Tag: "Nexstar Media Group"

Thursday, July 2, 2020

| July 2, 2020

COMING THIS WEEKEND:  Independence Day Weekend Edition of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The latest installment of 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, will be posted tomorrow (Friday) afternoon at 3:00 pm ET.  This new episode titled “Self-Evident!” will look back at this past week of June 29-July 3, 2020 in addition to paying tribute to the founding of America.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSVince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media GroupJennifer Horn, talk show host, Salem Media Group / VP, CRN Digital Talk RadioMatthew B. Harrison, law professor, Western New England University / VP Goodphone CommunicationsLincoln Ware, talk show host WDBZ, Cincinnati; Dan Yorke, talk show host, WPRO, Providence; Doug Stephan, talk show host, “DJV Show” / talk show host, “American Family Farmer.” This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; 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;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode (posted Friday 7/3 at 3:00 pm ET),  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.

LiveXLive Closes on PodcastOne Acquisition. The live stream and on-demand platform LiveXLive Media, Inc announces it has closed on its acquisition of PodcastOne. LiveXLive says in a press release, “PodcastOne, which recorded revenue of $27.5 million in calendar 2019, will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of LiveXLive. The acquisition is expected to be accretive and will strengthen LiveXLive’s balance sheet as well as diversifying its business model with a significant advertising component.” PodcastOne’s library includes more than 300 podcasts, including: “The Adam Carolla Show”, “The Big Podcast with Shaquille O’Neal,” A&E’s “Cold Case Files,” “Hotboxin with Mike Tyson,” and more. PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz joins LiveXLive as a significant shareholder and remains executive chairman. Under the terms of the acquisition, LiveXLive acquired 100% of the equity interests of Courtside Group, Inc., the owner and operator of PodcastOne, and issued to stockholders of PodcastOne approximately 5.36 million restricted shares of LiveXLive’s common stock, which are subject to a 12-month lock-up period and certain trading restrictions thereafter.

TALKERS News Notes. Baton Rouge alt-weekly The Advocate reports that Guaranty Broadcasting’s sports talk KNXX-FM “104.5 ESPN” shuffles its programming lineup. Writer Kyle Whitfield says the station breaks up the “Sports Today” duo of Charles Hanagriff and Jimmy Ott with Hanagriff being partnered with former LSU running back Jacob Hester for the new 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm “Hangin’ with Hester and Hanny” show and Ott starting his own “Gametime” program airing from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm…..FOX News announces that after an independent investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace, it has fired “America’s Newsroom” co-anchor Ed Henry. The company sent a memo to staffers written by FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and president and executive editor Jay Wallace explaining Henry’s departure. Henry’s attorney, Catherine Foti, issued a public statement that Henry denies the allegations and “is confident that he will be vindicated after a full hearing in an appropriate forum.”…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that radio producer Carl Amari’s golden age of radio programming is moving from Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM to Salem Media Group’s crosstown WIND-AM. WGN recently announced it is dropping the weekend overnight “WGN Radio Theatre” program. Now, the syndicated “Hollywood 360” – co-hosted by Amari and Lisa Wolf – will air from 8:00 pm to 12:00 midnight on WIND-AM. Salem Chicago RVP and general manager Jeff Reisman says, “We are excited to have ‘Hollywood 360’ and Carl Amari back on AM 560. Carl expertly weaves together a unique mix of content that has continued to attract and entertain listeners for years, and we look forward to welcoming them back.”…..This might fall into the “at least they spelled our name right” category. Daily Herald columnist Jim O’Donnell writes about the state and future of ESPN’s WMPV, Chicago “ESPN 1000” – being operated by Good Karma Brands under the leadership of general manager Mike Thomas. O’Donnell is clearly not impressed with sports talk in Chicago but gives Thomas – who arrived in his home state back in January after leading the programming at Entercom’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” – the opportunity to talk up the changes taking place at WMVP.

‘Mightier 1090’ in San Diego to Use SportsGrid Tech Platform. When the new iteration of talk programming takes to the airwaves of San Diego on XEPRS as “The Mightier 1090” sometime this summer, SportsGrid’s cloud-based automation and live production tools will be used by the station. SportsGrid says its production services will stream the “Mightier 1090” audio feed through a low-latency IP connection from the cloud to the station’s transmitter. Marketing executive Bill Hagen is leading operations of the soon-to-debut station. He says, “I’ve listened to the people and the dream of bringing ‘The Mighty 1090 AM’ back to Southern California has now become a reality. The legendary tradition is back in a Mightier fashion, allowing for carefully thought out, desired programming to once again serve the Southern California region.”

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections/Mask Controversy, Seattle CHOP Ends, Policing in America, Confederate & Colonial-Era Monuments Issue, Russia-Taliban Bounty Report, Facebook Advertiser Boycott, Court Strikes Trump Asylum Order and Vacate Mary Trump Book Restraint, and Status of Sports Leagues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/1). The rise in COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future outbreaks tied with the controversy over the wearing of masks to diminish transmission; the Seattle police clear the CHOP in the aftermath of two killings in the area; the criticism of policing in the U.S.; the movement to remove Confederate and Colonial-era monuments; the report that Russia has been offering bounties to Taliban fighters for killing U.S. servicemen; Facebook deals with an advertiser boycott over its handling of “hate speech” and “misinformation”; a court strikes down the Trump administration’s order denying asylum requests from people from Latin American nations and a court vacates the restraint on Mary Trump’s book; and the status of American sports leagues were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. New York hip hop outlet WWPR “Power 105.1” is presenting “A Celebration of Pop Smoke’s Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon Album Release” starting at midnight tonight (7/3). iHeartMedia’s “Power 105.1” will celebrate the life and works of Pop Smoke by playing songs from Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon at the top of every hour, plus exclusive Pop Smoke interviews with Power 105.1’s Angie Martinez, behind-the-scene photos and performances from Power 105.1’s POWERHOUSE available at Power1051’s website, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, as well as check-ins from 50 Cent, Steven Victor, Lil Tjay, Fivio Foreign, The Breakfast Club and more…..The weekend country radio show “B-Dub Radio Saturday Night” debuts Saturday (7/4) in partnership with its syndication development partner, Skyview Networks. Host Bryan “B-Dub” Washington is throwing a Fourth of July party featuring country radio’s superstar duo LoCash as a special guest to celebrate the show’s re-launch with listeners across the country. The show has added new affiliate stations, including iHeartMedia’s WEBG, Chicago “BIG 95.5,” whose PD Lance Houston says, “B-Dub has added such a great energy to ‘BIG 95.5’ on Saturday nights! If you want your station to sound fun again on Saturday night, while staying true to the format and the sound of country music, then this is the show for you.”…..Programming pro Mike McCoy is named operations manager at Stephens Media Group’s Rochester, New York that includes adult contemporary WRMM-FM “Warm 101.3,” alternative WZNE-FM “94.1 The Zone,” and adult hits WFKL-FM “Fickle 93.3.” He will also program “Warm 101.3” and “Fickle 93.3” SVP of programming Bob Thornton says, “Mike is exactly the kind of person we need in the Rochester market. His relentless pursuit of excellence, leadership qualities and vast experience will take this cluster to new heights.”

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

| June 24, 2020

Former WFAN Star Craig Carton Released from Prison. Former WFAN, New York morning drive personality Craig Carton was granted early release from a federal penitentiary yesterday morning (6/23) after serving a little more than a year of his three-and-a-half-year sentence on a fraud conviction. The New York Post reports that Carton will serve the remainder of his sentence in home confinement or a halfway house. Of course, this gets the speculation going about a return to the WFAN airwaves for Carton and the Post’s Andrew Marchand writes about a possible scenario today. Marchand suggests in his column that while a return to mornings alongside Boomer Esiason is not likely, he can see Carton in afternoons facing ESPN’s crosstown WEPN-FM star Michael Kay. He writes, “Carton has what [current WFAN afternoon hosts] Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts lack — Carton is an entertainer, first and foremost.”

CMG Moves News/Talk WDBO to Translator; Spanish Music Format Airs on 96.5 FM. A series of programming moves by Cox Media Group takes news/talk WDBO off the class C FM signal at 96.5 and returns it to its original AM 580 signal – bumping the ESPN Radio sports format that’s been airing there – and simulcasts WDBO on translator W297BB at 107.3 FM that had been simulcasting urban contemporary WCFB-FM, Daytona Beach. CMG sees a bigger revenue upside to a Spanish-language music format than the news/talk format. CMG Orlando VP and general manager Jason Meder says, “With two dominant TV stations, six radio brands, and various digital platforms, Cox Media Group Orlando delivers the largest audience in Central Florida. This move strengthens our portfolio of radio brands and reflects our commitment to serving the diverse community of audiences and advertisers in the market.”

PPM Analysis: Coronavirus Cume Factor (Part 1). TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian continues his analysis of Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey, today pivoting to the cume for all-news and sports talk stations. As Kinosian notes, when referring to a station’s ratings, AQH share is most often cited. But cume is just as important (if not more), so today he examines the performances of all-news and sports talk stations based on cume. He lays out charts showing cume increases and decreases from the April 2020 survey to the May 2020 survey for both formats. See it all here.

