Tag: "Rich Bressler"

Friday, January 12, 2018

| January 12, 2018

Most Talk Radio Programmers are Avoiding Use of the Term “Shithole” in Wake of Presidential Sh*tstorm.  Once again, President Donald J. Trump – for better or worse – has shaken up the standards of traditional broadcasting and journalism.  This time, with his controversial remark about immigration using the term “shithole” to describe countries from which he considers immigration particularly undesirable.  The controversial racist aspect of this story notwithstanding, FCC-regulated broadcasters have had to make the quick decision to directly utter the term on the airwaves or buffer it with less offensive and non-potentially rule-breaking words.  This decision has been made more difficult by the fact that many traditional, so-called mainstream cable outlets and online/print news media have chosen to use the word as the President said it.  In conversations around the industry this morning TALKERS has learned that the prevailing tact on terrestrial talk radio has been NOT to use the word directly.  Cumulus Media/Westwood One EVP Mike McVay tells TALKERS, “Despite cable television taking great joy in saying the ‘S’ word on TV, we are not saying the actual word on over the air radio. We recognize it as one of the seven words we cannot say. That has not stopped us from using it on our digital platforms.”   Salem Radio Network senior VP, Phil Boyce says, “The word ‘shit’ is one of the FCC-banned words and our hosts should never use it, no matter if the president did or didn’t.  My morning guy in Los Angeles, Brian Whitman, will be using the word “BLANK hole.”  We want our shows to be safe for the whole family.  No need to have listeners turn off the radio because kids are in the car.”  Bold Gold Media Group CEO Vince Benedetto – owner of a number of stations in Pennsylvania and upstate New York – adds, “We haven’t changed our policy – we still do not say anything on air that violates George Carlin’s ‘Seven words you can’t say on television.'”  ABC Radio VP/GM Steve Jones tells TALKERS, “ABC News Radio anchors and reporters are not speaking that word on air as it could be considered an FCC violation and it also might offend local community standards.  Instead, we are referring to the phrase as an ‘expletive’ or ‘profanity.’   We have 1,650 affiliates and the majority use our ABC ‘Newscall’ service – which provides on-demand audio of reporters and actualities.   We are more permissive in what we provide on that service because it is the decision of the station whether to run the audio – whereas as we control the newscast content and therefore have unilateral decision-making.  If audio existed of any president using a profanity, we would put it on ‘Newscall’ and let stations decide its usage.   If we determined language was so newsworthy we felt obligated to include it in a newscast, we would probably warn stations in advance.  But, that’s hard to effectively control and I don’t recall it being done in many years.”  Although the consensus is to avoid using the word directly on the airwaves, not everyone in talk radio fully agrees that the way to go.  Nationally-famous, station owner/operator (and industry maverick) Michael Zwerling of KSCO/KOME, Santa Cruz tells TALKERS that he will use the word on his own show (“The Saturday Special”) but respects the rights of his air personalities to make their own decisions, “My position is to use the word on the air since it is a bona fide news story – but I just checked with the ‘Good Morning Monterey Bay’ staff [the station’s morning show] and was told they opted to say ‘s-hole’ and to play the Haitian national anthem.”  Zwerling continues, “Trump apparently has denied using that word (which is one of my favorites) but even if he was falsely accused of using it by the news media almost universally out to get him – it has nonetheless become a legitimate news story and therefore would fall into my category of okay to use on the air.  Besides, it moves our industry in the direction of parity with the ‘paid’ services that have been and are allowed to use profanity with impunity!”  Media consultant/TALKERS columnist/and RT America host Holland Cooke says, “It is a big topic with heavy phones at my client stations this morning.  My advice:  Ask listeners, ‘If he said that word, should we, here on the radio?'”  TALKERS legal editor and Bentley University law professor Steven JJ Weisman says, “It is my opinion that the use of the word ‘shithole’ in the context of discussing the president’s comments would be allowed.”  For Weisman’s full comments, please read the story below.

Steve Weisman’s Legal Take on Terrestrial Radio’s Use of Term “Shithole.”  TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman offers his educated view on the terrestrial radio “shithole” issue prompted by President Donald J. Trump’s use of the term.  To read the piece in its entirety, please click here.

Save the Date! Talkers 2018 Set for Friday, June 8, 2018 in New York City.  The editorial board of TALKERS magazine is pleased to announce the date and location of the 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention.  Titled TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead!, the power-packed, one-day event will take place on Friday, June 8, 2018 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan in New York City.  This marks the second year in a row that the convention will be held at this very popular venue.  The conference will feature top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry with a focus on talk radio and its role in the new digital age and dawn of a rapidly accelerating era.  This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology – the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing the modern day talk broadcaster and broadcasting organization.  It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals.  The event will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch and a closing cocktail reception.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “As has always been the case with this annual gathering, all the way back to its days as ‘The New Media Seminar,’ TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will focus on the future.  There is no doubt about it; we are at the dawn of an exciting new era – full of both daunting challenges and fabulous opportunities.  Good things happen at this convention.  We pack three days’ worth of content and activity into one dynamic day and comfortable space. It is not to be missed!”  Complete agenda and hotel details will be posted in the coming days and weeks.  As is customary with TALKERS conventions, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students.  Because seating is limited and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card.  Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments costs $329 per person.  However, an early bird special ($279 per person) is available for those who register before 5:00 pm ET on Friday, February 2.  To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

Gwiazdon Goes to Beasley Media Group Las Vegas as VP/MM. Most recently vice president and market manager of Midwest Communications’ Nashville adult contemporary WJXA “Mix 92.9”; adult hits WCJK “96.3 Jack FM”; and CHR WNFN “i106.7,” Dennis Gwiazdon began similar duties yesterday (1/11) for Beasley Media Group Las Vegas. According to Beasley Media Group executive vice president and chief operating officer Brian Beasley, “It is a privilege to welcome Dennis to the Beasley Media Group family. His proven track record and leadership skills are the perfect fit for our Las Vegas cluster as we continue to grow and expand our business in the market.” Gwiazdon, who was president of the Nashville Area Radio Association, states, “I am absolutely thrilled about joining the Beasley team. There is tremendous potential for us in Las Vegas and I’m grateful [to be given] the opportunity to make a difference.” Prior to his Nashville duties, Gwiazdon was president of San Diego-based Sales Insights. He previously held the vice president/general manager title at Seattle’s KRWM; San Diego’s KGB-FM and KPOP-AM; San Diego’s KMCG and KXGL; and Salt Lake City’s KKAT. With their Nielsen Audio December 2017 6+ AQH share and market rank in parentheses, Beasley Media Group’s Las Vegas cluster includes classic hits-oldies KKLZ “96.3 70s, 80s, and More” (6.3, #2); urban-rhythmic oldies KOAS “Old School 105.7” (4.0, #6); country KCYE “102.7 The Coyote” (3.7, #9); hot AC KVGS “Star 107.9” (2.8, #15); news/talk KDWN “AM 720” (.7, #26); and KCYE-HD2, which did not appear in the December 2017 sweep. The Las Vegas market leader is iHeartMedia adult contemporary KSNE “Sunny 106.5” (10.6, 6+), while Midwest Nashville’s WJXA “Mix” is on top (6+) with a 9.9.

WBUR, Reddit Debut “Endless Thread.” That’s the name of the weekly Ben Brock Johnson-hosted podcast done in partnership with Boston University-owned news/talk WBUR and Reddit, “the front page of the internet.” Starting today (1/12), weekly installments will be available every Friday to stream or download. According to Johnson, “Reddit is one of the most formidable communities online. Its lifeblood is people from all over the world sharing and organizing around every imaginable topic, making it an incredibly valuable resource for anyone trying to understand our world. As a journalist, I’ve been fascinated by Reddit for years, but I’ve also become an avid ‘redditor.’ I’m always surprised at what a mystery Reddit is to people who don’t use it. I’m looking forward to solving that mystery for the uninitiated, and helping ‘redditors’ share their incredible, real life stories with the world.” Reddit creative development manager Michael Pope remarks, “Reddit is home to the most authentic conversations on the internet and we know there is a massive opportunity to host thoughtful conversations about these stories in audio form. As one of the leading NPR affiliates in the country, we can’t wait to see what happens when we pair the production polish and talent at WBUR with the most compelling stories online.” The first episode, “No No No No Yes,” explores harrowing tales through first-hand interviews with ‘redditors’ who lived to tell their stories.

