Tag: "Richmond"

Friday, April 21, 2017

| April 21, 2017

iHeartMedia Reports Preliminary Q1 Results Expressing ‘Substantial Doubt’ About Future Given Current Debt Obligations.  This report (filed yesterday, 4/20) to the SEC is designed to help the company achieve success with its debt exchange offer that expires for lenders today and for bondholders next Friday (4/28).  But the language is very strong as iHeartMedia preliminarily reports that consolidated revenue is down 2.4% for the first quarter of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016.  The company explains in this filing that it is analyzing, on a quarterly basis, “whether there is substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern for a period of 12 months following the date our financial statements are issued.  A substantial amount of our cash requirements are for debt service obligations.  Although we have generated operating income, we incurred net losses and had negative cash flows from operations for the years ended December 31, 2016 and 2015, as well as for the quarter ended March 31, 2017.  Our current operating plan indicates we will continue to incur net losses and generate negative cash flows from operating activities given iHeartCommunications’ indebtedness and related interest expense.  During the quarter ended March 31, 2017, we spent $570.4 million of cash on payments of principal and interest on our debt, net of facility draws and proceeds received, and anticipate having approximately $1.7 billion of cash interest payment obligations for the full year 2017.  At March 31, 2017, we had debt maturities totaling $316.5 million, $324.2 and $8,369.0 million in 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively.  Our debt maturities at March 31, 2017 include $305.0 million outstanding under our receivables based credit facility, which matures on December 24, 2017, and $112.1 million of 10% Senior Notes due January 15, 2018.  Based on the significance of the forecasted future negative cash flows, including the maturities of the $305.0 million receivables based credit facility and the $112.1 million 10% Senior Notes due January 15, 2018, and the uncertainty of the outcomes of the Exchange Offers and Term Loan Offers, management anticipates that our financial statements to be issued for the three months ended March 31, 2017 will include disclosure indicating there will be substantial doubt as to our ability to continue as a going concern for a period of 12 months following the date the first quarter 2017 financial statements are issued as a result of uncertainty around our ability to refinance or extend the maturity of our receivables based credit facility, to achieve our forecasted results, and to achieve sufficient cash interest savings from the pending Exchange Offers and Term Loan Offers.”

WXYT-FM, Detroit’s Terry Foster Retires.  The Detroit sports talk host – one half of the Valenti & Foster show with co-host Mike Valenti – had missed much of the second half of 2016 after suffering a stroke.  But now, after returning to the show in January, Terry Foster announces he’ll retire from the station to focus on his “health and his family.”  Foster says, “I am retiring from sports radio but I am not retiring from life.  It is time for me to move on to a more low-key career.  I want to thank Deb Kenyon and James Powers for helping me get through a difficult time of my life and for the support during my 13-year career with ‘97.1 The Ticket.’  I also want to thank the most talented man in radio, Mike Valenti, for showing me the ropes, and thank the men behind the glass and my main crew David ‘The Hatchet Man’ Hull and Mike Sullivan.  We were a great team.  I just could no longer keep up the brisk pace of talk radio after my illness.  I appreciate the love and show of support from the fans during my most trying days and through my career in radio and newspaper.  And I would love one last hug from my CBS Radio family in Southfield.  I found out over the past few months that health and family are the most important things in life.  I will see you at the next game.”  Mike Valenti comments, “It’s been a great run for Terry Foster and me on ‘97.1 The Ticket’ for more than a decade.  Working with Terry has provided some memorable on-air moments.  I want to wish Terry the same success in retirement that we have enjoyed together as a team.”

Dan Snyder’s Red Zebra Sells Two Stations to Radio One. Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder sells two of his five sports talk-formatted Red Zebra radio stations to Radio One for an undisclosed sum.  Radio One will assume control of both stations under an LMA beginning on May 1.  WWXT-FM, Washington (a Class A signal licensed to Prince Frederick, Maryland) will begin simulcasting Radio One’s urban AC WMMJ, Washington “Majic 102.3 FM.”  The other station is WXGI-AM, Richmond “ESPN 950” and Radio One plans to continue airing the sports format.  In fact, it will simulcast the station on its own WTPS-AM – bumping the urban talk format from the station – as well as on Petersburg-licensed translator W274BX at 102.7 FM.  WXGI-AM carries Redskins football, Nationals baseball and Richmond Spiders play-by-play in the Richmond market.  Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins is quoted saying, “I still believe in the power of terrestrial radio and am excited about this deal with Red Zebra.  I’m always willing to evaluate an opportunity that allows us to grow our radio assets and continue to diversify our radio group, not just through syndication and digital, but good programming that serves our listeners.”

Report: CBS RADIO Names New Sales Leader. According to a report by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, CBS RADIO Chicago has promoted Chad Feldman to vice president and director of sales for the cluster that includes all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM and sports talk WSCR.  Feldman has most recently been sales manager for those two stations.  Feder says this is the third change in 16 months for this position and “insiders say [market manager Tim] Pohlman is under increasing pressure to boost revenue as CBS RADIO is poised to merge with Entercom Communications.”  Read Feder’s story here.

Entercom and CBS Receive Requests for More Information from the DOJ.  This could slow the EntercomCBS RADIO merger down a bit, but Entercom says it still expects the deal to close in the second half of this year.  Here’s what Entercom says, in part: “On April 19, 2017, Entercom Communications Corp. received a request for additional information and documentary material, often referred to as a ‘second request,’ from the United States Department of Justice in connection with the Company’s previously announced Agreement and Plan of Merger entered into with CBS to combine with CBS’ radio business in a two-step, all stock ‘Reverse Morris Trust’ transaction…Consummation of the Transactions is conditioned on expiration of the waiting period applicable under the HSR Act, among other conditions.  Issuance of the second request extends the waiting period under the HSR Act until 30 days after all parties to the Merger Agreement have substantially complied with the second request, unless the waiting period is terminated earlier by the DOJ or the parties voluntarily extend the time for closing.”

North Korea’s Nuclear Threats and ‘Trump Armada’ Tie Atop Talkers TenTM for Week of April 17-21.  The nuclear weapons threats against the U.S. by North Korea and the controversy over the whereabouts of U.S. Navy ships tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week.  At #2 was tensions between the U.S. and Russia and the latter’s jet fighter patrols off the coast of Alaska.  Coming in at #3 was Bill O’Reilly’s exit from Fox News Channel, followed by the close race for Georgia’s open U.S. House seat 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.

Lawrence Pintak to Host Weekend Show on KXL, Portland.  Beginning Sunday (4/23), founding dean of Washington State University’s Edward R. Murrow College of Communication will host a one-hour, Sunday program (3:00 pm to 4:00 pm) on Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL, Portland.  The station says “the deep political and social fissures that divide American society are the focus of a new weekly current affairs radio show, ‘American Fault/Lines,’” hosted by Lawrence Pintak.  He comments, “America is more divided than at any time in modern history.  The election of President Donald Trump brought these divisions into sharp relief.  It is also fundamentally altering America’s relationship with the world.”  Pintak is an award-winning journalist who covered the Middle East for years.  He has covered wars, coups, and revolutions on three continents for many of the world’s leading news organizations, and reported on the first suicide attacks against Americans in Beirut in the 1980s.  He is the author of four books on Middle East policy, Islam, and international journalism.  Pintak adds, “The goal for the program is to be syndicated nationally and to bring a perspective that breaks free of both the New York-Washington corridor media narrative and the dominant ethos of conservative talk radio, through fact-based interviews with guests who are not ‘the usual suspects.’”

KFTK-FM, St. Louis Welcomes Fox News Radio’s Todd Starnes. The Emmis Communications news/talk station carries Todd Starnes’ daily, one-minute commentaries from Fox News Radio and Starnes was part of the recent, sold-out live event featuring the “Allman in the Morning” show hosted by Jamie Allman.  Hundreds of KFTK-FM “Newstalk 97.1” fans turned out to greet Starnes, who’s pictured above at the event with KFTK-FM staffers.  They are (from l-r): program director Jeff Allen, Tricia Siekmann, Denys Schaefer, Starnes, Jamie Allman and Katie Bailey.

Talk Host Wes Minter Dies at 63. Longtime talk show host Wes Minter had been working full time in sales with Waste Management in Pittsburgh, but he had also been doing some fill-in work for CBS RADIO’s KDKA-AM over the past few years.  Minter was a successful talk host during the 1990s and early 2000s, working at such stations as KRMG, Tulsa; WSB-AM, Atlanta; KCMO, Kansas City; WHIO, Dayton; and WCCO-AM, Minneapolis.  Minter suffered a fatal heart attack on Tuesday (4/18) at the age of 63.

KGO, San Francisco Afternoon Drive Host Chip Franklin Guests on Harrison Podcast.  For the past two decades, multi-talented Chip Franklin has performed top quality talk radio at leading stations in Washington, DC, Baltimore, San Diego, and now San Francisco, where he presides over afternoon drive (4:00 pm – 7:00 pm) on the revamped incarnation of the Cumulus Media heritage outlet, KGO.  He has also performed outstanding work as a comedian, writer, musician, video producer and television talking head along the way.  In a candid, in-depth conversation with TALKERS founder Michael Harrison on this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne program “Up Close and Far Out,” Franklin discusses his dramatic transition during the past several years from libertarian/conservative to progressive/liberal.  He also talks about his deftly produced, rapid-fire website videos critically targeting the day-to-day adventures of President Donald Trump.  In announcing Franklin as this week’s guest, Harrison states, “Not only is Chip a remarkable veteran talent still moving the ‘pertinence needle,’ but there are some exciting things developing at the ‘new’ KGO in terms of its talent diversity and market specificity that are worthy of industry attention.  This episode is sure to tickle the fancy of talk radio professionals and media freaks around the world.”  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Providence morning personality Heather Gersten is adding assistant program director to her title as Cumulus Media promotes the WWLI “Lite Rock 105” staffer.  In addition to co-host of the “Heather & Steve” show on the adult contemporary signal, Gersten is part of Lite Rock’s “2 Lite Chicks” with midday personality Amy Pontes.  The duo also hosts the “Wicked Awesome 80’s Show” Saturday nights at 8:00.  Cumulus corporate vice president-AC and ‘Lite Rock 105’ program director Emily Boldon says, “With her considerable talents, dedication and drive, Heather has repeatedly proven herself to be the perfect candidate.  She lives, breathes and loves this radio station with a passion I wish I could replicate.”…..At Radio One’s Houston operations, Madd Hatta adds assistant program director duties for urban AC KMJQ “Majic 102.”  He continues to host the “Madd Hatta Morning Show” on sister rhythmic CHR KBXX “97.9 The Box.”…..Galaxy Communications’ rock duo “KROCK” – WKRL, Syracuse and WKLL, Utica – adds local DJ Big Smoothie to the weekend program schedule.

