Tag: "Rich Zeoli"

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

| January 29, 2020

Talk Hosts Cover Trump’s Wildwood Rally. Talk radio hosts from the Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York areas were in attendance at last night’s Trump rally at the Wildwoods Convention Center at the Jersey Shore.  Above at left is WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley with a front row view as President Trump speaks.  At top right is WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Rich Zeoli (right) talking with the first person in line to get a ticket for admission, Duke (left).  At bottom right is WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” afternoon personality Kevin McCullough (right) with Republican National Committee spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany (left).  Rally organizers say some 175,000 tickets were requested for the event although the venue holds 7,000.  McCullough tells TALKERS magazine campaign officials are considering another rally at a future date in Northern New Jersey at the Meadowlands Sports Complex.

Staffs of News/Talk KFMB-AM and Adult Hits KFMB-FM in San Diego Given Notice.  Some 45 staffers at Tegna’s two radio stations in San Diego have been given their two-week notice in advance of the stations’ transfer of ownership to Local Media San Diego after February 7.  The San Diego Reader reports that the staffers were told that new owner LMSD is keeping four salespeople and one commercial production person.  Tegna says that it’s now up to LMSD to decide if it wants to hire any of the dismissed employees back.  From news/talk KFMB-AM, local talk personalities Brent Winterble, Mike Slater, and Mark Larson are among the casualties.  It’s unclear at this time what LMSD’s format plans are for the two stations.  The hosts are still working through February 7 at which time all employees will receive their severance packages.  Tegna acquired the radio stations in 2018 along with two television stations from Midwest Television for $325 million.

PodcastOne Partners with Spotify for Podcast Distribution. Podcasts by such stars as basketball icon Shaquille O’Neal, WWE legend Steve Austin, bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe, and comedian Adam Carolla will soon be available worldwide via Spotify.  Spotify’s Lauren Jarvis says, “We are thrilled to bring PodcastOne’s 400-plus hours of fresh, weekly content to Spotify’s global listeners.  From longtime-running favorites like ‘The Adam Carolla Show,’ ‘Ladygang,’ and Kaitlyn Bristowe’s ‘Off the Vine,’ to shows from superstars like Shaquille O’Neal and T.I., we know that we are adding podcasts for diverse listener tastes to Spotify’s catalogue.”  Spotify listeners worldwide will be able to enjoy each of PodcastOne’s 300-plus programs, including original content produced by PodcastOne Global.  Eventually, Australian fans will be able to stream PodcastOne’s content as well, with the addition of PodcastOne Australia content in partnership with Southern Cross Austereo.  PodcastOne CEO Peter Morris comments, “PodcastOne is thrilled to make our extensive catalogue available to the Spotify audience.  Combining the power, talent, and reach of the leading ad-supported podcast network, PodcastOne, with Spotify’s best-in-class technology, and listening and user experience is a can’t miss.  This partnership creates new cross-promotional opportunities for us both and increases the accessibility of PodcastOne’s hundreds of programs for our listeners.  It’s been great to work with Lauren Jarvis and the Spotify team, as we launch our new partnership.”

Erika Beasley Promoted to VP of Digital Content for Beasley Media Group. At Beasley Media Group, Erika Beasley rises from her corporate digital content director position to vice president of digital content.  In this new role, she’ll be responsible for overseeing content creation on the company’s many digital platforms.  Beasley Media Group chief content officer Justin Chase says, “Erika’s outstanding work throughout the years, in a variety of different roles, speaks for itself.  Her many contributions to the company’s digital transformation has moved us forward in profound ways.  I look forward to Erika partnering with our vice president of digital market, Jennifer Williams, and the company’s highly talented digital content team to further expand our digital footprint.”

Impeachment, Trump Wildwood Rally, Presidential Race, Coronavirus, and Trump’s Middle East Plan Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/28). The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump; the large crowd gathered at last night’s Trump rally in Wildwood, New Jersey; the Democrats battling to challenge President Trump in November; concerns about a global epidemic of the Wuhan coronavirus; and the Trump Administration’s unveiling of its Middle East peace plan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Cable news/talk outlet FOX News Channel is celebrating its ratings success.  In an internal memo, FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and president and executive editor Jay Wallace say, “We passed CNN at the end of January 2002 in viewership in the key 25-54 demo in both Today Day and Primetime and never looked back.  There is no other network in cable that can lay claim to this level of consistent dominance with one of the most loyal and passionate audiences in the country.”…..WSCR, Chicago morning drive personality David Haugh has exited his gig with the Chicago Tribune where he was a sports columnist.  Haugh, who co-hosts the “Mully & Haugh” show with Mike Mulligan, spent 17 years with the Tribune – the last 10 as a sports columnist – according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder…..Trenton, New Jersey-based Penn National Gaming is acquiring a 36% interest in the sports media firm Barstool Sports for $163 million – $135 million in cash and $28 million in non-voting convertible preferred stock.  Kennedy Rose has the story in the Philadelphia Business Journal.  In addition to its digital content that enjoys 66 million unique visitors per month, Barstool broadcasts radio shows via its own channel on SiriusXM…..Pictured below is KQTM-FM, Albuquerque “101.7 The Team” afternoon drive personality Jim Villanucci (right) with KQTM personality Sam Hauser (left) and Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Zach Gentry (center).  Gentry — a star high school football player in Albuquerque and a big fan of the station — stopped by the studios to say hello.  “101.7 The Team” airs a regular slate of high school football games during the season.

Legendary Jock Harry Harrison Dies at 89.  Top 40-era New York radio legend Harry Harrison died yesterday (1/28) after complications from numerous health issues.  Harrison worked on air at WMCA – one of the WMCA Good Guys – and at WABC, as well as later at WCBS-FM.  He retired from the latter in 2003.  He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame last fall.  Photo: Art Vuolo Jr.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. An administrative law judge with the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that Stephens Media Group violated labor laws when it let a number of air personalities go from its Watertown and Massena, New York stations in 2018.  Judge Charles J. Muhl ruled that not only must Stephens hire the fired staffers back but must compensate the affected workers for financial losses and tax consequences.  Stephens tells NNY360 that it plans to appeal certain aspects of the ruling…..The entire staff – both on-air and off – of adult hits KFMB-FM, San Diego was given its two-week notice as owner Tegna prepares to close on the sale of the station (and sister news/talk KFMB-AM) to Local Media San Diego.  Out of work are Chris Cantore, Meryl Klemow, Cha Cha Harlow, Robin Roth, and Rick Lawrence.  They are working through February 7, at which point they will receive their severance packages.  It’s not clear what LMSD’s plans are for the station, which as part of the sale contract, must give up the KFMB-FM call letters…..In Duluth, Minnesota, Patti Banner joins J.D. Justice as co-host of the morning show on Midwest Communications’ country KTCO-FM “Kat Country 98.9.”  She was most recently with Cherry Creek Radio’s adult contemporary KONA, Tri-Cities, Washington as morning drive co-host.  She takes over for Brookie the Rookie, who leaves for a gig outside the radio business…..This year’s iHeartCountry Festival taking place on May 2 at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin will feature the following acts: Dierks Bentley, Sam Hunt, Lady Antebellum, Dustin Lynch, Kelsea Ballerini, Kane Brown, Jon Pardi and Chase Rice, plus Hot Country Knights, Bobby Bones and more.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

| November 21, 2019

Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder Out in New WGN, Chicago Program Schedule. Two months after new management ousted station manager Todd Manley from his role at WGN, Chicago and hinted more changes were on the horizon, the Nexstar-owned news/talk outlet announces its new programming lineup and late morning duo Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder are the odd couple out.  After the close of the Tribune-Nexstar deal, Sean Compton became executive vice president and director of news and operations Mary Sandberg Boyle was named interim programming manager.  Yesterday (11/20), Boyle announced the changes via internal email.  Among the changes effective December 2 are: Steve Cochran’s morning show starts an hour earlier, airing from 5:00 am to 9:00 am; John Williams moves from his current 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot to 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Ji Suk Yi takes over hosting the 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm “Wintrust Business Lunch” show; and Anna Davlantes leaves the co-host role on the afternoon drive Roe Conn program to host her own 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm talk show.  Conn remains in afternoons, followed by Justin Kaufmann from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, followed by Nick Digilio from 11:00 pm to 4:00 am.  WGN will simulcast the “WGN-TV Early Morning News” from 4:00 am to 5:00 am.  Read Chicago media writer Robert Feder’s coverage here.

WPHT, Philadelphia’s Rich Zeoli Interviews President Trump. Pictured above is WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive personality Rich Zeoli interviewing President Trump in the Oval Office as part of Tuesday’s White House Radio Row on the United States Mexico Canada trade deal.  The president also talked about the 2020 election and the impeachment hearings.  Zeoli says, “The president was incredibly gracious with his time and said how much he loves talk radio.”  Photo: Andrea Hanks

John Fredericks Show Interviews VP Mike Pence. At Tuesday’s White House Radio Row on the USMCA treaty, Virginia talk station owner and statewide talk radio personality John Fredericks (right) posed for a photo with Vice President Mike Pence (left) and Fredericks’ wife, Anne (center), who serves as CFO of the John Fredericks Network.

Cumulus Inks ‘The Ticket’ Morning Show ‘The Musers’ to Multiyear Extension. Dallas sports talkers George Dunham, Craig Miller, and Gordon Keith – collectively known as “The Musers” – sign contract extensions to continue hosting the morning drive show on Cumulus Media’s sports talk KCTK-AM/FM, Dallas “The Ticket.”  The Cumulus Dallas-Houston regional vice president Dan Bennett says, “For 25 years, the Morning Musers’ George Dunham, Craig Miller, and Gordon Keith have performed at a market dominant level and we are excited that will continue for many more years in Dallas!”  The Musers comment, “We are very pleased to continue our longstanding relationship with Cumulus and the wonderful leadership of the Dallas/Fort Worth market.  This company has made us feel appreciated and we are extremely thankful for their support of such a special station.  ‘The Ticket’ in Dallas/Fort Worth is our home and the bond that we have with our listeners is something we will cherish for as long as we breathe.”

Salem Covers A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Premiere. Above is Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (left) interviewing director Marielle Heller (right) at last night’s premiere of the SONY Pictures film, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.  The film stars Tom Hanks as television icon Fred Rogers.  The premiere took place in Pittsburgh where the “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” TV show was produced at WQED-TV.

Skyview Networks Sponsors Panels at MLB Rightsholders Conference. The photo above shows the participants in this year’s MLB Audio Rightsholders Conference in Las Vegas.  More than 20 teams and organizations participated in panels covering technology, audio sales strategies, and the future of emerging non-terrestrial mediums.  Digital content captured the main focus of the conversations as franchises shared strategies for monetizing this evolving platform.  Skyview Networks president and COO Steve Jones says, “Skyview Networks is proud to return as the title sponsor of this conference, which hosts an innovative group of baseball and broadcast executives as they discuss the critical role radio and digital audio play in fan engagement.  We look forward to developing additional technology to serve our partners in this evolving audio space.”  Additional panel topics included maximizing ad sales with an emphasis on innovative features and creating awareness for franchises’ ancillary digital content, especially concerning podcasts.  As the digital listenership rapidly increases, the franchises are hyper-focused on monetizing the platform.

TALKERS News Notes. The NM Political Report says that KIVA-AM/K229CL, Albuquerque owner Eddy Aragon is considering running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Tom Udall, who is not running for re-election.  Aragon – a staunch conservative – hosts the afternoon show on the station branded, “the Rock of Talk.”  He tells NM Political Report this is something he’s only considering at this point. “You have to imagine the tremendous sacrifice that I have to consider.  Being off [the air] during the year Donald Trump is running in 2020, that’s a sacrifice to my radio station.”…..KIDO, Boise morning drive talk host Kevin Miller is pictured below talking to KTVB-TV, Boise news about his annual Miller’s Mission Turkey Drive to help provide the hungry and homeless in Boise with a warm dinner for the holidays.  The goal is to collect 3,000 turkeys for the Boise Rescue Mission Ministries.  Each year Miller dons his turkey suit and broadcasts live from a local Walmart parking lot to collect turkeys and cash donations.

Impeachment Testimony, 2020 Presidential Race/Atlanta Debate, Epstein Case/Prince Andrew Troubles, U.S.-China Trade Talks/Hong Kong Human Rights Act, and Mexicans Sue Walmart Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/20). Wednesday’s impeachment hearing with testimony from EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020 and Wednesday’s Atlanta debates; the investigation into Jeffrey Epstein’s death and the aftermath of Prince Andrew’s BBC interview; U.S. trade talks with China and the U.S. House’s Hong Kong Human Rights Act; and Mexicans’ suit against Walmart over the mass shooting in El Paso were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Robyn Simone exits Cumulus Media’s urban contemporary WLXC, Columbia, South Carolina “Kiss 103.1” where she’d been serving as program director for the past year.  She says, “Working at Cumulus Media in Columbia was a challenge, but I gained a lot of knowledge in my short time there.  As the program director/air talent for ‘Kiss 103.1,’ I’m a stronger and more knowledgeable PD because the experience.  I would like to thank [VP programming operations] John Dimick and VP/urban programming Kenny Smoov for the opportunity and their commitment to set new standards for urban radio.”

Friday, May 10, 2019

| May 10, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

| May 8, 2019

It’s Official: Rich Zeoli Moves to AM Drive on WPHT, Philadelphia. Afternoon drive personality Rich Zeoli is making the move to the WPHT, Philadelphia’s morning drive daypart, effective May 13. Zeoli is taking over the show most recently hosted by Chris Stigall, who exited the station earlier this year. Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “Rich is a compelling and thought-provoking radio host and we’re looking forward to seeing him shine in the mornings on WPHT. From interviewing the president to covering what’s hot in pop culture or entertainment, to Rich’s passion for recognizing local police officers, his funny and poignant style always shines a light on what everyone is talking about.” Zeoli comments, “For years I have had one simple goal: to blend information and humor to make entertaining talk radio. Moving to mornings is an honor and a challenge and I’m thrilled that my team will be moving with me.” Zeoli has been with the company since joining as a talk host in 2010.   He became afternoon drive host in 2015.  Zeoli is also the founder of RZC Impact, a communications firm specializing in media training, public speaking, and strategy. His clients have included Fortune 100 C-Suite executives, national television personalities, and bestselling authors. He is the author of The Seven Principles of Public Speaking: Proven Methods of a PR Pro (2008, Skyhorse).  WPHT has made no statement about its plans for the now-open afternoon drive depart.