TALKERS News Notes. After a brief hiatus from a national platform, Dave Ross returns next Monday (1/15) with a daily, 90-second, CBS News Radio commentary, originally scheduled for a February 5 start date. Heard weekdays (“Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross”) on Bonneville-owned KIRO-FM, Ross is a five-time Edward R. Murrow award winner for best writing … This time next month (2/12), previous morning host of St. Louis hot AC KYKY “Y-98” Guy Phillips begins doing afternoons at news/talk KTRS “Big 550 The Talk of STL”; Julie Buck will be his co-host … Five Entercom Chicago stations – sports talk WSCR “670 The Score,” all-news WBBM-AM, CHR WBBM-FM “B-96,” triple A WXRT “93 XRT,” and country WUSN “US-99” – will be broadcasting from this year’s “Cubs Convention” today (1/12), tomorrow (Saturday, 1/13), and Sunday (1/14). Entercom Chicago senior vice president/market manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “We look forward to this event where our brands can interact with fellow Chicago Cubs fans. We are grateful for our continued partnership with the Chicago Cubs organization as the exclusive radio home of the Chicago Cubs.” This weekend’s event is taking place at Chicago’s Sheraton Grand Hotel. WSCR continues as the team’s radio flagship ….. Former Tribune Broadcasting White House correspondent and Long Island television news anchor/reporter Drew Scott joins JVC Media news/talk WRCN “Long Island News Radio 103.9” as a reporter. JVC Media president/CEO John Caracciolo comments, “Having someone like Drew is a complete win for us. His job will be to use the contact list he has developed over the years to help us open doors; get the story; and get the info Long Islanders need and want. This is live, local and hometown radio the way it is supposed to be.” WRCN operations director Frank Brinka notes, “Drew is a great addition to our staff. His wealth of news reporting and knowledge of the Long Island landscape will be an asset to the station. He will deliver a wealth of information to our listening audience.” Scott adds, “I am thrilled to be part of such a dynamic, live and local radio news organization. I am looking forward to helping ‘LI News Radio’ and JVC continue to grow and prosper.” ….. The flagship of MLB’s Minnesota Twins from 1961 – 2006, Entercom Minneapolis’ WCCO “News Radio 830,” returns in that capacity this year. The first of its 15-game spring training broadcast schedule will be (Thursday) February 22 when the Twins play the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. Cory Provus, Dan Gladden, and Kris Atteberry comprise WCCO’s on-air team ….. Launching on SiriusXM next Wednesday (1/17) is “Barstool Radio,” the 24/7 channel for Barstool’s unfiltered approach to covering sports, men’s lifestyle, and popular culture. Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy remarks, “We are excited to launch our Barstool channel. It has been a wild ride to get to this point and this is another big step in our plan for total world domination.” SiriusXM senior vice president of sports programming Steve Cohen comments, “In today’s crowded media landscape, Barstool stands out as a unique and compelling voice. Live radio thrives on the kind of spontaneous and entertaining content that Barstool delivers every day. We don’t know what they are going to say next, but Barstool Radio on SiriusXM will be the place to hear it live and talk about it.” Weekday call-in shows will include: “The Barstool Radio Show” with Portnoy and Kevin “KFC” Clancy (4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, ET); “The Heartland Radio Showwith former NFL punter Pat McAfee (10:00 am -1:00 pm, ET); and “The Evening Yak with Dan “Big Cat” Katz (6:00 pm – 7:00 pm, ET). Barstool Radio will be on SiriusXM’s “Power 85” and on the SiriusXM app ….. For over three weeks, Alpha Media Bakersfield (California) news/talk KNZR AM & FM “News-Talk-Dodgers,” mainstream CHR KLLY “Energy 95.3,” and urban-rhythmic oldies KKBB “Groove 99.3” collected food and water for fire victims in Ventura and Santa Barbara. KLLY program director Danny Hill comments, “I am very proud of my community and I love the support they always show. Bakersfield constantly gives to others and is at the forefront of a lot of charity events.” A local veterans chapter helped to deliver the supplies.

British Talk Show Host and TalkersRadio Personality Graham Mack Forced to Apologize for On Air Statement that PM Theresa May “Has No Balls.”  It is always fascinating to compare and contrast American radio with broadcasting in other English-speaking countries when it comes to tolerance, freedom of speech and political controversy.  Well-known English talk show host Graham Mack, host of the popular BOB-FM, Herfordshire (greater London) breakfast show got himself into a sticky situation on Wednesday (1/10) by boldly stating that British Prime Minister Theresa May “has no balls.”  According to a report in the Hertfordshire Mercury, The comment came on yesterday’s (January 10)  breakfast show during a lengthy rant about May’s recent Cabinet reshuffle, in which he also claimed that she was the “weakest Prime Minister” the country had ever seen. Mack went on to berate the reshuffle, saying that not enough women and ethnic minority MPs had been promoted to justify promises made by the Prime Minister in the preceding days. However, the maverick radio host appeared to backtrack on his claims this morning (January 11), telling listeners that he had to “correct” his comments. Mr. Mack said that although his remark about Mrs. May’s lack of balls was “anatomically correct,” he should not have made it.  He also clarified that he could not be sure that May was the weakest Prime Minister the country had ever seen, as Clement Attlee or William the Younger could conceivably be weaker.  In a statement, Mr. Mack said: “We received a serious complaint yesterday about what I’d said on the air.  “Someone in a very senior position told me to make an apology. “I cannot reveal who made the complaint. The seriousness of the complaint did take me by surprise because a regular listener would realise that I take a swipe at all politicians regardless of which political party they represent.”  Mr. Mack concluded his on-air correction by issuing an apology directly to the Prime Minister, saying that as the leader of the nation she must be respected.  To listen to the segment of the program that got Graham Mack in trouble, please click here. Graham Mack also hosts “London Calling” a weekly program on TalkersRadioTALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes Mack as “one of the best radio talk show aahosts in the English-speaking world.”

iHeartMedia, MoviePass Announce Media Partnership. The agreement includes a marketing campaign across iHeartMedia’s multiplatform network to help build further brand awareness of MoviePass and target new subscribers in select United States metros. In addition, iHeartMedia will be an authorized reseller of ad inventory across the MoviePass website and mobile app. According to iHeartMedia Ventures president Joe Robinson, “We have the capability to build significant brand awareness for MoviePass through our unparalleled scale and reach of more than 270 million monthly listeners across the country and our multiplatform assets. We see a unique opportunity with MoviePass, and its ability to understand and analyze audience trends and behavior which is a great asset for our advertisers, especially those looking to further engage with millions of movie-goers.” MoviePass chief executive officer Mitch Lowe comments, “We expect that our partnership with iHeartMedia will fuel our continued growth by targeting more profitable subscribers in low-cost markets, while also opening up a new revenue stream with digital advertising. We also expect that this relationship will be beneficial to movie exhibitors because we hope to drive more traffic into theaters and to advertisers through our strong working intelligence on the preferences and behaviors of a substantial amount of movie-goers. Our subscribers are going to twice as many movies a month as other consumers and are buying one in every 50 movie tickets in the U.S.” MoviePass launched its current $9.95 per month subscription plan this past August.

 

 

Wynter Boosted to iHM EVP Urban/Hip-Hop. Los Angeles urban contemporary KRRL “Real 92.3” program director Doc Wynter adds corporate iHeartMedia duties as executive vice president urban/hip-hop. President/chief operating officer/chief financial officer Rich Bressler states, “No one understands urban and hip-hop programming like Doc. We are thrilled that he is expanding his role leading iHeartMedia’s programming strategy for those key formats. He has been instrumental in launching several of our urban and hip-hop stations nationwide and we’re excited for him to be even more hands-on with all of our urban brands in our over 150 markets.” Wynter adds, “Urban radio has been my passion for as long as I can remember. Having worked with iHeartMedia for almost three decades, I know we have some of the best programmers and on-air personalities in radio. I can’t wait to help our region and market presidents provide their local urban and hip-hop music fans with one-of-a-kind listening experiences that only a company like iHeartMedia can create.” In this newly-created position, Wynter – most recently the company’s senior vice president of urban programming/urban brand manager – will report to chief programming officer Tom Poleman. Wynter began overseeing the company’s urban radio stations in late-1999 and launched several iHeartMedia brands such as “Power 105.1 FM” in New York City (on WWPR); “Real 92.3” in Los Angeles (on KRRL); “V101.5” in Jacksonville (on WSOL); and “The Beat” in various cities.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. After doing four years of night duty on iHeartMedia Los Angeles mainstream CHR KIIS “102.7 Kiss-FM,” Freddy Rivera transfers to co-owned Dallas hot AC KDMX “102.9 Now” for afternoon drive (2:00 pm – 7:00 pm). KDMX program director Jay Shannon comments, “Freddy is an outstanding on-air talent and we are very fortunate to add him to our lineup. Freddy is very much looking forward to calling DFW his home.” Rivera, who starts at KDMX in a little over three weeks (2/5), notes, “I am very excited to write the next chapter in my radio career with ‘102.9 Now.’ I have heard so much about the food, nightlife, and community – I can’t wait to jump right in.” Los Angeles-born/Inland Empire-raised Rivera began his radio career as an intern for former “Kiss-FM” wakeup talent Rick Dees and worked on-air at Riverside-Bernardino-Ontario rhythmic CHR KGGI ….. Changes at Merlin Media-owned/Cumulus Media-operated alternative WKQX, Chicago find morning driver Brian Phillips handling mornings by himself as his former co-host – Lou Lombardo – segues to evenings. In addition, Lombardo adds “digital content captain” duties. Former WKQX evening talent “Marconi” left the station about two weeks ago ….. Two-year KMLE, Phoenix morning show host Chris Matthews departs the Entercom country outlet, but Nina D and producer “Badger Gabe” remain in place ….. Steve Guittari departs Cumulus Media Indianapolis; Guittari was operations manager of the cluster and program director of the company’s WFMS “95.5 The Country Station” ….. Also in the “Circle City,” according to the Indianapolis Business Journal, iHeartMedia Indianapolis sports talk WNDE pulls the plug on the Dave “Gunner” Gunn and Don Stuck-hosted morning show “Flagrant Foul.” Gunn (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) and Stuck (7:00 pm – 10:00 pm) continue though on classic rock sibling WFBQ “Q-95.” Clay Travis’ syndicated “Outkick the Coverage” returns to WNDE’s morning drive slot ….. Added to the weekend lineup of iHeartMedia-owned New York City rhythmic CHR WKTU “103.5 KTU” is Astra – who formerly did afternoon drive on cross-town mainstream CHR WBMP “Amp 92.3.”

Odom Out at WRXQ. The evening talent on Coal City, Illinois-licensed WRXQ “100.7 Q-Rock,” Ray “Crazy Ray” Odom, is pink-slipped by the Alpha Media station for remarks he made on CNBC’s “The Profit.” On a promo for that cable television show, Odom said, “I’m a sexist, egotistical, racist pig on the radio.” Alpha Media market manager Brian Foster notes, “We do not condone the views he expressed in the program. The feelings portrayed are that of his own and not of Alpha Media or ‘Q-Rock.’ After an internal review, we have decided to cut ties.” Odom is co-owner of Rayjus Outdoors, but he was placed on leave from that Morris, Illinois business, the subject of Marcus Lamonis-hosted “The Profit,” which offers financial help to struggling businesses. Lamonis acknowledges that Odom had, “a side job. I thought it may be a distraction, but I didn’t realize that the focus of it was to demonize minorities and degrade women.” Odom confirmed the firing, saying he worked hard to keep his radio persona separate from his business. “What I said got taken out of context completely – now I don’t have a radio job over it.” A Rayjus statement on Facebook reads, “Unfortunately, we cannot allow these statements to go unchecked. While an integral part of our organization, Ray will be taking a leave of absence to spend time with his family and reflect on what is in the best interest of his family and company.” Regarding what he has said on radio, Odom tells the (Joliet, Illinois) Herald-News, “Everybody has a different sense of what is funny and not funny.”