Starnes Media Group to Syndicate New Sunday Show Starring Jennifer Kerns. The new, Sunday talk radio program “All-American Radio with Jennifer Kerns” is launching on KWAM, Memphis this Sunday and will be offered in national syndication via Starnes Media Group. Kerns served as a press secretary for 15 years in blue states and swing states. She served as an appointee of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as well as spokeswoman and communications director for the California Republican Party, the Colorado Recalls (defending the Second Amendment), and the Prop. 8 initiative in California that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Starnes Media Group says the program will feature Kerns delivering conservative commentary and hard-hitting analysis of Sunday morning news shows, political news of the week, and a look ahead at what’s on tap on the campaign trail across America. Todd Starnes adds, “Jen is one of the top conservative writers in America today and her ability to connect the dots for her audience is going to lend itself well to talk radio. She is a champion for conservative causes who has won millions of votes across America. Her unafraid, outspoken, yet down-to-earth style is going to endear her to our listeners in Memphis.” The program airs live at 5:00 pm CT.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WGN-AM evening talk host Ji Suk Yi is leaving the Nexstar Media Group radio station after her July 10 program to become the breaking morning news reporter for the company’s “News Nation” national news startup at WGN America. Though “News Nation” will be a three-hour, nightly newscast, Ji will appear on NewsNationNow.com and its app. WGN-AM general manager Mary Sandberg Boyle states, “‘News Nation’ is a marquee asset for Nexstar and we were thrilled that Ji got this opportunity.”…..The Buffalo NewsAlan Pergament reveals that Buffalo Sabres reporter Paul Hamilton is being let go by Entercom’s sports talk WGR, Buffalo. Hamilton was one of the company’s staffers furloughed at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, Entercom has made his departure from the station’s airwaves permanent. The story notes that a memo from Entercom Buffalo market manager Tim Holly says “these are difficult times that affect us in ways never considered. That being said, I am sorry to announce after a 25+ year career on WGR, Paul Hamilton will no longer be our resource for the Buffalo Sabres and no longer employed at Entercom Buffalo.” The company also lets promotions department staffer Rosemarie Paternostro go in the financially related move…..A new, daily radio feature is being launched by Marketplace and Westwood One. The “Marketplace Minute” is 60-second economic news report – delivered three times daily – produced in Los Angeles by American Public Media and distributed by Westwood One. Westwood One says this partnership “represents the first time a public media entity has partnered with a commercial audio network to distribute a news product in these formats.” Marketplace SVP and general manager Deborah Clark says, “Now more than ever, it’s clear every American needs to understand the economic realities we face. This partnership will help us realize our mission of raising the economic intelligence of the country by bringing new audiences to our storytelling. We’re in a critical time for smart, nonpartisan, solutions-based journalism, and we want to reach audiences where they are. To that end, commercial radio is a logical distribution extension.”…..SiriusXM announces a new, weekend radio program hosted by Stacy Washington that airs Sundays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon on the Patriot channel. Titled, “Stacy on the Right,” the program features the journalist and conservative commentator interviewing politicians and newsmakers. Washington also offers “her views on the week in politics plus the breaking headlines from the busy Sunday morning news cycle.” Washington is an Emmy-nominated TV personality, podcast host, and documentarian, who is already a familiar voice to the Patriot audience as a regular fill-in host on the channel, in addition to her appearances on FOX News, FOX Business, CNN, The Blaze, and PBS.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Bolton and Mary Trump Books, Presidential Race/Primary Elections, BLM Protests/Statue Removals, Second Round of Stimulus, Bubba Wallace Case, MLB to Open July 1 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/23). The rise of confirmed COVID-19 cases in some parts of the U.S. and projections about future cases as the country continues to re-open; the controversy over former national security adviser John Bolton’s The Room Where It Happened book and the White House’s battle to prevent Trump’s niece Mary Trump from publishing her book; the presidential race between Joe Biden and Donald Trump and this week’s primary elections; the Black Lives Matter protests taking place around the country and the removal of Confederate and Colonial-era figures; President Trump’s desire for a second round of stimulus checks; the “noose” case involving NASCAR’s Bubba Wallace; and Major League Baseball’s plans to open camps on July 1 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. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, the morning show at Entercom’s country WUSN-FM – Jason Pullman and Katie Bright – is out. The story indicates that after Bright decided to resign her position to focus “on her personal life,” the company also decided to cut ties with Pullman and will execute a search for a new WUSN morning show. For the time being, midday host Drew Walker will be on air from 7:00 am to 1:00 pm…..A four-part, limited series titled, “Motown Countdown with iHeartRadio’s Angela Yee,” will air on FOXSoul.tv each Tuesday in July at 10:00 pm ET, beginning July 7. iHeartMedia, FOX Soul, and Motown Records announce the partnership. FOX Soul head of programming James DuBose says, “As we continue to grow FOX Soul into the premier destination for black culture content, being able to partner with iHeartMedia and Motown to bring this series to the community is the definition of black excellence and I couldn’t be more excited.” Each 30 minute episode will contain one countdown of the “top 5 current torchbearers” in a specific category. The series premiere will focus on hip hop’s best. The second installment will highlight the most impactful songs to encourage change and revolution. The third will discuss Andre Harrell-inspired hits, and the final will consider Motown songs throughout the decades…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One Nashville is airing “Celebrate the USA,” an annual birthday party for America, over the Fourth of July weekend. CMA and ACM award winner Jon Pardi hosts the show with some of his all-star friends including: Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, Thomas Rhett, Carrie Underwood, among others. The four-hour special will be available for stations to air over the holiday weekend beginning Friday, July 3 through Sunday, July 5…..iHeartMedia CHR WRVW, Nashville “107.5 The River” announces the lineup for its virtual music festival “River Under Your Rooftop” on July 9 that will feature performances from: Lewis Capaldi, Finneas, Jojo, Tones And I, AJR, Olivia O’Brien, Alec Benjamin, and Jxdn, with more performers still to be announced. The event will broadcast live on the @1075theriver Instagram page, with each artist participating in a small virtual meet and greet directly after their performance.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

| June 17, 2020

TALKERS EXCLUSIVE:  A Conversation with Heidi Harris.  As reported in TALKERS yesterday (6/16), KMZQ, Las Vegas morning host Heidi Harris has tested positive for COVID-19.  She told her listeners on the air and via Facebook yesterday that she’s tested positive for COVID-19.  Harris writes that she started with a cough last Thursday and, after getting worse that night, called in sick on Friday. She says she got considerably sicker over the weekend with intense body aches but did not suffer breathing troubles or nausea. She attempted to do her show yesterday from bed via phone.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison conducted a phone interview with Harris yesterday afternoon.  To listen to the entire conversation, please click here.

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on all-news. Kinosian notes that “whereas the highly unusual statistical oddity from the March 2020 sweep in which every news station meeting our ratings criteria managed to post a 6+ improvement, all but two eligible news outlets experienced some degree of erosion in the May 2020 survey period (April 23 – May 20).” Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington (+0.3) and Entercom’s business news WDCH, Baltimore (+0.1) were the two news stations to see weekly, 6+ AQH share gains. However, almost 70% of all-news stations saw their 6+ numbers rise from the May 2019 survey to the May 2020 survey. Just one all-news station – Entercom’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago ranked #1 in May, though three others ranked #2. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Art Bell’s Dark Matter Digital Network Re-Launches. The Dark Matter Digital Network that Art Bell created before his death in April of 2018 is re-launching through the efforts of Bell’s former show producer David Rubini who is now serving as DMDN’s operations director and executive producer. Rubini says that beginning today (6/17 – what would have been Bell’s 75th birthday) affiliates can pick up “Best of Art Bell” in addition to the new “Midnight in the Desert” show hosted by Nathan Stolpman on weeknights, Alexis Brooks on Friday nights, famed author and researcher Mike Bara (Ancient Aliens) on Saturday nights, and Hollywood director and actor Sean Stone (Born On The 4th of July, JFK, The Doors) hosting Sundays. Rubini says, “Dark Matter Digital Network has been intoxicating to many PDs who have a desperate need to find a traditionally unique, time-tested, and reliable programming alternative that can serve them both late nights and overnights. Dark Matter Digital Network and “Midnight in the Desert” fills this void.”

Beverlee Brannigan Exits SVP of Programming Post with SummitMedia. In an announcement via Facebook, radio pro Beverlee Brannigan says she’s left her SVP of programming position at SummitMedia less than six months after accepting the promotion from her previous Wichita market president and general manager position and corporate vice president of radio programming post. She writes, “Friday was my last day with SummitMedia. Business. It happens. Here’s what I don’t want you to say about that: ‘Radio sucks. I’ll never listen to those stations again.’ That’s dumb and mean. Business is hard, and my former colleagues and friends are putting their hearts into making their radio stations the best they can be. So please listen more. And advertise there, because it works… Another thing I’d like is more cat pictures and memes about punctuation and grammar showing up on my timeline. You know where to find me. See you soon.”

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WGN-AM, Chicago is in talks with Garry Meier to take over the afternoon drive daypart on the station after current PM drive host Roe Conn’s contract runs out at the end of this year. Feder says his sources confirm Nexstar Media Group EVP Sean Compton is talking Meier about the move. Meier has been off terrestrial radio since exiting WGN in 2014. He’s been podcasting since 2016. Meier and Conn worked together as “Roe & Garry” on Cumulus Media’s crosstown WLS-AM from 1996 to 2004. Meier left WLS after being unable to come to terms on a new deal…..Nationally syndicated “Free Talk Live” announces two new affiliate stations are adding the show to their program schedules. Missouri Ozarks Radio Network Inc’s KWPM-AM/K286CK, West Plains, Missouri is carrying the “Free Talk Live” Saturday evening show. Dimes Media Corp’s KWWV-HD2/K253BR “K-News 98.5” is adding the Saturday and Sunday programs…..Entercom reports that, according to comScore, RADIO.COM grew its U.S. monthly unique users by 6 million in May 2020 versus May 2019, calling it the “fastest growing digital audio platform in the United States in May.” The company adds that RADIO.COM’s “total monthly active users across (MAU) all platforms is now over 40 million, with strong MAU growth also contributing to the platform’s expanding first-party data set and rapidly growing addressable audio impressions across both streaming and podcast.”…..As reported by The Current, Chicago Public Media announced it has laid off 12 and is ending the production agreement with the music show “Sound Opinions” as a result of the “financial pressures from the pandemic.” “Sound Opinions” is hosted by Chicago-based music critics Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot. The program will continue to air on CPM’s WBEZ-FM, Chicago and its affiliates across the country, but CPM will cease to produce it after August 28…..Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media announces the two companies have laid off more than two dozen employees and have cancelled, “Live from Here,” the national program that evolved out of Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion.” “Live from Here” was hosted by Chris Thile…..The NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers and Estrella Media have struck a deal for Estrella’s KRCA-TV, Los Angeles and KBUE-FM “Que Buena” to serve as the official Spanish-language TV and radio homes of the Los Angeles Chargers.

