounded as though the Fort Myers studios had sustained some serious flood damage, but today the company is reporting that the studio building “has some minor damage, but is in good condition otherwise.”  Although both CHR WXKB “B103.9” and sports talk WWCN-FM “99.3 ESPN” are both off the air.  The company says the engineering team will be installing a new transmitter in Fort Myers this morning.  Beasley’s Tampa stations are all on the air.

iHeartRadio to Broadcast Fundraiser for Harvey Relief.  The program was initiated by Houston rapper Bun B and SB Projects founder Scooter Braun.  It’s called “Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Harvey Relief” and it will air on 150 iHeartMedia stations as well as the iHeartRadio “Hit Nation” channel at both 8:00 pm ET and a re-broadcast at 8:00 pm PT.  The one-hour special takes place in Los Angeles, with remote stages in New York and Nashville, and will include appearances, performances and taped messages from: several dozen A-list actors, musicians and entertainment industry personalities.  Proceeds will be donated to United Way of Greater Houston, Habitat for Humanity, Save the Children, Direct Relief, Feeding Texas and The Mayor’s Fund for Hurricane Harvey Relief (administered by the Greater Houston Community Fund) through the Hand in Hand Hurricane Relief Fund managed by Comic Relief USA.

Dave Ramsey Presence on SiriusXM Expands.  The Dave Ramsey Network grows on SiriusXM with the addition of new programming on the satcaster’s Triumph Channel.  Daily from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET, Ramsey programming now includes, in addition to the Dave Ramsey show (heard on SiriusXM for the past year), Ramsey personalities Chris Hogan, Christy Wright, Chris Brown and Ken Coleman, plus the popular EntreLeadership podcast.  EntreLeadership, hosted by Ken Coleman, features discussion and tips on leadership and business by some of the top minds in business, including Mark Cuban, Seth Godin, Jim Collins and Simon Sinek.  Chris Hogan is the best-selling author of Retire Inspired: It’s Not an Age; It’s a Financial Number and host of the “Retire Inspired Podcast.”  Christy Wright is the author of the best-selling book, Business Boutique, and host of the “Business Boutique” podcast.  Chris Brown is a pastor and dynamic speaker carrying the message of intentional living nationwide.  He hosts the “Life, Money and Hope Podcast.”

Cumulus Appeals NASDAQ De-Listing.  With its current share price (as of closing on 9/11) of 39 cents per share and a market cap of less than $12 million, Cumulus Media is in danger of being tossed from the NASDAQ.  But, CEO Mary Berner has filed another appeal of the company’s failure to meet the minimum stockholders equity requirement.  Theoretically, the company has until October 2 to get its share price above $1 dollar, but there are other avenues that Berner and CFO John Abbot can explore.

TALKERS News Notes.  Ahead of this year’s Veterans Day (11/11), CBS RADIO’s ConnectingVets.com is celebrating the holiday through its first ever “Veterans Community Showcase” – a three month, two-part program focused on honoring Veterans for everything they do both during and after military service.  During the first phase of the program, ConnectingVets.com will accept public nominations of local veterans online.  An internal programming committee will then select and profile one veteran each weekday from November 1 to Veterans Day. The profiles will be posted on ConnectingVets.com and Facebook.  The sites will also feature sponsored editorial content giving companies with dedicated veterans’ initiatives a unique chance to share the good work they do and praise their own employees, many of whom are veterans themselves.  University of Maryland University College and United Rentals will sponsor the inaugural “Veterans Showcase” alongside ConnectingVets.com sponsor Freedom Mortgage…..Former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Miesha Tate and former Green Bay Packers linebacker and devoted MMA enthusiast A.J. Hawk join the roster of hosts covering the world of mixed martial arts on the SiriusXM Rush channel.  Tate and Hawk will be featured hosts on “MMA Today,” an exclusive new show airing every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET.

Irma Aftermath/Harvey Recovery, Climate Change Controversy, New Sanctions on North Korea, Hillary Clinton Book, Bannon ’60 Minutes’ Interview, Retiring Congressional Republicans, IT Movie, NFL Opening Weekend, and MLB Playoff Push Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/11).  The aftermath of Hurricane Irma and the recovery from Hurricane Harvey; the renewed debate over man-made climate change; the U.N. Security Council imposes new sanctions on North Korea and the hermit kingdom’s threat against the U.S.; Hillary Clinton’s new book detailing her loss to Donald Trump; former White House adviser Stephen K. Bannon’s Sunday evening interview with Charlie Rose on “60 Minutes”; the growing list of Republican Senators and U.S. Reps announcing they will not run for re-election; the Stephen King film IT smashes box-office expectations; the NFL’s 2017 opening weekend; and the Major League Baseball playoff push were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Programming pro Tim Maranville is exiting Curtis Media’s adult hits WBBB, Raleigh to join Cornerstone Church-owned KGGN, San Jacinto, California as president and general manager.  Maranville says, “I would like to thank my team at WBBB for an extraordinary run from worst to best in Raleigh, a true blessing.  Looking to the future, I could not be happier to be working with Cornerstone to bring the Gospel to the San Jacinto valley through a local radio presence.”…..The Johnjay and Rich #LoveUp Foundation presented the American Red Cross with a check for $50,000 to benefit the hurricane relief effort.  Last week, the hosts of the popular Premiere Networks-syndicated show invited listeners nationally to “love up” and purchase #LoveUp T-shirts with all proceeds benefitting victims of the recent hurricanes.  In just eight days, thousands of shirts were sold.  The #LoveUp Foundation also contributed additional funds to achieve the $50,000 total donation.  Rich Berra says, “We couldn’t do this without the giving hearts and loyal followers of the #LoveUp movement.”…..The local Nashville country band Radio Romance won the “NASH Next 2017 Country Challenge Showcase” live country music talent competition held on September 7, 2017 at 3rd & Lindsley in Nashville.  The band was one of 10 that made it past the challenge round in the Cumulus Media-sponsored competition.  Radio Romance won over the judges and crowd with their performance of “Cheap Beer Years” and will advance as a semi-finalist to the national NASH Next 2017 video competition, to be held this fall.  Cumulus Media VP of country programming Charlie Cook says, “What a great night showcasing fantastic talent from Nashville!  The crowd went crazy when we announced Radio Romance as the winners for the night.  I can hear their song ‘Cheap Beer Years’ on our stations.”