 

 

Round Three of March PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of March 2017 PPM ratings information from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Cincinnati, Orlando, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen Audio’s March 2017 survey period covered March 2 – 29. View all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Takeaways” from these 12 PPM markets below.

TWELVE TAKEAWAYS

1) Portland – It has been quite a turnaround for KGON, which registered a +.8 in February to apply the brakes to eight straight sweeps without a gain that resulted in a combined -1.7 dating back to last June (4.9 – 4.3 – 3.8 – 3.8 – 3.8 – 3.8 – 3.5 – 3.3 – 3.2, 6+). That February increase pushed the Entercom classic rocker from #14 to #11, but it apparently was only warming up, as KGON tacks on more than a full-share (4.0 – 5.1, +1.1, 6+) to cruise into the top ten at #6. This is the first time that KGON has crossed the five-share threshold (6+) since March 2015 (5.5). As was the case in February, eight-tenths of a share continues to be the distance between Portland’s two frontrunners as both iHeartMedia adult contemporary KKCW “K-103” (7.7 – 8.6, #1 for the 34th time in the last 36 ratings periods, 6+) and Oregon Public Broadcasting’s KOPB (6.9 – 7.8, 6+) chalk up impressive increases of nine-tenths. This time last month, “K-103” was off by nine-tenths; KOPB declined by one full-share, completely surrendering January’s +1.0, after a -.7 in “Holiday” 2016. Locked on 4.0 (6+) in January and February (following a 5.5 in “Holiday” 2016, 6+), Entercom adult hits KYCH “97.1 Charlie – We Play Everything” posts a one-half share gain to 4.5 (6+) and cracks the top ten (#11 to #7). Having registered four straight gains for a combined +1.7 (4.7 – 4.8 – 5.1 – 5.8 – 6.4, 6+), co-owned KWJJ “99.5 The Wolf – Great Country for the Great Northwest” coughs up roughly half that gain (5.5, -.9, 6+), sliding from third to fifth. Notching a 4.2 (6+) for the third straight month, Alpha Media’s KUPL “98.7 The Bull – #1 For New Country” repeats at #9. A January +.9 ended three straight decreases for “The Bull” that resulted in a combined -1.8 (5.1 – 4.9 – 4.6 – 3.3, 6+). Trending 4.2 – 4.6 – 4.2 – (“Holiday” 2016 – January – February, 6+), All Classical Public Media’s KQAC drops seven-tenths to 3.5 (6+) and exits the top ten (#9 to #13).

2) Charlotte – See if you can spot a dominant theme in this particular market recap. The third straight increase by WHQC “Channel 96.1” is by a robust +1.1 (3.5 – 3.6 – 3.8 – 4.9, 6+), elevating the iHeartMedia CHR into the top 10 (#12 to #8). Not only that, “Channel 96.1” overtakes (by one-tenth) its format rival, Beasley Media Group-owned WNKS “Kiss 95.1 – Charlotte’s #1 Hit Music Station” (eighth to ninth), which is actually up or flat for the third consecutive sweep (3.8 – 4.6 – 4.6 – 4.8, 6+), netting a full-share. In addition to posting its third successive positive trend that has accounted for a +1.3 (6.4 – 7.2 – 7.3 – 7.7, 6+), iHeartMedia classic rock WRFX “99.7 The Fox” is #1 for the third month in a row. A +8 (6+) by “The Fox” in January curtailed a series of three consecutive downward moves that yielded a -1.5 (7.9 – 7.3 – 6.7 – 6.4, 6+). Regressing for … you guessed it … the third successive time and falling from third to fifth is Beasley Media Group’s WSOC “Country’s Hottest Hits” (7.0 – 6.3 – 5.8 – 5.2, 6+). A cumulative -1.8 since the “Holiday” 2016 report, WSOC has the lowest 6+-share in its PPM-history. After a -1.2 in “Holiday” 2016 and a +1.7 in January, format rival – iHeartMedia’s WKKT “96.9 The Kat” – has gained (in February) and then lost (in March) two-tenths (5.7 – 5.9 – 5.7, 6+). “The Kat” carries on in the runner-up slot. In “Holiday” 2016, it trailed “Country’s Hottest Hits” by three full-shares (7.0 to 4.0, 6+) but now has a one-half share advantage. As is the case with WSOC, Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian WRCM “K-Love” is down by six-tenths as well (2.2 – 1.6, #17 to #18, 6+). Owing to a -.1 in February, “K-Love” had its consecutive string of increases halted at three (1.5 – 1.6 – 1.7 – 2.3, 6+).

3) San Antonio – Powered by a +.9 (2.8 – 3.7, 6+), Univision Radio Spanish contemporary KXTN “107.5 Tejano & Proud” posts its best 6+-stat since May 2016’s 3.9 and rises from #15 to #12. Ultra-consistent in its trending since October (1.2 – 1.3 – 1.3 – 1.3 – 1.2 – 1.3, 6+), Cox Media Group classic country KKYX “Country Legends” busts loose with a gain of six-tenths to 1.9 (6+) and enters the top twenty (#20). Recapturing exactly half of February’s full-share loss (5.2 – 4.2 – 4.7, +.5, 6+), iHeartMedia adult contemporary KQXT “Q-101.9 – San Antonio’s Best Variety” progresses from tenth to sixth. The market’s two mainstream CHRs are tied at #14, as iHeartMedia’s KXXM “Mix 96.1 – San Antonio’s #1 Hit Music Station” is without an increase for the sixth straight time netting a -1.1 (4.4 – 4.4 – 4.4 – 4.3 – 4.2 – 4.1 – 3.9 – 3.3, #12, to #14, 6+), while Alpha Media-owned KTFM “Energy 94.1 Sounds Like San Antonio” drops two-tenths (3.3, #13 to #14, 6+), thus curtailing four consecutive gains for a +.9 (2.6 – 2.8 – 3.1 – 3.3 – 3.5, 6+). Repeating at #1 is Cox Media Group-owned classic hits-oldies KONO-FM (7.0 – 6.8, -.2, 6+). Recent (6+) fluctuations for “101.1 San Antonio’s Greatest Hits” are October 2016’s -1.0; November’s +.9; December’s -1.1; “Holiday” 2016’s -1.3; and January’s +1.1. KONO-FM departed the top spot in October after nine straight sweeps there. In back-to-back months, Univision Radio regional Mexican KROM “Estereo Latino 92.9” erodes by a full-share (7.4 – 6.4 – 5.4, 6+), dropping from first (January) to second (February) to third (March). Stuck on 5.2 (6+) in November and December, “Estereo Latino 92.9” improved by a combined +2.2 in “Holiday” 2016 and January (6.2 – 7.4, 6+). After having recorded (modest) consecutive gains (5.4 – 5.7 – 5.8, 6+), Cox Media Group-owned KCYY “Y-100 – San Antonio’s New Country Leader” regresses by six-tenths to 5.2 (6+), moving from fourth to fifth. Six-tenths behind “Y-100” is iHeartMedia’s KAJA “KJ-97 – San Antonio’s #1 Country Station” (4.4 – 4.6, +.2, eighth to seventh, 6+). “KJ-97” was -1.4 (“Holiday” 2016); +1.6 (January 2017); and -1.2 in February (5.4 – 4.0 – 5.6 – 4.4, 6+). After trending .9 – 1.5 – 1.9 (6+), Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian KZAR “Air1 – Positive Hits” is off by one-half share to 1.4 and exits the top twenty (#19 to #23).

4) Pittsburgh – Even though each registers a healthy gain of eight-tenths, iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies WWSW “94.5 – 3WS” (9.9, 6+) and CBS Radio news/talk KDKA-AM “News Radio 1020” continue at #2 and #6, respectively. In three straight increases (4.9 – 5.3 – 5.5 – 6.3, 6+), KDKA-AM is +1.4; “3WS” was -4.6 since “Holiday” 2016 (13.7 – 9.3 – 9.1, 6+). Flat at #8, CBS Radio-owned WDSY “Pittsburgh’s Country Y-108” is without a decrease for the third consecutive sweep for a +.8 (3.7 – 3.8 – 4.5 – 4.5, 6+), while iHeartMedia’s WPGB “Big 104.7 Pittsburgh’s #1 for New Country” (unchanged at #10) is a combined -1.2 in three straight declines (4.8 – 4.5 – 4.0 – 3.6, 6+). This marks the seventh consecutive sweep in which Steel City Media hot AC WLTJ “Q-92.9” (unchanged at #12) is either up or flat for a +.6 (2.5 – 2.6 – 2.8 – 2.8 – 2.8 – 2.9 – 3.0 – 3.1, 6+). Improving by one-tenth (10.3 – 10.4, 6+), iHeartMedia rocker WDVE (+1.6 in January) is #1 for the third successive time, matching December’s 10.4 (6+). On top in October 2016, November, and December, WDVE plummeted by two full-shares in “Holiday” 2016, dropping to third, but it returned to #1 in January. Flat at 3.3 (6+), alternative cluster-mate WXDX “The X at 105.9” is at #11 for the tenth straight ratings period. Following three successive uptrends that yielded a +1.8 (6.5 – 6.7 – 7.3 – 8.3, 6+), CHR sibling WKST “Kiss 96.1 – Pittsburgh’s #1 Hit Music Station” dips by two-tenths to 8.1 (6+), but remains in third-place. February was the first time that “Kiss” reached the eight-share level (6+) since July 2015 (8.0, 6+). It is tied at #3 with Steel City Media adult hits WRRK “Bob,” which has an identical 8.3 – 8.1, -.2 (6+) profile. A combined +5.7 in December and “Holiday” 2016 leading to 12.4, its strongest 6+-stat since it returned to print in April 2016, Renda Broadcasting adult contemporary WSHH has its third downward move in a row. Flat at #5, “Wish 99.7” has lost nearly half its 6+-stat (-6.0) in that stretch (12.4 – 7.3 – 6.5 – 6.4, 6+).

