Tag: "Neal Larson"

KID-AM Owner Explains Morning Show’s Departure

| April 23, 2020

Editor’s Note: This piece follows up on TALKERS’ April 20 report on the exit of KID-AM, Idaho Falls morning team Neal Larson and Julie Mason.  In it, station owner Richard Mecham explains what happened leading up to their resignations. He presents the email he sent to the duo. 

By Richard Mecham
President
Rich Broadcasting

 

SALT LAKE CITY — I spent a lot of time monitoring KID-AM the week of April 13 from my office in Salt Lake City.  While listening to the station I heard the following comments:

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Thursday, April 23, 2020

| April 23, 2020

The Nitty Gritty of Online Listening.  WWTN-FM, Nashville “Super Talk 99.7” afternoon drive talk show host Phil Valentine writes in a piece for TALKERS magazine about news/talk listening habits in the current coronavirus crisis and how online listening is affecting ratings.  Valentine says some of his fellow hosts were concerned about losing listeners since fewer people are commuting and therefore are not in their cars to listen.  But, he says, that’s not what happened.  His show’s ratings, as well as the station’s overall, went up.  “What’s really interesting is our ‘universe’ in PM drive only shrank 4% overall with listeners 6+.  Even more interesting is our weekly cume with adults and men 25-54 actually went up. So did our time spent listening, which is understandable. If people are listening, they’re primarily listening from home without the constraints of a commute. This same scenario is being replicated on talk stations in many places all across the country. If they’re listening at home, it probably means more people are moving their listening to the Internet rather than listening to the on-air signal.  The big question is, if more people are listening online are we getting credit for it?”  Valentine contacted Nielsen Audio to find out.  Read the column here to find out what he learned.

Las Vegas-Based Talk Host Wayne Allyn Root Organizing ‘Patriot Caravan’ on Las Vegas Boulevard. Talk radio host Wayne Allyn Root – heard in Las Vegas on KBET-AM and syndicated nationally via USA Radio – is organizing what he calls the “Open Nevada, Unleash Prosperity, Save America Patriot Caravan” up Las Vegas Blvd. tomorrow afternoon (4/24) at 3:00 pm.  Root says, “We will have biggest caravan in Vegas Strip history on Friday to demand our governor re-open the economy.”  He calls it a “massive show of force by WAR Army – made up of small business owners, patriots, conservatives, capitalists, and every employee left penniless by closure of the entire Strip.”  Root says he has designed it to adhere to government guidelines about social distancing as all participants will be in cars.  He will broadcast his entire show from his car at the head of the “parade.”  He adds, “This event is a political version of drive-in church service.”

KID-AM, Idaho Falls Owner Explains Morning Duo’s Departure.  On Monday (4/20), TALKERS magazine published a summary of the East Idaho News’ report on the resignation of KID-AM, Idaho Falls morning team of Neal Larson and Julie MasonRich Broadcasting owner Richard Mecham tells TALKERS their decision to resign “had nothing to do with a disagreement with the owner [which is how TALKERS phrased it in our coverage].  What it had to do with was the fact that their comments were irresponsible, they were challenging the governor’s order, and could have potentially put our license in jeopardy.  I invited them to discuss the issue over lunch and they quit with no notice.”  Mecham shares his email to Larson and Mason and further explains what happened in a piece you can read here.

SmartTalk Radio Network’s ‘CoronaLert’Airing on 300-plus Stations. The month-old “CoronaLert” program hosted by Cary Harrison and syndicated by SmartTalk Radio Network and Sun Broadcast Group is airing on more than 300 stations across the country.  SmartTalk says Harrison “presents slickly produced, 60-second rapid-response features that draw from the top scientific and medical minds available today.  ‘CoronaLert’ is the first of its kind with both volume of daily segments and a custom fleet of professionally produced companion videos for stations’ websites.”  SmartTalk CEO Chuck Duncan comments, “‘Facts Not Fear’ is the basis for ‘CoronaLert’ and provides listeners on all platforms and devices with a daily topic or development that is covered in a solution-oriented, easy-takeaway format.  SmartTalk Radio Network presents a forum for discussion, info, and entertainment covering myriad life topics, including COVID-19 and its lasting effects on our world.”

Entercom Expands Relationship with Sonos for RADIO.COM. Content from Entercom’s RADIO.COM will soon be available via the new Sonos Radio streaming service from Sonos.  Numerous Entercom stations are currently available as an integration on the Sonos platform.  Entercom corporate business development VP David Rosenbloom states, “Sonos provides a premier listening experience and we’re pleased to expand our relationship with them and bring RADIO.COM’s stations to millions of listeners across the country.  Through this partnership, Sonos customers can access RADIO.COM’s music, sports, and news content on their Sonos system, providing them with an enhanced listening experience of their station of choice from the comfort of their homes.”

