Tag: "Robert Feder"

Friday, March 27, 2020

| March 27, 2020

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  The new episode titled, “Lives versus Livelihood?” looks back at this past week of March 23-27, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSMike Gallagher, talk show host, Salem Radio NetworkCurtis Sliwa, talk show host, 77WABC, New York; Dr. Daliah Wachs, physician/talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkSteve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston/webmaster, scamicide.com; Trevor Smith, radio content producer, Aloha Productions, Australia; Bobbie Winston (La Femme Bobbie), American ex-pat/artist, Brazil; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio CompanyDavid Clayton-Thomas, musician, songwriter/former lead vocalist, Blood, Sweat & Tears.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Adams Radio Reducing Salaries to Avoid Layoffs. In his announcement that Adams Radio Group staffers have agreed to take a temporary 10% pay cut in order to avoid layoffs, CEO Ron Stone says, “I could not be prouder of our employees.  Every employee of Adams Radio stepped up to do their part to ensure that no Adams employee would lose their position.  We are a family. Our goal is singular.  To ensure everyone in our company gets through this crisis with the least amount of harm.  This test of our country’s ability to weather a storm is unlike anything any of us have seen, but we will get through this together, and be stronger for it.  What seems like a huge sacrifice today, is miniscule compared to what our fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers sacrificed.  At least we are not weathering winter without coats or boots like Washington’s army at Bunker Hill.  We are not killing our brothers in a civil war.  And we are not living for weeks in foxholes in horrible winter conditions during the Battle of the Bulge. Things could be much worse.  I sincerely hope that any company, media or otherwise, will consider overall reductions in compensation on a temporary basis rather than terminate employees.  Our most important asset is our people, and we should do all we can to keep them whole.  I am so thankful for a staff that not only wants to participate in helping our company weather this storm, they are working tirelessly in our communities to keep our local businesses front and center in the minds of listeners.”

Backbone Offers Broadcast from Home Capability Free for 45 Days. In order to help the radio industry serve the public, digital remote broadcast provider Backbone is offering its Backbone CoHost with LUCI Global apps to radio stations for free for 45 days.  The company says, “We need to stay safe, and we need to stay on the air.  Working from home is no longer just a futuristic perk, it’s our current duty.  This should be easy and affordable, and it can be.  There is no need to outlay capital to survive, thanks to our unique, integrated Virtualization in the Cloud.  Backbone CoHost PL is a fast and easy way for stations to create an always-available ‘Party Line’ conference room for one or more hosts, guests, and correspondents to contribute live audio for your broadcasts.  These two-way conversations are enabled by using the groundbreaking LUCI Global service from Technica del Arte and their free, downloadable apps for iOS, Mac, Android, and Windows platforms.  LUCI enables these phones, pads, and computers to communicate with and using the same standard formats used by commercial hardware, including COMREX and TIELINE.  CoHost PL is a simplified, unswitched version of Backbone CoHost, allowing users to instantly join the broadcast with the touch of a finger.  There are no IT settings to configure, no port selections to worry about, and no equipment to purchase or forget in the car.  It all works with whatever device you’re carrying, and over any decent Internet access you can find.”  Backbone is offering a fully functional, unlimited demo of CoHost PL and LUCI Global to our existing phone and radio customers, as well as U.S.-based call-letter radio and TV stations, for 45 days, starting March 30.  Find out more here. To start a free 45-day trial, email your contact information and a brief note about your organization to: info@backbone.com

Dom Giordano Launches “Home Learning Tips” One-Minute Feature on WPHT, Philadelphia.  Recognized throughout the state of Pennsylvania as a master teacher prior to beginning his stellar, decades-long radio career on some of Philadelphia’s leading news/talk outlets, WPHT mid-morning host Dom Giordano has launched a series of one-minute tips on home schooling for parents to utilize in productively keeping their kids busy while they are home during the coronavirus crisis.  The feature runs once per hour between 1:00 pm and 7:00 pm every weekday.  Giordano tells TALKERS, “After hearing from listeners about the challenges of working with their kids at home due to schools being closed, I offered my station a one-minute daily combination pep talk and ideas to help their kids at home for parents.  The theme is you are your child’s first and best teacher.  I’m tapping into my credibility with listeners and my years as an education/parenting analyst and columnist.”

Cumulus’ Dallas Talk Stations Hosting Special Mark Cuban Broadcast Today. Dallas news/talk stations WBAP and KLIF-AM are presenting an on-air town hall with businessman and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, titled, “Assisting DFW Businesses During the Coronavirus.”  The Cumulus Media stations will simulcast the program from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm CST.  The WBAP/KLIF Town Hall will be hosted by Brian Estridge and Rick Roberts and topics addressed will include: How can businesses survive during these times?; How would the government’s Coronavirus Spending Package assist?; and How can consumers help their local community businesses?

Weighing the Economy Versus Lives Is Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 23-27.  The ethical dilemma of whether to save the country’s economy by reopening businesses or keep them shut to limit the deaths and the toll on the health care system was the most-talked-about story on news/talk this week and sitting atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the stimulus deal being crafted in Congress and the activity on the world’s financial markets.  Coming in at #3 is the status of the U.S. health care system, followed by the presidential race and politics at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

iHeartMedia and Salem Media Group Withdraw Guidance on First Quarter of This Year. Not surprisingly, two of the radio industry’s corporations – iHeartMedia, Inc. and Salem Media Group Inc. – are announcing they are withdrawing their financial guidance originally provided on their 2019 fourth quarter earnings calls.  iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “Given the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the duration and magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the U.S. economy, we believe it is appropriate to withdraw our full-year 2020 guidance.  While we cannot determine the full extent of COVID-19’s impact on our business at this time, we are monitoring this rapidly evolving situation closely and look forward to discussing our business in greater detail as part of our first quarter 2020 earnings results investor call.”  iHeartMedia COO and CFO Rich Bressler adds, “iHeartMedia had a strong January and February before the effects of COVID-19 began to unfold into a global pandemic in early March.  The challenges that COVID-19 has created for advertisers and consumers has impacted iHeart’s revenue in recent weeks, creating a less clear business outlook in the near term.  To maintain maximum financial flexibility during this period, we have drawn $350 million on our $450 million senior secured asset-based revolving credit facility (“ABL Facility”).  We believe that the additional funds from drawing on our ABL Facility, in combination with our cash balance, provides us with a prudent level of liquidity at this time. We fully appreciate the unprecedented challenges posed by this crisis, however, we remain confident in our business, our employees and our strategy. With our experienced management team and our leadership position in the audio sector, we are committed to navigating this period while serving our audiences and other constituents.”  Salem Media Group, Inc. says in a statement, “Based on current indications, Salem expects total first quarter 2020 revenue will be less than previously projected as a result of decreased revenues from advertising, programming, events and book sales.  Due to continuing uncertainties regarding the ultimate scope and trajectory of COVID-19’s spread and evolution, the effects of the pandemic on Salem’s audiences, programmers and advertisers, and current and potential future governmental restrictions that may be adopted in the markets in which Salem operates, it is impossible to predict the total impact that the pandemic may have on Salem’s business.”

TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Michael Savage is appointed by President Trump to the board of directors of the Presidio Trust for a term expiring May 4, 2023.  Along with the National Park Service, the Presidio Trust manages the Presidio of San Francisco, the former military fort that is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  The host of the Westwood One-syndicated “The Savage Nation” holds a doctorate in ethnobotanical research from the University of California and both a Master of Science in botany and a Master of Arts in anthropology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WGN-AM station manager Todd Manley is producing a new podcast via his EarSight Studios that pairs Windy City communications consultants Lissa Druss and Thom Serafin for “The Crisis Cast.”  The episodes will be hosted by former WBBM-AM/WFCS-FM anchor Mariam Sobh.  EarSight expects to produce three to five podcasts per week…..Today (3/27), Cox Media Group’s Atlanta stations – led by news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM – is hosting a virtual food drive to benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank as part of the Stronger Together ATL campaign.  Atlanta Community Food Bank continues to provide meals for children, families and seniors as access to nutritious food throughout the COVID-19 crisis, by working with more than 600 nonprofit partners and the new Text for Help program…..The Cumulus Media news/talk teams at WBAP and KLIF-AM in Dallas were well represented at this year’s Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Contest.   Reporter Clayton Neville won First Place for Spot News by a Reporter for his coverage of the August 2019 El Paso Shooting.  The WBAP news team was awarded Second Place for Spot Coverage by a Station for coverage of the North Dallas Tornadoes in October.  For the 6th year KLIF morning drive anchors Dave Williams and Amy Chodroff won First Place for News Anchor Team and WBAP’s Brian Estridge won First Place for Sports Play-by-Play.

PPM Analysis: Classic Rock. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on classic rock.  It was a mixed bag in February for classic rock stations in the PPM markets, with 44% of stations losing weekly, 6+ AQH share and 46% gaining.  Year-over-year, 50% of classic rockers lost share while 43% saw an increase.  Three classic rock outlets – all owned by iHeartMedia – ranked #1 in February: KRFX, Denver “The Fox” (5.7), WRFX, Charlotte “The Fox” (7.9), and WAQX, New York (in the Middlesex-Somerset-Union market) (7.4).  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro AJ Dukette joins Saga Communications’ classic hits WYNZ, Portland “Rewind 100.9” to host mornings, taking over for the recently retired Chuck Igo.  Saga vice president of programming Bob Lawrence says, “When learning that Chuck was retiring, we began an extensive search for the right person to fill his shoes and then – Voila! – AJ appeared late last week.  We could not be more thrilled to welcome such a talented, Portland icon.”…..Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the annual Mountain Jam Festival scheduled for May 29-31 at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel, New York has been cancelled.  Acts scheduled to perform included Gov’t Mule, Trey Anastasio Band, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, The Head and the Heart, Grace Potter, and many more…..Empire State Realty Trust and iHeartMedia announce their partnership to “reach those sheltering at home” with WHTZ, New York Z100’s radio waves and Empire State Building’s world-famous tower lights.  Tonight at 9:00 pm, the tower of the Empire State Building will illuminate the New York City skyline and beam iHeartMedia’s Z100 with a light show synced to the modern era anthem of New York City, Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind.”  The light show will replay on Saturday, March 28, and then again from Monday, March 30 through Thursday, April 2.  On Sunday, March 29, the Empire State Building will “shine in a dynamic heartbeat” from 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm in support of the “FOX Presents the iHeart Living Room Concert for America.”

Thursday, March 19, 2020

| March 19, 2020

WGN, Chicago Parts Company with Evening Personality Justin Kaufmann.  As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, evening talk host Justin Kaufmann leaves Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM after the company elected not to renew his contract.  Kaufmann joined WGN in 2015 after spending 21 years as a show producer at Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM.  Feder says his sources expect Ji Suk Yi to move from her position as host of the “Wintrust Business Lunch” noontime program to host of the evening show.  Since Nexstar took over operation of the station from Tribune Media, on-air changes have included the exit of morning host Steve Cochran – replaced by Bob Sirott – and midday duo Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder – whose former daypart was filled with a combination of the move of John Williams’ show to late mornings and Anna Davlantes leaving the Roe Conn afternoon drive show to host her own early afternoon program.