Entravision Expands La Suavecita. The Grupero/Cumbia La Suavecita format will be heard in 11 more markets, in addition to its Los Angeles area simulcast of KSSE, KSSC, & KSSD. Entravision president and chief operating officer Jeffery Liberman remarks, “Since its launch a year ago, La Suavecita has built an incredible following of loyal listeners and received strong advertising support in Los Angeles. We are excited to share this unique and exciting format with listeners in 11 new markets and to bring a powerhouse line-up of some of the most recognized on-air personalities in radio to La Suavecita. Los Angeles is the largest Hispanic radio market in the U.S. We believe our format, programming, and talent changes will allow us to better connect with our audiences, and in turn, our advertisers with their customers. La Suavecita is backed by a strong slate of on-air personalities that will drive engagement across our radio and digital platforms.” Coinciding with the national rollout of the La Suavecita format, El Genio will be heard 4:00 am – 10:00 am; “Piolin” (Eddie Sotelo) 10:00 am – 2:00 pm; Armida y La Flaka 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm; and Mayra 7:00 pm -12:00 midnight. Targeting women 25 – 49 and adults 25 – 54, La Suavecita surfaces in Houston (KGOL); Phoenix (KVVA and KDVA); Denver (KJMN and KMXA); Sacramento (KXSE); Las Vegas (KRRN); McAllen (KNVO); El Paso (KINT-FM); Stockton (KTSE); Modesto (KCVR); Palm Springs, California (KLOB); and El Centro, California (KSEH).

Cutbacks at Dick Broadcasting’s Three New Clusters. Back in September, Dick Broadcasting announced it would acquire Alpha Media’s 18 stations and two translators in Kinston-New Bern-Jacksonville (North Carolina); Myrtle Beach (South Carolina); and Savannah (Georgia) for $19.5 million. Staffing cuts have been made in all three markets. Exiting WXQR “Rock 105,” Kinston-New Bern-Jacksonville are program director/afternoon talent Tina Smash and night host Ryan Daniels. Departures at the Myrtle Beach cluster include production director/WXYY “G-100.1” afternoon driver Mark ‘Shark’ Eddis and WFXH “Rock 106.1,” Hilton Head Island assistant program director/night talent Ryan Koch. The business manager position has been eliminated in the three aforementioned markets.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

| November 8, 2017

John Hancock Signs New Deal with WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte.  Afternoon drive personality John Hancock signs a multi-year contract extension with Entercom’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte.  Hancock began his career at WBT in 1990.  Over the course of those 27 years, he’s broadcast on almost every daypart on the station.  Earlier this year, he was inducted into the “WBT Hall of Fame” and carries the distinction as the only Hall of Fame member who is still actively broadcasting.  Entercom Charlotte VP and market manager Matt Hanlon states, “John represents one of the most unique radio personalities in America today.  He’s a WBT Hall of Famer and still delivers a contemporary message every day that the listeners can count on.”

iHeartMedia Third Quarter Radio Revenue Basically Flat.  Reporting 2017 third quarter financial numbers, iHeartMedia’s consolidated revenue was down 1.9% compared to the same period in 2016.  But the radio division was up a hair — $2.4 million or 0.3% — compared to the third quarter of 2016.  For the first nine months of 2017, the radio division is up 1.5%.  COO and CFO Rich Bressler notes that the positive figure for the radio division extends “year-over-year revenue growth to eighteen consecutive quarters.”  Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “As a true multi-platform, 21st-century media company, we continue to expand the innovative ways for us to engage consumers and to reinvent how we do business with our advertising and marketing partners.  At our iHeartMedia business, in addition to building out a data-first programmatic advertising platform, we are continually growing our content offerings, including iHeartRadio’s podcast platform, with virtually all of the top 200 U.S. podcasts.”

Salem Media Group Q3 Broadcast Revenue Dips 5.1%.  For the third quarter of 2017, Salem Media Group reports total revenue decreased by 8.2% to $65.4 million from $71.3 million during the same period in 2016.  Breaking down the company by segments, net broadcast revenue was $48.4 million, a decrease of 5.1% from $51.1 million in 2016.  Digital media revenue decreased 12.9% to $10.4 million from $12.0 million the year prior.  Salem’s publishing revenue was down 20.2% to $6.6 million from $8.2 million in Q3 of 2016.

Saga Reports Revenue Increase in Third Quarter.  Reporting third quarter financials, Saga Communications says net revenue was up 1.3% to $30.3 million compared to the same quarter a year ago.  Station operating expense was flat compared to Q3 2016 at $21.8 million and operating income was $5.5 million compared to $6.8 million for the same period last year, with the reduction primarily due to a gain of $1.4 million recognized from the sale of one of the company’s towers in Norfolk, Virginia during the third quarter last year.  On a same-station basis, net revenue declined 1.1% to $29.6 million.

PPM Analysis: Public News/Talk.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the first of four reports on the performances of stations based on data from the October 2017 PPM survey from Nielsen Audio.  Today, Kinosian reports on public news/talk radio.  He says, “Almost half the stations on this public news/talk panel improve September 2017 – October 2017 (47%, 6+) while roughly one of every three is down (34%); the remaining 19% of the sample remains flat (6+).”  When comparing 6+ numbers year-over-year, “Not quite two of every three stations from our eligible public news/talk sample are up (63%,), meanwhile, approximately one in four (27%) decline; the remaining 10% are unchanged.”  Ten public radio news/talk stations ranked in the top five in their respective markets in October and two ranked #1.  KQED hit the #1 spot in both the San Francisco and San Jose markets while KUOW was #1 in Seattle.  See Kinosian’s complete report here.

Virginia and New Jersey Gubernatorial Elections, Trump China Visit, North Korea Nuclear Tensions, Texas Church Massacre Aftermath, Trump-Russia Investigation, Saudi Arabia-Iran Conflict, Sexual Assault Cases, NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/7).  Yesterday’s gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey; President Trump’s visit to China; the ongoing nuclear tensions between North Korea and the U.S.; the aftermath of the church shooting in Texas that claimed the lives of 26; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents; Saudi Arabia’s claim Iran fired a missile at Riyadh from Yemen; the sexual assault case of actor Kevin Spacey and the report of Harvey Weinstein’s hiring spies to track actresses and journalists; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Bohannon Visits Janesville Affiliate. Pictured above is Westwood One syndicated late-night personality Jim Bohannon (left), Mark Finnegan of the veteran’s organizations Vetsroll.org (center), and Tim Bremel, operations manager and host of “Your Talk Show” on WCLO Janesville, Wisconsin at a remote broadcast at a Culver’s Restaurant.  WCLO is an affiliate of Bohannon’s program.

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Reno radio pro “Big Chris” Hart is named program director at Cumulus Media’s classic hip hop KNEV, Reno “95.5 The Vibe.”  Hart previously served in the market programming and serving on at KWFP and, before that, working at KUUB.  Hart says, “This is one of those opportunities that you dream about in this business.  I’ve competed against and known the Cumulus team in Reno for 17 years.  Now, it’s my distinct pleasure to be joining the best team around and do some great, fun, plain ol’ kick-butt radio with Cumulus, KNEV and the good people of the greatest market in the universe, Reno!”…..Premiere Networks’ “The Woody Show’ is joining the American Forces Network beginning Monday (11/13).  The KYSR, Los Angeles “Alt 98.7”-based Woody Show will be added to the lineup on the AFN alternative music channel…..iHeartCountry and Premiere Networks are presenting multi-platform coverage of tonight’s “The 51st Annual CMA Awards.”  In addition to carrying the ABC-TV telecast audio across the 80-some iHeartCountry radio stations, for the first time, iHeartCountry will, among other things, present a Facebook live broadcast of the red carpet arrivals hosted by award-winning radio and CMT personality Cody Alan.

Monday, January 16, 2017

| January 16, 2017

Report: Laura Ingraham Considering Run for Virginia Senate Seat.  According to a report in the Washington Examiner, talk show host – and Trump adviser – Laura Ingraham is seriously debating whether to throw her hat into the ring for a run for the Virginia U.S. Senate seat currently held by Hillary Clinton’s 2016ingrahamlaura running mate, Tim Kaine.  The Examiner’s Paul Bedard writes that “several party insiders have approached the media giant to run and that she is considering it.  In preparation for a bid, her business partner, Peter Anthony, has begun buying website domains for Ingraham to use should she decide to move forward.  It includes: ingrahamsenate.net, ingrahamsenate.com, ingrahamforvirginia.com and ingraham2018.com.”   The story also notes that Virginia U.S. Representatives Barbara Comstock and Dave Brat – both Republicans – are considering challenging Kaine.  See the Examiner story here.

iHeartMedia Execs Nab Big Bonuses.  These bonuses – approved last Tuesday by the iHeartMedia board of directors – are retention bonuses.  Here’s what the board approved: chairman and CEO Bob Pittman gets $1.75pittmanbob million; COO and CFO Rich Bressler gets the same; and SVP of corporate finance Steven Macri is awarded $750,000.  Because they are retention bonuses, the three must remain employed by the bresslerrichardcompany for two years after the effective date of January 12, 2017 or they must repay 100% of the after-tax value of the bonus.  If either is terminated without cause, leaves for a “good reason,” or due to death or disability before the first anniversary of the effective date, they must pay back 50% of the after-tax value.  Additionally, the board of directors approved the 2017 Key Employee Incentive Plan in which Pittman and Bressler can earn bonuses of up to $7,000,000 and $3,000,000 respectively during the year for hitting quarterly performance goals set by the compensation committee of the board of directors.

Cumulus Media’s Mary Berner Pockets $1 Million-plus Bonus.  Unlike the retention bonuses paid to iHeartMedia’s Bob Pittman and others (see story above), this payment to Cumulus Media president and CEObernermary Mary Berner is a “one-time discretionary cash incentive compensation award” of $1,087,500 for “her exceptional efforts and contributions during 2016, both individually and as a member of the management leadership team, in the initial phase of the company’s operational turnaround plan and ongoing operational and financial restructuring.”  The board of directors notes that this award is in lieu of any award she may have received under its annual incentive plan for 2016.