Nashville Sports Talk Personality George Plaster Launching Daily Show on WSM-AM. The Tennessean reports that Nashville sports talk personality George Plaster is returning to the air full time to host a daily, afternoon sports talk show on Grand Ole Opry’s country WSM-AM, effective July 15.  Plaster has been serving as athletics director at Belmont University since 2016.  Plaster first started doing sports talk radio on WWTN-FM, Nashville in 1989. From 2003 through 2012, he hosted afternoons on crosstown WGFX-FM “The Zone,” and moved to WPRT-FM “102.5 FM The Game” in 2012.  Despite its afternoon drive air time, the show will be called “Sports Night with George Plaster.”

Connoisseur Sells Billings Cluster to Desert Mountain Broadcasting. The Billings, Montana cluster of six stations owned by Connecticut-based Connoisseur Media is going to Desert Mountain Broadcasting for $3 million in a just-announced deal.  The cluster includes news/talk KYYA and sports talk KBLG in addition to four music-formatted brands.  Connoisseur regional vice president and general manager Cameron Maxwell formed Desert Mountain Broadcasting in 2018 with the intention of acquiring the stations.  He says, “And now I’m in the very rare position to be able to launch my new media company by purchasing from these exceptional broadcasters six radio stations I’ve helped to create.  I’m forever grateful for this incredible time with Connoisseur Media and the constant mentoring they’ve provided.  With this first acquisition, Desert Mountain Broadcasting launches today on a solid foundation, built upon the values and best practices embedded in me by [Connoisseur CEO] Jeff [Warshaw], [CFO] Mike [Driscoll], and COO David Bevins.”

TALKERS CONVENTION SPOTLIGHT: Attracting Younger Demos to Talk Radio. Among the challenges news/talk radio faces today is the aging of its audience and the desire by many broadcasters to attract younger listeners to the format. Opinions on how to achieve this – and there are those who question whether it can be achieved at all – vary greatly.  Some believe broadcasting on FM is a necessary first step while others say the whole approach to the format must be re-thought for the Millennial generation.  At Talkers 2019: Telling the Story, set for New York on Friday, June 7, TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey will moderate a panel of broadcasters to discuss “Attracting Younger Demos to Talk Radio.”  Panelists include (pictured below): Mike “Bax” Baxendale, host, WAQY, Springfield, MA “Rock 102”; Greg Foster, VP of programming and national news/talk brand coordinator, iHeartMedia and KOA, Denver PD; John T. Mullen, operations manager, WRHU-FM, Hofstra University; Sid Rosenberg, host, WABC, New York; Rich Zeoli, host, WPHT, Philadelphia.  The conference is rapidly moving toward being an early sellout.  To see the entire up-to-the-minute agenda and for registration/hotel information, please click here.

TALKERS News Notes. Philadelphia all-news KYW gets a brand refresh as Entercom unveils a new logo and an update to its iconic jingle.  The company says the changes reflect “its multiplatform growth and evolution.”  KYW worked with legendary arranger and Philadelphia native Larry Gold on the modern update to its beloved jingle. Entercom SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “KYW Newsradio has evolved into a modern news organization serving a wide range of listeners across various platforms and we are proud to introduce visual and audio enhancements that reflect who the station is today.  The station is a local treasure that remains an integral part of the city and to honor those roots, we worked with hometown artists to capture its essence and develop the refreshed brand identity.  Everyone in town sings our jingle and we’re thrilled to introduce this new contemporary sound.”  Check it out here…..Sun Broadcast Group announces the opening of its West Coast office in Los Angeles as part of its expansion efforts and the hiring of Ed Moloney as affiliate content director, effective immediately.  The company says Moloney will affiliate stations for all SBG shows and services, maintain relationships with current affiliates, and support other programming efforts for new additions to the SBG line up such as “Ground Zero with Clyde Lewis” and more.  For the past eight years, Moloney programmed the syndicated version of JACK FM.  He has also served with Westwood One, Entertainment Radio Networks, KCBS and KYSR, Los Angeles and WBCN, Boston…..Townsquare Media’s news/talk WPGG-AM, Atlantic City is changing its FM simulcast to 95.5 FM.  The company announces that, effective immediately, the station is being heard there in addition to 104.1 and, of course, 1450 AM.  But, the 104.1 FM simulcast will eventually go away.  Townsquare also says it’s not done making major announcements about the station, saying, “WPG is getting even bigger and better very soon…” Stay tuned!

MIW Radio Group Announces 2019 Mildred Carter Mentoring Program Participants. The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio (MIW) Group announces the four radio professionals selected to participate as mentees in the 2019 MIW Group Mildred Carter Mentoring Program.  They are: Andrea Clay, national sales manager, Beasley Media Group Charlotte; Katy Dempsey, program director and morning show host, Bryan Broadcasting, College Station, Texas; Nicole Jones, manager of sales training & development, Cumulus Media Chicago; and Jennifer Seelig, director of news & programming, Entercom San Francisco.  The MIW Group’s signature mentoring program matches up-and-coming women in the radio industry with female professionals recognized as leaders in all aspects of radio broadcasting.  Beasley Media Group, LLC is, for the second year in a row, serving as the lead sponsor of this year’s program.  Lindsay Cerajewski, chair of the 2019 MIW Group Mentoring Committee and national sales manager/new business development, Entercom Chicago says, “Each year, this coveted program generates more and more interest and therefore applications.  We are very encouraged by the quantity and quality of candidates desiring to grow their careers in radio, and this year’s class definitely reflects the excellence we’re seeing in our applications.  Let the mentoring begin!”

Mueller Report/Barr Contempt Vote, U.S.-China Trade War, Iran Nuclear Deal, NYTimes Trump Losses Story, 2020 Presidential Politics, Colorado School Shooting, and North Korea Missile Test Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/7). The ongoing reactions to the release of the redacted version of the Mueller Report and Democrats’ option to consider Attorney General William Barr in contempt of congress for his refusal to turn over the complete report; the financial markets react to President Trump’s reigniting the tariff war with China; Iran backs out of the nuclear deal it entered into with six other nations; The New York Times’ story about Trump’s business losses from 1985 to 1994; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; Tuesday’s shooting at a Colorado high school that left one dead and several injured; and North Korea’s latest missile test were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The “Todd & Jayde” morning show announced that May 31 will be the last broadcast on WPLJ-FM, New York as a hot AC outlet.  Owner Cumulus Media is selling the iconic FM to Educational Media Foundation and that company will flip the station to a Christian music format…..The Daily Chronicle reports that Bustos Media is acquiring the Centralia, Washington FM KFNY from the Ocean Station II Trust, operated by iHeartMedia.  The station has been airing a smooth jazz format for the past couple of years as it awaited acquisition by another broadcaster.  Bustos owns KDDS-FM in the market that currently airs a regional Mexican format.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

| May 7, 2019

TALKERS EXCLUSIVE:  A Conversation with Mike McVay.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison engaged in an exclusive audio conversation earlier this morning (5/7) with outgoing Cumulus Media executive vice president of content and programming Mike McVay.  McVay, who will be staying on with the company in an executive capacity until July at which point, he will launch his own consultation firm with Cumulus being its first client, discusses the details of the transition and some of his personal sentiments about the change.  This excerpt will be part of a larger, deep-dive conversation between Harrison and McVay that will be posted in full on Tuesday, May 14 as next week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne presentation, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  To listen to this informational excerpt, please click 

      here
.

Rich Zeoli to Move to Mornings on WPHT, Philadelphia.  TALKERS magazine hears that current afternoon drive personality Rich Zeoli is moving to the morning daypart on the Entercom news/talk station.  Zeoli would assume the position most recently held by Chris Stigall, who exited the station earlier this year.  Zeoli joined WPHT as a talk host in 2010.

Townsquare Media’s Q1 Report: Pro Forma Net Revenue Up 4.7%.  Revenue was up for Townsquare Media, Inc. comparing the first quarter of 2019 to the same period in 2018.  Net revenue for Q1 of 2019 was $ 93.7 million, up 6.5%.  On a pro forma basis (excluding revenue from the July 2018 acquisition of three Trenton market signals), net revenue was up 4.7%.  Breaking apart the company’s three segments – advertising, interactive, and live events – advertising revenue was up 3.9% over the same period in 2018, interactive jumped 31.6%, while live events dipped 8.6%.  Pro forma net loss for the first quarter decreased $21.5 million, or 81.8%, to a net loss of $4.8 million, compared to a net loss of $26.3 million in the same period in 2018.  Townsquare Media CEO Bill Wilson says, “Townsquare is off to a great start in 2019 with strong operational and financial performance, demonstrated by our first quarter Adjusted EBITDA growth of 8.3%.  We have continued the strong momentum we experienced throughout 2018, as our team once again delivered double-digit revenue growth in our Townsquare Ignite and Townsquare Interactive divisions, leading to total net revenue growth of 6.5% in the first quarter of 2019.  As a result of our continued growth and strength in digital, we are pleased to announce that for the first time in our history, digital revenue contributed over one-third of the company’s total net revenue.  Given our diversified revenue base, today and moving forward we believe Townsquare is best described as a premier local media and digital marketing solutions company. To that point, beginning in the first quarter of 2019 I am very pleased to share that we have provided segmentation of our financial results.  In particular this will allow you to see the strong profit that is generated by Townsquare Interactive, our digital marketing solutions business which currently serves approximately 16,200 monthly subscribers.  In the first quarter of 2019, Townsquare Interactive had net revenue growth of 31.6% and Adjusted Operating Income growth of 34.8%, operating at a 31% margin.  As noted previously, we believe that Townsquare Interactive, as well as our Townsquare Ignite division, will each generate $100 million in annual net revenue within the next three to five years.”

Brian Kilmeade Named 2019 Recipient of the TALKERS Freedom of Speech Award.  Described by Michael Harrison as “one of this era’s most prolific communicators in national talk media,” the TALKERS editorial board has selected Fox News Channel “Fox & Friends” co-host (6:00 am – 9:00 am ET)  and Fox News Radio syndicated program host (9:00 am – 12:00 noon ET) Brian Kilmeade as the publication’s 2019 recipient of the Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech.  Kilmeade is also a prolific best-selling author who has written a number of books about American history shedding new light on such figures as George WashingtonThomas Jefferson, and Andrew Jackson among others.  According to Harrison, “Brian Kilmeade is a hard working media pro who has been turning in six straight hours per morning on both radio and cable TV year after year tackling the most controversial issues confronting the nation on a very big stage and facing the heat that comes with sticking your neck out on a regular basis.  His books about largely overlooked but highly significant chapters in American history have also added to a greater understanding of where this country came from written in language that is clear and compelling to the average person.  This man understands the First Amendment and knows how to exercise it on a level that keeps it alive and well in a turbulent environment in which it is always under assault.”  The award recognizes broadcasting achievement in raising consciousness and awareness of the First Amendment, displaying courage and commitment in exercising First Amendment rights and contributing to the viability of the First Amendment through deed and example.  The non-partisan award, one of the most prestigious and high-profile honors presented to individuals in the talk media industry, has a colorful (and often controversial) history that goes back to the early 1990s when the modern era of talk radio emerged and the format became recognized as an influential forum of public policy and social change following the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine.  It was re-named in honor of talk radio pioneer Gene Burns upon his death in May 2013. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “Gene Burns was the model by which the Freedom of Speech Award delivered at our national conventions was developed.  It is only fitting that this institution bears the name of this great champion of the ideals and foundation upon which contemporary spoken-word radio is built.”  Last year’s recipient of the Freedom of Speech Award was SiriusXM Satellite Radio “Urban View” channel personality Karen Hunter.  Recipients over the years include Rush LimbaughThom HartmannAl FrankenSean HannityAlan ColmesJim FarleyJuan WilliamsJoe Madison, Michael Savage, Norm PattizBill O’ReillyMatt DrudgeBob GrantG. Gordon Liddy, and Brian Lamb among others.  This year’s award will be presented to Brian Kilmeade at Talkers 2019: Telling the Story in New York on Friday, June 7.  The convention is close to being a sellout.  For registration information, please click here.

TALKERS News Notes.  KGLO, Mason City, Iowa news director Bob Fisher was recently honored by the Iowa Broadcast News Association during its 2018 Awards Contest.  Fisher picked up eight awards, including two first-place honors – one for Political Coverage and another for General Reporting.  Fisher and Alpha Media’s KGLO have received a total of 92 awards in the last 15 years. He just concluded serving as past-president of the Iowa Broadcast News Association’s board of directors and retired from the board after serving 14 of the last 15 years…..ABC Radio is offering three Memorial Day weekend specials for affiliate stations: “Country Summer Road Trip,” “A Decade of Rock Hits,” and “America Remembers 2019.” Country artist Luke Combs hosts the country music special, rock legend Don Felder is host of the rock hits show, and ABC News Radio correspondent Aaron Katersky reports on how combat, training, and suicide have taken a toll on American service members, in “America Remembers 2019.” ABC says, “Some have died afar, in the nation’s longest war or in another country’s civil war; some have died close to home in training exercises meant to prepare, not kill; and some have died at home, from the effects of an earlier deployment.  The three-hour ABC News special profiles these service members who lost their lives and the families they’ve left behind.”