5) Sacramento – Trending 7.2 – 7.7 – 7.5 (6+) since the “Holiday” 2016 report, Entercom-owned KSEG “Eagle 96.9 – Sacramento’s Classic Rock” registers a gain of six-tenths to 8.1 (6+), inching up from third to second. All three of the market’s FM country facilities improve from February and they combine for a +.8. Specifically, CBS Radio’s KNCI “New Country 105.1” (steady at #4) picks up one-tenth (5.2 – 5.3, 6+), while Entravision’s KNTY “101.9 – The Wolf” (+.3, #16 in February, 6+) and iHeartMedia-owned KBEB “92.5 The Bull- #1 For New Country” (2.3 – 2.7, +.4, #17 in February, 6+) are tied at #15. As the result of four successive increases (1.9 – 2.1 – 2.3 – 2.4 – 2.7, 6+), “The Wolf” is a collective +.8. Although it backslides from #15 to #17, Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian KLVB “K-Love” is without a decrease for the fifth successive time (1.2 – 1.4 – 1.5 – 1.9 – 2.5 – 2.5, 6+), more than doubling its 6+-share in that timeframe. Not only does KYMX “Mix 96” shake off January’s -4.8 with a full-share February increase (13.0 – 8.2 – 9.2, 6+) to return to #1, the CBS Radio adult contemporary property repeats in the top spot (9.0, -.2, 6+). “Mix” ranked third for five straight sweeps before reaching #1 in “Holiday” 2016. A combined +2.4 in November and December, it was +5.2 in “Holiday” 2016. Huge month-to-month swings continue for iHeartMedia news-talk KFBK, which drops from second to third (8.2 – 6.7, 6+). Recent (6+) fluctuations include +.8 (August 2016); -1.4 (September); +1.2 (October); -.7 (November) +.7 (December); +.8 (January 2017); -.5 (February); and now a massive -1.5 in March. KFBK finished in the runner-up slot six straight times before reaching #1 in January. Also in the news/talk arena, co-owned KSTE “650 – Sacramento’s Talk Station” sputters by six-tenths (3.6 – 3.0, 6+) and drops out of the top ten (#9 to #11). Down or flat for the fifth successive ratings period for a collective -1.7 (5.8 – 5.1 – 4.8 – 4.6 – 4.1 – 4.1, 6+), Entercom’s KRXQ “98 Rock” is flat at #7.

6) Salt Lake City – On the strength of three straight increases (3.3 – 4.3 – 4.4 – 5.4, 6+), Cumulus Media country KUBL “K-Bull 93” has improved by more than two full-shares and climbs from eighth in February to sixth. In advance of January’s +1.0, “K-Bull” faltered for five consecutive months and was a combined -2.2 since August (5.5 – 5.2 – 4.8 – 4.6 – 3.8 – 3.3, 6+). Displaying gains of one-half share each are Broadway Media CHR KUDD “Mix 105.1 – All the Hits” (4.0, #11 to #10, 6+) and iHeartMedia hot AC KJMY “My 99.5” (2.3 – 2.8, #18 to #15). Prior to March, “Mix” was trending 3.5 – 3.9 – 3.5 (6+). Off by one-half share in “Holiday” 2016, “My 99.5” rebounded with a +.6 in January, but returned all of it in February (2.3 – 2.9 – 2.3, 6+). Massive month-to-month movements are typical for KSL but the Bonneville news/talk station advances from second to first even though it is down three-tenths (6.8 – 6.5, 6+). Just before its March stats, KSL was +2.0 (October 2016), -.9 (November), +1.1 (December), -1.5 (“Holiday” 2016); +2.1 (January 2017); and -2.1 (February 2017), yielding a +.7 since October. Displaced from the penthouse is adult contemporary sibling KSFI “FM 100.3 – Better Music Better Work Day,” which dubiously suffers the loftiest (6+) February 2017 – March 2017 decline of any station in the 36 PPM-markets released thus far (8.0 – 6.3, -1.7, 6+). It trades places with KSL in the runner-up slot. Following three straight sweeps at #1, “FM 100” shifted to #2, having dropped 12.3 shares in January (20.6 – 8.3, 6+). Until that huge January spiral, “FM 100.3” didn’t have a decrease since April (5.3 – 5.7 – 6.2 – 6.3 – 6.7 – 7.0 – 7.3 – 7.3 – 11.4 – 20.6, 6+), nearly quadrupling its 6+-stat since then with a staggering +15.3. Taking advantage of KSFI’s (March) -1.7 is Cumulus Media’s similarly-formatted KBEE “B-98.7,” which improves for the third consecutive sweep for a cumulative +1.6 (1.9 – 2.4 – 2.8 – 3.5, 6+), bumping up from #14 to #13. Unchanged at #17, co-owned KBER “Utah’s Rock Station” is off by one-tenth to 2.4 (6+), ending at four its consecutive string of up or flat trends (1.8 – 1.8 – 2.0 – 2.1 – 2.5, 6+). Several similarities exist in the profiles of the market’s two classic hits-oldies outlets. For example, Bonneville’s KRSP “103.5 – The Arrow” (4.6, 6+) and iHeartMedia’s KODJ “94.1 – Salt Lake’s Greatest Hits” (4.1, 6+) are down in March by six-tenths and seven-tenths, respectively, after both were up two-tenths in February. This ends back-to-back progressive trends for “Arrow” (4.9 – 5.0 – 5.2, 6+), as well as for “Salt Lake’s Greatest Hits” (3.3 – 4.6 – 4.8, 6+). Ranked fifth and seventh in February, KRSP and KODJ finish seventh and ninth, respectively, in March. Off by one-half share to 1.0 (6+), Alpha Media regional Mexican KDUT (#22 to #24) curtails three consecutive upward moves (.9 – 1.2 – 1.3 – 1.5, 6+).

7) Las Vegas – Over and above being #1 for the fifth consecutive sweep, iHeartMedia adult contemporary KSNE “Sunny 106.5” puts an exclamation point on it by boasting the highest (6+) February 2017 – March 2017 increase of any station in the 36 PPM-markets released thus far (6.8 – 8.6, +1.8, 6+). Five consecutive up or flat trends generated a +8.3 for “Sunny” (6.4 – 7.0 – 7.0 – 8.1 – 14.0, 6+), before January’s -.7.3 to 6.7 (6+). Following three straight downward trends (8.1 – 7.4 – 6.0 – 5.7, 6+), KSNE was +.7 in September and +.6 in October, climbing to first – where it had been for 22 straight monthlies. It has a 3.1-share advantage over CBS Radio-owned KLUC (third to second), which is up for the third successive ratings period (3.7 – 4.3 – 5.2 – 5.5, 6+). Prior to February, the last time “Las Vegas’ #1 Hit Music Station” hit the five-share level was August 2016 (5.0, 6+). An increase of seven-tenths (4.7 – 5.4, 6+) enables hot AC cluster-mate KMXB “Mix 94.1” to jump from fifth to third. It is the best 6+-showing for “Mix” since last June (5.4, as well). Commencing in August 2016 and ending in January 2017 with a 2.5, sibling KXNT strung together five straight increases that netted a +1.7 (1.4 – 1.9 – 2.3 – 2.4 – 3.0 – 3.1, 6+). As a result of a -1.1 in March (2.8 – 1.7, 6+) though, the news/talk facility departs the top twenty (#17 to #21). Flat at #13, iHeartMedia adult hits KYMT “93.1 The Mountain – We Play Everything” drops three-tenths to 2.9 (6+), thus ending at six a string of consecutive increases that more than doubled its 6+-share (1.4 – 1.5 – 1.8 – 2.0 – 2.2 – 3.1 – 3.2, 6+). Down or flat in four straight sweeps (4.5 – 4.2 – 4.2 – 4.2 – 3.8, 6+), Univision Radio regional Mexican KISF rolled out a +1.2 in January; relinquished -1.6 in February; and is now -.6 in March (5.0 – 3.4 – 2.8, 6+), drifting from #11 to #14.

8) Cincinnati – When Radio One urban-rhythmic oldies WDBZ “Soul 101.5” lost three tenths in February, it concluded one of the longest consecutive strings without a decrease – ten in a row. That impressive streak started in April 2016 and netted a +1.5 (.2 – .3 – .4 – .5 – .5 – .5 – .7 – .8 – .9 – 1.0 – 1.7, 6+). With a +.6 to 2.0 (6+), “Soul 101.5” wastes no time in launching another such series and inches up from #18 to #16. As a result of six straight declines (5.8 – 5.4 – 5.3 – 4.7 – 4.4 – 3.8 – 3.6, 6+), iHeartMedia’s WEBN was a collective -2.2, but the rocker applies the brakes with a one-half share increase to 4.1 and returns to the top ten (#12 to #9). The order-of-finish of the top eight stations in February and March is virtually identical, although #1, #2, and #3 experience significant month-to-month erosion. Prior to the “Holiday” 2016 sweep, Cumulus Media classic hits-oldies outlet WGRR occupied the top spot for four straight months. Powered by a +.8 in January – ending four successive down or flat sweeps that produced a -1.6 (9.8 – 9.8 – 9.6 – 8.8 – 8.2, 6+) – WGRR marched from second to first and has been there ever since; WGRR, however, is down seven-tenths (9.2 – 8.5, 6+). It was once practically automatic to write-in WLW at #1 – and usually with double-digits (6+). The iHeartMedia news/talk outlet (flat at #2) hasn’t been on top since August though and it falters by nine-tenths in March to 7.2, the lowest 6+-stat in its PPM-history. Following three consecutive negative trends that accounted for a -3.2 (8.5 – 7.9 – 6.3 – 5.3, 6+), Hubbard country outlet WUBE “B-105” (unchanged at #3) answered in January with a +1.5; added another eight-tenths in February; but surrenders six-tenths in March (6.8 – 7.6 – 7.0, 6+).

9) Orlando – On top for the third consecutive month, iHeartMedia Spanish tropical WRUM “Rumba 100.3” not only rebounds from February’s -.8 with a +.9 (12.5 – 11.7 – 12.6, 6+), it registers the best-ever 6+-share in its PPM-history. The 12.6 eclipses by one-tenth the previous record (12.5, 6+) set just two months ago. Prior to January, “Rumba” was at #1 in October, November, and December. Meanwhile, it remains a steady climb for similarly-programmed, Entravision-owned WNUE (#15 to #14), progressing for the fourth straight time – with each gain being by one-tenth (1.8 – 1.9 – 2.0 – 2.1 – 2.2, 6+). “Rumba” has a nearly three-share advantage over its CHR sibling WXXL “XL-106.7,” which is up for the third consecutive ratings period (7.2 – 8.0 – 9.0 – 9.7, 6+). In that stretch, it is a collective +2.5, more than wiping out the -1.7 (8.9 – 7.2, 6+) from “Holiday” 2016. This is the strongest 6+-share for “XL-106” since September’s 10.4. A gain of three-tenths takes format rival – CBS Radio’s WQMP “101.9 Amp – Orlando’s #1 Source for New Music” – to 3.4 (6+), its best 6+-showing since November’s 3.5; “Amp” segues from #13 to #12. Without a decrease for the fourth successive sweep (5.0 – 5.3 – 5.9 – 6.1 – 6.1, 6+), hot AC sibling WOMX “Mix 105.1” nonetheless drops from fifth to sixth. Unchanged at #19, University of Central Florida’s WUCF “89.9 – Jazz & More” extends to four its streak of up or flat trends (.7 – .8 – .9 – 1.0 – 1.0, 6+). While it sputters by six-tenths (2.8 – 2.2, 6+), Community Communications news/talk WMFE, which was +.6 in January, is in 2.0 – 2.9 range for the 30th straight time and carries on at #14.