Charlie Sykes to Take Part in Public Radio Show.  The Milwaukee radio icon retired from E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ at the end of 2016 after a 23-year career with the news/talk station.  Now, Charlie Sykes is part of a new, national call-in talk show being produced in what is a cooperative venture by WNYC, New York, Minnesota Public sykescharlieRadio and The Economist.  According to a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Sykes will be one of four co-hosts of the program titled, “Indivisible.”  The other hosts are: WNYC’s Brian Lehrer, The Nation features editor Kai Wright, and MPR’s personality Kerri Miller.  Sykes will not be heard on the radio in his home market because his non-compete prevents local pubcaster WUWM from airing the show.  Under the terms of Sykes’ deal with WTMJ, any radio show on which Sykes appears during the term of the non-compete must air on WTMJ.  The station asked to air the new show but NPR is not giving consent.

WHpressbriefingroomWill Talk Show Hosts Get Access to Trump Press Conferences?  On Sunday (1/15), Trump Administration Press Secretary Sean Spicer told FOX News that the president-elect is considering moving press briefings to a larger location due to “off-the-charts” interest in the new administration.  Spicer said, “There’s a lot of talk radio and bloggers and people that can’t fit in right now and maybe don’t have a permanency because they’re not part of the Washington elite media, but to allow them an opportunity to ask the press secretary or the president a question is a positive thing.  It’s more democratic.”  The Brady press room (pictured) in the West Wing only holds 49 people.  However, the White House Correspondents’ Association is concerned about the move, in part because it fears the media could be moved from the press work space behind the Brady press room, according to a statement from WHCA president Jeff Mason.  He says that space is important because it is close to West Wing staffers whom the press rely on for news.  Spicer says he’ll work with the WHCA on any changes.

Trump Inauguration Protests, ObamaCare Replacement Plans, U.S.-Russia Relations, Orlando Cop Killer Search, Davos Economic Forum, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Ringling Brothers Circus to Close, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The planned protests and Democratic members of Congress planning to skip Donald Trump’s Inauguration on Friday; the GOP’s plans to replace the Affordable Care Act; the relationship between Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the United States with Trump set to take office; the search for the man police believe killed Orlando police officer Debra Clayton; this week’s meeting of world leaders at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland; today’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday; Ringling Brothers’ decision to shutter the 146-year-old circus; and the NFL playoff games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.

Odds & Sods.  Nationally syndicated “Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds new affiliates tofreemanedge its roster, including: WNIX-AM/FM, Greeneville, Mississippi; KLKS-FM, Brainerd, Minnesota; KHMO-AM, Hannibal, Missouri; and WBNW, Concord/Boston…..Teenage conservative talk show host Caiden Cowger announces his show is added to the program schedule at Kol Ami Havurah-owned WDUQ-LPFM, Benwood, West Virginia “Beautiful Music 99.1.”  This is the fourth affiliate station for Cowger’s program.  The one-hour show airs evenings at 9:00 pm…..In the San Antonio market, Cox Media Group drops the sports talk programming on KONO-AM after three years as a CBS Sports Radio affiliate and is now airing an oldies format.

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RadioInfo Web bannerMusic Radio News and Career Moves.  In San Diego, air personality Sam Bass moves from middays to weekends on hot AC KYXY for personal reasons.  Moving into his slot on the CBS RADIO station is Joe Rosati, who slides over from sister CHR KEGY “Energy 103.7.”  Program director Chris Patyk promotes evening personality Alexia Gloria to middays on KEGY to fill Rosati’s old slot…..There are a few promotions to report at the Nashville operations of Midwest Communications.  First, Barbara Bridges – currently adult contemporary WJXA brand manager – is upped to operations manager for the entire cluster.  Second, afternoon drive host Joe Breezy is adding brand manager duties to his work at CHR WNFN “i106.7.”  Finally, WNFN midday personality Butter Harper takes on assistant brand manager responsibilities for the station…..Chad Valentine exits iHeartMedia’s CHR WHYI, Miami “Y100” as the result of his position being eliminated.  He was assistant program director and music director there…..Alexa Smith exits her role as program director at Sierra H Broadcasting’s hip hop KNRJ, Cordes Lakes, Arizona and rhythmic oldies KAJM, Camp Verde, Arizona after three months in the position.  Prior to that, she’d been APD at CBS RADIO’s rhythmic AC KTWV, Los Angeles “94.7 The Wave.”

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

| October 26, 2016

Beasley Ups Justin Chase to EVP of Programming.  After seven-plus years of service with Beasley Media Group, most recently vice president of programming, Justin Chase is promoted to executive vice president ofchasejustin programming for the company.  Chase says, “When I joined Beasley in 2009 as a program director in Las Vegas, I never imagined that I would have been given the opportunity to serve this great company at this level.  Every day, I get to learn and work with some of the finest program directors in the industry and the amazing leadership team at the corporate office.  I want to sincerely thank Caroline Beasley, Bruce Beasley, Brian Beasley and of course, our founder George Beasley for their confidence in me to lead the programming strategy of this growing company.”  Chase represents Beasley Media Group on several industry boards, including: the Media Ratings Council, the Nielsen Advisory Council, and the Council for Research Excellence.

Buzz Knight to Transition to Beasley as VP of Programming.  The company announces that when the Greater Media acquisition is complete, programmer Buzz Knight will remain in the programming department with Beasley Media Group as vice president of programming.  Knight has served as SVP, program development knightbuzzfor Greater Media, in which he’s been responsible for overseeing content and brand strategies for the company.  He’s been with Greater Media since 2002.  Knight will replace Justin Chase, who has been elevated to EVP of programming.  Knight comments, “I’ve long admired the great leadership of Justin Chase in his role with Beasley and I look forward to being a part of the Beasley team.  I am honored to follow Justin into this position and I’m incredibly excited to begin a new chapter with Beasley Broadcast Group as the company expands their portfolio of stations with the Greater Media acquisition.”

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Rush Limbaugh Hosts Media Partners.  At a recent, private event at the beautiful Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida, nationally syndicated talk radio legend Rush Limbaugh, the EIB Network, and iHeartMedia hosted an intimate gathering of Limbaugh’s closest radio partners.  Dr. Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College and Rebecca and Andrew Hagelin of Rebecca Hagelin Communications and Marketing, represented this finest of America’s colleges at the reception and dinner.  Rebecca Hagelin (pictured above with Limbaugh) says, “Rush is not only the unqualified leader of intelligent talk radio, he’s a hero of liberty and the U.S. Constitution, which makes him a great American and a perfect partner for Hillsdale College.  (And besides all that, he’s a terrifically fun friend!)  Hillsdale seeks to teach every American who wants to learn – who wants to understand what makes our country exceptional and how we can preserve our freedoms and our nation for future generations.  Over 1.3 million have taken a free Hillsdalelimbaugharnn16 online course and some 3.5 million subscribe to Imprimis, Hillsdale’s free, monthly speech digest.  Rush has been critical in helping to spread the word about these stellar Hillsdale resources.”  Pictured at right are Limbaugh and Dr. Arnn.  Also in attendance at this event were: iHeartMedia COO & CFO Rich Bressler; EIB’s Kraig Kitchin; Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott; Premiere Networks EVP, personality sales Dan Metter; iHeartRadio president Darren Davis; iHeartMedia president, national sales & marketing partnerships Tim Castelli; iHeartMedia president, national sales Jeff Howard; Premiere Networks EVP, sales Alan Korowitz; and Premiere Networks SVP, affiliate marketing Hosea Belcher.

ppmunitNielsen Audio Releases Round Two of October 2016 PPM Data.  The second of four rounds of October  2016 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis.  The October 2016 survey period covered September 8 (the first game of the NFL season) – October 5.  You can find the complete 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here.  Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Twelve Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.

‘The Financial Exchange’ Expands in New England.  The business talk radio show “The Financial Exchange with Barry Armstrong and Chuck Zodda” adds two more signals to its footprint in New England.  The show will be heard on Binnie Media’s WNNH-FM, Concord “NH1 News Radio” and WEMJ-FM, Laconia in New Hampshire, effective October 31.  The program is currently heard on 12 stations in the Northeast.

The 2016 Election, Down-Ticket Races, Voter Fraud-Tampering Issues, ObamaCare Premium Increases, Battle Against Islamic State in Mosul, U.S.-Philippines Relations, Giants Cut Josh Brown, World Series Begins, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/25).  The race for president; the U.S. House and Senate races and fight to control Congress; allegations of potential voter fraud and concerns over poll tampering; skyrocketing health care premiums under the Affordable Care Act; the battle against Islamic State for the Iraqi city of Mosul; the deteriorating relations between the U.S. and the Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte; the New York Giants release kicker Josh Brown after his admission of abusing his ex-wife; baseball’s World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians begins; and National Football League action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Odds & Sods.  WTOP, Washington national security correspondent JJ Green receives a prestigious invitation to lead a panel discussion at the 2016 Concept Development and Experimentation Conference in Sofia, Bulgaria in November.  The conference is an international, co-sponsored annual event between NATO ACT and the United States Joint Staff which provides a unique opportunity for the international community to discuss the most current issues of concept development and experimentation in support of capability development.  Green was chosen to moderate a panel discussion, “Preparing for the Future, Today,” specifically because of his familiarity with and knowledge of national security issues after more than a decade of national security reporting at WTOP…..Beasley Broadcast Group announces it will report its 2016 third quarter financial results before the market opens on Wednesday, November 2.  The company will host a conference call and webcast at 10:00 am ET that morning to review the results…..Townsquare Media will release its third quarter 2016 financial results before the market opens on Tuesday, November 8.  The company will host a conference call to discuss certain third quarter 2016 financial results that morning at 8:00 ET…..The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated Dr. Daliah Wachs show is added to the program lineup at KWBW, Hutchinson, Kansas…..The “Freedom Feens” weekend talk show, hosted by Michael W. Dean, is now heard on KRFE, Lubbock, Texas.