WNIR-FM, Akron Host Jim Isabella Out with Coronavirus. According to a report at CantonRep.com, WNIR, Akron evening talk show host Jim Isabella is off the air after contracting COVID-19.  Isabella tells the news organization he had flu-like symptoms last week and was hospitalized for pneumonia.  It was there he was tested for coronavirus and two days later learned the test was positive. He’s quoted saying, “Obey what the people are telling you.  I don’t know where the hell I got it.  You have to be smart… this is not a drill.”  Isabella says he has a cough and a rattle in his chest that makes it hard to talk for very long.

The Coronavirus Pandemic, Financial Markets Activity/Recession Fears, Coronavirus Relief Package, and Democratic Primary/Presidential Race, Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/18).  The status of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S and across the globe; the world’s financial markets endure another sell-off on Wednesday and economists express fear of a global recession as a result of the coronavirus; the coronavirus relief package and potential stimulus packages being considered by the Trump administration; and Joe Biden’s growing lead over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary race were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Round Three of Nielsen’s February PPM’s Posted. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2020 PPM survey is released for 12 markets, including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus.  The February PPM survey covered January 30 through February 26.  You can see all the weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian posts his Ratings Takeaways from the second round.  Positive movement from these markets include: Cumulus Media’s WMAL-FM, Washington adds four-tenths to finish the ratings period at a 7.3 share and the #3 rank in the market; Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington also added four tenths to wrap the month at a 7.8 share and tied for the #1 rank; Entercom’s all-news WWJ, Detroit tacks a half share onto January’s four-tenths to finish the February survey at a 4.8 share and the #6 rank; iHeartMedia’s conservative talk KDFD, Denver “Freedom 93.7” adds another three-tenths, posting a 3.6 share and the #13 rank; and Hearst’s WBAL, Baltimore puts another half share on top of seven consecutive ratings gains for a 4.4 share and the #8 rank in the market.  See all of Mike Kinosian’s Takeaways here.

New York Festivals Radio Awards Announces 2020 Finalists. The 2020 New York Festivals Radio Awards International Grand Jury has selected the finalists in this year’s competition.  All finalists move on to the medal round of judging.  New York Festivals Radio Awards will announce the 2020 award winners on Tuesday, April 21.  The Grand Jury selected the finalists based on the following criteria: production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity, and use of the medium. New York Festivals says prominent broadcasters that took the lead include: RTÉ Ireland, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBS News Radio, and Radio New Zealand. You can see the complete list of finalists here. Meanwhile, other U.S. broadcasters of note to make the medal round include: in the Podcast category – “30 for 30 Podcasts: Season 6,” ESPN Films, “Amy Schumer Presents: 3 Girls, 1 Keith” Spotify; “Dolly Parton’s America,” OSM Audio/ WNYC Studios; and “Sleepwalkers,” iHeartMedia.  In the Breaking News, Feature and Investigative categories: “75th Anniversary of D-Day,” Westwood One; “Protests Grip Hong Kong,” Bloomberg LP; “CBS World News Roundup” and “Notre Dame,” CBS News Radio.

TALKERS News Notes. The New Jersey Broadcasters Association announces it is canceling this year’s Annual Conference & Gala, originally scheduled for June 16 and 17 in Atlantic City.  President and CEO Paul Rotella says, “That’s not something we wanted to do, because we enjoy that event and we were very much looking forward to it.  Like you, we treasure the opportunity to shine a spotlight on our magnificent industry, especially this year when we were going to celebrate the century of service provided by broadcasters.  But our number-one priority at this time is health and safety, and the CDC’s guidelines make clear that gatherings over 50 people should be avoided for at least the next eight weeks, and of course that makes our planning futile. (It was going to be great too!) But, the show will go on my friends, if not this year, then next year.”…..John FredericksDisruptor Media LLC buys WNTW-AM, Chester, Virginia and translator W224EB, Chester at 92.7 FM in the Richmond market from Nancy A. Epperson’s Delmarva Educational Association for $240,000.  This pair will become part of the John Fredericks Radio Network based at his WJFN-FM, Goochland, Virginia…..Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois-based Big Radio is creating an online directory connecting consumers with the innovative ways that local businesses are continuing to serve them during the COVID-19 emergency.  The directory provides information on local restaurants, retailers, and other businesses that are offering services while still complying with the health emergency directives.  Listings are updated on a regular basis and are being provided free of charge to businesses in the Big Radio family of stations coverage area.  Big Radio co-owner Ben Thompson says, “Local businesses are the biggest supporters of our community and we wanted to find a way to help them publicize changes in their operations so that community residents could lend a hand by continuing to shop local.”  Big Radio is the business brand of Scott and Ben Thompson who own 10 stations and other businesses throughout Wisconsin and Illinois.

KMZQ, Las Vegas Morning Host Heidi Harris Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Although every corner of the nation and world have been hit hard by the coronavirus, Las Vegas has been particularly impacted due to the preponderance of hospitality and travel-oriented industries that make the market tick.  KMZQ, Las Vegas morning host Heidi Harris is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Harris, a 22-year veteran of Las Vegas broadcasting, and Harrison take a conversational deep dive into the coronavirus-era machinations of the “gig economy” as well as state of the convention, travel, hospitality, and gambling industries in a fascinating, fast-paced program with lots of takeaways.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the New York market Mediaco Holdings appoints Jonathan Bates vice president of brand partnerships for hip hop WQHT “Hot 97” and urban contemporary WBLS.  Bates has been serving as executive vice president for The Shadow League, a “website dedicated to presenting journalistically sound sports coverage through the lens of culture.”  Mediaco SVP of revenue Victor Giacomelli says, “Jonathan is an exceptional digital sales and marketing leader whose 20 years of digital experience will enable us to accelerate opportunities for clients to benefit from the wide array of authentic ‘Hot 97’ digital content opportunities.  Jonathan is expected to recruit a team of multicultural digital marketing specialists to partner with clients on a variety of ‘Hot 97’ digital and social opportunities.”…..iHeartMedia’s WXKS-FM, Boston “Kiss 108” is presenting a Billie Eilish experience this evening to offer fans who would have attended Eilish’s canceled concert in town tonight (3/19).  At 7:30 pm, the station will play Eilish’s music, interview clips, and listeners sharing their Billie thoughts and stories.  Station PD Dylan Sprague states, “Since her show at the Garden has been postponed, it’s the best way for fans to join together in our love for Billie Eilish.  If we were at the show, we’d be all singing these songs together.  Why not belt ‘em out at home?”

Thursday, March 12, 2020

| March 12, 2020

Broadcasting Conferences Postponed/Cancelled; TALKERS Conference on for June 5. Radio industry watchers are by now aware that the National Association of Broadcasters has cancelled April’s NAB Show in Las Vegas.  That convention may be rescheduled for later in the year.  Radio trade publication AllAccess has postponed its Worldwide Radio Summit originally scheduled for later this month in Los Angeles to an unspecified future date.  Obviously, these decisions come on the heels of recommendations by health officials to avoid large crowds in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  At this point in time, the TALKERS magazine conference scheduled for June 5 in New York City will go on as planned, however according to publisher Michael Harrison, “That situation will ultimately be determined within the next month based on the facts at that time.”  The date of the conference is a full 12 weeks from tomorrow, and it is our hope that the coronavirus pandemic will be under control by then, making such a gathering a safe one to attend.  Please continue to monitor TALKERS magazine for new information about the conference agenda.

Saga Communications Reports 2019 Q4 and Full Year Financial Data.  Releasing its financial data for the fourth quarter of 2019 and for the full year of 2019, Saga Communications reports net operating revenue of $31.8 million for Q4, down 3.5% from the same period in 2018.  For the full year of 2019, Saga reports net operating revenue of $123.1 million, a decrease of 1.4% over the full year of 2018.  The company adds that station operating expense decreased $711 thousand to $23.1 million and operating income decreased $575 thousand to $5.4 million.  Net income decreased $454 thousand to $3.8 million for the quarter.  Saga reports it had $44 million in cash on hand as of December 31, 2019 and $47 million as of March 9, 2020.  The company’s total bank debt was $10 million as of the end of the year.

COVID-19 Declared Pandemic, Trump Suspends European Travel, NBA Suspends Season, Dow Plummets, Saudi Arabia Launches Oil War, and the Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/11). The World Health Organization’s declaration that COVID-19 is a now an official pandemic; President Trump’s address to the nation and his suspension of travel from Europe; the National Basketball Association suspends its season after a player tests positive for the coronavirus; the Dow sinks even further as the world’s financial markets continue to be hit by the effects of the coronavirus; Saudi Arabia’s oil war against Russia and its effect on global oil prices; and the race between Democrats Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders for the nomination were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated “BOB & TOM Show” is cancelling two of its upcoming remote broadcasts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The first cancellation is a live appearance by the ensemble cast of the show – including host Tom Griswold, on March 26 – for the Opening Day of the Cincinnati Reds baseball season.  That appearance was to have featured a live broadcast with Cumulus Cincinnati affiliate WOFX-FM.  The show has also canceled an April 3 live broadcast at a Charleston, West Virginia casino as part of affiliate WKLC-FM’s celebration of its 40th year as a classic rock station…..Talk host and digital media producer Alex Jones was arrested for DWI in Travis County, Texas early Tuesday morning.  This came about four hours after police were summoned to a home for a disturbance being reported by Jones’ wife.  The Austin Statesman reports that Jones’ wife told authorities the two had had a physical confrontation earlier in the day but were at that time having a verbal fight.  After Jones left the house, she called authorities told them he was driving and “was possibly drinking.”  Jones was later released on $3,000 bond…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Good Karma Brands-operated sports talk WMVP, Chicago “ESPN 1000” is adding NBC Sports Chicago anchor/reporter Chuck Garfien to its staff as a White Sox expert.  Garfien will appear on the “Kap & Company,” “Carmen and Jurko,” and “Waddle and Silvy” shows.  Feder also writes today that all next week, Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder will sit in for Big John Howell on Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM afternoon show.  The duo – formerly in middays at crosstown WGN-AM – began producing a podcast for WLS last month.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Through a deal with Canadian syndicator Orbyt Media, Premiere Networks is bringing its hip-hop morning show “The Breakfast Club” to radio in Canada.  The show – hosted by DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlamagne Tha God – debuts on Stingray Group’s CFXJ-FM, Toronto on Monday (3/16)…..On-air pro Taylor Dickson joins Townsquare Media’s alternative WRRV, Middletown, New York (Hudson Valley market) as morning drive co-host and music director.  WRRV brand manager Bill Dunn says, “Taylor was a rock star in our internship program a few years ago and I remember her asking all the right questions.  She’s worked hard to get to this point and has a very bright future ahead of her.”…..Morning personality Stephen Clark announces he’s leaving his position with Entercom’s classic hits WOMC, Detroit to pursue his career in country music.  He tweeted, “Two years ago, shortly after I announced my retirement from Channel 7, WOMC came to me with an offer to do the morning show in hopes of moving into a competitive position.  I had plans to focus more on my music in Nashville….but, hey, I like a challenge.  With the awesome team of JoAnne, Jason, Julia and me, in just two years we are now consistently in the top tier of morning shows… but I still have a music career to focus on and getting up every morning at 4:30 doesn’t mesh well with the late-night nature of live music.”…..Entercom announces the band Local Natives will perform at the RADIO.COM Live event series at the HD Radio Sound Space in Los Angeles tonight (3/12) at 8:00 pm ET.  RADIO.COM SVP and general manager Pam Russo says, “The RADIO.COM Live event series is excited to welcome Local Natives to the stage.  Our listeners from coast-to-coast will get a preview of the band’s performance before they go on tour in May.”