10) Cleveland – By picking up one-half share (6.8 – 7.3, 6+), CBS Radio-owned WNCX not only climbs from fifth to fourth, “98.5 Cleveland’s Classic Rock” has its best 6+-stat in more than four years (7.5, 6+, January 2013). Even though it is down for the third straight month for a collective -1.6 (9.8 – 8.5 – 8.3 – 8.2, 6+), iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies WMJI remains at #1. Prior to December’s +.1, “Cleveland’s Greatest Hits” was off by nearly three full-shares in three straight downward trends (11.5 – 10.8 – 9.6 – 8.6, 6+) and slipped to #2. September’s -.7 ended five straight gains for a cumulative +1.2 (10.3 – 10.7 – 10.9 – 11.3 – 11.4 – 11.5, 6+) and marked the first time in the previous 17 ratings periods that WMJI was not in double-digits (6+). It exited the top spot after ten successive sweeps there; WMJI was +1.1 in “Holiday” 2016. Slumping by six-tenths (5.7 – 5.1, 6+), rock sibling WMMS drops from ninth to tenth. At #13 for the 12th successive sweep, Ideastream’s WCPN regresses by one-half share (3.6 – 3.1, 6+). Before February’s -.2, WCPN was without a decrease for eight consecutive ratings periods netting a combined +1.8 (2.0 – 2.0 – 2.0 – 2.1 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 2.7 – 2.7 – 3.8, 6+). Meanwhile, CBS Radio-owned WKRK “Sports Radio 92.3 The Fan” picks up four-tenths (4.0 – 4.4, 6+) but refuses to budge from #12, where it has been the past 15 sweeps.

11) Kansas City – Logging increases of seven-tenths each are Union Broadcasting’s WHB “Sports Radio 810” (2.9 – 3.6, #16 to #15, 6+) and the HD2 channel of Cumulus Media’s KCMO (1.1 – 1.8, #20, 6+). “Sports Radio 810” gained seven-tenths in January as well, before forfeiting one-half share in February. Advancing by six-tenths are Carter Broadcast urban contemporary KPRS “Hot 103” (5.1 – 5.7, fourth to third, 6+) and Steel City Media CHR KMXV “Mix 93.3 – Kansas City’s #1 Hit Music Station” (eighth to fifth, 6+). “Mix” posts its third straight improvement (3.8 – 4.2 – 4.6 – 5.2, 6+) for a combined +1.4, while “Hot 103” was up four-tenths in February. This time last month, Cumulus Media classic rocker KCFX “The Fox” held a one-share lead over co-owned classic hits-oldies KCMO-FM “Kansas City’s Greatest Hits.” The two cluster-mates are now tied at #1, with “The Fox” (third week at #1) dropping eight-tenths, while “Kansas City’s Greatest Hits” adds two-tenths (7.3 – 7.5, 6+). This marks the third consecutive decline for “The Fox” (9.0 – 8.5 – 8.3 – 7.5, 6+), accounting for a -1.5. On top from May through September and then in December, “The Fox” had five straight uptrends prior to January’s -.5 for a cumulative +1.8 (7.2 – 7.3 – 7.6 – 7.7 – 8.9 – 9.0, 6+). “Kansas City’s Greatest Hits” was off by one-half share in February. Before a loss of three-tenths in November, KCMO-FM registered four straight progressive trends (5.3 – 6.0 – 7.0 – 7.2 – 8.1, 6+) for a collective +1.8. Slipping from fourth to sixth, Entercom news/talk KMBZ-FM forfeits three-tenths to 4.8 (6+), thus halting at five its consecutive string of up or flat trends for a cumulative +1.2 (3.9 – 4.2 – 4.2 – 4.3 – 5.1 – 5.1, 6+). Owing to three consecutive increases (3.6 – 4.1 – 5.3 – 5.7, 6+), Steel City Media-owned KFKF “Country 94.1” is a collective +2.1 and is steady at #3. KFKF entered the December 2016 sweep with four consecutive up or flat trends that accounted for a +1.1 (3.8 – 3.8 – 4.2 – 4.7 – 4.9, 6+), but was a combined -1.3 in December and “Holiday” 2016 (4.9 – 4.3- 3.6, 6+). The market’s other two country outlets though are each down three-tenths after being up three-tenths in February: “Country 94.1” sibling KBEQ “Q-104 – #1 For New Country” is 4.1 – 4.4 – 4.1 (ninth to tenth, 6+) and Entercom-owned WDAF-FM is 3.6 – 3.9 – 3.6 (#12 to #15, 6+).

12) Columbus – By registering a +.3 to 4.2 (6+), Radiohio‘s WBNS-FM “Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan” (ninth to eighth) pulls the plug on four straight down or flat trends that produced a combined -3.8 (7.7 – 7.7 – 5.9 – 4.6 – 3.9, 6+). Immediately prior to those declines, “Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan” put together six straight monthlies without a loss netting in excess of four full-shares and more than doubling its 6+-stat since June (3.6 – 3.7 – 4.0 – 5.1 – 6.9 – 7.7 – 7.7, 6+). It is another rollercoaster ride for iHeartMedia country outlet WCOL, which is +2.2 in January; -1.2 in February; and +.8 in March (10.5 – 9.3 – 10.1, 6+). In the process, WCOL regains the top spot from co-owned CHR WNCI “97.9 Columbus’ Hit Music,” which sputters by nine-tenths (9.8 – 8.9, 6+) and assumes the runner-up position vacated by WCOL. With a combined improvement of two full-shares over the January and February sweeps (7.8 – 9.1 – 9.8, 6+), “97.9 Columbus’ Hit Music” advanced from second to first in February; however, prior to January, WNCI was down or flat in each of the previous six surveys for a collective -4.4 (12.2 – 12.1 -11.1 – 9.8 – 9.4 – 9.4 – 7.8, 6+). In calendar year 2016, “Columbus’ Hit Music” was on top in January, February, March, August, September, and December. In addition to WNCI, Saga Communications adult contemporary WSNY “Sunny 95” spirals by nine-tenths as well and slips from fourth to fifth. It is the third successive spike for “Sunny,” which is -2.6 in that timeframe (8.7 – 7.2 – 7.0 – 6.1, 6+). Immediately after its benchmark 11.1 (6+) in the “Holiday” 2016 report, WODC “93.3 The Bus – We Play Anything” followed with a 5.4 (January, 6+) and 5.6 (February, 6+). The iHeartMedia adult hits outlet now regresses by one-half share to 5.1 (6+), but continues at #6. Unlisted for the third straight month is Radio One gospel WJYD “Joy 107.1” (1.0, #15, “Holiday” 2016, 6+).

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

| August 5, 2014

hannityTelAvivstudioSean Hannity Broadcasts from Israel.  Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar (and Fox News Channel prime time personality) Sean Hannity broadcasts his PremierehannityIsraelbulldozer Networks-syndicated radio program from a radio station in Tel Aviv (left) while touring Israel to report on the conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.  Hannity will host his show from Israel again today (8/5) before returning to the United States.  Premiere reports that on his program Hannity has been reporting on numerous aspects of the conflict including “the Iron Dome anti-missile technology protecting the country from militant rockets, the Hamas tunnels used to capture and kill Israelis, what life is like there under constant threat, and more.”  At right, Hannity (center, in denim) is pictured standing on a military-style bulldozer interviewing Israeli troops near the Gaza border.

brownejoyDr. Joy Browne Returns to the Air in NYC.  Formerly based at crosstown WOR, New York (and syndicated from Buckley Broadcasting’s old WOR Radio Network for many years), Dr. Joy Browne is now heard in New York again via Salem Communications WNYM, “AM 970 The Answer.”  WNYM VP and general manager Jerry Crowley says, “Joy is a consummate radio pro.  Her show was consistently one of the most talked about shows on WOR.  Her voice was prematurely silenced across the street, as was Johnwnymlogo Gambling’s, and it is my pleasure to allow her many fans to find her again.”  Browne’s show is currently syndicated via Radio America.  She comments, “I am beyond thrilled to be back on the air in New York and working with John Gambling and Jerry Crowley and Lou Dobbs again makes it feel like coming home.  We have been besieged by listeners who wanted to know where I went and how to find me, and now they will know.”  Salem Communications market VP Phil Boyce adds, “The talk radio format is nothing without superstars who have built that unique bond with their audience.  Not all stations understand that anymore, so we are able to make that happen on our New York stations.  The addition of Joy Browne proves that.”

trimmeraaronTrimmer to Program WRVA and WRNL, Richmond.  Moving from Clear Channel’s Rochester, New York cluster where he programmed news/talk WHAM and sports talker WHTK “Sports 1280,” is Aaron Trimmer who heads south to the company’s Richmond, Virginia station group to serve as director of programming for news/talk WRVA and sports talk WRNL-AM.  Trimmer – a Richmond native – takes over for PD Jimmy Barrett who now focuses on his WRVA morning drive hosting responsibilities.

entercomEntercom Q2 Revenue Dips 1%.  Considering the recent Q2 financial reports by some other broadcasters, the 1% drop in net revenue could be considered a plus.  Entercom’s revenue was $100.2 million during the second quarter of 2014.  The company reported that fielddavidfree cash flow decreased 21% to $15 million.  Entercom CEO David Field states, “Revenue declined 1% from the prior year as results were impacted by sluggish business conditions during the quarter. Operationally, we continue to focus on developing our powerful local brands, content and digital capabilities and building our new SmartReach Digital division.  These efforts are enhancing our value to listeners and customers and raising our growth potential.  Broadcast radio fundamentals are strong with growing, massive audience reach and a superior ROI to competitive forms of media.”  Entercom reduced its outstanding debt by $4.1 million (net of cash) during the quarter. As of June 30, 2014, the company had $7.1 million in cash and $489.8 million of senior debt and senior notes.

