Tag: "Mike Gallagher"

Thursday, April 9, 2020

| April 9, 2020

JVC Media Giving Away Free Airtime. The company that operates stations in New York and Florida is announcing it is opening the airwaves of all of its stations to help promote local essential businesses and services that are still open and still serving the community.  JVC Media’s Florida stations include talk outlet WDYZ-AM/W288CJ “Florida Man Radio.”  Its Long Island group includes news/talk WRCN “LI News Radio 103.9.”  The company says the message is simple: “In Florida call the Quarantine Speed Advertising line at 407-647-5332, in NY call 631-542-5441, and leave a 30 second voicemail showcasing your business.  The JVC team will produce your message and play it on the appropriate radio station free of charge.”  JVC president and CEO John Caracciolo says, “This is the time for radio to shine.  We are not closed, we are not automated, we are live, local, and serving our local communities.  I don’t see the streaming or satellite services offering something like that.”

Neuhoff Media Using Radio to Connect Teachers and Students. In an effort to ameliorate the disconnect between teachers and students in Central Illinois, Neuhoff Media announces the Louise Neuhoff Educational Access Project initiative.  The project is named in honor of the Neuhoff Media co-founder.  The company will make available specific periods of time each day for public school teachers to present lessons, read books, and review specific material on air.  These programs will ensure educators are readily accessible to all students and their parents while under stay-at-home orders.  Neuhoff Media president and CEO Beth Neuhoff comments, “We have the ability for teachers to talk directly to students each day regardless of technology.  We wanted to find some small way to help bridge the gap between teachers and primary students.  We are simply providing local educational leadership the opportunity to use our most popular radio stations to connect with students and their parents.”

Bonneville Outlines Coronavirus Initiatives. Company president Darrell Brown issued a press release outlining Bonneville International’s plans to ramp up its coronavirus crisis efforts.  Brown says, “Bonneville has always prioritized our purpose above our profits.  Our mission and the reason our company was created was to be a trusted voice that builds up, informs, connects and celebrates the families and communities we serve, and there is a great need right now for all of those things.”  Some of the company’s initiatives include: News/talk KTAR-FM, Phoenix is providing statewide newscasts for other radio groups and supporting local businesses through an “Open for Business” campaign; in Salt Lake City, the cluster is operating the “Stronger Together Utah” campaign to promote local businesses while “Newsradio” KSL-AM/FM is hosting a daily coronavirus call-in show and a related podcast; and Seattle’s news/talk KIRO-FM is producing the podcast “COVID-19: Seattle” as the station’s “Gee and Ursula Show” started a “Letters of Hope” project to send messages of encouragement to the elderly.

TALKERS News Notes. Pittsburgh talk show host Wendy Bell is trending on Twitter for stating on the air that she’s “on the fence” about the conundrum of saving lives versus protecting people’s livelihoods.  According to a piece in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the KDKA-AM personality said, “We’re told that we need to shut down the economy.  There’s a cost.  Everything shuts down, but to what end?  Yes, every life lost is one too many.  Yes, that’s the talking point.  That’s what we’re going to say.  But ultimately dollars and cents boil down to, ‘Are you going to bankrupt America and the future for less than 1% of our population?’ Many of whom are already ill or aged.  I’m on a fence.”…..The nationally syndicated “Small Business Advocate” program hosted by Jim Blasingame adds new affiliate stations KFAQ, Tulsa and KSHP, North Las Vegas, Nevada.  The program is syndicated by Skip Joeckel’s Talk Shows USA.  Joeckel says, “Small businesses need all the help they can get and Jim’s program has been dedicated to helping them since 1997!”…..This year’s National Headliner Awards – bestowed since 1934 by the Press Club of Atlantic City – have been announced and in the radio division, Cumulus Media’s Westwood One News wins first place for “Breaking News or Continuing Coverage of a Single News Event” for coverage of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio last year.  Entercom’s all-news KCBS-AM, San Francisco took home the first-place honor for “Radio Stations Newscast (all markets)” category for its morning news coverage of the Kincade Fire on October 24, 2019.  Hearst’s WBAL-AM, Baltimore won first place for “Breaking News or Continuing Coverage of a Single News Event” for “FBI Raids Mayor Pugh’s Home” by reporter Scott Wykoff and the station’s news staff.  Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM, Washington won first place in the “Radio Stations Feature and Human Interest Story” category for “Rock Creek Rescue” in which reporter Megan Cloherty recounted the “riveting and fascinating story about a WTOP staffer who becomes a hero after saving a woman who had fallen into an icy, life-threatening Rock Creek.”  See all awards here…..Entercom reports that according to data from Podtrac, Triton, and Apple Podcast Top Charts, it is experiencing “blockbuster audience growth across its Podcast Network, which includes Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Studios, outperforming recent softness in listening reported among other leading podcasters.”  Entercom says it hit new record listenership of 28 million listeners worldwide during the month of March.

WCCO, Minneapolis Meteorologist Mike Lynch Retires. After a 40-year career with Entercom’s WCCO-AM, Minneapolis, meteorologist Mike Lynch is retiring from the station.  In a Facebook post, Lynch says, “It’s been an incredible run that I have been so blessed to have the privilege of doing.  I grew up in Richfield, Minnesota and WCCO Radio has been part of my life from the get-go.  I can picture in my mind my parent’s kitchen radio on corner shelf at 6617 Lakeshore Dr.  I remember hearing greats like big Bob De Haven, Howard Viken, Joyce Lamont, Randy Merriman, and others.  When I was delivering morning newspapers, I loved to listen with a transistor radio and laugh out loud at 5:00 am with Roger Erickson and Maynard Speece.  When I came home every day from Holy Angels High School the ‘Cannon Mess’ was on in our kitchen… It was Steve Cannon though who took me under his wing and launched my career.  I couldn’t have done it without his kind heart.  I’ve had so many wonderful experiences at WCCO Radio.”

Glenn Beck Publishes New Book, Arguing with Socialists. Nationally syndicated talk host Glenn Beck releases his latest book, Arguing with Socialists (2020, Threshold Editions).  According to the publisher, the Premiere Networks personality’s new book “arms readers to the teeth with information necessary to debunk the socialist arguments that have once again become popular and proves that the free market is the only way to go.”

U.S. Coronavirus Infections/Deaths/Projection, Sanders Drops Out, Vote-By-Mail Debate, Trump WHO Criticism, Financial Markets Activity, and Linda Tripp Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/8). The tally of confirmed U.S. coronavirus cases, the death toll, and the death projection; Bernie Sanders drops out of the Democratic race for the nomination; the debate over the potential for the November election to be handled by mail; President Trump’s criticism of the World Health Organization, claiming it acquiesced to China in downplaying Covid-19 early on; the world’s financial markets react to the coronavirus pandemic; and Clinton whistleblower Linda Tripp dies among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Red Apple Media President Chad Lopez Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The president of Red Apple Media, the New York City-based firm that recently acquired heritage radio outlet 77WABC from Cumulus MediaChad Lopez, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Red Apple Media is a division of the Red Apple Group – a multi-billion-dollar company in the energy and supermarket businesses owned by its CEO and founder, John Catsimatidis.  Catsimatidis, in addition to being a self-made business mogul and a former top-tier NYC Republican mayoral candidate, is a talk show host in his own right with a syndicated weekly show, “The Cats’ Roundtable,” that emanates from friendly cross-town talk rival WNYM “AM 970 The Answer”.  He is also a lover of radio and has an extremely warm spot in his heart for WABC and its legacy.  Chad Lopez comes to the position of president of this new endeavor with an extraordinary background in New York City radio management and sales.  He was a kid from Queens who grew up listening to NYC radio and, after attending college in the area and serving four years in the Navy as a petty officer on the aircraft carrier USS Independence, worked his way up through the ranks of Big Apple radio that included 16 years in sales managing at CBS Radio – including such giant outlets as WFAN, WINS, WCBS AM/FM and the New York Yankees Radio Network.  He stepped up the corporate ladder after his time with CBS and became VP/market manager for the New York cluster of Cumulus Media which involved overseeing hot AC WPLJ, urban WNBM, country WNSH “NASH-FM” and news/talker 77WABC.  When Red Apple Media acquired 77WABC, Lopez was promoted to president of the company.  Commenting on the purchase of WABC by Catsimatidis, Michael Harrison recently stated, “This is quite possibly the most important radio ownership transaction of the past several years. A local businessperson with significant assets who has demonstrated a lifetime love for radio acquires a major market heritage station with the promise of strengthening its service. This could be just the model that sets the stage for radio’s next renaissance! The industry’s eyes and ears will be on this one.”  Harrison and Lopez discuss Red Apple’s plans for 77WABC along with the state of radio in this extraordinarily transitional year for New York City, the nation, the world and the American broadcasting industry.  This is a deep-dive conversation about the business that professional radio broadcasters should not miss!  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 on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Non-commercial triple A WYMS-FM, Milwaukee “88Nine Radio Milwaukee” names Kevin Sucher executive director.  Milwaukee native Sucher worked as a professional musician for several years, teaching himself recording and sound engineering skills that eventually led to a career as a music producer.  Through his producing work, he built relationships with artists and influential professionals in the entertainment industry and that led to a national career in artist management in which he worked with artists, including: Eric Benét, David Foster, Train, The Tenors, and Michelle Branch.  Radio Milwaukee board president Juli Kaufmann comments, “While rooted in Milwaukee, Kevin brings connections and innovative ideas drawn from his national music industry experience.  He is an inclusive leader who brings fresh perspective to enhance our already exceptional team.  We are thrilled to advance our mission under Kevin’s leadership.”

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

| March 31, 2020

iHeartMedia Institutes Furloughs; Pittman and Execs Take Pay Cuts. In a company-wide memo issued late Monday (3/30), iHeartMedia chairman & CEO Bob Pittman and COO & president Rich Bressler announced temporary changes in the company’s compensation policies in order to ameliorate the economic blow from the coronavirus pandemic.  Here’s the email:

“Team, Our number one concern in this unprecedented time is the safety and well-being of our employees. In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, our company continues to be a primarily work-from-home operation and we have also added some coronavirus-related resources and healthcare benefits if you should need to take advantage of them.

Last week we wrote to you about the economic downturn our country is facing as the result of the pandemic and the need to respond to it to preserve the health of our company. During this unsettled time, we also know the biggest economic concern among our employees is understandably about preserving jobs – and we want you to know that it’s our main concern as well.

Although we have had to make hard decisions to address the economic impact of the downturn, our management team has found ways to reduce our company’s expenses without resorting to permanent layoffs.

As the CEO of the company, Bob will voluntarily take no salary for the remainder of the year and has given up his annual incentive bonus, and Rich and our senior management team will take reductions ranging from 30% to over 70% of their total compensation for the remainder of the year.

In addition, we have implemented: Reduction of all expenses that can be postponed without impacting our service and commitment to our communities; Temporary suspension of the 401(k) match; No overtime without pre-approval; Temporary suspension of new raises; and Strict limitations on – or complete elimination of – Travel and Entertainment (T&E) expenses.

We believe all of these reductions give us more room to protect jobs.

Given our pullback from live events and our shift to a work-from-home model, there are a few jobs that are not essential until our business operations revert back to usual. This week we are taking the difficult step of implementing a 90-day furlough, or temporary unpaid leave of absence, for jobs affected by these changes. To be clear, while this will involve a small total number of employees, they are valued colleagues and we did not take this step lightly. We look forward to welcoming them back as soon as we can.

This is not a layoff or a reduction in force (RIF). With a furlough, while it is an unpaid leave of absence, the affected employees stay in our employ, allowing us to continue offering these employees full health benefits, and we want to make sure we take care of them as best we can during this time. And with state unemployment benefits, supplemented by the added special benefits that are part of the new federal stimulus legislation, hopefully these employees will not feel any significant financial impact during this limited period of time.

We’ve never lived through anything like this and, as managers, we’ve never had to make more difficult decisions. However, please know we are listening, studying and considering all options before we make the important decisions that affect you and the company. We may miss on some of these decisions – and we will pivot when we find better ones – but throughout it all, we truly appreciate your support for us, for your colleagues and for the company.  Please be safe and take care of your health and your families.  Bob and Rich”

Adams Radio Takes WGL-AM, Fort Wayne Dark. After shutting down the programming on sports talk WGL-AM, Fort Wayne “FOX Sports 1250 The Ticket,” Adams Radio Group files a Silent Special Temporary Authority license request with the FCC.  The filing states: “As an AM radio station, WGL has been unable to generate sufficient financial resources to sustain operations, a situation that has been made even more difficult as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  WGL must suspend operations to allow management time to review options for a resumption of service.”  Adams posted to the station’s website: “We regret to inform you that we will be discontinuing ‘FOX Sports’ on WGL AM 1250.  With the current situation, we must devote all of our efforts to our larger signal stations.  Thank you very much for listening.”

