Tag: "Nick Verbitsky"

Thursday, August 8, 2019

| August 8, 2019

Cumulus Media Q2 Assessment: “Making Great Progress.”  According to second-quarter results, Cumulus Media’s net revenue fell 2% year-to-year to $279.6 million from $285.2 million in 2018. Net income was down to $42.9 million, owing mostly to a net corporate loss, offsetting gains on the radio group side. Adjusted EBITDA was down 6.8% to $61.8 million. President and chief executive officer Mary Berner comments, “We continued to make great progress against the goals we set when we emerged from bankruptcy a little over a year ago. We delivered a solid financial performance, with same-station revenue and Adjusted EBITDA up 1.8% and 3.7%, respectively, on an ex-political basis, driven by continued growth in national and network revenue, as well as industry-leading digital growth. We have now closed several strategic portfolio optimization transactions and announced one more. The $146.5 million of gross proceeds from the closed transactions, along with cash from operations, allowed us to prepay $165 million of debt since our last earnings announcement. [That reduces] our total post-bankruptcy debt by approximately $250 million. Given the results of the past year, I am more confident than ever that the company will continue to deliver significant value to our investors, employees, listeners, and advertisers.”

Media-Savvy McAfee Adds Daily Syndicated Radio Show. Definitively proving there is life in the media after being an eight-year Indianapolis Colts punter, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) analyst Pat McAfee will host a daily sports talk show syndicated by Cumulus Media’s Westwood One and streamed on the DAZN video network. The program will air weekdays from 10:00 am -12:00 noon (ET), starting in just over four weeks (9/9). Among the 40 stations already clearing “The Pat McAfee Show” are Cumulus Media’s San Mateo-licensed KTCT, which simulcasts KNBR, San Francisco; and Cumulus Media Indianapolis’ WXNT “CBS Sports 1430 AM.” In addition, 2017 – 2018 Barstool podcaster McAfee recently signed a deal to serve as a college football analyst for ESPN. Last year, he did similar NFL duties at Fox Sports. As part of his DAZN arrangement, the 32-year old McAfee will appear on its nightly MLB “Changeup” show and will create football segments for the video network’s outlets in Canada and Germany.

Stayin’ Classy: “The Ron Burgundy Podcast” Returns. California Senator/Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris is the guest on the season two opener of iHeartRadio’s hilarious, tongue-in-cheek “The Ron Burgundy Podcast,” co-produced with Funny Or Die. Channeling his Ron Burgundy persona and remaining completely in character, Will Ferrell emphatically states, “My podcast, quite simply, can only be described as a raging success. I’ll admit that when I first started in this rodeo, it was my first rodeo, and I had no idea what a podcast even was. But through diligent research and persistence, I quickly climbed my way up to the top. Now, it is not my first rodeo – it is literally, my second rodeo. Word on the street is that I am already the best rodeo rider that has ever lived … and podcaster, too. This is a fact, folks.” According to iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne, “When Ron first started trying to force us to make this podcast with him, we resisted, as it’s clear he’s an unhinged man; however, people are actually listening. I have no idea why. Doubly baffling, and for reasons beyond my grasp, they actually want more. Seriously? We have to go through this whole thing again? Fine. Season two. Whatever.” The podcast’s initial season debuted with 12 episodes in December 2018. In addition to Senator Harris, Ron Burgundy’s guests this season will include actress Brooke Shields, historian/political commentator Doris Kearns Goodwin, and feminist activist Gloria Steinem. Approximately 270 iHeartMedia broadcast stations in virtually every format are scheduling Sunday Night Podcasts, which begins this Sunday (8/11) with “The Ron Burgundy Podcast.” Sunday Night Podcasts is part of iHeartMedia’s “Podcast, Meet Broadcast” initiative that utilizes the company’s consumer reach to introduce the rapidly growing podcast sector to iHeartMedia’s quarter of a billion monthly broadcast listeners. A much more serious Byrne states, “We’re thrilled to bring some of the world’s best and most popular podcasts to our broadcast listeners every Sunday. We are uniquely able to provide the scale critical to introducing podcasts to the millions of Americans who aren’t yet familiar with them. Research shows that more than two-thirds of the population still are not dedicated podcast listeners – many have never even heard a podcast. Sunday Night Podcasts will help introduce different audio series from a variety of genres to a whole new audience.” In October 2017, Mark Ramsey’s “Inside Psycho” aired as a one-hour special on more than 70 iHeartMedia news/talk outlets. Episodes of “Family Secrets” and “Monster: The Zodiac Killer” aired on iHeartMedia stations before they were available anywhere else.

WFAN Splits Simulcast For Certain Yankees, Giants Games. When your station is the flagship of two major sports franchises, it helps to have two signals to accommodate scheduling conflicts. Entercom New York’s sports talk simulcast of WFAN-AM & WFAN-FM will take advantage of that situation three times this month and four times next month: WFAN is the flagship of both the (MLB) Yankees and (NFL) Giants. When both teams are playing on the same date, the Giants will shift to WFAN-AM (660), while the Yankees will continue on WFAN-FM (101.9). Senior vice president of Entercom New York Mark Chernoff explains, “August marks the beginning of another exciting start to football season and WFAN remains at the forefront of New York Giants coverage while remaining the home for New York Yankees baseball. Splitting the WFAN signal will allow the station to super serve fans of both iconic teams.” August dates involved for the simulcast split are tonight, Thursday, 8/8 (Giants-Jets/Yankees-Blue Jays); the 16th (Giants-Bears/Yankees-Indians); and the 22nd (Giants-Bengals/Yankees-A’s). In September, the simulcast will be suspended on the 8th (Giants-Cowboys/Yankees-Red Sox); 15th (Giants-Bills/Yankees-Blue Jays); 22nd (Giants-Buccaneers/Yankees-Blue Jays); and 29th (Giants-Redskins/Yankees-Rangers).

United Stations Names Janoff Chief Revenue Officer. In that role, Greg Janoff will oversee all of United Stations Radio Networks’ advertising sales efforts. USRN chair/chief executive officer Nick Verbitsky comments, “We are beyond thrilled that we now have Greg Janoff overseeing our revenue streams. Greg is passionate about our medium, knows radio inside and out, and will absolutely be a tremendous asset for our company. The next decade is around the corner and we have landed the right executive to lead our current successes forward into the future.” For the past 24 years, Janoff has held several upper management posts in New York City for Entercom and the former CBS Radio. His titles there have included vice president and general manager for all-news WINS; vice president and director of sales for WINS, co-owned all-news WCBS-AM and sports talk sibling WFAN “The Fan”; and station manager for WINS. As Townsquare Media’s regional vice president, Janoff was in charge of the company’s Michigan and New Jersey markets for three years, following two years as executive vice president of revenue for Merlin Media’s five stations in New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Janoff succeeds Jim Higgins, who exited USRN last week.

iHeart Set To Debut Podcasts in Native Languages. By the first quarter of next year, iHeartMedia will translate/distribute a number of its podcasts around the world, marking what it says is “a significant step in internationally available, regionally targeted content for the podcast industry.” According to iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne, “Our goal is to deliver exceptional content to listeners anywhere and everywhere in the way they’d like to hear it. By expanding some of our most popular podcast content into new languages, we see a major opportunity to introduce podcast listening at scale to whole new audiences abroad. What has always set podcasting apart is the engagement of the audiences – the ‘superfans.’ It makes sense to engage international audiences further and to super-serve them with content in their own languages to build their relationship with the content.” In the first round, the iHeartPodcast Network will translate six podcasts series into the most- spoken languages in the world. To be made available in Spanish, Hindi, Portuguese, French, German and other languages will be “Stuff You Should Know,” “Stuff You Missed in History Class, “Stuff Mom Never Taught You,” “Stuff To Blow Your Mind,” “BrainStuff,” and “TeachStuff.” Through these new translations, iHeartPodcasts will be available in the native language of more than a billion people worldwide.

