Tag: "Michael Smith"

Thursday, April 2, 2020

| April 2, 2020

TALKERS EXCLUSIVE: Mike Bendixen of Canada’s Bell Media Checks in with Covid-19 Input for U.S. Radio Broadcasters.  The program director of CFRB, Toronto “Newstalk 1010” and national news/talk format director of Canada’s Bell Media has checked in with TALKERS this morning (4/2) to discuss how his station and broadcasting company has been handling the coronavirus crisis.  Mike Bendixen and Michael Harrison discuss remote broadcasting, upgrading technology, accurate messaging, and politics as well as the short and long term impact this crisis will have on radio listening in general.  Bendixen offers sound advice based on his experience.  Warning: the following dialogue contains some raw language.  To listen to this morning’s conversation between Mike Bendixen and Michael Harrison, please click here.

Entercom Notifies Employees of Pay Reductions, Furloughs, and Eliminated Positions. In a memo to employees this morning (4/2), Entercom CEO David Field announced the company is taking the painful steps of eliminating or furloughing a “significant” number of positions.  Here’s his memo to staffers: “Thank you for your resilience, dedication and fortitude as we manage through the extraordinarily challenging and disruptive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  We are all doing our best to ensure that our loved ones remain safe and healthy while working tirelessly to serve our listeners, customers, and communities. I am deeply appreciative of everything you are doing to keep us moving forward under these difficult conditions. We are fortunate to work in an industry that plays such an important role in our country at a time of crisis, providing a critically important and trusted local voice for news and information as well as entertainment, companionship and respite during these uncertain times.  Unfortunately, the severity of the situation necessitates us making significant cost reductions in order to cope with the realities at hand. Our nation is facing unprecedented disruption that has shut down countless businesses and entire industries, including many of our customers.  This is having a very large impact on advertising revenues.  We must take hard but necessary actions to ensure that we endure the crisis and emerge as a strong, healthy and competitive company.  I am deeply saddened that we need to make these painful moves at this time, but they are necessary under the circumstances. We are doing everything in our power to minimize the number of layoffs through shared sacrifice across the organization, but we will still need to eliminate or furlough a significant number of positions. In order to make the transition less painful for our colleagues, we will be providing up to an extra month of additional severance for those individuals for whom their normal severance and the recently announced enhanced federal unemployment benefits provide less support. In addition, we will be providing enhanced employee benefits for furloughed team members.  We will also be taking other cost reduction actions at this time, including the temporary suspension of our dividend and our 401(k) Company match, the elimination of Q1 and Q2 bonuses, and temporary salary reductions of between 10% and 20% for anyone earning a salary in excess of $50,000 per year.  I will be taking a 30% salary reduction.  We hope to restore regular salaries, bonus eligibility and our 401(k) plan match at the start of the third quarter.  I very much appreciate the sacrifice that people will be making in these difficult times.  We will get through this crisis and put this all behind us. Better days lie ahead. With the tough but necessary actions we are now taking, we are doing what is required for us to preserve the health of the company and ensure that we are strong when we get to the other side. Our future is further protected by our strong financial position with substantial cash reserves and virtually no debt due before 2024. And when the crisis abates, we look forward to resuming our growth and building on our strong strategic position as a leader in the audio business, including the best lineup of local radio stations in the United States.  I deeply appreciate your dedication and commitment and look forward to better times ahead. We will be following up with additional information shortly. Yours, David.”

Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell Joins Newsmax TV. Joining Newsmax TV as a contributor is former Virginian Governor Bob McDonnell.  Newsmax says that McDonnell “brings a wealth of experience, having served 14 years in the Virginia General Assembly, as Virginia’s Attorney General, and as the commonwealth’s 71st governor from 2010-2014.”  He’ll serve as a political and legal analyst for the 24/7 cable news network, covering the Trump administration, the 2020 presidential race, and the significant issues of the day.  Newsmax TV chief content officer and EVP of programming Elliott Jacobson says, “Bob has had a long and distinguished career in public service and intimately knows the ins and outs of government and politics.  He’s a very valuable addition to our growing roster of distinguished commentators on Newsmax TV.”