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

| July 12, 2017

Salem to Hold White House Radio Broadcast. The theme of the July 25 special broadcast from the White House will be “Made in America” and will feature senior members of the Trump Administration as guests on some 20 Salem Media Group radio shows.  The press statement from Salem says that the special broadcast day is “part of a larger White House effort to broaden media access and bring in more local and regional media, including talk radio.”  Salem’s nationally syndicated talk radio hosts – Hugh Hewitt, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, Larry Elder and Eric Metaxas – will be joined by 13 local hosts from Salem Media Group-owned stations and will total 36 hours of live radio programming between the hours of 6:00 am to 9:00 pm ET on that day.  Salem Media Group CEO Ed Atsinger comments, “Donald Trump ran an unconventional campaign that reflected a broad public discontent with the status quo, and despite intense opposition and overwhelming odds, he was successful.  There is an unprecedented level of public interest in what is happening in Washington, DC…Salem Media Group’s audiences are highly active politically and very interested in both the policy components of the president’s agenda, as well as how the administration is accomplishing its objectives.”

Entercom Recruits Larkin for Regional VP Position. Radio management pro Susan Larkin is joining Entercom as a regional vice president.  She’s most recently been serving in the same capacity with Cox Media Group, in charge of the Orlando and Jacksonville markets.  During her career she also served with ABC-Disney in the Twin Cities.  Entercom COO Weezie Kramer states, “Susan is a highly respected and top-performing radio veteran with a winning track record.  At Entercom, we are committed to being a best-in-class organization with A-level talent and we are excited to have Susan on board with us at this transformational time.”

Cumulus Unveils Its ‘Digital C-Suite.’ The Cumulus Digital C-Suite is a “comprehensive portfolio of digital marketing solutions” that Cumulus sellers will represent to local businesses in its 90 U.S. markets. Cumulus says it’s a “flexible local marketing solution, currently featuring digital solutions in three distinct areas that can be used in any combination to achieve a local advertiser’s digital marketing goal.  Local businesses can now work with a single point of contact to create stand-alone radio or digital campaigns, or holistic multi-media strategies.”  Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner states, “Cumulus is offering local marketers the formidable reach, frequency, and recall of radio combined with comprehensive custom digital marketing solutions that we know engage consumers.  We spent the last year in market testing digital solutions with local advertisers and have pulled together the most effective products that delivered the best results.  With C-Suite, our advertisers can now work with one partner to coordinate and optimize their campaign, messaging, and creative across multiple platforms.”  VP of digital operations and business development Larry Linietsky adds, “We’re evolving our broadcast business to maximize digital and social in support of our local partners’ needs.  Our plan is to vigilantly watch the ever evolving digital technology landscape for new products, innovations and opportunities for inclusion in the Cumulus Digital C-Suite.”

Radio Drops Out of Top Five in BIA Kelsey’s Local Media Advertising Forecast.  In this mid-year update to the 2017 U.S. Local Ad Revenues Forecast from BIA Kelsey, radio drops from the #5 spot to #6 with forecast total revenue of $15.6 billion.  Mobile inches ahead of radio with 11% of the advertising pie, or $16 billion.  The five-year forecast report states that total U.S. ad revenue will reach “approximately $174 billion by 2021 (Compound Annual Growth Rate: 3.8%.) This growth will be driven by double-digit increases in mobile and social advertising and local online and mobile video, all slated to experience at least a 17% increase by 2021.  For 2017, the firm has slightly decreased their advertising estimate to $147.9 billion. An overall weaker than expected economy in the beginning of 2017 has led to softness in advertising revenues.  However, future growth in online/digital advertising revenues will be higher than originally predicted, with a 2016-2021 CAGR of 11.9%.  Over the same period, traditional advertising revenues will see a slight decrease in the 2016-2021 period with a CAGR of -0.6%.”  See more here.

Meg McDonald Rejoins TalkersRadio with Solo Short-Form Commentary.  Longtime public relations specialist Meg McDonald is enjoying a second career as a talk radio commentator.  The daughter of a Hollywood show biz couple (actress Elizabeth Fraser and dancer Ray McDonald), she earned tremendous notoriety for many years as one of Southern California’s leading publicists.  She ran her own LA-based company, McDonald Media Services, and was married to an accomplished broadcaster, the late-Brent Seltzer, for more than three decades.  When Seltzer died almost two years ago, the couple were in the process of co-hosting a new, rapidly-growing, syndicated husband/wife midday chat show “Brent and Meg” on the Genesis Communications Network (GCN) that had gotten its launch as an experimental project on TalkersRadio.  Now McDonald is back as a solo performer with a compelling, short-form radio feature simply titled, “MEG!”  It’s a 2½-minute feature that showcases her unique and quirky observations about the “things and events” of daily life.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes McDonald as “a female version of the late-Andy Rooney, only far less curmudgeonly.”  “MEG!” can be used as a stand-alone interstitial feature or as an accompanying “kicker” for an already-existing radio program.  TalkersRadio is an experimental radio lab designed to give talent, programmers and producers a platform and industry showcase to try out new ideas and projects for talk radio.  Since its inception in 2013, TalkersRadio has launched a number of programs that have gone on to terrestrial radio success – the most recent being “American Family Farmer” with Doug Stephan, now heard weekends on approximately 150 terrestrial stations across the nation.  At the time of his death, Alan Colmes was experimenting with a program titled “Healed Planet” that explored the boundaries of human consciousness.  These shows are archived at TalkersRadio which can be accessed by clicking here.   For more information about TalkersRadio call GM David Bernstein at 413-565-5413.

TALKERS 2017 Convention Videos Continue Posting Today (7/12) with Joe Madison, Sharon Madison and Dave Gorab.  The entire agenda of the recent Talkers 2017: A New Era national talk media convention has been video recorded and its sessions are being posted to Talkers.com – one event per day.  Already posted are the “Welcoming Remarks” by WMAL, Washington, DC afternoon drive host Larry O’ Connor (including an introduction by TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein); the special presentation “You HAVE Options” by consultant Holland Cooke (including an introduction by Yappy Days author Bernadette Duncan); the “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity (with introduction by Westwood One host Jim Bohannon); the “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS managing editor  Mike Kinosian and WFAN, New York sports talk show host Mike Francesa (with introduction by Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo); the special presentation “The Trump Effect: Latest Research of Interest to News/Talk Radio” by Salem Radio Network SVP Phil Boyce (with introduction by Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host Brad Shepard); the special presentation “Podcasting and Local Radio” by PodcastOne excutive chairman Norm Pattiz (with introduction by Hubbard Radio SVP/programming Greg Strassell); and the first and second in a series of three consecutive “one-on-one” sessions discussing the topic “Maximizing Talk Radio’s Multi-Platform Potential for Reach and Revenue” beginning with a conversation between WABC, New York, PD Craig Schwalb and KGO, San Francisco host Ethan Bearman (facilitated by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio host Karen Hunter) as well as the second in that series featuring Bold Gold Media Group president/CEO Vince Benedetto in conversation with DGital Media managing partner Ron Hartenbaum, plus the third in the series featuring a conversation between nationally syndicated host Dr. Asa Andrew and TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein (facilitated by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio host Karen Hunter).  Today (7/12) TALKERS has posted a “one-on-one” chat titled “Radio That Makes a Difference” featuring the SiriusXM Satellite Radio husband/wife team of host Joe Madison and executive producer Sharon Madison (introduced by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio VP/GM talk programming Dave Gorab).  Within the following days and weeks, every session will be posted and will remain on Talkers.com for the rest of the year.  The Talkers 2017: A New Era video page is sponsored by Backbone NetworksBroadcasters General Store and Comrex Corp.  To view the video page of Talkers 2017: A New Era, please click here.