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Valerie Geller Brings Her ‘Power’ to the Land Down Under.  Noted American radio consultant and author Valerie Geller brought her internationally famous “Creating Powerful Radio” session to the IMBA workshop in Sidney, Australia.  She tells TALKERS, “Radio down under is alive and well!”  She (the only one without a book) is pictured with a large group of exuberant young broadcasters displaying her popular book, Beyond Powerful Radio: A Communicator’s Guide to the Internet Age (Focal Press, 2011). The IMBA (International Media and Broadcasting Academy) is an Australian-based, professional broadcast training institute operating in the Asia Pacific, Africa and Middle East.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

| June 16, 2016

iheartmedia logo smallDan Mason Named Senior Advisor for Broadcast Relations at iHeartMedia.  Longtime CBS RADIO president Dan Mason – a year after retiring from that position – is joining iHeartMedia in the newly created position senior advisor for broadcast relations.  Mason will report to iHeartMedia CEO and chairman Bob Pittman and president, COO and CFO Rich Bressler.  In a press release, iHeartMedia describes Mason’s role this way: “Mason will advise Pittman and Bressler on current and developing issues important to iHeartMedia and themasondan broadcast radio industry; additionally, he will focus most of his attention and time on important issues affecting the broadcast industry, working with other broadcasters, vendors, government relations and important industry associations, including the National Association of Broadcasters.”  Pittman is quoted saying, “I’ve known and deeply respected Dan for decades.  Given his long and deep relationships with the broadcast industry, we feel he is ideally suited to establishing deeper and more constant communications with everyone associated with the radio industry on an ongoing and timely basis.  We look forward to Dan’s wise counsel on important broadcast issues.”  Mason very recently spoke in-depth with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison on Harrison’s PodcastOne show, “Up Close and Far Out.” Listen to that here.

bfoa logoBroadcasters Foundation of America Names Dan Mason Chairperson.  It’s a big news day for Dan Mason as this election to chairperson of the Broadcasters Foundation of America position comes at the same time as his joining iHeartMedia.  Mason has served as co-vice-chairperson of the BFoA since June of last year, following his retirement as president and chief executive officer of CBS RADIO.  He assumes this chairmanship role from Phil Lombardo, chief executive officer of Citadel Communications, who is retiring from the position after 13 years and who is being recognized for his service with the title of chair emeritus.  Also retiring from the board are George Beasley and David Barrett.  Named to the board at yesterday’s elections in New York City are: Caroline Beasley, interim chief executive officer of Beasley Broadcast Group; Perry Sook, president and chief executive officer of Nexstar Broadcasting Group; and Jordan Wertlieb, president of Hearst Television.  In addition, Bill Hoffman, president of Cox Media Group, will now serve as co-vice chair with Richard A. Foreman, president and chief executive officer of Richard A. Foreman Associates, and Leo MacCourtney, president of Katz Television Group, will take over as treasurer of the Broadcasters Foundation.

Orlando Massacre Aftermath, Gun Control Filibuster, The Presidential Race, Disney Toddler Gator Death, Iran-Boeing Deal, ‘Brexit’ Issue, and NBA Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/15).  The aftermath of the Pulse nightclub massacre; the filibuster by Democratic Senator Chris Murphy to force votes on gun laws; the activities of the candidates for president; the death of a toddler attacked in a lake at Disney World; the deal in which Iran will buy airplanes from Boeing; the ‘campaigning’ ahead of next week’s vote by Britons on whether to leave the European Union; and the Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

boersterryBoers to Be Off ‘The Score’ in Chicago for Medical Leave.  Chicago sports talk figure Terry Boers is taking about two months off of the WSCR afternoon show “Boers & Bernstein” to deal with an unspecified medical issue.  Boers told “Score” listeners his surgery is one that has to be done, but said little more about it.  ChicagoRadioandMedia reports that the station will be using a rotating cast of fill-in hosts alongside Dan Bernstein during Boers’ absence.  The Chicago media news site also reports the 66-year-old Boers is considering full or semi-retirement from his almost-25-year sports talk career.

engvallbillBill Engvall Show Joins PodcastOne Lineup.  Comic Bill Engvall is the first to enter the on-demand audio world from the Blue Collar Comedy Tour team.  PodcastOne says his “My Two Cents with Bill Engvall” brings that same humor, along with celebrity interviews, personal stories and, of course, his “two cents” on current events.   PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “Bill is hilarious and a great addition to our comedy lineup.  Plus, he’s squeaky clean for those big brands out there looking for mass audience in a safe setting.  It’s really cool for people who have felt a personal connection to him with his relatable work thus far, to be able to step into this new world.”

Odds & Sods.  Washington all-news WTOP-FM was recognized in seven out of eight categories at Tuesday’s DCwtop logo NEW 1-15 Society of Professional Journalists Dateline awards.  The WTOP staff won as a whole for its coverage of the Metro smoke incident in the “Breaking News” category, and for the visit of Pope Francis in the “Non-Breaking News” category.  Individual accolades were presented to WTOP’s Jamie Forzato, Noah Frank, Andrew Mollenbeck, Chris Core and Paula Wolfson…..New Orleans Saints great Deuce McAllister is joining the radio broadcast booth for Saints games his year.  Entercom’s news/talk WWL, New Orleans is the team’s flagship station and McAllister will work in the booth alongside Saints Radio Network play-by-play announcer Jim Henderson.  McAllister takes over for the late Hokie Gajan…..iHeartMedia’s country outlet WDSD, Wilmington re-ups with University of Delaware Athletics cookeRakovan16and Blue Hens IMG Sports Marketing for a multi-year deal to broadcast Delaware football and men’s basketball game broadcasts…..FOX Sports Radio is presenting coverage of the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft on next Thursday (6/23).  FSR weekend personality and former NBA All-Star Cedric Ceballos, FS1 NBA Insider Bill Reiter and FOXSports.com/FS1 College Basketball Insider Reid Forgrave will lead the network’s live coverage of the draft beginning at 7:00 pm ET…..At this week’s convention in Champaign, the Illinois Broadcasters Association awarded its fourth-ever Lifetime Achievement Award to recently retired Radio Advertising Bureau SVP Dick Rakovan, pictured above at right with consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke at left, who worked for Rakovan on three separate occasions.

kilmeadeFLAKilmeade on the Scene in Orlando with Cox Media Group’s WDBO-FM.  In this week’s aftermath of the Orlando club massacre, news/talk WDBO-FM, Orlando and FOX News Radio have been working more closely.  The station has been airing the entire 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET “Kilmeade & Friends” show, pre-empting its other programming.  The Brian Kilmeade-hosted show originated from WDBO’s studios on Monday and Tuesday, and WDBO-FM morning host Joe Kelley has been appearing on Kilmeade’s program providing insight.  FNR says notable guests on the show this week have included:  Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL), Rep. Peter King (R-NY), Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) as well as Florida State Attorney Jeff Ashton.  Kilmeade is pictured here interviewing two women who attended a vigil for the victims at the Dr. Philips Center in Downtown Orlando.

New Affiliates for WYM Media Management Shows.  The WYM Media Management staff has been busymillerstephanie securing new affiliates for its talk shows.  Some of the new deals include the Herman Cain show adding WEEB-AM, Raleigh-Durham; KTMS-AM, Santa Barbara; WQSC-AM/WJQB-AM, Charleston, South Carolina; WDXZ-AM, Mobile-Pensacola; and WHEE-AM Roanoke-Lynchburg; the Thom Hartmann show now airing on WCAP, Lowell and the Stephanie Miller show joining KKSF, San Francisco.

holdtheirfeet16Burning Issue of Immigration Policy to Be Front and Center at Hold Their Feet to the Fire 2016.  The annual Washington, DC radio row presented by Federation for American Immigration Reform takes place next Wednesday and Thursday at the Phoenix Park Hotel from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm each day.  Fifty talk show hosts will be broadcasting live from the radio row and will be speaking with leading members of congress, sheriffs, ICE officials, police union officials and more.  FAIR executive director Bob Dane says, “This event provides the public with insight, clarity, choices, and solutions that emerge during the dialogue between our public officials and talk radio hosts.  More importantly, it is about holding our elected leaders accountable for securing the borders, enforcing immigration laws, and reforming our policies so that America’s broad national interests are properly served.”

harrisonBoldGold16soloFreedom of Speech Major Topic at Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation Dinner — Harrison Warns Challenging Times Ahead for Free Speech Under Hillary or Trump.  The Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation held its second annual fundraising dinner on Tuesday evening (6/14) at the Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.  The foundation was launched two years ago by Bold Gold Broadcast Group president/CEO Vince Benedetto to provide education and training support, as well as funding, to educational institutions and organizations that are preparing America’s future communicators.  Two of the main speakers of the evening were keynoter James Rosen, chief Washington correspondent for Fox News Channel and special remarks presenter Michael Harrison (top left) of TALKERS magazine.  Rosen discussed his ongoing battles against government censorship and personal harassment at the hands of the US Department of Justice and the US Department of State as well as his latest book, Cheney One on One: A Candid Conversation with America’s Most Controversial Statesman (Regnery 2016).  Harrison delivered a dynamic overview of the importance of the First Amendment as the “very foundation of everything that we believe America symbolizes and what it truly means from the perspective of day-to-day reality.”  Harrison, a charter member of the foundation’s board of directors, warned,harrisonBoldGold16group “Regardless of whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is elected the next president, based on the track records and character of each, we can be sure it will be a challenging four or eight years for those who are charged with supporting the tenets of free speech in America.  We must remain vigilant or these will be truly dark times ahead!”  Since its founding, the Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation has provided funds to build a college radio station on the campus of Hillsdale College in Michigan and a sister facility at the highly regarded school’s Kirby Center in Washington, DC.   Pictured at right are (from l-r): Vince Benedetto, James Rosen and Michael Harrison.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

| July 30, 2015

iheartmedia logo smalliHeartMedia Reports Q2 Revenue Up 4%.  The privately-owned iHeartMedia announces its Q2 financial numbers and reports revenue was $841 million – up 4% compared to the same quarter in 2014 – and stating that it saw “strength across the business (core local and national broadcast advertising revenue, traffic and weather business, syndication business and events).”  The companybresslerrichard says its expenses rose 5% year-over-year attributable to “event production costs, timing of barter and trade expenses, sales compensation expense and costs related to music licenses and performance royalties.”  Chief operating officer and chief financial officer Rich Bressler says in a press release, “We’re pleased with the revenue and OIBDAN growth we achieved this quarter.  We continue to invest in our capabilities across both iHeartMedia and outdoor to realize the full value of our multi-platform assets.  With no significant debt maturities until 2018, we can continue focusing on growing the top and bottom lines across our business segments.”  Total debt for the media giant is reported as just shy of $20.4 billion.