SiriusXM Acquires Simplecast Platform. The combination of SiriusXM’s newly acquired podcast management platform Simplecast with its monetization platform AdsWizz “creates an end-to-end solution that enables creators to publish and generate revenue from their podcasts, all in one place.” SiriusXM offers no details on the financial aspect of the acquisition but says, “The acquisition expands and strengthens SiriusXM’s and Pandora’s tools and monetization services for podcasters and publishers.”

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Beijing Coronavirus Flareup, BLM Protests/Statues Controversy, Trump’s Police Executive Order, John Bolton Book, Presidential Race/Tulsa Rally, Social Media Censorship, Financial Markets Activity, and China-India Himalayan Battle Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/16). The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., the states with rising and falling numbers, and projections for future cases and deaths; the outbreak of COVID-19 in Beijing; the Black Lives Matter protests, Seattle’s CHOP zone, and the controversy surrounding Confederate and Colonial-era statues; President Trump’s police training executive order; the Trump administration’s suit to prevent former national security adviser John Bolton from publishing his book; the presidential race and President Trump’s planned Tulsa rally; the reactions to Google’s and Facebook’s treatment controversial content and ads; the world’s financial markets react to the pandemic and racial strife; and the battle between China and India over a Himalayan border region were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The weekend country music radio show “Buckwild Saturday Night” – hosted by Bryan “B-Dub” Washington – changes its name to “B-Dub Radio Saturday Night as it transitions to distribution via Skyview Networks. B-Dub says, “I am beyond excited to partner with Skyview Networks for the rebrand into ‘B-Dub Radio Saturday Night.’ The team at Skyview Networks has shared detailed and impressive ideas that will continue growing the show and adding to the listener experience through our amazing affiliates.  I’m thrilled to be part of this new vision!” Skyview Networks president and COO Steve Jones says, “Country radio programmers are constantly seeking partners who offer high-quality content and talent.  B-Dub is the partner for them. With an ability to create a weekly party for his listeners, B-Dub will continue to grow his radio network and offer a smart investment return for his advertisers.”…..Nationally syndicated radio personality Tino Cochino is launching a new podcast titled, “The Aircheck,” in which he sits down with other radio stars from around the country to share stories about radio. Cochino’s recent guests have featured a who’s who of talent, including Bobby Bones, JoJo Wright, Ebro Darden, J-Si Chavez, and more. He says, “I love radio. To me, the personalities are and have always been the stars. The thing is, they’re the ones always doing the interview. No one ever interviews them! That changes now.”

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

| June 10, 2020

iHeartMedia Extends Furloughs for 90 Days. As first reported by Billboard, iHeartMedia announces to staffers that it is extending the companywide furloughs for another three months due to the coronavirus pandemic that has “had a significant impact on advertising revenue.” The company says it will be some time before radio station staffing levels will return to full status. This extended furlough for certain staffers will now last through September.

Pennsylvania Attorney Targets Townsquare Media with Investigation. Bensalem, Pennsylvania attorney Howard G. Smith announces an investigation “on behalf of Townsquare Media, Inc. investors concerning the Company and its officers’ possible violations of federal securities laws” in which he’s seeking qualified clients. This comes a day after the company filed a Form 8-K with the Securities Exchange Commission in which it disclosed that it had discovered an error in projected cash flows that were utilized in its valuation model. As a result, the company is reporting an impairment charge of approximately $39.4 million for its licenses and an impairment charge of approximately $69.0 million for its goodwill. It reported that certain financial statements for fiscal years 2017, 2018 and 2019 should no longer be relied upon and would be restated due to the error. Townsquare says it is “reassessing its previous conclusions regarding the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures. Based on this assessment, the Company expects to report material weaknesses in the Company’s internal controls and therefore conclude that internal controls over financial reporting and disclosure controls are not effective.”  Smith says in a press release that “on this news, the Company’s share price fell $1.20, or nearly 19%, to close at $5.28 per share on June 9, 2020, thereby injuring investors.”

KXL, Portland Promotes Three, Adds On-Air Personality. At Alpha Media’s Portland news/talk KXL “FM News 101,” spoken word content director Bruce Collins announces the promotion of three news team members and the addition of another. Current morning and afternoon drive news and traffic reporter Brett Reckamp moves to the co-anchor chair on the station’s “Portland’s Morning News” program. He’s joined by co-anchor Veronica Carter. Previously, she’s served as West Coast regional news director for iHeartMedia and news anchor/reporter for Entercom’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM and Nexstar Media’s WGN-AM in Chicago. KXL assistant news director Jim Ferretti is promoted to news director and Jeremy Scott is promoted to full-time morning and afternoon drive traffic reporter. Collins says, “It’s awesome to have such a strong staff and be able to promote from within. With the addition of Veronica Carter and the promotion of key personnel, it puts KXL in an extremely strong position.”

WGN-AM, Chicago Adds ‘Sunday Standards with John Williams’ to Weekends. Chicago heritage news/talker WGN-AM adds a second music program to its weekend programming schedule beginning June 21 with the launch of “Sunday Standards with John Williams.” The Nexstar Media Group station says that following the success of “The Sinatra Hours with Dave Plier,” which ranked #2 with adults 25-54, it’s adding the new program hosted by midday talk personality and Great American Songbook aficionado John Williams to air from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm. The show will feature a wide range of artists, including Sammy Davis, Jr., Nat King Cole, and Burt Bacharach, along with more modern artists like Linda Ronstadt, Barry Manilow and Amy Winehouse covering those songs. Williams comments, “Some of the hits we play go back 85 years, others go back 15 years. The music is really nice to listen to, and that’s the idea. I think there’s something really big about WGN Radio, a 50,000-watt AM station, energizing this music all over again – and getting people something they need right now.” Left out of the new Sunday program schedule is “The Sunday Spin: Politics with Rick Pearson” that’s been airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm weekly. WGN general manager Mary Boyle says, “The success of ‘The Sinatra Hours’ has proven there is an appetite for nostalgia. This music is hard to find, and certainly not on free, over-the-air radio. John Williams has a passion for this kind of music, so it’s a natural fit.”

Kevin Wall Takes Over Afternoons on KMZQ, Las Vegas. Talk show host Kevin Wall is joining Kemp Broadcasting’s KMZQ, Las Vegas to handle the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show. The station says that “together with morning drive host Heidi Harris, the addition of ‘Live and Local with Kevin Wall’ gives Las Vegas Valley radio listeners more local talk than any other Vegas radio station.” Wall – who has served with such talk outlets as KFI, Los Angeles and KSFO, San Francisco – was most recently hosting a talk show on Royce International Broadcasting’s KBET, Las Vegas. Prior to that he was the afternoon personality on Entercom’s crosstown KXNT. Kemp EVP Marty Basch says, “Now more than ever with what’s happening in our country and locally, KMZQ will have Las Vegas’ only live and local morning show with Heidi Harris, and now afternoons with Kevin Wall. It’s Las Vegas radio’s ‘Dream Team,’”

Bob Adams Exits Saga’s Portland Station Group. According to a story in the Portland Press Herald, Bob Adams has exited his general manager role at the Portland cluster of Saga Communications stations that includes news/talk WGAN-AM and seven music brands. The paper says that a memo sent to station staffers from SVP of operations Chris Forgy and Saga president and CEO Ed Christian indicated the reason for Adams’ departure was the need for a “more defined growth pattern” and that “a change was necessary.” The company expects to name a new general manager within the next few days. Adams’ exit comes after a number of high-profile air talent were recently laid off, including WGAN-AM talk host Ken Altshuler and music programmer and jock Randi Kirshbaum.

Round Two of May PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s May 2020 survey period covered April 23 – May 20. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets and he reports that a number of all-news and news/talk stations that saw their weekly, 6+ AQH shares go up in April as a result of coverage of the coronavirus pandemic are starting to see those numbers fall. Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM, Washington dropped seven-tenths to a 9.3 share but stays in the #1 position in the market. Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM, Washington adds three-tenths and climbs into the #2 spot. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston gives up a half share to finish May at a 4.8 share and the #6 rank. Sister all-news WBZ-AM also forfeits a half share for a 5.9 share finish and the #4 rank. Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle bucks the trend, adding three-tenths to wrap the May survey with a 7.2 share and the #1 rank. Meanwhile, Entercom’s all-news WWJ, Detroit drops seven-tenths to a 5.7 share and falls into the #2 rank in the Motor City. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reports that the status of ESPN Radio personality Trey Wingo is up in the air as the sports media giant mulls its options. He currently co-hosts the morning drive show with Mike Golic. Marchand says ESPN is “reshaping its radio and NFL presentations” and with Wingo’s contract up, it’s not clear what his status with ESPN is. He says the company would like Keyshawn Johnson – who’s currently heard on O&O KSPN, Los Angeles – and Max Kellerman on its national radio platform. Johnson’s contract is up at the end of the summer…..Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR-AM/FM, San Francisco announces it raised more than $100,000 for Bay Area hunger relief partnering with Giving in Motion for last week’s fund drive. The money raised will provide more than 6,500 family meals, plus 1,300 bags of school supplies and household essentials to Bay Area residents impacted by COVID-19. The KNBR staff will deliver the meals to people in need at specific locations in San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland and Walnut Creek…..Cox Media Group Tulsa announces that it has helped its community partners raise more than $2 million in the first half of 2020. The cluster – including news/talk KRMG-FM, four music brands and three TV signals – says that figure does not include non-monetary fundraising efforts it has pushed through its channels. The cluster partnered with the Community Food Bank to collect more than 774 pounds of food for its annual Spread the Love campaign, collected 220 pints of blood through a drive with the Oklahoma Blood Institute, and diverted more than 93 tons of recyclable items from the dump through the inaugural Big Spring Clean. CMG Tulsa market VP Cathy Gunther says, “During times of great uncertainty, like now, people rely more than ever on the support of community partners to help them get through. This is why we have not only upheld our commitments to our current partners but have gone a step further and added a number of new events to try and help our partners jump-start donations to serve more people who are now reliant upon them.”