TALKERS News Notes. In a South Carolina cluster that includes news/talk WGTK “94.5 The Answer,” Salem Media Group Greenville-Spartanburg appoints Pat Kelley general manager. Salem Media Group regional vice president Val Carolin comments, “I have known Pat for many, many years and am excited to have a person of such high character and ability leading the terrific team in ‘The Upstate.’ Pat is a strong leader, and a person of great integrity, creativity, and skill. He will drive our operation to greater success and will be a true asset to Salem as a whole.” Kelly, who began his new duties earlier this week, adds, “I am thrilled to be leading the charge in upstate South Carolina as part of Salem Media’s local market leadership team. Great things are ahead.” Kelley spent over 25 years in Chicago and has held management positions for iHeartMedia, Townsquare Media, and Viacom Media …..Affiliates of Fox News Radio’s five-minute news service will be able to download two, one-hour Labor Day weekend specials in three weeks (8/28). Jessica Rosenthal-hosted “Securing America: Cyber Threats,” looks at data theft and manipulation from personal information to elections, while “The Wise Guys: A Fox Nation Special” features Bill Bennett, Gordon Chang, Charles Hurt, Mark Penn, and Solomon Wisenberg in a multi-topic roundtable discussion.  

New Installment Posted of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The recently launched, one-hour weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” produced by Goodphone Communications that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  The new episode titled, “Infestation and Other Fighting Words!,” looks back at this past week of July 29 – August 2, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Gary Sutton, host, WSBA, York, PA; Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore; Scott Masteller, program director, WBAL, Baltimore; Graham Mack, program director, Fix Radio, London, UK; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.   The news/talk media show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as a recap and exclamation mark for the week-in-review as well as several other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA. Hosted by Michael Harrison, this excellent show is now being made available as a service to terrestrial news/talk stations from TALKERS for on-air or online presentation on a market-exclusive basis.  For information call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Veteran programmer Rob Roberts is named director of branding and programming for Cox Media Group San Antonio classic hits-oldies KONO “101.1 San Antonio’s Greatest Hits” and hot AC KSMG “Magic 105.3 Today’s Best Music.” Cox Media Group San Antonio director of operations Jeff Garrison comments, “Rob is an experienced broadcast professional with a proven track record for achieving great success for high-performing brands. His vision and leadership will be key to the future of KONO and KSMG. We are excited to add his talents to the CMG San Antonio team and welcome him back to the great state of Texas.” Vice president of audience and content Tim Clarke notes, “Rob is one of the industry’s great programmers; I am so thrilled he is now on our San Antonio team. We will benefit greatly from his experience and leadership.” Roberts adds, “I’m excited for the opportunity to become part of the Cox Media Group team in a city I love. It’s the job I’ve always wanted – programming two highly-rated legacy stations is a dream come true.” Most recently, Roberts was vice president of programming for Cumulus Media Washington, DC hot AC WRQX, which – on May 31 – flipped to contemporary Christian under new owners Educational Media Foundation. Elsewhere in his 27-year radio career, he has programmed Dallas hot AC KDMX; Atlanta CHR WWWQ “Q-99.7”; Miami CHR WHYI “Y-100”; and Denver classic hits-oldies KXKL “Kool 105.” ….. The nine-year tenure of Entercom Washington, DC vice president of programming Steve Davis will come to an end on October 4. That’s when he will leave the cluster where he programs rhythmic CHR WPGC and classic hits-oldies WIAD “94.7 The Drive.” ….. One week from today (Thursday, 8/15), Carrie Neuman will take over afternoon drive duties at Towson University triple A WTMD, Baltimore. WTMD general manager/program director Scott Mullins comments, “Carrie has a lifelong passion for music, and she brings the excitement and enthusiasm of a fan who can’t wait to share new music discoveries with her friends. She is energetic, knowledgeable, fun to listen to and will be a great asset to WTMD.” Neuman notes, “I am more than just thrilled to be coming to Baltimore. I humbly join a legendary, music-centric staff that prides itself on discovering and sharing an unprecedented array of music. I am honored for the opportunity to work at WTMD. It’s the musical heartbeat of the city I so love.” Neuman formerly did mid-days at Annapolis, Maryland’s similarly-formatted WRNR ….. Speaking of Empire Broadcasting System triple A WRNR, Jeff Boden is appointed president/general manager there. Empire president Steve Kingston states, “Jeff has an extensive background in station management and sales. He spent many years working for ABC, Citadel, and then Cumulus Media in positions ranging from sales manager, director of sales, and president/general manager of [Cumulus Media Washington, DC news/talk] WMAL and [its then hot AC cluster-mate] WRQX. He most recently was president of Delmarva Broadcasting, which owned stations in Wilmington [Delaware] and other markets in the region. Much to our benefit, Delmarva was recently sold to Forever Broadcasting, allowing Jeff to bring his vast knowledge and experience of the business, his winning track record, and winning strategies to WRNR.” ….. Elsewhere in Maryland, college student Hunter Landon joins Adams Radio Group of Delmarva (Salisbury-Ocean City) as news director. Adams Radio vice president and general manager Lisa Layne comments, “Once again, we have struck gold with the addition of Hunter Landon. The news format will be timely, local, and live across all our brands. I am thrilled to add Hunter to the ‘dream team.’” Landon adds, “As a lifelong Delmarva resident, it is a career highlight to be running the newsroom for a first-class radio operation like Adams Radio of Delmarva. I am ecstatic to be delivering the news to the people of Delmarva on radio and digital for the market’s best stations and launching a fresh and revamped news department focused on the local community.” Working on a degree in broadcast journalism, Landon formerly was a reporter for WGMD “News Radio,” Lewes (Delaware). Adams Radio Group of Delmarva is comprised of WGBG “Big 107.7 Delmarva’s Classic Rock”; CHR WOCQ “OC-104 Today’s Hits”; WOCQ-HD2 “Kool Oldies”; WUSX “US-98.5 Everything Country”; and WZBH “93.5 The Beach – Delmarva’s Rock Station.