Sports Radio and the Coronavirus Pandemic – Now What? Consultant and radio programming pro Andy Bloom writes today in a piece for TALKERS magazine that in order for sports leagues and teams to “keep their brands pertinent” during the absence of live games, they should work with their local broadcast rights holders (that’s you, sports radio stations) to keep their brands relevant and create revenue opportunities. Bloom says that while eSports is still a niche appealing to a young demo, it could expand as eSports is a live competition that can be executed during mandatory social distancing.  If you are creative, the revenue opportunities are many.  Read his column here.

Podcasts by Federated Media Debuts. A new podcast division is launched by Fort Wayne, Indiana-based Federated Media called, Podcasts by Federated Media.  Director of digital content Krystal Vivian states, “Federated Media has a long history of producing world-class audio on the radio, which provided a great foundation when we started podcasting in 2016.  Since then, we’ve created several successful podcasts with hundreds of thousands of listens. Launching this division is our next step in continuing our mission of creating great audio that’s really fun to listen to.”  The company currently offers 46 podcasts – more than 20 are original, seven are branded shows, and the rest are culled from radio show content.  The division also provides program development and production assistance for businesses wishing to create branded podcasts.

Coronavirus Status in the U.S., Trump’s Handling of Pandemic, Projected U.S. Death Toll, Financial Markets Activity, the U.S. Economy, U.S.-China Relations, and Investigation of Senators Stock Sales Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/30). The numbers of confirmed U.S. cases and deaths from COVID-19; scrutiny of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic; the potential U.S. death toll from COVID-19 from White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx; the world’s financial markets respond to the pandemic; the state of the U.S. economy in the era of social distancing; U.S.-China relations as some American politicians seek to blame China for the pandemic; and the Justice Department investigates four U.S. Senators who executed massive stock sales prior to the market slide were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Entercom Communications Corp. changes its 2020 Annual Meeting of Shareholders from a physical, in-person meeting on May 5 to a virtual one, live via webcast, at 8:30 am ET on the same day…..Starting April 6, WGN-AM, Chicago late morning personality John Williams assumes the role of host for the “Wintrust Business Lunch,” the hour-long business news program heard weekdays at 12:00 noon on the Nexstar Media station.  Williams adds the noon hour onto his current 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  He takes over for current Wintrust host Ji Suk Yi, who assumes hosting duties for the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program…..On-air pro Bill Morgan joins Alpha Media’s news/talk WHBC-AM, Canton, Ohio as host of the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show.  His show is being produced by Jon Bozelka, who will serve as co-host…..Cadence13 announces the debut of a new podcast hosted by entrepreneur and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang called, “Yang Speaks.”  Cadence13 says, “The show will air weekly and feature thought-leaders on a variety of topics, including technology, entertainment, policy, sports, pop-culture and anything on Yang’s mind, with a general outlook towards the future of our economy and society.”  Former Yang campaign manager and senior advisor to the podcast Zach Graumann says, “The ideas of our campaign have always deserved more airtime than a 60-second answer on a debate stage or a 3-to-5-minute TV hit.  We’re excited to launch ‘Yang Speaks’ and have in-depth longform conversations with some of the smartest and most interesting people in the world, and to discuss the ideas that can make our future and society a more human place for all of us.”…..Lemonada Media is launching “In the Bubble with Andy Slavitt,” a weekly podcast series featuring healthcare expert and former Acting Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Andy Slavitt.  Cadence13 says Slavitt will broadcast from his own “bubble,” with production assistance from his teenage son, Zach, and will chat with important guests and friends, including Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban for his premier episode.  Additional early guests will include Chelsea Clinton, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Beto O’Rourke, writer Tina Fey, former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, and former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy…..Nielsen Audio announces it is combining to diary markets in Connecticut.  Effective with this year’s Spring 2020 survey Bridgeport and Stamford-Norwalk markets will be combined into the new Metro Fairfield County market, ranked at #72…..SAG-AFTRA develops a program to provide dues relief for SAG-AFTRA members during the COVID-19 global pandemic.  Under the program, SAG-AFTRA members who are in a position to pay their dues in full are urged to do so upon receipt of their May semi-annual dues bill.  Members experiencing financial hardship resulting from work stoppages related to COVID-19 will be granted a due date extension and an installment plan for those payments.  As part of that relief, no late fees will be assessed and there will be no adverse impact on members’ work eligibility during this time.  SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris said, “As working people, we know the great difficulties our members are facing.  In order to relieve some of the financial stress so many people are dealing with at this time, the finance committee worked to provide much needed relief.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At the Seattle station group of Hubbard Radio – country KNUC, CHR KQMV, adult contemporary WRWM, and talk KKNW – Alex Brewster is the new chief engineer, effective April 15.  He was most recently assistant chief engineer for Entercom Seattle and Portland.  Hubbard Seattle interim market manager Scott Mahalick comments, “It’s wonderful to have a world-class engineering leader join Hubbard Seattle and help make our engineering department shine.”…..Joining Townsquare Media’s classic rock KLTD, Killeen-Temple, Texas as afternoon drive personality and production director is Aaron Zytle.  He comes to Townsquare from his most recent position as morning host at iHeartMedia’s rock KBRQ, Waco…..Programming pro Steve Ardolina exits Townsquare Media where he was New Jersey regional operations manager and brand manager & director of programming for the Monmouth-Ocean stations.

Friday, March 27, 2020

| March 27, 2020

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  The new episode titled, “Lives versus Livelihood?” looks back at this past week of March 23-27, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSMike Gallagher, talk show host, Salem Radio NetworkCurtis Sliwa, talk show host, 77WABC, New York; Dr. Daliah Wachs, physician/talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkSteve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston/webmaster, scamicide.com; Trevor Smith, radio content producer, Aloha Productions, Australia; Bobbie Winston (La Femme Bobbie), American ex-pat/artist, Brazil; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio CompanyDavid Clayton-Thomas, musician, songwriter/former lead vocalist, Blood, Sweat & Tears.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Adams Radio Reducing Salaries to Avoid Layoffs. In his announcement that Adams Radio Group staffers have agreed to take a temporary 10% pay cut in order to avoid layoffs, CEO Ron Stone says, “I could not be prouder of our employees.  Every employee of Adams Radio stepped up to do their part to ensure that no Adams employee would lose their position.  We are a family. Our goal is singular.  To ensure everyone in our company gets through this crisis with the least amount of harm.  This test of our country’s ability to weather a storm is unlike anything any of us have seen, but we will get through this together, and be stronger for it.  What seems like a huge sacrifice today, is miniscule compared to what our fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers sacrificed.  At least we are not weathering winter without coats or boots like Washington’s army at Bunker Hill.  We are not killing our brothers in a civil war.  And we are not living for weeks in foxholes in horrible winter conditions during the Battle of the Bulge. Things could be much worse.  I sincerely hope that any company, media or otherwise, will consider overall reductions in compensation on a temporary basis rather than terminate employees.  Our most important asset is our people, and we should do all we can to keep them whole.  I am so thankful for a staff that not only wants to participate in helping our company weather this storm, they are working tirelessly in our communities to keep our local businesses front and center in the minds of listeners.”

Backbone Offers Broadcast from Home Capability Free for 45 Days. In order to help the radio industry serve the public, digital remote broadcast provider Backbone is offering its Backbone CoHost with LUCI Global apps to radio stations for free for 45 days.  The company says, “We need to stay safe, and we need to stay on the air.  Working from home is no longer just a futuristic perk, it’s our current duty.  This should be easy and affordable, and it can be.  There is no need to outlay capital to survive, thanks to our unique, integrated Virtualization in the Cloud.  Backbone CoHost PL is a fast and easy way for stations to create an always-available ‘Party Line’ conference room for one or more hosts, guests, and correspondents to contribute live audio for your broadcasts.  These two-way conversations are enabled by using the groundbreaking LUCI Global service from Technica del Arte and their free, downloadable apps for iOS, Mac, Android, and Windows platforms.  LUCI enables these phones, pads, and computers to communicate with and using the same standard formats used by commercial hardware, including COMREX and TIELINE.  CoHost PL is a simplified, unswitched version of Backbone CoHost, allowing users to instantly join the broadcast with the touch of a finger.  There are no IT settings to configure, no port selections to worry about, and no equipment to purchase or forget in the car.  It all works with whatever device you’re carrying, and over any decent Internet access you can find.”  Backbone is offering a fully functional, unlimited demo of CoHost PL and LUCI Global to our existing phone and radio customers, as well as U.S.-based call-letter radio and TV stations, for 45 days, starting March 30.  Find out more here. To start a free 45-day trial, email your contact information and a brief note about your organization to: info@backbone.com

Dom Giordano Launches “Home Learning Tips” One-Minute Feature on WPHT, Philadelphia.  Recognized throughout the state of Pennsylvania as a master teacher prior to beginning his stellar, decades-long radio career on some of Philadelphia’s leading news/talk outlets, WPHT mid-morning host Dom Giordano has launched a series of one-minute tips on home schooling for parents to utilize in productively keeping their kids busy while they are home during the coronavirus crisis.  The feature runs once per hour between 1:00 pm and 7:00 pm every weekday.  Giordano tells TALKERS, “After hearing from listeners about the challenges of working with their kids at home due to schools being closed, I offered my station a one-minute daily combination pep talk and ideas to help their kids at home for parents.  The theme is you are your child’s first and best teacher.  I’m tapping into my credibility with listeners and my years as an education/parenting analyst and columnist.”

Cumulus’ Dallas Talk Stations Hosting Special Mark Cuban Broadcast Today. Dallas news/talk stations WBAP and KLIF-AM are presenting an on-air town hall with businessman and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, titled, “Assisting DFW Businesses During the Coronavirus.”  The Cumulus Media stations will simulcast the program from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm CST.  The WBAP/KLIF Town Hall will be hosted by Brian Estridge and Rick Roberts and topics addressed will include: How can businesses survive during these times?; How would the government’s Coronavirus Spending Package assist?; and How can consumers help their local community businesses?

Weighing the Economy Versus Lives Is Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 23-27.  The ethical dilemma of whether to save the country’s economy by reopening businesses or keep them shut to limit the deaths and the toll on the health care system was the most-talked-about story on news/talk this week and sitting atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the stimulus deal being crafted in Congress and the activity on the world’s financial markets.  Coming in at #3 is the status of the U.S. health care system, followed by the presidential race and politics 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.  See this week’s entire chart here.

iHeartMedia and Salem Media Group Withdraw Guidance on First Quarter of This Year. Not surprisingly, two of the radio industry’s corporations – iHeartMedia, Inc. and Salem Media Group Inc. – are announcing they are withdrawing their financial guidance originally provided on their 2019 fourth quarter earnings calls.  iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “Given the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the duration and magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the U.S. economy, we believe it is appropriate to withdraw our full-year 2020 guidance.  While we cannot determine the full extent of COVID-19’s impact on our business at this time, we are monitoring this rapidly evolving situation closely and look forward to discussing our business in greater detail as part of our first quarter 2020 earnings results investor call.”  iHeartMedia COO and CFO Rich Bressler adds, “iHeartMedia had a strong January and February before the effects of COVID-19 began to unfold into a global pandemic in early March.  The challenges that COVID-19 has created for advertisers and consumers has impacted iHeart’s revenue in recent weeks, creating a less clear business outlook in the near term.  To maintain maximum financial flexibility during this period, we have drawn $350 million on our $450 million senior secured asset-based revolving credit facility (“ABL Facility”).  We believe that the additional funds from drawing on our ABL Facility, in combination with our cash balance, provides us with a prudent level of liquidity at this time. We fully appreciate the unprecedented challenges posed by this crisis, however, we remain confident in our business, our employees and our strategy. With our experienced management team and our leadership position in the audio sector, we are committed to navigating this period while serving our audiences and other constituents.”  Salem Media Group, Inc. says in a statement, “Based on current indications, Salem expects total first quarter 2020 revenue will be less than previously projected as a result of decreased revenues from advertising, programming, events and book sales.  Due to continuing uncertainties regarding the ultimate scope and trajectory of COVID-19’s spread and evolution, the effects of the pandemic on Salem’s audiences, programmers and advertisers, and current and potential future governmental restrictions that may be adopted in the markets in which Salem operates, it is impossible to predict the total impact that the pandemic may have on Salem’s business.”

TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Michael Savage is appointed by President Trump to the board of directors of the Presidio Trust for a term expiring May 4, 2023.  Along with the National Park Service, the Presidio Trust manages the Presidio of San Francisco, the former military fort that is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  The host of the Westwood One-syndicated “The Savage Nation” holds a doctorate in ethnobotanical research from the University of California and both a Master of Science in botany and a Master of Arts in anthropology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WGN-AM station manager Todd Manley is producing a new podcast via his EarSight Studios that pairs Windy City communications consultants Lissa Druss and Thom Serafin for “The Crisis Cast.”  The episodes will be hosted by former WBBM-AM/WFCS-FM anchor Mariam Sobh.  EarSight expects to produce three to five podcasts per week…..Today (3/27), Cox Media Group’s Atlanta stations – led by news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM – is hosting a virtual food drive to benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank as part of the Stronger Together ATL campaign.  Atlanta Community Food Bank continues to provide meals for children, families and seniors as access to nutritious food throughout the COVID-19 crisis, by working with more than 600 nonprofit partners and the new Text for Help program…..The Cumulus Media news/talk teams at WBAP and KLIF-AM in Dallas were well represented at this year’s Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Contest.   Reporter Clayton Neville won First Place for Spot News by a Reporter for his coverage of the August 2019 El Paso Shooting.  The WBAP news team was awarded Second Place for Spot Coverage by a Station for coverage of the North Dallas Tornadoes in October.  For the 6th year KLIF morning drive anchors Dave Williams and Amy Chodroff won First Place for News Anchor Team and WBAP’s Brian Estridge won First Place for Sports Play-by-Play.

PPM Analysis: Classic Rock. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on classic rock.  It was a mixed bag in February for classic rock stations in the PPM markets, with 44% of stations losing weekly, 6+ AQH share and 46% gaining.  Year-over-year, 50% of classic rockers lost share while 43% saw an increase.  Three classic rock outlets – all owned by iHeartMedia – ranked #1 in February: KRFX, Denver “The Fox” (5.7), WRFX, Charlotte “The Fox” (7.9), and WAQX, New York (in the Middlesex-Somerset-Union market) (7.4).  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro AJ Dukette joins Saga Communications’ classic hits WYNZ, Portland “Rewind 100.9” to host mornings, taking over for the recently retired Chuck Igo.  Saga vice president of programming Bob Lawrence says, “When learning that Chuck was retiring, we began an extensive search for the right person to fill his shoes and then – Voila! – AJ appeared late last week.  We could not be more thrilled to welcome such a talented, Portland icon.”…..Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the annual Mountain Jam Festival scheduled for May 29-31 at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel, New York has been cancelled.  Acts scheduled to perform included Gov’t Mule, Trey Anastasio Band, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, The Head and the Heart, Grace Potter, and many more…..Empire State Realty Trust and iHeartMedia announce their partnership to “reach those sheltering at home” with WHTZ, New York Z100’s radio waves and Empire State Building’s world-famous tower lights.  Tonight at 9:00 pm, the tower of the Empire State Building will illuminate the New York City skyline and beam iHeartMedia’s Z100 with a light show synced to the modern era anthem of New York City, Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind.”  The light show will replay on Saturday, March 28, and then again from Monday, March 30 through Thursday, April 2.  On Sunday, March 29, the Empire State Building will “shine in a dynamic heartbeat” from 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm in support of the “FOX Presents the iHeart Living Room Concert for America.”

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

| March 17, 2020

Salem Radio Network to Present ‘Coronavirus Pandemic: An SRN News Special Report.’  Tomorrow (3/18) at 6:00 pm ET, Salem Radio Network is producing and broadcasting a live, one-hour special report on the COVID-19 pandemic on most SRN affiliated stations.  SRN says the program will feature the latest updates on what is unfolding with this major breaking news story and provide listeners with critical, hands-on information.  The program will be co-hosted by SRN talk hosts Dr. Sebastian Gorka and Hugh Hewitt and will originate live from the SRN News studios in Washington DC.  It will also be streamed on Facebook Live.  SRN senior vice president Phil Boyce says, “The country has been shaken by the fast-changing news events of this important story and SRN is uniquely qualified to carry out this task with a live, one-hour special report.  We’ll rely on the expert commentary of both Gorka and Hewitt, with SRN News coverage from Greg Clugston at the White House.”  SRN hosts Mike Gallagher and Dennis Prager will also participate in the program that will include reports from major SRN affiliate locations.  Stations wishing to carry this important live broadcast should contact their regional affiliate relations manager at the Salem Radio Network – East: Jim Bligh 212-419-4663; Central: Kelli DeShan 972-707-6882; and West: Jim Watkins 239-470-9297.

Armstrong & Getty Make Show Available to Stations in Need. KSTE-AM, Sacramento-based, syndicated news/talk program Armstrong & Getty – co-hosted by Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty – announces it is willing to assist radio stations trying to get through the COVID-19 crisis.  Effective immediately, the program is available to any station in need of a replacement show (as long as the program doesn’t already have an affiliate in that market).  The show airs live from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm ET and stations do not need an affiliation agreement.  Interested stations can contact Craig Whetstine at Armstrong & Getty Media at 503-975-6153.

ABC Audio Offers COVID-19 Digital Text Feed to Stations. As a public service, ABC Audio is offering a COVID-19 digital text feed to interested radio stations.  The company says that regardless of a station’s current affiliation with ABC Audio or ABC News Radio, it can utilize the new RSS feed to auto-populate their websites and apps with stories related to COVID-19 without a fee.  ABC’s feed will feature a selection of important news stories, including the latest developments in the coronavirus outbreak and updates from health authorities and medical providers, as well as entertainment stories about the impact COVID-19 has on the industry.  ABC Audio VP and general manager Stacia Deshishku says, “In these uncertain times ABC Audio is trying to help all radio stations keep their listeners informed.  As more station staff members work remotely, we want to offer ready-made material for as many platforms as possible.  This new digital feed and social media content will enable stations to concentrate on their audio operations secure in the knowledge that their listeners and readers are up to date with the latest COVID-19 information.”  Interested stations should email Christopher.Venice@abc.com or Mary.E.McCarthy@abc.com.

Beasley Initiates ‘Operation Gift Card: New England.’  In an effort to assist local businesses affected by the mandatory shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, Beasley Media Group’s Boston-based radio cluster is unveiling Operation Gift Card: New England.  As part of the company’s “We Are All in This Together” campaign, the stations are inviting area restaurants, free of charge, to submit links to feature their gift card pages on all Beasley Media Group Boston websites. The sites currently receive over two million page views and have 750,000 unique users on an average monthly basis.  Beasley Boston VP and market manager Mary Menna comments, “With local restaurants and small businesses experiencing a number of restrictions, including restaurants moving towards a take-out/delivery only model, we wanted to show our support during these challenging times.  Our company is committed to being there for those in need. We are all in this together!”

Westwood One: Who’s Listening to What at Home? Working from home is becoming required for more Americans as the nation deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.  This week, the Westwood One blog looks as data about listening to the radio from home, mostly via smart speakers.  Based on recent Edison Research “Share of Ear” data from the third quarter of 2019, 24% of listening (persons 13+) is to AM/FM radio.  That tops streaming services, satellite radio and podcasts by a substantial margin.  As people work more from home, additional data will be available in the future.  According to Triton Digital, over the past week, online shares for public radio and commercial news/talk radio have grown.  See the blog here.

Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Application Window Open. The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio (MIW) Group announces that the application window for its MIW Group 2020 Mildred Carter Mentoring Program is officially open.  This is the 19th year in which this notable experience pairs women working in radio with female professionals who are recognized leaders from all aspects of the broadcasting industry.  Four candidates will be selected for the 2020 program. Women with a minimum of five years of radio experience, and currently working in sales, marketing, programming, digital and/or engineering, are encouraged to review mentee criteria and instructions on how to apply.  See the mentee application here. The deadline to apply is April 6, 2020.  Lindsay Adams is a former mentee, is currently VP of national agency partnerships with Entercom, and serves as the mentoring committee chair for the MIW.  She says, “This unique initiative provides a wonderful opportunity for ambitious, experienced women in the industry to gain valuable insight, knowledge, and grow their professional network.  This program truly does propel the careers of women forward in our industry.  It is rewarding to watch our mentees grow professionally throughout the year.”

Coronavirus Changes American Life, Financial Markets Battered/Recession Looms, and Biden vs Sanders/Ohio Postpones Primary Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/16). The restrictions in place in most parts of America to prevent the spread of COVID-19; the world’s financial markets take another big hit on Monday and experts say the conditions are ripe for a global recession; and the Democratic presidential primary race between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders plus Ohio’s postponement of its primary election were some of the top aspects of the coronavirus pandemic story discussed on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, December 9, 2019

| December 9, 2019

Monday Memo: Start in the Middle?  If you’re a radio newscaster, consultant Holland Cooke warns that “this week’s column is like a solar eclipse.  Look away!”  But for DJs, hosts, and commercial copy writers, he has a curious suggestion.  Read it here.

More Than $500,000 Raised in WMAL Fisher House Radiothon. Commenting on Cumulus Media Washington DC’s just-concluded two-day radiothon for the Fisher House, WMAL PD/Cumulus Media vice president of news/talk, Bill Hess, remarks, “Wow, listeners once again have come through with their support for the wonderful work of the Fisher House Foundation, donating $523,866 to this year’s radiothon. I say ‘thank-you’ from the bottom of our hearts. The Fisher House is recognized as one of the premiere nonprofits working to support quality-of-life for our military and their families. Ever since its inception (30 years ago next month), it has saved military and veterans’ families an estimated $451 million in out-of-pocket costs for lodging and transportation; more than 32,000 families were served in 2018. Over the past 17 years, WMAL listeners have donated more than $7 million to the Fisher House Foundation. Pictured left to right are Hess, WMAL on-air talents Larry O’Connor, Chris Plante, and Vince Coglianese, and Fisher House president Dave Coker.

Cumulus Media Transfers Howell To Little Rock. Inbound from Oklahoma City where he was an on-air talent at Cumulus Media sports talk WWLS “98.1 The Sports Animal” and executive producer of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s radio broadcasts, Toby Howell arrives as program director at co-owned Little Rock news/talk KARN-FM “News Radio 102.9,” sports talk KARN-AM “920 The Sports Animal,” and the Arkansas News Network. He will also program religious KAAY. Cumulus Media Little Rock market manager Keith Liesman remarks, “We are very happy to get a guy like Toby with his radio background and look forward to watching him grow [our brands] across the Little Rock community.” Howell notes, “I’m very lucky to be able to work with the Cumulus Media group in Little Rock. To be in the news format at a time like this with 2020 on the horizon is very exciting.” He replaces Peter Thiele who exited roughly nine months ago.

Hubbard Radio Talent Institute Coming To Northern Arizona University. Along with support from the Arizona Broadcasters Association, the Hubbard Radio Talent Institute is set to launch next summer (July 13 – 22) at Northern Arizona University. Hubbard Radio chief executive officer Ginny Morris comments, “All of us at Hubbard are proud to partner with Dan Vallie and the Arizona Association of Broadcasters on bringing this proven program to Northern Arizona University. The program is a great asset for the industry and a wonderful and expansive experience for the students that participate.” Vallie founded the National Radio Talent System in 2013 so radio stations can recruit young talent from their own region or nationally. Arizona Broadcasters Association President/CEO Chris Kline states, “There’s nothing more important to the future of broadcasting than helping to build the next generation of media leaders. The Hubbard Radio Talent Institute is exactly what we need in Arizona to ensure that new ideas continue to flood into the radio industry from young broadcasters. We couldn’t be more excited to support this program, to meet the participants, and to build new relationships.” NAU Media Innovation Center director Brian Rackham remarks, “We are delighted to be part of this prestigious opportunity for our students. There are jobs out there waiting for our graduates and the Hubbard Talent Institute is a great pipeline to the industry. We look forward to partnering with a great radio group like Hubbard, and the experts at the National Radio Talent System.” Sessions during the ten-day talent institute include on-air, production, news, sports, social media, podcasting, promotions, videography, sales, engineering, and includes the RAB’s radio marketing professional course. Applications are being accepted from college students/young talent from all universities in the region. Final application deadline is March 6, 2020; only 25 students will be accepted.