stigallchrisStigall: The Importance of Talk Radio. WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall writes in a piece published in TALKERS today about recent events that have given him pause to reflect on the value of talk radio to the greater society.  Stigall says that an important cog in the media machine would be missing if talk radio did not exist.  He says, “Call talk radio propaganda if you’d like, but it can only thrive if it offers something consumers want to hear and delivers results to advertisers and sponsors.  I know in our show’s case we’re blessed with both.  Whether it’s Limbaugh’s leading voice of conservatism, Levin’s case for millennials to engage in their country’s political future, Hannity’s demands for more scrutiny of a taxpayer-funded entity, or simple assessments of current and future leaders’ character – talk radio is the only place it’s found consistently.”  Read Stigall’s entire piece here.

hotchkisskeithiHeartMedia Charlotte Hikes Hotchkiss to Market President. Senior vice president of sales Keith Hotchkiss is elevated to market president of iHeartMedia‘s six-station Charlotte operation. Hotchkiss remarks that, “iHeartMedia Charlotte boasts some of the most talented on-air hosts, programmers, and sales professionals in the country. It is my goal to lead and expand, providing innovative solutions for our client partners across all our platforms, while also creating the best radio for our listeners. This is an exciting time to be in the radio industry. I could not be more proud to represent one of the world’s most enterprisingiHeartMedia Charlotte media companies in one of the nation’s greatest cities.” Prior to being transferred to Charlotte, Hotchkiss spent more than 15 years at the company’s Cleveland cluster, where he ultimately became general sales manager. With (6+) Nielsen Audio June 2015 PPM market share and market rank in parentheses, iHeartMedia’s Charlotte cluster consists of country WKKT “The Kat” (7.3, #3); classic rock WRFX “The Fox” (6.5, #4); adult hits WLKO “The Lake” (6.3, #5); CHR WHQC “Channel 96-1” (5.3, #7); and WEND “New Rock 106.5 – The End” (3.1, #12 ). WRFX-HD2 “Fox Sports FM 98.7″ does not appear in Charlotte’s June sweep.

Odds & Sods. The news/talk format airing on WMEL, Cocoa Beach, Florida and operated by John Harper’s Broadcast House LLC will move to Genesis Communications’ WIXC (licensed to Titusville, Florida) beginning Sunday, August 9.  Rama Communications has been leasing the station to Broadcast House…..Matt Jones’ “Kentucky Sports Radio” will continue to be heard on stations in the Blue Grass State as Jones renews with the network.  The show airs from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon on WKJK, Louisville; WLAP, Lexington; and other iHeartMedia stations across the state using the Kentucky News Network…..Christopher “Jack” Johansing is promoted to marketing director at Benztown.  He’s been with the company for the past five years serving as coordinator, web, marketing & affiliate relations.

Cecil the Lion Case, 2016 Presidential Candidates-Trump Criticisms, Planned Parenthood Videos Scandal, Iran Nuclear Deal, Bill Cosby Rape Allegations, Samuel DuBose Slaying, Lois Lerner-IRS Case, and the NFL’s Tom Brady Decision Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/29).  The case of the Minnesota dentist who hunted a protected lion in Zimbabwe and the public outcry; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the intense scrutiny of Donald Trump; the aftermath of the release of videos showing Planned Parenthood doctors haggling over the price of body parts from abortions; the proposed nuclear deal with Iran; the rape allegations being leveled against Bill Cosby; the slaying of unarmed motorist Samuel DuBose in Cincinnati by a police officer; new allegations of Lois Lerner destroying evidence in the IRS scandal; and the NFL’s upholding of the four-game suspension of Tom Brady were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

| March 24, 2015

2015 small header_250TALKERS ‘Heavy Hundred’ for 2015 Delayed One Day – Coming Tomorrow Wednesday, March 25.  TALKERS magazine has delayed the date for the posting of the 2015 installment of the publication’s annual feature, “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” which was originally set to be posted today.  The list will be revealed tomorrow (3/25) at approximately 2:00 pm ET.  This will mark the 20th consecutive year that the talk media trade journal (that is about to mark its 25th anniversary) has been compiling and publishing the list – also known as “The Heavy Hundred.”  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This year’s list will include a number of familiar faces (and voices) as well as new up-and-comers and several veterans whose continuing, successful careers our editors believe need acknowledgement on this list in 2015.”  Casey continues, “Needless to say, compiling this list is extremely challenging – especially since it draws upon both objective and subjective factors – and is the source of heated debate every year among our editors for months leading up to its release.”

savagemichaelSavage Celebrates Milestone!  Talk radio icon Michael Savage – now syndicated by Westwood One – is celebrating 21 years in radio today (3/24) with a special program that will reflect on his more than two decades on the air.  Savage is recognizing his time on the radio by encouraging listeners to call in and share their favorite memories from past shows.  He’ll also play rare archival show segments from over the years throughout the program.

robinsonjosephRobinson to President Post at iHeartMedia Ventures Group.  This is a promotion for iHeartMedia’s EVP of strategic development as Joseph Robinson is named president of theiheartmedia logo iHeartMedia Ventures Group in which Robinson will work “to develop high-value strategic opportunities with media, technology, and content companies.”  He’ll report to iHeartMedia president, COO and CFO Rich Bressler, who states, “Joe has played an invaluable role in helping iHeartMedia explore new digital and technology opportunities for both consumer-facing and internal initiatives.  I’m delighted that Joe is expanding his role with us; his new leadership position will be instrumental in our continued success as a 21st century media company — one that is both relentlessly forward-looking on the technology front and focused on using iHeartMedia’s cross-platform assets in creative ways that help redefine the future of consumer media and entertainment.”

suttonsteveSutton to Program KCMO, Kansas City.  Talk radio pro Steve Sutton is appointed program director for Cumulus Media’s KCMO-AM, Kansas City.  Sutton is an experienced broadcaster who’s worked at CBS RADIO, iHeartMedia, ABC, and Air America (where he was co-creator and VP of programming and operations).  Cumulus SVP of programming Mike McVay says, “We’re very excited to have Steve join us in Kansas City.  He’s a multi-formatted programmer with amazing life experiences.  I can’t wait to hear how he sets news/talk radio on its ear.”  Sutton comments, “A life of amazing experiences continues in Kansas City at KCMO.  We all do this because it’s fun and fulfilling.  And now, thanks to Lew Dickey, John Dickey, Mike McVay, and Mark Sullivan, I get to do it again.  Donna Baker and I arrive within a week of each other.  We both can’t wait to start drawing on the easel.”

holleymichaelWEEI, Boston Re-Ups with Michael Holley.  Boston sports talkers WEEI announces that PM drive personality Michael Holley is “in it for the long haul with his veteran partner, Dale Arnold.”  Holley just signed a new, multi-year contract that will keep the duo together in the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm shift (alongweei logo with recent addition Jerry Thornton).  Holley comments, “I’m so grateful to be able to do a job that I love, in a region that I love, speaking and working with people that I love.  There have been so many incredible stories in New England sports the past decade-plus, and I’m excited and humbled that I’ve been able to share in the journey on the radio.  I look forward to many more great shows with Dale, Jerry and our producers Andy Massaua and Ben Kichen.”

younglarryWOLB, Baltimore Morning Host Larry Young Named TALKERS 2015 “Humanitarian of the Year.”  Veteran radio talk show host and former Maryland State Senator Larry Young has been selected by the TALKERS magazine editorial board as this year’s recipient of the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Talk Show Host.  The prestigious honor – also known as “Humanitarian of the Year” — will be presented to Young during the Awards Presentation at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015.  The presentation will be made by Carole Marks, CEO of Talk Media,2015 NYC 150 Inc.  WOLB, owned by Radio One, is an urban/talk-formatted station serving the Baltimore-area African American community.  Young began his show and radio career on the station in 1998 hosting weekday mornings, 6:00 am to 10:00 am, after a turbulent and controversial career in Maryland state politics.  Since then, he has accrued a number of honors celebrating his work in the community as a broadcaster including “Best Radio Station” by Baltimore City Paper in 2007, 2008 and again in 2009. He also has been the recipient of such awards as the 2007 Pinnacle Award presented by the American Development Consortium, the 2009 Ed Bradley Award presented by the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the 2011 Unsung Hero Award presented by the Grace Outreach fundraising committee and prestigious 2012 Whitney M. Young Jr. Award presented by the Greater Baltimore Urban League.  Young, a longtime member of the TALKERS “Heavy Hundred” is held in extremely high regard not only within the community served by WOLB, but by his co-workers as well.  WOLB general manager Howard Mazer tells TALKERS, “Larry Young is the kindest and most helpful person I know. The word NO is not in his vocabulary. When anyone in the community calls Larry, he will go out of his way to help them.  It does not matter the time or the day.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “I have had the personal pleasure of spending time with the folks at WOLB at the station’s community functions where I have witnessed this man in action first-hand and I must say – the work of Larry Young and the relationship he has with his listeners and co-workers is absolutely inspiring – makes me proud to be in radio. And it is not a single day, promotion or activity that we are talking about.  Every moment of his work on and off the air involves the concepts of service and connection.  Larry Young and WOLB are the very essence of ‘community’ as it applies to radio.”  Talkers New York 2015 – the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention — takes place on Friday, June 12.  As of today’s posting, it is 75% sold out.  For complete agenda details and registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please click here.