Trump’s China Tariffs Threat, Mueller Report Aftermath/Trump Obstruction Letter, 2020 Presidential Politics, Trump Approval Ratings, Trump Tax Returns Fight, UN Species Extinction Report, U.S.-Iran Tensions, ‘Game of Thrones,’ Kentucky Derby Disqualification, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/6). The financial markets react to President Trump’s renewed tariff threat against China; the aftermath of the Mueller Report and the letter signed by some 400 former prosecutors stating President Trump’s action constituted obstruction of justice; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; a new Gallup poll shows Trump’s approval rating at 46%, his highest since taking office; House Democrats’ attempts to get Trump’s tax returns; the UN report concluding that plant and animal species are disappearing at a rapid rate; concerns about Iranian threats to U.S. interests in the region; Sunday’s episode of HBO’s “Game of Thrones”; the first-ever disqualification of a Kentucky Derby winner; and the NBA playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming and on-air pro Joel Weiss joins Cumulus Media as APD and music director for its alternative KCJK “X105.1” and CHR KCHZ “95-7 The Vibe” in Kansas City.  Weiss was most recently with Beasley Media’s alternative WBOS, Boston, prior to its recent flip to rock. He’ll also host the evening program on KCJK.  Mike O’Reilly is PD for the stations, and he says, “The timing of being able to integrate Joel into our ‘X’ and ‘Vibe’ brands is truly remarkable.  It’s not every day you find such a creative, talented programming vet with Joel’s unique skill set and unanimous favor in the industry.”…..Mediabase promotes Gregg Miller to vice president of sales/client services.  Miller joined Mediabase in 1997 after management positions at Polygram Records, Enigma Records, and Broadcast Data Systems.  His current duties will focus on airplay reporting and music trends for Mediabase clients…..WAXQ, New York “Q104.3” morning drive co-host Shelli Sonstein was appointed to the rank of Honorary Battalion Chief by Fire Department of New York Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro for her continued support of the New York City Fire Department and her contributions to the community during a ceremony on Monday (5/6).  Nigro stated, “Shelli Sonstein is a tremendous advocate for the FDNY, in particular, our members battling illnesses related to their brave work during the World Trade Center rescue and recovery effort.  She is extremely active in the September 11th community, educating her listeners and raising awareness about the growing list of fallen heroes in our Department.”…..On May 3, radio and CMT personality Cody Alan took the stage at KASE, Austin’s “The Night Before” surprise concert with station personalities Anne Hudson and Anthony “The AntMan” Allen to help introduce the secret headliners: Waterloo Revival, Russell Dickerson, and Morgan Wallen.  The event was held at Maggie Mae’s in Austin and is a free, annual event leading up to the iHeartCountry Festival in Austin.  Pictured below (from l-r) are: Alan, “CMT After MidNite” and “CMT Radio Live” correspondent Marley Sherwood, Hudson, and Allen.

Friday, April 19, 2019

| April 19, 2019

Talkin’ Trump with Chris Christie at the WPHT Speaker Series. Pictured above at last night’s “1210 WPHT Speaker Series” sold-out, live event are WPHT afternoon personality Rich Zeoli (right) and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (left) at the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood, New Jersey.  WPHT program director Jared Hart says the event couldn’t have been timed better with the release of the Mueller Report and the latest from the White House.   He adds the 500 attendees were “relentlessly entertained by Christie’s wit and honesty.”

Broncos Great Tom Nalen Named PM Drive Co-Host at KKFN, Denver. After the February departure of longtime afternoon drive personality Alfred “Big Al” Williams – who’s headed to iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk KOA after his non-compete expires – Bonneville finds the new on-air partner for Darren “DMac” McKee (left) on “The Drive” on KKFN “104.3 The Fan.”  Denver Broncos great Tom Nalen (right) joins the program starting Monday (4/22).  McKee says, “I’m still pinching myself.  I cannot believe Tom Nalen is my new radio partner.  Our friendship goes back to his days playing for the Broncos and continued after he retired.  I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever been more excited or happy professionally following this move.  To host ‘The Drive’ every day with Tom Nalen is an absolute dream come true.”  Nalen has done radio in the market co-hosting programs with Kroenke Sports and Entertainment and Front Range Sports Network. Station program director Raj Sharan says, “While Tommy’s football credentials are unquestionable, it’s his personality that made him the perfect fit as our new co-host of ‘The Drive.’  His sense of humor mixed with blunt honesty and a heart of gold add up to one of the most loveable figures in Denver sports history.  During our audition process, his chemistry with DMac was instant and undeniable, as was the overwhelming feedback we received from our listeners.  It was clear and obvious that Tommy was the people’s choice and I’m thrilled all of Broncos Country will enjoy his insight and charm every weekday on their drive home.”

Alpha Media Portland Names Sara Perrin Marketing Director. Marketing pro Sara Perrin is named the new marketing director for Alpha Media’s Portland station group that includes: news/talk KXL, talk KUFO, CHR KBFF, country KUPL, triple A KINK, sports talk KXTG-AM, and hip hop KWEE.  In this position, Perrin will “support efforts created and facilitated by different department and profit centers, including the Bloodworks Live Studio, creative services, and promotions departments.  She will work closely with all departments to design and develop marketing strategies… and be responsible for coordinating and executing all these strategies on-air, online, and on-site.”  Alpha Media Portland SVP/market manager Lisa Decker comments, “Sara is a dynamic leader with 25 years of experience creating ingenious strategies, effective solutions, and unforgettable tactics to attract, activate, and retain target audiences.  Her vast experience working with the biggest brands in Portland, along with her innovative, imaginative, and resourceful problem-solving abilities make her uniquely qualified for this position.  We are thrilled to have Sara join the Alpha team.”

Westwood One News Wins National Headliner Award. The news organization was honored with first place honors for its reporting and coverage of the Parkland school shooting in Florida last year in the “Breaking News or Continuing Coverage of a Single News Event” category.  The National Headliner Award judges stated Westwood One News’ reporting was “precise and eloquent coverage of the Parkland shooting.  Radio at its best: the sound and the actualities tell the story; clear and compelling writing.”  Westwood One News also won third place in the category for its coverage of Hurricane Michael. The National Headliner Awards were founded in 1934 by the Press Club of Atlantic City to recognize journalistic merit in the communications industry.

Radio News Pro Steve Swenson Joins Nashville Public Radio.  Radio executive Steve Swenson is named the president and chief executive officer for Nashville Public Radio, effective April 29.  Swenson served with CBS RADIO for years as vice president and general manager for New York all-newsers WINS and WCBS-AM.  He was most recently SVP and market manager for CBS’ Washington, DC stations prior to the radio division’s sale to Entercom.  Before joining CBS RADIO, he served as general manager for all-news WTOP-FM, Washington, DC.  Nashville Public Radio board chairman Bill Carpenter says, “We are delighted to have attracted Steve Swenson to Nashville Public Radio during this period of accomplishment and opportunity for our stations WPLN and ‘91Classical.’  Steve is well-recognized for bringing engaging content rooted in community partnership to grow the markets he has served.  Nashville Public Radio’s award-winning team is known for their ingenuity in providing in-depth reporting and programming that engages our long-standing and new listeners.  We believe that Steve’s proven abilities will be a terrific complement to our station and our broader community as we continue to expand our offerings throughout Middle Tennessee.”

St. Louis Radio Host Don Marsh Says ‘No Thanks’ to Lifetime Achievement Award. Regular TALKERS readers remember the story about St. Louis public radio host Don Marsh we published a few weeks ago.  Marsh resigned from his job at St. Louis Public Radio’s KWMU-FM after being called out by management for telling his guest (iconic St. Louis TV newswoman Karen Floss) that she “looked great.”  Floss did not complain, in fact, she told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that people of her age often greet each other with such a compliment.  The complaint to station management was made by the show’s producer.  After being told by his boss that his greeting bordered on being inappropriate, Marsh quit the station.  Fast-forward to today, Marsh was scheduled to receive the 2019 Millard S. Cohen Lifetime Achievement Award from St. Louis Public Radio on May 2, however, he tells the Post-Dispatch he won’t be there and accepting the award now would be “inappropriate.”  KWMU tells the paper that as a result, no one will receive the award this year.

Release of Mueller Report Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 15-19.  The public release of the redacted version of the Mueller Report was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the migrant crisis at the Southern border and the related political maneuvers.  Coming in at #3 was the politics and the people surrounding the 2020 presidential election, followed by the Notre Dame Cathedral fire at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.

Joe Madison Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the top 10 ranking members of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred list of the Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America, Joe Madison, who hosts mornings on SiriusXM Satellite Radio’s “Urban View” channel, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Longtime friends and colleagues, the two seasoned broadcasters engage in a spirited conversation about Madison’s TV appearance this month on the season finale of the highly acclaimed PBS program, “Finding Your Roots.” The show delves into the biological ancestry of interesting and famous people.  The touching episode, which opens with audio, and later video, of Madison (also known as The Black Eagle) broadcasting from his SiriusXM studios in Washington, DC, follows the broadcaster as he discovers ancestral secrets with the help and support of his dear friend (and host of the show), Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.   Some of the surprises revealed include identifying his biological father; his lineage’s shocking connection to the Tuskegee experiments; and his relation to the Confederacy – as he jokes he may “join the Sons of the Confederacy” because it would “shake things up.”  The episode will re-air throughout April on PBS.  Commenting on the podcast, Harrison says, “The first time I had the Black Eagle on this program was about four years ago and he supported my view then and now about the diversity of opinion, lifestyle and humanity that exists within the African American population of the United States.  But he also keenly understands those elements, characteristics, and common experiences that tie these 46 million-plus people into what we refer to as the African American community.   In my opinion, this is a man who has transcended the role of simply being a radio entertainer or personality and has become over the years a political, cultural, and inspirational leader.  A watchdog and defender of a people.”  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and every page on Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programmer Bo Matthews can add rhythm format captain to his c.v. after Alpha Media promotes him.  Matthews serves as Ohio operations manager (Dayton and Canton/Akron markets). He continues to oversee his respective stations there but now is responsible for assisting in the growth of all stations in the rhythm music format.  He comments, “The first station I ever programmed was a rhythm station – WBTT, Fort Myers – which was some of the most fun I’ve ever had in my programming career. I am super excited to be working with our rhythm stations and creating some magic with the many talented people we have.  Thanks to [EVP of content] Phil Becker for the confidence and continued partnership and collaboration.”…..At Cox Media Group’s WALR, Atlanta “KISS 104.1,” Dyron Ducati is officially named the midday personality.  He’s been with the station since last year filling in on weekend and in middays.  WALR director of branding and programming Terri Avery says, “It’s good to know that after searching all over the country, the person for the job was right in our camp.  Dyron brings a smooth, unobtrusive sound to the ‘KISS 104.1’ midday.  We are proud to have him represent us.”…..Cumulus Media appoints Alana Lynn midday host at country KIZN, Boise “Kissin’ 92.3.”  She was most recently with Entercom’s country KMLE, Phoenix as music director and morning host.  KIZN program director Hank Aaron states, “When I heard Alana Lynn was coming back to the Treasure Valley, I had one thought: She needs to be on my team at ‘Kissin’ 92.3!’ Alana is going to be a great fit in middays on ‘Kissin’ 92.3.’”…..On-air pro Rick Adams announces he’s exited iHeartMedia’s WMSI-FM, Jackson, Mississippi “MISS 103” after more than three decades with the station.  He’s pursuing a new career in the real estate field…..Another radio pro is out after more than 30 years at the station.  This news is from Los Angeles as urban AC KTWV “94.7 The Wave” midday personality Talaya Trigueros is the victim of budget cuts at the Entercom station…..Rock radio history buffs will want to see the new documentary about the early years of Boston’s WBCN from producer/director Bill Lichtenstein.  The two-hour film, WBCN and The American Revolution, debuts next weekend (4/27) at the Somerville Theatre as the Centerpiece Spotlight Documentary at the Independent Film Festival Boston.  You can read WBUR-FM, Boston’s preview of the film here.

March 2019 PPM Data – Part Three. March 2019 ratings information has been released for Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen Audio’s March 2019 survey period covered February 28 – March 27. See all the 6+ Numbers from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@Talkers.com) provides his “Takeaways” from these 12-PPM markets below.

Portland

Spoken Word Formats – On the heels of January/February’s nine-tenths’ gain  (3.8 – 4.2 – 4.7, Alpha Media news/talk KXL surrenders all but one-tenth of that increase (4.7 – 3.9, -.8, 6+) and departs the top ten (#6 to #11). Immediately prior to January, “FM News 101 – Stay Connected” was -1.5 via three straight negative moves (5.3 – 5.1 – 4.5 – 3.8, 6+). Even though iHeartMedia’s KEX returns February’s one-tenth increase (2.1 – 2.2 – 2.1, 6+), “News Radio 1190 – Depend On Us” progresses from #19 to #18. Alpha Media news/talk KUFO “Freedom 970” is unchanged from February in 6+-share (.9) and 6+-rank (#25).

Co-owned sports talk KXTG “The Game” is without a loss the third report in a row for a net gain of four-tenths (.9 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.3, #23 to #21, 6+). That follows four consecutive decreases that accounted for a -.6 (1.5 – 1.4 – 1.2 – 1.1 – .9, 6+). “The Game” overtakes Entercom sports talk KFXX “1080 The Fan” (#22 to #23), whose November 2018 through March 2019 (6+) topline is 1.3 – 1.1 – .9 – 1.1 – 1.3 – 1.2. A gain of three-tenths takes iHeartMedia-owned KPOJ “Sports Radio 620” to .8 (#28 to #26), the highest 6+-showing for the Portland Trailblazers flagship since June 2018 (.9).

Even though it is a combined -2.0 in February/March (9.3 – 7.7 – 7.3, 6+), Oregon Public Broadcasting news/talk KOPB repeats in the runner-up slot, after a one-month (January 2019) stay at #1. It previously was on top from January 2018 to August 2018 (including a tie in April), before dropping to second in September. Recent KOPB fluctuations include: +1.1 (January 2018); -1.1 (February); +1.0 (March); -1.0 (April); -.5 (May); +.7 (October); -1.2 (“Holiday” 2018); +1.2 (January 2019); and -1.6 (February).