TALKERS News Notes. After an 11-year run on WTOP-FM “Washington’s Top News,” Chris Core will retire from the Hubbard Broadcasting DC all-news operation one week from Friday (12/20) following his “Core Values” commentary. He previously spent approximately 25 years at cross-town news/talk WMAL as a newscaster and sports anchor ….. This week, former Arizona congressman and Newsmax anchor JD Hayworth is doing his first live and local Phoenix news/talk show in approximately ten years. Guest-hosting today (Monday, 12/9) through Wednesday (12/11) for Seth Leibsohn in afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm) on Salem Media Group-owned KKNT “AM 960 The Patriot,” Hayworth was Mike Huckabee’s “designated guest-host” and has filled in for Michael Savage, Mark Levin, Mike Gallagher, and Laura Ingraham ….. Tomorrow’s (Tuesday, 12/10, 6:00 am – 7:00 pm) 12th annual Toy Field presented by Cumulus Media Nashville and Planet Fitness will benefit The Salvation Army’s “Forgotten Angels” program. Toys collected at Nissan Stadium will help fulfill the dreams of many “forgotten children” this holiday season. The Salvation Army will reach nearly 8,500 “angels” – less fortunate children and elderly. According to Salvation Army Nashville area commander Ethan Frizzell, “Thousands of toys have been donated throughout the years and we hope to see the same enthusiasm this year. We would not be able to provide for all these children, without the support of Cumulus Media and our community.” In addition to news/talk WWTN “Super Talk 99.7 WTN” and sports talk WGFX “104.5 The Zone,” Cumulus Media Nashville consists of country outlets WSM-FM “Nash Icon 95.5,” and  WKDF “103.3 Nash FM,” and urban AC WQQK “92-Q.” ….. According to The Des Moines Register, former Des Moines sports talk host Marty Tirrell (KBGG, KXLQ, KXNO) has pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud in federal court. Indicted this past February, Tirrell accepted a plea deal Friday (12/6) and faces a maximum of 20 years in prison when he is sentenced at a hearing April 7; nine other counts were dismissed. He was charged of scamming victims out of $1.5 million in a sports ticket reselling scheme …. The Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters is accepting entries for its annual “Excellence in Broadcasting Awards” competition, which recognizes outstanding performance among radio and television stations. All entries must be submitted electronically – the deadline is January 6 (2020). Winners will be showcased during the “Excellence in Broadcasting Awards” luncheon March 30 at The Hotel Hershey. Meanwhile, the Colorado Broadcasters Association is inviting radio and television stations in that state to compete in over 50 categories; entry deadline is (Friday) January 10 (2020). The “Awards of Excellence” celebration will take place (Friday) April 17th in downtown Denver at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.

iHM Charleston Fundraiser Brings in Over $176,000. The 12th annual iHeartMedia Charleston “Cares for Kids” radiothon raised over $176,000 to benefit Medical University of South Carolina Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital. According to iHeartMedia Charleston area president Alene Grevey, “We’ve anticipated broadcasting from the brand new MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital for 12 years. Seeing this labor of love come to fruition thanks to the generosity of iHeartMedia Charleston’s listeners and advertisers is so inspiring.” This year’s two-day, fundraising “Cares for Kids” broadcast was held last Thursday (12/5) and Friday (12/6) from 6:00 am – 7:00 pm. The event featured iHeartMedia Charleston on-air talents Ric Rush, Brian Cleary, Kelly Golden, and Gary Goldman, as well as WCSC-TV personalities Justin Biegel, and Kaitlin Stansell. The radiothon featured more than 40 stories from MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital patients and their families. In addition to WSCC “94.3 The Lowcountry’s News Station,” iHeartMedia Charleston is comprised of adult contemporary WXLY-FM “Y-102.5 Better Music For A Better Workday,” and WEZL “103.5 Charleston’s #1 Station for New Country.”

PPM Analysis: Urban Contemporary. The music-intensive format in the spotlight this month is urban contemporary. Based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November 2019 PPM survey period, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian notes that approximately half the stations on his urban contemporary panel improve (49%) October 2019 – November 2019 (6+). Meanwhile, a virtually identical 51% of urban contemporary panelists show November 2018 – November 2019 growth. Five urban contemporary stations ranked second (6+) in November 2019; the typical format finish was #11.41 (6+). See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Beasley Media Group Holiday Soiree Features Lady Antebellum. As part of the company’s third annual “Holiday Soiree” client party last Thursday (12/5) in New York City, Beasley Media Group welcomed performances by Lady Antebellum; Joe King and Issac Slade from The Fray; and actor/musician David Duchovny. Beasley Media Group chief executive officer Caroline Beasley, president Bruce Beasley, and chief operating officer/executive vice president Brian Beasley thanked guests for their ongoing support. Shown from left to right are Big Machine Label Group senior vice president of promotion Mathew Largis; Dave Haywood (Lady Antebellum); Beasley Media Group national country brand manager/country WKLB, Boston program director David Corey; Hillary Scott (Lady Antebellum); Beasley Media Group executive vice president of programming Justin Chase; and Charles Kelley (Lady Antebellum).

 More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Twenty-six year WMGK “Classic Rock 102.9” midday personality Debbi Calton officially retired from the Beasley Media Group Philadelphia outlet last Friday (12/6). Prior to joining WMGK in 1993, Calton spent 10 years at cross-town rocker WYSP ….. Per The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, morning host Courtney Landrum and evening talent Jill Devine have departed Entercom St. Louis hot AC KYKY “Y-98.” A member of the station’s morning show the past 20 years, Landrum was promoted to top billing (“Courtney & Company”) two years ago when Guy Phillips left the station after a 38-year run. Jen Myers, Kevin Berghoff, Lance Hildebrand, and Tim Convy remain at the retitled “Y-98 Morning Show.” Devine joined “Y-98” eight years ago. She previously worked in the market for CHR KSLZ “Z-107.7”; country KSD-FM “93.7 The Bull”; and hot AC WVRV “101.1 The River” ….. In celebration of their 20th year in radio syndication, “Big D & Bubba” were treated to a surprise party last Friday (12/6) at Silverfish Media’s Nashville studios where company president Patrick Thomas recalls that, “On December 6, 1999, The Big D & Bubba Morning Show first aired in Amarillo [Texas]. That marked the beginning of syndication for the show, which was based at WYNK, Baton Rouge. Syndicated mornings in the country format was widely known to be an impossible task.” According to Patrick, it is the country’s longest-running syndicated morning show and has more than 75 affiliates. Helping to note the occasion in person were Compass Media Network chief executive officer Peter Kosann, and fellow syndicated country talents Lorraine Crook & Charlie Chase (“Crook & Chase), Evan Paul, and Amber Atnip ….. Wrapping up last week’s (12/2 through 12/6) “Stuff-A-Bus” toy drive to benefit the Marine Corps “Toys for Tots” program, iHeartMedia Pittsburgh CHR WKST “96.1 Kiss FM” collected 70 school buses worth of new unwrapped toys. Senior vice president of programming David Edgar notes, “[This] is one of our biggest events throughout the year. The overwhelming response from ‘Kiss’ listeners and the Pittsburgh community will help many children have a great holiday this year.” ….. Through the Smiley morning show’s 23rd annual, 36-hour “Make-A-Wish Request-A-Thon,” Cumulus Media Indianapolis CHR WZPL “99.5 ZPL – Indy’s Number One Hit Music Station” raised $839,638 for central Indiana children with life-threatening illnesses. Listeners called in last Thursday (12/5) and Friday (12/6) to request their favorite songs in exchange for a Make-A-Wish Foundation donation. Throughout the broadcast, WZPL shared inspiring wish stories from local Make-A-Wish kids and their families. Cumulus Media Indianapolis vice president/market manager Chuck Fredrick comments, “What a great way to head into the holiday season helping so many kids’ wishes come true in our community.” Operations manager JR Ammons adds that, “Thanks to the generosity of listeners and sponsors, we were able to surpass last year’s record total of $736,298. As a result, Make-A-Wish will be able to grant 83 wishes for kids here in central Indiana with life-threatening illnesses.” Over the course of the last 23 years, WZPL has helped raise more than $7.5 million for Make-A-Wish ….. Rosemont, Illinois’ Allstate Arena was the site of this past Saturday’s (12/7) 20th annual “B-96 Pepsi Jingle Bash” presented by Entercom Chicago CHR WBBM-FM. Katy Perry headlined the event. Entercom Chicago senior vice president and market manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “The ‘B-96 Jingle Bash’ has been a must-see holiday event in Chicago for two decades and has become a highly anticipated night of pop music and a beloved holiday tradition.” ….. Concluding today (Monday, 12/9) is iHeartMedia Atlanta CHR WWPW’s fourth annual “House of Toys,” a six-day “Power 96.1” fundraising event to help collect toys for the “Toys For Tots” program. Morning drive personality PK notes, “We want to be sure every child has the best holiday they can. We are thrilled to team up with our listeners once again and help underprivileged children receive the joy of a new gift this holiday season.” WWPW’s fundraiser is presented by Delta Community Credit Union ….. Filling the midday spot at Adams Radio Group Fort Wayne, Indiana’s country WBTU “US-93.3” is Erica Gray, who most recently had the same responsibilities in Gainesville (Florida) at Gillen Broadcasting CHR WYKS “Kiss 105.3.” ….. The inaugural “Not So Silent Night” benefit concert featuring local artists will be held this Friday (12/13) at Panama City, Florida’s Salty Hobo. Proceeds from the event – sponsored by iHeartMedia Panama City’s WDIZ “96 Rock” – will benefit the Toys for Tots Program. Program director Paco notes, “We look forward to an evening filled with music and holiday giving.”

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

| November 5, 2019

Townsquare Media Q3 Net Revenue Up 6.2%.  Third quarter 2019 net revenue for Townsquare Media was $112.6 million, an increase of 6.2% over the same period in 2018.  (Net revenue was up 7.9% excluding political revenue.)  The company also is reporting year-to-date figures (the first three quarters of the year) and says that net revenue was up 6.7% over the same period in 2018.  Net income was up $29 million during the first three quarters of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018.  Townsquare CEO Bill Wilson says in a statement, “Townsquare’s third quarter results exceeded our expectations, with ex-political net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA increasing 7.9% and 12.9%, respectively, over the prior year.  In addition to the continued strong results of our digital marketing subscription business, Townsquare Interactive, which increased net revenue by 26.0% over the prior year, our Advertising business grew net revenue a very impressive 7.3% excluding political revenue over the prior year.  Both segments also achieved strong profit margins in excess of 30% in the third quarter and year to date periods, which as a result increased Adjusted EBITDA by a strong 11.5% in the first nine months of 2019.  Continued momentum in our revenue growth, coupled with our disciplined expense management, allowed us to reduce net leverage to 4.7x as of September 30th, a reduction of 0.6x year over year and the lowest net leverage level in our history.  The ongoing strong performance of Townsquare Interactive and Townsquare Ignite, our proprietary digital programmatic advertising platform, is contributing to digital revenue being 35% of our total net revenue and reinforces our belief that each of those digital divisions will generate $100 million in annual net revenue within the next two to four years.  We believe that our strong financial performance, talented teams, broad product suite of high quality, locally focused multiplatform offerings, and the size and strength of our digital businesses, further prove that Townsquare is not a traditional radio broadcaster, and has evolved to be a premier local media and digital marketing solutions company.”

‘ESPN Tucson’ Adds New Morning Show. The new, two-hour morning drive show on Arizona Lotus Corp’s sports talk KFFN-AM/K285DL in Tucson is hosted by Jeff Dean.  He’s a 20-plus year broadcast pro who has served as the PA announcer for University of Arizona Wildcats football and men’s basketball for the past six years.  Station operations manager Larry Mac says, “We are excited to have someone with the level of expertise that Jeff Dean will bring to the airwaves here in Tucson.  His love of the Wildcats, and his passion for sports will help make ‘ESPN Tucson’ the destination for local morning sports talk radio in the Old Pueblo.”  Dean, whose show will air Monday through Friday from 7:00 am to 9:00 am, says, “It’s such an amazing feeling to be able to return home.  I really hope to strengthen the relationship between the University of Arizona athletic department and the great sports fans of Tucson.  It’s time for these fans to know the real U of A and I hope that I can help facilitate that.”

TALKERS News Notes. An 11-part series of reports in honor of the men and women who’ve served in the U.S. military is available from Cumulus Media’s Westwood One.  The Veterans Day report is approximately one minute long and features the men and women who make up the U.S. veteran population.  They include perspectives from national leaders and veterans of varying ages about how veterans view their service and the day set aside to honor it.  The series is reported and produced by Westwood One News reporter Chas Henry, himself a combat decorated veteran of the 1991 Gulf War…..A special episode of “The Adam Carolla Show” on PodcastOne was released yesterday (11/4) featuring Ford v Ferrari co-stars Matt Damon and Christian Bale.  PodcastOne notes that “perhaps the most ‘candid’ moment came after they finished recording the podcast as Carolla and Damon were overheard talking about Carolla’s longtime friend and colleague, and Damon’s long-time public nemesis, Jimmy Kimmel.”  Check it out here…..PBS is presenting a Christmas special that will air  a number of times in  this month and in December featuring some of the traditional popular holiday music written by such composers as Johnny Marks, who wrote “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”  Serving as associate producer of the project is Chick Pallotta, who specializes in producing mini-radio programs for the holiday season using the voices of that era to introduce the recordings of their well-known compositions.  Some 300 PBS stations will be airing the special…..SiriusXM announces host changes to its SiriusXM Progress channel leading up to the 2020 elections.  First, “Signal Boost with Zerlina and Jess,” co-hosted by Zerlina Maxwell and Jess McIntosh will expand to two hours, airing from 7:00 am to 9:00 am ET.  Wrapping up the day’s news will be SiriusXM’s John Fugelsang, who joins the Progress channel’s primetime schedule from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET.  Fugelsang previously hosted a show on SiriusXM’s Insight channel.  In addition to regular appearances as a political expert on MSNBC, CNN, and FOX News, Fugelsang recently co-hosted the nationally syndicated television entertainment program “Page Six TV.”

