Tag: "Norm Pattiz"

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

| February 26, 2020

WKNR, Cleveland Suspends Browns Reporter for Baker Mayfield Remark. Cleveland Browns reporter Tony Grossi has been suspended by Good Karma Brands’ WKNR-AM “ESPN Cleveland” after referring to Brown’s quarterback Baker Mayfield as a “f*#king midget” during a commercial break.  A hot mic caught his comments during the live airing of “TheLandOnDemand” from the NFL scouting combine.  Good Karma apologized and said it will engage in sensitivity training for its staff.  Meanwhile, Grossi issued an apology in which he said, in part, “There’s no excuse for using that language in any context.  It was said without malice but also without thought.  It is well known that Baker and I have had our differences, and in the course of this experience, I’ve had to question my role in the erosion of the relationship. I have always endeavored to report and comment on him fairly, and am shaken by these events.”

Entercom Promotes Holly to Market Manager for Buffalo Station Group. Sales pro J. Timothy Holly rises from vice president of sales to senior vice president and market manager for Entercom’s Buffalo cluster that includes news/talk WBEN-AM, sports talkers WGR-AM and WWKB-AM, plus four music brands.  Holly takes over for Greg Ried, who exited the company in January.  Entercom regional president and president of sales operations Michael Doyle comments, “I am excited to promote Tim Holly from vice president of sales where he has done an outstanding job of creating an innovative and successful approach to solving our clients’ needs.   With our outstanding and unique portfolio of audio assets, including great radio and digital brands, leading local sports coverage via partnerships with the Buffalo Bills and Sabres, and some of the largest live events in Buffalo, Tim has shown that he can lead our team of professionals in Western New York to grow and thrive.”

Entercom Names Idil Cakim to New SVP Research and Insights Post. In this new senior vice president of research and insights position with Entercom, Idil Cakim will “lead the company’s business-to-business strategy and audio insights practice, with a focus on building perspectives, ideas, and client strategies.”  She will report to Paul Suchman, chief marketing officer and will work closely with chief revenue officer Bob Philips and EVP of corporate business development Tim Murphy.  She was most recently with Nielsen, where she served as vice president of media analytics consulting.  Paul Suchman says, “Idil’s deep experience across media platforms and complex data sets will greatly enrich our ability to deliver actionable insights and even more powerful audio strategies to our clients.  Her ability as a storyteller will help bolster the narratives we bring to market.  We’re thrilled to welcome Idil to our leadership team.”

TALKERS News Notes. Talk host and author Todd Starnes is scheduled to deliver a speech and take part in a panel discussion on the First Amendment at CPAC 2020, taking place today through Saturday (2/26-29).  Starnes hosts his Hamilton Strategies nationally syndicated “Todd Starnes Radio Show” that he’ll broadcast live from the event’s radio row…..The FOX News organization is planning its continuing coverage of the Democratic primary race as FOX News Channel will provide live coverage of South Carolina’s primary results on Saturday (2/29) from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET.  Chief political anchor and “Special Report” host Bret Baier will anchor the two-hour special, “Democracy 2020: South Carolina Primary.”  Additionally, FOX News Radio will provide live national network coverage of the primary with hourly updates from FNR’s team of reporters. FOX News Podcasts will also offer a special edition of the “FOX News Rundown” leading into the evening while FOX News Headlines 24/7 will provide live Democracy 2020 updates every 15 minutes during the primary…..WNBF, Binghamton, New York news anchor and talk host Bob Joseph celebrates his 40th anniversary with the Townsquare Media news/talk station.  Joseph – who also hosts the late morning talk show “Binghamton Now” – was hired by the station as a part-timer while still a teenager.  He became a full-time news reporter anchor on February 18, 1980…..Sun Broadcast Group announces its expanded and restructured affiliate relations team led by Boston-based VP of programming & affiliate relations, Rich O’Brien.  The staff includes: New York-based senior affiliate content manager Southwest, Alex Quintero; Cleveland-based senior affiliate content manager Northeast, Ryan Verardi, affiliate content manager Southeast, Gary James, and affiliate content manager Midwest, Andrew Scaglione; and Los Angeles-based affiliate content manager West, Ed Moloney…..Broadcast Pix announces that Jeff Adams joins the company as product manager.  In this position he’ll lead the business and product development of new RadioPix visual radio systems.  He says, “I’m very excited to join the team at Broadcast Pix and be a part of their unique approach to simplifying live radio broadcasting.”

RTDNA Unveils New Look. The Radio Television Digital News Association unveils its new-look logo, saying it “reflects both the association’s origins and its continuing mission as a hub for the leading innovators in broadcast and digital news.”  The RTDNA adds, “This new imagery signifies the association and foundation’s continuing commitment to pushing the broadcast and digital news industry forward through training, advocacy and honors.  Over the next year, RTDNA members can expect to find new and updated resources on RTDNA.org, expanded in-person and online training opportunities and a redesigned curriculum at the annual conference.”  Executive director Dan Shelley says, “RTDNA is proud to be a community and resource for more members than at any point in our modern history.  At a time when journalism is under threat, our members continually demonstrate that they are leaders and innovators working every day to better each other, the industry and their communities across the country through responsible local journalism.”

PodcastOne and A&E Present ‘PD Stories’ Podcast. Building on the success of their work together producing six seasons of “Cold Case Files: The Podcast,” A&E and PodcastOne are expanding their production and distribution partnership to include season two of the “PD Stories” podcast that takes listeners behind the badge of law enforcement, revealing their experiences, perspectives and insights through in-depth interviews.  The program is hosted by A&E’s Tom Morris Jr., who anchors the channel’s “Live PD: Wanted” program.  Podcast One founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “Our partnership with A&E has been instrumental in developing our true-crime genre.  The overwhelming success of ‘Cold Case Files’ and the addition of ‘PD Stories’ will enhance our lineup, which included last year’s smash-hit, ‘22 Hours: An American Nightmare.’  An association with a company like A&E has always been extremely important to us. We look forward to continuing and expanding our partnership.”

Presidential Race, Covid-19 Epidemic, Financial Markets Activity/China Productivity, Weinstein Trial Aftermath, and College Admissions Scandal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/25). The Democrats battling to take on President Trump in November and Tuesday’s debate in Charleston, South Carolina; the status of the coronavirus around the world and whether the U.S. is prepared for it; the losses on the world’s financial markets as the result of fears about Covid-19 and the related productivity problems in China; the aftermath of the conviction of Harvey Weinstein on sexual assault charges; and Hot Pockets heiress Michelle Janavs is sentenced to five months in prison in the college admissions scandal 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. Alternative KROQ, Los Angeles announces the 12th annual “Kevin in the Morning with Allie & Jensen April Foolishness” event will take place on April 4 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.  The show is being hosted by Kevin Ryder, Allie Mac Kay, and Jensen Karp, and this year’s event will feature comedians Adam Carolla, actor and comedian Jeff Garlin, Steve-O, Adam Ray, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” writer Jen Kirkman, Fortune Feimster from “Sweet & Salty,” and Clownvis from “The King of Clowns.”  The annual comedy show and fundraiser benefits the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and Cedars-Sinai NICU.

Monday, June 24, 2019

| June 24, 2019

Big Changes at KNBR, San Francisco as Gary Radnich and Bob Fitzgerald Exit. Sports talk fans in the Bay Area are shocked by the unexpected tweet from KNBR, San Francisco personality Gary Radnich in which the 27-year station host announced he’s retiring immediately.  He wrote, “Plan was to retire at the end of the year but with my 70th birthday ahead it makes sense now. Thank you audience for 36 years of TV-Radio!”  Radnich has been partnered with Larry Krueger in middays. There’s considerable scuttlebutt in the Bay Area as to whether the sudden retirement was really Radnich being forced out by station owner Cumulus Media.  The announcement comes on the heels of a report in The Athletic that Bay Area sports personality Greg Papa is exiting Entercom’s crosstown KGMZ-FM “95.7 The Game” for an on-air position with KNBR (he’d also handle radio play-by-play for 49ers games).  For what it’s worth, The Athletic writes that Radnich was “let go.”  Shortly after the Radnich news hit, we learned that KNBR also is parting ways with Bob Fitzgerald, who co-hosted the “Fitz and Brooks” show with Rod Brooks.  It appears Brooks will continue hosting the show solo.