George Floyd Funeral/Protests, Police Reform, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Presidential Race, Georgia Election Problems, Russia Probe Review, Financial Markets Activity, MLB Negotiations/NFL Racism Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/9). The funeral of Minneapolis police violence victim George Floyd and the ongoing protests taking place across the country; the calls for the reforming and de-funding of police departments; the rising and falling of confirmed COVID-19 cases as states continue the re-opening process; the November presidential election; the troubles Georgia faced holding efficient voting on Tuesday; the review of the Russia probe being led by John Durham; the world’s financial markets react to the coronavirus pandemic and U.S. unrest; and the negotiations between the MLB’s players and the league and the state of racism in the NFL were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at ‘Expert Guests.’ Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a weekly basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV, and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that includes an expert on how to generate lost revenue due to COVID-19 via online marketing, an author who writes about Islamic matters, and an expert on finance who puts the race-oriented protests, demonstrations, and riots into perspective from an economic standpoint – plus a whole lot more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Seattle classic hits outlet KJR-FM “95.7 The Jet” announces the debut of its new morning show, “95.7 The Jet Mornings with Jodi & Bender.” The iHeartMedia station notes that Bender previously served as a morning host on its KBKS “106.1 KISS FM” where he “became one of the most impactful on-air personalities in the Seattle region.” Jodi has served with KJR-FM since 2011. iHeartMedia Seattle market president Robert Dove says, “Putting Jodi and Bender together gives ‘95.7 The Jet’ a dynamic morning show that will be entertaining and provide civic values to our great city of Seattle. Whether it’s Seafair or Seattle Children’s Hospital, Jodi, Bender, and KJR will be there to shine a light on the good things happening in the Emerald City.”…..iHeartMedia announces that Mark Manuel is the new program director for classic rock KCQQ, Quad Cities. He’s been serving the station as APD and webmaster. He says, “I’m really grateful for the opportunity. After chasing a morning host dream for two decades, I found that I really enjoyed the programming aspect of radio for the past five years. I especially want to thank iHeartMedia for believing in me and giving me this opportunity. I’m happy to continue to be part of the team for years to come.”

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

| June 9, 2020

Round One of May PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey have been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s May 2020 survey period covered April 23 – May 20. You can see all the 6+ data from subscribing stations here. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from this group of markets and so far, it appears the weekly, 6+ AQH shares for news/talk stations has leveled off after enjoying ratings spikes during the April survey. In New York, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOR went from a 3.0 share in April to a 2.6 share in May. In Los Angeles, iHM news/talk KFI dropped nine-tenths to finish May with a 4.6 share and the #2 rank in the market. Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM, Chicago forfeits four-tenths for a 5.2 share but remains in the #3 slot. Entercom all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago loses 1.4 shares but stays at #1 with a 7.0 share. In San Francisco, Entercom’s KCBS-AM gives back 1.4 shares for an 8.5 share finish and the #2 rank. Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta relinquishes 2.8 shares but stays in the #1 spot for the 11th straight sweep. In the New Jersey market of Middlesex-Somerset-Union, Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” adds one-tenth to finish May with a 6.8 share and the #3 rank in the market. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways report here.

New Podcast from Pollster Scott Rasmussen Debuts on Just the News. The Just the News multiplatform news network announces a new, daily podcast called “Number of the Day” from pollster, political analyst, and author Scott Rasmussen.  The “Number of the Day” has been a long-running feature at Rasmussen’s Ballotpedia.org that now becomes the newest show on the Just the News podcast platform. Just the News founder John Solomon says, “Scott has been conducting our widely quoted daily poll and now he will give our listeners a podcast that makes sense of the numbers that define what Americans are thinking. He is one of the most respected barometers of American sentiment. The context and insights he brings to politics are a must-listen opportunity as we head into the 2020 fall election.” Ron Hartenbaum is managing member of Crossover Media Group, which handles ad sales for Just the News as well as produces, sells and distributes audio and video programming for the platform. He says, “Scott has earned his place among America’s premier pollsters and political analysts. He gets it right more often than most and his insights can be essential to understanding the 2020 races.” The podcast will be published each morning at 8:00 am ET.

BLM Protests, De-Fund Police Movement/Police Reform, U.S. in Recession, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Prince Andrew & Jeffrey Epstein Case, and Fate of MLB Season Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/8). The Black Lives Matter protests taking place across the country; the movement in several cities to de-fund police departments and New York’s discussion about reforming its police department; economists determine the U.S. officially entered a recession in February; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and concerns about rising numbers in the wake of re-openings and protest activities; the U.S. Justice Department’s interest in Prince Andrew in connection with the case of the late Jeffrey Epstein who was charged with sex trafficking; and the fate of the 2020 baseball season as players and the league continue to negotiate were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. There’s a new content deal between FOX News Media and SiriusXM to report. FOX News Audio president John Sylvester announces that all of FOX News Podcasts’ original programming is now available to Pandora users across all tiers of the service. Also, the daily news digest “The FOX News Rundown” is now airing weekday mornings on SiriusXM’s Patriot channel. Sylvester says, “We are thrilled to expand our longstanding partnership, ensuring SiriusXM and Pandora’s combined over 100 million listeners continued access to our cutting-edge news coverage, as well as our best-in-class lifestyle and opinion programming.”…..iHeartMedia’s Milwaukee sports talker WRNW-FM “97.3 The Game” adds a new, Saturday evening show called, “On Your T’s and Q’s,” co-hosted by Milwaukee natives, Grady “Trey” Crosby III and Quinton “Q” Miller. Each Saturday evening from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm the duo will share their intense and passionate views on a variety of sports and discuss a multitude of topics within the Milwaukee community and worldwide…..According to May 2020 data from the London-based financial publication Learnbonds.com, just 10 podcast publishers accounted for 893.78 million streams and downloads. in May 2020. Learnbonds says, “iHeartRadio podcasts attracted the highest downloads and streams at 216.15 million, followed by NPR with 208.92 million. Among the top 10 podcast publishers, iHeartRadio and NPR accounted for 47.6% of the streams and downloads. In the third spot, there is New York Times podcasts which attracted 130.28 million streams and downloads. In the fourth spot, there is PRX which had 82.87 million streams and downloads while Barstool Sports closed the top five categories with 55.46 million streams.” Learnbonds says other publishers with top podcast streams and downloads include Wondery (53.64 million), NBC News (41.97 million), Cumulus/Westwood One (37.74 million), WNYC Studios (35.91 million) and Kast Media (30.74 million)…..SportsGrid announces its 24/7 linear video gaming network is launching on The Roku Channel. SportsGrid says its live video original programming will be available to Roku users “delivering insightful analysis with extensive team, player, pre- and post-game data and statistical intelligence. SportsGrid features a team of experienced anchors and analysts providing the network’s comprehensive signature programming coverage including “Ferrall Coast to Coast” hosted by Scott Ferrall, “Game Time Decisions” with Gabe Morency and “In-Game Live.”…..Beasley Media Group Philadelphia announces details about the Beasley Small Business Advertising Grant Program presented by PECO in which the company is giving away $250,000 in advertising grants to businesses located in the Philadelphia Metropolitan market. A total of five $10,000 advertising grants per Philadelphia station will be awarded. The stations include: country WXTU-FM, rock WMMR-FM, adult hits WBEN-FM, sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic,” and classic rock WMGK-FM and the initiative takes place June 8 – 21. A total of five $10,000 advertising grants will be awarded per station. Interested local businesses are encouraged to submit a 300-word essay on why they should be chosen to receive the advertising grant. Consideration will be based upon the company’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as community service, business culture, and employee loyalty.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Nate Reed is promoted to operations director for Cox Media Group’s Tampa station group. Reed has been serving as director of branding and programming for adult contemporary outlets WDUV “105.5 The Dove” and WWRM “Magic 94.9,” roles he will continue. His new position also gives him programming oversight for CHR WPOI “Hot 101.5,” classic hits WXGL “107.3 The Eagle,” and talk WHPT “102.5 The Bone.” CMG Tampa VP and market manager Keith Lawless says, “Nate is a brilliant programmer, thoughtful leader, and an all-around great person. The entire CMG Tampa team is fortunate to have Nate leading the future of our content.”…..The Wichita Eagle reports that SummitMedia’s country KFDI, Wichita laid off staffers recently and among the casualties are midday host, APD and music director Carol Hughes and assignment editor Wil Day. Former KFDI news director Dan Dillon is quoted by the paper saying, “I have never seen a better ambassador for that radio station than Carol Hughes. Listeners loved her. Her contacts in the country music industry were unbelievable. They still are.”…..Beasley Media Group announces rock WDHA-FM, Dover, New Jersey air personality Curtis Kay has died after a three-and-a-half-year battle with lung cancer. Kay had been with the New Jersey rock station for 40 years. He launched his radio career in 1980 when he was hired by Howard Stern at WRNW in Westchester, New York. Beasley Media New Jersey SVP and regional market manager Dan Finn says, “Besides being an enormous and passionate talent, Curtis was the salt of the earth. He was such a kind person with an incredible disposition. I’m proud to have had the honor to work with him.”…..As the state of Connecticut continues to adjust guidelines related to graduation, Connoisseur Media’s rock WPLR, New Haven is helping one area high school with its graduation ceremony. Tomorrow (6/10) at 5:00 pm, the station will stop regular programming and air, commercial free, the full graduation ceremony of Amity Regional High School. The school is too big to comply with the state’s social distancing guidelines for an in-person graduation ceremony. Connoisseur VP of programming Keith Dakin says, “We have felt incredibly bad for our local high school seniors and we thought this was a great way to honor them. They won’t be able to walk across the graduation stage, but they will be able to hear their name over 50,000 watts throughout the state. Who else can say that?”

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

| May 27, 2020

Rush Limbaugh Addresses Cancer Battle on Radio Show; Third Wave ‘Kicking My Ass.’ Since being diagnosed with advanced lung cancer back in January, Premiere Networks talk radio legend Rush Limbaugh has not spoken regularly about his battle with the disease as he says he “vowed not to be a cancer patient on the radio.” But he opened his Tuesday show explaining that he felt his listeners were overdue for an update. “There have been many cycles, but this is the third wave, and this current wave, I have to tell you, is kicking my ass. For the last seven days, I have been virtually worthless, virtually useless. I haven’t left the house. I haven’t done much of anything except just try to rest and relax. All of this was told to me; it was gonna be a factor.” If you missed it you can read a transcript at Limbaugh’s website here.