Celebrating Brian Kilmeade’s New Book. Crews from New York news/talkers WABC, WOR, and FOX News were at Del Frisco’s steakhouse in New York City to celebrate the publishing of FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio personality Brian Kilmeade’s new book, Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers: The Texas Victory That Changed American History (2019, Penguin Publishing).  Pictured above are (from l-r): FNC’s Bill Hemmer, WABC executive producer Jill Vitale, WOR host Mark Simone, famed defense attorney and fill-in radio host Arthur Aidala, FOX News Radio affiliate relations account manager Tamara Karcev, Kilmeade, WABC program director Dave LaBrozzi, and WABC APD Matt Dahl.

Premiere Networks Offers ‘Early Edition’ of ‘Coast to Coast AM.’ An additional three-hours of “Coast to Coast AM” is being offered by Premiere Networks beginning this week.  The company says that “Coast to Coast AM with George Noory – Early Edition” is a partial re-broadcast from the previous night that is available to existing affiliates to air from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET, Monday through Friday.  In the same press release, Premiere reminds affiliate stations that “Coast to Coast AM” is continuing its long-standing tradition of providing live programming throughout the holidays, including music, special guest appearances, open lines and surprises on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Impeachment Process, Trump Tax Returns Ruling, Roger Stone Trial, 2020 Presidential Race, U.S. Withdraws from Paris Climate Deal, U.S.-China Trade Negotiations, and Popeye’s Chicken Stabbing Death Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/4). The impeachment process against President Trump and the speculation about who will testify; a federal appeals court rules President Trump must turn over 8 years of tax returns; longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone federal trial on obstructing a congressional investigation looking into Russian hacking during the 2016 campaign begins this week; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the U.S. begins the final stage of exiting the Paris Climate Accord; the U.S.-China trade negotiations, and the death of a Maryland man as the result of an argument at a Popeye’s Chicken restaurant were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Hail to the… Chef!  Pictured above is Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher as he broadcast his nationally syndicated program on Monday (11/4) from Famous Hamburger Joe’s restaurant in Surfside Beach, South Carolina to thank owner Tony Cherney for a large donation to Gallagher’s “Food For The Poor” campaign.  Gallagher says it was “magical” to have a restaurant provide such a major donation to feed hungry children through “Food For The Poor.”

Alex Luke Appointed SVP of Digital Content for SiriusXM and Pandora. Music and media executive Alex Luke joins SiriusXM to take on the newly created position of senior vice president, digital content for SiriusXM and Pandora.  In this role, Luke will lead programming for Pandora and editorial content on the Pandora and SiriusXM digital platforms.  Most recently, Luke was global head of programming and content strategy at Amazon Music.  He’s also served with Napster and Apple.  SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein says, “Alex is an expert in shaping the digital content experience for listeners, and we are excited to have him join us as we continue to advance and evolve how we create and present content for our listeners across our digital platforms.  It is vital we ensure that the great content we produce today, as well as what we create in the future, is done in the most attractive and consumer-friendly manner so that it drives growth in usage across our digital platforms.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro Jack Shell exits the midday show at Cumulus Media’s country WFMS, Indianapolis after almost two years there.  He moved north from the company’s adult contemporary WLYF, Miami “101.5 Lite FM” in December of 2017.  In a Facebook post, Shell says, “Would like to thank those who listened to my show on 95.5 WFMS in Indianapolis, and I am proud to have accomplished quite a bit during my brief time here in terms of ratings and connecting with this audience.  Thanks to Cumulus for getting me back into country music radio and giving me a great station on which to perform these last two years.”…..Also leaving a Cumulus Media country outlet is Nathan Fast.  He leaves his morning gig at KPLX, Dallas “99.5 The Wolf” after a little more than a year there.  He’d been co-hosting the morning program with Lisa Taylor, who remains on the air in AM drive…..Entercom announces that 2019 CMA Awards nominee Luke Combs is hosting its exclusive one-hour “CMA Red Carpet Countdown” immediately preceding the televised CMA Awards beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, November 13.  The show will feature Luke Combs introducing additional content and a curated playlist from Nashville…..The lineup for night two of Entercom‘s RADIO.COM event “KROQ Absolut Almost Acoustic Christmas 2019,” taking place on Sunday, December 8 at the Honda Center in Anaheim is revealed.  Taking the stage that evening will be: Mumford & Sons, Twenty One Pilots, The 1975, The Raconteurs, Of Monsters and Men, The Interrupters, lovelytheband, Matt Mason, and DJ Jeremiah Red.  A portion of the proceeds from the sale of tickets benefits Para Los Niños and the Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center…..Pictured below is “NASH Nights Live” co-host Elaina Smith (left) with country star Miranda Lambert (right) after Lambert appeared as a guest on Smith’s podcast “Breaking Thru with Elaina.”  The interview will also be heard as part of Smith’s “With Elaina,” the Westwood One syndicated two-hour weekend country program for pop culture junkies, entertainment fans and country music lovers!

Monday, October 14, 2019

| October 14, 2019

Monday Memo: Their Voice, Their Words.  Competing with less-cluttered digital audio options, AM/FM radio needs to obsess on commercial Quality Control.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke details a technique that’s landing accounts and producing results.  Read it here.

Impeachment Inquiry, Ukraine Controversy, U.S.-Syria Policy/Turkish Assault, 2020 Presidential Election, Shepard Smith Leaves FOX News, Fort Worth Cop Kills Black Woman, and U.S.-China Relations/Hong Kong Protests Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against President Trump; the controversy over Trump’s call with Volodymyr Zelensky and the Bidens’ activities in the region’s oil industry, as well as the arrests of associates of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani; the Trump Administration’s policy in Northeastern Syria and Turkey’s assault on the Kurdish region; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020; the surprise exit of FOX News Channel news anchor Shepard Smith from the news organization; the slaying of a black woman shot through the window of her home by a Fort Worth police officer, and U.S.-China relations and the ongoing Hong Kong protests were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Kamla Exits KILT-AM, Houston for Expanded Role at SiriusXM. The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron reports that KILT-AM, Houston sports talk personality Rick Kamla is leaving the station to take on added duties at SiriusXM, where he’s been hosting a fantasy sports program.  SiriusXM is broadening Kamla’s duties to include work on its NBA Radio channel.  Kamla had only been with KILT-AM for a little more than two months after having served with Entercom’s Atlanta sports talker WZGC “92.9 FM The Game.”  He was partnered on KILT with Clint Stoerner in afternoon drive.  Kamla was part of KILT’s July host re-alignment that included the non-renewal of Rich Lord’s contract and his former PM drive partner Sean Pendergast’s move to AM drive alongside Seth Payne.

Salem Radio Network Announces 2020 Presidential and Vice-Presidential Debate Broadcasts. In cooperation with the Commission on Presidential Debates, Salem Radio Network’s 24/7 news services SRN News and TOWNHALL News will provide live broadcast coverage of the 2020 Presidential and Vice Presidential debates scheduled for next fall.  SRN White House correspondent Greg Clugston will provide analysis and SRN talk hosts, including Hugh HewittMike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Dr. Sebastian Gorka, and Larry Elder, will offer opinions and analysis.  So far, four debates have been scheduled: Presidential Debates on September 9 at the University of Notre Dame; October 15 at the University of Michigan; and October 22 at Belmont University in Nashville; plus, one Vice Presidential debate will on October 7 at the University of Utah.

Goldstein Promoted at Hubbard Radio. Digital sales pro Steve Goldstein is promoted from senior director, digital sales strategy, to his new position, SVP digital sales strategy and general manager 2060 Digital for the company.  Hubbard Radio EVP/chief financial officer Dave Bestler says that Goldstein was most recently splitting duties between Hubbard Radio Washington DC and a corporate role developing digital sales strategies in all of the Hubbard Radio markets.  Now, Goldstein will focus exclusively on the corporate role of growing digital sales with station-owned digital assets and 2060 Digital in all Hubbard Radio markets.  The company says, “During the past five years 2060 Digital has become an important revenue growth strategy for Hubbard Radio, both in Hubbard radio markets, and recently in non-radio markets with the introduction of 2060 Digital’s Shift division in Columbus, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Detroit, Nashville and Birmingham.  Goldstein says, “I am honored and excited to take the helm of a business that I am so passionate about.  Hubbard’s overall digital platforms and 2060 Digital have already seen tremendous success.  To lead and grow a team that has provided proven results for our clients and our company is thrilling and humbling.  I am looking forward to partnering with 2060 Digital ops head Andy Shepherd, his talented team, and our Hubbard Radio market leaders and sellers, all of whom are making a difference for our clients.”  As a result of this move, 2060 Digital president James Bryant will focus on growing 2060 Digital’s Shift division in expanding markets.

Hugh Hewitt Is Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Legal scholar, journalist, and Salem Radio Network syndicated TALKERS Heavy Hundred talk radio star Hugh Hewitt guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  In addition to being one of the most important radio talk show hosts in America and a prolific best-selling author, Hewitt is a professor of constitutional law at Chapman University Law School in California. Harrison and Hewitt engage in an in-depth conversation about the 2020 presidential election, the Ukraine/impeachment issue, US-China relations, the US Constitution, and the complex legacy and personality of Richard Nixon.  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 the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

TALKERS and The Epoch Times Co-Presented “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” Video Available on TALKERS TV.  The video of the recent panel discussion, “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” that took place in New York City on October 1, is now available for viewing on TALKERS TV.  The information-packed co-presentation of TALKERS and The Epoch Times included radio talk show hosts Hugh Hewitt of Salem Radio NetworkJohn Batchelor of WABC, New York, and Tom Sullivan of Talk Media Network, as well as a group of experts on the present state of China and its increasingly strained relationship with the United States that included Nan Su of NTDTVJoshua Philipp of The Epoch Times and Dr. Dana Cheng of The Epoch Times.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison served as moderator.  The conversation focused on the US-China trade war, Hong Kong protests, China’s human rights abuses, Huawei and the worldwide battle for 5G dominance, the North Korea nuclear threat, China’s ongoing intellectual property theft, China’s military buildup, and the long term goals and methods of the Chinese Communist Party, plus more.  See the video of the event here.

EPOCH TIMES to Meet Heightened Talk Media Interest in US-China Relations by Granting Free Access to TALKERS Readers.  The Epoch Times – founded in 2000 by Chinese Americans seeking freedom from the Communist regime and one of the most reliable sources in the world for information about China – has responded to heightened interest in US-China relations by making its website free to TALKERS readers.  To sign up for this free courtesy service to talk show hosts and their producers, please click here.

PPM Analysis: Hot AC.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s September 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on hot AC.  Just 40% of hot AC stations on our panel were up – weekly, 6+ AQH share – from the August to September surveys, led by Capital Broadcasting’s KBZN, Salt Lake City (+1.0).  Comparing year-over-year, just as many hot AC stations were up as were down.  Gainers from September 2018 to September 2019 include: Alpha Media’s KEZR, San Jose (+2.4), Cox Media Group’s KSMG, San Antonio (+1.8), and Entercom’s WOMX, Orlando (+1.5).  Two hot AC stations ranked #1 in their markets in September – Hubbard Radio’s KSTP-FM, Minneapolis and WRMF, West Palm Beach.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

WAY-FM Reports ‘Explosive’ Digital Growth. Christian broadcaster WAY-FM reports it has experienced explosive digital growth in 2019 with the launch of the new WAYNATION.COM website and Podcast Network, and an aggressive shift towards digital content ministry.  WAY-FM operates more than 20 Christian music radio stations around the nation in markets like Nashville, Dallas, Portland, and Denver.  Parent company WAY Media announces that, in the first six months of 2019, its total digital audience surpassed 750,000 persons and the WAY Nation Podcast Network has earned nearly 3 million downloads in the past 12 months.  It adds that these numbers nearly equal the size of WAY-FM’s total radio listenership.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the Allentown market, Cumulus Media’s country WCTO “CAT Country 96” the new “CAT Morning Crew with Sam and Hannah” – hosted by Sam Malone and Hannah Byrom.  Byrom joins Cumulus Allentown-Bethlehem from Entercom New York’s WNSH-FM “Country 94.7” where she was weekend personality.  Prior to that, she was morning show co-host for Beasley Media Group’s WKLB, Boston “Country 102.5.”  At the same time, the station is adding WWYY-FM, Belvidere, New Jersery as a simulcast of WCTO.  The station had been alternative as “Spin Radio” in a simulcast with translator W234AX, Allentown at 94.7 FM.  Cumulus Allentown-Bethlehem OM Jerry Padden says, “This is a very exciting day for all of us!  Though Hannah has worked on some great stations across the country, she is a Jersey girl.  Sam was born and bred here in the Lehigh Valley, so doing mornings in their hometowns is a dream come true for both Sam and Hannah.”…..Cumulus Media debuts adult contemporary KQFC, Boise “Magic 97.9.”  The signal flips from country and Cumulus brings Lisa Adams aboard as program director.   It’s a return to Boise for Adams, who previously served as OM/PD for Townsquare Media’s Boise stations.  Most recently, she’s been program director for Hubbard Radio’s country KNUC, Seattle.  The “Magic 97.9” air personality lineup so far features Adams in Mornings, Bret Connors in afternoons and Mike Kasper as morning news anchor.  News in the morning, with more announcements to follow.  Adams says, “I’m incredibly excited and blessed to start my new radio chapter back in a town I love and missed so much!”…..Cox Media Group adds Caitlin “CJ” Johnson as afternoon drive personality at country KKBQ, Houston, effective November 11.  She takes over for Cactus Jack, who retired in August.  Johnson was most recently afternoon drive host at CMG’s CHR WAPE-FM, Jacksonville…..Entercom announces the continued expansion of the RADIO.COM original station CHANNEL Q.  The company says, “To celebrate its one-year anniversary and National Coming Out Day, the premiere LGBTQ+ Talk Radio Network will be available in a total of 32 markets nationwide, including four new markets in Baltimore, Buffalo, Cleveland and St. Louis.”