Entercom Files Motion to Dismiss Discrimination Suit by Former WIP-AM, Philadelphia Account Executive. Back in mid-January, former WIP-AM, Philadelphia account executive Maria McBride filed a sex-based discrimination and breach of contract suit against Entercom Communications.  In the suit, she alleges she was touched inappropriately, and stared at by her superior; claims she was overworked tending to promotions because of failure on the promotions department to staff events; she developed health issues as a result of her working conditions and alleges the company did nothing to help.  She also claims she was denied a bonus in violation of her contract and eventually fired.  Yesterday (4/1), Entercom filed a 30-page Motion to Dismiss in New Jersey federal court, arguing McBride didn’t sufficiently demonstrate her claims of a hostile work environment, of retaliation, of breach of contract, nor the other claims.  Entercom also argues that if the Court allows the case to go forward, it be transferred to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

TALKERS News Notes. Self-described financial expert William Neil “Doc” Gallagher (he didn’t have a state investment advisers license in Texas), who brokered time for his “The Money Doctor” show on Dallas market stations KAAM-AM, KSKY-AM, KLTY-FM, and KWRD-FM, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for defrauding some 60 investors of more than $20 million.  The Dallas News reports that Gallagher targeted elderly Christians with his rhetoric on the radio and even published a book titled, Jesus Christ, Money Master.  The 79-year-old Gallagher pleaded guilty and must pay more than $10 million in restitution…..Talk host Jon Patch celebrates 30 years on the radio hosting the syndicated “Talkin’ Pets” program.  The three-hour, weekly show is syndicated by GAB Network.  Patch says, “If you live life with a pet or just have a love for animals, then ‘Talkin’ Pets’ is the show for you.  We have many listeners who don’t even have pets since the show is always riveting, passionate, fun, and overall pure entertainment like no other pet show in the country.  This formula has worked for 30 years and we look forward to many more years to come.  Thanks to all of our affiliate stations coast to coast for their dedication to ‘Talkin’ Pets.’”…..NPR announces that Michael Smith joins the organization as chief marketing officer.  Smith was most recently SVP and general manager of digital channels for Scripps Network.  NPR president and CEO John Lansing says, “Michael is a strategic thinker and an extremely creative media executive who has spent his career finding new ways people consume content across an increasingly diverse audience population.  He is joining NPR at a time when we must extend the reach of our content beyond our traditional audiences to fully serve the American public and he is uniquely qualified to help us do so.”…..Pictured below is Genesis Communications Network-syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs giving blood in her home town of Las Vegas.  She says, “As you are aware, blood banks are in dire need of blood and they are asking whomever can brave it to donate without getting exposed.  Vitalant here ran a great ship today, keeping everyone at a distance as Nevada received today a ‘stay at home order.’”

U.S. Coronavirus Numbers and Death Toll, Financial Markets Activity, Recession Fears, Dr. Fauci Threatened, Churches Defying Anti-Gathering Policies, Russia Sends Supplies to U.S., and the Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/1). The number of positive COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the death toll; the world’s financial markets react to the coronavirus; economists express fears of a prolonged recession in the wake of the pandemic; director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci gets security because of threats; some churches in the South refusing to honor the non-gathering policy; Russia sends military plane with medical supplies to the U.S.; and Joe Biden calls for the postponement of the Democratic National Convention were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Salem Radio Network Talk Star Mike Gallagher and Former BS&T Lead Singer David Clayton-Thomas Are This Week’s Guests on Harrison Podcast. In a rare “double feature,” two guests share the bill on this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” The podcast features conversations with two colorful communicators – each isolating at home during the coronavirus crisis. Each with a different political view of today’s world. First is Salem Radio Network conservative talk show host Mike Gallagher from his condo in Tampa, Florida where he broadcasts his daily show from a remote set up in his kitchen. That’s followed by well-known singer/songwriter, David Clayton-Thomas, former lead vocalist for Blood, Sweat & Tears, from his condo in Toronto, Canada. Clayton-Thomas has just released a powerfully, opinionated solo album of “protest songs” addressing a variety of today’s hottest issues from a liberal perspective. According to Harrison, “Both of these fine men, whom I’ve known over the decades, have a lot to say about the world and having them both appear on this installment of the program while isolating during the crisis creates a marvelous kind of symmetry.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com.