Friday, September 20, 2019

| September 20, 2019

Nexstar Closes on Tribune; Former Clear Channel Exec Sean Compton to Lead WGN-AM. Just a day after the FCC approved Nexstar’s acquisition of Tribune Media’s television stations and lone radio asset, WGN-AM, the company closed on the $6.4 billion deal.  At least for now, Nexstar appears it is going to continue to operate news/talk WGN-AM and not put it on the block.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Nexstar has named Sean Compton executive vice president in charge of its programming acquisitions, the WGN America and Antenna TV cable networks, as well as WGN-AM.  Regular TALKERS readers may remember that Compton was a Clear Channel (before it was iHeartMedia) programming executive whom Randy Michaels brought from Cincinnati to Chicago in 2008 to serve as SVP of programming and entertainment when Michaels was heading up Tribune.  Compton remained with Tribune after Michaels exited his leadership of the company in 2010.

ABC Radio Rebrands as ABC Audio. In a memo to staff, ABC Audio vice president and general manager Stacia Philips Deshishku announces the company is now officially using ABC Audio instead of ABC Radio for its umbrella brand.  She says, “You’re all aware of the new platforms entering consumers’ lives, from podcast distribution to interactive voice and beyond. ABC Audio recognizes that technology is evolving, but the value of our work remains constant. So, this is as much a commitment to our listeners that they will find our storytelling anytime and everywhere, as it is to you that your excellent work will continue to find the audiences it deserves.”  At the same time, Deshishku announces that Heidi Oringer is promoted to executive director of business strategy, programming and distribution and Abe Velez is promoted to director of business development and strategy.  Oringer was most recently director of affiliate solutions.  Velez has been serving in the business development department.

Michael Savage Recounts Air Force One Experience.  Nationally syndicated talk radio star Michael Savage (above) was asked by President Trump to travel aboard Air Force One with him during his California trip this week.  The Westwood One personality tells a story about his lunch with the president: “While sitting with President Trump on Air Force One, two hot dogs are delivered for the president.  I’m starving at this point.  President Trump looks and he must have seen my eyes dart at the hot dogs, and he says, “You want one?” I said, “Sure.”  He takes one off his plate delicately onto another plate.  He says to me, “Would you like mustard or ketchup?”  Then he mentions, “No, you don’t want that ketchup with sugar on it.  Do you?” I don’t know how he knows this, but I found out that they know what I say on the radio.  President Trump then dollops out the mustard for me from his plate, showing a certain humility and generosity that you may not be aware of from him.  It is in the little things that you could see a person’s behavior.  Here’s the interesting part.  I’m from Queens but I grew up on the other side of Union Turnpike from the president.  He cut his hot dog in pieces and ate them with a knife and fork.  I ate it like I was at a baseball game because I never saw a hot dog eaten with a knife and fork.  That’s because he grew up on the other side of the tracks, but years later we wound up in the same place at the same time sharing his lunch because he’s a very generous and down to earth man.”

Giants Coach Cancels Radio Segment with WFAN’s Mike Francesa. As reported by NorthJersey.com, New York Giants coach Pat Shurmer has notified Entercom’s WFAN, New York that he is no longer going to do the weekly radio interview with afternoon drive host Mike Francesa.  The “Sports Pope” has been extremely critical of the Giants’ offseason moves and its performances in the first two games of the season and it appears Shurmer doesn’t want to be in the hot seat facing Francesa’s criticism each week.  That’s not how Shurmer put it, though.  He said yesterday, “Well, I think that was an organizational decision not to do that.  Most people aren’t aware of this, but I wasn’t contractually obligated to do that spot.  We did it as a courtesy and out of respect for our relationship with the radio station.  So, we just felt like for a while here we just put that to bed for a while and not do it and move forward.”  Francesa talked about it on his show saying, “Listen, not everybody’s cut out for handling what is the real intense spotlight that there is in the city, that comes with these jobs. Being the head football coach of the Giants is a very, very big job.  It gets a lot of attention.  It has a lot of light and heat in the center.  The Giants have unfortunately, from at least my estimation, have become very good at hiding and very good at losing.  That’s my take.  And they need to turn both around.”

New Installment Posted of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The recently launched, one-hour experimental weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” produced by Goodphone Communications that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (9/20).  The new episode titled “Storm Clouds of Military, Trade and Partisan War!” looks back at this past week of September 16-20, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Joe Pags, host, Compass Media NetworksThom Hartmann, host WYD Media; Tom Sullivan, host Talk Media NetworkDr. Daliah Wachs, host GCN; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  This increasingly acclaimed news/talk radio show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as a recap and exclamation point for the week-in-review as well as several other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA and the iHeart Radio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

New “Scal & Pals’ Show to Stream on RADIO.COM. The new program will feature co-hosts Brian Scalabrine and Steve Ceruti and will stream live from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm ET on Entercom’s RADIO.COM Sports Digital Network.  It launches Monday (9/23) and will be dedicated to coverage of the NBA.  Entercom president of sports Mike Dee says, “We are excited to launch a digital show that will have mass appeal to all hardcore basketball fans. The lineup of contributors headlined by Scal will feature an interesting and entertaining mix of personalities and perspectives.  We aspire to have this be the best basketball content fans can find anywhere and we are eager to engage with one of the most dynamic fan bases of any sport.”  Scalabrine spent 11 seasons in the NBA playing for the New Jersey Nets, Boston Celtics, and Chicago Bulls.  Ceruti is a long-time producer at ESPN with experience working under Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo.  The new show will also feature commentary from former players such as Caron Butler, current players like Admiral Schofield of the Washington Wizards, longtime sportswriter and broadcaster Ric Bucher, former Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough and more.

Lauter to Lead iHeartMedia’s Madison Operations. Media executive Drew Lauter is named market president for iHeartMedia’s Madison brands.  Lauter, who will report to Minneapolis division president Jeff Tyler, will “oversee the market’s programming, advertising, and operations… as well as create new business and revenue opportunities.”  Tyler says, “I am very excited to welcome Drew’s experience and vision to iHeartMedia.  He’s excited about taking his family to one of the premier cities in the Midwest and I am thrilled that he will be leading a great team and some of our market-leading, legendary brands in Madison.”  Lauter has served with such companies as SonyLucent, Qello Concerts, and Qello Media.

U.S.-Iran Tensions/Saudi Oil Attack Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 16-20. The military tensions between the U.S. and Iran and the related Saudi oil facility attack was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the Lewandowski hearings, tied with the Democrats’ impeachment strategy, and the intelligence Trump whistleblower report.  Coming in at #3 was the new Kavanaugh allegations, followed by U.S.-China relations, the economy, and the Fed rates cuts tied at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

National Radio Talent System Names Alexus Parker Institutes Director. The National Radio Talent System announces the hiring of new institutes director, Alexus Parker. In this position, she will work directly with the broadcasters, universities, and students of the Radio Talent Institutes, and manage social media. National Radio Talent System president Dan Vallie states, “We talked to quite a few people about the position, but Alexus came highly recommended and is very impressive. She is a great fit for our team as we continue to grow the National Radio Talent System and the Radio Talent Institutes across the country.” Previously, Parker was the marketing director for iHeartMedia’s Raleigh, North Carolina station group.

Elizabeth Smart to Keynote Gracies Leadership Awards. The Alliance for Women in Media announces that author and children’s advocate Elizabeth Smart will deliver a keynote address at the Gracies Leadership Awards on Thursday, November 21, 2019, at The Plaza Hotel in New York City.  Smart is known for her 2002 abduction and since then has founded the “Elizabeth Smart Foundation” and worked for change related to child abduction, recovery programs, and national legislation. Alliance for Women in Media Foundation executive director Becky Brooks says, “The Alliance for Women in Media is proud to honor women for their extraordinary accomplishments.  It is our honor to have Elizabeth Smart, a past Gracie winner, as this year’s keynote speaker, as her address will surely inspire and empower all in attendance.”  Find more information on this event and to reserve your seat here.

FOCUS ON HEALTH AND HEALTH CARE: Dr. Daliah Wachs Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  There are many aspects of health and health care in the news from vaping, vaccines, flesh-eating bacteria, opioid abuse, and the high cost of prescription medicine to political debate over which way to go regarding the entire American health care system.  Should we maintain the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and simply build upon it as Joe Biden suggests?  Should we go to single payer universal health care and Medicare for all as promoted by Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders?  Or should we go in a completely different direction with a new plan that has yet to be designed by President Trump and the Republicans?  Nationally syndicated Genesis Communications Network (GCN) radio talk show host Daliah Wachs, M.D. is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Wachs, a member of the TALKERS “Heavy Hundred,” is widely respected for her medical credentials and general political neutrality.  She and Harrison address today’s hot health issues and more from a non-political perspective.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Network News Opportunities. There are three news positions at FOX News open.  The first is an overnight freelance anchor at FOX News Radio.  The job description states: “We are looking for a Freelance Overnight News Anchor to join our Fox News family as on-air talent for FOX News Radio/FOX News Headlines 24/7 Sirius XM Channel 115. As a Radio News anchor you will work under tight deadlines and deliver top notch newscasts. You have a passion for breaking news and the flexibility to work on a days’ notice.” See more and to apply here.  The company also has freelance writer position for FOX News Headlines 24/7 open – see that information here – and a freelance producer/news editor position open that you can learn more about here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Atlanta hot AC WSTR “Star 94.1” has a new program director as Entercom appoints Jerry McKenna to the position, taking over for Ron Roberts.  McKenna was most recently serving as program director for Cape Cod Broadcasting.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