wind logoSalem-Owned WIND, Chicago Debuts New Program Schedule; Dave Ramsey to Join the Station in June.  The Chicago secular news/talk outlet WIND “AM 560 The Answer” announces its lineup changes that take effect on both Monday, March 30 and Monday, June 1 of this year.  WIND has made official the addition of Dan Proft as permanent morning co-host, alongsideramseydave Amy Jacobson, in which the duo will host the newly created, “Chicago’s Morning Answer,” from 5:00 am to 9:00 am.  Station general manager Jeff Reisman comments, “Dan Proft is the perfect addition to our lineup.  As the only talk radio station in Chicago dedicated to talking about politics, current events, and proftdanbreaking news, Dan Proft provides the kind of analysis and insight that our audience has come to expect from us.  ‘Chicago’s Morning Answer’ will be the go-to place in Chicago to get up to speed on what’s happening in the world each morning.”  Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher will be added to the station’s lineup airing live from 9:00 am to 11:00 am.  Dennis Prager will follow from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, replacing Dennis Miller.  Then, on June 1, nationally syndicated superstar Dave Ramsey will begin airing in the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot, immediately following the Joe Walsh program that will air from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Finally, “This Morning with Gordon Deal,” (syndicated by Compass Media Networks) will debut on March 30 in the 4:00 am to 5:00 am slot.

harrisonUpCloseFarOutMichael Harrison and Norm Pattiz Discuss a Wide Spectrum of Media Issues on PodcastOne.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and PodcastOne founder/CEO Norm Pattiz engage in an illuminating conversation about media and its impact on society in the third and latest installment of the podcast series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.”  The two iconoclastic media figures draw upon their radio industry experience and 38-year friendship in tackling such issues as net neutrality; new advertising techniques; the impact of consolidation on radio; differences between radio and TV; the evolving state of journalism; the effect of fractionalization on the national consciousness, problems and changes in music radio and the burgeoning state of podcasting.  To hear the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

parriottphilKKOH, Reno APD Phil Parriott Dies in Auto Accident.  Tragic news from the Cumulus Reno station group after news/talk KKOH, Reno assistant program director Phil Parriott died early on the morning of March 21 from injuries sustained in a car accident.  Station staffers are saying Parriott was an extremely valuable member of their team who will be deeply missed by current and past co-workers who call him a friend.  KKOH program director Dan Mason states, “We report tragedy in the news every day and can easily forget that real people are involved.  We’re reminded of that as we mourn our friend and colleague today.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Phil’s family during this difficult time.”

wpen-fm logoGreater Media Named ‘Best in Philly’ Again.  For the fourth consecutive year, Greater Media’s radio properties have been named among the “Top Workplaces in Philadelphia” by Philly.com.  Hundreds of companies take part in the survey, but only a select few companies are awarded top workplace.  The Greater Media Philadelphia station group consists of rock WMMR; classic rock WMGK “102.9 MGK”; adult hits WBEN-FM “95.7 Ben FM”; and sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic.”  The evaluation for the “Top Workplaces” program was based entirely upon feedback from an employee survey conducted by Workplace Dynamics in the fall of 2014.  Greater Media Philly VP and market manager John Fullam comments, “Great companies start with great employees.  We are fortunate to have such an extraordinary team dedicated to serving Philadelphia, our listeners and advertising partners every day.”

2016 Presidential Prospects, U.S.-Iran Nuke Negotiations, Obama-Netanyahu Relationship, UVA Rape Investigation, Battle Against Militant Islam, Russian Military Aggression, and March Madness Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/23).  The potential candidates for president in 2016; the controversy over the negotiations between the West and Iran over its nuclear program; the strained relationship between Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama and the recent Israeli elections; the police statement that it failed to find corroborating evidence in the Rolling Stone-reported UVA gang rape story; the militant Muslim organizations waging war in the Middle East and Africa; concern over Russia’s recent uptick in military maneuvers; and the weekend’s NCAA tourney action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

| October 29, 2014

zeolirichRich Zeoli Named PM Drive Host at WPHT, Philadelphia.  Evening personality Rich Zeoli will move from the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot on CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Philadelphia to the afternoon drive slot being vacated by Dick Morris beginning November 5.  Morris has been partnered with Gary R’nel in afternoons since January of 2013.  He’s exiting the radio business to return to political consulting full time.  CBS RADIO SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield says, “We are thrilled that Rich is moving to afternoons at WPHT.  He’s a smart, energetic, entertaining talk show host who can tackle a variety of issues that relate to his audience.”  Zeoli comments, “This is a passionate town and we have opinions on everything.  I love nothing more than challenging the audience and they challenge me right back.  There are many local issues that impact our lives and we need a place to talk about them.  That’s what the show is all about and what I plan to bring to afternoon drive on WPHT – a place for the Delaware Valley to talk. I’m just as interested in talking about pop-up beer gardens as I am about NSA spying.  What makes this town like nowhere else in America is its passion, and we’ll share a lot of passion on the drive home together.”  There’s no comment at this time from WPHT on the status of R’nel after Morris exits.

ppmunitRound Two of October PPM Data Released.  The second of four rounds of October 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis.  The survey period was August 14 through September 10.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here.  In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.

cookehollandCooke: DEVOUR iPhoneReporting.com.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke is urging news and news/talk professionals to follow the advice he offers in this column to help give your station a chance to compete in the evolving media world.  The first tip: DEVOUR WTOP, Washington reporter Neal Augenstein’s iPhoneReporting.com site to learn all the tips and tricks for using the Apple product for news purposes.  And pay special attention to that built-in camera.  Cooke says, “Beyond improving/refining/optimizing audio gathering, a smartphone camera can capture the photos and video that stations need to compete for ad dollars that are shifting from legacy media to digital.”  He goes on to say that it’s the perfect tool for making your station indispensable again.  “There’s mounting evidence of the value of radio reverting to local content, which got clobbered during draconian post-consolidation bloodlettings, and as sound-alike syndicated programming seems to have run its course.”  For more about the intersection of digital tools and radio, read Cooke’s column here.

bishopgregOdds & Sods.  The Associated Press is reporting that WMAY, Springfield, Illinois talk show host and news pro Greg Bishop is joining the Illinois News Network to be the voice of the INN’s radio efforts.  The organization – a reporting service focusing on economic policy and government started by the Illinois Policy Institute in 2012 – is developing a radio division and is bringing Bishop aboard to lead that project.  Bishop will continue to host his “Bishop On Air” program on WMAY…..The NBA’s Phoenix Suns and Bonneville’s sports talk simulcast “Arizona Sports” heard on KTAR-AM and KMVP-FM ink a deal to continue broadcasting Suns play-by-play on the stations.  This is the 39th season for Suns hoops on KTAR-AM – dating back to when the station was a news/talk outlet.  In addition to the games and ancillary programming, a “Suns Spotlight” feature will air on sister news/talker KTAR-FM…..Total Traffic Network Milwaukee staffer Andi Miller is leaving the company to relocate to Wausau, Wisconsin where her husband has accepted a position.  Miller has been a regular voice on Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ and adult hits WLWK “The Lake.”

iheartmedia logoBressler: Ad World Moving to Buy ROI.  During yesterday’s investor conference call, iHeartMedia president and CFO Rich Bressler spoke at length about the company’s plans to become the number one multi-platform media company – the underlying company goal that was the force behind the name change from Clear Channel to iHeartMedia.  But from a sales standpoint, Bressler told analysts that, “The advertising world is moving to buy ROI – return on investment – not ratings or impressions as it does today, and we stand to greatly benefit from this trend since we provide huge ROI reflecting our audience size, our scale and the impact we have, none of which have been fully monetized.”  The goal of reaching Millennials is important to Madison Avenue and Bressler noted the 4th annual iHeartRadio Music Festival, held last month in Las Vegas, saw social media impressions double from the previous year “reaching over five billion which is on par with the Academy Awards and more than twice the size of the Halftime Show of the Super Bowl.”  He says 80% of social media posts related to the festival came from the 18-35 demographic.  Bressler delivered the latest data about the iHeartRadio platform saying it now has 56 million registered users and total listening hours are up 10% compared to the same quarter a year ago.  Looking at the financials, iHeartMedia reported a net revenue increase of 1% and Bressler said that although the radio industry experienced a soft Q3, the company outperformed the markets based on Miller Kaplan data.

nrhof 14Melissa Etheridge and Ingrid Michaelson to Perform at National Radio Hall of Fame Induction.  This is the first Los Angeles induction ceremony after 24 years of the National Radio Hall of Fame event taking place in Chicago.  On November 9 at the Cicada in downtown Los Angeles, Charlie & Harrigan, Barry Farber, Ira Glass, Stanley E. Hubbard, Jon Miller, Agnes Moorehead and Dick Orkin will be inducted.  Performing at the event will be Melissa Etheridge and Ingrid Michaelson.  In addition, a special kitchinkraigtribute to Casey Kasem will take place.  National radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig Kitchin says, “This is an event that brings us all together to honor and celebrate the best in our business.  We have an opportunity to show our support and ensure the vitality of this institution by attending.  And if that’s not possible, please consider making a donation to the Museum of Broadcast Communications, which provides a showcase for the National Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago year round.”  Noted broadcasters participating in the ceremony will include Ryan Seacrest, Larry King, Rick Dees, Delilah, Michael Jackson, Kerri Kasem and more.

rabiHeartMedia’s Hartley Adkins Elected RAB Board of Directors Chairman.  At its annual board of directors meeting the Radio Advertising Bureau announced new officers and iHeartMedia EVP major markets Hartley Adkins was elected chairman.  Also on the board are (RAB duties noted inadkinshartley parentheses): Hubbard Radio chair and CEO Ginny Morris (vice chair); Cox Media Group EVP radio Kim Guthrie (finance chair); Commonwealth Broadcasting president and CEO Steve Newberry (secretary); Cromwell Group president and founder Bud Walters (immediate past chair).  Newly elected board members are: Hubbard Radio president and COO Drew Horowitz; Alpha Media EVP southern region Bill McElveen; Emmis COO and CFO Pat Walsh; and Journal Broadcast Group EVP Steve Wexler.