Portland Music Formats – Not only is Salem Media Group contemporary Christian KFIS a whopping (combined) +2.3 in back-to-back sweeps (2.6 – 3.6 – 4.9, 6+), “104.1 The Fish” rockets into the top ten (#13 to #6). The last time KFIS reached the four-share level (6+) was November 2018 (6+). By way of perspective, “The Fish” ranked #18 in January. Trending 2.3 – 2.7 – 2.4 (“Holiday” 2018 – January 2019 – February, 6+), iHeartMedia rhythmic CHR KXJM “Jam’n 107.5” posts a +.9 to 3.3 (#18 to #16), its best 6+-showing since September 2018 (3.3, as well). Powered by three consecutive positive spikes, classic hits-oldies sibling KLTH nets a robust +3.5 (5.4 – 7.1 – 8.1 – 8.9, 6+) with “106.7 The Eagle” repeating at #1. Prior to February, KLTH last reached the eight-share level (6+) nearly eight years ago (May 2011, 8.1, as well). Improving by eight-tenths in addition to “The Eagle” are Alpha Media’s KBFF “Live 95.5” (tenth to fifth) and Entercom-owned KWJJ “The Northwest’s Hottest Country – 99.5 The Wolf” (3.4 – 4.2, #14 to #9, 6+). “Live” is now +1.1 in three consecutive increases (3.9 – 4.0 – 4.2 – 5.0, 6+), while “The Wolf” logs its best 6+-stat (4.2) since July 2018’s 4.6. Posting its highest 6+-stat (4.5) since February 2018, KWJJ’s format foe – Alpha Media’s KUPL “98.7 The Bull – #1 For New Country” – is a collective +1.2 in three straight gains (3.3 – 3.6 – 4.1 – 4.5, 6+) and cracks the top ten (#11 to #8). It continues to be a rollercoaster ride for Entercom-owned KGON. Entering the December 2018 sweep, “92.3 Portland’s Classic Rock” was a collective -1.0 through four straight July through November decreases (5.6 – 5.4 – 4.8 – 4.7 – 4.6, 6+). It followed with a cumulative +1.2 in three gains in a row (4.6 – 5.1 – 5.6 – 5.8, 6+) before faltering by a full-share in February. Wiping away half of that -1.0 with a +.5 to 5.3 (6+), KGON advances from fifth to fourth. The September 2018 through “Holiday” 2018 topline for Salem Media Group regional Mexican KRYP was a steady 2.0 – 2.0 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 2.0 (6+), but “El Rey 93.1” erupted with a +1.3 in January to 3.3 (6+). In February/March though it is a combined -1.4 (3.3 – 3.0 – 1.9, #17 to #19, 6+). Returning in full February’s increase of seven-tenths (7.0 – 7.7 – 7.0, 6+), iHeartMedia adult contemporary KKCW “K-103,” which was -9.2 in January, drops from a second-place tie to third. In “Holiday” 2018, “K-103” had its strongest 6+-showing (16.2) since “Holiday” 2017 (16.9); KKCW was on top in April 2018, September, December, and “Holiday” 2018. Faltering by seven-tenths as well are Alpha Media triple A KINK “101.9 Uniquely Portland” and All Classical Public Media’s KQAC “All Classical Portland.” Significant shifts continue for KINK, which has been a collective -1.7 (October 2018/November); +7 (December); -.5 (“Holiday” 2018); +1.2 (January 2019); -.8 (February); and -.7 in March (4.7 – 4.0, sixth to tenth, 6+). Immediately prior to dropping seven-tenths in March (3.7, #8 to #14, 6+), KQAC was up or flat four times in a row for a collective +1.8 (2.6 – 2.7 – 3.4 – 4.4 – 4.4, 6+) and reached the four-share level (4.4, 6+) for the first time since February 2017’s 4.2. Off six-tenths following February’s +.7 (3.7 – 4.4 – 3.8, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned KFBW “105.9 The Brew – Portland’s Rock Station” exits the top ten (#8 to #12). When Mount Hood Community College District’s KMHD displayed a “Holiday” 2018 increase of +1.0 to 1.1 (6+), it erased its -1.0 via four straight negative moves (1.1 – .8 – .7 – .6 – .1, 6+) and began a successive string of increases that netted a +1.4 (.1 – 1.1 – 1.2 – 1.5, 6+). In March, however, the jazz outlet regresses by one-half share to 1.0 (#20 to #24, 6+).

Charlotte

Spoken-Word Formats – After back-to-back gains of four-tenths (3.6 – 4.0 – 4.4, 6+), Entercom news/talk WBT slips by one-tenth to 4.3 (6+) and leaves the top ten (#9 to #11).

With a March increase of two-tenths, co-owned sports talk WFNZ “The Fan – Charlotte’s Sports Leader” makes up half of February’s -.4 (1.3 – 1.5, 6+) and repeats at #18. Entering the February report, the Charlotte Hornets flagship logged seven straight positive or flat moves that nearly tripled (+1.1) its 6+ share (.6 – 1.0 – 1.1 – 1.3 – 1.3 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.7, 6+).

A combined +1.1 in January/February (1.8 – 2.7 – 2.9, 6+), University Radio Foundation news/talk WFAE “Charlotte’s NPR News Source” returns roughly half that increase (2.3, -.6, 6+) and continues at #16. While it remains at #21, South Carolina Educational Television Commission news/talk WNSC is up one-tenth to .3 (6+), thus curtailing five straight down or flat trends accounting for a one-half share loss (.7 – .6 – .4 – .3 – .3 – .2, 6+).

Charlotte Music Formats – Four consecutive sweeps without an increase by Beasley Media Group mainstream CHR WNKS resulted in a -1.2 (4.4 – 4.1 – 3.8 – 3.8 – 3.2, 6+); however, “Kiss 95.1” is now a combined +1.5 in February/March (3.2 – 3.6 – 4.7, 6+) and enters the top ten (#12 to #9). By notching a +1.0 to 5.5 (6+), adult contemporary sibling WKQC not only advances from eighth to sixth, “K-104.7 More Music, Better Variety” ends a January/February slide that resulted in a -8.4 (12.9 – 4.6 – 4.5, 6+). Entering the November 2018 sweep, iHeartMedia’s WKKT “96.9 The Kat – Charlotte’s #1 for New Country” was an overall +1.1 in four successive months without a loss (6.0 – 6.2 – 6.2 – 6.8 – 7.1, 6+). It was then a combined -2.3 in December and “Holiday” 2018 (6.7 – 5.8 – 4.4, 6+). “The Kat” was +1.2 in January; lost three-tenths in February; and answers with a +.8 in March (5.3 – 6.1, sixth to fourth, 6+). There’s more good news for the country format in “The Queen City” as Beasley Media Group’s WSOC “103.7 Country’s Hottest Hits” adds two-tenths (6.8 – 7.0, 6+) and takes sole possession of first-place. It was tied for the lead in February with urban AC cluster-mate WBAV “V-101.9.” Prior to gaining nine-tenths in January, WSOC had been without an increase the previous four reports for an overall -1.3 (7.7 – 7.5 – 7.5 – 6.6 – 6.4, 6+). On top in September 2018, October, and November, WSOC segued to third in December. Meanwhile, “V-101.9,” which notched a collective gain of nine-tenths via three consecutive increases (5.9 – 6.1 – 6.2 – 6.8, 6+), drops six-tenths to 6.2 (first to third, 6+). The four most recent fluctuations for iHeartMedia adult hits WLKO “102.9 The Lake” are -1.2 (“Holiday” 2018); +1.1 (January 2019); -1.4 (February); and +.5 in March (6.3 – 6.8, third to second, 6+). Immediately in advance of that “Holiday” 2018 -1.2, WLKO posted eight straight months without a loss for a +3.7 (4.1 – 4.3 – 4.7 – 5.2 – 5.5 – 5.5 – 6.4 – 7.1 – 7.8, 6+). WSOC and WBAV dislodged “The Lake” from #1 in February after WLKO’s January-only stay on top. A combined January/February +2.1 (3.9 – 4.8 – 6.0, 6+), Beasley Media Group urban contemporary WPEG “Power 98” forfeits eight-tenths to 5.2 (fifth to seventh, 6+); February’s 6.0 is its best 6+-stat since August 2015’s 6.5. Slipping by seven-tenths and one-half share, respectively, are Radio Training Network contemporary Christian WLFJ “HIS Radio” (1.0 – .3, flat at #20, 6+) and Radio One gospel WPZS “Praise 100.9 Charlotte’s Inspiration Station” (3.4 – 2.9, #14 to #15, 6+).

San Antonio

Spoken-Word Formats – An overall +1.0 in three straight sweeps without a loss (3.3 – 3.6 – 4.3 – 4.3, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk and San Antonio Spurs’ flagship WOAI “News Radio 1200 – San Antonio’s News, Traffic, & Weather” drops one-tenth to 4.2 (seventh to eighth, 6+). The July 2018 – March 2019 topline for Alpha Media news/talk KTSA “Stay Connected” is extremely steady: 1.4 – 1.7 – 1.4 – 1.7 – 1.5 – 1.6 – 1.3 – 1.2 – 1.3 – 1.3 (#24 to #23, 6+).

Unchanged at #28, iHeartMedia sports talk KTKR “Ticket 760 – San Antonio’s Sports Station” is up one-tenth for the third time in a row (.3 – .4 – .5 – .6, 6+), doubling (+.3) its 6+-stat in the process.

Following a January/February +1.0 (2.7 – 3.5 – 3.7, 6+), Texas Public Radio news/talk KSTX is off three-tenths to 3.4 (#11 to #12, 6+).  

San Antonio Music Formats – Within 4.0 – 4.6 range (6+) in each of the last seven survey periods (4.5 – 4.6 – 4.4 – 4.6 – 4.4 – 4.0 – 4.1, 6+), Cox Media Group KISS “Rocks San Antonio” hangs out a +.9 to 5.0 (6+) and leaps from eighth to fourth. Hot AC sibling KSMG wiped away nearly half of January’s +1.2 with a February loss of one-half share, but “Magic 105.3 – Today’s Best Music” rebounds with a +.7 in March (4.0 – 4.7, ninth to sixth, 6+). Despite returning February’s gain of one-tenth (7.9 – 8.0 – 7.9, 6+), co-owned classic hits-oldies KONO-FM “101.1 San Antonio’s Greatest Hits” advances from second to first. KONO-FM had been in the runner-up slot the past five sweeps. Before slipping to #2 in November, KONO-FM finished at #1 the previous ten sweeps. Dropping out of the penthouse and segueing to third-place is iHeartMedia-owned KAJA “KJ-97 San Antonio’s #1 Country Station” (8.1 – 6.2, -1.9, 6+). Hefty fluctuations are common for “KJ-97” as evidenced by +.5 (September 2018); -1.1 (October); +1.0 (December); -1.0 (“Holiday” 2018); a mammoth +3.0 (January 2019); and –1.9 (March). The same may be stated about Cox Media Group-owned KCYY “Y-100 San Antonio’s New Country Leader,” which has been +.9 (August 2018); -.8 (September); +.9 (November); -.8 (December); -1.1 (“Holiday” 2018); +1.8 (January 2019); +.6 (February); and -.6 in March (7.5 – 6.9, third to second, 6+). September’s loss ended three straight gains that accounted for a +1.5 (5.3 – 5.7 – 5.9 – 6.8, 6+). Country rivals “KJ-97” and “Y-100” were tied in June 2018 and separated by just one-tenth in April, September, and “Holiday” 2018. After bouncing back from January’s colossal -10.7 (14.9 – 4.2, 6+) with a February increase of four-tenths to 4.6 (6+), iHeartMedia adult contemporary KQXT “Q-101.9” sputters by six-tenths (4.0, fourth to ninth, 6+). Without an increase the sixth straight time for a collective -2.6 (5.4 – 5.4 – 5.3 – 4.1 – 3.5 – 3.2 – 2.8, 6+), Univision Radio regional Mexican KROM Que Buena 92.9” drifts from #13 to #16.

Sacramento

 Spoken-Word Formats – Following February’s loss of six-tenths iHeartMedia-owned news/talk KFBK further falters by eight-tenths (7.6 – 7.0 – 6.2, 6+) but carries on in the runner-up slot. “Sacramento’s News, Weather, and Traffic Station” was tied for first in January. Steady at #14, co-owned KSTE “Talk 650” has a December 2018 through March 2019 topline of 2.4 – 2.3 – 2.5 – 2.3 – 2.7 (6+).

This is the third time in the last five sweeps that Bonneville’s KHTK “Sports 1140” logs a .9 (.9 – .9 – 1.2 – 1.2 – .9, #20 to #21, 6+). In four successive down or flat reports, Entercom’s KIFM-AM spiraled by more than 50% (1.6 – 1.0 – .9 – .9 – .7, 6+) but “ESPN Radio 1320” is up one-tenth to .8 (flat at #25, 6+).

As a result of four consecutive decreases, Capital Public Radio news/talk KXJZ is -2.7 (6.9 – 5.9 – 5.1 – 4.4 – 4.2, ninth to tenth, 6+), although December 2018’s 6.9 is the highest 6+-stat in its PPM-history. Northern California Public Broadcasting’s KQEI has an October 2018 through March 2019 topline of: .6 – .6 – .7 – .6 – .7 – .7 – .6 (#25 to #26, 6+).

Sacramento Music Formats – Owing to three consecutive improvements, Bonneville’s KNCI “New Country 105.1” is an overall +1.4  (4.2 – 4.7 – 5.5 – 5.6, 6+) and continues in fifth-place. Its recent fluctuations include a combined -.9 in August/September; a collective +1.5 in three straight September–October–November-December gains; -1.5 (“Holiday” 2018); +.5 (January 2019); and +.8 (February). Having posted a 4.1 in three of the last four sweeps (4.1 – 4.2 – 4.1 – 4.1, 6+), Entercom CHR KUDL “106.5 The End” explodes with a +1.2 to 5.3 (tenth to sixth, 6+), its strongest 6+-stat since May 2018’s 5.6. Albeit down one-tenth (8.6 – 8.5, 6+) after February’s +1.0, co-owned KSEG “96.9 The Eagle – Sacramento’s Classic Rock” is on top for the third month in a row (including January’s first-place tie with news/talk KFBK). In the lead ten consecutive survey periods before shifting to #2 in December, “The Eagle” faltered by eight-tenths in “Holiday” 2018. Its recent fluctuations include +1.0 (May 2018); +.9 (June); -.9 (July); +.6 (September); -.5 (October); -1.1 (November); -.8 (“Holiday” 2018); and +1.0 (February 2019). A combined +2.1 in three straight positive spikes (2.4 – 3.1 – 3.7 – 4.5, 6+), iHeartMedia adult contemporary KBEB “92.5 The Breeze” has that streak broken with a two-tenths drop to 4.3 (eighth to ninth, 6+). Formerly “92.5 The Bull – #1 for New Country,” KBEB transitioned to adult contemporary in early-November (2018). It was up two-tenths in consecutive sweeps (2.1 – 2.3 – 2.5, September – October – November, 6+) but then off one-tenth to 2.4 (6+) in December. The market’s incumbent AC, Entercom-owned KYMX “Mix 96 – Today’s Hits, Yesterday’s Favorites,” is up two-tenths (6.2, third to second, 6+), after being a combined -7.8 in January/February (13.8 – 6.2 – 6.0, 6+). For the 13th successive survey period, Entravision Communications’ similarly-formatted KNTY logs a 6+-share between 2.0 – 2.5; “101.9 The Wolf” is unchanged from February in 6+-share (2.1) and 6+-rank (#15).