Trump Jr.- Russia Meeting, GOP Health Care Plan, North Korea Threats/China Responsibility, ‘Sixth Mass Extinction’ Controversy, Shia LeBeouf Arrest, and MLB All-Star Game Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/11). The controversy over Donald Trump Jr’s meeting with a Russian attorney promising dirt on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign; the Republicans’ plan to attempt a vote on their health care plan before the August break; North Korea’s nuclear program and China’s statement that the hermit kingdom is not solely its responsibility; the concern of prominent zoologists that the world may be in a “sixth mass extinction” with large numbers of species disappearing; the flap over the arrest of actor Shia LeBeouf on public drunkenness charges; and the Major League Baseball All-Star Game were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

SiriusXM Host Rick Ungar Guests on Harrison Podcast.  This week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” is the animation-heavyweight-turned-progressive-pundit, Rick Ungar.  Ungar, a former top executive with Marvel Entertainment and New World Animation, is the liberal co-host, with former Republican National Committee head Michael Steele, of the political talk show “Steele and Ungar” heard nightly on SiriusXM Satellite Radio’s politically moderate POTUS Channel. The show is known for its collegial and civil approach to political left/right debate – a rarity in today’s radio.  Harrison and Ungar (who also writes the column “The Token Lefty” for Forbes.com) discuss a wide array of media topics including the moderate approach to political discussion, the POTUS Channel, the state of talk radio, and a whole bunch of cool stuff about superheroes, comics and animation in American popular culture.  Not to be missed!  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

 

 

Century Broadcasting Co-Founder George Collias Dead at 89.  According to a lengthy obit in the Chicago Tribune, George Collias – co-founder of Century Broadcasting – died of complications from Alzheimer ’s disease at age 89.  The Chicagoland native left his law practice in the mid-1960s and formed Century Broadcasting with a partner.  They started acquiring radio stations, first in suburban St. Louis (what became the legendary rock station KSHE-FM), then Dallas and Detroit and, in 1966 WFMF-FM in Chicago (currently WSHE-FM).  The company continued to buy FM stations in major markets – moves that many in the radio business thought were crazy, since FM was largely the domain of easy listening or Muzak at that time.  Few saw the rise of FM rock and pop stations on the horizon.  But Collias was proved prescient as the value of those stations skyrocketed in the 1970s.  Century began selling stations in the 1980s and by 1997 – a year after the Telecommunications Act of 1996 – Collias had sold his last station.  He confessed to the Tribune in a 1997 article that he thought the business would be successful, but he did not know it would reap the rewards it did.  Read the Tribune obit here.

Tony & Kris Named WIVK, Knoxville Morning Show. Knoxville country outlet WIVK finds a replacement for the popular “Andy & Alison” morning show, signing Tony Randall and Kris Rochester to handle the wake-up show.  Cumulus Media says that after a nationwide search, the station is hiring only the fourth morning show in the history of the station.  “Andy & Alison” retired earlier this year after 20 years with the station to leave the radio business.  “Tony & Kris” were most recently syndicated via United Stations Radio Networks.  They began their career together in 1991 at WHMA, Anniston-Oxford, Alabama.  Cumulus Knoxville VP/market manager Ken Salyer states, “The excitement level of the staff at the hiring of ‘Tony & Kris’ speaks to their track record of success.”  In addition to hosting mornings, the duo will develop a new, music-based weekend show for WIVK.

Monday, July 10, 2017

| July 10, 2017

Entercom/CBS Radio Divulges Senior Management. Based on a memo from Entercom president/chief executive officer David Field, we are getting a clearer picture of the combined giant’s management team, but, as Field stresses, until everything becomes official, Entercom and CBS Radio remain separate companies. “I want to express my appreciation to everyone for their patience as we work through this process,” he writes. “We all want to see the deal close as quickly as possible, but these large mergers just take time. I am pleased to report that we are right on schedule and hard at work, making great progress in every area required to complete our merger successfully. There is nothing more important to our future success than the quality of our people. We have spent a great deal of time working to build a ‘best in class’ team composed of highly talented, high performance stars from CBS Radio and Entercom, plus a number of newcomers from outside of the industry who bring new perspectives and capabilities. The list is a work-in-progress and in the weeks ahead, as planning continues, we will announce additional members of the leadership team, as well as information on a wide range of other important topics as we continue to prepare for this game-changing event.” In alphabetical order, executives include: JD Crowley (EVP/digital); Mike Dee (president/sports); Michael Doyle (regional president and president/sales operations); Ruth Gaviria (chief marketing officer); Weezie Kramer (chief operating officer); Chris Oliviero (EVP/programming); Pat Paxton (president/programming); Bob Philips (chief revenue officer); Rich Schmaeling (chief financial officer); and Andrew Sutor (SVP/general counsel). Field adds, “I also want to add a special word of recognition to Scott Herman, who has done a terrific job over so many years in various leadership roles at CBS, culminating in his current position as chief operating officer. While we are disappointed that Scott will be moving on to pursue other personal and professional endeavors, we greatly respect his outstanding leadership contributions to the organization. “In addition, I want to share some further information on our programming leadership. Pat Paxton will oversee the music brands and Chris Oliviero will oversee the news/talk/sports brands. They will be working collaboratively, along with the programming team across the country to ensure that we continue to develop outstanding brands with the best personalities and content for our listeners nationwide.”

Cox Media Group Atlanta Taps Turcotte To Be GSM. Inbound from Midwest Communications Nashville where he was general sales manager, Mark Turcotte will join Cox Media Group Atlanta later this month (7/31) in a similar capacity. Cox Media Group Atlanta director of sales Jaleigh Long comments, “Mark Turcotte has an exceptional track record for converting vision into sales strategy and execution. This is the perfect time for Mark to join Atlanta’s talented sales leadership team.” Turcotte adds, “A return to Atlanta and Cox Media Group at arguably the most successful radio cluster in the country is such a tremendous honor. The values of the company and their leadership align perfectly with those I have tried to emulate throughout my career. This is a great opportunity to work with folks I consider to be among the absolute best in the profession.” With their May 2017 6+ Nielsen Audio PPM stats and rankings in parenthesis, Cox Media Group Atlanta includes news/talk WSB-AM (8.6, #1 for the 17th straight ratings period); classic hits-oldies WSRV “Classic Hits 97.1 The River” (6.7, #2); urban AC WALR “Kiss 104.1 – Atlanta’s R&B” (6.3, #4); and adult contemporary WSB-FM “B-98.5” (4.2, #10).