 

 

July 2019 PPM Data. Information for the July 2019 ratings period has been released for Washington (DC), Atlanta, and Philadelphia. Nielsen Audio’s July 2019 survey period covered June 20 – July 17. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@TALKERS.com) provides his “Takeaways” from these three markets.

Washington, DC

 Spoken-Word Formats – The wild ride continues for WMAL which chalks up a July +.9 to 5.3 (seventh to sixth, 6+), thus applying the brakes to three successive March through June decreases that accounted for an overall 2.4 (6.8 – 5.5 – 5.2 – 4.4, 6+). Immediately before that streak, the Cumulus Media news/talk outlet amassed three straight “Holiday” 2018 through March 2019 improvements for a collective +2.5 (4.3 – 5.7 – 6.6 – 6.8, 6+). March’s 6.8 was WMAL’s best 6+-stat in the PPM-era. After posting a .2 (6+) in August 2018, Radio One’s WOL “News Talk – Where Information Is Power” is unlisted for the 12th sweep in succession.

Entercom sports talk WJFK-FM “106.7 The Fan” repeats June’s 6+ AQH share (3.4) and market rank (#13). In June, the Nationals flagship recaptured nearly half (three-tenths) of the eight-tenths dissipated in May. After nearly doubling (+.4) its 6+ AQH share via four straight sweeps without a loss (.5 – .7 – .8 – .8 – .9, 6+), Radio One’s similarly-formatted WTEM “980 The Team” surrenders two-tenths to .7 and departs the top twenty (#20 to #21, 6+). Roughly halfway through the July 2019 sweep (7/1), Cumulus Media ended its news/talk simulcast of WMAL-AM & WMAL-FM. WMAL-AM became sports talk WSBN “ESPN 630 AM The Sports Capitol,” which checks in with a .1 (#29, 6+).

Following six straight months at #1, Hubbard Broadcasting all-news WTOP segues to the runner-up slot. Moreover, it falters the sixth month in a row and is an overall -2.5 in that January 2019 through July 2019 stretch (10.4 – 9.8 – 9.7 – 8.7 – 8.7 – 8.2 – 7.9, 6+). January 2019’s 10.4 was its best 6+-performance since March 2018 (10.4, as well). The March 2019 through July 2019 topline for Entercom business news WDCH is: .4 – .5 – .4 – .5 – .6 (flat at #24, 6+).

Not only does American University-owned news/talk WAMU post a gain of four-tenths to 8.4 (6+) thus curtailing three successive slips that accounted for a loss of nine-tenths (8.9 – 8.7 – 8.4 – 8.0, 6+), “The Mind Is Our Medium” shifts from the runner-up slot to #1. It supplants WTOP (see above). Immediately prior to gaining three-tenths in March, WAMU was -2.2 (“Holiday” 2018); +2.5 (January 2019); and -1.2 (February).

Washington, DC Music Formats – A positive spike of six-tenths to 2.7 (#18 to #17, 6+) by Radio One gospel WPRS “Praise 104.1” all but erases its May/June loss of seven-tenths (2.8 – 2.2 – 2.1, 6+). Steady in fifth-place, iHeartMedia adult contemporary WASH “97.1 – Washington’s Variety” logs its fourth straight sweep without a loss for a collective full-share gain (4.4 – 4.5 – 4.5 – 5.3 – 5.4, 6+). WASH has its best 6+-performance (5.4) since “Holiday” 2018 (10.4). On the final day of May (2019), Cumulus Media’s WRQX pulled the plug on its hot AC format. Under new owner Educational Media Foundation, “Mix 107.3 More Music – More Variety” became contemporary Christian WLVW “Positive & Encouraging K-Love.” May 2019 marked the final sweep before the format transition and “Mix” added six-tenths (3.5 – 4.1, 6+) to exit as a top ten station (#11 to #8). Its January 2019 through May 2019 topline was 3.5 – 4.1 – 3.5 – 3.5 – 4.1 (6+). In its new format, however, WLVW erodes by roughly 78% (-3.2) in June/July (4.1 – 2.2 – .9, 6+), plummeting from #8 (May) to #17 (June) to #19 (July). An overall +1.4 through three gains in succession (3.2 – 3.6 – 3.7 – 4.6, 6+), iHeartMedia CHR WIHT “Hot 99.5” forfeits nine-tenths to 3.7 (sixth to tenth, 6+). June’s 4.6 was its best 6+-showing in nearly two years (4.6, as well in August 2017). There is a similar scenario for cluster-mate WMZQ, which was +1.3 through four consecutive improvements (2.8 – 3.1 – 3.3 – 3.5 – 4.1, 6+). In July, however, “98.7 Today’s Best Country” falters by one-half share to 3.6 (6+) and departs the top ten (#9 to #11). Up a cumulative seven-tenths via four straight gains (3.0 – 3.1 – 3.3 – 3.6 – 3.7, 6+), Entercom rhythmic CHR WPGC regresses by three-tenths to 3.4 (6+) and leaves the top ten (#10 to #13). There isn’t much movement in the market’s urban AC contest, although a gain of two-tenths to 7.7 (6+) by WMMJ “Majic” is enough to halt three consecutive dips that resulted in a cumulative loss of seven-tenths (8.2 – 7.8 – 7.7 – 7.5, 6+). Immediately prior to the just-concluded skid, “Majic” put together six successive increases that netted a +1.8 (6.4 – 6.7 – 6.8 – 7.4 – 7.5 – 7.9 – 8.2, 6+). Having dropped four-tenths in June (6.5 – 6.1, 6+), Howard University’s similarly-programmed WHUR levels off at 6.1 (6+). Down one-tenth in back-to-back reports (6.5 – 6.4 – 6.3, 6+), WHUR regained that deficit with a May pickup of two-tenths. Its March loss of one-tenth suspended three successive increases that accounted for a +1.2 (5.3 – 6.2 – 6.4 – 6.5, 6+). WMMJ is anchored in third-place for the eighth time in a row while WHUR is has been in fourth-place in May, June, and July.

Atlanta

Spoken-Word Formats – In three straight sweeps without an increase, WSB-AM was down an overall eight-tenths (7.1 – 6.6 – 6.3 – 6.3, 6+), but the Cox Media Group news/talker bounces back with a +.3 to 6.6 (steady at #2, 6+). Following three straight months at #1, WSB-AM slipped to the runner-up slot in April. Entercom’s WAOK “1380 The Voice of the Community” is down or flat the third time in a row (.4 – .3 – .2 – .2, 6+) but climbs from #29 to #28. Tied at #32 are Salem Media Group-owned WGKA “AM 920 The Answer” (.3 – .2 – .1, 6+) and iHeartMedia-owned WGST “Talk Radio 640,” which has lost three-tenths via eleven straight down or flat trends (.4 – .3 – .3 – .2 – .2 – .2 – .2 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1, #34 to #32, 6+).