Talkers Convention Postponed Until Friday, October 16. The 23rd annual presentation of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important annual gathering originally scheduled for Friday June 5 has been officially postponed until Friday, October 16 due to the coronavirus crisis. This year, the event – held in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of TALKERS – is titled, Talkers 2020: The Rise of the Media Station, and will still take place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the Chelsea district of Manhattan. In announcing the change of date, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “We are hopeful and optimistic that the circumstances going forward will be conducive for an event of this nature to be feasible slightly more than a half year from now. We will do our best to hold together the agenda that we’ve already established, but are cognizant that, to a certain extent, we will be rebuilding it to conform to the specifics of the times and events that take place between now and then. If circumstances are such that this crisis continues through the second half of 2020, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. All paid registrations and sponsorships already accepted will be honored for the new date. However, we will cease all promotion and recruitment for new and additional speakers, sponsors and registrants until at least the first week of May out of respect for the urgency and priority this crisis presents to our industry’s dedicated, hard-pressed professionals.” For more information please call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413 or email info@talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In New York City, Alex Roman is promoted to the newly created chief technology officer position for Mediaco’s hip hop WQHT “Hot 97” and urban AC WBLS.  He rises from the director of integrated technology post in which he’s been serving since 2011.  Mediaco president and COO Patrick Walsh says, “Alex’s experience and insights are invaluable as we continue to build multichannel digital platforms for WBLS and ‘Hot 97.’  There simply is not anyone like him in our industry and I’m pleased that with this move to CTO we can count on Alex being an important part of our leadership team in the coming years.”…..Quibi announces that iHeartMedia becomes a partner of the new “Pop5” daily, music news show.  The program, produced by Mission Control Media, is hosted by Tim Kash.  It’s described as “a colorful collage of must-know information about pop music today.”  Launching April 6, “Pop5 by iHeartRadio” will premiere a new episode every weekday, as part of Quibi’s Daily Essentials programming…..iHeartMedia is hosting its first ever virtual book club in partnership with social retail platform talkshoplive as it celebrates the release of Alicia Keys’ book, More Myself: A Journey (2020, Flatiron Books), on April 10 at 5:00 pm ET.  The virtual book club will feature an intimate conversation between Alicia Keys and iHeartRadio on-air personality Angie Martinez.

Friday, March 18, 2016

| March 18, 2016

Nielsen LogoNielsen Digital Audio Ratings (NDAR) Set to Debut. The service will formalize a two-month pre-currency preview period covering data from this year’s February and March surveys, available in mid-March and mid-April, respectively. Clients must license Nielsen Digital Audio Ratings to access data related to their own media properties and the data of other subscribers. NDAR is a component of Nielsen’s ‘Total Audience,’ an initiative that provides comparable metrics across all linear and digital platforms. Nielsen Audio managing director Brad Kelly states, “With the way people consume content in a continual state of change, it is critical to capture all of the platforms where people are listening to audio, whether on the radio, computers or Smartphones. To achieve ‘Total Audience’ for audio, we must provide a comprehensive view of listening behavior across all platforms. Nielsen Digital Audio Ratings allows broadcasters, advertisers, and marketers to better understand the dynamics of a station’s over-the-air and online audiences. Radio is a crucial format to reach audiences and must be an integral part of Nielsen’s ‘Total Audience’ initiative. With NDAR, we will be able to capture broadcast radio’s total reach and begin laying the groundwork to measure other audio platforms where people listen to music, syndicated programs, or news-talk and sports content.” Audience estimates will include Average Quarter Hour (AQH) and an Average Minute Audience (AMA) metric for digital streams. Nielsen Digital Audio Ratings is expected to expand reporting to include diary markets, as well as regional and national views. NDAR is currently collecting data on more than 2,500 station streams across all 48-PPM markets. Initially, Nielsen Digital Audio Ratings will report listening of digital streams of AM and FM stations and e-radio stations in the 48-PPM markets. Measurement for custom-curated and on-demand audio, including podcasts, is currently in development.