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

| October 1, 2019

TALKERS and The Epoch Times’ Co-Presented “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” Takes Place in NYC; Video Available for Viewing.  A 90-minute panel discussion took place in New York today (10/1).  The “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” was a panel discussion that included radio talk show hosts Hugh Hewitt of Salem Radio NetworkJohn Batchelor of WABC, New York, and Tom Sullivan of Talk Media Network, as well as a group of experts on the present state of China and its increasingly strained relationship with the United States including Nan Su of NTDTVJoshua Philipp of The Epoch Times and Dr. Dana Cheng of The Epoch Times.  The conversation focused on the US-China trade war, the Hong Kong protests, China’s human rights abuses, Huawei and the worldwide battle for 5G dominance, the North Korea nuclear threat, China’s ongoing intellectual property theft, China’s military buildup, and the long term goals and methods of the Chinese Communist Party, plus more.  See the video of today’s event here.

Ramsey Solutions Addresses National Student Loan Crisis. The company is working to help families avoid  traps of student loans and show them a better way to pay for college. Ramsey Solutions chief executive officer/“Dave Ramsey Show” host Dave Ramsey declares, “Americans have been fed a lie that it is impossible to afford college without student loans. That lie has the average graduate burdened with over $35,000 in student loans from the moment they’re handed their diplomas. The system is broken, and we want people to know the truth: It is possible to pay cash for college.” Thought leaders Ramsey, Mark Cuban, and Seth Godin are among those interviewed in “Borrowed Future,” an eight-episode podcast series featuring real-life stories that explore the student loan crisis. Anthony ONeal, author of “Debt Free-Degree: The Step-By-Step Guide to Getting Your Kid Through College Without Student Loans,” remarks, “Parents and teens believe that student loans are the only option, but debt doesn’t open doors – it closes them. I travel the country speaking to thousands of people each year. I meet students all the time who are working hard, applying for scholarships and grants, and are actually graduating debt-free. I believe more parents and students can do this, but they need a plan. We’re here to provide that plan.”

NAB PILOT Program Announces Internship Grant Recipients. Launched this past spring, PILOT is the National Association of Broadcasters’ technology initiative which has thus far provided paid internships to 13 NAB member organizations for undergraduate students in radio and television engineering/technology positions. The program is provided in partnership with the NAB’s Leadership Foundation as part of an effort to grow technical and engineering talent for the industry. Grants for the spring 2020 term will be provided to the following NAB members: Michigan State University news/talk WKAR-AM, news/talk-classical WKAR-FM, and PBS affiliate WKAR-TV, East Lansing (Michigan); Butler County Radio Network (Butler, Pennsylvania) news/talk WISR, country WBUT, and rock WLER; Scripps Media Phoenix ABC affiliate KNXV-TV; and Marquee Broadcasting Bowling Green, Kentucky’s WNKY-TV. NAB’s executive vice president and chief technology officer Sam Matheny notes, “We have been encouraged by the response to this program and are thrilled to continue it for a second year. PILOT and the NAB Leadership Foundation remain committed to assisting NAB member stations in attracting the best and brightest new candidates to a career in broadcast technology.” NAB Leadership Foundation president Michelle Duke adds, “The NAB Foundation is happy to provide opportunities with PILOT for students in the broadcast technology and engineering fields. Our intent is to continue to expand the pool of talent for our industry.” The program seeks to help NAB members that do not currently offer engineering or media-technology internships. It will provide resources to assist selected stations in identifying and supporting interns, as well as assistance for the selected interns to attend next year’s NAB Show in Las Vegas.

TALKERS News Notes. Celebrities and politicians were omnipresent in Staten Island this past Saturday (9/28) at the nuptials of Salem Media Group New York news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” executive producer/talk host Frank Morano and his fiancé Rachel O’Brien. “This truly was the most unique assemblage of people ever to come to one party,” he maintains. It’s hard to argue that claim as Morano’s WNYM colleague, Joe Piscopo, got the afternoon started with a Frank Sinatra “New York New York”/“That’s Life” medley reminiscent of how Piscopo did it on “Saturday Night Live.” Morano is quick to note that Piscopo’s date for the affair was none other than supermodel Carol Alt. Among others spotted in the crowd were congressman Dan Donovan; former New York lieutenant governor Betsy McCaughey; billionaire businessman/New York City-based Red Apple Group chair/CEO (and new owner of New York City news/talk WABC) John Catsimatidis; former mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis; and criminal defense attorney Arthur Aidala, currently representing Harvey Weinstein. Syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher was in attendance as were talk host/author Kevin McCulloughRichard Bey, sportscaster Russ Salzberg, and Shelley Goldberg. There were no reports of fisticuffs or violence of any type at the wedding. That is actually quite remarkable and noteworthy, given that John A. Gotti and his sister, reality TV star/author Victoria Gotti, were there along with Guardian Angels founder/talk show host Curtis Sliwa. Things could have gotten particularly dicey as it was Gotti who was charged with ordering the 1992 kidnapping and shooting of Sliwa. Gotti went on trial four times with each trial ending in a hung jury. “Needless to say, we kept John and Curtis on opposite sides of the room,” Morano quips. “It did lead to one of the more interesting quotes of the evening. As Curtis was dancing, John remarked to me, ‘Do you think Curtis would mind if I cut in to dance with his wife?’” Also at the wedding was Maureen Gioeli, the wife of Tommy “Shots” Gioeli, who Morano describes as “the alleged acting boss of the Colombo crime family” ….. Six-year (2003 – 2009) Bernalillo County (New Mexico) sheriff Darren White will join Cumulus Media Albuquerque news/talk KKOB “AM 770 News Radio” as midday host (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm), beginning next Monday (10/7). Cumulus Media Albuquerque vice president/market manager Jeff Berry comments, “Darren is one of the best political minds around, with deep roots in the Albuquerque media market and New Mexico politics. KKOB delivers the best lineup in radio and Darren is going to help us fill out our already amazing roster.” White states, “I’m honored to join the legendary KKOB and host a show in a time slot between a national radio powerhouse in Rush Limbaugh and a radio legend in TJ Trout. I’m grateful to Jeff Berry for this amazing opportunity and excited to get behind the mic to continue the long tradition of engaging talk radio.” Formerly a correspondent for Albuquerque’s KRQE-TV, White was secretary of New Mexico’s Department of Public Safety and Albuquerque’s chief public safety officer ….. Pre-game and post-game host of Cincinnati Reds games, Tommy Thrall, will succeed retired hall of famer Marty Brennaman as the team’s lead radio voice on iHeartMedia Cincinnati news/talk WLW. After calling minor league Pensacola Blue Wahoos games for six years, Thrall joined the Reds crew this season. He previously was the radio voice of the Quad Cities River Bandits ….. Three-year senior producer/audience development & engagement Stephanie Curtis is promoted to Minnesota Public Radio’s MPR News director of programming. Executive director of news & programming Nancy Cassutt comments, “Steph holds a clear vision for what needs to come next in our programming in order to be relevant and engaging with our audiences. She understands our newsroom and where we have the best opportunities to grow and better serve our listeners. Combined with her wealth of talents, this makes her a perfect fit for this role.” Curtis has been with MPR for over 25 years and is the “Movie Maven” on the weekly “Cube Critics” podcast ….. WFPL news editor Jonese Franklin is boosted to local host for NPR’s “All Things Considered” on the Louisville Public Media news/talk station. WFPL director of news and programming Erica Peterson notes, “Jonese brings a diverse depth of experience to the job, including years working as a journalist, editor and broadcaster. I’m excited to hear her on the air every day, and I know our listeners will be as well” ….. Beginning next Monday (10/7), iHeartRadio Broadway debuts “Show & Tell with Frank DiLella,” a weekly Broadway-focused original podcast. New episodes will be available every Monday via the iHeartPodcast Network. Host of “On Stage,” Spectrum News NY1 theater correspondent DiLella is an Emmy Award winning journalist. According to iHeartRadio Broadway director Sarah Jane Arnegger, “We’re thrilled to have Frank DiLella join iHeartRadio Broadway. Frank has been an integral part of the Broadway industry for years. With his built-in audience, this podcast will serve as an extension of what Frank does best with his comprehensive reporting style and celebrity theatrical interviews.” DiLella remarks, “I am truly excited to be teaming up with iHeartMedia and iHeartRadio Broadway as it expands its Broadway programming. I’ve enjoyed getting to know the folks who make up the theater community in New York and abroad. With this new opportunity, I look forward to bringing my in-depth conversations and commentary with the movers and shakers of the industry to a larger audience.”

Cumulus Media Cluster Sets Annual “Christmas For Our Troops.” The fundraiser and series of donation drives that will benefit our service personnel will commence one week from this Friday (10/11) and run through November 12. In partnership with Step Up For Soldiers, Cumulus Media Wilmington, North Carolina will collect items donated by the community for deployed servicemen and women and raise funds to ship the packages overseas in time for Christmas. Cumulus Wilmington vice president and market manager Eric McCart states, “In addition to collecting items, an important need we have is to collect money for our ‘Christmas For Our Troops Postage Fund.’ It costs $14.35 to send each flat-rate box overseas. The more monetary donations we receive, the more Christmas packages we can send to our troops. We will be accepting both ‘Postage Fund’ and suggested item donations while we’re on location at our collection sites. ‘Postage Fund’ donations can also be made online.” Items to be collected will include writing utensils, games, snacks, bottled drinks, and anything else that is easy-to-use, easy-to-wash, and easy-to-store. In addition to WAAV “980 The Wave – News, Talk, & Sports,” the company’s Wilmington, North Carolina cluster includes WWQQ “Double Q-101.3 Cape Fear’s Country Leader,” adult contemporary WGNI “102.7 GNI Today’s Hits & Yesterday’s Favorites,” urban contemporary WMNX “Coast 97.3,” and classic rock WKXS “94.5 The Hawk.”