| July 18, 2019

Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Continue Posting Today with “Talk Radio in the Era of Watch What You Say” Panel.  TALKERS is continuing to post key speeches, presentations and sessions from the recent 22nd annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story.  Today’s (7/18) post presents the panel discussion “Talk Radio in the Era of Watch What You Say” featuring panelists (in alphabetical order) Michael Berry, host, Michael Berry Show; Grace Blazer, national brand coordinator of news/talk/sports programming and director of AM programming Miami/Fort Lauderdale, iHeart Media;  Karen Hunter, host SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Brett Winterble, host KFMB, San Diego; Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore; and Dan Yorke, host WPRO, Providence.   Posted yesterday (7/17): WPG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley saluting the Broadcasters Foundation of America and Vince Benedetto, CEO of Bold Gold Media Group receiving the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Talk Radio Broadcaster (“Humanitarian of the Year”).  Also already posted: a special luncheon address by former Trump Administration advisor Sebastian Gorka, now a personality syndicated by Salem Radio Network; the panel discussion “Adding the Video Component to Talk Radio” featuring Howie Carr, host of the Howie Carr Show (Howie Carr Radio Network and Newsmax TV), Jared Hart, former PD, WPHT, Philadelphia, and  Art Vuolo, president, Vuolo Video.  The session was introduced and facilitated by Scott Lakefield, APD, WOR, New York.  Already posted: the special keynote address delivered by CBS Sports Radio syndicated host Jim Rome with an introduction from Yappy Days author/college professor Bernadette Duncan; the panel discussion, “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in 2019” featuring (in alphabetical order) Asa Andrew, host, AsaRx;  Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group;  Suzanne Grimes, EVP/marketing, Cumulus Media and president, Westwood One; and Dave Robinett, chief marketing officer, #250-America’s Mobile Speed Dial – moderated by Erica Farber, president and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) and introduced by renown independent station owner Michael Zwerling of KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz, CA; the special keynote address by Key Networks syndicated personality Bill O’Reilly; the one-on-one discussion, “Sports Talk Radio’s Role in Popular Culture” featuring a conversation between Mark Chernoff, senior VP/programming WFAN/Entercom, NY and captain/sports format, CBS Sports Radio and Mike Thomas, PD, WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Boston and brand manager/spoken word, podcasts, esports, Beasley Broadcasting with  Kate Delaney, host, GCN and correspondent NBC Sports Radio, serving as facilitator; the panel discussion, “Broadcasting and Podcasting,” featuring (in alphabetical order) Greg Batusic, chief operating officer, PodcastOneSteven Goldstein, founder/CEO Amplifi MediaMichael Czarnecki, program director, WONK-FM, Washington, DC and iHeartRadio Podcast Channel; and Craig Schwalb, former program director WABC, New York and WPRO, Providence with moderation by Mike Kinosian, managing editor/West Coast bureau chief, TALKERS; the keynote “fireside chat” in which TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity in a casual one-on-one conversation introduced by DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones; the opening address titled, “Telling the Story,” delivered by Lee Habeeb, host and producer of the successful syndicated program, “Our American Stories;” RAB president/CEO Erica Farber receiving the Woman of the Year award and SiriusXM Satellite Radio star “Cousin” Bruce Morrow receiving the Lifetime Achievement award. The convention took place in New York City on Friday, June 7 and was one of the most positively received in the event’s colorful history.  TALKERS plans to add one or two videos per day to those posted until all the major events of the conference are posted here at Talkers.com where they will remain on view for the rest of the year.  To see the videos and convention video page, please click here.

Cumulus Media Charleston Market Manager Dollar Passes. After battling breast cancer, Cumulus Media Charleston (South Carolina) vice president/market manager Sherry Dollar died yesterday morning (Wednesday, 7/17). She was surrounded by her family, who ask for nothing more than prayers and to honor her last wish to, “be kind.” Cumulus Media president/chief executive officer Mary Berner comments, “Sherry was a terrific market manager and a terrific human being. She will be sorely and deeply missed by all of us.” The company’s executive vice president of operations Bob Walker notes that, “Sherry’s passion for this business was only surpassed by her passion for life. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and I will forever be grateful to have worked with her.” Details about memorial services honoring Dollar’s life are forthcoming. The Cumulus Media Charleston cluster consists of news/talk WTMA “News Talk 1250”; classic hits-oldies WIWF “96.9 The Wolf”; urban AC WMGL “Magic 107.3”; CHR WSSX “95-SX Hit Music Now”; and urban contemporary WWWZ “Z-93 Jamz.”

Finalists: NAB Marconi Radio Awards. “Legendary Manager of the Year,” and “Best Radio Station Podcast” are the two new categories for this year’s NAB Marconi Radio Awards, honoring radio stations and on-air personalities for excellence in broadcasting. Additionally, “Best College Radio Station of the Year” has been renamed from “Noncommercial Station of the Year.” Here are the five finalists in each of the 23 categories.

Legendary Station of the Year”: KCBS-AM, San Francisco; KNX, Los Angeles, KRTH, Los Angeles, WBAL, Baltimore, and WBAP-AM.

Legendary Manager of the Year”: Ben Downs, Bryan Broadcasting, College Station, Texas; Charlie Morgan, WQHT-FM, WBLS-FM and WLIB-AM, New York; Dan Seeman, Hubbard Broadcasting, Minneapolis-St. Paul; Mark Anderson, WBZZ-FM and WDSY-FM, Pittsburgh; and Nick Martin, Big River Broadcasting, Florence, Alabama.

Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year”: Bob Lacey & Sheri Lynch, Now Media; Elvis Duran, Premiere Networks; Rickey Smiley, Reach Media, Inc.; Rush Limbaugh, Premiere Networks; and Ryan Seacrest, Premiere Networks.

Major Market Personality of the Year”: Ebro Darden, WQHT, New York; Ellen K, KOST, Los Angeles; Felger & Massarotti, WBZ-FM, Boston; Preston & Steve, WMMR, Philadelphia; and The Musers, KTCK-AM, Dallas.

“Large Market Personality of the Year”: Crisco, Dez and Ryan, KSTP-FM, Minneapolis; Jack Harris, WFLA-AM, Tampa; Mercedes Martinez, KMXB, Las Vegas; Mike Calta, WHPT, Tampa; and Mojo, WKQI, Detroit.

“Medium Market Personality of the Year”: Brent Lane, WYCT, Pensacola, Florida; Buzz Jackson, KIIM, Tucson; Harlen The Sports Guy and Pigskin Bob, KYKX, Tyler, Texas; Jeff and Amanda, WKRZ, Wilkes-Barre; and Mike Street, WBTJ, Richmond.

“Small Market Personality of the Year”: Brent Carl Fleshman, WHUB, Cookeville, Tennessee; Chris and Rosie, WUSQ, Winchester, Virginia; Glenner Anderson, KXLR-FM, Fairbanks, Alaska; Scotty and Catryna, KCLR-FM, Columbia, Missouri; and Shags & Trevor, KCMG-FM, Columbia, Missouri.

“Major Market Station of the Year”: KIIS-FM, Los Angeles; WKYS, Washington, D.C.; WTOP-FM, Washington, D.C.; WWPR, New York, NY; and WYCD, Detroit.

“Large Market Station of the Year”: KOA, Denver; KSTP-FM, Minneapolis; KQMV, Seattle; WMTX, Tampa; and WXTB, Tampa.

“Medium Market Station of the Year”: KIPR, Little Rock; KRMG, Tulsa; WHKO, Dayton; WKHK, Richmond; and WSSL, Greenville, South Carolina.

“Small Market Station of the Year”: KFGO-AM, Fargo, North Dakota; KROX, Crookston, Minnesota; KWYO-AM, Sheridan, Wyoming; WNDH, North Canton, Ohio; and WXLP-FM, Davenport, Iowa.

“Best Radio Podcast of the Year”: “Behind the Song,” WDRV, Chicago; “Denied Justice Podcast,” WCCO, Minneapolis; “Garage Logic,” Hubbard Broadcasting, Minneapolis; “On the Table,” NET, Lincoln, Nebraska; and “What Had Happened Was,” WHIO-FM, Dayton.

“Adult Contemporary Station of the Year”: KODA, Houston; KRWM, Seattle; WBZZ, Pittsburgh; WMAG, Greensboro; and WSHE, Chicago.

“CHR Station of the Year”: KRBE, Houston; KTXY-FM, Columbia, Missouri; WKZL, Greensboro; WQHT, New York; and WWPW, Atlanta.

“Classic Hits Station of the Year”: WMGK, Philadelphia; WMJI, Cleveland; WMMO, Orlando; WOGL, Philadelphia; and WXGL, Tampa.

“College Radio Station of the Year”: WHPC-FM, Nassau Community College, Garden City, New York; WMSC-FM, Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey; WRCC-FM, Rider University, Lawrenceville, New Jersey; WRHU-FM, Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York; and WSOU-FM, Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey.

“Country Station of the Year”: KILT-FM, Houston; KSCS, Dallas; KUBL, Salt Lake City; KYGO, Denver; and
WQHK-FM, Fort Wayne, Indiana;

“News/Talk Station of the Year”: KIRO-FM, Seattle; KTMY, Minneapolis; WDBO-FM, Orlando; WINS, New York; and WKXW, Trenton, New Jersey.

“Religious Station of the Year”: KKFS, Sacramento; KKJM-FM, St. Cloud, Minnesota; KNWI-FM, West Des Moines, Iowa; KPWJ-FM, College Station, Texas; and WRVL-FM, Lynchburg, Virginia.

“Rock Station of the Year”: KISS, San Antonio; WCSX, Detroit; WIYY, Baltimore; WPLR-FM, New Haven, Connecticut; and WRIF, Detroit.

“Spanish Station of the Year”: KLNZ, Phoenix; KLOL, Houston; KLZT, Austin; WOJO, Chicago; and WYUU, Tampa.

“Sports Talk Station of the Year”: KFXN, Minneapolis; WBZ-FM, Boston; WIP, Philadelphia; WKRK, Cleveland; and WXYT-FM, Detroit.

“Urban Contemporary Station of the Year”: KBLX-FM, San Francisco; WBLS, New York; WGCI-FM, Chicago;
WHQT, Miami; and WPEG, Charlotte.

Winners will be announced at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show during the radio Show in Dallas (9/26).

London Contest Among Compass Media Networks’ 2019 NFL Highlights. A double-header will be heard on Compass Media Networks every Sunday over the course of the NFL’s 17-week regular season. Compass Media Networks general manager of sports Michelle Salvatore maintains, “NFL Gameday presented by Compass Media Networks has become a ‘destination listen’ across the country. Our long history with the Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders, and numerous other clubs across the country has enabled us to once again offer a full spectrum of NFL coverage, called by some of the greatest voices to grace the air. We are thrilled to count this as year 11 and are humbled by the success and reach our productions have. This will be an amazing season from anywhere you look – or listen.” Pre-season coverage includes Rams vs. Cowboys in Honolulu and Packers vs. Raiders in Winnipeg, Canada. The first five weeks of the regular season schedule has been finalized and includes Titans vs. Browns; Giants vs. Cowboys; Chiefs vs. Raiders; Steelers vs. 49ers; Packers vs. Cowboys; Jets vs. Eagles; and Bears vs. Raiders from London. Sunday afternoon NFL games will feature Chris Carrino and Jesse Agler (play-by-play); Brian Baldinger and Curtis Conway (analysts); and Jon Rothstein (studio host). Talent for Oakland Raider broadcasts are Brent Musburger (play-by-play); Lincoln Kennedy (analyst); Chris Townsend (sideline reporter); and Tim Cates (studio host). Games of the Dallas Cowboys (available outside the Cowboys’ home territory) will be handled by Kevin Ray (play-by-play); Danny White (analyst); and Jerry Recco (studio host).

King, Sundstrom Boosted at WWO. Two executives in Cumulus Media-owned Westwood One’s 24-hour formats division receive promotions. Specifically, vice president of country programming George King becomes vice president/general manager and will oversee all programming and affiliate management for the company’s 24-hour formats. King will report to Westwood One president of programming Kirk Stirland. Meanwhile, regional affiliate manager Eric Sundstrom is elevated to vice president of affiliate sales and will report to King. Stirland comments, “George is both a gifted, experienced, programmer and a big strategic thinker. He will bring both skills to bear with our customers at 24-hour formats. Very few people understand the local radio marketplace like Eric, which makes him a smart choice for this leadership role. With George and Eric at the helm, we’ll continue to bring high-quality radio to the traditional 24-hour format marketplace, as well make an impact in larger markets that require different features and qualities.” King remarks, “We are proud to be the leader in the field, and we will continue to deliver best-in-class 24-hour content to radio stations nationwide.” Sundstrom notes, “I’m honored to work even more closely with this world-class team of sales and programming talent. I look forward to developing an even deeper relationship with our valued partners and to connecting with new 24-hour format customers.” Prior to joining Westwood One five years ago, King was regional operations manager for Townsquare Media’s stations in Ft. Collins, Colorado. He also worked at country WMZQ, Washington (D.C.). Sundstrom has a more than 20-year affiliate management tenure at Westwood One. He previously held program management positions in Albuquerque at KRST, KRZY, and KKOB-FM.