TALKERS News Notes. The new American Uncensored News Network (AUN-TV) has launched with the goal of creating “uncensored” news, talk, and documentary programming from independent media and grassroots producers.  Currently, AUN-TV shows air on seven stations in Northern California, including in San Francisco, Sacramento, Fort Bragg, Santa Rose, and more.  The network has appointed Rick Trader CEO, general manager and president of program development.  He says, “I am thrilled and excited at the prospects of AUN-TV!  Now, many great shows, views and voices will have a television platform to call their own.  The AUN-TV Network is badly needed to report on the stories the alphabet networks do not want the American people to know of.  Our goal is to bring original, thought-provoking programs to the viewing public that has a thirst for the truth, and to return our country to the principals of Liberty, Rule of Law and Judeo-Christian ethics our founding father created it for.”…..JVC Media is bringing infectious disease expert Dr. Rajeev Fernandez aboard as a contributor to its radio programs in three of its markets.  Dr. Fernandez joins “Steve and Leeana Mornings” on CHR WPTY, Long Island “Party 105.3,” “The Shannon Burke Show” on “Florida Man Radio” (talk WDYZ, Orlando and WYGC, Gainesville), and news/talk WRCN, Long Island “103.9 LI News Radio.”  JVC Media president and CEO John Caracciolo states, “When we founded JVC, the goal was to be hyper-local and community focused.  Having Dr. Rajeev Fernandez available to our loyal listeners does so much good for the communities we serve.  The doctor is so relatable, likable, and easy to listen to.  It’s like a friend giving us the answers to this crazy puzzle called coronavirus.  I’m grateful to Dr. Fernandez and our hard-working JVC family for working together to super-serve our hard-hit communities.  It can’t be said enough, we WILL get through this together.”…..The nationally syndicated “Our American Stories” program with host Lee Habeeb adds new affiliate stations including: Entercom’s KRLD-AM, Dallas; Second Amendment Foundation’s KITZ-AM, Seattle; KBNP, Portland, and KSBN, Spokane; Futures and Options Inc’s KFNX-AM, Phoenix; Alpha Media’s KFOR-AM, Fargo; and STARadio’s WTAD-AM, Quincy, Illinois.  Habeeb, who is also CEO of producer American Private Radio, says, “There is no question people are starving for positive, original radio programming that celebrates this great country.  Partnering with one of the great stations in America, the legendary KRLD, means so much to our team at American Private Radio.  Now, we can bring our great stories to more people of not one, but two of America’s greatest cities under the banner of the 50,000 watt blow-torch of KRLD-AM.”…..Sports betting information network VSiN is partnering with Skyview Networks for the latter to handle affiliate sales.  Skyview CEO Ken Thiele states, “Skyview is in a strong position to partner with content creators as a full-service audio shop and is actively engaging in deals that bring exciting, high-demand content, like VSiN’s programming and analysis to the industry.”…..Radio’s “Best Friend” Art Vuolo handled editing duties for a film called iPot made by retired radio personality Joey Reynolds back in 2014 about the marijuana-growing industry in Humboldt County, California.  Reynolds’ daughter is in the growing business and that piqued his curiosity to investigate the newly legal industry.  Longtime Los Angeles radio personality Shotgun Tom Kelly is among a number of special guests who appear in the film that you can see here.

U.S. Coronavirus Statistics and Projections, Southern States Re-Opening Plans, COVID-19 Disinformation Campaign, Transferred HHS Doc Controversy, Financial Markets Activity/Oil Glut, U.S.-Iran Tensions, and Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/22). The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and the death toll, plus the projections for future cases; several Southern states announce plans to begin re-opening their economies, clashing with President Trump’s advice; allegations that China, Russia, and Iran are mounting a social media disinformation campaign blaming the U.S. for the coronavirus pandemic; the controversy over Dr. Rick Bright’s transfer from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority for opposing widespread use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to combat the coronavirus; the world’s financial markets’ response to the pandemic and the oil crash; and the November presidential election were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