Stations Go From One Backyard To Another. Headed by Van A. Michael, Pennsylvania-based Backyard Broadcasting of Pennsylvania, LLC closes on its purchase of seven Pennsylvania stations from … and here’s where it gets tricky … Daniel J. Farr’s (also) Pennsylvania-based Backyard Broadcasting PA, LLC. Neither of these Backyard entities has any other broadcast interests. Stations involved are sports talk WWPA “ESPN Radio 1340”; WWPA’s FM translator W267BJ at 101.3; WILQ “105.1 Today’s Best Country”; and hot AC WLMY – all in Williamsport; rock WZXR, South Williamsport; rock WCXR, Lewisburg (which simulcasts WZXR); and classic hits-oldies WBZD, Muncy. Kalil & Company, Inc. was the exclusive broker for this transaction.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Veteran consultant/programmer John Sebastian signs the first client for his “WOW Factor” format – KOAI, Phoenix – and as part of the deal, he will be the consultant and hands-on program director of the Riviera Broadcasting outlet. Riviera Broadcasting chief executive officer Michael Cutchall remarks, “John has been one of the most innovative programmers in the history of radio. There is no one better to connect with listeners and communities in his approach and philosophy to programming. His excitement to join our team is contagious and his desire to win is relentless.” Sebastian asserts that KOAI will be “the first of many ‘WOW Factor’ stations across America with an eclectic mix of music researched and curated for baby boomers.” His previous Phoenix programming background already includes KUPD, KSLX, and KDKB. Sebastian has programmed in other markets such as Los Angeles (KTWV, KHJ, and KZLA); Chicago (WJMK); Dallas (KPLX); Boston (WCOZ); Seattle (KISW); Minneapolis (KDWB); and Nashville (WSM-FM). According to Nielsen Audio PPM data, the February 2019 through August 2019 (6+) topline for classic hits-oldies KOAI is: 2.1 – 2.1 – 1.8 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.7 – 1.5. It ranks #25 in August 2019; iHeartMedia adult contemporary KESZ is on top (7.0, 6+). ….. Former Bohn Broadcast Services vice president of business development Chris Roth is appointed program director of Entercom Washington, DC classic hits-oldies WIAD “94.7 The Drive.” Roth will “work closely” with Entercom classic hits-oldies format captain Chris Ebbott, who programs Los Angeles’ co-owned/similarly formatted KRTH “K-Earth 101.” Entercom Washington, DC senior vice president and market manager Phil Zachary comments, “One year into the format, we are satisfied with the station’s position, but we are constantly seeking new ways to innovate and improve. Chris Roth brings the vernacular and market knowledge to finetune ‘94.7 The Drive’ to DC’s particular tastes. He’s uniquely-suited for this role; I am excited to see him help our station excel.” Roth notes, “Programming ‘94.7 The Drive’ is a dream job for me. I’m passionate about the classic hits format and I’m looking forward to making it the fun destination for DC listening.” Roth previously was an on-air talent at Baltimore adult contemporary sibling WLIF “Today’s 101.9”; director of programming for WAVA, Washington; a reporter at Washington’s all-news WTOP; and director of programming and operations for Winchester, Virginia hot AC WINC-FM ….. As noted in this space just last Friday (9/27), Scott Roddy exited his brand/content director post with Hubbard Radio St. Louis adult hits WARH “106.5 The Arch” for a “yet-to-be-revealed position.” Well, it didn’t take long for the mystery to be revealed as Roddy will join Entercom Portland next Monday (10/7) as program director/operations manager for country KWJJ “99.5 The Wolf” and hot AC KRSK “105.1 The Buzz.” Entercom Portland senior vice president/market manager Kim Martinez states, “Scott has an impressive track record programming leading stations; we’re fortunate to add him to the team. I am confident his proven leadership will enable him to step in and immediately enhance the programming efforts for our stations.” Roddy notes, “I’m stoked to join the iconic ‘Wolf’ and to bring some electricity back to the ‘Buzz.’ Kim Martinez is building a world-class operation at Entercom Portland. Her passion for our industry, audience, investors, and local team is unparalleled. I’d like to thank Kim; [chief programming officer] Pat Paxton; [regional president] Doug Abernethy; and [senior vice president of programming] Dave Richards for the opportunity.” Prior to joining WARH in February 2016, Roddy programmed stations for Entercom Indianapolis, Oasis Radio Group Fort Wayne (Indiana), and Saga Communications ….. This Saturday (10/5) at 8:00 am, iHeartMedia Chicago urban contemporary WGCI-FM, urban AC WVAZ “V-103,” and gospel WGRB “Inspiration 1390” will hold the third annual “Sista Strut” 3K breast cancer charity walk to benefit the Chicago chapter of the Sisters Network. According to iHeartMedia Chicago director of urban programming Derrick Brown, “We are dedicated to serving the community in which we live and work. We remain committed to doing our part in being a source of support and encouragement for those battling and recovering from this disease.” WGCI-FM morning show member Kendra G and WVAZ midday talent Bionce Foxx will host the event. Special guests will include “Steve Harvey Morning Show” co-host Carla Ferrell ….. Forming the new morning team at Emmis Indianapolis’ country WLHK “97.1 Hank FM” are Caleb James and Mindy Winkler. James most recently programmed NRG Media Omaha rhythmic CHR KOPW “Power 106.9,” while Winkler arrives from WLHK’s adult contemporary sibling WYXB “B-105.7.” Former “Hank” morning driver Dave O’Brien is now doing similar duties at Entercom Denver classic rock KQMT “99.5 The Mountain” ….. Louisville alternative WGHL “Alt 105.1” program director/afternoon talent Phil “PK” Kukawinski tacks on  programming duties for Alpha Media adult hits cluster-mate WXMA “102.3 Jack-FM.” He succeeds Sarah Jordan, who continues as marketing director and mid-day personality (10:00 am – 3:00 pm) on co-owned CHR WDJX “99-7 DJX” ….. To help raise funds, supplies, and awareness for rescue dogs, iHeartMedia Colorado Springs hot AC KVUU “My 99.9” will team with the Lovepup Foundation for the initial “Lovepup Family Fest” one week from Saturday (10/12, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm) at Weidner Field. KVUU morning drive talent Johnjay of the syndicated “Johnjay and Rich” show will host the event. All money and pet supply donations will benefit local Colorado Springs animal rescue organizations …..  Meanwhile, KVUU cluster-mate KCYY “Y-96.9 #1 For New Country” and Oakwood Homes join forces four weeks from today (10/29) for the first-ever “Boo Bash” to benefit HBA Cares. Hosted by “Y-96.9” afternoon drive host Shawn Patrick, the event will feature entertainment from Matt Stell, Noah Schnacky, and Tyler Walker Band. “Boo Bash” proceeds will benefit local transitional and accessible housing in the Colorado Springs area, along with other local community projects. Doors will open at 6:00 pm at Boot Barn Hall ….. WCYQ “100.3 The Wolf” nighttime talent Paul Orr exits the SummitMedia Knoxville country station to focus on his voiceover business. Before joining WCYQ, Orr worked in Birmingham (WZZK); Oklahoma City (KTST); Fort Myers (WWGR); and Shreveport (KRMD) ….. A “goat” is loose in Hagerstown-Chambersburg (Maryland-Pennsylvania) as Verstandig Media transitions CHR WNUZ “Now 92.1” to classic hits-oldies WIKG “92.1 The Goat – The Greatest of All Time.” This comes after a weekend of stunting with all-Christmas music; the station is inviting listeners to “Take Your Goat To Work.” Continuing the theme, the “goat herd” is airing 20 songs in a row in its first week.

Delilah Honored With AFN Challenge Coin. For her unwavering support of service members and veterans, Premiere Networks’ adult contemporary host Delilah received the American Forces Network challenge coin last Thursday (9/26) at the Radio Show in Dallas. Military challenge coins have been issued to servicemen and servicewomen since World War I as a symbol of honor, respect, gratitude, and loyalty. Delilah is heard weeknights at 7:00 pm in Japan, Korea, and central Europe on AFN Radio’s “Today’s Best Hits Adult Contemporary” channel. Pictured left to right are: Tom Arnholt of AFN programming and operations, Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott, Delilah, who co-hosted last week’s NAB Marconi Awards, and Curt Eckstein of AFN programming and operations.

Friday, September 27, 2019

| September 27, 2019

The WWL, New Orleans-Seth Dunlap Case Gets More Bizarre; Station Accuses Host of Extortion.  According to coverage of this story in the Times-Picayune, the reason Entercom went from an internal investigation of the anti-gay slur tweet against sports talk host Seth Dunlap to turning it over to the police (as TALKERS reported yesterday), is because it believes Dunlap himself sent the text and is attempting to extort $1.85 million out of the company.  The New Orleans police department says WWL believes the tweet was sent from Dunlap’s cell phone.  The police report also notes that the station is accusing Dunlap of threatening to go “scorched earth” over the matter and is demanding $1.85 million in order to get out of personal financial trouble.  The station adds that it has been receiving letters regarding wage garnishment for Dunlap as creditors attempt to collect for unpaid credit card bills and personal loans.  The police are currently working to corroborate WWL’s conclusions.  Right now, they are calling it a possible extortion case.  Dunlap’s lawyer, Megan Kiefer, says Dunlap didn’t have access to the station’s Twitter account and that the station is “attempting to blame the victim of its own anti-LGBT culture.”

New KIRO-AM, Seattle Program Schedule Unveiled. As a result of the semi-retirement of longtime KIRO-AM personality Dave “The Groz” Grosby and the transition of the “Brock & Salk” morning show to a podcast, Bonneville’s sports talk KIRO-AM, Seattle “710 ESPN” announces its new lineup, effective Monday (9/30).  First, in afternoon drive, Bob Stelton moves from the early afternoon show to afternoon drive with Dave Wyman and Jim Moore for the “Bob, Dave and Moore” show.  Stelton’s departure from the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show results in Tom Wassell being joined in the daypart by Stacy Rost and Jake Heaps for the “Tom, Jake and Stacy” show.  Rost is a Seahawks insider who has served as a writer and editor with 710Sports.com and host with KIRO-AM. Heaps played quarterback at BYU, Kansas and Miami.  He had pro stints with the Jets and Seahawks and joined the station in 2018.  That show will be produced by current “Brock & Salk” producer Kyle Brown.  Taking over the 7:00 am to 10:00 am show is the “Danny and Gallant” program, featuring Danny O’Neil and Paul Gallant.  O’Neil moves from his current afternoon drive role on the “Danny, Dave and Moore” show and Paul Gallant arrives from Houston where he’d most recently been hosting mornings at Entercom’s KILT-AM.  Jessamyn McIntyre will produce the “Danny and Gallant” program.  Mike Salk leaves his daily show to focus on his program director role with the station but, as noted above, he and Brock Huard will produce a weekly podcast version of their show, beginning next week.  As TALKERS reported previously, Grosby steps away from his daily show but will do a segment with John Clayton at 11:45 am and will serve as a guest host.  He’s also going to have an expanded role with 710Sports.com.

New Installment Posted of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The recently launched, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (9/20).  The new episode titled “Whistle a Yappy Tune!” looks back at this past explosive week of September 23-27, 2019.  Recorded at this week’s “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row in Washington, DC, the show features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine;  Dale Jackson, WVNN, Huntsville, AL; Michael Brown, KHOW, Denver; Gordon DealCompass Media NetworksCasey Hendrickson, WRTC, South Bend, IN; Michael Patrick Leahy, WLAC, Nashville; Martha Zoller, WDUN, Gainesville, GA; Dan “Ox” Ochsner, KNSI, St. Cloud, MN; Joyce Kaufman, WFTL, Fort Lauderdale/Miami; and John De Petro, WNRI, Woonsocket, RI.     This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as well as other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; and KBKW, Aberdeen, WA as a special week-in-review and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA and the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

SRN’s ‘Battle for America’s Soul’ Tour Hits Phoenix. Pictured above are Salem Radio Network talk show hosts in Phoenix as SRN’s “Battle for America’s Soul” tour stopped at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.  SRN says the sellout crowd of more than 1,000 heard the hosts discuss topics from impeachment to the culture wars.  From left to right are: SRN hosts Larry Elder and Dr. Sebastian Gorka, two unidentified KKNT, Phoenix listeners, Twitchy.com founder Michelle Malkin, and moderator/SRN talk host Mike Gallagher.

Seen and Heard at the Radio Show. TALKERS magazine special features correspondent Jeff McKay reports from the 2019 NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas.  He says Thursday’s sessions focused on podcasting and sales, culminating in the annual Marconi Awards ceremony.  He notes that 139 students interested in radio and media from across the country attended the Radio Show as part of the Broadcast Education Association’s mentoring program.  Executive director Heather Birks says of the 400 or so students who’ve taken part in the last five years, 75% are now working in media and about 50% are working in radio.  Read Jeff McKay’s report here.

2019 Marconi Award Winners Honored. At last night’s awards dinner at the 2019 NAB/RAB Radio Show, the Marconi’s were handed out.  Spoken-word winners of this year’s honors include: Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington for Major Market Station of the Year; Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle for News/Talk Station of the Year; and Beasley Media’s WBZ-FM, Boston for Sports Station of the Year.  WBZ-FM’s “Felger and Massarotti” – Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti – were honored with the Major Market Personality of the Year award.  WRHU-FM, Hempstead, New York “Radio Hofstra University” was honored with the “College Station of the Year” award.  See all the winners here.

TALKERS News Notes. Journalist Katie Couric is hosting an iHeartRadio Original podcast titled, “Next Question with Katie Couric.”  The show becomes part of iHeartMedia‘s iHeartPodcast Network and will “explore some of today’s most important issues and transformative trends through insightful and engaging conversations that span news, politics, and pop culture.” Topics addressed in the 12 episodes include: ABC’s of CBD, Jennifer Garner’s foray into entrepreneurship, whether ageism is the last socially acceptable “ism,” the eSports universe, and a conversation with a former white supremacist who now works to deradicalize others…..SiriusXM announces the launch of “The Johnny Carson Channel,” on October 1.  The month-long special programming will feature the top, handpicked episodes of “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.”  The programs will highlight notable classic moments, including the first “Tonight Show” stand-up appearances by Jerry Seinfeld (1981), Jay Leno (1977), and Ellen DeGeneres (1986), and Eddie Murphy (1982). There are also interviews with Lucille Ball, Muhammad Ali, Bob Hope, Dean Martin, Billy Crystal, and Oprah Winfrey.