Kaufman Joins Cumulus Media As SVP, Revenue/Operations. Based in New York City, John Kaufman is named to Cumulus Media’s newly-created position of senior vice president, revenue strategy and operations. According to Cumulus Media president and chief executive officer Mary Berner, “John’s strategic and operational expertise [as well as his] deep understanding of the critical function that pricing and inventory management plays in maximizing revenue will be a tremendous asset to our operations. In this new leadership role, he will increase the company’s revenue management capabilities through intelligent and attractive pricing strategies and systems. John will support our team of more than 900 sales professionals in 90 markets as they serve our advertisers with local impact and national reach.” Kaufman remarks, “Seeing all the great change underway at Cumulus, I am so pleased to be joining Mary and her leadership team at this exciting time. I look forward to helping the company continue in its evolution.” With an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, Kaufman was senior vice president of business operations for iHeartMedia, later advancing to president of business ops there. Three years ago, he started JK Steele Consulting and a year later was president and chief operating officer of start-up company ParcMate. Prior to that, he was executive vice president of revenue management & electronic marketing at Extended Stay Hotels and vice president of global revenue management for Starwood Hotels & Resorts.


Robinette Retires From WWL. Having hosted the three-hour (10:00 am – 1:00 pm) “Think Tank” on Entercom New Orleans news/talk WWL for the last 12 years, Garland Robinette is retiring. Off the air since mid-April battling pneumonia, Robinette will pursue his interest in painting. “Never did I think a boy from the swamps with little education could travel the world, meet presidents, kings, movie stars and see places I had only read and dreamed about,” Robinette reflects. “If we do come back to this world for multiple lifetimes, I think I’m in trouble because I’ve used up all my luck in this one. Ironically, even those of you who disliked me helped me. One thing I always tried to do was listen to people who disagreed, and in a large percentage of those debates, you were right and I was wrong. Each of those debates was a learning experience of which I emerged a little bit better educated, a little bit better able to see the world not as I wanted, but as it is.” WWL vice president and general manager Chris Claus remarks, “Garland means so much to WWL, to our community, and to the region. His voice, his leadership and undying passion will be greatly missed.” Operations and program director Diane Newman adds, “Magic happens on WWL when the talent is as big as the stage – Garland was that magic. He brought wisdom, passion, and guts to WWL at a time when our city, state, and region needed leadership. He was the voice of the people during Hurricane Katrina, the aftermath and recovery.  From that microphone, he drove the recovery and rebirth, speaking truth to power and accepting nothing less than the change necessary to protect and preserve the jewel that is New Orleans.” Prior to joining WWL in 2005 to replace the late David Tyree, Robinette was a 20-year news anchor/reporter for WWL-TV, New Orleans and headed a public relations firm. He and co-anchor Angela Hill were married in 1978 and were divorced nine years later, but continued their on-air partnership.

WODT Set to Expand Local Programming. In addition to Garland Robinette retiring from Entercom-owned news/talk WWL, New Orleans (see above), there’s more industry news from the Louisiana market as – starting next Monday (7/17) – iHeartMedia’s WODT “Fox Sports 1280” will quintuple its locally-originated programming to ten hours per day. The 8:00 am – 10:00 am slot will be filled by Chris Gordy, who will continue as assistant program director of co-owned KBME “Sports Talk 790,” Houston. Hosted by New Orleans Times-Picayune writers Jeff Duncan and Larry Holder, “Dunc & Holder: Smart Sports Talk for Serious Fans,” will follow from 10:00 am -12:00 noon. Another KBME, Houston staffer – Baton Rouge native Josh Innes – will oversee WODT’s 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm block. Based at Delta Media Lafayette’s KLWB “103.7 The Game,” former LSU basketball player/current football sideline reporter Jordy Hultberg is added at 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm, while Kaare Johnson remains in-place from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm. The remainder of the WODT schedule, including Clay Travis (5:00 am – 8:00 am), will be filled by Fox Sports Radio network programming.

Remembering Claude Hall. Broadcasters of a certain era were fond of saying they had truly “made it in the business” when Claude Hall mentioned their name in his Billboard Magazine “Vox Jox” column. Just as we were approaching our deadline last Friday (7/7), TALKERS broke the news that – owing to injuries suffered from a fall earlier last week – Hall had died at Sunrise Medical Center in Las Vegas. Prior to his death, he continued “Vox Jox” in partnership with talk show host/radio station owner Rollye James as a weekly online newsletter specializing in the activities of older and retired radio broadcasters (www.voxjox.org). Among those commenting on Hall’s death was Randy West, who explains, “Claude had been in ill health for several years. He was an author of fiction books and non-fiction radio texts, and a great friend of the airwaves. He was beloved by hundreds of [on-air personalities] and returned that love by continuing to network and make connections among the survivors of radio’s greatest era. Claude took a whole era of radio with him. He championed, celebrated, honored, and escalated the business.” As Russ DiBello points out, Hall “took a series of scattered jobs, and with a gossip column, morphed them into a profession. That guy doing overnights in Boise whom you’d never met was now your colleague. If you never heard the stations in a market, you still had a good idea of what was going on in various outposts of American radio. Stations everywhere knew where the hot programming talent was hanging out, and whenever they moved, their creativity would cross-pollinate the industry with bits and air talents that would become the norm in programming and production. If all that doesn’t convince you, think of how many more columns like that – which were spinoffs of ‘Vox Jox’ – popped-up in other publications in subsequent years.” Lee Arnold adds, “To those of us in the record and radio business, Claude Hall was not just a legendary journalist, but a wonderful human being that spent most of his life promoting all that we hold dear in this business that we love. Claude, thank you for your friendship – you will be missed.” Mark Driscoll states, “Our industry lost a wonderful caring man who so loved broadcasting. I for one am devastated. May God bless Claude Hall’s soul.” Others noting Hall’s passing included Dan O’Day, who admits, “I don’t have the words to express my sadness as well as my gratitude to Claude” and Anita Bonita emphasizing, “Rest in peace, sir – you absolutely made a difference.” Clark Smidt succinctly described Hall as, “The Master.” Talkers publisher Michael Harrison recalls, “There was once a time when Claude Hall was the major source of all information pertaining to the radio industry. He is the founding father of the style of radio trade publishing that has set the tone of this business for the past five decades. I am lucky to have known him and remember what a thrill it was to appear in his columns back when I was a young PD in my 20s. His love of radio and contributions to this industry are incalculable – he’s number one with a bullet.” In February 2016, Hall wrote his own obituary and accidentally sent it to all his friends. His son – Andrew Clark Hall – shares that obit, complete with empty blanks. “Claude Hall, who was born in Brady, Texas and attended high school in nearby Winters, died of heart complications _(day)_____ at his home in Las Vegas. He was (age). The highlight of his career was 14 years with Billboard Magazine. Although he covered the news in music and radio, he was mostly known for a column called ‘Vox Jox,’ that was widely read in the United States and Canada and translated and read throughout Brazil. It was even read behind the then Iron Curtain and on islands in the South Pacific. Hall entered the University of Texas shortly after being discharged from the U.S. Army. He had served in Germany shortly after World War II. He graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism degree in 1958. His first newspaper job was with the El Paso Herald-Post, but he quit after a few months and hitchhiked to New York City. He spent two years on a trade magazine, American Druggist, published by Hearst, then two years with Cavalier, then a man’s adventure magazine published by Fawcett. Married and with a young son, he and his wife Barbara (she’d worked for Dr. Joyce Brothers at NBC) spent two years in New Orleans. He worked on the Times-Picayune, then considered one of America’s finest newspapers, and his wife finished up her master’s degree from Columbia University. Later, he landed a position with Billboard in New York where he was named radio-TV editor and spent the next 14 years. He also created and organized the International Radio Programming Forum for 10 years. After Billboard, he earned a master’s degree in education at a small Christian university in Oklahoma while serving as the school’s director of public relations. With his degree, he joined the State University of New York at Brockport as a journalism and public relations professor where he taught the next eight years before retiring. He has since authored more than two dozen novels. He and Barbara also wrote This Business of Radio Programming, considered by many to be the best book on radio programming ever written and once adopted as a textbook by 22 major universities. His books are available via Amazon Kindle Books. He leaves a wife and sons John, Darryl, and Andy. Two brothers and a sister previously passed on.”