Pittsburgh

Spoken-Word Formats – Steady in ninth-place, Entercom news/talk KDKA-AM  is a combined -.8 in February/March (5.1 – 4.6 – 4.3, 6+). “News Radio 1020” was -.7 (“Holiday” 2018) and +1.1 (January 2019).

Co-owned sports talk KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan” remains in fourth-place but is -.7 in February/March (7.1 – 6.5 – 6.4, 6+), after notching a +1.6 in “Holiday” 2018/January 2019. If you are looking for consistency, consider iHeartMedia sports talk WBGG 970 AM – ESPN Pittsburgh” whose September 2018 through March 2019 topline is: .2 – .2 – .2 – .3 – .2 – .2 – .2 – .2 (unchanged at #17, 6+).

Off one-tenth to 4.2 (6+), Essential Public Media news/talk WESA “90.5 Pittsburgh’s NPR Station” continues at #11.

Pittsburgh Music Formats – Not only does WDVE replicate February’s eight-tenths’ increase (7.6 – 8.4 – 9.2, 6+), the iHeartMedia-owned rocker repeats at #1. Its December loss of one-half share suspended three straight gains that netted a +1.0 (7.7 – 8.0 – 8.3 – 8.7, 6+). In “Holiday” 2018, WDVE tumbled by -1.0 (8.2 – 7.2, 6+). WDVE spent 11 successive sweeps in the runner-up slot before dropping to third in December. An uptick of one-half share to 7.4 (unchanged at #3, 6+) by Steel City Media adult hits WRRK “96.9 Bob FM” pulls the plug on three straight sweeps without an increase that resulted in a -1.8 (8.7 – 7.7 – 7.7 – 6.9, 6+). Frozen on 6.1 (6+) in January and February, iHeartMedia CHR WKST “96.1 Kiss FM Pittsburgh’s #1 Hit Music Station” sputters by six-tenths to 5.5 (6+) but remains in fifth-place. Co-owned alternative (and Pittsburgh Penguins flagship) WXDX “105.9 The X,” which had been up eight-tenths in January/February (4.0 – 4.4 – 4.8, 6+), surrenders one-half share to 4.3 (eighth to ninth, 6+). While it remains in seventh-place, Entercom hot AC WBZZ “Star 100.7” is off one-tenth to 4.8 (6+), thus ending at three a successive string of increases that led to a +1.2 (3.7 – 4.1 – 4.3 – 4.9, 6+); February’s 4.9 is its best 6+-number since July 2018 (4.9, as well). Unchanged at #12, Steel City Media’s similarly-programmed WLTJ “Q-92.9” is a combined +.5 in February/March (2.9 – 3.1 – 3.4, 6+).

Salt Lake City

Spoken-Word Formats – In three of the last four sweeps, Bonneville’s KSL has logged a 5.2 (5.2 – 4.6 – 5.2 – 5.2, 6+) but “News Radio 102.7 FM & 1160 AM” sputters in March by seven-tenths to 4.5 (6+) and carries on at #6. KSL was -.6 in “Holiday” 2018 and +.6 in January, Four-tenths behind is iHeartMedia’s KNRS “Talk Radio 105.9 – Listen And You’ll Know,” which had been +1.8 in January/February (3.3 – 4.7 – 5.1, 6+), but plummets by -1.0 to 4.1 (seventh to eighth, 6+). KNRS eliminated “Holiday” 2018’s -1.4 with a January +1.4.

After posting an August 2018 – December 2018 topline of 1.7 – 1.8 – 1.8 – 1.7 – 1.8, Broadway Media-owned KALL lost seven-tenths in “Holiday” 2018 to 1.1 (#20 to #22, 6+); “ESPN 700 – Utah’s #1 Sports Talk” is unlisted for the third month in a row.

In February, KUER had its largest 6+-stat (3.1) since August 2018’s 3.5, but the University of Utah news/talk facility slips six-tenths to 2.5 (#12 to #14, 6+).

Salt Lake City Music Formats – Applying the brakes to January/February’s -14.4 (21.8 – 7.9 – 7.4, 6+), Bonneville adult contemporary KSFI “FM 100.3 – Better Music/Better Work Day” roars back with a +1.5 to 8.9 (6+) and is on top for the fifth consecutive ratings period. Three straight increases netted a +16.2 (5.6 – 5.7 – 12.7 – 21.8, 6+) for KSFI, the only PPM-market station in “Holiday” 2018 to reach the 20-share level (6+). Flashing gains of eight-tenths are co-owned KRSP “103.5 The Arrow,” which repeats in the runner-up slot, and independent KSOP-FM “Z-104 Utah’s #1 Country” (3.6 – 4.4, #11 to #7, 6+). “The Arrow” is now an overall +2.1 as a result of four consecutive increases (5.7 – 6.1 – 6.3 – 7.0 – 7.8, 6+), while “Z-104” has its highest 6+-stat (4.4) since November 2018’s 4.7. Owing to three straight positive spikes (4.4 – 6.4 – 6.8 – 7.3, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned classic hits-oldies KODJ “94.1 Salt Lake’s Greatest Hits” nets a +2.9 and remains in third-place. Three successive gains by Cumulus Media country KUBL yielded a +1.7 (3.1 – 3.4 – 4.3 – 4.8, 6+), but “K-Bull 93” erodes in March by -1.3 to 3.5 (eighth to tenth, 6+). Immediately prior to this particular streak, KUBL was an overall -2.8 via five consecutive decreases (5.9 – 5.7 – 4.2 – 4.0 – 3.8 – 3.1, 6+).

Las Vegas

Spoken-Word Formats – Without a decrease the third month in a row for a net gain of eight-tenths (1.6 – 2.2 – 2.4 – 2.4, 6+), Entercom’s KXNT “News Talk Radio 840” repeats at #15 with its best 6+-performance (2.4) in two years (2.8, February 2017). That figure more than doubles the 6+-stat of Beasley Media Group news/talk KDWN “AM 720 Where Las Vegas Comes to Talk,” which is off one-tenth (1.2 – 1.1, flat at #23, 6+).

In addition to being +1.1 in three straight improvements (3.0 – 3.7 – 3.8 – 4.1, 6+), Nevada Public Radio’s KNPR reenters the top ten (#11 to #7).

Las Vegas Music Formats – Recapturing the one-half share it squandered in February (5.5 – 5.0 – 5.5, 6+), Lotus Communications’ KXPT “97.1 The Point – #1 For Classic Rock” repeats at #4. In eight straight up or flat survey periods prior to February, “The Point” was an overall +1.8 (3.7 – 3.9 – 4.5 – 4.9 – 5.0 – 5.5 – 5.5 – 5.5 – 5.5, 6+) with 5.5 its best 6+-performance since October 2016 (5.9). Notching a gain of one-half share as well is Nevada Public Radio’s KCNV “Classical 89.7” (.5 – 1.0, #25, 6+), which reaches the one-share level (1.0, 6+) for the first time in nearly three years (1.1, July 2016). The 1.6-share advantage (6+) that Beasley Media Group classic hits-oldies KKLZ “96.3 – Hits of the Eighties & More” held over iHeartMedia adult contemporary KSNE “Sunny 106.5 – Better Music for a Better Workday” in February is cut roughly in half as KKLZ (+1.2 in February) erodes by nine-tenths (8.3 – 7.4, 6+) while “Sunny” (-.8 in February) remains flat at 6.7 (6+). They repeat at #1 and #2, respectively. The 8.3 in February marked the first time KKLZ reached the eight-share level (6+) in its PPM-history; it hadn’t been at #1 since August 2018. A combined +4.5 in December/“Holiday” 2018 (8.3 – 9.1 – 12.8, 6+), “Sunny” is now -6.1 in three straight down or flat moves (12.8 – 7.5 – 6.7 – 6.7, 6+). Prior to being #1 from September through January 2019, “Sunny” set the pace in March, May, June, and July. Its “Holiday” 2018 12.8 is the highest 6+-share for any Las Vegas station since the 14.0 KSNE logged in “Holiday” 2016. Following five successive monthlies without a loss for a net gain of eight-tenths (3.1 – 3.2 – 3.3 – 3.5 – 3.5 – 3.9, 6+), Beasley Media Group’s KCYE has that streak curtailed with a one-half share dip to 3.4 (6+); “102.7 The Coyote – #1 For New Hit Country” departs the top ten (#10 to #12).

Orlando

Spoken-Word Formats – A combined +1.9 in January/February (3.6 – 5.1 – 5.5, 6+), following a December/“Holiday” 2018 -1.6  (5.2 – 4.5 – 3.6, 6+), Cox Media Group news/talk WDBO-FM “News 96.5” is off three-tenths to 5.2 (seventh to eighth, 6+). Up seven tenths in January/February (3.1 – 3.7 – 3.8, 6+), directly after five straight declines that resulted in a -1.6 (4.7 – 4.6 – 4.5 – 3.9 – 3.7 – 3.1, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WTKS “Real Radio 104.1 – We Say What We Want” forfeits one-tenth to 3.7 (#11 to #12, 6+). Completing the theme, news/talk cluster-mate WFLF, +1.0 in January/February (1.8 – 2.2 – 2.8, 6+), sheds three-tenths to 2.5 (#14 to #15). Its January gain of four-tenths suspended three successive decreases that accounted for a loss of nine-tenths (2.7 – 2.4 – 2.2 – 1.8, 6+).

In six consecutive down or flat trends (1.3 – 1.1 – .9 – .6 – .6 – .5 – .4, 6+), iHeartMedia’s WYGM lost roughly 70% (-.9) of its 6+ AQH share but “FM 96.9 The Game – Orlando’s Sports Leader” picks up one-tenth to .5 (flat at #22, 6+). For the second straight sweep, Cox Media Group sports talk WDBO-AM “ESPN 580 Orlando” has its 6+-stat carved in half (.8 – .4 – .2, #22 to #23, 6+).

In three straight positive moves (2.7 – 3.2 – 3.5 – 4.0, 6+), Community Communications’ news/talk WMFE “90.7 Public Radio for Central Florida” is a collective +1.3 and reaches the top ten (#12 to #8).

Orlando Music Formats – It took Entercom classic hits-oldies WOCL “105-9 Sunny FM – We Own The ‘80s” just three reports to build a mighty +3.3 (4.9 – 6.9 – 7.9 – 8.2, unchanged at #3, 6+). Immediately prior to this streak, “Sunny” was a cumulative -2.2 via four down or flat moves in succession (7.1 – 6.4 – 6.4 – 5.8 – 4.9, 6+). Steady in fourth-place, Cox Media Group urban AC WCFB “Star 94.5” rolls out a gain of eight-tenths (7.0 – 7.8, 6+). The combination of iHeartMedia CHR WXXL “XL-106.7 Orlando’s #1 Hit Music Station” gaining six-tenths and co-owned WRUM “Rumba 100” showing a decrease of that magnitude (9.5 – 8.9, -.6, 6+) results in “XL-106.7” shifting from second to first and “Rumba 100” segueing from first to second. This represents WXXL’s fourth improvement in a row for a +1.7 (7.3 – 7.4 – 8.1 – 8.4 – 9.0, 6+). Preceding its January/February +1.7 (7.8 – 9.3 – 9.5, 6+), Rumba was -1.1 in December/“Holiday” 2018 (8.9 – 8.3 – 7.8, 6+). The Spanish tropical outlet spent 11 consecutive ratings periods on top, before falling to #2 in December and “Holiday” 2018. April 2017s 12.8 is the best-ever 6+-share in the station’s PPM-history. A one-half share boost to 2.6 (#15 to #14, 6+) by Entercom-owned WQMP “FM 101.9 Orlando’s New Alternative” fully clears out three straight (modest) declines (2.6 – 2.5 – 2.4 – 2.1, 6+). Erasing half of February’s +1.2 with a March loss of six-tenths (4.2 – 5.4 – 4.8, 6+), Cox Media Group rhythmic CHR WPYO slips from eighth to ninth; “Power 95.3 – Orlando’s New #1 For All The Hits” was off eight-tenths “Holiday” 2018/January 2019 (5.0 – 4.4 – 4.2, 6+). An overall -8.5 in three straight setbacks (14.3 – 6.9 – 5.9 – flat at #5, 5.8, 6+), iHeartMedia adult contemporary WMGF “Magic 107.7” was a combined +8.5 December/“Holiday” 2018 (5.8 – 9.8 – 14.3, 6+). “Holiday” 2018’s 14.3 is its strongest 6+-stat since “Holiday” 2017’s 15.9.

Cincinnati

Spoken-Word Formats – Recapturing the two-tenths it lost in February (9.9 – 9.7 – 9.9, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WLW continues in second-place, immediately after a one-month (January) stay at #1. The Reds’ flagship was –2.1 in “Holiday” 2018, followed by a +2.4 in January. Co-owned WKRC “55 KRC The Talk Station in Cincinnati” regains the one-tenth it surrendered in February (3.5 – 3.4 – 3.5, 6+) but exits the top ten (tie at #10 to #11).

Still in that iHeartMedia cluster, sports talk WCKY “Cincinnati’s ESPN 1530” is off one-tenth (1.0 – .9, 6+), falling from #17 to #18.

A collective +1.1 via three consecutive gains (2.6 – 3.0 – 3.2 – 3.7, 6+), Cincinnati Public Radio news/talk WVXU cracks the top ten (#12 to #9). Immediately prior, it lost nine-tenths in five successive sweeps without an increase, (3.5 – 3.5 – 3.3 – 3.1 – 2.8 – 2.6, 6+).