Even though it is an overall -1.2 in five straight negative or neutral sweeps (4.0 – 3.7 – 3.1 – 2.9 – 2.9 – 2.8, 6+), Entercom sports talk WZGC “92.9 The Game” moves from #15 to #14. At the same time, Dickey Broadcasting’s WCNN “Sports Radio The Fan” is up a cumulative six-tenths in five consecutive monthlies without a loss (1.6 – 1.7 – 2.1 – 2.1 – 2.2 – 2.2, 6+), as the AM flagship of the Atlanta Braves carries on at #17.

Steady at #12, City of Atlanta Board of Education news/talk WABE is up one-tenth (3.4 – 3.5, 6+). Gaining one-tenth as well is Georgia State University news/talk WRAS (.6, flat at #25, 6+), which suspends three down or flat moves in succession that resulted in a collective loss of three-tenths (.8 – .6 – .5 – .5, #25, 6+).

Atlanta Music Formats – After improving by two-tenths in May and then spiraling -1.1 in June (6.3 – 5.2, 6+), Radio One’s WAMJ “Majic” answers with a July boost of six-tenths to 5.8 (unchanged at #6, 6+). “Majic” was +2.5 via three successive increases (4.4 – 5.4 – 6.3 – 6.9, 6+) but faltered by eight-tenths in April. Even though urban contemporary sibling WHTA is an overall -1.6 through five consecutive negative or neutral moves (5.2 – 4.6 – 4.2 – 3.9 – 3.6 – 3.6, 6+) “Hot 107.9” returns to the top ten (#11 to #10). One streak continues for Salem Media Group contemporary Christian WFSH but another ends. On the plus side, “104.7 The Fish” is #1 the fourth month in a row; however, it loses three-tenths to (8.5, 6+), snapping at five its consecutive string of upticks that netted an overall +3.9 (4.9 – 5.4 – 5.7 – 7.0 – 7.9 – 8.8, 6+). Even though it falters by two-tenths (3.9 – 3.7, 6+) iHeartMedia CHR WWPW “Power 96.1 Atlanta’s #1 Hit Music Station” advances from tenth and ninth and overtakes Cumulus Media-owned format rival, WWWQ “Q-100 Atlanta’s New Hits.” The latter returns the four-tenths it gained in June (3.6 – 4.0 – 3.6, 6+) and shifts from eighth to tenth. Ironically, June’s +.4 enabled “Q-100” to leapfrog “Power,” which dropped three-tenths in June (4.2 – 3.9, 6+). “Q-100” logged a +.7 in January; relinquished six-tenths in February; and had a February 2019 through May 2019 topline of 3.5 – 3.5 – 3.4 – 3.6. Frozen on 3.4 (6+) in “Holiday” 2018 and January 2019 before dropping to 3.0 (6+) in February, “Power” gained seven-tenths in March; was down one-tenth in April; and dialed up a +.6 in May. The same two owners are involved in the market’s country tussle. As iHeartMedia’s WUBL “94.9 The Bull” picks up one-tenth (4.0 – 4.1, 6+) Cumulus Media’s WKHX “Kicks 101.5 – Atlanta’s #1 For Country Hits” stumbles by that same margin in consecutive sweeps and is actually off six-tenths through three straight dips (3.1 – 2.7 – 2.6 – 2.5, 6+). “The Bull” and “Kicks” continue at #8 and #16, respectively. When “The Bull” dropped one-tenth in June, it interrupted three straight increases that produced a +.8 (3.3 – 3.5 – 4.0 – 4.1, 6+). “Kicks” faltered by four-tenths in May, after being off three-tenths in March.

Philadelphia

Spoken-Word Formats – It is a bit of a mixed bag for Entercom’s WPHT “Talk Radio 1210,” which is down a combined half-share in June/July (2.2 – 1.8 – 1.7, 6+) and has its weakest 6+-showing since June 2018 (1.7, as well) but climbs from #22 to #21. In five consecutive decreases, Townsquare Media news/talk WKXW “New Jersey 101.5” has lost roughly half (-.8) its 6+ AQH-share (1.5 – 1.4 – 1.3 – 1.2 – 1.0 – .7, #24 to #25, 6+).

Down seven-tenths in May, Entercom sports talk/Phillies flagship WIP “Sports Radio 94.1” repeats June’s 6+ share (5.9) and market rank (fourth). Rebounding from June’s loss of six-tenths with an increase one-third that magnitude (2.1 – 2.3, +.2, 6+) Beasley Media Group-owned WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” advances from #20 to #17; June’s 2.1 was its lowest 6+-stat since September 2018’s 1.8.  

This marks the sixth sweep in succession that Entercom’s KYW “News Radio 1060” hasn’t shown an increase for an overall -1.3 (5.0 – 4.6 – 4.4 – 4.0 – 4.0 – 3.8 – 3.7, flat at #10, 6+).

For the third time in the last five reports, public news/talk WHYY logs a 2.6 (2.6 – 2.2 – 2.6 – 2.5 – 2.6, #16 to #14, 6+).

Philadelphia Music Formats – Four straight down or flat sweeps by Entercom classic hits-oldies WOGL  produced a -1.2 (7.1 – 6.8 – 6.0 – 6.0 – 5.9, 6+), but “98.1 – Nobody Plays More 80s” erases two-thirds of that deficit with a +.8 to 6.7 (fourth to second, 6+). WOGL was a combined +2.1 in January/February (5.0 – 6.3 – 7.1, 6+). Somewhat similarly, iHeartMedia urban AC WDAS-FM “Philly’s Best R&B and Throwbacks,” which lost eight-tenths since March via three consecutive negative or neutral moves (6.1 – 6.1 – 5.9 – 5.3, 6+), posts a half-share uptick to 5.8 (seventh to fifth, 6+). Stuck on 6.6 (6+) in May and June, Beasley Media Group classic rock WMGK records an increase of four-tenths to 7.0 (6+), enabling it to march from second to first. This (7.0) is its highest 6+-stat since February 2018’s 7.1. Owing to its July -1.5 (7.0 – 5.5, 6+), Entercom-owned adult contemporary WBEB “Today’s 101.1 More FM” is displaced from the top spot and drifts all the way to seventh. The last time “Today’s 101.1” fell below a six-share (6+) was more than four years ago (5.8, May 2015). WBEB was +10.1 (6.5 – 10.4 – 16.6, 6+) just prior to January 2019’s -10.3 (16.3 – 6.3, 6+); it gained one-half share in March. Co-owned sports talk WIP was on top in January; classic hits-oldies sibling WOGL in February; WBEB in March; WMGK set the pace in April; WBEB did so in May and June; and now WMGK is back at #1 in July. Four successive up or flat trends by iHeartMedia urban contemporary WUSL yielded eight-tenths (3.7 – 3.7 – 3.7 – 4.0 – 4.5, 6+), but “Power 99” surrenders one-half share to 4.0 (6+) and continues in ninth-place. After nearly quadrupling (+2.2) its 6+ AQH share in nine straight sweeps without a loss (.8 – .9 – .9 – 1.0 – 1.3 – 1.7 – 2.0 – 2.2 – 2.5 – 3.0, 6+), Radio One-owned WPPZ “107.9 – Philly’s Classic R&B” falters by one-tenth to 2.9 (flat at #12, 6+). WPPZ transitioned from gospel in mid-December 2018. Entercom-owned WTDY “Today’s Hits 96.5 TDY” is off the fourth time in a row for a collective full-share loss (3.3 – 3.2 – 3.1 – 2.4 – 2.3, unchanged at #17, 6+).