Matt Patrick: Update. It was just last Friday (7/7) that we reported that KTRH, Houston morning drive personality Matt Patrick (real name Michael Ryan) had announced to his audience that he was ending treatment for an aggressive case of esophageal cancer. Sadly, after that two-year battle, Patrick passed away yesterday (Sunday, 7/9) in Katy, Texas; he was 58 years old. This news coincides with his six-year anniversary at the iHeartMedia news/talk station. Patrick was diagnosed with Stage IV mucosal melanoma on September 11, 2015. The Cleveland-born broadcaster earned a degree in psychology from John Carroll University and was a two-time Radio Broadcasters Hall of Fame inductee. Prior to KTRH, he worked for almost 30 years at WKDD, Akron, followed by stints at WLW, Cincinnati and WTAM, Cleveland. Rubber City Radio Group vice president/director of operations Sue Wilson Cordle declares, “Matt was the voice of Akron. He woke us up for so many years as morning show host at WKDD. I was honored to work with him when we first changed WKDD from mellow rock to top 40. He was originally on middays in 1981, and then quickly moved to mornings where he remained for three decades. He will be missed so much. Thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and all who mourn his passing.” He is survived by (among others) his wife of 15 years, Paula; their son Jake; daughters Alexandra Ryan and Alanna Ryan; mother Marie; step-father John Drummond; and sisters Maureen Shell and Colleen Ryan Neubauer. A memorial service will be held in Houston, followed by a private family service and burial in Ohio.

TALKERS 2017 Convention Videos Continue Posting Today (7/10) with Vince Benedetto, Ron Hartenbaum and Karen Hunter.  The entire agenda of the recent Talkers 2017: A New Era national talk media convention has been video recorded and its sessions are being posted to Talkers.com – one event per day.  Already posted are the “Welcoming Remarks” by WMAL, Washington, DC afternoon drive host Larry O’ Connor (including an introduction by TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein); the special presentation “You HAVE Options” by consultant Holland Cooke (including an introduction by Yappy Days author Bernadette Duncan); the “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity (with introduction by Westwood One host Jim Bohannon); the “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS managing editor  Mike Kinosian and WFAN, New York sports talk show host Mike Francesa (with introduction by Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo); the special presentation “The Trump Effect: Latest Research of Interest to News/Talk Radio” by Salem Radio Network SVP Phil Boyce (with introduction by Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host Brad Shepard); the special presentation “Podcasting and Local Radio” by PodcastOne excutive chairman Norm Pattiz (with introduction by Hubbard Radio SVP/programming Greg Strassell); and the first in a series of three consecutive “one-on-one” sessions discussing the topic “Maximizing Talk Radio’s Multi-Platform Potential for Reach and Revenue” beginning with a conversation between WABC, New York, PD Craig Schwalb and KGO, San Francisco host Ethan Bearman (facilitated by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio host Karen Hunter).   Today (7/10), the second in that series has been posted featuring Bold Gold Media Group president/CEO Vince Benedetto in conversation with DGital Media managing partner Ron Hartenbaum.  Within the following days and weeks, every session will be posted and will remain on Talkers.com for the rest of the year.  The Talkers 2017: A New Era video page is sponsored by Backbone NetworksBroadcasters General Store and Comrex Corp.  To view the video page of Talkers 2017: A New Era, please click here.

Scully to Receive ESPY Icon Award. After having spent the past 67 seasons as the play-by-play voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the legendary Vin Scully called it quits when the 2016 season ended. Scully will be presented with the Icon Award at The 25th ESPYS. The honor is given to individuals whose careers have left a lasting impression on the sports world; actor Bryan Cranston will make the presentation to Scully. Easily one of the country’s best-known broadcasters, Scully started with the Dodgers when the franchise was located in Brooklyn. His career with the team marks the longest tenure of any broadcast with a single professional sports organization. Hosted by Peyton Manning, The ESPYS will be televised on ABC-TV this Wednesday (7/12) from Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater.

Confer Radio Talent Institute Begins Today. This is the fourth annual such “institute” at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. Today’s headliner (Monday, 7/10) is Cumulus Media and Westwood One chief insights officer Pierre Bouvard. Handling the closing session in ten days will be Forever Media Group partner Kerby Confer, who comments, “We want to make a difference; to give back; and give this next generation a good firm foundation in how radio, television, and the internet work. We are going to birth a whole new generation of radio people.” National Radio Talent System founder/president Dan Vallie remarks, “This is the radio talent farm that we in the industry have always said we needed. It is true today more than ever.” Those in charge of leading sessions come from entities that include Beasley Media Group, CBS Radio, Cumulus, Entercom, Forever Media Group, iHeartMedia, and Seven Mountains Media. Various aspects of the medium will be addressed from sales to on-air; sports; news; production; promotions; digital; social media; and engineering. Students with a desire and drive to be in radio were accepted from nine different universities including Bloomsburg, East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Ohio University, Pennsylvania State University, Robert Morris University, Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, Susquehanna University, and Temple University.