The Impeachment Inquiry Is the Top News/Talk Story for the Week of September 23-27. The Democrats decision to begin an impeachment inquiry against President Trump was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the Ukraine phone conversation flap.  Coming in at #3 was immigration reform, followed by the UN General Assembly and climate change tied 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.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Sports Talk and Album Rock Radio Pioneer Richard Neer Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  There have been a number of stories these past couple of weeks from the world of popular culture.  They include the milestone of Bruce Springsteen reaching his 70th birthday and the impact of his political outspokenness on how his fans might view him.  The deaths of rock stars Ric Ocasek and Eddie Money – also in their seventies; the disturbing saga of football wide receiver Antonio Brown; and the growing popularity in the podcasting world of the “true crime” genre.  WFAN, New York, sports talk personality Richard Neer is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”   Harrison describes Neer as “one of my oldest and best friends… and one of my top go-to guys on the subjects of sports, music and crime.”  Neer has been a sports talk show host on WFAN in New York since 1988.  He is also a pioneer of album rock radio having worked in the golden era at WLIR on Long Island and WNEW-FM in New York.  He wrote the milestone book about rock radio titled FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (Villard, 2001) and has a growing following of fans for his series of murder mysteries featuring the ongoing adventures of Riley King, Private Investigator.  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 the TALKERS email newsletter or on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air personality Joe “Flu Season” Lewis joins Cumulus Media as afternoon host and programming assistant at urban contemporary KTCX, Beaumont, Texas “Magic 102.5.”  He was most recently the evening host at Cumulus’ WLZN-FM, Macon, Georgia.  KTCX program director Kelly Mac says, “Joe is a passionate, multi-skilled on-air talent who brings an array of experience to the table.  He not only gets the on-air aspect of radio, but strongly embraces the community as well as the digital, imaging, and branding aspect of radio, which made him a perfect fit for this role.  I look forward to watching him grow and succeed with the Cumulus team.”…..Leaving his brand/content director post with Hubbard Radio’s adult hits WARH-FM, St. Louis “106.5 The Arch” for a yet-to-be-revealed position is programming pro Scott Roddy.  He joined the station in February of 2016…..Below is Premiere Networks personality Amy Brown (right) with Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott (left).  Scott appeared on the “4 Things with Amy Brown” podcast to talk about the band’s new album and the single, “Ocean.”  She’s also a guest on Scott’s weekend radio program, “Women of iHeartCountry.”

Friday, September 13, 2019

| September 13, 2019

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his analysis of the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s August PPM survey, today focusing on the sports talk format.  More than half of the sports talk stations on our panel saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go up from the July survey to the August survey, led by iHeartMedia’s KFXN, Minneapolis “K-FAN” (+1.0).  Comparing August 2018 to August 2019, about half the stations were up and the other half were down.  Gainers included KFXN (+1.5) and Entercom’s KWFN, San Diego “97.3 The Fan” (+1.4).  Entercom’s WFAN, New York was the only sports talker to rank #1 in its market with a 5.6 share.  Entercom’s WIP, Philadelphia ranked #2 with a 6.7 share.”  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

New iHeartRadio Sports Digital Platform Launches. The new iHeartRadio Sports website allows listeners to find broadcast sports radio stations, sports podcasts, and latest sports news in one place.  iHeartMedia says that listeners can access more than 195 live broadcast and digital stations and episodes from more than 25,000 sports podcasts, including “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” “3 and Out with John MiddleKauff,” “Outkick the Coverage with Clay Travis,” “Sports Wars,” and more. iHeartRadio and iHeartMedia Networks Group president Darren Davis says, “iHeartRadio has long been a destination for the biggest sports fans and now provides the premier destination where they can find all their favorite teams, podcasts, personalities and stations all in one place.  Sports listeners are incredibly passionate and this new destination utilizes the power and reach of iHeartMedia and its programming to create an encompassing all-things-sports experience like no other, for those enthusiastic fanatics everywhere whether it’s getting outstanding play-by-play of the latest Dodgers game to sports betting podcasts for expert picks and analysis.”

New Installment Posted of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The recently launched, one-hour experimental weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” produced by Goodphone Communications that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (9/13).  The new episode titled, “And the Buzz Just keeps on Coming!” looks back at this past week of September 9-13, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Charles Freedman, host, KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  Nan Su, San Francisco editor, The Epoch TimesAlexi Cohan, reporter, Boston Herald; Graham Mack, program director, FIX Radio, London, UK; and Lisa Wexler, host, WICC, Bridgeport, CT.  This increasingly acclaimed news/talk radio show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as a recap and exclamation point for the week-in-review as well as several other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA and the iHeart Radio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

‘America in the Morning’ Celebrates 35 Years on Air. Next Tuesday (9/17), Cumulus Media’s Westwood One will celebrate the 35th anniversary of the award-winning, weekday news magazine, “America in the Morning,” which launched September 17, 1984.  The program – currently heard on more than 330 affiliate stations – grew out of what was originally the last half hour of the five-and-a-half hour overnight “Larry King Show.”  When King was cut back to five hours, Westwood One used the last half hour to launch a morning news magazine.  It later expanded to one hour.  After Larry King left the radio show, his replacement – Jim Bohannon – hosted the program.  Current host John Trout took over hosting duties from Bohannon in 2016 (although Bohannon continues to contribute reports to the program).  Westwood One EVP news and talk Bart Tessler says, “Our 332 affiliates know that ‘America in the Morning’ is the show to turn to for the best and most comprehensive coverage of breaking news overnight.  Jim Bohannon created a legacy and John Trout continues the tradition of ensuring Americans are informed and entertained at daybreak.”  The program has won many industry awards, including the top prize for “Best News Magazine” the last two years at the New York Festivals Radio Awards.

SRN’s Mike Gallagher to Broadcast from Mobile. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mike Gallagher will host his Salem Radio Network program from the offices of Mobile, Alabama’s FairHope Direct on Wednesday (9/18).  FairHope Direct is run by president & CEO Doug Meduna and his company recently made a $15,000 contribution to the Christian non-profit relief agency Food For The Poor.  Last month, SRN raised funds for the charity that delivered emergency food to displaced children and families along Colombia’s border with Venezuela.  Gallagher will interview Doug Meduna on his show. Gallagher says, “Thanks to awesome people like Doug Meduna and his team at FairHope Direct, our generous listeners network-wide donated a total of $730,000 in August.

Coleman Exits WACV-FM, Montgomery. Attorney, political operative and talk show host Baron Coleman leaves his 9:00 am to 12:00 noon talk show on Bluewater Broadcasting’s WACV, Montgomery, Alabama “News Talk 93.1FM” and hints that he’ll be back on the radio in the market on Monday, on a different station.  Coleman tells Yellowhammer News, “I’m thankful for my time at Bluewater.  The last five years have been an incredible learning experience.  But, ultimately, the time was right to move on.  I’ll be announcing a fantastic opportunity in the next day or two, and I look forward to getting back on the air on Monday.” WACV says Jack Campbell and Joey Clark will co-host the late morning show.  It’s rumored that Little Engine Broadcasting’s crosstown WRBZ-AM/W238CE is flipping from classic hits to talk on Monday and that Coleman will surface there.

Dan Sileo to Join Twitch for Sports Talk Show. Thwarted in his effort to get back on terrestrial sports talk radio, Dan Sileo is joining Twitch.tv with the assistance of consultant Don Kollins.  Sports media personality Tony Bruno also hosts a show on Twitch and Sileo says he’ll be on with Bruno next week to make the announcement.  His program will follow Bruno’s.  Sileo was just hired to host afternoons on iHeartMedia’s KGME-AM, Phoenix, but four days into his new gig, pressure from the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes got him yanked.  The Coyotes just inked a deal to broadcast their games on the station and the club was nervous about Sileo’s past missteps on social media.

Ken Newman Named DOS for Cox Media Group San Antonio. At the San Antonio operations of Cox Media Group, Ken Newman is the new director of sales for the cluster that includes: classic hits KONO, rock KISS, and country KCYY.  CMG San Antonio VP and general manager David Abel says, “Ken brings a wealth of industry knowledge and sales expertise to his new role, making him the ideal sales leader for our market.  Our clients expect the very best from CMG and I am confident our teams will continue to deliver exceptional service under Ken’s leadership.”

Rob Sussman Exits ‘Delaware 105.9 FM.’Talk radio host Rob Sussman exits Forever Media’s news/talk WXDE-FM, Lewes “Delaware 105.9” where he’d been hosting the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show.  The station adds Radio America’s nationally syndicated “The Dana Show” with host Dana Loesch.  Sussman arrived at WXDE almost two years ago from his previous position as news director at KBUR, Burlington, Iowa.  He’s ready for his next opportunity and can be reached at Sussman.ra@gmail.com.  In July, the station parted ways with local host Susan Monday and fellow local host Ed Tyll resigned his position.  Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher was added to the late morning daypart and Compass Media Networks’ “Markley, van Camp and Robbins” program began airing in the early afternoon slot.  Forever Media acquired the station and nine other signals from Delmarva Broadcasting earlier this year.

WGTK-FM, Greenville Demonstrates PEP Station Responsibilities. Pictured above is WGTK-FM, Greenville, South Carolina “94-5 The Answer” air personality Joey Hudson (left) on air with South Carolina Lt. Governor Pamela Evette (right) broadcasting from the Salem Media Group station’s transmitter tower.  WGTK-FM is a FEMA designated Primary Entry Point (PEP) station that cooperatively participates with FEMA to provide emergency alert and warning information to the public before, during, and after a national or local emergency.  Hudson broadcast from the WGTK PEP module using only backup generators and the equipment installed in the FEMA facility the agency maintains at the station’s broadcast tower.  As the PEP station serving Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina, it is equipped with back-up communications equipment and emergency power generators designed to enable continuous broadcasting independent of public utilities and without refueling for approximately 30-45 days.  Hudson says that although this exercise had been planned for weeks, with Hurricane Dorian passing through the Carolinas last week, the “practice scenario” provided by FEMA was timely as he simulated how he would provide essential information to the public immediately following devastating damage by a hurricane in the Carolinas.

John Bolton’s Exit and Cancelled Taliban Talks Top News/Talk Stories for Week of September 9-13.  The exit of John Bolton from his national security advisor position in the Trump Administration and the related cancellation of secret talks with the Taliban in Washington tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was “sharpie-gate” and the NOAA controversy.  Coming in at #3 was U.S.-China relations and North Korea’s missile test, followed by stock market activity and the economy 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.  See this week’s entire chart here.

McGorry Elected to BFoA Board of Directors. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that William McGorry, chairman of Broadcasting & Cable’s Hall of Fame, has been elected to the board of directors of the BFoA.  McGorry oversees Broadcasting &Cable’s Hall of Fame nominating process and manages the annual awards event.  Proceeds from the black-tie gala benefit the Broadcasters Foundation of America and The Paley Center for Media.  BFoA chairman Dan Mason says, “Bill has been a long-time supporter of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation, and we are delighted that he is joining the Board.  Every year, Bill ensures that the Broadcasters Foundation is a recipient of some of the proceeds from Broadcasting & Cable’s Hall of Fame Awards dinner. Those much-needed funds go to helping broadcasters in need across our industry, either in monthly or one-time emergency grants. We are grateful for his contributions.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Air personality Nikki Imbrascio is officially introduced by Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach as the new midday host on hot AC WRMF.  She was previously with CHR WBBM-FM, Chicago “B96” as midday host. WRMF brand/content director Leo Baldwin says, “After an extensive search we are so happy to bring Nikki and her major market experience to Hubbard West Palm Beach.  WRMF has been looking for its mid-day voice for quite some time and I am excited for Nikki to get started!”…..In Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Robbie Bridges resigns his position as operations and brand manager for Townsquare Media’s operations there, including programming country WOKQ. Taking his place is Sammy Cruise, who leaves his gig at Hubbard Radio’s country WIRK, West Palm Beach to return to the station he served with in the past…..Buffalo radio icon Roger Christian is ousted from Entercom’s hot AC WTSS “Star 102.5.”  Christian was on air on the 102.5 frequency for 43 years, going back to its time as a rock outlet.  Christian says he was told the position is being eliminated and the daypart will be voice-tracked.  However, Christian was scooped up quickly by Radio One Buffalo LLC’s Buddy Shula who’s bringing him aboard his oldies WECK-AM to handle weekends and fill-ins.

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