Drew Horowitz to Retire from Hubbard Radio.  At the end of 2019, radio executive Drew Horowitz will retire from his president and COO position with Hubbard Radio.  Horowitz has been with the company since it acquired Chicago stations (and clusters in three other markets) from Bonneville in 2011. Chicago media maven Robert Feder broke the news today.  Horowitz says he’ll take some time off after December “and explore other opportunities, including serving on corporate boards, teaching, and taking classes.”  Horowitz began his sales career with WFYR-FM, Chicago in 1976.  During his career he served as chief of Lakeshore Communications, GSM at WCLR (now WTMX) including 19 years with Bonneville.  In a memo to Hubbard staffers, chair and CEO Ginny Morris says, “Drew came to Hubbard Radio as a part of our transformational acquisition of four Bonneville markets in 2011.  Since that time, Drew has been instrumental in helping us further grow the company as we added clusters in Phoenix and Seattle, bolstered our cluster in St. Louis and most recently, acquired our operations in West Palm Beach.”

Monday Memo: Retire ‘Trivia.’ In this week’s edition of the Monday Memo, consultant Holland Cooke recommends that you DO call-in questions that ask listeners to think, but that you DON’T call it “Trivia,” for four reasons.  See what those reasons are here.

TALKERS News Notes. Veteran Philadelphia and New Jersey broadcaster Gary R’nel, guest-hosted last night (6/23) for Walter M. Sterling on the Westwood One syndicated “Sterling on Sunday” show…..Also from Philadelphia, several reports out of that city indicate that the KYW-AM air staff represented by SAG-AFTRA and Entercom have agreed to terms on a new contract for the on-air employees at the all-news station.  The KYW staffers had been working without a contract for the past eight months…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reminds us that Windy City radio legend Garry Meier, who is currently producing his own podcast, is sitting in on Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM all this week for morning drive personality Mancow Muller…..The most recent episode of the “Opie Radio” podcast from Gregg “Opie” Hughes is titled “R.I.P” in which Hughes says his deal with Westwood One for the podcast is ending.  He says he intends to keep producing the podcast…..Westwood One News manager John Stolnis is pictured at right accepting the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Award won by the news staff for breaking news coverage of last year’s Parkland Florida School shooting.  The awards dinner was held Friday night at the National Press Club in Washington, DC…..Entercom’s WSCR, Chicago “The Score” announces the inaugural “McNeil and Parkins Charity Golf Outing” (named for afternoon drive duo Dan McNeil and Danny Parkins) taking place on August 5 at Seven Bridges Golf Club in Woodridge, Illinois to benefit Turning Pointe Autism Foundation.  Entercom Chicago SVP and market manager Jimmy de Castro says, “We’re very excited to launch the inaugural ‘McNeil and Parkins Charity Golf Outing’ and to raise money for a fantastic organization like Turning Pointe. It should be a great day of golfing with ‘The Score’ talent and local sports celebrities.”…..Podcast producer Cadence13 launches the new program “Hacks on Tap,” a weekly podcast hosted by longtime campaign strategists and friends David Axelrod, chief strategist for Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns, and Mike Murphy, a veteran political consultant for Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign and many others.  The two take listeners behind the scenes of top-level American politics and campaigns, offering their insider perspectives and analyses on the state of American politics in the lead up to the 2020 presidential election.

PPM Analysis: Public News/Talk RadioTALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on public radio news/talk.  Big gainers from April to May are KNPR, Las Vegas (+1.2); KXJZ, Sacramento; KCUR, Kansas City; and WPLN, Nashville – all up 1.0 share.  Both KNPR and KCUR realized big year-over-year weekly 6+ AQH share increased with KNPR rising 3.8 shares and KCUR going up 2.2 shares. Just three public radio news/talk stations ranked #1 in their markets in May: KUOW, Seattle; KPBS, San Diego; and KCFR, Denver.  See the whole report here.

The Harry Hurley Charity Juggernaut Keeps Rolling.  WPG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley’s “Hurley in the Morning” 12th Annual Charity Golf Open held this past Friday (6/21) at the Harbor Pines Golf Club was a huge success.  The event, in conjunction with Hurley’s 11th Annual Charity Dinner at Resorts Casino Hotel (with Fox News personality Todd Starnes) held earlier this year, has raised a record $100,000 thus far in 2019 and has surpassed $900,000 over the past 12 years.  Hurley, a former TALKERS “Humanitarian of the Year” recipient recently named the New Jersey Broadcasters Association “Broadcaster of the Year” for 2019, distributes the funds raised by his charity to worthy causes throughout New Jersey, the Northeast and across the nation.

Partying with Howie Carr.  The two photos here are from the annual Summer Kick-off Party for affiliates, sponsors and industry friends of “The Howie Carr Show.” Howie and Kathy Carr held their annual get-together at their Boston-area home this past Friday evening (6/21).  Above are Howie Carr (left) and TALKERS founder Michael Harrison (right). Below are (from l-r): Yappy Days author, Bernadette Duncan; “Howie Carr Show” producer and on-air personality Grace Curley; and WBSM, New Bedford, morning host Phil Paleologos.

Steve Austin’s New Podcast Tops 1 Million Downloads. Returning from a six-month hiatus, Steve Austin’s latest podcast episode on PodcastOne gets more than 1 million downloads.  PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “Since January, we’ve been running Steve’s classic podcasts from the last five years.  There is no substitute for original content from the ‘global icon and national treasure,’ Steve Austin.  He hits the ground running and is reaching his biggest audience ever.  Welcome home, Steve.”

Three Named to Broadcasters Foundation of America Board of Directors. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces it has elected John David, senior advisor to the National Association of Broadcasters; Jinny Laderer, co-founder and CEO of vCreative; and Deborah Roberts, award-winning ABC News correspondent for “20/20,” “Nightline,” “Good Morning America,” and “ABC World News Tonight with David Muir,” to its board of directors.   BFoA chairman Dan Mason says, “John, Jinny, and Deborah are industry leaders who have exemplified the Foundation’s philosophy of ‘giving back’ through their tireless efforts to advance broadcasting and to support our charitable mission of helping colleagues in need.  It is with great pleasure that I welcome these highly respected professionals to our board of directors.”

Trump Calls Off Iran Strike, 2020 Presidential Race/Dem Primary Debates, Mayor Pete Town Hall, Immigration Policy/Deportation Ramp-Up, and Boris Johnson PM Bid Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The downing of a U.S. Air Force drone by Iran and President Trump’s calling off a retaliatory strike; the 2020 presidential race and this week’s TV debates between 20 of the Democratic candidates; presidential candidate and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg faces angry constituents over the police killing of a black man; the Trump Administration’s illegal immigration policy and the delay of a deportation program; and the call for British prime minister candidate Boris Johnson to explain a domestic incident in which police were called to his home were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. New York City hot AC WKTU has a new program director as Chris Conley – who also programs sister adult contemporary WLTW “106.7 LITE FM” – assumes the responsibilities.  Conley is also brand manager for AC for iHeartMedia…..In Los Angeles, Taxi License Corporation names Jamillah Muhammad operations manager for urban contemporary KJLH-FM.  She was most recently vice president for the marketing and management firm The Lewis-Kortez Group. She says, “I am extremely excited to join the KJLH family as the new operations manager.  With my passion for radio, serving the community, and improving brands, I know we can lead this heritage station to success.”…..On-air pro Carmine Gialanella moves up from his evening show shift at iHeartMedia’s CHR WLDI, West Palm Beach “WiLD 95.5” to afternoon drive. Market SVP of programming Rad Messick says, “Carmine’s the ultimate team player for ‘WiLD 95.5.’  His enthusiasm and commitment is second to none.  It’s a thrill to reward his performance with this well-deserved new afternoon opportunity.”…..Albany Broadcasting names Jeff Weber market manager for its six music-formatted stations in the Albany market.  Weber joins the company from Charleston, South Carolina where he was general sales manager for a two-FM combo.  Company COO Steve Borneman says, “Jeff has tremendous experience in radio and he has a local connection to Albany which makes him the perfect choice.  We’re thrilled to have him…..Cumulus Media is spending $250,000 in technology to boost the signal strength of Worcester market hot AC WXLO-FM (licensed to Fitchburg, Massachusetts) to reach into the adjacent Boston market.  Cumulus says, “Thanks to MaxxCasting, WXLO has the ability to bring its programming to as many as one million more listeners in the Boston area.”  Cumulus RVP Bob Goodell adds, “We’re excited that the 450,000-plus listeners who tune into ‘104.5 XLO’ on a weekly basis, many of whom commute in and out of the City of Boston, will now be able to hear the radio station on their entire commute.  MaxxCasting has also given us the opportunity to reach new listeners who live in the greater Boston area, giving us the opportunity to expand our footprint.”