Haze Adds KMYI PD Duties. Effective immediately, KMYI “Star 94.1,” San Diego afternoon drive host Joe Haze is elevated to program director of the iHeartMedia hot AC. In addition to his new assignment, Haze will continue programming co-owned mainstream CHR KHTS “Channel 93.3.” Senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia’s San Diego-Riverside region Rob Scorpio notes, “Haze has been instrumental in the success of ‘Channel 93.3’ since its inception. His passion for CHR and hot AC, along with his knowledge and experience, make him the ideal choice to continue [KMYI’s] dominance in the San Diego market.” Haze – who will carry on in PM drive on “Star 94.1” – comments, “I am very grateful to have the opportunity to program two powerful, iconic brands like ‘Star 94.1’ and ‘Channel 93.3.’ To be able to further my career in a market like San Diego is amazing.” Haze previously did nights at ‘Channel 93.3’ and he has worked in Phoenix (KZZP) and Jacksonville (WAPE and WJBT).

Steele Sets Sights on Washington. At a Houston press conference, author, lecturer and a member of the Texas Radio Hall of FameDayna Steele – has announced her candidacy for the congressional seat in Texas’ 36th district. She received an on-stage endorsement from Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Joan Jett, who wore a “Dayna Steele For Congress” tee-shirt. “Joan did a very brave thing for me,” remarks Steele. “People with the courage to speak out are what inspired me to [seek this] office in the first place.” The former KLOL, Houston on-air talent and Seabrook, Texas resident will run as an independent Democrat. Steele is the author/publisher of the “101 Ways to Rock Your World” series and other books including: “LinkedIn: 101 Ways To Rock Your Personal Brand”; “101 Ways to Rock Your World: Everyday Activities for Success Every Day”; “Rock to the Top: What I Learned About Success from the World’s Greatest Rock Stars”; “Surviving Alzheimer’s with Friends, Facebook, and a Really Big Glass of Wine”; “Havana: 101 Ways to Rock Your World in Cuba”; “Welcome to College: 101 Ways to Rock Your World”: “In the Classroom: 101 Ways to Rock Your World for Teachers”; and “On the Golf Course: 101 Ways to Rock Your World.”

KSSX On-Air Lineup Adjusted. Starting today (7/11), iHeartMedia San Diego rhythmic CHR KSSX “Jam’n 95.7” music director/afternoon drive talent Frankie V moves to mornings, where he’ll team with current AM drive co-host Tati Pelegreen, while morning co-host Pablo Sato segues to afternoons. Meanwhile, Nina Chantele – who does afternoons on co-owned Los Angeles urban contemporary KRRL “Real 92.3” – adds a daily mid-day assignment on KSSX; Beto Perez will do night duty on “Jam’n.” According to iHeartMedia San Diego-Riverside vice president of programming Rob Scorpio, “In the last year, ‘Jam’n 95.7’ has experienced significant growth. With Frankie V and Tati in mornings; Nina in middays; and Pablo in afternoons, we expect to take over the market.” Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s May 2017 PPM, KSSX ranks #14, registering a 3.1 for the third time in the last four sweeps.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Recently diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, “Country Countdown USA” host Lon Helton is resting at home ….. As of now, the event’s location is still a “top-secret,” but iHeartMedia Nashville CHR WRVW “107.5 The River” is sponsoring a Demi Lovato-hosted “House Party” this Wednesday (7/12) to celebrate the singer’s “Sorry Not Sorry” single due out tomorrow (7/11). Lovato has two billion combined total streams and a social media following of over 153 million ….. Formerly with Alpha Media Louisville urban contemporary WGBZ “B-96,” Lashonda “Tropikana” Hatch joins Radio One St. Louis’ similarly-formatted WHHL “Hot 104.1” as music director/afternoon drive talent. In addition, “Tropikana” will voice-track for Radio One-owned stations in Cincinnati (WIZF “The Wiz 101.1”); Cleveland (WENZ “Z-107.9”); and Columbus (WCKX “Power 107.5”). She did similar voice-track duties for LM Communications’ WBTF “107.9 The Beat,” Lexington (Kentucky) ….. Mainstream CHR KGOT, Anchorage (Alaska) afternoon personality McConnell “Man at Large” Adams adds Saturday and Sunday night responsibilities as “McConnell” on co-owned (iHeartMedia) Portland adult contemporary outlet KKCW “K-103.”

Adams Radio Acquires Four Tallahassee Stations. The quartet of Tallahassee outlets Adams Radio is buying from Red Hills Broadcasting includes CHR WHTF “Hot 104.9”; country WWOF “103.1 The Wolf”; classic rock WQTL “106.1 The Path”; and adult hits WANK “99.9 Hank FM.” Adams president/CEO Ron Stone comments, “We are thrilled to be the next steward of these amazing stations and even more excited about the future of the stations under [Red Hills Broadcasting president Hank Kestenbaum’s] continued management alongside Adams Radio. This cluster is another rare opportunity to join forces with a company that has been under the same ownership and management for two decades. These stations are a great complement to our existing markets and will no doubt bring many great ideas into the Adams Radio Family.” Kestenbaum notes, “I want to congratulate Ron Stone and his team at Adams Radio on buying four great Tallahassee radio stations. Every day I’m privileged to work with a dedicated and talented group of people at serving our community with entertaining live and local radio. I look forward to leading these stations and this team into a new era of success, service, and prosperity under Adam’s ownership.” Adams Radio also owns/operates clusters in Las Cruces, New Mexico; Fort Wayne, Indiana; suburban Chicago (Northwest Indiana); and Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland. Brokering the Adams Radio-Red Hills Broadcasting transaction was Bill Fanning of MVP Capital LLC.

Monday, June 5, 2017

| June 5, 2017

20th Annual TALKERS Convention Delivers Power Packed Day in NYC.  The 20th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention took place Friday (6/2) in the Chelsea district of Manhattan and it fulfilled its promise to continue its tradition of being a power-packed, valuable one-day experience for its attendees.  More than 55 industry leaders from the ranks of ownership, management, programming, sales, technology and talent comprised a roster of speakers addressing the most pertinent issues facing talk professionals in 2017.  These included the complexities of news/talk programming in the era of Trump, capitalizing on podcasting at the local level, opportunities for talent in the current environment, selling radio outside the ratings, achieving an effective multi-platform balance, operating a professional broadcasting career in the perplexing age of increased consolidation against a backdrop of looming bankruptcy, engaging millennials, applying the latest technology and much more.  The major annual TALKERS awards were presented at the event.  Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity received the Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech. Cumulus Media president/CEO Mary Berner received the Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Talk Radio by a Woman.  Emmis Communications president/CEO Jeff Smulyan received the TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award. Genesis Communications Network host Dr. Daliah Wachs received the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Talk Show Host.  Hofstra University communications student Maria Santana received the new Alan Colmes Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievements by a College Radio Broadcaster.  The entire convention was video recorded and will be featured here on Talkers.com shortly.  Stay tuned for more story and photo coverage in the days ahead. Meanwhile, below are some photos from the event.