Pride Media and iHM Team For LGBTQ+ Podcasts. The partnership between iHeartMedia and Pride Media kicks off today (Thursday, 7/18) with “The Outcast,” an iHeartRadio original podcast co-produced with Out Magazine and hosted by its deputy editor Fran Tirado. This weekly podcast will explore queer and queer-adjacent topics as they pertain to politics, pop culture, fashion, relationships, and money. President of iHeartMedia Podcast Network Conal Byrne states, “At iHeartMedia, our goal is to connect exceptional content with diverse audiences. Pride Media has been an authentic voice for the LGBTQ+ community for years, and this partnership would not be possible without their unique expertise. We are proud to partner with them to create and distribute exciting new podcasts for the LGBTQ+ community and beyond.” Tirado remarks, “Podcasting and audio storytelling, particularly in the LGBTQ+ space, needs more voices in it. I can’t wait to help elevate and uplift those voices.” Interim Pride Media CEO Orlando Reece notes, “We’ve seen the power of podcasting firsthand, and we’re looking forward to collaborating with the leading podcast platform to create shows that we know our audience will love. By combining our established brand with iHeart’s massive scale, we’ll be able to reach even more LGBTQ+ individuals across the country through audio.” Out editor-in-chief Phillip Picardi adds, “I’m so thrilled that Fran is blessing us with his unique talents in the podcasting space. Under his vision and direction, I’m hopeful that the stories we’re so proud to tell at Out will be given new dimension and texture.” Later this month, the iHeartMedia Podcast Network will launch Pride Media’s “Food 4 Thot,” which discusses sex, relationships, race, and identity.

Podcast Movement Unveils Content Site, Daily Newsletter. Billed as “the world’s largest conference for podcasters and the podcast industry,” Podcast Movement this week launches a content site for podcasting news, resources, and thought leadership. Guest articles from creators and critics across the industry will be published regularly, offering exclusive materials, information, and insights to podcasters and other podcast industry professionals. Meanwhile, morning-delivered newsletter PodMov Daily is designed to keep podcasters and industry professionals in the loop with news, curated topics, and community updates. Podcast Movement co-founder/president Dan Franks remarks, “While we love providing value to podcasters at our in-person events, we’re excited to now have a platform that provides that value year-round, and allows us to give back in an even bigger way to the community that’s shown us so much support.” The sixth annual Podcast Movement conference will be held next month (8/13 – 16) in Orlando.

LRF Bill Gains More Bipartisan Support. The “Local Radio Freedom Act” (LRFA) now has 184 co-sponsors in the House and 24 in the Senate. The latest four signing on as co-sponsors are representatives Deb Haaland (Democrat-New Mexico); Dan Crenshaw (Republican-Texas); and Van Taylor (Republican-Texas, as well). The additional Senate sponsor is Cindy Hyde-Smith (Republican-Mississippi). The resolution states, “Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station for broadcasting sound recordings over the air, or on any business for the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station broadcast over the air.” Principal co-sponsors of the Local Radio Freedom Act in the House of Representatives (H. Con. Res. 20) are Kathy Castor (Democrat-Florida) and Michael Conaway (Republican-Texas). Senators Martin Heinrich (Democrat-New Mexico) and John Barrasso (Republican-Wyoming) are the lead co-sponsors of a companion resolution in the Senate (S. Con. Res. 5).

TALKERS News Notes. Celebrating its 50th season as the Denver Broncos’ flagship station, iHeartMedia Denver news/talk KOA “News Radio 850 AM & 94.1 FM” debuts “Broncos Country Tonight” tomorrow (Friday, 7/19, 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm). President of the iHeartMedia Denver region Tim Hager notes, the six-hour show “solidifies the strong partnership between the Denver Broncos, KOA and top sports on-air personalities such as [Broncos play-by-play announcer] Dave Logan and [Broncos color analyst] Rick Lewis. From the Denver Broncos training camp to behind-the-scenes preseason coverage, this show will attract a huge following and we’re excited to welcome it to our heritage station.” ….. To coincide with the listing of iHeartMedia’s Class A common stock on the NASDAQ Global Select Market, iHM chair/chief executive officer Bob Pittman and president/chief operating officer/chief financial officer Rich Bressler rang today’s opening bell (Thursday, 7/18) at 9:30 am. The company’s stock began trading today under the ticker “IHRT.”

 

June 2019 PPM Data – Part Four. June 2019 ratings information has been released for Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, and Jacksonville, Nielsen Audio’s June 2019 survey period covered May 23 – June 19. Managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@Talkers.com) provides his “Takeaways” from all four of these PPM-markets. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.

Nashville

Spoken-Word Formats – Down a collective one-half share in three straight down or flat moves (3.6 – 3.6 – 3.2 – 3.1, 6+), Cumulus Media news/talk WWTN “Super Talk 99.7” ends the slide with a gain of four-tenths to 3.5   (#13 to #12, 6+). The repetitive March 2019 through June 2019 topline for iHeartMedia news/talk WLAC “Talk Radio 1510” is: 1.7 – 1.4 – 1.7 – 1.4 (#17 to #19, 6+).

Not only does Cumulus Media-owned sports talk WGFX have its 6+AQH-share carved roughly in half (-2.8) in three straight setbacks (5.5 – 4.8 – 4.2 – 2.7, 6+), “104.5 The Zone” slumps from #11 to #14. The last time WGFX was below a three-share (6+) was July 2017 (2.7, as well). Meanwhile, Cromwell Group-owned WPRT “102.5 The Game” is a combined -1.1 in May/June (1.9 – 1.1 – .8, #21 to #22, 6+).

Adding two-tenths to May’s +1.0 (5.4 – 5.6, 6+), Nashville Public Radio’s WPLN-FM “NPR News and Classical Music” progresses from seventh to fifth. The news/talk/classical hybrid outlet was -1.3 in March/April (5.7 – 4.8 – 4.4, 6+).

Nashville Music Formats – Without an increase three successive reports for an overall -1.2 (7.5 – 6.6 – 6.3 – 6.3, 6+), iHeartMedia’s WNRQ “105.9 The Rock” makes up 75% of the deficit with a +.9 to 7.2 (fourth to third, 6+). Over and above logging its best 6+-stat (4.5) since “Holiday” 2018’s 4.7, Salem Media Group’s WFFH “The Fish” is a collective +1.0 through four straight positive spikes (3.5 – 3.8 – 3.9 – 4.1 – 4.5, #12 to #11, 6+). Four setbacks in succession by Midwest Communications adult contemporary WJXA resulted in a collective -5.9 (14.1 – 10.6 – 9.3 – 8.8 – 8.2, 6+), but “Mix 92.9 – Your Life, Your Music” is now a combined +1.4 in May/June (8.2 – 9.2 – 9.6, 6+) and repeats at #1. Before forfeiting six-tenths in April, “Mix” had been on top the previous 15 ratings periods. Twelve recent WJXA fluctuations include: +1.0 (June 2018); +.9 (August); -.9 (September); -.7 (October); +.9 (November); +1.9 (December); +3.2 (“Holiday” 2018); -3.5 (January 2019); -1.3 (February); -.5 (March); -.6 (April); and +1.0 (May). “Holiday” 2018’s 14.1 is the highest 6+-share for any Nashville outlet since WJXA’s 14.4 in “Holiday” 2017. TBLC Media Spanish contemporary WNVL “Activa 105.1 & 1240 AM” has nearly quadrupled (+1.3) its 6+-stat in five bumps in a row (.5 – .6 – .8 – .9 – 1.5 – 1.8, #18 to #16, 6+). Directly after posting an April increase of seven-tenths (3.0 – 3.7, 6+), Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian WLVU “Positive & Encouraging K-Love” falters by a combined -1.7 in May/June (3.7 – 2.8 – 2.0, #14 to #15, 6+) and posts its lowest 6+-stat (2.0) since February 2018’s 1.0. The March 2019 through June 2019 topline for iHeartMedia CHR WRVW “107.5 The River” is 5.3 – 5.9 – 5.9 – 5.3 (fifth to sixth, 6+). The market’s three major country FMs are separated by just three-tenths of a share. After posting a collective +2.2 in five straight gains (4.1 – 4.2 – 5.4 – 5.9 – 6.1 – 6.3, 6+), Cumulus Media’s WKDF “103.3 Nash FM” falters by one-half share in consecutive sweeps (6.3 – 5.8 – 5.3, flat at #6, 6+). Prior to March, WKDF last hit the six-share threshold in June 2013. Six consecutive sweeps without a loss by iHeartMedia’s WSIX “The Big 98 – Nashville’s #1 for New Country” (steady in eighth-place) net a +1.7 (3.5 – 4.7 – 4.7 – 5.0 – 5.2 – 5.2 – 5.2, 6+). It has a two-tenths advantage over Cumulus Media’s WSM-FM “95.5 Nash Icon,” which was up two-tenths in three successive up or flat moves (5.0 – 5.0 – 5.0 – 5.2, 6+) but squanders two-tenths to 5.0 (eighth to ninth, 6+). Dropping by one-half share in addition to WKDF is iHeartMedia urban contemporary WUBT “101.1 The Beat” (6.8 – 6.3, third to fourth, 6+) with 6.3, its lowest 6+-showing since February’s 6.1.

Providence

Spoken-Word Formats – Slipping from seventh to eighth, Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM “News Talk 630” is a combined -.7 in May/June (3.8 – 3.7 – 3.1, 6+).

Owing to four dips in succession, iHeartMedia-owned news/talk WHJJ “Providence’s News, Traffic, and Weather” forfeits eight-tenths (2.1 – 1.9 – 1.7 – 1.6 – 1.3, 6+) and drops from #13 to #14. Even though Cumulus Media’s WPRV forfeits two-tenths (.7 – .5, 6+), “AM 790 Talk & Business” is back in the top twenty (#21 to #20).

By picking up one-tenth in June to 3.6 (6) – after sputtering by one-half share in May – Entercom sports talker

WVEI progresses from eighth to seventh.

Down three-tenths in May/June (1.3 – 1.2 – 1.0, 6+), iHeartMedia Boston hybrid news – talk WBZ-AM “News Radio 1030” slips from #17 to #18.

Stuck on 2.0 (6+) in April and May,  The Wheeler School’s news/talk WELH is off one-tenth to 1.9 (6+) but stays at #10, while WGBH Educational Foundation Boston news/talk WGBH notches a 1.6 (6+) for the fifth time in the last seven reports (1.6 – 1.6 – 1.9 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.7 – 1.6, #12 to #11, 6+).