Thursday, June 20, 2019

| June 20, 2019

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk. As the Major League Baseball season moved into its second month of the season and NBA Playoffs were in full swing, 41% of sports talk stations on our panel were up (weekly 6+ AQH share) from the April PPM survey, led by Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco (+1.4), while 39% were down.  Comparing May 2018 to May 2019, 47% of sports talk stations were up, but 44% were down.  Just one station ranked #1 in its market – Entercom’s WFAN, New York accomplished that in the Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island) market.  See Kinosian’s entire report here.

iHeartMedia Commissioned Ipsos Study: Audio Interest at All-Time High; AM/FM Radio Reaches 85% of Consumers. This new study – conducted by Ipsos and commissioned by iHeartMedia – concludes that “consumer interest in audio is now at an all-time high, with listeners enjoying more audio content across a vast array of platforms including broadcast radio, digital streaming, podcasts, and smart speakers.  The in-depth multi-platform study explores daily audio usage and habits of Americans ranging from 13 to 64 years old and captures when, where, and how these various generations are consuming their favorite audio.”  The press release goes on to say that the study finds broadcast radio reaches 85% of consumers, “surpassing all other audio channels including social media (68%) and live television (56%).  The research also showed that radio has two times the daily listening of streaming services, reaching 69% of consumers compared to streaming music’s 34%.”  iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “Contrary to some misperceptions, it shows we are living in an audio-first world by drilling down a more granular overview of audio listenership and showing what a day-in-the-life of the average listener is like when it comes to media consumption.”  Regarding podcasting consumption, the study found that growth is strong among Millennials and Gen Z.  “iHeartMedia’s study further found that podcasts now represent almost 10% of audio listening among Millennials and that podcast listeners are also radio listeners, with 82% also listening to radio on a weekly basis.  The study, conducted in March 2019, surveyed a nationally representative sample of 6,016 consumers aged 13–64 who listen to more than one audio platform at least once a week.

Emmis Enters Podcast Space with Sound That BRANDS Backing. After a series of cash-raising downsizing moves (the recent sales of radio stations and much of its publishing assets), Emmis Communications is entering the podcasting space through funding for Los Angeles-based podcasting studio Sound That BRANDS. The firm specializes in branded audio content for national advertisers.  Sound That BRANDS CEO Dave Beasing says, “At Sound That BRANDS, our motto is ‘Be the content, not the interruption.’  With Emmis’ support, we’ll grow quickly, producing audio that is not only entertaining and informative, but builds brand loyalty.”  Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan says, “We’ve monitored the early stages of global brands telling audio stories through branded podcasts that dramatically enhances loyalty and preference.  Sound that BRANDS has already become a leader in branded podcasting and is uniquely positioned to work with marquee brands to build episodes that make you laugh, feel and think in a way that reinforces the brand.  Dave is a great audio storyteller, and we look forward to helping him accelerate Sound that BRANDS growth.”  The press release announcing the relationship also notes that Sound That BRANDS is “seeking motivated talent for several key roles, including VP/revenue and brand partnerships.” Former KPWR-FM, Los Angeles SVP/GM Val Maki is heading the search and those interested can learn more and apply at: SoundThatBRANDS.com.

Stan Bennett Rises to VP of Programming for Binnie Media. At Binnie Media – operator of stations in Maine and New Hampshire – Stan Bennett is promoted to vice president of programming for the company. Bennett – a 25-year company veteran – has been serving as director of programming for the company’s Maine stations and as morning drive co-host at classic hits WFNK, Lewiston, Maine. Binnie Media president Massimo Rosati says, “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Stan the past few years.  His passion and commitment to our stations, team, audiences, and clients is unmatched.”

Salem Atlanta’s Moran to Retire. After 15 years with Salem Media Group – most recently as vice president and general manager for the company’s Atlanta operations – Mike Moran is retiring at the end of July.  Moran also served as regional VP for Salem’s Cleveland, Miami, Orlando, and Tampa markets.  SMG says Val Carolin will take over the Atlanta VP/GM position, moving in from the company’s Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina operations.  Salem’s president of radio David Santrella states, “Mike has been an important part of Salem’s leadership team and we wish him well as he moves into retirement.  We are pleased with the depth of leadership within our company, which allows us to quickly fill his role and provide the opportunity for others to advance within Salem Media Group.”

Hofstra University’s WRHU Interviews Talk Media Stars at TALKERS Convention.  TALKERS recruited a video team from Long Island-based Hofstra University’s multi-award-winning radio station WRHU-FM/WRHU.org to record select one-on-one conversations with a variety of the talk media stars from both sides of the microphone who were in attendance at the recent Talkers 2019: Telling the Story convention in New York City (6/7).  TALKERS founder (and Hofstra alumnus) Michael Harrison, a charter inductee in the Hofstra Radio Hall of Fame and member of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication Dean’s Advisory Board, says, “I am so proud of the widely recognized accomplishments being made by Hofstra in the field of radio and communications.  It is one of the preeminent schools in the nation in this arena and the number of outstanding professionals that it continues to produce is nothing short of remarkable.”  The Hofstra videos will be posted to Talkers.com next week along with the beginning of daily, updated video overage of the convention’s key sessions and presentations recorded by the industry’s legendary videographer Art Vuolo.  Pictured above (l-r) are: Key Networks commentator Bill O’ Reilly being interviewed by WRHU’s Eliorah Finkelson and Jon Sanelli at the TALKERS convention.

PodcastOne and WTOP’s 22 Hours: An American Nightmare Tops 2.3 Million Downloads. Officials at PodcastOne and Hubbard Radio are thrilled to be promoting the fact that their new, true-crime podcast series, “22 Hours: An American Nightmare,” has accrued more than 2.3 million downloads since its June 10 debut. The series is being produced by WTOP-FM, Washington and investigates the murders of DC power couple Amy and Savvas Savopoulos, and their son and housekeeper in their DC mansion in 2015.  On the Apple podcast charts, the program has maintained its #3 ranking for all categories and #1 in-category ranking with episode two, as well.   PodcastOne executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “We’re no strangers to the category, with successful podcasts like ‘Cold Case Files,’ ‘Murder Made Me Famous,’ ‘Serial Killer,’ ‘First Degree’ and ‘We’re Alive.’  But this is our initial foray into original, owned-and-distributed content, complete with derivative rights.  We’ve planned this move very carefully and will follow up with great content and second-to-none marketing resources.  This is just the beginning.  To my knowledge, we’re the only podcast network producer and distributor with programming representing every category on Apple Podcasts.  Congrats to our great production partners at WTOP and Hubbard Broadcasting.  Our four-year-old partnership continues to pay big dividends.”

WOR Examines the Changing Face of News Coverage. At the recent “WOR Live” event held yesterday afternoon (6/19) at The Cutting Room in New York City, WOR morning drive co-host Len Berman moderated a discussion about how news coverage is changing due to technology and socio-political forces.  Pictured above at the event are (from l-r): WOR assistant program director Scott Lakefield, Berman, WNYW-TV “FOX 5” anchors Rosanna Scotto and Ernie Anastos, and WOR program director Tom Cuddy.

ABC Radio Offers Affiliates 4th of July Programming. News/talk stations affiliated with ABC Radio can air the 4th of July special titled, “Cherished America,” hosted by ABC News Radio correspondent Aaron Katersky that takes listeners to national monuments, national parks, and places both familiar and obscure on the National Register of Historic Places.  The special examines why each place is important to the country and how each shapes and defines it.  ABC Radio is also offering “Red, White and Rock 2019,” hosted by rock legend George Thorogood to rock stations and “Homemade Hometown Salute,” hosted by country star Jake Owen, to country affiliates.  All shows are three hours in length.

Westwood One News Offers ‘The Lunar Conquest’ for 4th of July Special. Ahead of the July 20 50th anniversary of the lunar landing, Westwood One News is presenting a 4th of July weekend special titled, “The Lunar Conquest,” and hosted by correspondent Michael Toscano.  The program, available to affiliate stations, salutes this historic event with archived audio clips, news reports, and interviews.  WWO says, “The lunar landing was one of the most challenging endeavors ever launched. With millions of people glued to their tiny TVs, Neil Armstrong and fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin bounded across the eerie landscape for more than two hours.”