browne, joyDr. Joy Browne Recruited to Serve as Official Emcee of TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations.  The reigning queen of the psychology talk radio genre, Dr. Joy Browne, has been named Official Emcee of the 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention, TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations.  The power-packed, one-day event will take place on the campus of Hofstra University in Talkers2016 logoHempstead, NY on Friday, May 20.  In making the announcement, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Dr. Joy Browne is perfect for this role that she performed for us so successfully a number of years ago – opening up the show and tying all its components together as the dynamic day moves along.  Between her rapier intelligence and wit, unpredictable ad libs, numerous wardrobe and hairdo changes and vivacious personality, she is perfectly suited to take on this awesome responsibility.  We are delighted that she has consented to do this.”  The Genesis Communications Network (GCN) syndicated star says, “I have never missed an installment of this amazing conference and I am absolutely delighted and honored to have the opportunity to again play this role in it and have so much fun!”  The event kicks off at 8:00 am with the traditional “Breakfast with Hannity” opening social. It will conclude 12 hours later with a gala, early-evening reception on the university’s magnificent television soundstage. Located just outside of New York City, Hofstra University’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication is nationally recognized as one of the nation’s most respected and influential breeding grounds of great broadcasters. The NAB honored WRHU-FM in 2015 with a Marconi Award as the first ever “student operated” non-commercial station of the year! Radio Hofstra University WRHU-FM is also currently ranked number one – best college radio station – by the Princeton Review. WRHU-FM also earned a Pinnacle Award – station of the year – from the CMA. The cost of a full registration is $299 per person with a special student rate of $249. Registration is only open to professionals currently or recently (within one year) employed in media-related industries as well as students enrolled in accredited colleges or universities. Registration includes all sessions, presentations, exhibits, receptions, and tours as well as breakfast/lunch/refreshment and social networking activities. Registrations can only be taken over the phone (to verify qualifications) and paid for with a credit card. As in years past, for the sake of intimacy and productivity, total attendance will be limited to 500 and TALKERS 2016 will be an early sellout. No registrations can be sold after that point. All registrations are non-transferable and non-refundable. To register please call 413-565-5413.  For more up-to-the-minute agenda, registration, hotel and sponsorship information, please click here.

KLACClippers Dribble Over to KLAC. Professional sports franchises do not usually change flagships during the season, but starting tomorrow (Saturday, 3/19) and continuing for the rest of the NBA regular and post-season, Los Angeles Clippers’ games will be heard on iHeartMedia Los Angeles sports outlet KLAC as part of an exclusive multi-year broadcast rights agreement. The key stationLA Clippers Logo of the Clippers since 2009 had been cross-town KFWB, which was recently sold to Principle Broadcasting, but earlier this month, the new owners transitioned “980 The Beast” to an Asian music format (“Desi 980”). Being an NBA flagship is nothing new for KLAC: Up until the 2009-2010 season, it was the longtime home of the Los Angeles Lakers (now on ABC Radio Los Angeles’ KSPN). This will be the fifth year KLAC will be the flagship of MLB‘s Los Angeles Dodgers. When there are Dodgers-Clippers schedule conflicts, Clippers games will shift to KLAC talk cluster-mate KEIB “The Patriot.” Senior vice president of sports for iHeartMedia Los Angeles Don Martin comments, “iHeartMedia Los Angeles and the Clippers just reinforced the fact that KLAC ‘AM 570 LA Sports’ is the number one destination for sports in Los Angeles.” Clippers president of business operations Gillian Zucker remarks, “We are proud to establish an exceptional, long-term destination for Clippers basketball on a radio station that sounds like it was named for us.” Brian Sieman continues to do radio play-by-play, as does Isaac Lowenkron for pre-game, halftime, and post-game shows. Joining Sieman on nationally televised games not shown on Fox‘s Prime Ticket will be Ralph Lawler and analyst Michael Smith. Among persons 6+ in the most recent (February 2016) Nielsen Audio PPM report for Los Angeles, KLAC ranks #37 (.5), KFWB is #36 (.2), and KSPN places #31 (.8); adult contemporary cluster-mate KOST “Coast 103.5” is first with a 5.7 (6+).

ppmunitRound Four of February PPM Data.  The fourth – and final – round of February 2016 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford.  The survey period was January 28 – February 24.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Top Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.