Cincinnati Music Formats – Winning ways continue for Cumulus Media-owned classic hits-oldies WGRR, which is not only an impressive +3.0 in three successive upticks (8.1 – 9.6 – 10.2 – 11.1, 6+), “103.5 Cincinnati’s Greatest Hits” repeats at #1. Following a December-only stay at #1, WGRR eroded by -1.8 in “Holiday” 2018 (9.9 – 8.1, 6+) and shifted to third. Immediately prior to its -1.8, WGRR was an overall +1.3 via four straight gains (8.6 – 9.1 – 9.2 – 9.6 – 9.9, 6+). The three latest shifts for Hubbard-owned WUBE “B-105.1 Cincinnati’s Country” are +1.0 (January); -.7 (February); and -.8 in March (8.7 – 7.9, unchanged at #3, 6+). Co-owned hot AC WKRQ “Q-102 Cincinnati’s Hit Music” drops seven-tenths (6.4 – 5.7, 6+) but carries on in fifth-place. Immediately after plummeting by -8.2 (14.6 – 6.4, 6+), Cumulus Media adult contemporary WRRM answered with a February gain of four-tenths. “Warm 98,” however, relinquishes six-tenths in March (6.8 – 6.2, flat at #4, 6+). Owing to three straight increases, Radio One urban AC WOSL was +1.0 (2.5 – 2.6 – 3.1 – 3.6, 6+), but “100.3 R&B + Old School” falters by two-tenths to 3.4 (6+) and exits the top ten (#9 to #12). February’s 3.6 is its best 6+-number since 3.6 in March 2017. It has been an interesting November 2018 through March 2019 topline for Educational Community Radio-owned WOBO “The Station With Something For Everyone”: 1.1 – 0.2 – 0.0 – 1.3     – .9 – .4 (#19 to #24, 6+). Grant County Broadcasters’ WNKN “Classic Country 105.9 & 106.7,” which was an overall +.7 in three consecutive sweeps without a loss (1.9 – 2.1 – 2.1 – 2.6, 6+), forfeits four-tenths to 2.2 (6+) and remains at #15. WDBZ “Soul 101.5” registered a .9 (6+) in August 2018 to finish at #20, but the Radio One urban-rhythmic oldies outlet is unlisted for the eighth time in a row.

Cleveland

Spoken-Word Formats – After logging a January/February +1.3 (4.2 – 5.1 – 5.5, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WTAM “1100 Cleveland’s News Radio” returns roughly half that increase with a -.6 to 4.9 (flat at #8, 6+). Leading up to that, WTAM was an overall -2.6 in three straight declines (6.8 – 6.3 – 5.2 – 4.2, 6+).

Making up one-third of February’s -1.2 by notching a +.4 (5.4 – 4.2 – 4.6, 6+), Entercom’s WKRK “Sports Radio 92.3 The Fan” remains at #10.

Anchored at #13, Ideastream-owned news/talk outlet WCPN posts a 3.2 for the third month in a row; WCPN was +1.1 in January after “Holiday” 2018’s -1.1.

Cleveland Music Formats – The four most recent fluctuations by iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies WMJI are +2.8 (“Holiday” 2018); -1.7 (January 2019); +.8 (February); and +1.0 in March (9.8 – 10.8, 6+). “Majic 105.7 – Cleveland’s Greatest Hits” is on top for the fourth sweep in succession. Tacking on nine-tenths to February’s +.8 (6.0 – 6.8 – 7.7, 6+), Entercom adult contemporary WDOK “Cleveland’s Star 102” continues in third-place. “Star” was a combined +4.7 in December/“Holiday” 2018 (5.6 – 8.2 – 10.3, 6+) but eroded by -4.3 in January. Co-owned WNCX “98.5 – Cleveland’s Classic Rock” was -.4 (“Holiday” 2018); +.8 (January 2019); -.5 (February) and is now +.6 (6.4 – 7.0, fifth to fourth, 6+). By gaining three-tenths to 3.9 (flat at #11, 6+), hot AC cluster-mate WQAL “Q-104 Plays The Hits” interrupts three successive negative moves that led to an overall -1.6 (5.2 – 4.7 – 4.3 – 3.6, 6+). Notwithstanding that it nets +2.4 in three improvements in a row (4.4 – 6.1 – 6.6 – 6.8, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned WGAR “99.5 Cleveland’s #1 For New Country” backslides from fourth to fifth. WGAR had been a cumulative -3.7 through five consecutive losses (8.1 – 7.2 – 6.8 – 6.5 – 5.7 – 4.4, 6+). Following five straight up or flat reports for a net gain of six-tenths (1.6 – 1.7 – 1.7 – 1.8 – 2.0 – 2.2, 6+), Ideastream’s WCLV “Classical 104.9” has a setback of eight-tenths to 1.4 (#14 to #15, 6+). Resurfacing in print in October 2018, Salem Media Group contemporary Christian WFHM trended 5.4 – 4.2 – 4.3 – 5.4 (#7, 6+), but “95.5 The Fish” is unlisted for the third straight month.

Kansas City

Spoken-Word Formats – Steady at #4, KMBZ-FM “98.1 News-Traffic-Weather” is off two-tenths to 5.4 (6+). The Entercom news/talker was a +2.2 in January/February (3.4 – 4.6 – 5.6, 6+), following a -1.7 in December/“Holiday” 2018 (5.1 – 4.0 – 3.4, 6+). On the heels of January/February’s +.9 (1.3 – 1.9 – 2.2, 6+), co-owned KMBZ-AM drops two-tenths to 2.0 (#18 to #19, 6+). “Talk 980” lost half (-1.3) its 6+ AQH share in December/“Holiday” 2018 (2.6 – 1.8 – 1.3, 6+). In February, Cumulus Media’s KCMO-AM doubled January’s .7 (1.4, +.7, 6+); “Talk Radio 710 AM” repeats that 1.4 (6+) and advances from #22 o #21.

Leveling off at 3.8 (6+) after February’s -1.2 (5.0 – 3.8, 6+), Union Broadcasting’s WHB “Sports Radio 810” slips from #11 to #12. A combined -.5 in December/“Holiday” 2018 (4.2 – 3.8 – 3.7, 6+), WHB erupted in January with a +1.3. Meanwhile, Entercom’s KCSP regains all but one-tenth of February’s loss of six-tenths (2.3 – 2.8, +.5, #17 to #16, 6+). In three consecutive decreases, “610 Sports Radio” faltered by nine-tenths (3.5 – 3.2 – 3.1 – 2.6, 6+) but was up three-tenths in January.

As a result of three straight gains (3.0 – 3.4 – 3.7 – 3.9, 6+), University of Missouri news/talk KCUR nets nine-tenths, more than compensating for the -.7 logged in “Holiday” 2018.

Kansas City Music Formats – There is another significant monthly shift for Cumulus Media classic hits-oldies KCMO-FM, which has been +1.6 (“Holiday” 2018); -1.3 (January 2019); +1.2 (February); and is +1.1 in March (6.6 – 7.7, 6+). There is a bonus for “94.9 Kansas City’s Greatest Hits,” as it progresses from third to first. Picking up one-tenth in December curtailed eight successive March through November declines that accounted for an overall -3.1 (8.1 – 7.7 – 7.2 – 7.1 – 6.8 – 6.4 – 6.3 – 5.4 – 5.0, 6+); KCMO-FM was #1 in March 2018, April, and May. Departing the top spot after ten consecutive sweeps there is cluster-mate KCFX “101 The Fox – Kansas City’s Classic Rock Station,” which erodes by -2.8 in February/March (10.1 – 8.2 – 7.3, first to second, 6+). January’s 10.1 is its strongest 6+-stat since July 2017’s 10.3. December’s seven-tenths’ decrease by the Kansas City Chiefs’ flagship halted six straight positive or flat sweeps that yielded an overall +2.7 (7.0 – 7.2 – 7.2 – 7.8 – 8.8 – 9.6 – 9.7, 6+). Still in that Cumulus Media cluster, urban AC KMJK “Magic 107.3 – Kansas City’s Best Mix of R&B” responds to February’s -.8 with a +.6 (4.2 – 3.4 – 4.0, 6+) and is back in the top ten (#14 to #10). “Magic,” which was +2.0 in four consecutive gains (2.7 – 2.8 – 3.4 – 4.4 – 4.7, 6+), lost one-half share in January. Trending 4.2 – 3.9 – 4.1 (“Holiday” 2018 – January 2019 – February, 6+), Entercom country outlet WDAF “106.5 The Wolf” sputters by eight-tenths to 3.3 (6+) and drifts out of the top ten (#9 to #14, 6+). Cumulus Media adult hits KCMO-HD2, which was +.5 in three straight (modest) gains (1.2 – 1.3 – 1.4 – 1.7, 6+) returns that increase in its entirety (1.2, -.5, #22, 6+). Four upticks in a row by Carter Broadcast Group urban contemporary KPRS “Hot 103 Jamz” accounted for a +1.5 (5.4 – 5.7 – 5.8 – 6.2 – 6.9, 6+), but “Hot 103” forfeits three-tenths to 6.6 (6+) and segues from second to third. February’s 6.9 is its highest 6+share since July 2018’s 7.1. Through five consecutive positive or flat moves (3.1 – 3.2 – 3.7 – 4.1 – 4.1 – 4.5, 6+), Cumulus Media CHR KCHZ was +1.4 but “95.7 The Vibe – All The Hits” is now a collective -1.5 via three successive downturns (4.5 – 3.8 – 3.1 – 3.0, flat at #15, 6+).

Columbus

Spoken-Word Formats – Unchanged at #5, iHeartMedia news/talk WTVN is -1.5 in February/March (7.0 – 5.9 – 5.5, 6+); “News Radio 610” was +1.3 in January (5.7 – 7.0, 6+).

This is the third time in a row that RadiOhio sports talk outlet WBNS-FM “Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan” is unlisted. Among fluctuations for the Columbus Blue Jackets flagship since reappearing in print in August 2018 are: +1.1 (October); -.4 (November); +1.0 (December); and -2.0 in “Holiday” 2018 (7.3 – 5.3, seventh, 6+).

While it returns the two-tenths it scored in February (4.5 – 4.7 – 4.5, 6+), Ohio State University news/talk WOSU continues in sixth-place; WOSU was +1.1 in January.

Columbus Music Formats – On a roll, Saga Communications’ WLVQ “Iconic Rock Q-FM 96” logs its third increase in succession for a +1.9 (6.8 – 7.2 – 8.1 – 8.7, 6+) and repeats at #2. Locked on 7.8 (6+) in January and February, co-owned adult contemporary WSNY “Sunny 95” posts a +.2 to 8.0 (fourth to third, 6+). Hot AC cluster-mate WVMX “Mix 107.9” is without a loss the fourth report in a row for a net increase of three-tenths (2.2 – 2.2 – 2.3 – 2.5 – 2.5, unchanged at #12, 6+). Four straight gains by classic hits-oldies sibling WNND nearly doubled (+1.2) its 6+-stat (1.3 – 1.4 – 1.8 – 2.1 – 2.5, 6+) but “Rewind” surrenders three-tenths to 2.2 (6+), falling from #12 to #13. Albeit off three-tenths (12.1 – 11.8, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned WCOL “92.3 Columbus’ #1 For New Country” is #1 for the 16th sweep in a row and has been in double-digits (6+) each ratings period since June 2017. Its January +.8 halted six straight setbacks that resulted in a collective -5.7 (16.3 – 15.1 – 15.0 – 14.5 – 13.0 – 12.7 – 10.6, 6+). Recent WCOL fluctuations include +3.1 (January 2018); -1.7 (February); +1.1 (March); +1.0 (April); +1.2 (June); +.6 (July); 1.2 (August); -.5 (October); -1.5 (November); -2.1 (“Holiday” 2018); +.8 (January 2019); and +.7 (February). Two especially long (positive) streaks continue. More than tripling (+1.3) its 6+-figure, Radio One gospel WJYD “Joy 107.1” hasn’t had a loss in nine straight sweeps (.5 – .8 – .8 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.2 – 1.4 – 1.6 – 1.8, 6+) and is steady at #14. Meanwhile, Ohio State University’s WOSA “Classical 101” doubles (+.5) its 6+ AQH share in five consecutive up or flat moves (.5 – .9 – .9 – .9 – 1.0 – 1.0, tie at #15 to #16, 6+). Immediately after recording a February improvement of seven-tenths, One Connection Media Group contemporary Christian WCVO “104.9 The River” surrenders that increase in its entirety (3.3 – 4.0 – 3.3, 6+) but remains in eighth-place. February’s 4.0 is its best 6+-stat since October 2018’s 4.1. In addition to having its consecutive string of positive spikes which netted eight-tenths end at three (2.3 – 2.4 – 2.8 – 3.1, 6+), Radio One urban AC WXMG “Magic 95.5” (2.8, -.3, 6+) leaves the top ten (#9 to #11).

Monday, February 18, 2019

| February 18, 2019

Hannity and Limbaugh Cited as Talk Media’s Political Influence Gains Attention. Multi-media news/talk superstar Sean Hannity is often said by some Trump administration critics to be an unofficial member of the president’s cabinet.  However one feels about that sentiment, it is clear that the conservative news/talk media has some degree of influence in Trump administration policy.  That becomes more evident when President Trump says such things as, “Sean Hannity has been a terrific, terrific supporter of what I do.”  And about Rush Limbaugh: “He can speak for three hours without a phone call.  Try doing that sometime.  For three hours he speaks.  He’s got one of the biggest audiences in the history of the world.  I mean, this guy is unbelievable.”  Those quotes come from a New York Times piece covering the president’s Rose Garden press event on Friday (2/15).  Although Trump also said, “They don’t decide policy,” there’s a general sentiment among political and media types that the president looks to conservative talk media to understand what his base is thinking.  At this morning’s meeting of the TALKERS editorial staff, publisher Michael Harrison stated, “One of the most significant yardsticks in determining a communication platform’s success is influence.  How much of a difference does it make in the scheme of things?  Does it move the needle?  Since the modern era of talk radio began with the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, the medium and its hosts have been judged heavily by the level of influence they wield in their communities and markets. Taking this into account, the influence Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and others maintain in the Age of Trump is remarkable and certainly a boon to talk media of all political flavors.”