Trump Campaign Rally/2020 Presidential Race, Iran Downs U.S. Drone, Hicks Testimony, Reparations Hearing, Southern Border Crisis, and Nxivm Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/19). Tuesday’s Orlando rally to kick off President Trump’s 2020 campaign and the Democrats competing for their party’s nomination; Iran shoots down a U.S. drone over the Strait of Hormuz; former Trump aide Hope Hicks refuses to talk about her White House tenure in closed-door testimony; the slavery reparations hearing before a House Judiciary subcommittee; the illegal immigrant status at the Southern border and President Trump’s statement ICE will deport millions; and the conviction of Nxivm founder Keith Raniere on racketeering and sex trafficking 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. In Atlanta, programmer Ron Roberts announces he’s left his position as program director of Entercom’s hot AC WSTR “Star 94.1.”  Roberts has been with the station since last August and arrived there after serving with iHeartMedia at CHR WWXM, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina “Mix 97.7.”

Friday, May 10, 2019

| May 10, 2019

Cumulus Media Q1 Report: Net Revenue Rises 1.4%. Reporting on the first quarter of 2019, Cumulus Media’s net revenue was $267.5 million, an increase of 1.4% compared to the same period in 2018.  Net income was $451,000 in the first quarter, compared to 2019 in which Cumulus posted a loss of $5 million.  Cumulus reports in two segments – Cumulus Radio Station Group and Westwood One.  In this first quarter of 2019, the Radio Station Group was down 1% on net revenue of $166.5 million, while Westwood One was up 5.9% on net revenue of $100.4 million.  Chief financial officer John Abbot says on the radio station side that the company continues “to experience a tough, local spot market environment.”  Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner states, “Driven by a steady focus on our key strategic priorities including accelerating digital growth, our strong performance continued in Q1 2019 with year-over-year increases in both revenue and EBITDA.  Additionally, we now have four pending M&A transactions that collectively are expected to generate more than $120 million of net proceeds and bolster our competitive positions in Indianapolis and Allentown. Combined with the $25 million voluntary prepayment made in February, these proceeds will reduce our net leverage to 4.8x on a pro forma basis.  We look forward to continuing our disciplined execution against all our strategic priorities and financial goals in the quarters ahead.”

Podcasting and Digital Efforts Bearing Fruit for Cumulus.  On yesterday’s Q1 earnings call with investors, Cumulus CEO Mary Berner lauded the company’s podcasting and digital segments.  She said, “So far in 2019, we continue to see the same strong growth in podcasting that we have enjoyed since we started the business.  As the exclusive partner for over 40 podcasts we’ve generated nearly 52 million downloads in March 2019, more than doubled the 23 million generated in March 2018.  And that doesn’t include our growing local podcast businesses.  By our estimation, this will put us in the top five largest podcast companies measured by PodTrack in March.  What is particularly notable about this growth, is that, that we have been able to achieve it while maintaining profitability.”  Berner is also pleased with the company’s efforts to grow digital revenue.  She adds, “We are continuing to generate exceptional growth across all of our platforms, with total digital revenue for the quarter growing 79% from the first quarter of last year.  Our streaming audience is growing steadily, driven by both organic listenership and increased distribution on the Tune In platform.  And we’re monetizing this high-margin digital inventory better and more broadly, through all of our channels, local, national network, programmatic exchanges, and remnant networks as well.”

Saga Communications Down 0.7% in Q1. The 2019 first quarter financial report from Saga Communications, Inc. shows the company’s net revenue during the period was $27.8 million, a dip of 0.7% over the same period in 2018.  Free cash flow increased $324 thousand to $2.6 million and station operating expense decreased 1% to $23.2 million.  Same station operating income was down 22% to $1.86 million and net income dipped 11% to $1.4 million.   The company notes that the results for the quarter were affected by its October 2018 acquisition of WOGK-FM, WNDT-FM, WNDD-FM, and WNDN-FM, in the Gainesville-Ocala market from Ocala Broadcasting Corporation, LLC for $9.3 million.  Saga reports having $39.2 million in cash on hand (as of 3/31/19) and $40.7 million in cash on hand (as of 5/6/19).

Hannity to Afternoons on WPHT, Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Business Journal is reporting that Entercom will fill its afternoon drive daypart with Premiere NetworksSean Hannity program starting next week.  Earlier this week, the station announced that current afternoon talk host Rich Zeoli becomes the new morning drive host on Monday (5/13), assuming the role left open when Chris Stigall exited WPHT earlier this year. It appears Entercom will air the Sean Hannity show during its live air time – 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm – on WPHT beginning on Monday as opposed to searching for a local host for the daypart. Hannity’s show has been airing on the station in a delay broadcast in the evening.

PodcastOne and Hubbard Radio Produce True Crime Program ‘22 Hours: An American Nightmare.’ The true-crime genre is a popular one among podcast consumers and now, PodcastOne and partner Hubbard Radio (remember that Hubbard owns 30% of PodcastOne) are producing a new podcast series titled, “22 Hours: An American Nightmare.”  The 10-part series investigates the Washington, DC mansion murders using the talents of WTOP, Washington reporters Megan Cloherty and Jack Moore, and produced by WTOP and its digital news director, Julia Ziegler.  Hubbard podcast strategy manager Wheeler Morris says, “We at Hubbard are excited to bring listeners around the country this story from a team of experienced investigative reporters at WTOP.  Listeners in the Washington, DC region are familiar with WTOP’s high-quality journalism and, with the help of PodcastOne, we are excited to now share that with the nation.”  PodcastOne executive chairman Norm Pattiz adds, “I’ve noticed recently that other major radio companies are promoting their new relationships with podcasters.  The Hubbard Radio/PodcastOne relationship recognized the synergies present over four years ago, and it continues to expand today.  We have a very definite game plan that seeks to take advantage of podcasting’s obvious on-demand advantages to stations, while mining the creativity that radio companies can bring to the table.”

iHeartMedia Promotes Rahul Sabnis to Lead New In-House Creative Group. This promotion comes with a realignment of the company’s in-house creative efforts.  Rahul Sabnis rises from EVP and executive creative director for iHeartMedia to chief creative officer & EVP for the newly branded, in-house creative group “TheStudio at iHeartMedia” operating under the aegis of Darren Davis, president of iHeartRadio and iHeartMedia Networks Group.  The company says that under Rahul’s leadership it will combine its Creative Studio and “CSG” in Atlanta into “TheStudio at iHeartMedia.”  A press release says TheStudio in-house agency will “provide a range of high-level strategy and creative services, helping iHeart’s own brands and the brands of its advertising and marketing partners use the efficiency and efficacy of audio seamlessly across all its company assets at the scale that only iHeart can deliver.”

Marie Harf to Exit FOX News to Join Seth Moulton Campaign.The Daily Beast reports that FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio personality Marie Harf is leaving her positions as political commentator and radio host, respectively, to join the 2020 presidential campaign of U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) as deputy campaign manager for policy and communications.  Harf co-hosts the “Benson and Harf” radio show with Guy Benson.  Harf served on Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign and was a senior communications adviser to former Senator John Kerry (D-MA).

The Mueller Report and Trump’s Claim of Executive Privilege Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 6-10.  Democrats’ request for the unredacted version of the Mueller Report and President Trump’s claim his executive privilege gives him control of the report was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the New York Times piece on Trump’s business losses.  Coming in at #3 was the 2020 presidential races, followed by the China trade war, the effect on the stock market, and North Korea’s missile tests at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

TALKERS CONVENTION SPOTLIGHT: Launching and Growing a Talent Career in 2019. Being a talent in 2019 is not as unique as it was years ago.  Thanks to the Internet, so-called talent is everywhere.  But the digital age has also brought new opportunities for talent that didn’t exist years ago and it’s incumbent upon talk media talent to seize them in order take control of one’s career.  At Talkers 2019: Telling the Story, set for New York on Friday, June 7, ABC News Radio executive director of programming Andrew Kalb will moderate a panel of broadcasters to discuss “Launching and Growing a Talent Career in 2019.”  Panelists include (in alphabetical order): Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Dom Giordano, host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Danielle Lin, host, “The Art of Living & the Science of Life”; Greg Moceri, CEO, Moceri Media; Michael Riedel, host, WOR, New York; and Todd Starnes, host, FOX News Radio.  The conference is rapidly moving toward being an early sellout.  To see the entire up-to-the-minute agenda and for registration/hotel information, please click here.