Michael Harrison (l) presenting “Woman of the Year” award to Mary Berner (r).  Photo by Don Hurley.

Michael Harrison (l) presenting “Freedom of Speech” award to Sean Hannity (r).  Photo by Don Hurley.

Kevin Casey (r) presenting “Lifetime Achievement” award to Jeff Smulyan (l).  Photo by Don Hurley.

Michael Harrison (l) presenting “Humanitarian of the Year” award to Dr. Daliah Wachs (r).  Photo by Matthew B. Harrison.

Doug Stephan (l) presenting “Student of the Year” award to Maria Santana (r). Photo by Matthew B. Harrison.

Mike Kinosian (l) conducting “Fireside Chat” with Mike Francesa (r).  Photo by Don Hurley.

Harry Hurley (l) presenting $1,000 check for Broadcasters Foundation to Dan Mason (r).  Photo by Don Hurley.

PodcastOne executive chairman, Norm Pattiz addressing the convention about podcasting and local radio.

Salem Media Group, SVP/spoken word format, Phil Boyce discussing the “Trump Effect” on talk radio.

Joe and Sharon Madison of SiriusXM Satellite Radio discussing “Radio that Makes a Difference.”

Holland Cooke discussing the forthcoming merger of CBS Radio and Entercom Communications.

Cumulus Adds Eboni K. Williams to WABC, New York Midday Show.  The WABC, New York midday program becomes “The Curtis and Eboni Show” today (6/5) with the addition of Eboni K. Williams alongside Curtis Sliwa.  Williams is a Fox News Channel personality who co-hosts “The Fox News Specialists” daily at 5:00 pm ET.  She joins Sliwa on the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show after the recent departure of Ron Kuby from the show.  In addition to co-hosting the program with Sliwa, Williams will also contribute to 77 WABC Radio’s social media channels as well as produce an exclusive weekly podcast that will be published on wabcradio.com.  At the same time, Sliwa will continue hosting “The Drive at Five” weekdays afternoons.  WABC program director Craig Schwalb states, “Eboni breaks the mold for what a talk host can be today.  She is equal parts intelligent, passionate, relatable, and exciting.  Curtis and Eboni will be a must-listen in New York.”

Tom Poleman Promoted to Chief Programming Officer for iHeartMedia. The new long-term agreement between radio pro Tom Poleman and iHeartMedia comes with a promotion to chief programming officer.  Poleman has been the president of iHeartMedia’s national programming group since August of 2011 and he remains in that position, as well.  Poleman will also continue to head up iHeartMedia’s music discovery and emerging artist initiatives, including the Artist Integration Program and the On the Verge program, which have championed artists like Sam Smith, Maren Morris, Fifth Harmony and James Bay, as well as Sam Hunt, Bleachers and Lukas Graham, early in their careers.  iHeartMedia  chairman and CEO Bob Pittman comments, “No one understands the intricate relationship between programming, on-air talent, artist relationships and live music events like Tom Poleman.  He has always been a key part of the team that has shaped iHeartMedia into a multi-platform company.  Tom’s unique vision has turned our National Programing Group into what it is today – an innovative nationwide network of the most talented people working as a team to bring constant innovation to our company and our industry.  I’m thrilled that he will remain a key contributor in our company’s continued evolution and success.”

KXTG, Portland Names Dino Costa Afternoon Drive Host. Sports talk personality Dino Costa is taking over the afternoon drive program on Alpha Media’s KXTG-AM “102.9/750 The Game,” replacing the “Justin and Chop” program, starting today (6/5).   KXTG operations manager Bruce Collins says, “I am thrilled to bring a radio star like Dino Costa to ‘The Game.’  Get ready Portland for an entertaining, informative, fun ride each day on your way home.  Dino has demonstrated the ability to build and sustain an audience wherever he has been and we look forward to him being the dominant sports radio personality in the Rose City.”  Costa’s sports talk career includes a five-year stint at SiriusXM and five years airing his show on the Radio Colorado Network.  Costa comments, “I’m thrilled and humbled by this extraordinary opportunity and look forward to working with everyone at Alpha Media to produce a sports radio show that leaves an indelible mark on Portland.  I look forward to justifying the enormous faith of those who brought me to the Rose City with a radio show that resonates with listeners and marketing partners.”

The Power of Live and Local Talk Radio. WPG, Atlantic City morning drive talk show host Harry Hurley today writes of an experience that he says he can’t believe happened.  A long-time listener to his program sent Hurley the Purple Heart he was given for injuries sustained during the Vietnam War. Hurley writes that a talk radio program’s listenership can become “family-like,” and his interaction with this veteran illustrates this point.  Read Hurley’s story here.

Greg Papa Show Renewed on KGMZ, San Francisco. Bay Area sports media pro Greg Papa inks a new deal with Entercom to continue hosting his 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm sports talk program on KGMZ “95.7 The Game.”  Papa is well-known to Oakland Raiders fans as the longtime voice of Raiders football radio play-by-play.  KGMZ program director Don Kollins states, “Greg Papa is an iconic personality in Bay Area sports media and we are thrilled to extend his contract.  Sports fans can look forward to an expanded role for Papa on our airwaves; it’s an exciting time here at ‘95.7 The GAME.’”  Papa has been with KGMZ since 2014.  He’s a three-time California Sportscaster of the Year Award winner.  The station says that in addition to his daily radio show, he’ll make frequent appearances in morning drive with Joe Fortenbaugh, Lorenzo Neal and Dan Dibley.  He is also co-host of “The Happy Hour” on NBC Sports Bay Area, host of Warriors Pregame Live and Warriors Postgame Live.

TALKERS News Notes. Radio programming pro Jimmy Steele joins Cumulus Media in Mobile, Alabama to handle operations manager duties for the company’s five-station cluster.  In addition to overseeing operations for CHR WABD-FM, Gospel WGOK-AM, hip hop WBLX-FM, urban contemporary WDLT-FM, and news/talk WXQW-AM.  Steele will also serve news/talk WXQW-AM as program director…..Ahead of Georgia’s 6th District runoff election, former GOP presidential candidate and WSB, Atlanta talk show host Herman Cain is bringing his radio show to Milton, Georgia next Monday (6/12) where he’ll tape before a live audience at the  Olde Blind Dog Irish Pub from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm…..Longtime Baltimore Orioles play-by-play voice Fred Manfra leaves his post due to health problems.  Manfra called his last game on Sunday evening (6/4).