Providence Music Formats – Busting out improvements of nine-tenths each are Hall Communications’ WCTK “Cat Country 98.1” (7.6 – 8.5, steady at #3, 6+) and iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies WWBB “B-101” (7.2 – 8.1, fifth to fourth, 6+). When “Cat Country” surrendered two-tenths in May, it halted four straight gains that accounted for a +2.2 (5.6 – 7.2 – 7.4 – 7.4 – 7.8, 6+). That streak, however, followed a collective -3.1 via three declines in succession (8.7 – 8.2 – 6.9 – 5.6, 6+). “B-101,” meanwhile, has its best 6+-performance in nearly a year – matching July 2018’s 8.1. Reaching this Rhode Island market from Boston, iHeartMedia’s WXKS-FM “Kiss 108” is up a collective four-tenths through four successive up or flat Providence moves (1.1 – 1.2 – 1.2 – 1.5 – 1.5, #14 to #13, 6+). In addition to bumping up two-tenths (10.0 – 10.2, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned WHJY “94 HJY Providence’s Home of Rock & Roll” repeats at #1. An April loss of nine-tenths forced WHJY from the top spot after three straight months there. The decline halted four consecutive positive or flat moves that netted a +2.0 (8.5 – 9.8 – 9.8 – 9.8 – 10.5, 6+). Before taking over at #1 in January, WHJY was in the runner-up slot from September 2018 through “Holiday” 2018. Co-owned hot AC WSNE “Coast 93.3,” which cobbled together three consecutive improvements for a collective +1.2 (3.8 – 4.3 – 4.5 – 5.0, 6+), sputters by seven-tenths to 4.3 (6+) and remains at #6. In May, “Coast” reached the five-share level (5.0, 6+) for the first time since October 2018’s 5.5. Unlisted until February 2019, Hall Communications’ classic hits-oldies WNBH more than tripled (+.7) its 6+-stat in three straight upticks (.3 – .4 – .5 -1.0, 6+), but “Big 101.3” sees its 6+ AQH share sliced in half to a .5 (-.5, #18 to #20). In five straight negative or neutral reports, Townsquare Media CHR WFHN “Fun 107 – The South Coast’s #1 Hit Music Station” has lost roughly 60% (-2.6) of its 6+-share (4.2 – 3.7 – 2.6 – 1.9 – 1.9 – 1.6, flat at #11, 6+). Immediately in advance of this stretch, WFHN more than tripled (+3.0) its 6+-stat as a result of six successive up or flat moves (1.2 – 1.3 – 1.4 – 1.4 – 1.5 – 1.7 – 4.2, 6+).

Norfolk – Unchanged in fourth-place, WNOR posts a gain of eight-tenths to 6.8, the highest 6+ AQH share for the Saga Communications’ rocker since October 2018’s 6.9. In addition to more than doubling (+1.1) its 6+-stat in six straight reports without a loss (.8 – .9 – 1.0 – 1.1 – 1.4 – 1.4 – 1.9, 6+), iHeartMedia alternative WNOH “Alt 105.3” returns to the top ten (#11 to #8). Responding to March/April’s combined -2.4 (12.9 – 11.6 – 10.5, 6+) with a May +1.0 to 11.5 (6+), Entercom urban AC WVKL “Smooth R&B from Yesterday & Today” drops one-tenth to 11.4 (6+) but is #1 for the sixth successive month. Just prior to logging a 10.5 this past April, WVKL had posted a 6+-share of 11.0 or higher 37 of 38 times. “Smooth R&B from Yesterday & Today” had been on top 25 successive survey periods before segueing to the runner-up slot in “Holiday” 2018. Its August 2018 15.5 holds the record for highest 6+-performance by any Norfolk station in the PPM-era. Adult contemporary sibling WWDE “101.3 2WD,” however, erodes by -1.4 (5.8 – 4.4, fifth to sixth, 6+) and is below a five-share (4.4, 6+) for the first time since January 2018’s 4.3. An overall -1.0 in three straight negative or neutral moves (5.6 – 5.2 – 5.2 – 4.6, 6+), cluster-mate WNVZ “Z-104” improves by three-tenths to 4.9 (6+) and climbs from sixth to fifth. Ever since appearing in print in November 2018, its internet stream is trending .4 – .5 – .6 – .5 – .5 – .5 – .4 – .5 – .4 (flat at #14, 6+). WJOI “1230 AM – Great Songs/Great Memories,” which gained six-tenths in five straight up or flat trends (.8 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.2 – 1.2 – 1.4, 6+), surrenders half that increase (1.1, -.3, 6+) as the Saga Communications adult standards station falls from #11 to #13. Likewise, Norfolk State University urban contemporary WNSB improved by four-tenths via four consecutive sweeps without a loss (1.0 – 1.- 1.3 – 1.3 – 1.4, 6+), but “Hot 91.1” is off two-tenths to 1.2 (#11 to #12, 6+).

Jacksonville

Spoken-Word Formats – This marks the fifth consecutive sweep without an increase for Cox Media Group news/talk WOKV-FM, which is a collective -2.9 in that stretch (10.4 – 9.7 – 8.8 – 8.6 – 8.6 – 7.5, 6+). Moreover, “104.5 – Jacksonville’s News, Weather, and Traffic” segues from a first-place tie to a second-place tie. WOKV-FM had sole possession of first-place in April.

Without an increase the eighth consecutive time for a net loss of 75% (-.6) of its 6+-stat (.8 – .7 – .6 – .6 – .5 – .3 – .3 -.3 – .2, 6+), iHeartMedia sports talk WFXJ “930 The Game – Jacksonville’s Sports Leader” repeats at #19.

Off seven-tenths in three setbacks in succession (3.7 – 3.5 – 3.3 – 3.0, 6+), public news/talk WJCT falls from #11 to #12. Immediately prior to April, “Your Community – Your World” was a cumulative +1.5 in five increases in a row (2.2 – 2.3 – 2.4 – 3.0 – 3.5 – 3.7, 6+).

Jacksonville Music Formats – A lofty +1.4 (4.6 – 6.0, 6+) enables iHeartMedia urban contemporary WJBT “93.3 The Beat” to vault from eighth to fifth. On the strength of a +1.0, co-owned CHR WKSL “97.9 Kiss FM” crosses the five-share level (4.2 – 5.2, 6+) and bumps up from ninth to eighth. At the same time, Cox Media Group’s similarly-formatted WAPE falters by -1.0 and is down the third straight sweep for an overall -1.3 (7.3 – 7.2 – 7.0 – 6.0, fourth to fifth, 6+). In addition, “95.1 Jacksonville’s #1 Hit Music Station” has its weakest 6+-stat (6.0) since 5.2 in “Holiday” 2018. Its adult contemporary sibling, WEZI “Easy 102.9,” nets +1.4 in three successive upticks (4.5 – 4.9 – 5.1 – 5.9, 6+) and carries on in seventh-place. A combined +1.1 in January/February, WEZI surrendered roughly half that increase with a March loss of six-tenths. Despite being a collective -1.2 in three declines in a row (8.7 – 8.3 – 7.6 – 7.5, 6+), Renda Broadcasting’s similarly-formatted WEJZ “96.1 Jacksonville’s Official Work Station” advances from third to a second-place tie. Its “Holiday” 2018 16.3 is the highest 6+-mark for any Jacksonville station since “Holiday” 2015 when WEJZ notched a 19.5. Locked on 3.1 (6+) in April and May, iHeartMedia’s WWJK “107.3 Planet Radio – Jacksonville’s Rock Station” posts a one-half share gain (3.1 – 3.6, 6+) and enters the top ten (#12 to #10). After a March-only stay at #1, Cox Media Group classic hits-oldies WJGL segued to a second-place tie in April and then progressed to a first-place tie in May. Even though “96.9 The Eagle” drops one-half share in June (8.6 – 8.1, 6+), it has sole possession of first-place. An April loss of six-tenths interrupted three upticks in succession that resulted in a +1.6 (7.3 – 8.1 – 8.6 – 8.9, 6+). Immediately prior to that streak, “The Eagle” was an overall -2.0 in four consecutive slips (9.3 – 9.2 – 8.5 – 8.2 – 7.3, 6+). Off seven-tenths to 5.0, its lowest 6+-showing since 4.9 in “Holiday” 2018, iHeartMedia urban AC WSOL “V-101.5” slips from sixth to ninth. Showing decreases of six-tenths each are Cox Media Group-owned WXXJ “X-106.5 Jacksonville’s Alternative” (unchanged at #13); iHeartMedia gospel WKSL-HD3 (2.3, flat at #14, 6+); and Radio Training Network contemporary Christian WCRJ “The Joy FM” (1.6 – 1.0, #flat at #17, 6+). “X-106.5” has lost seven-tenths in three straight negative or neutral moves (3.1 – 3.1 – 3.0 – 2.4, 6+). Prior to the June sweep, WKSL-HD3 had shown a net increase of seven-tenths in four straight sweeps without a loss (2.2 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 2.7 – 2.9, 6+). “The Joy FM” was frozen on 1.6 (6+) in April and May. In nine straight sweeps without a loss, iHeartMedia Spanish contemporary WQIK-HD2 gained two-tenths (.1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .1 – .2 – .2 – .2 – .3 – .3, 6+) but is off one-tenth in June to .2 (unchanged at #19, 6+).