American Urban Radio Networks DC Bureau Chief April Ryan Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The Washington, DC bureau chief and White House correspondent for the American Urban Radio Networks, veteran journalist April Ryan, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”   Ryan, who is also a political analyst for CNN, is an African American single mother of two who has been covering the White House since Bill Clinton’s second term.  She was thrust into the national spotlight with the advent of the Trump Administration when she attracted controversy for standing up to the president and his press secretary at White House briefings and press conferences by asking tough questions and holding her ground for follow-ups.   Among her many awards and honors, the National Association of Black Journalists named Ryan its “Journalist of the Year” in 2017.  To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The Westwood One-syndicated urban AC morning show “Rick and Sasha” is the new morning show on WNBM, New York.  The program airs in more than 30 markets.  Cumulus Media vice president of urban programming Kenny Smoov states, “The ‘Rick and Sasha’ show is growing fast and going BIG! New York is going to love this show!  There is nothing like getting a historic first-year report card.  Rick and Sasha, with George Willborn, not only sounds better than it ever has but is also showing remarkable ratings growth – extraordinary for a second-year show.  It is refreshing when the actual numbers match my ear test. This show is poised for long-term greatness.”

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

| April 21, 2020

KID-AM, Idaho Falls Morning Hosts Resign Over COVID-19 Coverage Conflict with Station Owner. The morning drive duo of Neal Larson and Julie Mason resigned from their positions with Rich Broadcasting’s news/talk KID-AM, Idaho Falls yesterday (4/20) after deciding a directive from station owner Richard Mecham about their coverage of the coronavirus pandemic went against their principles.  The East Idaho News reports that at the heart of the disagreement was the duo’s disagreement with Idaho Governor Brad Little’s “stay at home” order.  While Larson and Mason tell the paper they didn’t suggest anyone to break the law, Mason says she told listeners they should “follow your heart and figure what’s right for you and your family because COVID-19 is really situational.”  Mecham tells the paper, “I was trying to understand why you would fly in the face of the governor’s order when so many other stations are doing things to support your clients and listeners.  This is the first time I’ve ever had a conversation with them about what they do and don’t cover.  I’ve always trusted Neal.  I’ve always supported them.  I’ve never critiqued the show, and I’ve always had their back.”

Entercom Adopts Limited Duration Shareholders Rights Plan.  The board of directors of Entercom Communications has voted to adopt a shareholder rights plan – also known as the “poison pill” – to prevent a takeover of the company without consent of the board.  The company explains the move in a press release, “The Board adopted the Plan at this time due to the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on equity market valuations which has led to substantial volatility in the trading of the Company’s stock and a dislocation in Entercom’s share price.  The Plan is similar to those adopted by other publicly held companies and is intended to promote the fair and equal treatment of all shareholders and ensure that the Board remains in the best position to uphold its fiduciary duties to the Company and its shareholders.  The Plan is designed to allow shareholders to realize the long-term value of their investment by guarding against opportunistic efforts to capitalize on recent macroeconomic conditions, including open market accumulations and other strategies, aimed at gaining control of the Company without paying all shareholders a full control premium for their shares.  The Plan provides for the issuance of one preferred stock purchase right for each share of Class A Common Stock and each share of Class B Common Stock held by shareholders of record on May 5, 2020, exercisable for Series A Preferred Stock and Series B Preferred Stock, respectively. Generally, the rights will become exercisable or exchangeable only if a person or group (with the exception of certain existing holders in certain circumstances) acquires 10% or more of the Company’s outstanding Class A Common Stock, or 15% in the case of certain passive investors (including shares synthetically owned pursuant to derivative positions or deemed owned due to specified actions in concert) or announces a tender offer and the consummation of that offer would result in ownership above such percentage-levels.  If the rights become exercisable, the rights will entitle its holder to purchase one one-thousandth of a share of the newly-created Series A and Series B Preferred Stock, as applicable, which, in each case, at the Board’s election, may be converted into shares of Class A and Class B Common Stock, respectively, of the Company.”  The Plan has a one-year duration, expiring April 20, 2021.

Cox Media Group: Local Media Outperforms During Pandemic. According to a study conducted by Cox Media Group, consumers are turning to local radio for information, entertainment, and companionship more than any other media source during the coronavirus pandemic.  The multi-market, online in a wide variety of demographics – ranging from 18 to 54 – and yielded more than 11,000 responses.  CMG says that the study found that one-third of participants are listening to radio more since the coronavirus outbreak.  Since the outbreak, 94% of participants indicated that they have tuned into local radio more than any other streaming service for music, talk, and information, demonstrating that as radio continues to evolve, ‘local’ ranks as one of the most important differentiators.  CMG Radio VP, audience and content Tim Clarke says, “Audience engagement is very strong by any metric you look at.  Listeners depend on our radio brands more than ever for a mix of news, entertainment and a friendly and familiar voice to keep them going during this uncertain time.  They are captive and immersed in our content on all platforms and our top personalities continue to deliver.”