Talk Radio Pioneer Mike Siegel is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Veteran conservative/libertarian talk radio personality Mike Siegel is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Siegel, a former private practicing attorney and school teacher, currently syndicated by Genesis Communications Network (GCN), was one of the early broadcasters to emerge in the late-eighties post-Fairness Doctrine period described by Harrison as “the modern era of talk radio.” During that period, Siegel – who hosted shows on such stations as KING and KVI in Seattle – was, according to Harrison, “the quintessential, local, muckraker aggressively holding local politicians, government and big corporations accountable for their actions.” Harrison and Siegel, whose latest book is titled Airing the Wave: Talk Radio at the Dawn of the Digital Era (Page Publishing, 2016), informally chat about the changes talk radio has experienced through the years as it has evolved from the analog era into the digital age, not to mention the transitional state of journalism itself. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

| March 7, 2018

Steele Named OM for Dick Broadcasting’s Myrtle Beach Cluster. The Myrtle Beach cluster of Dick Broadcasting announces Charlie Steele is named operations manager, effective March 21.  Dick’s Myrtle Beach group includes news/talk WRNN-FM “Hot Talk 99.5,” classic rock WYAV, CHR WYMB, and alt rock WKZQ.  Steele says of his new gig, “I am very excited to join market manager John Sheftic and his team at DBC/Myrtle Beach and look forward to being a part of these great brands.  Thanks to COO Dick Harlow and EVP/programming Jason Goodman for this opportunity.”

Talk Host, Former Congressman J.D. Hayworth Ready to Return to Radio.  After what he calls “four great years back on TV at NewsmaxTV,” former KFYI, Phoenix talk show host J.D. Hayworth says he’s “rarin’ to return to radio!”  Hayworth – a former U.S. Representative from Arizona – has been serving with NewsmaxTV as an anchor for the past four years (see his television reel here) but he’s ready to re-ignite his radio career either on a fill-in or permanent basis.  Hayworth just completed a fill-in assignment at WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte, sitting in for the station’s Vince Coakley.  Reach Hayworth at 602-615-6956.

Edison Research: ESPN Audio Grabs ‘Nearly Half of Sports Radio Listenership.’  Citing data from Edison Research’s “Share of Ear” study, ESPN Audio is promoting the result stating ESPN Audio’s content – that includes the ESPN Radio Network’s national talk shows and live events, affiliated local broadcast radio stations, and podcasting – accounts for nearly half (46%) of all sports radio listenership in the U.S.  According to the study, ESPN Audio listening breaks down this way: 71% listened on terrestrial AM/FM radio, 46% listened via streaming audio, 26% heard ESPN content on SiriusXM, and 25% listened to podcasts.  (Numbers add up to more than 100% as users could cite multiple choices.)

‘The Union Edge’ Radio Show Ceasing Operations.  The labor issues-focused talk radio program “The Union Edge” – hosted by Charles Showalter – is ending production after 10 years due to cash flow problems.  In a message to supporters, Showalter says, “In recent months, we have not been able to raise the necessary funds needed to continue operations of our daily radio program.  With that said, ‘The Union Edge’ has financial obligations to our union Brothers and Sisters and vendors such as back pay, severance pay, benefits, and bills that need to be settled.  These individuals are the same Brothers and Sisters that stood with us and continued to work, without pay, during financially difficult times.  They truly believe in labor’s message and cause and for the last decade have carried water for labor, fighting the good fight.”  Showalter is seeking donations from the program’s supporters to pay the overdue wages and past due bills.  He can be reached here.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Raises $250k at 2018 Golden Mike Award Event.  Pictured above at Monday evening’s 2018 Golden Mike Award ceremony in New York City are (from l-r): Nick Verbitsky, chairman and CEO, United Stations Radio Networks; Jim Thompson, president, Broadcasters Foundation of America; Pat McLaughlin, widow of Edward F. McLaughlin; and Dan Mason, chairman, BFoA.  As part of the evening’s program, Pat McLaughlin accepted the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of her late husband Ed, who launched the syndication career of Rush Limbaugh via his EFM Media Management company.  As part of the event, the Broadcasters Foundation of America raised $250,000 to assist broadcasters in need.  Photo: Wendy Moger-Bross.

Westwood One: Study Shows 12 to 1 ROI for Personal Care Brand.  That 12-to-1 return on investment for a radio campaign comes from the results of the first Nielsen Catalina Solutions sales effect study conducted for an AM/FM radio campaign in the personal care brand category.  Cumulus Media EVP of marketing and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes says, “Westwood One has been very vocal that AM/FM radio delivers an impressive return on investment for brand marketers.  Today, we back that statement up with an NCS study for a major personal care brand, which shows a $12 return on advertising spend for every dollar of AM/FM radio advertising.  NCS is the gold standard for CPG sales measurement, and these findings show that a personal care brand can use radio to realize impressive sales lift and a powerful return on ad spend.”  The press release explains, “NCS calibrates the largest shopper dataset of over 90 million unique households, from Catalina, with Nielsen’s retail sales and consumer panel data, to represent nearly 100% of total US all-outlet CPG spend.  Using an advanced methodology, NCS can connect Nielsen’s gold-standard radio ratings data with shopper data to understand what advertising households were exposed to and how it impacted their purchasing.”  See more from Westwood One here.

FOX News Radio Presents Five-Part College Debt Series.  This series – titled “Forever in Debt” – runs next week (3/12-3/16) and is available to FOX News Radio affiliates. FOX News Radio’s Eben Brown explores the fact that $1.34 billion in student loan debt is owed by Americans.  The network says, “Some estimates suggest more than half of those student loans are in default. Borrowers face garnishment of paychecks and even their parents’ social security benefits, and what’s worse, nobody can resolve these loans in Bankruptcy.”  The five-part series will be fed in two versions approximately :60 seconds in length, and approximately :40 seconds.  Each segment will post to the Newsfeed section of the affiliate website by 3:00 am ET.  Eben Brown will also be available for two-ways with affiliate stations.

WJFK-FM, Washington and MLB’s Nationals Renew. Baseball’s Washington Nationals and Entercom’s sports talk WJFK-FM, Washington “106.7 The Fan” ink a renewal to keep the club on the station for the next five seasons.  Play-by-play announcers Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler continue their roles.  Post-game duties are being shared by Phil Wood and The Fan’s Nationals beat reporter, Craig Heist, with select post-game shows hosted by “106.7 The Fan” midday show hosts Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier.