KLOS, KXOS Officially Added to Meruelo Media. The existing Meruelo Media Los Angeles cluster welcomes rock KLOS (from Cumulus Media) and regional Mexican KXOS (from Grupo Radio Centro). They join rhythmic CHR KPWR “Power 106,” Redondo Beach-licensed KDAY “93.5 Hip-Hop Back in the Day” and Ontario (California)-licensed simulcast KDEY, as well as KWHY-TV and KBEH-TV. The company’s current executive team takes over KLOS’ operations, with Meruelo Media president Otto Padron serving as interim market manager; Tomas Trujillo overseeing day-to-day operations; vice president of client solutions David Criscitelli leading sales; and vice president of marketing Dianna Jason dealing with communication and marketing. KLOS program director Keith Cunningham continues in that capacity. KWHY-TV general manager Irma Barrios adds KXOS to her existing duties and Emmanuel “DJ E-Man” Coquia takes over KXOS’ interim programming and music duties. Padron remarks, “Two closes in one day – we are thrilled to add KXOS and KLOS to the Meruelo Media family. This is the beginning of a new and exciting chapter in Los Angeles media. We are absolutely committed to the amazing heritage rock brand of KLOS. We are electrified to officially close on our purchase of the station and begin a new chapter of this legendary brand together with its amazing cadre of talented employees and iconic personalities. It will give Meruelo Media great scale and access to a highly desirable market sector, in addition to giving our clients and partners a newly energized local option. In turn, we will commit to KLOS our deep hyper-local operational and content resources that will drive significant audience growth for a larger share of advertising dollars. Regarding the other addition, he teased, “Stand by, exciting news about KXOS coming soon.” Meruelo Media plans to relocate KLOS’ Culver City operations to its Burbank facility later this year; KXOS already operates from there. The $43 million deal for KLOS was announced in April; it reportedly paid $35 million for KXOS. In addition to notching its sixth straight up or flat trend for a net gain of nine-tenths (2.4 – 2.5 – 2.5 – 2.6 – 2.8 – 2.9 – 3.3, 6+), KLOS cracks the top ten (#11 to #8, Nielsen Audio, June 2019, 6+). KXOS picks up three-tenths in June (.9 – 1.2, 6+) and finishes at #30 – tied with KDAY (flat at 1.2, 6+). “Power 106” gains two-tenths (2.9 – 3.1, #11 to #10, 6+) and has its best 6+-showing since September 2018’s 3.2.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Starting September 9, longtime “Extra” host – Mario Lopez – will join Kit Hoover and Scott Evans in a similar capacity on “Access Hollywood” and “Access Live.” In addition to his television work, Lopez hosts Premiere Networks’ “On With Mario Lopez” and the hot AC version of “iHeartRadio Countdown With Mario Lopez.” NBCUniversal Domestic TV Distribution executive vice president/creative affairs Tracie Wilson declares, “Mario is a multi-talented television personality. As an entertainment TV and radio host, actor, author, and – of course – a father and husband, Mario brings a fresh voice and perspective with creative ideas to our business. Our viewers know him and love him, and we are so excited to have him as a part of the NBCUniversal family.” According to “Access Hollywood” senior executive producer Maureen Fitzpatrick, “Mario has grown up in the business and is able to offer our viewers a unique insight on the latest Hollywood headlines. As a husband and father of three young children, he has a respect for the daytime audience looking for a break in their hectic lives with uplifting stories of everyday people transforming their lives and making a difference in their communities.” Lopez notes, “I have long admired the NBCUniversal team and all the shows being produced. I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to join in that success and develop scripted and alternative projects on their many creative platforms.” …. Founder/president of The WTA Group – a leader in development/marketing of faith-based film and publishing – Bill Reeves, succeeds the retiring Mike Novak as Educational Media Foundation’s chief executive officer. EMF is the parent company of contemporary Christian radio networks K-Love and Air 1. EMF has issued a letter of intent to acquire The WTA Group, which Reeves founded in 2009. EMF interim chief executive officer and president Alan Mason maintains, “God always sends the right person at the right time. Bill’s unique skill set and personality are a great match with our current and future needs. His vast media experience complements radio as we take our first step toward becoming a more diversified media ministry.” EMF board chair Mark Voltmann comments, “All of us at EMF are excited to welcome Bill into our family. Bill’s love for the Lord and ministry through Christian media is a great fit.” Reeves remarks, “K-Love and Air1 have tremendous impact on our culture. I look forward to continuing to grow that impact and reach both through the radio networks and through new media in the future.” WTA Group will remain in Nashville where it has operated since its inception ….. Five-year WRSA “Mix 96.9” “After Hours” night talent Blair Davis is boosted to middays (10:00 am – 3:00 pm) at the NCA Huntsville (Alabama) mainstream adult contemporary outlet. WRSA general manager Nate Adams comments that, “When it comes to radio, Blair has the ‘it’ factor. Her on-air ability is years beyond her experience. She not only understands how to deliver great content, she is focused on finding the right content for our audience. She brings a great level of energy to the workday listener and connects well with them.” Davis, who will also do a Saturday morning shift (6:00 am – 10:00 am), notes, “You never know what tricks I might have up my sleeve.” …..Windy City media authority Robert Feder is first to report that a new morning show could surface on Entercom Chicago’s country-formatted WUSN “US-99” early next month. Feder speculates that Jason Pullman and Katie Bright will constitute the wakeup team. The slot has been open since the departure two months ago of Dougie Stylz and Justin Roman (“Stylz & Roman”). Pullman’s previous on-air credits include iHeartMedia Los Angeles’ KYSR (when it was hot AC “Star 98.7”) and Atlanta country sibling WUBL “94.9 The Bull.” Bright has worked on-air in Nashville and was based in Music City USA as director/national promotion for Warner Music Nashville.

 

Friday, May 24, 2019

| May 24, 2019

Legendary DJ “Cousin” Bruce Morrow to Receive TALKERS 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award.  Legendary radio personality “Cousin” Bruce Morrow– an icon from the golden era of hit radio on WABC, New York and current star of SiriusXM’s 60s on Six channel – has been selected by the TALKERS editorial board to be the recipient of the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award.  Morrow’s impressive career includes not only his work as a radio personality on some of America’s biggest stations but radio station ownership and television work, as well.  TALKERS magazine executive editor Kevin Casey says, “Bruce Morrow is a symbol of the great disc jockeys of the golden era who paved the way for radio to connect to people’s hearts and minds and that set the stage for modern talk radio to be the bastion of personality that keeps this medium so vital. The fact that ‘Cousin Brucie’ takes calls and does such wonderful interviews is a tribute to this man’s talent, pertinence, and longevity.”  Morrow says, “I am honored to receive this award from TALKERS, especially since so much of my show and work at SiriusXM now consists of talking to callers and artists on the air about their lives and careers and what the music and culture has meant and continues to mean to them.  This is tremendously gratifying.”  The “Lifetime Achievement” award will be presented to “Cousin” Bruce Morrow at Talkers 2019: Telling the Story on Friday, June 7 in New York City.  The convention is just a day away from being completely sold out.  To register, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413 or click here for more information.

Report: WMVP, Chicago Not Happy with Nielsen Ratings Error.  Chicago media reporter Robert Feder has the story.  Yesterday, TALKERS alerted you to Feder’s initial report about Nielsen Audio admitting it failed to include the online listening for sports talk WMVP “ESPN Chicago” in the April PPM survey and it issued new numbers for the station yesterday.  While the ESPN-owned station went up from a 1.2 to a 1.3 share with Persons 6+, vice president and general manager Jim Pastor says in the key demo – Men 25-54 – certain shows were affected by as much as 50%.  Moreover, Pastor tells Feder, “The real story here is that it’s remarkable Nielsen’s PPM device captured any digital listening at all.  By their own admission, PPM technology is inadequate at best when it comes to measuring digital.”  Read Feder’s account here.

TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO REGISTER:  Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Nearing a Sellout!  The 22nd annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention is on the verge of being sold out.  The final deadline for registrations being accepted is today (5/24) at 5:00 pm ET.  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “In order to maintain the intimacy and effectiveness of this heritage event, it must be open only to members of the media industries and be in a special type of venue with limited seating and capacity.  We have resisted the impulse to grow this event beyond that level of efficiency.  That is one of the reasons it is so popular and has enjoyed such amazing longevity.”  To obtain registration information and avoid being shut out before the deadline, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.  For an up to the minute agenda, please click here.

ESPN Radio Changes Roles for Jason Fitz and Sarah Spain. Next week, ESPN personalities Jason Fitz and Sarah Spain expand their roles at the sports media giant. Fitz becomes a regular part of ESPN Radio’s weekday morning lineup as a regular contributor on the morning drive “Golic and Wingo” show that features Mike Golic, Trey Wingo, and Mike Golic Jr.  Fitz will continue to contribute to ESPN’s live, on-site digital presence at major events.  Spain begins hosting a new weeknight radio show, “Spain and Company,” that will air nightly from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET.  Co-hosts on the show will include ESPN Radio’s Jason Goff and ESPN college basketball analyst Jordan Cornette.  Fitz says, “Working with Sarah has been incredible and it has – frankly – made me better being partnered with her every day.  Looking ahead, I’m beyond excited to bring my energy and voice to the fans in the morning with the amazing ‘Golic and Wingo’ team and before that, provide an hour of my perspective on ‘First and Last.’”  Spain comments, “I’ve really enjoyed working with Jason, creating a fun and unique show based on our shared sensibilities and interests.  Going forward, it’s a thrill for me to lead the way on ‘Spain and Company’ with a great cast of co-hosts.”

Sterling: Women in Talk – Is This an Issue? Nationally syndicated talk radio host Walter M. Sterling bristles at the question, “Is this the year of the woman? (in talk radio)” He says the better question is, “Is this the moment when men will get out of the freakin’ way and let the proven success of women in talk radio flourish again?”  The two women in the photo at right were superstars of New York City talk radio in 1955.  Find out who they were and read the rest of Sterling’s piece here.

Five Appointed to NAB Radio Board of Directors. The National Association of Broadcasters announces that, in accordance with its by-laws, Radio Board chairman Randy Gravley makes five appointments to the NAB Radio Board of Directors, effective at the beginning of the June Board meeting, to be held June 10-12.  Reappointed for another two-year term as Designated Representatives are: Amador Bustos, president, Bustos Media Holdings, LLC; David Field, chairman, president, and CEO, Entercom Communications Corp.; and Bill McElveen, regional president, Alpha Media LLC.  Appointed for a new two-year term as Designated Representatives are: Mary Berner, president and CEO, Cumulus Media and Kevin Perry, vice president/general manager, Perry Publishing and Broadcasting Company.

TALKERS News Notes. Progressive talk radio personality Thom Hartmann is credited as writer/consultant on the new film, Ice on Fire, that addresses the melting of the polar ice cap and global warming.  The film features actor Leonardo DiCaprio as narrator and will air on HBO on June 11.  Hartmann, DiCaprio, and director Leila Connors also worked together on the 2011 film The 11th Hour.  See The Hollywood Reporter’s review here…..Chicago public radio news/talk outlet WBEZ-FM announces a new local program to air in middays.  Windy City media writer Robert Feder reports that the Chicago Public Media radio station is debuting a local talk show starring Jenn White to air from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.  White moves from “The Morning Shift,” a position she’s been in since January.  CPM CEO Goli Sheikholeslami says, “Midday listening is becoming increasingly important as people check in on what’s happening in the world, particularly with the rise in streaming audio.  We’re meeting this need by investing in new, indispensable programming that will drive the daily Chicago conversation during the key midday listening hours.”

Premiere Networks Celebrates Gracie Winners. Pictured above celebrating their Gracie Awards victories are “The Sean Hannity Show” producer Lynda McLaughlin and “The Breakfast Club” host Angela Yee.  They were honored along with all the other winners at the 44th annual Gracie Awards at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles.  McLaughlin won the National Talk Radio Producer honor and Yee won in the National Radio Host/Personality category.  Pictured (from l-r) are: Premiere Networks EVP and director of personality sales Dan Metter, McLaughlin, Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott, and Yee.

Trump’s Stonewalling Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 20-24.  The president’s refusal to answer to subpoenas as the Democrats continue to try to investigate him was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the effort by the state of New York to provide the president’s state tax returns to congress. Coming in at #3 was the Democrats’ increased momentum to begin impeachment proceedings against the president, followed by the 2020 presidential race at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Progressive Talk Host and Pundit Bill Press Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the major players on the struggling liberal side of commercial talk radio, Bill Press, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Press is a pioneer in the “progressive” genre on both radio and cable TV.  He was the liberal voice in the historic CNN debate show “Crossfire” from 1996 to 2002.  Today, he is a regularly featured talking head on MSNBC as well as CNN and is an opinion contributor to the DC-based political publication, The Hill.  He is also a prolific author and critic of conservative talk radio who writes about the virtues of the Democrats and the dangers of Donald Trump and the Republican Party.  Press announced last week that he is about to conclude a 14-year run hosting a daily morning radio talk program that been heard on a variety of terrestrial and online platforms and has attracted a respectable critical mass of loyal listeners.  In its place, he will be devoting his energies to podcasting and has every intention of continuing to be an active voice in the national conversation as we approach the 2020 election. Harrison and Press talk about the difficulties that have faced the liberal brand of commercial news/talk radio, the emerging field of podcasting and the growing field of candidates looking to make Donald Trump a one-term president.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Gone is Cumulus Media’s CHR WYRG, Indianapolis “Energy 93.9” and in is classic rock “93-9X, Indy’s Rock Station.”  Cumulus picked up fellow CHR WZPL back in February in a swap with Entercom.  WZPL has consistently outperformed WYRG over the years so the format change is not a surprise.  Cumulus corporate PD Troy Hanson says, “We are excited to expand the successful ‘93X’ brand to Indianapolis with the new ‘93-9X.’ Shout out to [KXXR/MSP program director] Derek Madden, our brainchild on this project, as we fill a hole in the marketplace with a much-needed rock station.  The partnership opportunities this brand adds to our Indy cluster portfolio and rock platform are limitless.”…..San Antonio hot AC KSMG “Magic 105.3” welcomes Tony Cortez to its airstaff as evening personality.  Cortez joins the Cox Media Group from his most recent position with Alpha Media’s crosstown CHR KTFM “Energy 94.1.”  Cox San Antonio director of operations Jeff Garrison says, “Tony’s style, experience, and love for our great city make him the perfect addition to our Magic team. He’s sure to bring a new level of fun and energy to our evening listeners.”…..Country radio pro Jessica Tyler – most recently with Cumulus Media’s WDRQ, Detroit “NASH FM 93.1” – is joining Townsquare Media’s New Hampshire country duo WOKQ, Portsmouth and WPKQ North Conway to serve as assistant brand manager for both stations and midday personality on WOKQ.