Ebola Pandemic Concerns, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Prospects, Hillary Clinton Jobs Creation Statement Flap, Battle Against ISIS/Domestic Terror Threats, Weather Channel Founder on Climate Change, and World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/28).  The continuing concerns about the spread of the Ebola virus and the U.S.’s policy regarding international travel and quarantines; next week’s mid-term elections and chatter about the presidential prospects for 2016; controversy over Hillary Clinton’s comment that businesses don’t create jobs and her attempts to clarify the statement; the progress of ISIS in Iraq and the increase of “lone wolf” domestic terror attacks; Weather Channel founder John Coleman’s challenging the climate change theory; and the Royals-Giants World Series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, April 25, 2014

| April 25, 2014

nielsen logoNielsen to Present Radio ROI Study to Group Heads.  Using phrases such as “they’ve finally cracked the code” and “radio’s ability to deliver sales lift of more than $6, for every dollar spent,” Clear Channel president and CFO Rich Bressler spoke during yesterday’s investor conference call glowingly about the recent Catalina Solutions group study that shows excellent return on investment for consumer packaged goods (CPG) advertisers using radio.  He announced that on Monday (4/28), radio group heads will gather for a conference at CC’s New York offices to see a presentation bybresslerrichard Nielsen’s Catalina Solutions group that Bressler also called “the first-ever, single source ROI study in the radio sector…Finally, we have the definitive proof of radio’s value.”  If you remember, the study in which Nielsen worked with Clear Channel measured the sales impact for the specific media buys of 10 brands, each of which had different combinations of radio networks.  Nielsen says that this group of 10 brands, which included eight CPG and two retailer brands, provided the foundation for the first normative database for radio effectiveness.  Another key finding was that radio delivers a strong consumer sales response close to the time of purchase.  The closer the exposure is to purchase, the higher the response.  On another note, Bressler did not respond directly to the recent cuts in the sales departments at Clear Channel but made reference to them in describing the state of the company’s executive structure.  “From an organizational standpoint, we create a new major market structure under which four of our senior operating executives are reporting directly to Bob Pittman and myself.  This major markets operating group will collaborate directly with our local market management to oversee our operations in our largest and highest revenue generating markets from our core broadcast radio stations to our digital mobile and events business as well as a more expanded coordination with Clear Channel Outdoor.”

siriusxmSiriusXM Q1 Revenue Up 11%.  It was another good quarterly report for satcaster SiriusXM as CEO Jim Meyer reported that his company’s subscription total is up to 25.8 million – an increase during the quarter of 267,000.  The all-important free cash flow figure was up 56% on $223 million.  Meyer toldmeyerjim analysts on Thursday, “Our solid subscriber growth, even faster revenue growth and high contribution margins have produced dramatic growth in adjusted EBTIDA and free cash flow — exactly what you would expect from SiriusXM’s highly scalable business model.  We are the world leader in monetizing audio entertainment, and the way this monetization translates in cash flow is also unmatched.  Our radios today are only in about 20% to 26% of the cars on the road today.  So we believe the opportunity for long term growth remains significant.”

smerconishmichaelPost Piece Highlights Smerconish’s Drive to Capture Center.  In a feature piece by Manuel Roig-Franzia in the Washington Post, media personality Michael Smerconish is profiled and his quest to find a political center that is hot to talk about the issues of the day is front-and-center.  The story details Smerconish’s entrance into the media world, his syndicated radio career, his cable TV gigs and his decision to leave AM/FM radio for SiriusXM last year.  In discussing this move and critics’ assertions that there is no centrist audience to be found in talk radio, he tells the Post, “I’m the referendum, aren’t I?…I’ve put my livelihood on the line to prove that you can.”

RamseyIndyIndianapolis Welcomes Dave Ramsey.  Talk radio superstar and best-selling author Dave Ramsey visited Indianapolis yesterday (4/24) as he presented his Legacy Journey LIVE! event at Traders Point Christian Church to a packed house.  The event was promoted by Ramsey’s Indy affiliate WFDM “Freedom 95 Radio.”  Pilgrim Communications VP and general manager Randy Tipmore says, “As usual when Dave Ramsey comes to Indianapolis, excitement and enthusiasm go up in the entire area as do station sales.  Every time Dave comes to town we sell out in record time for record amounts.  The Dave Ramsey show is the number-one selling tool we have at ‘Freedom 95.’  Dave Ramsey is pictured here (second from right) with members of the “Freedom 95 Radio” team.

sturgismark‘ESPN Upstate’ Adds Local Evening Show.  Sports media personality Mark Sturgis is tapped to host a live and local evening program on the Entercom-owned multi-cast serving northern South Carolina (the signals include WORD-AM, Spartanburg; WYRD-AM, Greenville; W246BU, Spartanburg on 97.1 FM and WFNC-HD3, Fayetteville, North Carolina).  Sturgis moves from his two-hour show on Byrne Acquisition Group-owned sports talk WCCP-FM, Clemson to a 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm nightly show on “ESPN Upstate.”  He follows the new “In The Huddle” show with Greg McKinney that airs in afternoon drive.  Entercom VP and market manager Steve Sinicropi states, “Our sports coverage in terms of talent, teams and signal coverage continues to get stronger and stronger.  ‘ESPN Upstate’ has become the most dominant sports network in the market.  Mark has a great live and local show right now, he has a network of sports contacts and he brings a passion for sports, strong knowledge and tremendous energy to the fast-growing ‘EPSN Upstate’ audience.  When you have a powerful brand like ESPN and the largest portfolio of radio stations in the Upstate to cross promote, it’s no wonder listeners and talent are coming to ‘ESPN Upstate.’”

sexy liberal logoStephanie Miller’s ‘Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour’ Hits Chicago Tomorrow; Albuquerque and Minneapolis Next.  Talk show host and comic Stephanie Miller’s comedy roadshow – the Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour lands in Chicago tomorrow and there are still a limited number of VIP tickets available for the event.  The show – featuring Miller, John Fugelsang, Carlos Alazraqui, and Stephanie Miller show family members Chris Lavoie and voice deity Jim Ward – is also traveling to Albuquerque on May 10 and rolls into Minneapolis on June 7.

talbottjuliePremiere Networks President Julie Talbott Named Woman of the Year.  The editorial board of TALKERS has named Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott as the 2014 recipient of the Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Talk Radio Industry by a Woman.  The honor, also known as “Woman of the Year,” will be presented to Talbott by last year’s recipient, Heather Cohen, EVP of The Weiss Agency, at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2014 conference on Friday, June 20 as one of the highlights of an awards ceremony at which presentations will also be made for “Lifetime Achievement,” Humanitarian of the Year,” and Freedom of Speech (the recipients of which have yet to be announced).  In addition to Cohen, past recipients of this prestigious award include Robin Bertolucci, Stephanie Miller, Laurie Cantillo, Grace Blazer, Kim Komando, Laura Ingraham, Randi Rhodes, Lynn Distler, Adriane Gaines, Ellen2014 NYC logo 150 Ratner, Gloria Allred, Lisa Evers and its namesake Judy Jarvis, the late independent talk radio syndication pioneer for whom it was first presented posthumously.   Upon announcing the board’s choice of Julie Talbott, TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We all look forward to the day that a special award to a female member of the talk radio community is no longer relevant or necessary – but if you look at the breakdown of the numbers of men versus women in the business, it is clear that we have not yet reached that day.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “We couldn’t be more delighted having the opportunity to honor Ms. Talbott for her achievements and contributions to not just talk but the entire spectrum of popular radio over the years. She is a bright, creative, dignified and extremely inspirational role model for young women looking to build a career in the radio broadcasting industry.”  Julie Talbott started her career in advertising at BBDO, where she spent five years as supervisor of media planning and buying.  Her love of radio took her to MJI Broadcasting, where she spent 19 years.  As COO of MJI Broadcasting, Talbott was instrumental in growing the company from five people to more than 150.  In 1999, Premiere Networks acquired MJI Broadcasting.  At that time, Talbott joined Premiere as senior vice president of integrated marketing solutions, focusing on advertising sponsorships.  In 2003, she was promoted to executive vice president, affiliate relations.  In that role, she oversaw a staff that increased affiliations for programs hosted by Jim Rome, Glenn Beck, George Noory, Bob and Tom, Steve Harvey, Keith Sweat, Elvis Duran, Fox Sports Radio and others.  In 2009, Talbott was named VP, content and affiliate relations for Premiere Networks and then promoted in September 2012 to extend that title to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s National Media Groups.  In January of this year, she was promoted to president of Premiere Networks.  In her current role, Talbott continues to oversee the operation of Premiere Networks radio programs and services and manages business partnerships with talent, while leading and maintaining key affiliate relationships to sell and service Premiere Networks, Total Traffic & Weather Network and iHeartRadio.  A native of Kentucky, Talbott received her B.A. from the University of Kentucky and attended the Business Strategy Program at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business in 1996.  Talbott lives with her husband and three children in New York.  For information about registering for Talkers New York 2014 please call 413-565-5413.

greshamtomTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk” is added to the program lineup at the following stations: KAOK, Lake Charles, Louisiana; KFIV, Modesto, California; KWSX, Stockton, California; WCHS, Charleston, West Virginia; and WBBA, Pittsfield, Illinois…..“Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is picked up by new affiliates KQAM, Wichita; WBKV, West Bend, Wisconsin; WHIR, Danville, Kentucky; and WRMN, Elgin, Illinois…..“Into Tomorrow” with Dave Graveline’s weekly program is picked up by KNOX-AM/FM, Fargo.

ABCCainDean Cain Visits ABC News Radio.  Actor Dean Cain goofs with ABC News Radio entertainment correspondent Joi Marie McKenzie during a visit to ABC News Radio studios to promote the new season of his VH1 series “Hit the Floor” that returns on May 26 at 9:00 pm ET.

Russian Aggression in Ukraine/U.S. Troops in Poland Top News/Talk Stories During Week of April 21-25.  The turbulent political state in Ukraine, Russia’s aggression in the region and the arrival of U.S. troops in Poland were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 was the scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act.  Following at #3 was the 2016 presidential race tied with Chelsea Clinton’s pregnancy and at #4 was the deadly attack on Americans at an Afghanistan hospital tied with drone strikes on suspected al Qaeda in Yemen.  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.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.