Weekend London Terror Attacks/Trump Tweets, Trump Travel Ban, Portland Protests, Bill Maher ‘N’-word Flap/Kathy Griffin Blowback, Middle East Countries Break with Qatar, Wonder Woman Tops Weekend Box Office Battle, MLB Action and NBA-NHL Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The weekend terror attacks in London that claimed the lives of seven and injured more than 48 and the related tweets from President Donald Trump; renewed talk of President Trump’s travel ban that has been halted by the courts; the violent pro-Trump and anti-Trump protests that took place in Portland over the weekend; HBO’s Bill Maher under fire for using the “n”-word on his Friday evening program and the blowback against comic Kathy Griffin for her Trump severed head photo; several Middle East countries break diplomatic ties with Qatar for its suspected support of Islamic State; the film Wonder Woman tops the weekend’s box office receipts; and MLB action and the NBA Finals and NHL Stanley Cup Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Dr. Asa Andrew Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most colorful rising stars in talk media today, Dr. Asa Andrew (known to his audiences simply as Dr. Asa), is this week’s guest on the award-winning, weekly PodcastOne series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” Dr. Asa just celebrated his 10th anniversary on the air with a daily alternative health and fitness radio show that continues to attract news/talk affiliates across North America. Dr. Asa, a dedicated media disciple of Dave Ramsey, discusses a wide variety of subjects with Michael Harrison including the potentially powerful role of credible doctor shows as ratings and revenue generators within the context of news/talk formats. They also talk about reality TV (he’s about to star in a series on the Discovery Channel) and Dr. Asa’s experiences as a student at the WCW school for professional wrestlers. Don’t miss this cool podcast. To listen to the entire program, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Detroit, afternoon drive personality Ian “Slacker” Richards is promoted to program director at CBS RADIO’s CHR WDZH “98.7 AMP Radio.” Richards also serves as music director for the station.  CBS RADIO Detroit VP of programming Tim Roberts says, “Ian has demonstrated over and over an in-depth knowledge of the top 40 format, music and artists.  He is also a natural leader both on and off the air for our staff and the WDZH brand.”…..Radio programming pro Jimmy Steele joins Cumulus Media in Mobile, Alabama to handle operations manager duties for the company’s five-station cluster.  He’ll oversee operations for CHR WABD-FM, Gospel WGOK-AM, hip hop WBLX-FM, urban contemporary WDLT-FM, and news/talk WXQW-AM.  Steele will also serve WXQW-AM as program director.  Steele joins Cumulus Media from iHeartMedia in Reading, Pennsylvania where he programmed adult hits WRFY-FM and tropical WRAW-AM/FM and served as morning show host on WRFY-FM.  Cumulus Media VP of programming operations Doug Hamand says, “We are very excited to bring Jimmy’s amazing track record and high caliber talents to coaching and mentoring our fabulous programming team in Mobile.  Our great radio stations already dominate the ratings here and with Jimmy’s vision, experience and focus, there’s no limit to what we can achieve together!….Alpha Media Savannah-Hilton Head announces WUBB’s “Tim Leary and the Morning Showgram” and WFXH’s Ryan Koch were each awarded Connect Savannah Reader’s Choice Awards.  “Tim Leary and the Morning Showgram” won “Best Morning Radio Show,” while Ryan Koch was awarded “Best Local Personality.”  Winners were chosen by local readers of Connect Savannah.

WRKO, Boston 50th Anniversary Reunion a Huge Success.   The 50th anniversary WRKO reunion (celebrating the now-news/talk outlet’s switch to its legendary top 40 format a half century ago) took place this past weekend (6/2-3).  More than 80 alumni and friends showed up for a dinner on Friday night followed by a special Saturday night broadcast on the heritage 50k station.  Local voice talent Jordan Rich interviewed dozens of attendees at the dinner.  Nearly all of the original cast of DJs from 1967 were on hand for a fascinating re-creation of a truly fun time in radio.  It was organized by the station’s music-era PD Mel Phillips, along with technical expert George Capalbo, Jr. of Backbone Networks (son of WRKO’s late technical architect George Capalbo, Sr.) and a number of broadcast veterans of that historic era.  The Saturday night show was streamed live on Facebook and by the end of the program, approximately 69,000 people were estimated to be listening and watching around the world!  Entercom VP/market manager Phil Zachary was praised by organizers as being instrumental in making the event a reality.  Industry videographer/historian Art Vuolo was on hand to capture the entire event for posterity telling TALKERS  that he hopes to have the video edited and complete before the end of June.  Pictured (l-r): J.J. JeffreyAl Gates, Mel Phillips, Joel Cash, Chuck Knapp and Arthur Katz.

Friday, June 2, 2017

| June 2, 2017

20th Annual TALKERS Convention Takes Place Today – Major Awards Being Presented.  The 20th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention takes place today in the Chelsea district of Manhattan and it promises to continue in its tradition of being a power-packed, valuable one-day experience for its attendees.  More than 55 industry leaders from the ranks of ownership, management, programming, sales, technology and talent will comprise a roster of speakers addressing the most pertinent issues facing talk professionals in 2017.  These include the complexities of news/talk programming in the era of Trump, capitalizing on podcasting at the local level, opportunities for talent in the current environment, selling radio outside the ratings, achieving an effective multi-platform balance, operating a professional broadcasting career in the perplexing age of increased consolidation against a backdrop of looming bankruptcy, engaging millennials, applying the latest technology and much more.  The major annual TALKERS awards will be presented at the event.  They include the following:  Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity receiving the Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech; Cumulus Media president/CEO Mary Berner will receiving the Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Talk Radio by a Woman;  Emmis Communications president/CEO Jeff Smulyan receiving the TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award; Genesis Communications Network host Dr. Daliah Wachs receiving the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Talk Show Host; and Hofstra University Radio student Maria Santana receiving the new Alan Colmes Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievements by a College Radio Broadcaster.  See today’s agenda here.

WECK, Buffalo Announces Local Programming Plans with New Ownership.  The class C AM signal was recently purchased by Buddy Shula’s Radio One Buffalo LLC and is announcing its intent to air a full-service format with a focus on local news.  WECK, Buffalo (also heard on translator W275BB at 102.9 FM) brings John Zach aboard as news director, effective July 10.  Zach is a longtime market news pro who served for more than 18 years with crosstown WBEN.  He also served with WKBW and WGR.  The station is adding CBS Radio News programming, as well.   Shula states, “John Zach is the dean of radio news in Buffalo.  We are very honored and excited to have John as part of our growing team of broadcasters at Buffalo’s Very Own WECK.  His credible and trusted voice has been missed in our community.”  Shula says WECK plans to increase local news coverage under Zach’s leadership and will be announcing the addition of some well-known Western New York voices in the days ahead.

Beasley Brings Raiders Football to Las Vegas Fans. Three years ahead of the Raiders’ official move from Oakland to a brand-new stadium in Las Vegas, Beasley Media Group is committing to airing Raiders games in the Las Vegas market, beginning this fall.  Beasley EVP and COO Brian Beasley states, “We are absolutely thrilled to