pandoralogoPandora Eyeing Talk and Sports Formats.  In an interview with Sonali Basak for Bloomberg, Pandora CFO Michael Herring hints the company is planning to add talk and sports talk content to its service, though the type of content and when it might appear on Pandora is not known at this time.  Herring points to the popularity of talk and sports by commuters in autos as the reason for his company’s interest in the formats.  “Music’s an important piece of radio listening in the car, but if there’s a place where spoken word is also equally, and more important really, it’s in the car…As the car becomes more important, thinking about other types of content that are important for the car becomes more critical.  That’s why Sirius spends so much money on Howard Stern, sports and news.”  Basak reports that Pandora is currently available in about 33% of cars while SiriusXM can be accessed in about 71% of autos.  Usage by Pandora listeners in cars rose from about 2.5 million people during the second quarter of 2013 to about 7 million during the second quarter of 2014.  Read the entire Bloomberg piece here.

wrhu logoHofstra University’s WRHU Named College Station of the Year.  The student-operated station WRHU, Hempstead, New York “88.7 FM Radio Hofstra University” has been named the best college station in the country, according to The Princeton Review.  The publication rates colleges in America and, as part of that, also ranks college radio stations.  Hofstra University’s WRHU came in #1 this year after being ranked #5 last year.  The station is the flagship radio outlet for the NHL’s New York Islanders since 2010 and is the first and only college radio station to have an exclusive broadcasting agreement with a professional sports team.  WRHU is a finalist for a prestigious 2014 Marconi Radio Award from the NAB as the top non-commercial station in the country.  The station’s reporters have won top honors from the New York Associated Press Association, the Press Club of Long Island, the Society of Professional Journalists and New York Women in CommunicationsTALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison, who began his illustrious radio career on WRHU (when it was still using the call letters WVHC) and is a charter inductee of the WRHU Hall of Fame, states, “I am so proud of this great radio station’s progress and accomplishments over the years since I first broadcast there in 1967.  This ranking is a tribute to the fantastic faculty staff running the operation and to the entire Communications Department at Hofstra which, in my opinion, is second to none in American academia.”  Harrison sits on the Hofstra University Department of Communication advisory board.

krantzgaryKMG Networks’ Krantz to Work with Sun Broadcast Group.  A new partnership struck by Sun Broadcast Group and Krantz Media Group/KMG Networks will have KMG president and CEO Gary Krantz joining SBG as strategic advisor.  The companies say that sunbroadcastgrouplogo“together, Sun and KMG will focus on new initiatives in content, digital, and services to superserve media partners in the audio entertainment sector.  These exciting new opportunities will be separate initiatives from existing and planned partnerships that Sun and KMG are involved with, respectively.”  SBG CEO Jason Bailey adds, “Gary and I have known each other for years and have always shared the same exciting vision for this industry.  With all that’s going on in the network radio space there are countless opportunities to make a real difference with amazing program partners who share our passion for change.  I’m stoked to work more closely with KMG on a professional basis in advancing our mission to make radio an experience for a whole new generation.”

nielsen logoRound One of July PPM Data Released.  The first of four rounds of July 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey).  The survey period was June 19 through July 16.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here.  In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.

deanbradleeOdds & Sods.  Talk radio personality Bradlee Dean, host of the “Sons of Liberty” syndicated radio series, has been honored with the Education Liberty Award from the Education Liberty Coalition for his appearances on their behalf at some 350 high schools in 24 states nationwide. Among the goals which Dean has been promoting is ELC’s campaign for students to study at their own instructional level and for parents to make school choices for their children.  Dean’s most recent stop was in Marietta, Georgia…..Genesis Communications‘ sports platform – Sports Talk Florida – is providing “exclusive coverage” of Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp complete with live practice updates, video interviews, and behind-the-scenes developments with reporters Jenna Laine and Amanda Borges.  Genesis says that its digital platform, along with the affiliated radio stations WHOO, Orlando and WHBO, Tampa, are keeping Bucs fans informed.  The company says, “With a plethora of exclusive photos, written articles and video content covering the Buccaneers, Sports Talk Florida leads the way in merging radio, web-based media, mobile sharing and social media.”

Israel-Hamas Violence, ISIS Iraq Campaign, Ebola Outbreak Scare, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, Immigration Reform/Southwest Border Crisis, Russian Ukraine Aggression, and James Brady Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/4).  The ongoing violence in the Gaza Strip; the continuing campaign by ISIS to create a caliphate in Iraq and Syria; the threat of the Ebola virus as a possible pandemic; the looming mid-term elections and the possible candidates for president in 2016; the battle in Washington over immigration policies and the border crisis in the Southwest; Russia’s support of Ukrainian rebels and the probe of the downing of Flight 17; and the death of Reagan Administration Press Secretary and anti-gun crusader James Brady were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, May 5, 2014

| May 5, 2014

three eagles logoThree Eagles Communications to Sell Stations to Dean Goodman’s Digity.  The growing media portfolio of Dean Goodman continues to grow as his Palm Beach, Florida-based Digity Companies agrees to purchase Three Eagles Communications’ 48 stations in markets in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota.  Pending FCC approval, the transaction is expected to close during the third quarter.  Three Eagles founder and CEO Rolland Johnson says of the deal, “I think it is an excellent time to be buying stations.  Radio seems to have survived the perfect storm and shoulddigity come out stronger than ever.  While on the NAB Board with Dean Goodman 10 to 12 years ago, Dean talked about his vision of buying stations and rolling them up into a diversified company.  It is great to have a vision like Dean’s and to be able to follow through with it.  Dean is getting a group of hard-working people with award-winning stations who deserve a chance to participate in something as exciting as what Digity offers.  I congratulate him on an excellent purchase.”  Goodman comments, “Digity is on-air, online, on-demand, on-location, and on-the-go.  It connects today’s busy consumers with content they want, people they trust, products they enjoy and things that matter.  We are very pleased to have signed the Three Eagles purchase and Digity intends to continue to grow in all areas of its operations.”  Digity, through Palm Beach Broadcasting, operates four FM stations in the Palm Beach market.  GoodRadio.TV operates 26 radio stations in Midwestern markets.  Digity earlier this year purchased 33 radio stations from NextRadio and operates those stations in San Jose, Chicago, suburban Dallas, Saginaw, Canton, Greenville and Myrtle Beach.

limbaughrushRush Limbaugh Awards Grants in Essay Contest; Tennessee School Reacts.  The essay contest Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Rush Limbaugh conducted earlier in the 2013-14 school year has been completed with three schools receiving a package of books and a cash gift from Limbaugh and his wife Kathryn.  At Hawkins Elementary School in Rogersville, Tennessee, principal Barry Bellamy and first grade teacher Danee Collette are still reeling after receiving a shipment of books from Limbaugh that included American classics The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Where the Red Fern Grows as well as copies of his own bestseller Rush Revere and the New Patriots.  According to the Rogersville Review, Bellamy and Collette were even more shocked to receive a check for $15,000 to use as the school sees fit.  Collette tells the paper her father is a big Limbaugh fan and told her about the essay contest.  She dutifully wrote it and didn’t think much more about it until a Limbaugh staffer called to ask for a shipping address for the books.  Collette says the money will probably be used for white boards, desks and tables for the library.  She tells the paper, “This is so awesome!  I graduated last May, got a job here for the school year, and now this!”

hobermanreaganRemembering Ben Hoberman. Very briefly worded mentions of talk radio pioneer Ben Hoberman‘s passing dotted the internet Saturday and Sunday, but precise details regarding his death are not readily available.  What we do know though is that the longtime ABC Radio executive was 92 when he died on Saturday (5/3).  General consensus within the industry indicates that – with Hoberman at the helm in 1960 – Los Angeles’ KABC-AM was one of the first fulltime talk stations in the country – if not the first.  On John Rook‘s Facebook page, the well-known programmer posted that, “When all of the ABC-owned radio stations were introducing Top 40 programming, [Hoberman] envisioned a new kind of format featuring talk. KABC would become top-rated in Los Angeles for decades, a format that gave birth to KGO’s talk format in San Francisco.  His success elevated him to the presidency of ABC Radio.  Ben Hoberman was a role model for managing radio stations, a total gentleman, and one of the real class guys I have known.  My sincerest condolences to all who mourn his passing.”  In the early-1970s, John Mainelli was a 20-year-old NABET vacation-relief news writer for KABC and the talk radio consultant recounts, “I had just learned what ‘fortnight’ meant and decided to use it in a script the next chance I got.  Mr. Hoberman walked into the newsroom after [KABC morning drive talent] Bob Arthur read the story, saw my name on the filed script, dropped it on my desk and said, ‘If you mean two weeks ago, say it.’  That was ‘Mr. H’ – attention to detail and follow-through.”  Hoberman had been with ABC for close to 40 years, much of that time in Los Angeles, where he had been KABC-AM’s general manager.  He later was based in New York, running the network’s radio division, then consisting of six AM stations and six FM outlets, as well as syndicated programming as “American Top 40” – then hosted by Casey Kasem.  Hoberman, ex-ABC-TV president Elton Rule, and several other investors attempted to raise enough money to take over the entire ABC Radio division.  Hoberman is pictured here at right in an undated photo with President Ronald Reagan.

russochrisSiriusXM’s Chris Russo Stirs Controversy Over Race on Sports Talk Radio.  The flashpoint for a controversy over race and radio was SiriusXM sports talk personality Chris “Mad Dog” Russo’s recent comment to a caller when asked about why there are no black sports talk hosts on his channel.  Russo replied that he has not found one “worthy of doing a national talk show.”  That started a social media flap.  In the New York Daily News’ coverage of the story, Bob Raissman reports that Russo was not apologizing for his comment and told his paper, “The idea that I wouldn’t hire a black talk show host, a Korean talk show host, or a talk show host from Mars is absurd.  If there is any person of any ethnicity who wants to get a job at ‘Mad Dog Radio’ and we feel he or she is capable of doing a national talk show at the highest level, I’d put them on in a second.  Let’s just say we are not being overwhelmed by resumes.”

sabowalterFive Simple Engagement Actions.  Media consultant Walter Sabo, in a column published today (5/5), writes that it’s very important for listeners to feel that your radio station is “special.”  Sabo notes, “It is so important to examine every single second of our programming in every format and ask, ‘How can this be better?’  Too much time is wasted on learning new rules from ‘corporate’ and new organizational structures.  If your company is ‘afraid’ of Pandora and other web companies, the solution is better programming.  It’s always better programming.  Fresh programming ideas come from external sources, solid research and by paying close attention to what audiences do.”  And with that in mind, Sabo offers five ways to better engage your audience.  Read his piece here.