Trump-Russia Investigation, Economic Adviser Gary Cohn Exits, Trump Administration Sues California, Sam Nunberg Subpoena, Stormy Daniels Sues Trump, Sickened Russia Spy, North Korea-South Korea Talks, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/6).  The investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; Trump Administration economic adviser Gary Cohn announces his exit over differences on tariffs issue; the Trump Administration sues California over its sanctuary status hindering ICE deportation efforts; the bizarre media tour by former Trump aide Sam Nunberg after being subpoenaed by special counsel Robert Mueller; porn star Stormy Daniels sues President Trump over “hush agreement”; the case of the Russian double agent and his daughter sickened in the U.K. in suspected poisoning; the diplomatic talks between North Korea and South Korea; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Sacramento, Jenna Rae moves from middays to afternoon drive at Entercom’s country KNCI, filling the daypart opened by the recent departure of Dan Cheatham.   Taking over the midday show is Pacey, who steps into a full-time position after serving with the station in a part-time capacity…..Milwaukee Radio Alliance re-brands oldies WZTI-AM/W262CJ/W297BY, Milwaukee from Scott Shannon’s “True Oldies” to “Fonz FM” – referencing Henry Winkler’s character in the Milwaukee-set 1970s sitcom…..PR and marketing pro Jennifer Quiroz announces she’s opening her own firm, Jennifer Quiroz Marketing Consulting.  She calls it a “boutique, full-service agency offering a wide range of traditional and digital marketing services to clients nationwide.”  Quiroz previously served with iHeartMedia and Premiere Networks handling marketing for talent including: Ryan Seacrest, Mario Lopez, Delilah, Nikki Sixx and Bobby Bones…..Alpha Media’s KUPL, Portland “98.7 The Bull” announces that the Eli Young Band will headline its CountryFest 2018 on June 3 at the Portland Rose Festival.  Also performing at the festival will be: Parmalee, Russell Dickerson, Carly Pearce and Mitchell Tenpenny.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

| February 13, 2014

cbsradio logoCBS Reports Radio Segment Down 4% in Q4 2013; Company Up 6%.  While CBS Corporation CEO, president and director Les Moonves spoke glowingly about the performance of CBS Corporation as a whole during yesterday’s Q4 conference call, the radio segment was not part of the celebration and loss of political advertising was given the lion’s share of the blame.  The company’s report indicates that after taking political out of the picture, CBS RADIO was flat compared to the same quarter in 2012.  Moonves was upbeat about the radio division saying, “In radio, we continue to put an emphasis on great, localmoonvesles programming, which is leading to bigger audiences.  During the most recent ratings period, we had double-digit ranking gains in the highly coveted 25- to 54-year-old demo in many of our major markets, and non-traditional revenue from special events was up double digits over one year ago.  Our strategy to combine the company’s local TV and radio websites into a single online presence in every market also continues to pay off.  In 2013, revenue was up 21% over the year before, and the momentum is continuing here in ’14, including a new record of nearly 57 million unique users in January.  I’m also very pleased with the success of our CBS Interactive business.  Revenue was up 14% during the quarter, and we continue to see very rapid growth in mobile ad revenue, which was up 118%, and it helped to increase profit substantially.”  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript.  Members can read the whole conference call here.

nielsen logoNielsen Q4 Revenue Up 11.8%; Rises 5.5% for 2013.  Media ratings giant Nielsen Holdings N.V. issues its fourth quarter 2013 and full-year financial reports and states that Q4 revenue was $1.6 billion, an increase of 11.8% over the same period in 2012.  For the full year of 2013, the company says its revenue was $5.7 billion, a jump of 5.5% over the full year of 2012.  The company reports its free cash flow for 2013 increased 34.5% to $573 million from $426 million in 2012 while cash flow from operations increased 14.9% to $901 million in 2013 from $784 million in 2012.  The result is the adjusted net income per share on a diluted basis for 2013 was $2.02, up 19.5% compared to $1.69 in the full year 2012.  Nielsen acquired radio ratings firm Arbitron during 2013 and the move paid off.  The Arbitron business helped add 9.3% to Nielsen’s Q4 revenue and 2.5% to its 2013 revenue.

krld logoCBS RADIO Dallas Ups Paul Mann to KRLD-AM PD.  At CBS RADIO’s Dallas cluster, news director Paul Mann is promoted to program director for KRLD-AM “NewsRadio 1080 KRLD” and the Texas Statemannpaul Networks (TSN), effective immediately.  Mann has served as news director for KRLD-AM and TSN since June 2006 and in this new role he will be primarily responsible for all programming and talent and will report to Gavin Spittle, vice president of news/talk/sports for CBS RADIO Dallas-Fort Worth.  Spittle comments, “Paul has shown tremendous leadership as news director with the sole focus on serving the North Texas community.  He’s helped put together a tremendous team which shares a great pride in this heritage station.”  Under Mann’s leadership, KRLD-AM has been honored with two national Edward R. Murrow Awards, in 2008 (spot news) and 2013 (newscast).

kuiperspradostellaStella Prado Kuipers Lands at Salem Los Angeles.  The successful, former KOST, Los Angeles program director joins Salem Communications to serve in the sales department working on multi-media marketing for Christian talk KKLA, Los Angeles.  Stella Prado Kuipers made her announcement on her Facebook page where she wrote: “A new chapter in my life has begun and I’m proud to announce as of March 3rd I am an employee of Salem Communications Radio Broadcasting company!  My position is multi-media marketing and I am thrilled to be a part of this company!  I’m sooooo excited!”  Kuipers had been with Clear Channel’s AC KOST for 20 years – eight as program director – before she was let go in December of 2012.

wctc logoProgramming Changes at WCTC, New Brunswick, New Jersey.  A shuffle in afternoons at Greater Media-owned news/talk WCTC, New Brunswick, New Jersey sees current 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm personality Tommy G move to the afternoon drive slot replacing Newsmax-syndicated host Stevetommyg Malzberg.  Into the early afternoon slot goes WestwoodOne’s Dennis Miller program.  WCTC program director Bert Baron states, “We’re excited to welcome Dennis Miller to the WCTC weekday lineup.  He’ll have Central Jersey laughing, thinking, and engaged on a daily basis.  I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have doing PM drive on WCTC than Tommy G, one of the most passionate and hard-working people I’ve ever known.  This is a BIG WIN for WCTC and for Central Jersey.”