Holiday Weekend Re-Opening, Statistics & Projections, George Floyd Death/Amy Cooper Incident, Trump Twitter Controversy, Presidential Race, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/26). Americans react to the re-opening of economies in states across the country; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, the death toll and the projections for future cases; the death of African-American George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police and the protests that followed, tied with the case of white New Yorker Amy Cooper who called the police on a black man for asking that she leash her dog; President Trump’s tweet alleging that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough killed a woman who died in the then-congressman’s office; the November presidential elections; and the world’s financial markets begin the week on a bullish note were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Westwood One: Drop AM/FM Advertising at Your Own Risk. In this week’s Westwood One blog, the company reveals the results of a case study of a new brand that, after two years of a radio campaign that helped it compete with two established brands, dropped radio and doubled down on TV. You can probably see where this is going as WWO calls this a “cautionary tale.” Westwood One says the Nielsen analysis indicated that TV skews much too old for the consumer category. The brand’s category users are mostly made up of adults 18-49 (73%). When the brand left AM/FM radio for television, campaign impressions skewed much older. Only 36% of the TV impressions were 18-49. The vast majority of TV deliveries (64%) occurred over the age of 50. WWO adds that the demographic imbalance of the TV plan also extended to key targets for the brand. Compared to heavy TV viewers, heavy AM/FM radio listeners are far more likely to be members of the brand’s frequent shopper club, have access to their distribution platform, and are much more likely to be heavy category users. Additionally, dropping AM/FM radio in 2019 caused erosion in awareness, weekly usage, brand consideration, and AM/FM radio ad recall. After strong growth from 2017 to 2018, association to brand attributes stagnated from 2018 to 2019. Finally, dropping AM/FM radio also caused major damage among heavy AM/FM radio listeners. Brand equity suffered greatly down the entire purchase funnel with double-digit losses. See more from the blog here.

Shadoe Stevens Delivers Innovative Podcast Series, ‘MentalRadio.’  Legendary LA-based radio personality and multimedia icon Shadoe Stevens has launched a 10-episode series of 30-minute podcasts collectively titled, “MentalRadio.”  TALKERS founder Michael Harrison describes the podcast series as “one of the coolest audio media extravaganzas to come down the pike since the golden age of radio theater. It’s a rich listening experience.”  Stevens, tells TALKERS, “‘MentalRadio’ is subversive optimism disguised as comedy – each episode is a scripted, 30 minutes of highly produced, immersive audio theater. It’s SNL-style sketches, original music and jingles, and features parodies of everything from conspiracy theories to breaking news and pop culture.”  Stevens adds, “‘MentalRadio’ uses humor, entertainment, and real solutions to try to shift a listener’s mental state away from doubt and gloom and toward optimism and hope, to feel better whether they want to or not.”  Stevens has an extraordinary media background that goes back for decades.  He was an innovative programmer who played a major role in the establishment of iconic LA rock stations KMET and KROQ, hosted “American Top 40” following Casey Kasem, served as announcer and personality on a number of network television game shows and talk shows in addition to appearing as an actor in several major TV series and motion pictures.  To learn more about “MentalRadio,” please click here.

TALKERS News Notes. A piece published in the Pittsburgh alt-weekly CityPaper takes a critical look at the programming on Entercom’s news/talk KDKA-AM. Citing some former and current staffers – all anonymously – writer Ryan Deto explores what he concludes has been a concerted effort to become more aggressively hard right on the part of its talk hosts, specifically late morning host Marty Griffin and afternoon drive personality Wendy Bell…..Nexstar Media Group is producing a COVID-19 special that will air on Thursday from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm from WGN-TV, Chicago and be simulcast on eight other Nexstar TV stations across Illinois as well as on WGN-AM. The program is called “Illinois Town Hall: Responding to COVID-19” and is being hosted by WGN-TV news anchors Tahman Bradley and Julie Unruh along with political analyst Paul Lisnek. Nexstar president Tim Busch says, “Illinois residents interested in hearing about the impact of the pandemic and who want to express their concerns and ask questions regarding the re-opening of the state’s economy can rely on Nexstar’s dedication to local content to provide them the latest news and a connection to their government and community leaders.”…..ABC NewsDan Harris interviewed His Holiness the Dalai Lama for the “Ten Percent Happier” podcast. In it, the Dalai Lama says that while self-isolating for COVID-19, he watches “1 hour or 2 hours” of television, he “sometimes is reading” and he’ll do a daily online meditation for “4 or 5 hours.” The interview will also be broadcast on “Nightline” tomorrow night (5/28), will appear on streaming news channel ABC News Live later this week as well as on “GMA Weekend.”…..AdLarge Media announces it is extending its ad sales agreement for Ashley Flowers’ true crime podcast “Crime Junkie.” The podcast is getting more than 31 million downloads a month.  Adlarge is also lending its support to further grow Flowers’ audiochuck Network with four new shows, all executive produced by Flowers…..The San Jose Spotlight reports that longtime San Jose broadcaster Bob Kieve died on Sunday (5/24) at the age of 98. Kieve owned and operated KLIV-AM since 1967 and served as president of Empire Broadcasting, which also owns country KRTY-FM. Kieve took KLIV-AM dark in 2019 after being unable to sell the station.

NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at “Expert Guests.” Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a weekly basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that include an investigative reporter with inside information about China and COVID-19; an expert on everything you need to know about attending graduate school; a fascinating futurist; an expert on honestly and openly coming to terms with discussing and dealing with death – and more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. New York radio pro Richard Neer posts this piece about the coming 50th anniversary of WLIR-FM, Long Island’s transition to a progressive rock format on June 30, 1970. Neer – author of the 2001 book, FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (Villard) – says he’ll post more pieces on the station as the June 30 date draws closer. The station, long a cultural mecca for teens growing up on Long Island during the station’s rock heyday, is now owned by Univision and plays a Spanish hits format under the new calls WQBU-FM…..In Denver, Max Media re-brands CHR KFCO as “HOT 107.1.” The station made the change prior to the start of the holiday weekend and went commercial free for the three days. Vice president of programming and operations Rick Thomas says, “Our desire is to accurately reflect the musical passion of the marketplace. To that end, we have simply expanded our approach allowing listeners to enjoy a wider variety of rhythmic hit music, re-branding as ‘HOT 107.1,’ Denver’s New Hit Music.’”…..Hall Communications moves midday personality Courtney Kelley to morning drive alongside Brian Mulhern on country WCTK, Providence “Cat Country 98.1.” She takes over for Madelyn Grimaldi who exited the radio biz. Station PD Bob Walker says, “Courtney has been with us since 2013. As long as I have known her, she has wanted to host a morning show. We are beyond excited to have her living out that dream every morning on ‘Cat Country.’”…..Hubbard Radio’s country KNUC-FM, Seattle “98.9 The Bull” awarded 10 listeners the opportunity to take part in a Friday evening Zoom Pizza Party with country star Brad Paisley and “98.9 The Bull” morning host Fitz. Paisley hung out on the Zoom party for more than 45 minutes answering questions, having a quick awkward sing-a-long of his new release, “There’s No I In Beer,” and sharing the amazing scenery of his ranch, including a close encounter with a hawk! The station made arrangements to have pizza delivered to all 10 winners, prior to the 4:30 pm Zoom Party.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

| May 12, 2020

Cumulus Media Reports Net Revenue Decrease of 14.8% in Q1. Reporting financial data for the first quarter of 2020, Cumulus Media’s net revenue was $227.9 million, a decrease of 14.8% compared to Q1 of 2019. After reporting a profit of $451,000 in 2019, Cumulus ends Q1 2020 with a net loss of $7.4 million. Adjusted EBITDA was $27.7 million, a decrease of 33.7% from the first quarter of last year. On a same station basis, net revenue was $226.5 million, a decrease of 11.2%. On the positive side, digital revenue was up 30% to $21.8 million. But spot revenue was down 12.6% and network revenue was down 22.9%. Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner states, “Regardless of the challenge, the Cumulus team has focused acutely on what matters most, moved decisively where it will make a difference, and executed every effort efficiently and with an eye toward creating value. Our reaction to this unprecedented COVID-19 crisis has been no different. We entered March with strong financial performance, a favorable capital structure and significant liquidity, and we’ve taken swift actions that we believe will help us weather the adverse impacts of the pandemic. Over the past few years, we have made meaningful shifts, both culturally and strategically, expanding from our on-air radio foundation to become a multi-platform audio-first media company, delivering premium content to over a quarter billion listeners each month whenever and however they want it. With our robust portfolio of broadcast, digital, mobile and voice-activated media solutions and integrated digital marketing services, we are very well-positioned to provide advertisers with the personal connections, local impact and massive national reach that will help them quickly reconnect with their customers as the crisis wanes.”

Michael Harrison Says the White House Is Now Obsolete.  TALKERS founder Michael Harrison says it is “insane” that no one is questioning the wisdom of continuing to use the White House as the office center for the administration’s upper management while they bemoan the fact that the architecture is dangerously out of step with the perils of COVID-19 transmission.  Harrison floated the concept on the latest installment of his podcast while musing with WHP afternoon drive host Ken Matthews about administration officials and employees suddenly testing positive for the virus. According to Harrison, “One of the many things that the coronavirus is exposing as being out of synch with the new reality is the quaint notion that the West Wing is a viable venue in which administration brass should operate.”  Harrison continues, “Okay, so we learn that the offices in which West Wing workers are squeezed are remarkably tiny and cramped.  So, what should we do?   Get them out of there as quickly as possible!  Surely the government has enough resources to find a modern office building in which the West Wing can be relocated so the administration upper management can stretch out in a workable facility. Perhaps the Executive Office Building can be a temporary space… I’m not sure.  But I do know they should also move the steerage-level White House press quarters into a more modern and healthier environment.  This should be done immediately.  Let the White House be a residence and a museum.  As far as I can tell, the West Wing is obsolete.”