Conspiracy Theorist David Icke Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  With Facebook moving to officially ban Alex Jones and other controversial media figures from its platform and President Trump weighing in on the situation on the side of Jones and his InfoWars organization, there has been a lot of talk this week about conspiracy theorists, fake news, and freedom of speech.  One of the world’s most famous and controversial conspiracy theorists, David Icke, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Icke, who hails from Great Britain, has a worldwide following on YouTube and other digital platforms in addition to being the author of more than 20 books whereby he talks and writes about a wide variety of political and metaphysical issues that run the gamut from a scientifically plausible analysis of the vibrational aspects of reality per quantum physics to completely outrageous ideas about the human race being under the hidden control of a lizard-like, reptilian species of interdimensional humanoids that borders on science fiction.  He routinely sells out large meeting spaces on his lecture tours and is banned in a number of venues and countries for what many consider to be his dangerous ideas.  He has been accused on a number of occasions of anti-Semitism for his views on international banking and the turbulent politics of Israel, the Palestinians, and the Middle East – charges he vehemently denies.  There’s a new documentary film about this former English soccer star turned conspiracy theorist titled, “Renegade:  The Life Story of David Icke,” which takes a fly-on-the-wall view of his life as a family man, lecturer, and social/political disrupter.  It was banned by a theater in Los Angeles last week just hours before its premiere there when the theater owners learned about the level of controversy surrounding Icke.  Harrison caught up with Icke this past Thursday (5/2) when he was in New York City to attend the premiere of the film there that evening.  They talk about the media, the First Amendment, and the state of the conspiracy theory business in 2019.  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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Atlanta radio pro Jeff Dauler is out at WSTR, Atlanta “Star 94.1” where he was co-host of the “Jeff & Jenn” show with Jenn Hobby.  She addressed Dauler’s departure on the program but didn’t offer any specifics on his departure.  Hobby will continue to lead the morning show.  At the same time as Dauler departed, afternoon personality Mike Marino also left the air and his info on the station’s website has been scrubbed.  Aside from Hobby addressing it on the air, WSTR has not commented specifically on the changes…..Warner Music Nashville recording artist Cale Dodds (right) took time out of his busy tour schedule with Chase Rice to fill in as a special guest co-host with Jackson (left) on Beasley Media Group’s WKLB, Boston “Country 102.5” morning show.  Dodds helped finn in for morning show co-host Ayla Brown.  He took the opportunity to premier his new single, “I Like Where This Is Going.”  On Monday and Tuesday (5/13-14), Sony Nashville recording artist Rachel Wammack will co-host with Jackson.  WKLB program director David Corey says, “There’s no better way for the country audience to get to know an artist than to bring them into our world and put them on a morning show.  It allows us to go way beyond the typical interview questions that might be asked.  This is real life conversation…and fun!  We are thankful to Cale and Rachel for getting that and jumping all in with us!”

Thursday, February 7, 2019

| February 7, 2019

Midwest Communications Paying $21.6 Million for Peoria Stations. When broker KALIL & Co. announced the deal between Alpha Media and Midwest Communications on Tuesday, it did not include the price. Now that the contract is showing up in the FCC database, we know that Midwest will pay Alpha $21.6 million for the six-station cluster in the Peoria market that includes: news/talk WMBD-AM, hot AC WSWT-FM, country WXCL-FM, classic hits WPBG-FM, classic hip hop WNGY-FM and oldies WIRL-AM.

Media Exec Peter I. Morris Named CEO of PodcastOne. Media and business executive Peter I. Morris joins PodcastOne as chief executive officer in a new role in which he’ll manage all day-to-day operations while exploring growth opportunities, strategic partnerships, and new content initiatives.  He joins the management team led by executive chairman Norm Pattiz and president Kit Gray.  Morris comes to PodcastOne with 10-plus years of experience in senior management, business development, and business affairs across film, television, and digital media. He was most recently EVP of Barstool Sports.  He’s also served as EVP of entertainment at IMAX, and head of business affairs & strategy and general counsel at Funny or Die.  Morris says, “Personally, I’m a huge fan of podcasts and a strong believer in the power of the fan communities this medium champions.  The opportunity to work with a legend like Norm Pattiz at PodcastOne, a market leader, is one I couldn’t pass up.  I look forward to leading PodcastOne’s evolution and next chapter of growth.”

Entercom’s Radio.com Strikes Deals with CNN and Bloomberg. This content sharing deal between Entercom and CNN and Blomberg Media provides for Entercom’s RADIO.com platform to air 10 live simulcasts of CNN and Bloomberg programs, in addition to making podcasts from Turner Podcast Network available on the platform.  Simulcast content will include: CNN International, CNN en Español, and HLN from CNN and Bloomberg Radio National as well as New York, D.C., Boston, Bay Area, and London editions.  Entercom chief digital officer JD Crowley says, “We are thrilled to welcome CNN and Bloomberg to RADIO.COM as we increase our premium content offerings.  Through our deep roster of industry-leading radio stations and premium live and on-demand content, RADIO.COM is quickly becoming an important part of the daily audio habit for the tens of millions of listeners we reach per month.  These agreements further cement RADIO.COM’s position as the premiere destination for on-demand audio news, entertainment, music and sports content on a national scale.”

ABC News to Launch ‘The Investigation’ Podcast. Beginning next Tuesday (2/12), ABC News is tackling the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election in podcast form.  The new podcast, “The Investigation,” is hosted by ABC News correspondent Kyra Phillips and the ABC News investigative team, led by senior executive producer Chris Vlasto.  ABC says it will provide a weekly, behind-the-scenes look at Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and will focus on the lead-up to the highly anticipated report and explore its aftermath, analyzing the potential fallout and political consequences.   ABC Radio vice president and general manager Steve Jones comments, “We’ve provided extensive coverage of the Mueller probe on our daily podcast ‘Start Here,’ but there’s so much more that Kyra Phillips and our investigative team can provide, that launching a dedicated podcast made spectacular sense.  ‘The Investigation’ will break news, offer context, and make our growing ABC Radio podcast network even more attractive for advertisers hoping to reach an informed and engaged audience.”

TALKERS News Notes. Last Saturday evening, Hubbard Radio’s Washington, DC all-news WTOP-FM officially moved from its Idaho Ave studios in Northwest DC to its new studios on Wisconsin Ave in Chevy Chase, Maryland.  Check out the video of the station making the flip from the old studio to the new one here…..WJFN-FM, Goochland, Virginia announces a special Saturday program to address the political scandals affecting Democratic politicians that have the state in the national discussion.  WJFN is operated by conservative talk radio personality John Fredericks and he has been determined to broaden the conversation about Virginia politics by adding Democratic talk hosts to the program schedule.  This weekend, Democrat Susan Platt, who hosts the “Find Your Roar” hourly interview program Saturdays at 9:00 am and Democrat Gene Rossi, host of the “Gene Rossi Show” on Saturdays at 12:00 noon, will team up for a special, two-hour show from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm to address the scandals involving Governor Ralph Northam, Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, and Attorney General Mark Herring.  Fredericks says, “At WJFN, our mission is to provide listeners with timely updates, behind-the-scenes details, and clear analysis about the world of Virginia politics.  In the past week, Virginia has been rocked by three distinctive scandals related to race relations and sexual conduct.  These are serious and sensitive subjects involving prominent public officials.  Many Virginians are reeling from these revelations.  In such highly charged moments, we recognize our responsibility to accurately inform our listeners as they put these events into context.”…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Newsweb Radio’s progressive talk outlet WCPT is losing the host of its 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm daily program as Los Angeles-based Norman Goldman’s program will end in the near future. Goldman has told his listeners that the show will end because it is losing money and has “no more money to lose.”…..A new podcast called “Mama Said with Jamie and Jenna” is launching on the LadyGang on PodcastOne Network.  The program features “Sopranos” actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler and musician Jenna Parris as Sigler, a working and traveling mother, and Parris, a stay-at-home mom and avid researcher, bring together their different perspectives and delve into parenthood with celebrity guests…..iHeartMedia’s news/talk WERC, Birmingham is partnering with the Alliance of American Football club the Birmingham Iron to air all 10 of the team’s games.  The inaugural season of the new football league begins on Sunday (2/10).  Veteran broadcaster Thom Abraham serves as the play-by-play voice with former Alabama All-American Mike Johnson as the color commentator.

Trump-Russia Investigation, House Intel Committee Investigation, State of the Union Address, 2020 Presidential Hopefuls/Elizabeth Warren Native American Issue, AOC’s Green New Deal, Virginia’s Political Chaos, Border Wall Battle, Chicago Cubs Racism Troubles, Venezuela Unrest, James Brown Murder Allegation, and NBA Trade Deadline Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/6). The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff’s expansion of his committee’s investigation into President Trump; Tuesday evening’s State of the Union Address; the Democrats intending to run for president in 2020 and the related story of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s claim to be Native American; freshman Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal” legislative agenda; the issues of racism and an allegation of sexual assault dogging Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, attorney general Mark Herring, and Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax; the political battle over President Trump’s plan for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border; the racist emails associated with Joe Ricketts, patriarch of the family that owns the Chicago Cubs; the political unrest in Venezuela; the allegation that both James Brown and the legendary performer’s wife were murdered; and the deals taking place at the NBA’s trade deadline 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 Atlanta, Cumulus Media names Corey Dylan co-host of the “Caddy & Corey” morning show on country WKHX, Atlanta “Kicks 101.5” alongside Cadillac Jack.  Dylan has worked in radio at hot AC WMTX, Tampa and news/talk WFLA-AM, Tampa.  She most recently has been on television’s TMZ and HSN as a guest host.  WKHX program director Brian Thomas comments, “I feel so fortunate for Corey to join Cadillac Jack in mornings.  Her multi-media experience will create one of the best country shows in radio.”