delcollianojerryIs Nielsen “Lying” About Millennial Audiences?  Noted industry observer Jerry Del Colliano thinks so.  Del Colliano published a scathing indictment of the ratings research giant in his daily industry blog Inside Music Media (www.insidemusicmedia.com) this morning (2/12) referring to the Nielsen Audio (formerly Arbitron) report released earlier this week stating that “Millennials” (also known as “Generation Y”) are big fans of AM/FM radio and listen to it on average of 11.5 hours per week.  This, of course, flies in the face of what has to this point been conventional industry wisdom stronglynielsen logo suggesting that over-the-air radio is rapidly losing ground as a medium of choice for the millions of 20-something children born to Baby Boomers in the 1980s-90s and now coming of age in the millions – a widespread perception that broadcast business leaders openly fear threatens the future of what is increasingly being marginalized as “terrestrial radio.”  Del Colliano writes, “The company that now does PPM ratings which records listening that occurs by accident when meters randomly pick up an encoded radio signal is now weighing in on Millennials…an audience that clearly has no use for what consolidators put on the radio these days.”  He accuses the major corporate consolidators in radio of “paying hundreds of millions of dollars to report audience estimates that the company [Nielsen] itself admits in a legal statement are not reliable.”  Del Colliano is a veteran program director and radio personality who rose to prominence as the founder and publisher of the trade publication Inside Radio which he built to formidability as an independent journal prior to it being acquired by Clear Channel, which still publishes it.  Del Colliano has subsequently served a number of years as a member of the music department faculty at the University of Southern California (USC) teaching and writing courses on “Generational Media” specifically documenting and understanding the traits and habits of the rapidly maturing Millennial generation – a subject that he regularly shares with radio industry leaders via his blog and annual conference.

harrisonmichaelSpeaking of Jerry Del Colliano…  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison recently interviewed Jerry Del Colliano on the TALKERS magazine “experimental” talk radio station, TalkersRadio, (www.talkers.com/talkersradio) as a complete installment of the one-hour, media-talkersradio logodiscussion program he hosts.  The program, recorded two-weeks ago (prior to today’s provocative Del Colliano blog), presents the two industry observers in an in-depth discussion about the very subject of the delicate relationship AM/FM radio and Gen-Y.  In it, Del Colliano discusses such issues as Gen-Y’s obsession with authenticity as well as its consumer interest in non-over-the-air digital media.  To listen directly to the entire 58:00 installment of this first-time public conversation between Michael Harrison and Jerry Del Colliano, please click

      here
.

crummyjoeTalk Host Joe Crummey Publishes Non-Fiction Book.  Talk radio pro Joe Crummey has just published his first non-fiction book titled, Planking on Headstones: Your Future Outside of Time (School of Eddiness 2013).  The veteran of such historic signals as WABC, New York; KFI, Los Angeles; WNBC, New York; KABC, Los Angeles andcrummeybook KFYI, Phoenix penned this new book that “takes the reader on a journey through space-time that’s rich in love, loss, fear and contemplation.  With notes of his on-air, quick-wit persona, Planking on Headstones distills complex issues of religion and science into memorable anecdotes that elicit laughter, tears and a sense of connection.  Crummey openly shares about his life, from his brain tumor to the death of his parents, as he explains his theories, such as the ‘Fonzie Principle,’ the ‘Boston Market Revelation’ and the ‘Jesus Burger.’  He also explains why he believes the Big Bang is the most evil thing that has ever happened.”  Crummy states, “Throughout my career, I often discussed and challenged religious tenets on air with my audience.  But after going through the brain tumor experience, my quest for meaning in this life and beyond intensified.  I began to understand the importance of thinking outside of time and allowed myself to imagine the impossible while I explored this subject matter.”

cclogoClear Channel Renews Promotional Deal with Relativity.  In a statement, Clear Channel says that the renewed cross-media marketing collaboration between it and media company Relativity will include one-of-a-relativity logokind campaigns promoting upcoming movies on the part of Clear Channel and Relativity will provide exclusive content created by its filmmakers and talent that will be shared with listeners and viewers through various Clear Channel platforms.  “The programs will also include organic promotional support from popular radio personalities such as Ryan Seacrest, Elvis Duran, Dan Patrick and Steve Harvey; naturally integrated film imaging across local stations and iHeartRadio’s national digital and mobile ad units; homepage website takeovers; and national and local on-air commercial inventory.”  Clear Channel says previous successful collaborations between the companies included campaigns for the films “Limitless,” “Immortals,” “Act of Valor,” “Safe Haven” and “Free Birds.”

webbdavidOdds & Sods.  Talk media personality David Webb signs on to write a column for DC political publication The Hill.  His column will be available every other Wednesday in The Hill’s print edition, online at thehill.com and on The Hill’s app.  In addition to his daily SiriusXM talk show, Webb also appears frequently on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity” and “The Five.”…..Sports USA adds a podcast featuring former NFL star and TV personality Fred Dryer to its programming.  Sports USA president Bob Moore says, “Fred Dryer is a true NFL legend and a major TV star.  We are excited to add Fred’s show to our growing list of digital audio programs…..WNYC, New York names David Lewis its new metro editor.  Lewis taught journalism at CUNY for the past seven years.

rabNAB to Feature RAB Sales and Marketing Sessions.  The Radio Advertising Bureau will present five revenue- and growth-oriented presentations at this year’s NAB Show.  RAB president and chief executive officer Erica Farber explains that, “The RAB is in the business of helping sellers on the street close deals and help drive revenue for the radio industry.  These sessions will drive home key lessons and tools of the trade.  NAB Show attendees will find these sessions invaluable to their future success in the broadcast business.”  Specifically, the Radio Advertising Bureau’s focus will be “Lunch and Learn – A Discussion on Radio’s Four Significant Issues;” “Concentrating on Core Radio Revenues;” “Creative Radio Commercial Production and Imaging;” and “Rapid-Fire Revenue Generators for Small and Medium Market Radio.”  The NAB Show will be held April 5 – 10 in Las Vegas.

whamradiothonWDVI-FM and WHAM in Rochester Hold Radiothon to Benefit Children’s Hospital.  Today and tomorrow Clear Channel Rochester stations hot AC WDVI “100.5 The Drive” and news/talk WHAM are broadcasting the annual “Drive For Miracles Radiothon” to benefit Golisano Children’s Hospital live from the lobby of Strong Hospital.  Throughout the event, on-air personalities from each station will talk with current and former patients, their families, and the hard-working hospital staff that “creates miracles” every day.  Personalities including WHAM’s Chet Walker, Bob Lonsberry, Shari Smith, Joe Lomonaco, and Bob Matthews and WDVI’s Bill Moran, Julie, JP, and “The Mayor” Pete Kennedy will broadcast from the hospital.

bfoa logoBFoA Names 2014 Ward L. Quaal Leadership Awards Recipients.  This year’s recipients of the 2014 Ward L. Quaal Leadership Awards have been announced by the Broadcasters Foundation of America.  They will be presented at the Foundation’s annual breakfast on Wednesday, April 9, at the Wynn Hotel during the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas.  This year’s recipients are: Jim Beloyianis, past president, Katz TV; Dan Mason, president & CEO, CBS RADIO; Deborah Norville, host, “Inside Edition”; Mary Quass, president & CEO, NRG Media; Perry Sook, chairman/president & CEO, Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc.; and Nick Verbitsky, chairman, United Stations Radio Networks.  The Leadership Awards are given annually by the Broadcasters Foundation in recognition of career contributions to the broadcast industry and the community at large, and are named in honor of iconic broadcaster Ward L. Quaal.