New Evening Lineup at KNBR, San Francisco. Bay Area sports talk outlet KNBR announces changes to its evening “KNBR Tonight” programming that airs from 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight.  The Cumulus Media station bring Bay Area native Mark Willard aboard to host the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm portion of the show and moves current evening personality Drew Hoffar to the 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight portion.  KNBR program director Jeremiah Crowe states, “I’m extremely excited to welcome Mark back to the Bay Area and into our KNBR family.  ‘KNBR Tonight’ is about connecting with fans as the games are being played and Mark will excel in that arena across all KNBR platforms.  Listeners now also get to hear Drew shine as a solo host in his own time slot.  ‘KNBR Tonight’ will continue to serve as THE nightly destination for local sports talk and I can’t wait to hear these two dynamic personalities back-to-back on ‘The Sports Leader!’”  Willard comes to KNBR from his most recent gig with iHeartMedia’s KLSD, San Diego “XTRA Sports” where he was midday host.  He’s also served with FOX Sports Radio Network; KSPN, Los Angeles “710 ESPN”; and ESPN’s SportsNation based in LA.

Woodward Makes Programming Moves at WHBY and WSCO in Green Bay/Appleton, Wisconsin. The news/talk and sports talk stations in the Green Bay-Appleton market operated by Woodward Radio Group have a new brand manager as Jonathan Krause assumes the role.  Krause comes to news/talk WHBY and sports talk WSCO “The Score” from his most recent position with Cumulus Media’s news/talk WOSH, Oshkosh.  Krause says, “I look forward to continuing the traditions of WHBY and WSCO providing high-quality information and entertainment for the Fox Valley.  And I hope to expand our community involvement throughout the region.”  At the same time, the company welcomes Appleton native Brian Butch to WSCO as a member of the “B.J. and The Bear” morning drive show with host B.J. DeGroot.  Butch will also serve as a part-time sales executive for WHBY and WSCO.

Monday Memo: YOUR Four?  Consultant Holland Cooke’s Monday Memo offers up a call-in topic for today’s President’s Day holiday.  There are four (generally) revered U.S. presidents depicted on Mt. Rushmore – Washington, Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Lincoln. What if your listeners could vote for their four favorite presidents to be immortalized in stone?  Read Cooke’s Monday Memo column here.

WPHT Radiothon Raises $151,000 for Liberty USO. Friday’s second annual WPHT Radiothon to benefit Liberty USO – an organization that provides active, Guard, and Reserve military and their families with programs and services at the United Service Organization of Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey – raised $151,535.  Air personalities from Entercom’s news/talk WPHT are pictured above taking part in the daylong broadcast.  They are (from l-r): afternoon drive host Rich Zeoli, late morning personality Dom Giordano, and morning talk host Chris Stigall.

TALKERS News Notes. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN-AM weekend radio personality Amy Guth is embarking on a daily podcast project for Crain’s Chicago Business.  The show is called “The Daily Gist” and will consist of “a mix of the day’s top stories and an in-depth segment in which Guth will interview a Crain’s reporter or columnist.”…..Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics are announcing they have radio broadcast deals for the 2019 season.  The team has a three-company deal that will see games air on Salem Media Group’s news/talk KTRB-AM, San Francisco “The Answer,” Bonneville’s sports talk KHTK, Sacramento, and digital platform Tune In.  In the broadcast booth will be play-by-play team Ken Korach and Vince CotroneoChris Townsend is serving as studio host with Ray Fosse making guest appearances…..In Baltimore, longtime Baltimore Orioles play-by-play voice Joe Angel is retiring after 19 years with the team (and 42 years in the business).  Games are broadcast on Entercom’s WJZ-FM “The Fan.”…..The MLB’s Pittsburgh Pirates have a new broadcast team for games that air on Entercom’s KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan.”  The station says Dan Zangrilli will return to host the station’s pregame and postgame broadcasts, a role he held from 2012 to 2016.  Jack Zduriencik will return for his fourth season as an analyst.  Station veteran Kraig Riley, who has been with “93.7 The Fan” since 2010 as a producer, will join the broadcast team for the first time alongside Zangrilli and Zduriencik.

Border Wall Emergency Declaration, Trump-vs ‘SNL,’ McCabe on ’60 Minutes,’ 2020 Presidential Hopefuls, Fatal Chicago Workplace Shooting, Amazon/NYC Breakup, Jussie Smollett Case, Payless Shutters U.S. Stores, and NBA/NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The aftermath of President Trump’s emergency declaration to use Pentagon funds for the U.S.-Mexico wall project; President Trump’s attack on “Saturday Night Live” for its parody of his emergency declaration presser; former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s interview on Sunday’s “60 Minutes”; the Democrats lining up to challenge President Trump in 2020 and former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld considers challenging Trump in the Republican primary; the workplace shooting in Aurora, Illinois that took the lives of five; Amazon’s decision to back out of its proposed Queens operations after political pressure from Democrats; the controversy surrounding actor Jussie Smollett’s assault accusations; retail icon Payless Shoes to close U.S. stores; and NBA and NHL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Dallas programming and on-air pro Jesse Salazar adds assistant program director duties to his afternoon on-air role and music director responsibilities at Radio One’s rhythmic CHR KBFB “97.9 The Beat.”  Radio One Dallas vice president of programming operations Mark McCray says, “Jesse has the experience, attitude, and work ethic that makes his graduation to APD an easy decision.”…..On-air pro Chris Payne joins Evans Broadcasting’s alternative KRAT, Reno, “ALT 92.9” to host the morning drive program.  Payne was most recently in an on-air role with Shamrock Communications’ crosstown KRZQ prior to it flipping from alternative to adult contemporary in July of 2017.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

| September 27, 2018

Alpha Media to Sell West Palm Beach Cluster to Hubbard Radio. The press release notes that a definitive sales contract between Alpha Media and Minneapolis-based Hubbard Radio has yet to be signed, but they have reached an agreement in principle to transfer Alpha’s six stations in the West Palm Beach market to Hubbard for a yet-to-be-disclosed sum.  Alpha says it employs about 105 people at the cluster that includes: news/talk WFTL; sports talk WMEN-AM/WIRK-HD2; adult contemporary WEAT-FM; hot AC WRMF; country WIRK-FM; and urban contemporary WMBX-FM. Alpha acquired the cluster in February of 2016 with its purchase of Digity LLC.   After the deal is consummated, Alpha will own 213 stations in 46 markets.  The company says it has been selling off assets to lower its debt leverage.

Good Karma Announces Investors in WTMJ-AM and WKTI-FM, Milwaukee Acquisition. The recently announced acquisition of E.W. Scripps’ Milwaukee duo – heritage news/talk WTMJ-AM/W277CV and country WKTI-FM – by Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma Brands LLC is being fleshed out a bit more from the financial perspective.  Good Karma announces that Wisconsin-based Morgan Murphy Media – owner of WISC-TV, Madison and WKBT-TV, La Crosse – is investing in the deal along with a group of local investors that includes: Ted Kellner, chairman and CEO of T&M Partners, LLC; Gale and Judi Klappa (Gale Klappa is chairman and chief executive of WEC Energy Group); David Marcus, CEO of Marcus Investments; and Greg Marcus, CEO of Marcus Corporation.  Morgan Murphy Media EVP and COO Brian Burns states, “Craig and his team at Good Karma Brands truly understand what it means to serve a local community.  We are excited to be in business with a group of people we’ve known for years who have an outstanding track record of success.” It’s already been announced that upon closing, Milwaukee broadcasting management pro Steve Wexler will assume the vice president and market manager role with the two stations as well as Good Karma’s sports WAUK, Waukesha “540 ESPN,” ESPN Digital, the Wisconsin Sports Awards, and the Tundra Trio.  Craig Karmazin adds, “We’re thrilled to welcome longtime friends, business partners, and members of the community to the Good Karma Brands team.  The addition of prominent local investors will further our relationship with the Milwaukee community and, paired with Steve Wexler’s leadership, will help guide our businesses to greater heights.  Good Karma’s focus has always been serving our marketing partners, fans and teammates, and today’s announcement is a huge boost for all three.”

Rich Zeoli Hosts FOX News’ Gregg Jarrett for WPHT Speaker Series. Pictured above is WPHT, Philadelphia afternoon drive host Rich Zeoli (left) with FOX News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett (right) after Zeoli interviewed Jarrett at the sold-out WPHT Speaker Series live event that included a discussion of Jarrett’s book The Russia Hoax.

Seen & Heard at the Radio Show: Day 2.  The National Association of Broadcasters reports that attendance at this year’s 2018 RAB/NAB Radio Show is up 8% with 2,130 persons registered.  TALKERS magazine special features correspondent Jeff McKay is in Orlando reporting from Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek.  McKay says that monetizing podcasting, the connected car, the state of news/talk radio and more were topics of discussion.  Read his report here.

TALKERS News Notes. From a report in Variety comes news that FOX News is unveiling a new tagline for its subscription service FOX Nation: “Opinion Done Right.”  The story says, “The slogan would suggest the new service, said to be aimed at FOX News ‘superfans,’ will emphasize the opinion programming that brings top ratings to the 21st Century FOX cable news network’s primetime lineup.”  FOX TV will promote the new service during tonight’s “Thursday Night Football” broadcast…..The NBA’s Boston Celtics and Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” announce a multi-year extension for the station to continue serving as the official flagship for the club’s radio broadcasts.  Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell continue their play-by-play duties while Celtics general manager and president of operations Danny Ainge will appear on the “Toucher & Rich Show” Thursday mornings at 9:00 during the season and head coach Brad Stevens will join “Zolak & Bertrand” each Wednesday around 12:00 noon…..The Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas acquires the papers of reporter and columnist Paul Colford – a journalist who, in addition to numerous accomplishments, wrote biographies of Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern.  During his career, Colford reported for New York Newsday and the New York Daily News and served as vice president for media relations at the Associated Press.  The papers include considerable research materials on the subjects of his biographies, The Rush Limbaugh Story (1993) and Howard Stern: King of All Media (1996).  Colford says, “As a media columnist and biographer, I’ve often found gold and indispensable details in libraries and archives around the country, including the Briscoe Center.  I’m honored and thrilled to know my files, photos, clippings, and other documents will be preserved and made available before long to media historians, students, and other journalists for their work in years to come.”  The Briscoe Center’s news media holdings include the papers of New York newspapermen Jack Newfield and Wayne Barrett, as well as those of social columnists Walter Winchell and Liz Smith…..ESPN senior writer Mina Kimes agrees to a multiyear extension with the sports media giant.  Along with news of the signing comes the launch of her NFL-themed podcast, “Bootleg with Mina Kimes.”  Kimes continues to write for ESPN The Magazine as well as continuing to appear on shows such as “Around the Horn”; as a co-host on “The Morning Roast on ESPN Radio with Domonique Foxworth and Clinton Yates”; guesting on “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” and “Highly Questionable”; as a debater on “First Take”; as a contributor to “E:6”; appearances on “Get Up”; and more…..iHeartMedia, in collaboration with HowStuffWorks, is launching a new, original podcast on October 3 called, “Unobscured,” that focuses on the Salem witch trials.  Aaron Mahnke – host of the popular podcast “Lore” – is hosting “Unobscured.”…..California-based not-for-profit Christian broadcaster Educational Media Foundation is acquiring another Chicagoland signal – this time it’s WCPT-FM, DeKalb from WDEK Inc – and the purchase price is $1.6 million.  Bob Heymann of the Chicago office of Media Services Group served as the exclusive broker.  If you recall, EMF was the recent surprise buyer of heritage Windy City FM WLUP, for which it paid $21.5 million.  WCPT-FM has been airing progressive talk, also heard on WCPT-AM, Willow Springs, Illinois…..SiriusXM is airing live, hole-by-hole coverage of the 2018 Ryder Cup tomorrow through Sunday from Le Golf National near Paris.  Listeners will hear a combination of SiriusXM’s exclusive broadcast featuring calls by Earl Forcey, Mark CarnevaleFred Albers, John Maginnes and Carl Paulson, as well as the IMG-produced broadcast led by longtime European golf broadcaster Richard Kaufman.  After each day’s play, listeners will hear post-match shows hosted by SiriusXM’s Taylor Zarzour, John Maginnes and Ron Green…..Pictured below are some of the participants on the Wednesday Headliner Session at the 2018 RAB/NAB Radio Show at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek.  The panel, moderated by PodcastOne founder and chairman Norm Pattiz, was titled, “The Podcast Boom.”  From left to right are: Elaina Smith, co-host, “NASH Nights Live”; singer-songwriter Jewel; Suzanne Grimes, president, Westwood One and EVP, corporate marketing, Cumulus Media; and Kaitlyn Bristowe from television’s “The Bachelorette.”

Kavanaugh Hearing, Trump-Russia Investigation/Rosenstein Status, Trump’s China Election Interference Accusation/Press Conference, China Trade War, Midterm Elections, Fed Hikes Interest Rates, NFL Action, and MLB Playoff Push Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/26). Today’s Senate hearing for the accusation made by Christine Blasey Ford against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the related status of Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein; President Trump’s claim during his UN speech that China is trying to interfere with U.S. elections and the president’s subsequent press conference; the tariffs being placed on U.S. and Chinese goods; the November midterm elections and which party will control congress; the Fed raises interest rates again and speculation about the strength of the U.S. economy; NFL action; and the Major League Baseball playoff push were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Another entrant into the world of podcasting is iHeartMedia personality Mario Lopez.  iHeartRadio and iHeartMedia Networks Group president Darren Davis says that the “iHeartRadio Countdown” host will launch a new podcast network this fall that will be available on the iHeartRadio Podcast Network platform.  The network will feature several iHeartRadio Original podcasts including an up-close-and-personal look into the life of Mario Lopez.  He’ll also executive produce an additional slate of podcasts to roll out in the near future…..Air personality Heather Davis joins Curtis Media’s country WQDR, Raleigh to host middays and serve as APD and music director.  She comes to Curtis from Cumulus Media’s WKDF, Nashville…..At E.W. Scripps’ rock KQXR, Boise “100.3 The X,” morning personalities Jeremy “Nic” Nicolato and Jeremi “Big J” Schlader sign new, two-year deals to continue hosting “The Morning After.”  Nic, who also serves as program director, says, “It’s an honor to wake up every morning and deliver this show to the Treasure Valley.  Knowing we will be able to mark 13 years of doing it feels fantastic.”