KCBS-AMKCBS-AM Staffers Vote to Join SAG-AFTRA. Results from ballots cast yesterday (Thursday, 3/17) by a group of employees at CBS Radio San Francisco’s all-news KCBS-AM reportedly were “nearly unanimous” in favor of aligning with SAG-AFTRA. Editor and shop steward Joe Rogers comments that the station’s writers, production assistants, and newsroom assistants “have shown a lot of courage and determination” and “the entire KCBS-AM news team stands united at a time when the company is contemplating drastic changes in how this station gathers and reports the news.” Production assistant and producer Nick St. Charles states, “Volatility in the news business and skyrocketing living costs in the Bay Area make union representation essential.” Production assistants, writers, and newsroom assistants will join the union with an existing bargaining unit of editors at the all-news operation. SAG-AFTRA also represents Bay Area units at CBS’ KPIX-TV and KCBS-AM hot AC sibling KLLC “Alice,” as well as on-air counterparts at KCBS-AM. Dislodged from San Francisco’s top spot in the “Holiday” 2015 report, KCBS-AM posted its second straight +.4 in February’s Nielsen Audio PPM (5.4 – 5.8 – 6.2, 6+) and repeats at #1; it had been in the top spot six successive sweeps before “Holiday” 2015.

baum, rayBaum Becomes NAB’s VP/Government Relations. The former senior policy advisor to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce – Ray Baum – joins the National Association of Broadcasters as vice president of government relations. NAB president and chief executive officer Gordon Smith states, “I am pleased to have Ray Baum join our talented government relations department. He brings extensive policymaking experience on the federal, state, and local levels as both a legislator and a staffer. Broadcasters will benefit greatly from having Ray advocating on our behalf in Washington.” Baum previously was chair of the Oregon Public Utility Commission and Oregon House majority leader. Beginning his new assignment in two weeks (3/31), Baum will report to NAB executive vice president of government relations Curtis Legeyt.

Khatija MohiuddinMohiuddin Appointed LSM at iHeartMedia Chicago. Formerly an account executive at Hubbard Broadcasting Chicago hot AC WTMX “The Mix,” Khatija Mohiuddin is named local sales manager of cross-town iHeartMedia. Vice president of sales of iHeartMedia Chicago Adam Kurtz comments, “Khatija is the perfect leader to augment our sales efforts on our heritage brands. Khatija’s experience in Chicago media is unsurpassed and we are so excited she is on our team.” Mohiuddin, who begins her new duties one week from Monday (3/28), remarks, “I am really looking forward to working with such amazing radio properties as well as an incredibly talented sales team.” This is actually a homecoming for Mohiuddin, as she began her sales career in 2005 with iHeartMedia Chicago hot AC WLIT “93.9 My-FM,” which was then adult contemporary “Lite-FM.”

talkersten logoThe Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM Again.  Likely to be an ongoing trend, activities of the candidates for president and the surrounding issues were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court.  Coming in at #3 was the Syrian civil conflict and Russia’s involvement followed by the battle against Islamic State 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.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Beasley Media GroupBeasley’s Quarterly Cash Dividend is $0.045 Per Share. The board of directors of Beasley Broadcast Group announces a quarterly cash dividend of $0.045 per share of its Class A and Class B common stock. The dividend is payable on April 8 to shareholders of record on March 31. All subsequent dividends will be reviewed quarterly and declared by the board at its discretion.

Odds & Sods. WBEZ producer/reporter Kathy Chaney departs the Chicago Public Media-owned outlet to join Ebony Magazine as managing editor ….. Also in the “Windy City,” the Chicago Police Department and Illinois State Police have dropped all charges against CBS News campaign reporter Sopan Deb, who was cuffed and placed into a police van last Friday during his coverage of the protests outside a Donald Trump event ….. WDDV, Venice-Sarasota (Florida) transitions from adult standards to talk WFLG and is simulcasting iHeartMedia Tampa sibling WFLA.

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