Winter Weather Hits South and Northeast, ObamaCare Rollout Criticism, Afghanistan Prisoner Release, Paul NSA Suit, Debt Ceiling Raised, the Sochi Olympics and Gay NFL Prospect Comes Out Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/12).  The unusually severe winter weather bearing down on the South and the Northeast; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act and President Obama’s unilateral delay of the employer mandate; Afghanistan’s release of numerous “dangerous” inmates and the state of the U.S.’s relationship with Hamid Karzai; Senator Rand Paul’s suit against the NSA; the GOP’s signing on with Democrats to raise the debt ceiling; the Sochi Winter Olympic Games; and the coming out of NFL prospect Michael Sam were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

| April 19, 2012

Entertainment Industry Mourns Passing of Dick Clark.  The music, television and radio industries are mourning the passing of pioneer broadcaster Dick Clark, who died on Wednesday after suffering a massive heart attack at age 82.  In addition to his numerous other contributions to the entertainment industry, Clark co-founded United Stations Radio Networks with Nick Verbitsky in 1981.  Verbitsky says, “Dick was an icon to many, but a true friend, partner and mentor to those of us who worked closely with him.  His impact on broadcasting is immeasurable, and his entrepreneurial spirit will be a part of our world at United Stations forever.”

Talk Host Scott Hennen to Purchase WZFG, Fargo.  The conservative talk-formatted WZFG, Fargo – positioned as “1100 AM The Flag” – will return to the control of talk host and station manager Scott Hennen upon FCC approval and the closing.  Hennen announces he’s struck a deal with Great Plains Integrated Marketing to buy back the station he founded in 2008.  Hennen was fired by his investors as president and CEO of GPIM in the fall of 2010.  His program remained on the air at WZFG until May of 2011.  Hennen is currently hosting a nationally syndicated radio show but is not heard in the Fargo market at this time.  His program will return to the station when the new deal begins.

Internet and Terrestrial Radio Are Different Businesses When it Comes to Non-Competes.  That’s the ruling of Stark County (OH) Common Pleas Court Judge Charles E. Brown in the case of two Canton jocks who started a radio show on the internet and were sued by their former employer for violating the non-compete.  Radio hosts Patrick DeLuca and Charlotte DiFranco (pictured here) left their highly rated morning program at WDJQ-FM, Canton after failing to agree to terms on a contract renewal with station owner Don Peterson III.  They started their own station at www.theradiosucks.com and began broadcasting three shows per week after exiting in February and Peterson sued, claiming they violated the non-compete.  Attorney Steve Okey argued his clients were prevented from operating a business that was “the same or essentially the same as a radio station” and their venture does not fit that description.  The judge agreed.  Peterson tells the Youngstown Vindicator he’s disappointed with the decision and will review his options.  This is a case others in the radio and internet radio businesses will be watching closely.

Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington Inks Deal for Sports Content with Dial Global.  Red Zebra Broadcasting announces it has signed a two-year deal with Dial Global Radio Networks to have exclusive rights to March Madness, the NFL package, the NFL playoffs, the Super Bowl, the NFL Draft, Golf’s Majors and the Olympics in the Washington, DC market. Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza says of the deal, “We want to thank Greg Leader and Sean Thompson of Dial Global for being such great partners.  We could not be more pleased with the relationship and all the great programming Dial Global brings to our listeners.  When you team the Redskins Radio Network with Dial Global’s NFL Package, NFL fans in DC will receive extensive, exclusive coverage of the National Football League on ESPN980.”

Current TV to Add Show Hosted by California Lieutenant Governor.  Former San Francisco mayor and current California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom will debut a new talk show on the Al Gore-founded Current TV network beginning in May.  The New York Times reports the move is designed by Current TV to “keep its progressive agenda on track.”  In a statement announcing the move, co-founder Al Gore states, “He touches many worlds – business, politics, entertainment and activism.  We are honored that Current TV will be bringing his curiosity, intelligence, insights and enthusiasm to television.”  Newsom will continue to serve as lieutenant governor of California.  Current TV is rebounding from the high-profile battle – now in the courts – with former “Countdown” host Keith Olbermann.  It also recently added video simulcasts of talk radio stars Stephanie Miller’s and Bill Press’ nationally syndicated morning radio programs.

TALKERS Publishes 2012 Heavy Hundred.  The 2012 installment of TALKERS magazine’s signature feature, “The Talkers 250 featuring the Heavy Hundred,” is officially posted.  This long-running talk radio industry institution also titled, “The 250 Most Important Talk Radio Hosts in America,” is compiled by the TALKERS editorial board based upon a compilation of both objective and subjective elements including (in alphabetical order):  courage, effort, impact, longevity, potential, ratings, recognition, revenue, service, talent and uniqueness.  Although the list is traditionally drawn from a wide variety of genres representing the breadth of spoken word radio from commercial to public and including everything from traditional news/talk to specialty programming, this year’s installment of the popular feature marks a departure from the custom of including sports talk hosts.  According to TALKERS VP/managing editor Kevin Casey, “Because of the explosive growth of sports talk radio and the number of excellent hosts participating in it across the country, TALKERS will be publishing the genre’s own Heavy Hundred beginning in 2012.”  The TALKERS Sports Talk Heavy Hundred is scheduled for publication this coming June.  To see this year’s entire “Talkers 250 featuring the Heavy Hundred” click here.

23rd Annual Imus Radiothon Begins Today.  77WABC, New York-based Don Imus broadcasts the 23rd Annual Imus Radiothon beginning today and running through tomorrow.  The Radiothon is airing on 77WABC, radio affiliates around the country and on the Fox Business Network.  The two-day event benefits the Imus Ranch for Kids with Cancer, the Tomorrows Children’s Fund and the CJ Foundation for SIDS.  Guests on the program for the Radiothon will include various sponsors and children/siblings who have visited and experienced the Imus Ranch in Ribera, New Mexico.

Warren Ballentine Interviews First Lady Michelle Obama.  Syndication One nationally syndicated talk host Warren Ballentine is pictured here at the White House on April 16 interviewing First Lady Michelle Obama.  Ballentine visited the White House as part of the Summit on Entrepreneurship for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions.  The White House Summit offered the opportunity for Ballentine to provide a national African-American audience for small business owners, government experts and leaders from a variety of HBCUs/MSIs to discuss their numerous opportunities and facilitate solutions to challenges in underserved communities.  Ballentine states, “Doing my show from the White House was such a great honor for me.  The staff was outstanding and the chance to interview First Lady Michelle Obama was truly a blessing and honor.  The First Lady is not only gracious, she is wise, funny, empathetic and truly in tune with the people of America.  This is an experience that I will never forget!”  Ballentine’s interview with the First Lady will be highlighted on his program today (4/19).

2012 Presidential Campaign, U.S. Soldiers Photos Scandal, North Korea Military Ambitions, Trayvon Martin Case Developments and Ted Nugent Comments Concern Secret Service Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/18).  The 2012 presidential campaign; the problems being caused by U.S. soldiers taking photos with the bodies of dead Taliban insurgents; ongoing concerns over North Korea’s military ambitions; judge steps down from Trayvon Martin case; and Ted Nugent’s comments to NRA group draws concern of Secret Service were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.