wtmj logoJournal Broadcast Group’s News/Talk WTMJ and Adult Hits WLWK in Milwaukee Honored with WBA Awards.  In the large market category, Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ and adult hits WLWK were recently honored with Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Awards.  WTMJ won the following honors: News & Talk Station of the Year; News Operation of the Year; Best News & Talk Radio Show (AM drive) for “Wisconsin’s Morning News with Gene Mueller”; Best News & Talk Radio Show (9:00 am to 5:00 pm) for “Wisconsin’s Afternoon News with John Mercure”; Best Live On-Scene Reporting, Jodi Becker and the WTMJ News Team (Carroll University Lockdown); Best Spot News, Shooting at Children’s Hospital, WTMJ Radio News Team; Best Feature, “Preserving WWII History,” Erik Bilstad; Best Sportscast, Greg Matzek; Best Continuing Coverage, “Say it Ain’t So, Ryan Braun,” WTMJ Radio News & Sports Team; and Best Use of Audio, “Rain, Rain, Go Away,” Erik Bilstad.  WLWK was honored for: Best Newscast – Music Format, Lake Mornings with Danny Clayton, Vince Vitrano & Andi Miller; Best Promotional Announcement, “Free Fun Night Out,” “The Lake” staff; Best Commercial – Music Station, Flanners/Just Press Play – Jim Gilles; and Best Humorous Commercial Music Station Love Finds A Way – Jim Gilles.

waretreyKTSA, San Antonio Morning Host Trey Ware Mourns Death of 28-Year-Old Son.  At Alpha Media-owned talk outlet KTSA, San Antonio, Trey Ware has handled morning drive for the past 21 years – almost half of his broadcasting career.  But last week Ware and his wife Nancy suffered the devastating loss of their 28-year-old son Justin who died under circumstances that are being kept private at this time.  This is not the first such tragedy for the couple.  Ware and his wife lost their daughter Rebekah in 2009 at age 20.  In the San Antonio Express-News, writer Jeanne Jakle spoke with Ware who said, “We’re taking it day by day, minute by minute, that’s all we can do…They were the only two we had.  April is not a good month for us.  We want to expunge April from the calendar.”  Other KTSA staffers are sitting in for Ware during this time.  Local radio personality Adam McManus has subbed the past few days.

scba logoSCBA Goes on the Offensive in TV vs Radio Ad Spend.  If there’s a radio trade organization doing more to make the case for radio as an advertising vehicle, we’re not aware of it.  The Southern California Broadcasters Association has been very focused on consistently reaching out to the media to present radio’s case versus its competition and in this case, the competitor is TV.  The SCBA is releasing a white paper  titled, “Traditional Appointment Television’s Technology and Viewership Crisis,” and it zeroes in on the decline in appointment viewing replaced by on-demand viewing that largely allows consumers to skip through commercial sets.  SCBA president Thom Callahan states, “The imbalanced ratio of radio to TV ad spending in Southern California is completely unjustified when one looks closely at this SCBA report.  Traditional appointment television is under direct attack from a variety of technology giants such as Google TV, Netflix, Amazon TV, YouTube, Hulu, as well as the ominous DVR.”  Callahan says the report goes on to show that “radio remains the only real time medium with no tape delay or commercial skipping.”  He adds, “Southern California Radio has grown its listenership of Adults 18+ over the past six years by an impressive 7.4% while local general market TV viewership has spiraled downward by -6.5% for early fringe programming and -8.5% for any local news.  We are urging every general market TV advertiser to look at their ad spending and decide if they want to invest in the power of radio and our solid growth trends and commanding reach in Southern California vs. the eroding viewership of traditional appointment TV.”

katzvalleypatriotawardJeff Katz Honored with Journalism Award.  Multi-media personality Jeff Katz was honored recently with an Editor’s Choice Award for his column that appears in the New England-based publication The Valley Patriot.  Katz currently is host of the afternoon drive show at Clear Channel-owned news/talk WRVA, Richmond.  He also writes for the Boston Herald and self-syndicates the nationally distributed “Katz Commentary.”  He is also a public speaker having delivered keynote addresses all over the country.  Katz tells TALKERS all of his media ventures embrace his unique philosophy of life, “Not Left. Not Right. Just Real.”  Katz (left) is pictured here accepting his Editor’s Choice Award from The Valley Patriot publisher Tom Duggan (right).

dickeylewWHcorresSharp-Dressed Men.  The annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner took place in Washington, DC on Saturday evening (5/2) and there was no shortage of media players at the who’s who of news and politics gathering.  Pictured here are (from left to right): Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey; ABC News president James Goldston; and ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve JonesPhoto by Jay Snap, LaDexon Photographie.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

| January 28, 2014

wftl logoJames Crystal Radio Misses Payroll.  According to a report in Jose Lambert’s column in the Miami Herald, staffers at the James Crystal Radio Group stations in West Palm Beach – news/talkwmen logo WFTL and sports talk WMEN – have not been paid since January 1 due to the holder of a $17 million loan to the company freezing its account.  The company is operated by Jim Hilliard and when contacted by the paper, general manager Steve Lapa stated that Hilliard is working from “6:00 am to 10:00 pm daily to resolve the situation.”  Lapa reports the staffers have missed only one pay period up until this point.  Between the two stations it’s estimated there are approximately 75 employees.

davisdarrenClear Channel Creates Networks Group; Names Davis President.  In a corporate re-alignment move, Clear Channel Media + Entertainment creates a new unified Networks group to take full advantage of its “power, reach and scale to deliver more compelling content opportunities to its partners, affiliates, advertisers and consumers, as well as providing a unique platform to its content partners and talent.”  Darren Davis, most recently EVP and GM for the national programming platforms, will lead this effort as president, Clear Channel Networks Group.  The company says that in his new role, Davis will oversee and ensure the success and close integration of the networks — Premiere Networks, Total Traffic and Weather Network, the 24/7 News Network and the iHeartRadio Network.  This new position underlines Clear Channel’s continued commitment to further expanding and transforming its business, introducing innovative new products, moving onto exciting new platforms and delivering even more unique opportunities and content to its audiences and its talent.  Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman states, “This new unified Networks group will enable us to better capitalize on our powerful relationships, creative talent and unparalleled capabilities across all platforms and maximize our infrastructure in an entirely new way to take these networks to a higher level, as well as develop new ones.  Darren is an innovative and effective leader of teams and has been a success at every role he has played at this company from the beginning as a programmer through his role as EVP and GM for the National Programming Platforms (NPP) group with Tom Poleman.  His extensive and diverse experience makes him the perfect candidate for this important new leadership role.”

grandephilPhil Grande to Appear at Rumsfeld Book Event.  In conjunction with news/talk WLSS, Sarasota, Florida, nationally syndicated financial talk personality Phil Grande – host of the “Phil’s Gang” program – will make a presentation and appear with former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld at Rumsfeld’s special event and speech at the Hyatt Regency on February 13.  Rumsfeld is touring the country promoting his new book, Rumsfeld’s Rules: Leadership Lessons in Business, Politics, War and Life (Broadside 2013).

neerrichardSports Talk: How Important Is Civility?  Unlike the Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman, sports talk hosts “need to be liked.”  That’s what WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer says in his column published today (1/28).  Neer writes (while referencing the notoriety being enjoyed by Sherman in the aftermath of his recent rant), “If you are talented or lucky enough to win that lottery by catching the public imagination at precisely the right moment, you can thrive by being what polite society deems ‘uncivil.’  But you’re treading a narrow line and making a lot of enemies in the process.  One misstep could end your career as suddenly as a torn ACL could end Sherman’s.” Read Neer’s entire column here.

crninternational logoCRN International Debuts Events Division; Names Kelly Travers Director.  Integrated radio marketing solutions company CRN International is establishing a new Events Division for the growing number of live functions it manages as part of client campaigns.  The company says the move will allow it “to execute with optimum efficiency for the many events it coordinates for consumer brands, ranging from local radio station appearances to high-profile nightclub galas.”  To head up the new venture is Kelly Travers who is named director of retail strategies and activation.  CRN president and founder Barry Berman states, “Live events are used when they help solve a client objective, and they have to be well executed in every detail if they hope to deliver the expected business outcome.  Establishment of this new operating unit will allow our clients to sleep at night knowing all logistics are being addressed thoroughly.”  Travers notes that CRN International orchestrated more than 300 events as part of client marketing strategies last year alone.  Among the companies that have used live events engineered by CRN as an offshoot of their radio-triggered campaigns are Fiat and Petco, to name a few.

wxgiRed Zebra’s WXGI, Richmond to Simulcast on WZEZ-FM.  In a deal that will begin on February 1, Red Zebra-operated sports talk WXGI, Richmond “ESPN 950” will expand its reach by simulcasting on WZEZ at 100.5 FM.  The agreement between Red Zebra Broadcasting and Delmarva Educational Association gives “ESPN 950” reach to the northwest of the market.  General manager Buck Albritton states, “We could not be more excited to move our dynamic on-air lineup onto the FM frequency.  Most importantly, we are increasing our signal reach to serve more sports listeners.”  The stations will begin their relationship with the broadcast of Super Bowl XVLIII on Sunday.  Program director Mitchell Bradley states, “Not only is this an opportunity to serve a greater number of listeners, we will increase the number of games that we can broadcast.  We’ll be able to carry one play-by-play lineup on our AM station while featuring another program event on the FM signal.”  Red Zebra is controlled by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder.

radiohealthjournal logoOdds & Sods.  The syndicated public affairs program “Radio Health Journal” is celebrating the airing of its 1,100th episode this week.  The program began in 1992 and is now heard on more than 480 stations across the country.  Produced by MediaTracks Communications and hosted by Reed Pence, the show provides listeners with a wide variety of health topics, including consumer safety, healthcare, drug abuse, mental illness, food safety, and youth at risk.  Pence states, “From the start, we cared about the information that we were providing to the listener.  We’ve always concentrated on providing important and useful information in a consumer friendly way.”…..SiriusXM talk host Joe Madison will attend tonight’s State of the Union Address as a guest of Congressional Black Caucus chair Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH).  On Wednesday, Fudge will appear on Madison’s program to discuss the president’s address…..The NFL’s Baltimore Ravens will be heard on Clear Channel’s classic rock WBIG, Washington, DC next season.  Last season the team’s games were heard in the DC market on Hubbard Radio’s WFED, Washington.