Round One of April PPM Ratings Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 PPM survey have been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Long Island (Nassau-Suffolk), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 survey period covered March 26 – April 22. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to bring listeners to all-news and news/talk formatted stations. In New York, iHeartMedia’s WOR adds 1.1 shares to wrap the April survey with a 3.0 share. Entercom’s all-news WINS tacks on another full share to finish with a 5.7 share and the #3 rank in the market. iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles rises 1.3 shares for a 5.5 share and the #1 rank (its first #1 since March of 2011). Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM, Chicago adds another 1.1 share to finish April with a 5.6 share and the #3 rank, while Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM adds seven-tenths for an 8.4 share and its third straight #1 finish. Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco stays steady with a 9.9 share to remain at #1. Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta tacks on another full share for a 13.9 share and its 10th straight #1 finish. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian has much more ratings analysis for you. Read his Ratings Takeaways here.

Brian Kilmeade to Celebrate Paperback Edition Publication Via KRMG, Tulsa. Nationally syndicated radio personality and FOX News Channel “Fox & Friends” morning host Brian Kilmeade is launching the paperback edition of his book Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers via a virtual release party today with affiliate station KRMG, Tulsa and local seller Magic City Books. Dan Potter is the morning host at the Cox Media Group station, and he’ll facilitate the virtual event and allow participants to ask Kilmeade questions. Participants will have access to an online room and will receive a paperback version of Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers as part of their registration fee. Kilmeade’s radio show is syndicated by FOX News Radio and KRMG director of programming and branding Levi May states, “Brian is one of our most popular syndicated hosts and we are always so honored when he chooses KRMG to partner with him when he comes to Oklahoma.” Kilmeade came to Tulsa in November 2019 and broadcast his national show from the KRMG Performance Center when the hardcover book was originally released.

David Wood Promoted to VP of Programming for Emmis Indy. Programming pro David Wood rises from director of programming at Emmis Communications Indianapolis to vice president of programming. The 10-year Emmis veteran works with the program directors of Emmis-Indianapolis’ sports talk WFNI-AM “The Fan,” adult contemporary WYXB-FM “B105.7,” WLHK-FM “Hank FM,” and he’ll continue to serve as the head programmer for news/talk WIBC-FM and Network Indiana. Emmis Indianapolis SVP Bob Richards states, “David’s experience building legendary brands and coaching world-class talent is second to none. This promotion is well deserved recognition for the amazing work he has been doing leading our programming teams for the past 10-plus years.”

Statistics and Projections, States Begin Re-Opening, COVID-19 at the White House, Michael Flynn Case, Presidential Election/Biden Allegation, and Sports Leagues Plan Re-Opening Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/11). The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the number of deaths, and projections about future infections; the re-opening begins in numerous states across the country; the presence of confirmed cases among White House staffers; the DOJ drops the Michael Flynn case and allegations of the Obama administration’s role in implicating Flynn; the November presidential election and the allegation of sexual assault against Joe Biden; and MLB’s and the NFL’s plans to play games this year were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. This past weekend, Premiere Networks-syndicated personalities George Noory, host of “Coast to Coast AM” and sports talk host Colin Cowherd, host of “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” appeared together on Cowherd’s Saturday podcast in which he often talks about issues outside the realm of sports. Noory chatted with Cowherd about the mysterious Navy pilot videos recently declassified by the Pentagon, the conspiracy theories around the origins of COVID-19, the unsolved case of the 1971 D.B. Cooper airplane hijacking, and more.  The two also traded stories about their personal experiences with UFOs…..Cumulus Media’s Dallas sports talker KTCK-AM/FM “Sportsradio 96.7 & 1310 The Ticket” adds several FOX Sports Radio programs to its weeknight and weekend roster. “The Jason Smith Show with Mike Harmon” and “The Ben Maller Show” are being added to the weekend program schedule along with various other FSR weekend programs…..ADX Communications’ news/talk WNRP-AM/W222BR “News Radio 92.3” is honored with five First Place awards from the Florida Association of Broadcast Journalists for coverage of the December 6 shooting at NAS Pensacola. The station won Best Radio Newscast (anchored by Mark Jacobs); Breaking News; Continuing Coverage; Team Coverage; and News Anchor/Anchor Team led by Andrew McKay…..Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington, DC was honored with six Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards today by the Radio Television Digital News Association. The station was recognized in the Overall Excellence category for the 9th time in the past 11 years for its coverage of the D.C. region on WTOP and WTOP.com. WTOP also received recognition in the Best Newscast category for coverage of the July 2019 severe floods in the DC region. Individual WTOP reporters were honored as follows: Feature Report: Mike Murillo – “Answering the Call”; Hard News Report: Megan Cloherty & Dave Dildine – “Rock Creek Rescue”; Podcast: Megan Cloherty & Jack Moore – “22 Hours: An American Nightmare”; and Excellence in Social Media: Tiffany Arnold and WTOP Staff…..Rhode Island talk radio host John DePetro wrote lyrics to a parody of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” about life in the time of coronavirus in the Ocean State. It was performed by local artists Nick Gosselin and Cat Carrick in a video produced by DePetro that you can see here…..Due to the uncertain economic environment as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Salem Media Group announces it is temporarily suspending the regular quarterly cash dividend on its common stock. The company will re-assess the dividend suspension throughout the year, in light of facts and circumstances at that time, whether and when to reinstate the dividend.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro Colleen Carew is the new morning drive host at Shamrock Communications’ classic rock WZBA “100.7 The Bay,” taking over for Stash, a.k.a., Steve Ash, who recently exited. Carew was most recently PD at triple A WOCM, Ocean City, Maryland “Ocean 98.”…..Condolences to the family and friends of San Diego radio personality Steve West who passed away recently at age 68 after a long battle with cancer. Prior to his passing, he’d been handling weekend duties at Entercom’s alternative KBZT, San Diego “ALT 94.9.”…..In celebration of National Nurses Week, Brooke Fox (pictured below, at right), of Hubbard Radio’s CHR KQMV, Seattle “MOViN 92.5” and Famous Dave’s BBQ delivered food and beverages to the nursing and medical staff at Harborview Medical Center yesterday (5/11). Brooke, co-host of the syndicated “Brooke & Jeffery” show, says, “Thank you to all of the amazing nurses, doctors and medical staff. We are so proud of every member of our medical community who have gone above and beyond to keep our community safe during this time.”

Thursday, March 19, 2020

| March 19, 2020

WGN, Chicago Parts Company with Evening Personality Justin Kaufmann.  As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, evening talk host Justin Kaufmann leaves Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM after the company elected not to renew his contract.  Kaufmann joined WGN in 2015 after spending 21 years as a show producer at Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM.  Feder says his sources expect Ji Suk Yi to move from her position as host of the “Wintrust Business Lunch” noontime program to host of the evening show.  Since Nexstar took over operation of the station from Tribune Media, on-air changes have included the exit of morning host Steve Cochran – replaced by Bob Sirott – and midday duo Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder – whose former daypart was filled with a combination of the move of John Williams’ show to late mornings and Anna Davlantes leaving the Roe Conn afternoon drive show to host her own early afternoon program.

WNIR-FM, Akron Host Jim Isabella Out with Coronavirus. According to a report at CantonRep.com, WNIR, Akron evening talk show host Jim Isabella is off the air after contracting COVID-19.  Isabella tells the news organization he had flu-like symptoms last week and was hospitalized for pneumonia.  It was there he was tested for coronavirus and two days later learned the test was positive. He’s quoted saying, “Obey what the people are telling you.  I don’t know where the hell I got it.  You have to be smart… this is not a drill.”  Isabella says he has a cough and a rattle in his chest that makes it hard to talk for very long.

The Coronavirus Pandemic, Financial Markets Activity/Recession Fears, Coronavirus Relief Package, and Democratic Primary/Presidential Race, Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/18).  The status of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S and across the globe; the world’s financial markets endure another sell-off on Wednesday and economists express fear of a global recession as a result of the coronavirus; the coronavirus relief package and potential stimulus packages being considered by the Trump administration; and Joe Biden’s growing lead over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary race were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Round Three of Nielsen’s February PPM’s Posted. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2020 PPM survey is released for 12 markets, including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus.  The February PPM survey covered January 30 through February 26.  You can see all the weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian posts his Ratings Takeaways from the second round.  Positive movement from these markets include: Cumulus Media’s WMAL-FM, Washington adds four-tenths to finish the ratings period at a 7.3 share and the #3 rank in the market; Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington also added four tenths to wrap the month at a 7.8 share and tied for the #1 rank; Entercom’s all-news WWJ, Detroit tacks a half share onto January’s four-tenths to finish the February survey at a 4.8 share and the #6 rank; iHeartMedia’s conservative talk KDFD, Denver “Freedom 93.7” adds another three-tenths, posting a 3.6 share and the #13 rank; and Hearst’s WBAL, Baltimore puts another half share on top of seven consecutive ratings gains for a 4.4 share and the #8 rank in the market.  See all of Mike Kinosian’s Takeaways here.

New York Festivals Radio Awards Announces 2020 Finalists. The 2020 New York Festivals Radio Awards International Grand Jury has selected the finalists in this year’s competition.  All finalists move on to the medal round of judging.  New York Festivals Radio Awards will announce the 2020 award winners on Tuesday, April 21.  The Grand Jury selected the finalists based on the following criteria: production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity, and use of the medium. New York Festivals says prominent broadcasters that took the lead include: RTÉ Ireland, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBS News Radio, and Radio New Zealand. You can see the complete list of finalists here. Meanwhile, other U.S. broadcasters of note to make the medal round include: in the Podcast category – “30 for 30 Podcasts: Season 6,” ESPN Films, “Amy Schumer Presents: 3 Girls, 1 Keith” Spotify; “Dolly Parton’s America,” OSM Audio/ WNYC Studios; and “Sleepwalkers,” iHeartMedia.  In the Breaking News, Feature and Investigative categories: “75th Anniversary of D-Day,” Westwood One; “Protests Grip Hong Kong,” Bloomberg LP; “CBS World News Roundup” and “Notre Dame,” CBS News Radio.