Friday, June 8, 2018

| June 8, 2018

TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! to Be Streamed on Live Video by LivestreamMost of the speaking events at the forthcoming 21stannual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will be video streamed in real time at Talkers.com by Livestream.  The event takes place today, Friday, June 8.   TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will present a record-breaking 71 speakers in a non-stop, power-packed day of solo addresses, panel discussions, presentations, workshops, and networking/meal receptions.  Speakers are encouraged to check the agenda posted on this website to find the exact time they will be appearing in the schedule and attendees should check it as well to help get the most out of what promises to be a historic day in the talk media industry.  To see the up-to-the-minute-agenda, please click here.  The live stream can be found in the TalkersTV box that will appear at the top of the right-hand column located on every page of Talkers.com.

FOX Sports Changes Add Joy Taylor to ‘The Herd.’ A couple of changes at FOX Sports put current staffers in new roles.  Joy Taylor is leaving her role as moderator on FOX Sports 1’s “Skip and Shannon: Undisputed” and will take on the role of news anchor for “The Herd with Colin Cowherd.”  (Taylor is pictured here with Cowherd.) Taking Taylor’s place on “Undisputed” is Jenny Taft.  FOX Sports VP of studio production/executive producer for FS1 Whit Albohm says, “We’re thrilled to announce new roles for Joy and Jenny on ‘The Herd’ and ‘Undisputed.’  Both have been consummate professionals – Joy having been a major part of Undisputed’s rise and Jenny’s extensive resume, including her upcoming World Cup duties in Russia.  We’re proud of what they’ve accomplished so far and excited to see what’s next.”

Jamie Allman Asks FCC to Reconsider Entercom’s Acquisition of Emmis Stations.  As you already are aware, former KFTK-FM, St. Louis morning drive talk host Jamie Allman is suing both Emmis and Entercom for breach of contract relative to his April 10 dismissal from news/talk KFTK in the aftermath of his “hot poker” Tweet about Parkland, Florida teen David Hogg.  Now, we learn that Allman has filed with the FCC a Petition for Reconsideration of the assignment of the stations from Emmis to Entercom.  Allman’s argument is that Emmis and Entercom breached the Programming Agreement when it fired him and that they also violated the terms of the FCC’s multiple ownership rule. Further, Allman says such violations authorize revocation of any station license.

WOR, New York to Air New Men’s Health Show.  The weekly Saturday program features Dr. David Samadi – head chairman of urology and chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City – discussing the latest in men’s health issues.  The 30-minute show airs live at 7:00 am and includes listener call-ins and expert guests. Dr. Samadi says, “Men have a tendency to be less aware of their own health and the issues that may affect them.  Topics like prostate health, sexual potency, and cancer can be hard to talk about, especially for men.  We believe ‘Men’s Heath with Dr. Samadi’ will be a valuable resource for men.  My goal is to educate and improve the quality of people’s lives by driving awareness among men to be preventative, not reactive about their health.”

Hosting Geraldo in Philly.  Pictured above is WPHT, Philadelphia afternoon drive talk host Rich Zeoli (left) with FOX News correspondent-at-large Geraldo Rivera (right) chatting before a sold-out audience at the most recent Talk Radio 1210 WPHT Speaker Series event.  Rivera is currently promoting his new book, The Geraldo Show: A Memoir (2018 BenBella Books).  Zeoli tells TALKERS Rivera shared his thoughts on everything from President Trump to race relations to his strong friendship with Sean Hannity.

TALKERS News Notes. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be back on Entercom’s KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan” this football season during the midday “Cook and Poni” show talking about Steelers football.  Entercom Pittsburgh interim market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “We’re excited to welcome Ben back to ‘The Fan’ for another stimulating season of football talk. With Ben’s keen insight and candid approach, ‘The Ben Roethlisberger Show’ with Cook and Poni is a must listen every Tuesday during the season.”…..WTOP, Washington national security correspondent J.J. Green is being honored with the 31st Annual Gerald R. Ford Journalism Prize for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense.  The $5,000 award recognizes journalists whose high standards for accuracy and substance help foster a better public understanding of national defense.  Green is being honored for his exclusive, multi-media series, “Anatomy of a Russian Attack,” which engaged a wide range of national experts and leaders as they explored Russia’s cyber interference in the United States during the 2016 presidential election.  The judges said Green’s series “addressed one of the most critical national security issues of the year and for the future: Russia’s cyber-attacks against America’s election infrastructure.  At a time in which the debate over this existential threat to the country often devolves into partisan wrangling, Green stayed rigorously apolitical.  Each segment contained examples that made the risks relatable.”…..WBUR, Boston announces that Bill  Littlefield, longtime host of the NPR sports program “Only A Game,” is retiring on July 28.  Littlefield launched “Only A Game” in July of 1993 and it remains the only national NPR sports program.  It is carried on 250 stations nationwide.  WBUR says that “over the years, Bill transformed the program from being focused largely on sports news to a narrative based program featuring unique people and stories within the industry. He has made it a point to cover sports for all genders and ages, and all corners of the sports world, from trampoline dodgeball to lobster boat drag racing.”  NPR is searching for Littlefield’s replacement.

Trump-Russia Investigation Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 4-8.  The investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the anticipated report from the inspector general on the FBI and CIA investigation into the Hillary Clinton email case.  Coming in at #3 was the summit between President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, followed by the Bill Clinton NBC interview in which he got testy addressing the Monica Lewinsky affair at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Morning Show Producer Gig. In the Denver market, iHeartMedia’s KOA “NewsRadio” has an immediate, full-time opening for a morning show producer.  IN this position, you’ll be part of a large team dedicated to the production of “Colorado’s Morning News,” a five-hour, all-news morning show.  Duties include writing, booking guests, and enterprising segment ideas.  See all of the requirements and to apply right here.

Opportunity for KNX Full Time Writer/Producer

Entercom’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles looking for a fearless, aggressive, energetic, enthusiastic, and creative team player. The right candidate is a real show producer and not just a guest booker. Must have a strong rolodex, good news judgment and the ability to write quick, clear, compelling and concise scripts without the usual cliché’s or news speak. Must work and play well in a fast, high-pressure all-news environment.  Intimate knowledge of socializing content in all platforms is a MUST.  Prior major-market producing and news writing experience required.  Strong multi-tasking and computer skills required. Familiarity with Southern California including politics, pop culture, lifestyle, etc. preferred. Must be available to work all hours, overnights, and weekends. Required to join the Writers Guild of America.  For more information, please click here.

Morning News Opportunity

News Radio KFBK, Sacramento, an iHeartRadio station, is looking for a highly skilled, experienced executive news producer to lead and manage its top-rated “KFBK Morning News” – a four-hour, fast-paced, market-leading live newscast. Candidates need large-market, long-form newscast producing experience, immaculate writing and editing skills, along with strong problem-solving and leadership abilities to excel in this key position within the news management team.  Strong digital and social media skills are essential. Some on-air reporting/anchoring required.  For more info and to apply, click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Radio management pro Chris Walus joins Adams Radio Group to serve as director of sales for the Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland station group that includes classic rock WGBG, country WKHI, rock WZBH, rhythmic CHR WOCQ, and oldies WOCQ-HD2.  Walus was most recently associate publisher of the Delaware Business Times.  Prior to that he served with iHeartMedia in the Wilmington and Salisbury-Ocean City markets…..The Premiere Networks nationally syndicated Mario Lopez show is being added to the program schedule at Sinclair Broadcast Group’s hot AC KPLZ, Seattle “Star 101.5.”…..Bert Weiss, host of the syndicated “The Bert Show,” is being nominated for the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame in the Career Achievement category.

Thursday, December 14, 2015

| December 14, 2017

Tribune Makes Management Changes at WGN-AM, Chicago; Manley Rises to Station Manager.  There’s a new management structure in place at Tribune’s news/talk WGN-AM, Chicago.  Yesterday (12/13), the company announced that VP of content and programming Todd Manley is being promoted to station manager and WGN-TV/CLTV president and general manager Paul Rennie will now have the radio station under his purview.  Tribune Broadcasting president Larry Wert made the announcements in a statement, making official changes to WGN-AM’s management for the first time since Jimmy de Castro exited the VP/GM position last fall.  De Castro is now serving in the same capacity at Cumulus Media’s Chicago operations.  Tribune is in the process of being acquired by Sinclair Broadcast Group, whose other radio properties are three stations in Seattle (including news/talk KVI and news KOMO-AM/FM).

Nielsen: News/Talk Top Format of 2017.  As the chart above indicates, ratings giant Nielsen Audio’s analysis of the AQH share ratings of radio stations across all the PPM markets shows that news/talk was the top format for all listeners (6+) in 2017.  Nielsen reports, “Overall in 2017, News/Talk improved on its success from last year, as did Adult Contemporary (AC) and Country. Pop Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR) had a down year compared with 2016, but it remained the top-ranked format in terms of audience share among kids 6-11, teens 12-17, Millennials aged 18-34 and persons 25-to-54. And listening to Urban Contemporary stations (also known as hip-hop) was much more prevalent among younger audiences, whereas News/Talk radio (the No. 1 overall format each year in PPM markets) rises dramatically as we age.”

Cumulus Launches Alex Skills for 300 Stations.  The company says it worked with XAPP Media on the rollout of Amazon Alexa skills for “300 local radio stations, popular Westwood One brands, plus the leading dedicated Christmas radio skill, Christmas Radio.  This is the largest collection of custom skills available with Amazon Alexa in the U.S.”  Cumulus Media adds that “this week marks the kick-off of a national consumer marketing campaign designed to educate listeners on how to find and enable skills, fueled by local on-air, video and social promotion.  Individual stations will create localized messaging that speaks directly to their unique listenership.”  Cumulus EVP of programming and content Mike McVay states, “Voice-interactive technology is bringing radio listening back into the home and office and will enable interactivity with our stations in the connected car.  Our strategy to create a custom skill for individual radio stations and programs, while educating consumers, is critical as smart speakers have created an entirely new, and rapidly growing platform to consume audio content.”  EVP corporate marketing/president Westwood One Suzanne Grimes adds, “At an aggregated network level, we will have access to valuable data and insights on this rapidly-evolving audio ecosystem.  We are dedicated to educating, testing, and learning to evolve the listening experience for our listeners and brand partners.”

PBS Severs Ties with Tavis Smiley After Sexual Misconduct Allegations.  This story was first published in Variety.  It says that PBS has “indefinitely suspended” distribution of the “Tavis Smiley” program that is produced by Smiley’s own company, TS Media.  After hiring an outside law firm to investigate, the public broadcaster states, “This investigation included interviews with witnesses as well as with Mr. Smiley.  The inquiry uncovered multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS, and the totality of this information led to today’s decision.”  Smiley’s talk radio program was syndicated by Public Radio International from 2005 through 2013.  Daniel Holloway’s Variety piece says, “The investigation found credible allegations that Smiley had engaged in sexual relationships with multiple subordinates, sources said.  Some witnesses interviewed expressed concern that their employment status was linked to the status of a sexual relationship with Smiley.  In general, witnesses described Smiley as creating a verbally abusive and threatening environment that went beyond what could be expected in a typical high-pressure work environment.  Several expressed concerns about retaliation.”

Lewandowski Packs House at WPHT ‘Speaker Series.’ WPHT, Philadelphia afternoon drive host Rich Zeoli (left) interviews former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski during a standing-room-only appearance at the latest installment of the “WPHT Speaker Series.”  Zeoli says the capacity crowd heard insider tales from Lewandowski’s best-selling book, Let Trump Be Trump.

TALKERS News Notes.  Newsman Connell McShane leaves the “Imus in the Morning” show.  He replaced Charles McCord as the news anchor on the legendary program after his May 2011 retirement.  Don Imus delivered a glowing farewell “thank you” to McShane on the occasion of his final day with the show…..A change takes place at the executive level at the Radio Advertising BureauSharon Friedlander is named vice president, insights, effective January 2.  She takes over for Annette Malave who is leaving the RAB to pursue other interests.  Friedlander most recently served as partner/director at media planning agency MEC.  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber comments, “We are extremely fortunate to have Sharon Friedlander join us at a time when insights and analytics have never been more important or more available for media, specifically, radio.  We’re delighted for Sharon to represent RAB throughout the research community, partner with RAB’s senior team, and to provide invaluable resources to RAB members.”…..SiriusXM is airing a schedule of 38 college football bowl games, including the College Football Playoff Semifinals and National Championship.  The schedule begins this Saturday, December 16, with a lineup of six games.  The National Championship game is Monday, January 8 at 8:00 pm at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Doug Jones Victory, GOP Tax Reform Plan, Sexual Misconduct Allegations, Trump-Russia Investigation, North Korea Nuclear Program, Omarosa Exits White House, and NFL and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/13).  The victory by Democrat Doug Jones over Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama special election for the U.S. Senate; the Republican tax reform plan’s effects on taxpayers; new allegations of sexual impropriety against politicians and celebrities; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; North Korea’s nuclear program and threats against the U.S.; former “Apprentice” star Omarosa Onée Manigault-Newman exits her White House position; and NFL/NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Urban programming pro Ken Johnson returns to New York to serve as program director for Cumulus Media’s urban AC WNBM “Radio 103.9.”  He’ll continue his role as VP of urban formats for the company.  Johnson was PD when Cumulus launched the urban AC format on the station.  Since April of 2015, he’s been operations manager for the company’s urban AC WUHT, Birmingham “Hot 107.7.”  Cumulus New York president and market manager Chad Lopez states, “Everyone at WNBM 103.9 and Cumulus are excited to have Ken Johnson back in New York.  Ken’s expertise and experience in this format will only continue to build a very strong loyal listener base and grow audience.”…..Two more iHeartMedia alternative rock stations pick up Premiere Networks’ “The Woody Show,” featuring Woody, Ravey, Greg Gory, Menace and Sebas.  The KYSR, Los Angeles-based morning show will be heard on WOLT-FM “ALT 103.3, Indy’s Alternative” and WDTW-FM “ALT 106.7, Detroit’s New Alternative” beginning January 3…..After two years hosting mornings at Townsquare Media’s country WPKQ, Portland, Maine “103.7 The Peak,” Dave Winsor messages his fans that he’s left the show.  “I’m no longer with ‘103.7 THE PEAK.’  The company did the best it could within its power to keep the show going, but it’s not to be.  Where will I go?  Who knows.  But, I’ll always be grateful to you!”

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