espnmikemikebradshawSports Talk Frenzy in NYC.  It’s Super Bowl week in New York City and ESPN – along with the other major sports radio networks including Fox Sports Radio Network, CBS Sports Radio Network and NBC Sports Radio Network – is there.  Pictured here is Fox Sports analyst Terry Bradshaw (right) on ESPN’s Mike & Mike show this morning with Mike Golic (center) and Mike Greenberg (left).  ESPN enjoys the advantage of its fabulous Times Square studios for this year’s Super Bowl.  All this week at the nearby Sheraton Hotel in Manhattan, some 90 radio stations are broadcasting from the Super Bowl XLVIII radio row.

millergovernorDown on Main Street.  Always getting out into the community, KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller (center) takes his show out to Ed’s 50 Café where he hosts a roundtable breakfast chat with Idaho Governor Butch Otter (right) and EntreLeadership director of coaching and community John Felkins.  EntreLeadership is part of talk superstar Dave Ramsey’s organization.  Felkins’ job involves meeting with business leaders from across the country and helping them generate improvements to their companies by applying the EntreLeadership way of doing business.

comrexACCESSComrex Rolls Out Switchboard Traversal Server.  Don’t get freaked out by the engineer-speak, this is a very cool new feature for Comrex’s ACCESS and BRIC-Link IP audio codecs.  This major upgrade to the company’s popular BRIC Traversal Server (or BRIC-TS) service for ACCESS and BRIC-Link IP audio codecs allows for presence notification, status and connection help (NAT Traversal) via a cloud-based service which is free to use for Comrex ACCESS IP codec customers.  The feature is included in all Comrex ACCESS IP Audio codecs and can be unlocked on Comrex BRIC-Link codecs for a small license unlock fee.  The company states that it will be migrating all existing BRIC-TS accounts to the new Switchboard TS today (1/28) and the changeover will be seamless for existing users.  While customers will experience an improved graphical user interface, they should note two main improvements to the management tools in Switchboard.  Specifically, “Contact Lists” and “Shares” have simplified the task of managing a large fleet of ACCESS and BRIC-Link codecs.  What this all really means is that Switchboard TS is designed to allow your BRIC codecs (such as ACCESS) to connect with each other without having to have an IT guy onsite everywhere you go!  To contact Comrex by phone, call 800-237-1776.

Cool Job Opportunity. Heritage News/Talk station in the northeast has a rare opportunity in a top 100 market.  Now accepting applications for a combo News Director/Program Director.  Great company and a great opportunity for the right person with strong forward thinking programming ideas and strategies.  Must have experience in both news and programming with a multi-platform distribution approach to include on-air, online and mobile.  Please email a resume along with any supporting materials to Gabe Hobbs at gabe@gabehobbsmedia.com.  Or you can place your materials in my DropBox at https://www.hightail.com/u/GabeHobbsMedia. No calls please.  EOE/MF

State of the Union Address, NSA Spying Controversy, Hillary Clinton in 2016, More Icy Winter Weather, 56th GRAMMYs, and Super Bowl XLVIII Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/27).  The president’s annual State of the Union address to be delivered tonight; more revelations about the extent of the NSA spying operations; speculation about Hillary Clinton’s 2016 political ambitions; the next round of frigid winter weather set to hit the Midwest, East and South this week; the 56th GRAMMY awards held Sunday; and the run-up to Super Bowl XLVIII were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

| September 4, 2013

westwoodone logoDial Global Changes Name to WestwoodOne.  Making good on what had been rumored for a little more than a week, Dial Global, as it prepares to be acquired by Cumulus Media, announces the official change of its name to WestwoodOne (complete with cool, new logo).  CEO Paul Caine states, “We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished as Dial Global.  Through our belief in the power of sound we are dedicated to continuously reinventing the industry and creating the most dynamic audio programming that connects people to their passions.  With the audio industry’s ever-changing landscape we know we’ve just scratched the surface of what’s possible for audio’s broad consumption.  By reclaiming and reviving an iconic audio brand name, we are not changing who we are, but accelerating thecainepaul great work we are doing to contribute to the growth of audio.”  In addition to the name change, the company reports it is commissioning “an industry study on the ‘power of sound,’ aimed at better understanding consumers, their behavior, and their interaction with audio.  The study builds on current recency data proving radio as the most-used medium closest to point-of-purchase and will explore trends in audio consumption based on behavioral tendencies among various demographics.”  The company says full study results are expected to be released in the fourth quarter of 2013 but states that preliminary findings further the notion that audio is an integral part of the new media landscape.

epictimes logoTRN’s Jerry Doyle Launches ‘Solution-Based News Destination’ EpicTimes.com.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Jerry Doyle – a former actor, voice-over artist, Wall Street trader and pilot, says he credits his varied background with instilling in him the obvious and growing need for a solution-based news doylejerrycommunity.  The Talk Radio Network personality is therefore launching his newest media endeavor, EpicTimes.com – what he calls “a solution-based news destination dedicated to putting cutting-edge news, resources, and answers in the hands of the public.”  He adds, “EpicTimes.com seeks to deliver insight from some of the most influential voices of our time, spanning a variety of expertise to share solution-based ideas and insights with a community that is focused on problem solving and results.”  Doyle says that to serve the knowledge of his online audience, he has assembled a diverse cast of contributors, whose collective goal is to offer clear insights into a range of issues, combined with hard-hitting commentaries and workable solutions to the issues that directly affect our lives.  “This unique view on the issues and news headlines is geared toward building an active community on the site.  All opinions are heard and commentary between readers and contributors and readers to readers is encouraged.  That kind of honest conversation is just what I believe people want.  My goal is for EpicTimes.com to not just publish relevant news, but to become a solutions community.”  Check out EpicTimes.com here.

rosenthalmarkKatz Radio Group Names Mark Rosenthal CEO.  Media rep firm Katz Media Group announces it has picked media executive Mark Rosenthal to head up the Katz Radio Group.  Rosenthal’s media experience goes back to the early days of MTV where he was one of the original team that created the cable TV channel.  He was also involved in the inception of Nickelodeon, VH1 and Comedy Central.  Katz says he “has been a leader in the media industry for more than 25 years, building advertising and marketing solutions for world-class media brands.”  KRG says Rosenthal will work with president Mark Gray to “ensure continued high-level performance in the transactional arena.  Rosenthal will also focus on KRG’s radio advocacy efforts and lead an accelerated charge to bring additional revenue into the radio sector.”  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment chairman and CEO John Hogan says, “We are thrilled to have such a well-respected media executive join Katz Radio Group.  Mark has an enormous range of experience across all forms of media, from traditional and digital media to the agency world.  Radio is a powerful national marketing platform.  Our goal is to continue to tell the success story of radio’s massive reach.  Mark joining the team signifies a very exciting step forward in our intensified effort to drive substantial growth for Katz clients by providing the most innovative media solutions available.”

foxnewsradioFox News and SiriusXM Re-Up; Content Added to SiriusXM Internet Radio.  After speculation over the summer that Fox News and SiriusXM were headed for a break-up, the two sides announce they have inked a deal to bring Fox News content to the satcaster through 2019.  In addition, as part of the new agreement, siriusxmSiriusXM will broadcast Fox Business Network.  SiriusXM will be the exclusive audio home for broadcasts of Fox News and Fox Business Network for its more than 25 million subscribers.  As part of the agreement, SiriusXM will add both channels to its SiriusXM Internet Radio channel lineup for the first time.  The new agreement also includes the addition of Fox News Talk to the SiriusXM Internet Radio service.  Fox News Talk, which offers news, analysis, listener call-ins, and commentary from popular Fox News personalities such as Brian Kilmeade, John Gibson and Alan Colmes, among others, will be available online at SiriusXM Internet Radio and through the SiriusXM Internet Radio App on smart phones and other connected devices.  Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes states, “Our viewers love the ability to keep the connection with Fox News Channel, even while they’re in the car with SiriusXM.  This agreement not only ensures that will continue but expands it to our Fox Business Network viewers and restores the Fox News Talk channel to SiriusXM subscribers on their computers and smart phones.  This is good for Fox News, for SiriusXM and for the people we both work for, the American public.”

conwaylelandLeland Conway Named Late-Morning Host at WHAS, Louisville.  Clear Channel’s heritage Louisville news/talker announces talk host Leland Conway will assume the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program that opened up when Mandy Connell moved to the company’s KHOW, Denver for the morning show earlier this summer.  Conway – a Kentucky native – currently hosts afternoon drive on CC’s WRVA, Richmond and will continue in that role as well.  Regional programming manager Kelly Carls states, “This is an exciting appointment for ‘84WHAS Radio’ and the Kentuckiana community.   We talked to many highly qualified and experienced on-air personalities, but Leland’s talents really shined brightly.  His wit, energy and longstanding Kentucky roots make him a great fit.  We’re extremely happy he’s returning to the Bluegrass State.”  Conway has served as a commentator on WTVQ-TV, and for six years hosted a successful talk show on WLAP, Lexington.  Conway adds, “It is an honor to join the WHAS team.  As a native Kentuckian, I grew up with WHAS.  It’s as much a part of the Bluegrass State as hot browns and horse racing.  I am excited to once again be a part of the lively conversation in Kentucky.”

radioshow2013Michael Harrison to Present Annual Address at NAB Radio Show.  In a popular “Info-Session” that has packed the room each year for more than a decade, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will address the forthcoming NAB Radio Show on the subject “The Vital Role Radio Plays in Popular Culture.”harrisonmichael  The info-session, sponsored by TALKERS, will be a power-packed hour touching upon a number of key issues that are vital to radio’s very existence – let alone artistic and financial well-being – in the rapidly advancing digital era.  Harrison says that for radio to remain iconic in the 21st century, it must maintain “ownership” of the scenes it addresses whether they are music, politics, news, sports or any other expression of the human condition.  He says radio must maintain a foreground, active position and avoid being marginalized as a passive delivery system and he gives solid examples and suggestions to make it happen.  Consultant Holland Cooke introduces what will be a riveting and inspirational hour.  The session takes place on Thursday, September 19 between 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm in the very heart of the conference at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Gatlin E2 and is open to all attendees of the conference.

baxobrien‘Rock 102’ Springfield, MA Morning Talk Duo Bax & O’Brien to Do Live Performance at Local Theater.  The long-running morning drive powerhouse of Bax & O’ Brien (Michael “Bax” Baxendale and John O’ Brien) have been gathering huge on-air audiences in Western Massachusetts for more than 15 years and innovating advances in local webcasting worthy of national attention.  Now, they’ve added another facet to their arsenal of attractions.  The team has been booked into the downtown Springfield prestigious City-Stage theater for a one-night special performance on Thursday, October 17.  The show is being sponsored by local car dealership Curry Honda and will cleverly feature “guest” appearances by locally famous advertisers who will actually perform their live commercial reads during the program (great idea!).  In addition, guests will include local and regional personalities Paul “Fitzy” Fitzgerald, live performances from guitar legend Gary Hoey and Dr. Westchesterson plus special video presentations from comedians Lisa Lampanelli and Tom Cotter, and the promise of other surprises!  Tickets go on sale Friday September 6 at the City Stage Box Office or at Ticketmaster.com.  Fans of Bax & O’ Brien will be able to see it live in person or watch the show streamed live with their BaxandObrien.com membership.