TALKERS News Notes. The New Jersey Broadcasters Association announces it is canceling this year’s Annual Conference & Gala, originally scheduled for June 16 and 17 in Atlantic City.  President and CEO Paul Rotella says, “That’s not something we wanted to do, because we enjoy that event and we were very much looking forward to it.  Like you, we treasure the opportunity to shine a spotlight on our magnificent industry, especially this year when we were going to celebrate the century of service provided by broadcasters.  But our number-one priority at this time is health and safety, and the CDC’s guidelines make clear that gatherings over 50 people should be avoided for at least the next eight weeks, and of course that makes our planning futile. (It was going to be great too!) But, the show will go on my friends, if not this year, then next year.”…..John FredericksDisruptor Media LLC buys WNTW-AM, Chester, Virginia and translator W224EB, Chester at 92.7 FM in the Richmond market from Nancy A. Epperson’s Delmarva Educational Association for $240,000.  This pair will become part of the John Fredericks Radio Network based at his WJFN-FM, Goochland, Virginia…..Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois-based Big Radio is creating an online directory connecting consumers with the innovative ways that local businesses are continuing to serve them during the COVID-19 emergency.  The directory provides information on local restaurants, retailers, and other businesses that are offering services while still complying with the health emergency directives.  Listings are updated on a regular basis and are being provided free of charge to businesses in the Big Radio family of stations coverage area.  Big Radio co-owner Ben Thompson says, “Local businesses are the biggest supporters of our community and we wanted to find a way to help them publicize changes in their operations so that community residents could lend a hand by continuing to shop local.”  Big Radio is the business brand of Scott and Ben Thompson who own 10 stations and other businesses throughout Wisconsin and Illinois.

KMZQ, Las Vegas Morning Host Heidi Harris Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Although every corner of the nation and world have been hit hard by the coronavirus, Las Vegas has been particularly impacted due to the preponderance of hospitality and travel-oriented industries that make the market tick.  KMZQ, Las Vegas morning host Heidi Harris is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Harris, a 22-year veteran of Las Vegas broadcasting, and Harrison take a conversational deep dive into the coronavirus-era machinations of the “gig economy” as well as state of the convention, travel, hospitality, and gambling industries in a fascinating, fast-paced program with lots of takeaways.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the New York market Mediaco Holdings appoints Jonathan Bates vice president of brand partnerships for hip hop WQHT “Hot 97” and urban contemporary WBLS.  Bates has been serving as executive vice president for The Shadow League, a “website dedicated to presenting journalistically sound sports coverage through the lens of culture.”  Mediaco SVP of revenue Victor Giacomelli says, “Jonathan is an exceptional digital sales and marketing leader whose 20 years of digital experience will enable us to accelerate opportunities for clients to benefit from the wide array of authentic ‘Hot 97’ digital content opportunities.  Jonathan is expected to recruit a team of multicultural digital marketing specialists to partner with clients on a variety of ‘Hot 97’ digital and social opportunities.”…..iHeartMedia’s WXKS-FM, Boston “Kiss 108” is presenting a Billie Eilish experience this evening to offer fans who would have attended Eilish’s canceled concert in town tonight (3/19).  At 7:30 pm, the station will play Eilish’s music, interview clips, and listeners sharing their Billie thoughts and stories.  Station PD Dylan Sprague states, “Since her show at the Garden has been postponed, it’s the best way for fans to join together in our love for Billie Eilish.  If we were at the show, we’d be all singing these songs together.  Why not belt ‘em out at home?”

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

| March 18, 2020

iHeartMedia to Operate KFMB-AM, San Diego in Aftermath of Tegna-Local Media San Diego Deal. The sale of San Diego stations adult hits KFMB-FM and news/talk KFMB-FM from Tegna to Local Media San Diego for $5 million closed yesterday (3/17).  Immediately, LMSD and iHeartMedia revealed a deal in which the latter will operate KFMB-AM under a local marketing agreement.  The station began airing a simulcast of iHeartMedia’s news/talk KOGO-AM, San Diego.  iHeartMedia expects to file an asset purchase agreement with the FCC this week and new programming should launch on the signal this week as well.  Tegna acquired the two radio stations as part of its acquisition of KFMB-TV and KFMB-D2 from Midwest Television in 2018.  That deal was for $325 million.  Tegna continues to operate sports talk WBNS-AM/FM, Columbus as its only radio properties.

TALKERS TIP: The Communist Chinese Connection to the Coronavirus Story Will Remain and Grow as a Major News/Talk Media Issue Going Forward. Although public and media attention is now focused on the immediate and practical challenges being presented by the coronavirus crisis – the breaking story about U.S. journalists from The New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal being ousted from reporting on China from within its mainland borders underscores the consistent repression of news by the Communist government in Beijing.  Those who follow U.S.-China relations know this has been the case for many years.  Since entering into a relationship with The Epoch Times last spring co-producing a series of Talk Media Forums on U.S.-China Relations, TALKERS has found the unique news agency to be an excellent source of truthful information pertaining to issues having to do with China… in this case, the origins and historic context of Covid-19.  The Epoch Times was founded in the United States in 2000 in response to communist repression and censorship in China. Its founders, Chinese-Americans who themselves had fled communism, sought to create an independent media to bring the world uncensored and truthful information to overcome the propagandistic untruths flowing from Beijing including the imprisonment and torture of journalists reporting narratives counter to their official party line and the horrific persecution of those seeking religious freedom such as the hundreds of thousands of Chinese practicing the meditation-oriented spiritual movement, Falun Gong (portrayed by the CCP as a dangerous “cult”).  Since its founding, The Epoch Times has received numerous awards for its reporting and design from the New York Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the Society for News Design, and more.  The Epoch Times media network currently covers 21 languages and 33 countries.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “It is sadly ironic that most of the world’s information about China comes from the official narrative being put forth by the CCP and not a free and open press and includes hit pieces on publications and news agencies such as The Epoch Times that dare to stand up to their distortions.  The Epoch Times has proven to be a critical resource for news/talk media hosts seeking to obtain truthful insights into all things China – which covers a wide range of material in today’s dialogue.  Their investigative reporters are compelling and informative guests who are truly plugged into the front-line sources.  The Epoch Times is proving to be a gift to talk show hosts seeking to stay ahead of the curve on U.S.-China relations and related domestic and international issues.”  Right now, at TALKERS’ suggestion, The Epoch Times is granting full access to its website and firewalls to talk show hosts and news reporters.  To sign up, please click here.  To book timely guests from The Epoch Times to discuss the coronavirus and the Communist Chinese connection to politics and American interests, call Victoria Jones at the DC Radio Company at 202-227-7067.

WFNZ-AM, Charlotte PD Tony DiGiacomo Exits.  Sports talk radio programmer Tony DiGiacomo exited his role as program director at Entercom’s WFNZ-AM, Charlotte last week after his contract was not renewed.  DiGiacomo tells TALKERS magazine that the station had experienced recent ratings growth in both the Men 18-34 and Men 25-54 demos.  The company is handing WFNZ PD duties to operations manager Darrin Ariens.  DiGiacomo says, “It was an honor to be part of WFNZ, working with some of the best talent in the business, and help the station become an important part of the Charlotte sports community.  I want to thank Matt Hanlon, Darrin Ariens, and Entercom for the privilege of programming the radio station the past three years.  I wish them and my former teammates all the best moving forward and look forward to the next chapter in my sports media career.”  DiGiacomo has spent the last 23 years in the sports radio industry, the last 10-plus with WFNZ.  Reach him at digiac22@gmail.com.

First Two Rounds of Nielsen Audio’s February PPM Ratings Released.  The first two rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s February PPM survey have been released for 24 markets: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Long Island (Nassau-Suffolk), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey), Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis-St. Paul, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis.  The February 2020 survey period was January 30 through February 26.  See all the weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Takeaways from the first round of 12 markets.  Some positive ratings moves of note: iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles adds a half share to finish the month with a 3.8 share and the #7 rank in the market; Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago adds four-tenths to wrap the survey period with a 5.8 share and the #1 rank; and Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta adds 1.4 shares to post an 11.4 share for its eighth straight #1 finish.  See all of Mike Kinosian’s Takeaways here.

SRN’s Mike Gallagher Broadcasts from Home. Pictured above is Salem Radio Network talk show host Mike Gallagher broadcasting from the (extremely clean) kitchen of his Florida condo.  Noting that NBC TV’s “TODAY Show” host Savannah Guthrie is broadcasting from her basement, Gallagher tells TALKERS, “Following guidelines and directives from President Trump, I’m happy to hunker down in my kitchen for the foreseeable future.  Today’s radio technology makes it so easy it seems like a no-brainer for all of us in talk radio.”

Working from Home Made Easier. Nationally syndicated talk show host Walter Sterling (pictured above in his home “studio”) offers some tips for broadcasting from home.  With so many who may never have done it before now in the position of doing their radio shows from home, you might take a few tips from someone who’s been doing it for the past seven years.  The good news is you don’t need to spend a ton of cash to get a “studio sound” from some remote corner of your house.  Walter himself prefers the laundry room.  Read his advice here.

Bridgett Knupp to Lead iHeartMedia in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Sales pro Bridgett Knupp is promoted from senior vice president of sales for the iHeartMedia Harrisonburg operations to market president.  The cluster includes news/talk WKCY-AM and five music brands.  Area president for iHeartMedia Virginia community markets Chuck Peterson says, “I am excited to have Bridgett begin her new role as the leader of our Harrisonburg and Staunton group of station brands.  She is already known and respected in the local business community through her previous roles with iHeartMedia Harrisonburg.  She has a proven track record of sales leadership and is outstanding in the area of digital advertising.”  Knupp began her career with iHeartMedia as an account executive in 2001.