Grapplers Guide to Grinding Out Pinpoint Podcasts

| November 28, 2018

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor

 

LOS ANGELES — On-air personalities have enhanced their “celebrity status” in recent years via personal websites; social media and professional homepages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.); and by becoming bloggers.

Such platforms have also simultaneously provided a strong voice heretofore largely unavailable to the non-broadcaster.

If not in the traditional over-the-air or satellite-delivered sense, virtually anyone with a computer can achieve their own degree of “stardom” on the internet and there’s been no shortage of those giving it a go through podcasting.

Read More

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

| November 20, 2018

Minihane Says ‘Difference of Opinion’ Led to Departure from WEEI, Boston.  Appearing on public television outlet WGBH-TV, Boston’s “Greater Boston” program with host Jim Braude on Monday (11/19), former WEEI, Boston morning personality Kirk Minihane explained his exit from the “Kirk & Callahan” program, saying he and station owner Entercom had a “difference of opinion” on how the morning show should go forward. He said, “There was just a philosophical difference between the station — Entercom, the ownership — and me.  They wanted to go one way.  I didn’t want to go that way.”  Minihane said he was asked to sign a document that he wasn’t comfortable with.  “It basically said you can’t be interesting, you can’t be mean-spirited, you can’t take chances, you can’t rip the Red Sox, you can’t rip the Boston Globe.  And I said, ‘I’m not going to participate.’”  As reported last week, Minihane will launch a national program on Entercom’s RADIO.COM in 2019, he’ll host his own podcast and will write for the digital platform as well.  Mike Mutnansky now co-hosts the WEEI morning show with Gerry Callahan.  Read coverage of the WGBH-TV appearance here.

Nielsen Names IBM SVP David Kenny New CEO. Ratings and consumer behavior giant Nielsen Holdings LLC names former IBM senior vice president David Kenny its new chief executive officer, effective December 3.  Kenny takes over for the retiring Mitch Barns at a time when the company is reviewing its corporate strategy – led by board chairman James Attwood – and that could lead to a sale of either its Watch (ratings) or Buy (consumer behavior) segments or a sale of the entire company.  Kenny will earn $1.3 million in base salary, the opportunity to earn up to $1.9 million in the Annual Incentive Plan, and participation in the Long Term Incentive Plan.  Additionally, Nielsen agrees to compensate Kenny for his loss of unvested equity in IBM with 487,505 Nielsen RSUs (Make Whole RSUs) that will vest in three equal annual installments through 2021; Nielsen will pay him $2.5 million on February 15, 2019 for his loss of an IBM cash retention award; and will pay him $1.5 million upon starting his employment for his loss of the IBM 2018 annual incentive payout.

PodcastOne Launches Four New Podcasts. New programs launching on PodcastOne this month include: “Chad’s World,” starring “Bachelorette” villain Chad Johnson; “Zane’s World” in which world traveler Zane digs deeper into places he’s featured on his other travel shows and shares unheard, amazing stories and interviews celebrities about their experiences; “Selfie Made,” with author Meredith Rojas on building one’s online brand; and “Just Between Us,” with “Good Witch” star Bailee Madison and her sister Kaitlin Vilasuso.  PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “We’re really proud to have created a prime space for social and on-screen influencers to extend their digital brands in the rapidly growing podcast space.  We have seen great success in the last year with influencers like Kaitlyn BristoweSpencer and Heidi Pratt, Kim Zolciak, and more and we’re excited to welcome these four new programs to the party!”

TALKERS News Notes. Talk radio dynamo Simon Conway (left) – heard in afternoon drive on iHeartMedia’s WHO, Des Moines and sister WMT-AM, Cedar Rapids – is pulling a couple of days of double duty this week.  In addition to his own show, he’s also sitting in for WOAI-AM San Antonio-based, nationally syndicated talk show host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo (right)…..As Major League Baseball’s New York Mets change flagship stations from iHeartMedia’s WOR to Entercom’s WCBS-AM, Mets color analyst of the past six seasons Josh Lewin is leaving New York to return to San Diego to host pre- and post-game shows for San Diego Padres radio broadcasts.  Lewin also handles play-by-play for UCLA football.  He previously worked in San Diego doing radio broadcasts for the NFL’s Chargers…..This Thanksgiving weekend, ABC News is making available a three-hour special titled, “America Gives Thanks,” hosted by ABC News correspondent Aaron Katersky that will “highlight tales of prosperity, hope, and kindness that Americans across the country have experienced.  It will feature stories of Americans in diverse situations including survivors of wildfires, students from Africa given a chance to succeed in the United States, and recipients of kidney transplants.”…..Voxnest announces that  podcast producer and host Jonathan Zenti joins the company as head of content.  Voxnest notes that Zenti is an award-winning podcast producer and host with more than a decade of distinguished experience across the industry who was most recently made a member of the advisory committee for PRX’s Google Podcast creator program.

Acosta Pass Restored/New WH Press Rules, Democrats’ Internal House Speaker Battle, Democrats’ Whitaker Challenge, Federal Asylum Claims Ruling, Gun Violence Incidents, California Wildfires, Sinking Dow, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/19). The White House restores CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass and institutes new rules for reporters covering the White House; the Democrats’ battle over Nancy Pelosi as next House Speaker; Senate Democrats challenge appointment of acting AG Matthew Whitaker; the federal ruling blocks President Trump’s asylum ban; Monday’s spate of gun violence; the devastation from California’s wildfires; the reeling Dow loses 400 points and the plummeting of tech stocks; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

‘Stuttering’ John Melendez Is Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Media personality John Melendez, who spent 15 years as an outrageous sidekick and field reporter on Howard Stern’s radio and TV shows, followed by a 10-year stint as announcer and writer on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Melendez, whose “Stuttering John” character rose to fame in the Howard Stern universe for asking unsuspecting celebrities extremely intimate and embarrassing questions, has just published a memoir, Easy for You to Say (Rare Bird Books, 2018).  It discusses his lifelong battle against stuttering going all the way back to his experiences being bullied in school as well as his colorful media career and the major stars with whom he interacted.  Melendez talks to Harrison quite candidly about his relationships with both Stern and Leno as well as his perspective on the industry and life.  According to Harrison, “This guy is extremely interesting.  He’s lived both a charmed life and career which he discusses in candid detail in our conversation.  What a great guest!”  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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Pittsburgh, Michael “Frogman” Ovadia exits Forever Media’s country WOGI, “Froggy 104.3” after four years there.  Erika “Aligator” Hink – co-host of the “Frogman & Gator” show – continues to host the program solo…..Madison, Wisconsin morning personality Pat O’Neill announces via social media that he’s exiting Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s adult contemporary WMGN “MAGIC 98” for a yet-to-be-named gig he’ll start in January…..WXKS-FM, Boston “Kiss 108” morning drive icon Matt Siegel – host of the “Matty in the Morning” show – comes home with the Broadcaster of the Year award from the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association’s “Sound Bites” event. The honor is given annually to “a Massachusetts radio or TV broadcaster who has shown an unwavering dedication to the evolution of broadcasting, breathing life into his/her work by being creative, enthusiastic, and committed to the community.”  The iHeartMedia personality says, “I am thrilled to receive this honor.  I can’t believe I’ve gotten to wake up the city of Boston for the past 38 years while working alongside some of my closest friends.  I am very humbled and appreciative to be recognized with such high honors.”…..Also from the MBA Sound Bites Awards, Entercom rock WAAF, Boston grabs first place in the “Digital Media” category for “LB’s Big Decision,” featured on the station’s website…..Entercom unveils its “Channel Q” format on KKHH-HD2 in Houston.  Entercom Houston SVP and market manager Sarah Frazier comments, “Since its inception in October, ‘Channel Q’ (formerly known as ‘Out Now’) has provided a voice for the LGBTQ+ community and we are very excited to bring that voice to the Houston area.  We believe this is a perfect fit considering our long-term partnership with Pride Houston.”