Members of Congress Send President Trump Letter Requesting Aid for Local Media. The letter dated Monday (4/20) is written by Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Bill Flores (R-TX), Marc Veasey (D-TX), and Fred Upton (R-MI) and is signed by more than 240 Members of Congress.  It expresses the notion that people rely on local newspapers, TV, and radio for information and that those entities can’t survive without advertising.  The letter requests the following specific action: “We believe that Executive Branch agencies have a powerful opportunity to support local media and promote public awareness by directing that federal spending on advertising be prioritized for local media outlets.  Specifically, we encourage federal agencies to put into action today already funded campaigns to achieve certain public objectives as well as potential promotions of the economic stimulus programs provided for by the CARES Act and other recent legislation. We urge you to: 1) Direct your Cabinet secretaries to review any resources intended to be used for advertising campaigns and have them expedite such activities with local media outlets; 2) Direct federal agency advertising dollars for existing and new federal programs where community outreach is needed for spending with local media, including those serving minority and rural communities; and 3) Incentivize a portion of stimulus funds provided to businesses for their recovery efforts for advertising on local media.”

Round Four of March PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford.  Nielsen Audio’s March 2020 survey period covered February 27 through March 25.  The intense coronavirus news consumption since the pandemic was declared in mid-March has driven listening to all-news and news/talk radio stations.  Some of those seeing increased weekly, 6+ AQH shares during the March survey include: Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis “Indy’s Mobile News 93.1” adds eight-tenths to finish with an 8.8 share and the #2 rank in the market; in Milwaukee, iHeartMedia  news/talk WISN tacks on six-tenths for a 5.8 share and the #5 rank while Good Karma Brands’ WTMJ also rises six-tenths for a 5.7 share and the #6 rank; Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, Nashville “Super Talk 99.7” is up six-tenths to a 5.3 share and the #6 rank; Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville rises 1.4 shares for an 11.8 finish and the #1 rank; and Entercom’s WTIC-AM, Hartford shoots up a full share to wrap March with a 7.2 share and the #4 rank in the market.  You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from all 48 PPM markets here.

TALKERS News Notes. Milwaukee sports talk outlet WAUK-AM is airing content from SiriusXM’s Doctor Radio channel instead of the ESPN Radio content it usually airs now and for the foreseeable future.  Good Karma Brands vice president and Milwaukee manager Steve Wexler states, “We can’t wait for live sports to resume and for the threat of the coronavirus to subside, but in the meantime, we believe the health and well-being of our community is the top priority, as well as delivering relevant information to our audience.”…..No medium does parody songs better than radio and one such example addressing the coronavirus pandemic comes from Bob Flaherty, morning drive personality at Saga Communications’ WHMP-AM, Northampton, Massachusetts.  Taking on the topic of “herd immunity,” the Flaherty Singers twist a Johnny Cash classic into a parody for our times.  Check it out here…..Cox Media Group’s Tampa Radio stations – including talk WPHT-FM “102.5 The Bone” and its four music brand sisters – raised close to $268,000 for the Metropolitan Ministries via its “Feed It Forward: A Virtual Food Drive” that took place last Thursday (4/16).  The donations will assist families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic…..Beasley Media Group Philadelphia stations, including sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” and its four music-formatted sisters have officially unveiled a line of ‘Philly Stands Together” merchandise to benefit the “PHL COVID-19 FUND.”  The PHL COVID-19 FUND is a joint venture between Philadelphia Foundation and The United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey designed to benefit organizations throughout Philadelphia and surrounding counties in PA and New Jersey to serve the region’s most vulnerable neighbors and to ensure critical resources remain accessible for those with the greatest need…..SiriusXM is presenting coverage of the 2020 NFL Draft that begins on Thursday (4/23).  The SiriusXM NFL Radio channel will carry the live announcements of every selection by every team.  The broadcast will feature Pro Football Hall of Fame member and legendary player personnel executive Gil Brandt; former NFL scout, coach and front-office executive Pat Kirwan; former veteran NFL quarterback Jim Miller; and lead host Jason Horowitz.  Former college coach Rick Neuheisel will join the broadcast team for the Friday and Saturday draft rounds.  All hosts will be broadcasting from their home studios.