The Coronavirus Pandemic, Trump Seeks Stimulus, Markets Activity/Recession Fears, Democratic Primaries/Presidential Race, China to Expel U.S. Journalists, Putin Power Grab Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/17). The status of the COVID-19 pandemic; President Trump’s plan for a fiscal stimulus package including cash for all Americans; the activity in the world’s financial markets and economists fears of a global recession; Joe Biden’s Tuesday victories over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary; China’s move to expel U.S. journalists in retaliation for Trump’s limit on Chinese state journalists; and Vladimir Putin’s move to alter the Russian constitution to allow him to remain in power were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder wonders in today’s “Robservations” column, “What’s up with the new echo effect on WGN 720-AM?”  Feder says the Nexstar Media Group news/talk station has added a reverb to its audio chain like you’d hear on a classic oldies station, as well as some retro station jingles.  WGN general manager Mary Sandberg Boyle tells him, “As a stand-alone on the AM dial, we are committed to delivering the best audio quality.  The use of reverb showcases our 24/7 local content in an enhanced, dynamic way to our listeners.”…..In an effort to provide some relief to basketball fans suffering from the cancellation of this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, Westwood One is re-airing 15 classic games from tournament history.  The three-week run of games begins tomorrow night (3/19) at 8:00 pm ET with the 1979 NCAA championship game between Michigan State and Indiana State, which featured Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.  At halftime, Westwood One will air an interview with Johnson and Bird discussing the game and their long rivalry. The special series will conclude with an encore presentation of last year’s NCAA championship game between Virginia and Texas Tech on Monday, April 6 at 8:00 pm ET…..Public news/talk WGBH, Boston is launching a new, nightly news program titled “In It Together,” hosted by executive editor and host Arun Rath and dedicated to the news of the day about the COVID-019 pandemic.  WGBH general manager Phil Redo says, “In a time of great uncertainty, we want to offer listeners the information and analysis they need to navigate a rapidly changing world.  We know that our programs provide regularity to the upended lives of our audiences.  We’re hoping this new offering builds a sense of community as we face the challenges of this pandemic.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A major move takes place in Los Angeles as Entercom fires the “Kevin in the Morning” show on alternative KROQ and replaces it with afternoon duo Stryker (below, left) and Kevin Klein (below, right).  Megan Holiday moves from evenings to afternoons and the station is searching for a new night personality.  Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “We thank Kevin [Ryder] for his many years of dedication, comedy, and entertainment, alongside Bean, that helped build KROQ into the iconic station it is today.  ‘Stryker and Klein’ have an engaged and loyal fanbase and we look forward to ushering in the future of mornings with them on the ‘World Famous KROQ.’”  Also let go by the station are morning co-hosts Allie MacKay and Jensen Karp…..Max Media announces that programmer Eddie Haskell is joining its Norfolk-Virginia Beach stations as vice president of operations and programming.  In this position, he’ll also serve as brand manager and afternoon drive personality at country WGH “97.3 The Eagle.”  Haskell was most recently SVP of programming for iHeartMedia Fort Collins…..Townsquare Media announces that adult hits WSHK, Portsmouth, New Hampshire “The Shark” brand manager Sarah Sullivan is promoted to operations manager for the cluster.  She’ll retain her WSHK duties.  Also, sister country WOKQ midday personality and assistant brand manager Jess Tyler is upped to PD for the station.  Senior vice president of programming Kurt Johnson says, “We love to recognize and elevate great local performers and these are two of the best.  Sarah and Jess have delivered outstanding results in their positions and are more than qualified and deserving of these promotions.”…..Due to public health and safety concerns, and in accordance with The University of Pennsylvania guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Philadelphia public triple A WXPN-FM has postponed its “NON-COMMvention 2020,” the annual gathering of triple A radio and music professionals that was scheduled to take place May 12-15, 2020 at WXPN and World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.  No decision has yet been made regarding a new schedule.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

| February 19, 2020

Round One of January PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2020 PPM survey was released for 12 markets, including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s January 2020 survey period covered January 2-29.  Coming off the previous Holiday survey during which Christmas music listening alters usual audience media habits, some spoken-word stations gain lost ground in weekly, 6+ AQH share.  In New York, Entercom’s sports talk WFAN-AM/FM adds five-tenths to finish January with a 3.1 share and the #12 rank, while ESPN’s WEPN-FM gets six-tenths back to post a 2.1 share and the #19 rank.  iHeartMedia news/talk KFI, Los Angeles gains seven-tenths for a 3.3 share and the #9 rank in the market.  Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM, Chicago adds eight-tenths to finish January with a 3.8 share and the #8 rank.  iHeartMedia’s KTRH, Houston finishes its sixth survey without setback by adding eight-tenths to finish January with a 5.4 share and the #5 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 here.

Conservative Talker Steve Malzberg to Host Weekly RT America Show. Talk host Steve Malzberg is joining cable’s RT America to host the weekly media commentary program, “Eat the Press,” set to debut Friday (2/21) at 6:30 ET (with repeat broadcasts Sundays at 10:30 AM).  Malzberg says, “I have been highlighting media bias to my audiences for years.  Some of it is blatant.  Some is less obvious, and some is actually revealed by what the media is not telling you at all.  With “Eat the Press,” I relish, pun intended, the opportunity I’ve been given by RT America to make this important issue my focus.  Stay hungry, because ‘Eat The Press’ will have a lot to offer each week.”  Malzberg has hosted radio talk shows at WABC and WOR in New York (and in national syndication).  He’s hosted his own show on Newsmax TV and served as a commentator on FOX News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, and RT America.

Entercom to Sell WAAF-FM, Boston to EMF for $10.75 Million. The latest major market FM signal to be acquired by religious broadcaster Educational Media Foundation is Entercom’s rock WAAF-FM, Boston.  The price tag is $10.75 million in cash and EMP will begin operating the 107.3 FM frequency under a network affiliation agreement beginning Saturday (2/22).  The WAAF transmitter is in Westborough, Massachusetts and covers the central and eastern portions of the state, including the Worcester market.  Entercom states in a press release that it will continue to air the WAAF format on WWBX-HD2 104.1 FM and WEEI-HD2 93.7 FM and via RADIO.COM.  Entercom says it expects the deal to close in the second quarter of this year.

Jimmy Farrell Promoted to Director of Sales for CMG Jacksonville. Sales and management pro Jimmy Farrell is moving from his general sales manager post at Cox Media Group’s Orlando cluster to the company’s Jacksonville operations where he’ll be director of sales.  CMG’s Jacksonville cluster includes news/talk WKOV-FM “News 104.5.” sports talk WOKV-AM, plus five music brands.  CMG Jacksonville vice president and general manager Katie Reid says, “We are pleased and proud to promote Jimmy to this new position.  His entrepreneurial approach, high-impact leadership style, deep understanding of both the marketplace and Cox Media Group’s offerings has served him well, enabling him to exceed sales goals by complementing his customers’ brands and business objectives with CMG station content solutions that meet their objectives.”

Nolan Murphy Named NSM for Good Karma Brands.  Sales pro Nolan Murphy is promoted from his marketing consultant post at Good Karma Brands’ Milwaukee operations to national sales manager for the company’s Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison, Cleveland, and West Palm Beach station groups.  Sports talk WMVP-AM, Chicago director of sales David Scharf says, “Nolan’s skillset and attitude makes him the perfect national sales manager.  His knowledge of Good Karma Brands’ assets sets us up to win partnerships quickly, while also planning and preparing us to win long term.  His solutions-based approach and solid work ethic will help us develop the national division of Good Karma Brands.”

Georgia Student Chosen for Mentorship Program. Sophomore Georgia College and State University student Jonathan O’Brien has been chosen as the first quarter mentee in the Benztown Mentorship Program.  The program is being sponsored by Benztown in conjunction with the National Radio Talent System and O’Brien is the third student from the NRTS to take part in the mentorship program.  O’Brien – who attended the GAB Radio Talent Institute at the University of Georgia last summer – handles news duties on his college radio station, WGUR-FM, Milledgeville, Georgia and is passionate about radio news.  He will be mentored by Jennifer Seelig – director of news and programming at Entercom’s all-news KCBS-AM/KFRC-FM, San Francisco – during O’Brien’s Benztown-sponsored trip to the Bay Area March 15-17.  She will also mentor O’Brien virtually throughout the spring academic semester.  Benztown president Dave “Chachi” Denes says, “If Jonathan O’Brien is any indication of the future of our industry, we’re in great shape.  We are so pleased to be able to provide this opportunity with the assistance of our friends at the National Radio Talent System and the incredible Jennifer Seelig and KCBS.”

Oakland A’s to Be Heard Online Only in Oakland.  In a first for the MLB club, this season’s radio play-by-play of Oakland Athletics baseball will only be heard
streaming online in the Oakland market.  Affiliate radio stations will still broadcast games over the air but fans in the Bay Area will hear games via its TuneIn channel, “A’s Cast”.  The team’s games were heard on Salem Media Group’s news/talk KTRB-AM, San Francisco “860 AM The Answer” last season.  Oakland A’s president Dave Kaval says, “We really listened to our fans and saw the success with ‘A’s Cast.’  We’re doing an incredible job getting people excited about baseball and the content. Partnering with TuneIn and having a semi-exclusive platform; we think it made a lot of sense and sets the example.”

Presidential Race, Trump Grants Clemency, Stone Sentencing/Barr Criticism, Coronavirus Pandemic, Weinstein Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/18). The Democrats battling to challenge President Trump in November and tonight’s Las Vegas debate; President Trump issues a number of high-profile pardons and clemencies; the controversy over the Justice Department’s change in sentencing recommendation for Trump adviser Roger Stone and the related criticism of Attorney General William Barr; the status of the covid-19 coronavirus and its effects on the Chinese economy; and the trial of former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein on sexual assault charges 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. Gone is the business talk format on Cumulus Media’s KTBL-AM Albuquerque and now the station – along with FM translator K233CG – becomes rock as “94.5 The Pit/KTBL, Albuquerque’s New Choice for Rock.”  The station flipped airing Metallica’s “Master of Puppets.”  Cumulus Albuquerque vice president and market manager Jeff Berry says, “We are thrilled to provide ABQ and the surrounding areas with an exciting new rock station.  ‘The Pit’ will provide fans with current rock artists like Shinedown and Disturbed, laced with 90s and 2000s mega bands such as Metallica and Foo Fighters.  It will be a game changer for ABQ rock fanatics and our clients.”…..In Detroit, Cumulus Media’s country WDRQ rebranded from its “NASH FM 93.1” moniker to “New Country 93.1” and replaced the syndicated “Ty Bentli Show” with the local “Electric Barnyard with Broadway & Krissy.”  Bill “Broadway” Bert moves from afternoons to partner with Krissy T, who recently exited iHeartMedia’s crosstown CHR WKQI “Channel 95.5.”  Station PD Lance Tidwell takes over the afternoon drive show.

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