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

| November 14, 2018

Laura Ingraham to Transition Radio Show to Podcast in January. Talk media personality Laura Ingraham will end her 17-plus years of hosting a live radio talk show in January and launch an original podcast via PodcastOne.  Ingraham, who joined FOX News Channel’s prime-time lineup last fall, has also been hosting her late morning radio show syndicated via Courtside Entertainment.  She says, “While hosting a prime-time television show and raising three children on my own, continuing a three-hour morning radio show was no longer feasible.  Although I will greatly miss my radio listeners and affiliates, working late nights and early mornings has taken a toll on my family life.  Plus, my radio audience is smart, savvy and committed, and I know most will follow my new show in the format that is revolutionizing the audio world – digital podcasting.”  She adds, “Without phenomenal producers, a committed sales team, great station managers and program directors — and of course my loyal advertisers – this show wouldn’t have been possible.  Now it’s time for a new adventure.”   PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz states, “Due to her HUGE success on the FOX News channel, daily podcasts are a much better fit for Laura’s hectic schedule and provides her listeners in all markets access at any time to the new Laura Ingraham show podcast.  She’s at the top of her game and her new original podcasts will fit perfectly on PodcastOne.”

Cumulus Q3 Net Revenue Down 1.7%. The third quarter financial numbers for Cumulus Media have been released and the company reports Q3 net revenue of $282.3 million – an dip of 1.7% from the same period in 2017.  Net income was $12.7 million and adjusted EBITDA was $62.1 million.  Due to its emergence from Chapter 11 reorganization earlier this year, the company notes in its report that “for the purposes of the analysis of the results presented herein, the company is presenting the combined results of operations for the period June 4, 2018 to September 30, 2018 of the Successor Company with the period January 1, 2018 to June 3, 2018 of the Predecessor Company.  Although this presentation is not in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States, the company believes presenting and analyzing the combined results allows for a more meaningful comparison of results for the nine month period ended September 30, 2018 to the nine months ended September 30, 2017.”  Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner comments, “In our first full quarter of operations since emerging from Chapter 11, our positive momentum continued and we remain focused on the path ahead.  We delivered another quarter of Adjusted EBITDA growth – approximately 50 basis points on a reported basis and 3.9% when adjusting for the impact of USTN and our exit from WLUP-FM in Chicago.  Additionally, in early October, we completed a $50 million prepayment of our term loan using cash generated from operations, demonstrating both our ability to produce significant free cash flow and our commitment to pay down debt with that cash.  We continue to believe that our key growth initiatives, including our digital businesses at the Cumulus Radio Station Group, our rapidly expanding podcast business and pricing and inventory management improvements across the Company, as well as our substantial free cash flow generation, position the Company well to create value for all our stakeholders.”

iHeartMedia Names Future Board of Directors.  When iHeartMedia emerges from Chapter 11 reorganization, it will have a new board of directors and today the company announces who will sit on the board.  Current board chairman and CEO Bob Pittman and current president, COO and CFO Rich Bressler will continue to serve on the board with five new board members.  They are: former Walt Disney Company executive Jay Rasulo; Spyglass Entertainment co-founder and former MGM Inc. chairman and CEO Gary Barber; Altimeter Capital founder and CEO Brad Gerstner; private investor and director for both Aptiv plc and Arconic Inc Sean Mahoney; and Drawbridge founder and CEO Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan.  Bob Pittman comments, “We are excited about both the depth and range of our new board members.  We know our ability to draw on the experience of this unique combination of leaders in their respective fields will give us an unparalleled competitive advantage as we build our next level of growth.”

Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity Hits 600-Affiliate Mark. After a little more than 17 years in national syndication, Premiere Networks talk radio superstar Sean Hannity reaches the milestone of 600 affiliate stations.  Premiere states, “Hannity’s provocative, informed, and passionate commentary on news and politics has amassed a loyal following of more than 18 million listeners monthly.  Broadcasting live on weekdays from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET, the 2017 National Radio Hall of Fame inductee and two-time Marconi Award winner is one of the most prominent and influential talk radio hosts in the country, whose political foresight and focus on the American agenda has made him the second most-listened-to talk radio host in the U.S.”  Hannity comments, “I am humbled and appreciative to not only our 600 amazing affiliates, but also to the listeners of this radio show in each and every city. Thank you for this honor!”

Good News for Comrex ACCESS and BRIC-Link II Users; HotSwap Feature Now Available.  This new HotSwap feataure allows users of Comrex’s IP audio codecs ACCESS and BRIC-Link II to back up dedicated links.  This long-sought reliability feature allows users to back up their studio-to-transmitter link or other dedicated link with a wireless modem.  CrossLock is Comrex’s powerful technology for increasing network reliability and allows codecs to use multiple IP networks at once.  CrossLock lets users bond networks together so that more bandwidth is available.  Alternately, in redundancy mode, users can send identical streams down both networks.  Until now, however, it hasn’t been possible to designate one network as primary and a second network to be used only when the primary fails.  HotSwap lets users select a network that will only be engaged if the primary network fails.  The system will warn of this status with a contact closure, and automatically fallback to the primary once it’s restored.  Fall-over to backup happens in a matter of seconds, and fallback is seamless.  For ACCESS codecs, any supported modem can be used as a back-up.  For BRIC-Link II, only Comrex Connect Modems are supported.  4G LTE Comrex Connect Modems are available for purchase through any Comrex dealer.  When ordering, ask for the NX model of Connect Modem.  Verizon, AT&T, and International versions are available.  HotSwap is included in firmware version 4.3, which is available now for all ACCESS and BRIC-Link II codecs.  Users can download it for free using Device Manager.

TALKERS News Notes. Sports talk personality Orlando “Big O Alzugaray exits Entercom’s WQAM, Miami after a four-year stint hosting the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm program.  He’d previously served with the station from 1997 through 2010…..The National Radio Hall of Fame announces it is creating a new award called the “One to Watch,” chosen by the NRHoF nominating committee.  It was inspired by radio legend Art Laboe, the active radio performer with the longest continuous period of service on air for 75 years and a 2012 National Radio Hall of Fame Inductee.  The inaugural “One to Watch” award will be given to Westwood One’s Ben Shapiro…..At Salem Media Group’s Pittsburgh cluster, Brad Marshall is named general manager.  The station group includes news/talk WPGP “1250 The Answer” and its two Christian-formatted outlets.  During his career, Marshall has served with iHeartMedia and Cumulus Media in Youngstown, Ohio…..In more Salem Media Group news, the company chooses software provider Aptivada to power the company’s contesting, promotions, database management, and newsletters…..AdLarge Media’s digital audio advertising unit cabana adds the investigative podcast “Bear Brook” from New Hampshire Public Radio to its content portfolio.  The podcast, hosted by NHPR reporter Jason Moon, centers around a decades-old mystery involving four unidentified bodies found in two barrels in New Hampshire’s Bear Brook State Park in the 1980s. The first six episodes of “Bear Brook” garnered more than 1.1 million downloads…..NuVoodoo Media Services promotes Eric Cohen to the newly created position of executive vice president, finance. New York-based Cohen joined NuVoodoo Media Services earlier this year as vice president of finance…..iHeartMedia’s sports talk KBME, Houston re-ups with the Houston Astros to continue serving as the ballclub’s flagship radio station for play-by-play broadcasts.

Deadly California Wildfire, CNN-White House Suit, Florida Recount/Kemp-Abrams Contest/AZ Senate Race, Melania Trump-Mira Ricardel Matter, New Amazon HQs Revealed, Dow Dips Again, Michelle Obama Book Tour, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/13). The California wildfire that has claimed 48 lives so far; CNN’s suit against the White House requesting the return of Jim Acosta’s WH credentials pass; the re-count troubles in Florida, the Stacey AbramsBrian Kemp Georgia governor’s race, and Kyrsten Sinema’s AZ senate seat victory; Melania Trump’s move to oust deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel; Amazon reveals new HQ locations; the Dow loses another 100 points; Michelle Obama’s Becoming book tour; and the week’s NFL 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. Program director Derek Harper announces Jarard J is the new evening personality at Urban One’s urban AC WAMJ-FM, Atlanta “MAJIC 107/5/97.5,” effective November 19.   About his new gig, Jarard J says, “When Hurricane Dave and Derek Harper chose me, it illustrated the confidence and faith that the leadership team has in me and I was both humbled and honored.  I feel like a first round draft pick.  I am excited and ready to ball.”…..On-air pro Karen Blake exits Cape Cod Broadcasting’s hot AC WQRC, H “99.9 The Q” after five years as the morning personality…..Envision Networks’ “Full Metal Jackie Radio” joins the program schedule at AJG Corporation’s rock WCLG-FM, Morgantown, West Virginia to air from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight on Fridays.  And check out host Jackie Kajzer at right holding her KILPOP 2018 Metal Programmer of the Year award.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

| September 26, 2018

New Morning Host Greg Tish Takes Over on WVFT, Tallahassee. At WVFT, Tallahassee “Real Talk 93.3,” operator Magic Broadcasting II names Greg Tish the new morning host after declining to renew the contract of former morning personality Greg Marr Jr.  According to a story at Tallahassee.com, the new show, “Real Mornings with Greg Tish and Bobby Mac,” will focus less on politics than Marr Jr.’s “Voice of Freedom Today” program.  WVFT station manager Jon Jopling is quoted saying, “We are going to be intellectually honest and locally relevant.  It’s going to be more interesting and more thought provoking. We want to engage listeners on a higher level.”  Tish has been employed for the past 19 years with the Florida Sheriff’s Association.  He is described in the piece as a “partially retired DJ and man-about-town socialite.”