COVID-19 Statistics and Projections, Trump vs Governors, ‘Stay at Home’ Protests, Relief Funds Controversy, Oil Prices Crash, GA TN and SC Plan Reopening, Kim Jong Un Status, and Tom Brady Cited in Tampa Park Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/20). The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. and the death toll, plus the projections for future cases and fatalities; the battle between President Trump and the governors of several states over authority to issue directives and the states’ needs for medical assistance; the protests against “stay at home” directives; the controversy over reports that large corporations are receiving relief funds designated for small businesses; the price of oil continues to crater in the absence of demand; Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina’s plans for re-opening immediately; questions about the health status of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un; and Tom Brady is cited for working out in a closed park in Tampa were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. After exiting iHeartMedia’s KWBL, Denver “106.7 The Bull” for a new opportunity, we learn that Brian “B Dub” Washington is taking on afternoon drive show host duties at Hubbard Radio’s KNUC, Seattle “98.9 The Bull.”  He says, “I’m beyond excited to get my family back home to the Northwest and join the team at ’98.9 The Bull’ and Hubbard Seattle.  Can’t wait to make some great radio with Fitz, Wingnut, and the rest of the crew at ‘The Bull,’ as well as work with Scott Mahalick again!  Amazing things to come!”…..Changes take place at Saga Communications’ country WCVL-FM, Charlottesville, Virginia as morning drive host Adam Rondeau and program director and PM drive personality Bryan Shine exit.  Operations manager Les Sinclair takes over station programming duties…..After being off the air since March 31 due to a case of COVID-19, iHeartMedia alternative KTBZ, Houston “94.5 The Buzz” evening jock Karah Leigh returns to the air.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

| June 23, 2016

iHeartMedia Promotes Josh Everett to Louisville-Based Director of Spoken Word Position. Louisville native Josh Everett is coming home to serve as director of spoken word programming for iHeartMedia’s Kentucky-Indiana region.  He’ll take over for the retiring Kelly Carls.  In addition to his broader duties, Everett will whasprogram WHAS, Louisville “NewsRadio 840” – the station at which he got his start as a board operator aftereverettjosh graduating from the University of Louisville.  Everett has been program director for the company’s KHOW and KDSP in Denver.  He’s also previously programmed WLAP, Lexington, Kentucky and WGY and WOFX in Albany.  iHeartMedia Kentucky-Indiana Region president Earl Jones says, “Josh understands the spoken word brands and our listeners’ expectations.”  Kelly Carls and his team have built a strong foundation for WHAS by providing quality news, weather and traffic coverage.  We’re confident that Josh will keep us moving forward and help us reach new listeners with all of our spoken word brands.”

njba16Day Two of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association’s Annual Convention Underway in Atlantic City.  The annual two-day NJBA conference wraps at the end of today.  Speakers taking part in today’s program included TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison who spoke during the Morning Opening Session.  HarrisonhurleyHarrisonNJBA16 addressed the future of radio, spoke about the state of talk radio and the state of music radio as both battle for attention in the rapidly growing audio entertainment space.  He cautioned radio broadcasters to never forget that radio’s greatest strength is the specialness of audio – the ability to create theater of the mind.  He also noted that one of the most important things broadcasters can do is remain vigilant in protection of the First Amendment.  Harrison is pictured here (left) appearing on WPGG, Atlantic City’s morning program with personality Harry Hurley (right).

The Presidential Race, House Gun Legislation ‘Sit-In,’ ‘Brexit’ Vote, Battle Against Islamic State, Orlando Massacre Investigation, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/22).  The activities of the candidates for president, including Donald Trump’s “attack speech” on Hillary Clinton; attempts to take up gun legislation in the U.S. House and the “sit-in” by U.S. Representatives; today’s vote by Britons on whether to leave the European Union or not; the ongoing military campaign to fight Islamic State in the Middle East and the charge domestic authorities face in preventing attacks in the U.S.; the investigation into the motives and actions of Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

cookehollandCooke: Notes from the Connected Mobility Conference.  AM/FM radio’s relationship with the automobile is its lifeline, so any time business professionals are getting together to talk about the state or future of the auto, it’s important to radio.  Consultant Holland Cooke is on the scene in New York at CE Week and yesterday took in the Connected Mobility Conference.  Cooke reports on some of the data and thoughts from industry leaders on the effects of Car-Sharing and Ride-Sharing, as well as a look to the future of autonomous cars.  Read it here.

Day Two of Hold Their Feet to the Fire. Today (6/23) is day two of the “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row in Washington, DC.  This year’s event is the ninth annual one to take place in DC and is organized by FederationdanemeyerKMED for American Immigration Reform.  Some 50 talk show hosts from all over the country are broadcasting their shows and debating immigration policy while interviewing members of congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists and citizens who live along the border.  Just a few of the personalities taking part in this year’s radio row include: Westwood One’s Phil Valentine; Genesis Communications Network’s Mike Siegel; Anne Eller, WCRS, Greenwood, NC; Neal Larson, KID, Idaho Falls; Kevin Miller, KIDO, Boise, and Bill Meyer, KMED, Oregon who is pictured here (left) interviewing FAIR executive director Bob Dane (right).

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