nathanalanMain Street Radio Network Re-Brands Alan Nathan-Hosted Program.  The talk show that’s been known as “Battle Line with Alan Nathan” is now titled “The Alan Nathan Show.”  Main Street Radio Network president Jane Silk states, “He’s the longest-running centrist radio show in the country and we’re delighted with the program’s evolution and direction.  As so many have said, ALAN is an important voice who needs to be heard!”  Nathan himself comments, “They’ve been calling it the ‘Alan Nathan show’ for years, so I learned how to take a hint.  Additionally, while there’s plenty of spirited debate (or battling) happening on the program, it’s also a guest-generated, panel-driven event that teases all who take themselves too seriously.”

costadinoDino Costa Moves to Mornings on SiriusXM’s New Sports Zone Channel.  As TALKERS reported yesterday (from a New York Daily News story), sports talk host Dino Costa is moving from the Mad Dog Radio channel at SiriusXM where he was the evening (Eastern Time) personality, to mornings where his show will be heard from 7:00 am to 11:00 am ET beginning September 5.  In a statement, Costa says, “When I joined SiriusXM nearly five years ago, my objective was to deliver listeners across North America a brand of sports commentary and opinion that they had never heard before, something that was a radical departure from the status quo.  I feel I have accomplished that and gained a more than appreciable audience over that time.  Creating and delivering the kind of a show I do would not have been possible anyplace other than SiriusXM and it is an honor and a privilege to be with what I consider to be the mightiest radio broadcaster on planet earth.  I enjoyed my time with Mad Dog Sports Radio and now I look forward to new challenges and conquests and feel more enthused than ever at the prospects of making SiriusXM Sports Zone a destination channel for our valued subscribers.  This is the start of something very big!”

mooreloriLori Moore to Retire from WKZO, Kalamazoo.  Retire might be too strong a word for AM drive host Lori Moore’s departure from Midwest Communications’ news/talk WKZO, Kalamazoo.  But Moore has worked at the station for the past 18 years (32 years in the market) and, to her faithful listeners, it might feel like retirement.  Still, Moore says she will remain close to the community and has “many projects” in the pipeline.  Morning host since 1995, Moore states, “I feel I have a special bond with my audience and advertisers.  I think I am able to connect with what people care about.  I talk about events because I go to them and I endorse products and services I actually use.”  Her last day is Friday, September 6.

Odds & Sods. Tribune’s WGN, Chicago adds more sports programming to its weekend lineup with a post-Bears game program called “Two and a Half Bears,” featuring NFL Hall of Famer and Chicago Bears alumnus Dan Hampton, his former teammate Glen hamptondanKozlowski and WGN’s resident football fanatic Pete McMurray.  The program will feature interviews with players, coaches, and front office personnel.  Additionally, Hampton will join WGN’s Steve Cochran every Monday and Friday morning at 7:40 to provide a Bears game recap and preview…..Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston announces its NFL and Patriots football-related programming to air on the station and its affiliate stations around New England.  The content again includes exclusive interviews with quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick on “Patriots Monday.”  As itcowherdcolin did last year, gameday coverage will originate from Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill at Patriot Place in Foxborough and include pre- and post-game programs.  Throughout the week, WEEI programs will be visited by numerous football experts, writers and Patriots players…..ESPN Radio sports talk host Colin Cowherd debuts a new program on ESPN2 titled “Colin’s New Football Show” that will air Sundays at 9:00 am ET.  ESPN vice president, original programming and production, Jamie Horowitz says, “’Colin’s New Football Show’ will be entirely from Colin’s perspective.  It’s a cool and alternative pre-game show with Colin, a football outsider on the inside, letting fans know the key stories of the day in his own style.”…..CBS Radio’s all-news WNEW-FM, Washington reports it is doubling its traffic alerts to keep commuters up to speed on the region’s roadways during drive time.  Dubbed “Beltway Fix on the Six,” in addition its traffic and weather together on the 1s, the station will add reports on the 6s between 7:00 am and 10:00 as well as between 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm……CRN Digital Talk Radio host and well-known actor Fred Dryer is back on the big screen in a new movie titled “Snake and Mongoose,” that chronicles the careers of drag racers Don “the Snake” Prudhomme and Tom “the Mongoose” McEwen.  In the film, Dryer plays Motorsports Hall of Fame member Ed Donovan, McEwen’s engine builder who coined the racer’s “Mongoose” moniker.

bernierimmigrationIllegal Immigration Forum.  Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) and former INS agent Michael Cutler appeared in “The President Speakers Series” on the subject of illegal immigration at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach.  The event was moderated by the talk show host Marc Bernier – who also serves as President’s special assistant at the university – and was broadcast on WNDB, Daytona Beach and carried by C-SPAN.  Pictured here are (from l-r): Bernier, ERAU president John P. Johnson, Rep. Barletta and Cutler.  The event was the 95th in the Town Hall Series.  Photo by Arthur J. Byrnes.

Syria Question Goes Before Congress, ObamaCare Implementation, Miley Cyrus Fallout and Jack Nicholson Retires due to Memory Loss Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/3).  Secretary of State John Kerry takes the question of whether the United States should begin military action against Syria to Congress; ongoing complications in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the fallout from Miley Cyrus’ risqué performance at the MTV Video Music Awards and Jack Nicholson’s retirement from making movies, reportedly due to memory loss were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, February 6, 2012

| February 6, 2012

WLS, Chicago Receives $44k Notice of Apparent Liability for Improper Ad Content.  The Cumulus Media news/talk station admitted to airing content during the spring of 2009 paid for by Workers Independent News in the form of 90-second spots, 15-second promotional announcements and several long-form programs.  The issue was whether the content was properly identified as sponsored content.  (The violation took place while WLS was still owned and operated by Citadel Broadcasting, which does not alleviate Cumulus of responsibility.) The text cited here by the commission illustrates the issue.  In this newsy-sounding segment listeners heard: “Workers Independent News, I’m Doug Cunningham.  As Federal Economic Stimulus dollars flow to Chicago, State Representative Joe Lyons says it’s more critical than ever that the State put together a capital bill to take maximum advantage of the stimulus to put Chicago back to work.”  Cumulus argued the “Workers Independent News” phrase was sufficient to identify the content as paid for.  The FCC disagreed saying, “Since the subject matter of the 11 announcements at issue related to a state legislative issue impacting the local economy of Chicago, it would not have been apparent to listeners from the announcements themselves that they were sponsored programming, even if commercial programming preceded and succeeded the 11spots.  In addition, the name ‘Workers Independent News,’ content, format and duration of the announcements were not consistent with typical commercial matter.”  The FCC levied a $4,000 fine for each of the 11 instances for a grand total of $44,000.

Beasley Broadcast Group Announces Net Income Gain.  The news for Beasley was a mixed bag.  During the fourth quarter of 2011 revenue was down by $1.8 million compared to the same quarter one year ago but a drop in interest expense allowed the company to realize a 1.7% gain in net income.  In a statement, chairman and CEO George Beasley said, “Radio advertising remained relatively stable despite widespread economic concerns and volatility in the capital markets throughout the year.  Importantly, during the fourth quarter and throughout 2011, we continued to make progress across the organization in enhancing operating efficiencies and maintaining a disciplined approach to spending.  Overall, the industry recorded seven consecutive quarters of growth through the third quarter of 2011 which underscores our belief that radio remains both resilient and highly relevant in a digital world.”  For Beasley, and most other radio operators for that matter, national business was the problem with a drop of almost 24%.

Talk Host Doc Thompson Out at WRVA, Richmond.  The talk host who, until very recently was doing PM drive at Clear Channel’s WRVA, Richmond and the late morning show at the company’s WLW, Cincinnati, is not working at either after announcing Friday evening on his Facebook page he’s off WRVA.  Thompson was let go from WLW – while on his honeymoon – as that station made changes to its lineup and now, eight days later, he loses his Richmond gig.  Thompson is positive, though, writing: “I am no longer hosting my Richmond show.  In the world of radio broadcasting… sometimes these things just happen.  As I said earlier in the week it will all work out for the best and I am blessed.”  Thompson and his new bride – WHIO-TV, Dayton reporter Yuna Lee – recently relocated to Ohio.  They met while both working in Richmond and Lee found a reporter’s job in Ohio so the two could make the move to be closer to WLW.

Jason Jackson New Midday Host at WAXY, Miami.  The Lincoln Financial Media sports talk station announces longtime Miami sports personality Jason Jackson hosts the new 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm daily program on WAXY, Miami.  Jackson is known in the market for his work at WSVN-TV and on Sun Sports coverage of the NBA’s Miami Heat in which he hosts pre-game, halftime and post-game shows as well as provides courtside analysis.  Prior to his work with the Heat he worked for ESPN.  WAXY program director Marc Hochman says, “Adding Jason Jackson to the lineup solidifies 790 The Ticket’s standing as the destination for outstanding sports talk radio in South Florida.  Jason adds more strength to our existing lineup and bolsters our commitment to the highest quality of sports talk radio in South Florida.”  Jackson takes over for “The Sports Brothers” – Ed Freeman and Jeff Fox.

Controversial Memphis Host Thaddeus Matthews Returns to Air After Battle with Licensee.  Talk host and local political lightning rod Thaddeus Matthews leases WPLX, Memphis from owner Bill Pollack and Matthews’ recent, news-making on-air spat with Republican congressional candidate Charlotte Bergman was the incident that caused Pollack to shut off the transmitter on the afternoon of February 1.  Matthews returned to the air Friday, February 2 after getting a judge to issue a temporary restraining order to force Pollack to turn the transmitter back on.  The back story went viral via YouTube but here it is in a nutshell:  Matthews was interviewing African-American Republican candidate Bergman on his show.  When she didn’t answer questions to his liking, he lashed out at her in a raw, epithet-filled tirade and finally refused to shake her hand for fear her “whiteness might rub off” on him.  WPLX is positioned as a blues station but Matthews’ talk show airs every afternoon.  Matthews tells WHBQ-TV, Memphis his LMA includes and option to buy the station which he intends to do.