PodcastOne Sportsnet Beefs Up Offerings with Nine New Shows. These new programs now available on the PodcastOne Sportsnet platform are from The Pro Football Focus Network, The Underdog Network, The Collider Network, RealGM, and Natalie Eva Marie. PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norman Pattiz says, “As a full-service sports network totally focused on podcasts, plus up-to-date coverage of live events and major sporting events from around the world, these new inclusions from our podcasting partners further signal our commitment to sports and maintaining our leadership position.” New shows include “The PFF NFL Show” with Steve Palazzolo and Sam Monson; “The Underdog” with Chris Horwedel and writer Anshu Khanna; “You’re Wrong and Here’s Why”; “Tales from the Association”; “Collider Sports”; “RealGM Radio Football” with Jeff Risdon; and “The Natalie Eva Marie Show.”

NAB/RAB Radio Show Happening Now in Orlando — The 2018 installment of the annual “Radio Show” produced and presented by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) kicked off yesterday (9/26) in Orlando, FL and will run through Friday (9/28) at the dual location of the Hilton Bonnet Creek and the Waldorf-Astoria Orlando.  TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay is on the scene providing first-hand coverage of the event and conducting interviews with speakers and attendees.  Read his coverage here.  McKay (on crutches due to a recent knee injury) is pictured below in front of one of the convention’s promotional posters that adorn the hallways and public spaces of the radio industry gathering.

Edison Teases ‘Share of Ear’ Data; Estimates SiriusXM-Pandora Market Share.  Tomorrow at the RAB/NAB Radio Show, Edison Research will unveil data from its 2018 “Share of Ear” study.  In advance of that, the company teases some of the findings, including that “in-car is the top listening location in the U.S. for all audio.”  That’s probably not a surprising statistic to radio pros, but the research puts some figures on that conclusion.  Edison says, “In any given day, nearly everyone in the U.S. will consume at least some audio, and on average, people age 13 and older spend four hours per day listening to music, news, personalities, and sports…70% of Americans age 13 and older listen to audio in a car each day – higher even than the portion who listen to audio at home.”  In a separate press release, Edison comments on the proposed acquisition of Pandora by SiriusXM saying that its research indicates that if the deal is consummated, the new company would deliver 12% of all audio consumed in the U.S.

Beasley Media Group Presents Dr. Shawn DuBravac at Radio Show — The appearance by best-selling author Dr. Shawn DuBravac came at the Beasley Media Group-sponsored “Evening of Dinner and Disruption” event held last night (9/25).  DuBravac discussed transformative innovation, including smart cities, AI, data, and the opportunities for radio in the future.  Pictured above (from l-r) are: DuBravac, Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley, COO/EVP Brian Beasley, and president Bruce Beasley.

Westwood One’s Kevin Harlan Gives Advice to Future Broadcasters – At the Westwood One-sponsored presentation by “Monday Night Football” announcer Kevin Harlan (right), he spoke with a large group of 2018 Radio Show Student Scholars about the business of radio broadcasting.  Harlan shared stories and offered advice to the students.  He’s pictured above with University of Indianapolis student broadcaster Mallory Moreno (left).  “The Student Scholar Kick-off with Kevin Harlan” was hosted by Westwood One Sports EVP/executive producer Howard Deneroff.

Harrison: Corporate Media Will Stop Catering to Targeted Audience Biases Only If It Sees Ratings and Revenue in Journalistic Objectivity. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison appeared as a guest on CNN’s Headline News Channel (HLN) yesterday (9/25) on “Across America with Carol Costello” to share his take on Brett Kavanaugh’s FOX News interview the night before (9/24).  As the conversation delved into the widespread practice of news organizations catering to target audience mindsets, Costello asked Harrison if he thinks any minds would be changed by Kavanaugh’s historically unusual FOX News appearance.  Harrison responded with the cynical observation, “I don’t think anything changes minds anymore.  We’re in a very strange impasse and I think it’s corroding our democracy.  I do hope that we eventually get to the point where it’s a little more fluid, where people are a bit more open-minded and that the media in general is a little bit more independent of adhering to its political flavor.  I guess the only way the media will ever get to that point will be if the media thinks it is in their interests to be that way – that you can actually get ratings and revenue and build an audience by not preaching to choirs.  But right now, we’re really in a quagmire of partisanship and polarized reporting where even media people who think they’re objective find themselves succumbing to the temptation to preach to their audience’s biases.”  Harrison went on to say that he does not hold FOX solely responsible for this type of positioning and insinuated that it is practiced to one degree or another by outlets all across the political spectrum including CNN and even TALKERS.

Trump UN Speech, Kavanaugh Sexual Assault Allegations, Trump-Russia Investigation/Rosenstein Status, Midterm Elections, U.S.-China Tensions, Bill Cosby Sentenced, NFL Action, and MLB Playoff Push Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/25). Tuesday’s UN address by President Trump, including his warnings to Iran; the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents, and the related status of Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein; the coming midterm elections; the tense relationship between the U.S. and China over tariffs and weapons sales; entertainment icon Bill Cosby is sentenced to 3-10 years in prison for sexual assault; the week’s NFL activities; and the Major League Baseball playoffs push 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 Boston, iHeartMedia names Rebekah “Bex” Maroun executive producer and co-host on CHR WXKS-FM’s “Matty In The Morning, effective October 1. She joins the program alongside well-known on-air personalities Matt Siegel, Billy Costa, and Lisa Donovan. She assumes the role previously held by Medha Gandhi, who recently joined the syndicated “Elvis Duran & The Morning Show.”  “Kiss 108” program director Dylan Sprague comments, “Bex’s chemistry with the Matty team was obvious at our first meeting.  Couple that with her magnetic personality and producing experience and it was really an easy choice.”  She was most recently an air personality and producer at Entercom’s hot AC WTDY…..BMI announces it has re-elected six members of its board of directors during the company’s annual meeting of shareholders.  The following have been elected to new three-year terms: Caroline Beasley, CEO, Beasley Media Group, LLC; Amador Bustos, president and CEO, Bustos Media Holdings, LLC; Michael Fiorile, current chairman, BMI board of directors; chairman and CEO, The Dispatch Printing Company; and chairman and CEO, Dispatch Broadcast Group; Bill Hoffman, president, Hoffman Communications, Inc. and retired president, Cox Media Group; Catherine Hughes, founder and chairperson, Urban One, Inc.; and Jerry Kersting, former president, Tribune Broadcasting and past EVP/CFO, Clear Channel Radio.…..In Miami, Entercom adds Melissa Maxx to the air staff of alternative WSFS “104.3 The Shark” to host the 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show. She takes over for Erin Lee, who remains with the station to handle weekends and fill-ins…..At company headquarters in Portland this week, Alpha Media programmers are meeting for the first-ever “Alpha Media Programming Pop-Up.”  Fifty of Alpha’s content directors from around the country are taking part in a two-day forum.  The company says the goal is to “motivate and educate Alpha’s brand leaders by providing interaction with and information from some of the industry’s top executives and celebrity influencers.  Meetings and presentations are taking place today and tomorrow at Alpha’s theater located at the corporate offices.  Pictured below at Tuesday evening’s rooftop cocktail party are (from l-r): Alpha EVP of programming Scott Mahalick, Republic Records’ Sharon Dastur, Republic’s Gary Spangler, Alpha VP of content Phil Becker, Republic artist Mike Posner, Republic’s Brett Dumler, Republic’s Mike DePippa, and model/TV personality Kim Stolz.