PPM Analysis: Classic Hits. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the classic hits format.  From March to April, weekly 6+ AQH share movement was split fairly even, with about half the stations on the panel going up and the other half going down. Gainers were led by Cumulus Media’s WJJK-FM, Indianapolis (+1.7) and iHeartMedia’s WWBB, Providence “B101” (+1.6).  Year over year, about 70% of the stations on our panel enjoyed a ratings increase, with WJJK showing an impressive 3.2 share increase and iHeartMedia’s KLTH, Portland and Bonneville’s KRSP, Salt Lake City both notching 2.5 share gains. Meanwhile, 10 classic hits stations ranked #1 (6+) in their respective markets in the April survey.  Find out which stations they are by reading the whole report here.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

| May 21, 2019

ONLY THREE DAYS LEFT TO REGISTER:  Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Nearing a Sellout!  The 22nd annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention is on the verge of being sold out.  The final deadline for registrations being accepted is this Friday, May 24 at 5:00 pm ET.  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “In order to maintain the intimacy and effectiveness of this heritage event, it must be open only to members of the media industries and be in a special type of venue with limited seating and capacity.  We have resisted the impulse to grow this event beyond that level of efficiency.  That is one of the reasons it is so popular and has enjoyed such amazing longevity.”  To obtain registration information and avoid being shut out before the deadline, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.  For an up to the minute agenda, please click here.

WGN, Chicago Names Mary Sandberg Boyle Director of News and Operations. In Chicago, Tribune Broadcasting is promoting Mary Sandberg Boyle – executive producer of the Steve Cochran morning show – to the position of director of news and operations.  Sandberg Boyle assumes the role left open when Stephanie Tichenor jumped across the street to take on the program director position at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM.  Sandberg Boyle began her service with WGN Radio in 2015 and helped to launch the station’s weekday morning business show, “The Opening Bell.”  WGN-AM station manager and vice president of content Todd Manley says, “Mary brings us years of success managing high profile talent and a fresh vision for the next generation of WGN Radio.”

KTSA, San Antonio to Tweak Lineup.  The talk show lineup at Alpha Media’s news/talk KTSA, San Antonio changes, effective June 17.  Trey Ware remains in morning drive from 5:00 am to 9:00 am and will be joined by current KTSA air personality Sean Rima from 7:00 am to 9:00 am.  Rima then goes solo from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. New to the lineup is the “Markley and Van Camp” program (featuring Jamie Markley and David Van Camp) for the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm slot.  Dave Ramsey remains from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, and longtime midday personality Jack Riccardi moves to the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm daypart.  Check out the station’s promotional video here.

Nielsen Audio Podcast Investigates Neuroscience and Radio Ads. In a two-part podcast titled, “Your Brain on Audio,” the Nielsen Audio Podcast features communications professor Dr. Rob Potter from Indiana University to share his findings from a career spent researching how the brain responds to sound, and what it takes to capture listener attention and create memorable commercials.  Nielsen Audio says, “The first step in that process is understanding how the brain works and how it’s evolved to process information.  This knowledge is important all along the marketing cycle, particularly in today’s cluttered media world.  There are distinct differences between automatic attention and controlled attention when it comes to our physiology, and different tools radio producers can use to trigger those parts of our brain.  Everything from the music bed in a commercial to the pitch and number of voices used affects how consumers pay attention to a particular message.  Then, once attention has been captured, creative shoulders the important task of imprinting the message into memory networks.  One simple way to affect memory is to play on emotion using words or music, and the cutting edge of neuroscience marketing research is exploring the specific ties between music and emotion for use as a tool in making better ads.”  Check out the first podcast here.

WSB, Atlanta Presents Video Documentary of the Jamie Dupree Story. Regular TALKERS readers are aware of the story of WSB, Atlanta-based Washington correspondent Jamie Dupree’s battle with tongue protrusion dystonia that’s left him unable to speak.  Now, the station is featuring a video documentary telling Dupree’s story on its website.  Titled, “Voice of Reason,” the program details Dupree’s story and reveals how Cox Media Group identified a new, pioneering approach to return Dupree’s voice to radio.  CMG worked with Edinburgh-based speech synthesis firm CereProc. It sent hours of his archived radio reports to Scotland where engineers and audio specialists digitized and recreated his voice so that Dupree can write a script for a report that is converted into an audio file that sounds nearly identical to his natural voice.  Dupree says, “My health is fine, but my voice is not – and I honestly don’t know if I will ever speak normally again.  I’ll be forever grateful to my WSB and CMG family for getting me back on the air with Jamie Dupree 2.0.”  See the video, directed by WSB Radio videographer Jesse Brooks and produced by Cox Media Group digital content manager Zac Morgan, here.

Glenn Johnson Named OM for Cumulus Pensacola. The five-station Cumulus Media cluster in Pensacola has a new operations manager.  Glenn Johnson moves from the company’s NASH studios in Nashville where he was executive producer for “The Ty Bentli Show” to serve with the cluster that includes news/talk WCOA-AM and four music brands.  Cumulus Media regional VP Pete DeSimone says, “This is a win-win – a homecoming for Glenn and an opportunity to retain a very talented broadcaster.  We are extremely excited to have him leading the Pensacola programming team.”

Guaranty Media Brings Elliott Aboard as OM for Baton Rouge Stations. Programming pro Chris Elliott joins Guaranty Media in Baton Rouge as operations manager for the cluster that includes: news/talk WBRP-FM “Talk 107.3,” sports talk duo WNXX-FM/KNXX-FM “ESPN Baton Rouge,” and two music-formatted stations.  Elliott comes to Baton Rouge from his most recent position as brand manager for Manning Media’s hot AC WAFY, Frederick, Maryland.  Guaranty president and CEO Flynn Foster says, “Because great radio should reflect the ever-demanding needs of a local market, we are happy to announce the installment of our new OM to help us meet these demands.  Chris will be a powerful addition to our team.  He will lead our five stations, enhance our existing programming, develop new local talent, and expand our digital platforms. We are very excited to have Chris join us.”

Digital Talk Brand MoJo 5-0 to Support Veterans Causes. Digital talk radio station MoJo 5-0 – a new station focusing on conservative and libertarian content – is involved in two Memorial Day programs in the Dallas/Fort Worth area to assist veterans.  MoJo 5-0 was founded by late talk radio host Doc Thompson, who had a passion for veterans’ causes.  First, Matt Locke, host of the “Conservative Cartel” on MoJo 5-0, will broadcast live from the Warrior Tent on the 16th hole of Colonial Country Club for the Charles Schwab Challenge.  There he’ll interview numerous veterans to help bring attention to non-profits that benefit them.  Second, the 2019 Memorial Day Celebrity Softball Classic, benefitting CarryTheLoad.org, will be held on Saturday (5/25) at Airhogs Stadium in Grand Prairie, Texas. MoJo 5-0 hosts Matt Locke and Rocci Stucci are scheduled to play alongside professional athletes, musicians, celebrities, and military heroes.  Locke says, “The Dallas-Ft. Worth area is a huge part of what we are at MoJo 5-0, and it’s an honor to have the opportunity to give back via both of these events.  We’ve been very vocal about honoring our military heroes and continuing the legacy that Doc Thompson established, and we’re thrilled to support these non-profits that play a vital role in veterans’ causes.”   MoJo 5-0 was developed, launched, and is managed by Cuddle Me Buff, LLC, a partnership of broadcasting experts encompassing all areas of the production spectrum, from operations to talent, business to sales.  Within six months of launch, MoJo 5-0 went from 0 listeners to 110K unique sessions weekly, and recently celebrated its one millionth download. MoJo 5-0 is distributed by iHeartRadio, and broadcasts from custom studios near Fort Worth, Texas.

iHeartMedia Appoints Kareem Chin to Investor Relations Position. Now that iHeartMedia is listed on the NASDAQ following its exit from Chapter 11 reorganization, it is naming media industry pro Kareem Chin SVP and head of investor relations.  In this position, Chin will manage iHeartMedia’s relationship with the investor community to ensure the company strategy is aligned with the needs of its equity holders.  Chin will work closely with COO and CFO Rich Bressler, chairman and CEO Bob Pittman, EVP and general counsel Paul McNicol, and leaders of iHeartMedia’s finance and communications teams, and will oversee the company’s investor conferences, investor meetings, and quarterly earnings releases and financial filings.  He spent the last three years as VP of investor relations for Viacom.

iHeartMedia Boston Appoints Adam Ralston VP of Marketing. Boston marketing pro Adam Ralston is named vice president of marketing for iHeartMedia’s station group there that includes: news/talk WRKO, news/talk WXKS-AM, all-news WBZ-AM, and five music brands.  iHeartMedia VP of programming Dylan Sprague says, “Adam’s leadership, programming and sales strategy, event experience, knowledge of the market and long history of success coupled with his strong local relationships stood out and I know he is the perfect fit.  I’m thrilled to have him lead our best-in-class marketing team and contribute to our brands’ ongoing success.”

Raiders Games to Air on KYMT-FM, Las Vegas. For the 2019 NFL season, Oakland Raiders’ games will air on iHeartMedia’s classic rock KYMT “93.1 The Mountain.”  Raiders games are produced and distributed by Compass Media Networks.  The play-by-play is being called by broadcasting legend Brent Musburger.  Former All-Pro tackle Lincoln Kennedy is handling color analysis and Chris Townsend serves as sideline reporter.  This is the team’s last season playing in the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum before it relocates to Las Vegas in 2020.

Trump Financial Records Subpoena, Dems Impeachment Talk, U.S.-Iran Tensions, U.S.-China Tariff Battle, New Anti-Abortion Laws, ‘Game of Thrones’ Finale, and NBA/NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/20). A federal judge rules President Trump’s accounting firm must turn over documents requested by congress; key Democrats battle House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over impeachment possibility; reports Iran has heightened production of enriched uranium as the U.S. warns of possible military action against it; the trade war being waged between the U.S. and China; the new, restrictive anti-abortion laws being passed in several states; the finale of HBO’s “Game of Thrones”; and NBA/NHL playoffs action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Pictured below is CMT personality Cody Alan (second from right) with members of Little Big Town at the second-annual “Live in the Vineyard Goes Country” three-day music and wine festival.  Alan chatted with all of the artists appearing at the festival and interviewed Little Big Town for the syndicated radio show “CMT After MidNite” and “CMT Radio Live” on June 3.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

| August 9, 2018

Tribune Terminates Sinclair Merger Agreement. Included in our story yesterday which dealt with Sinclair Broadcast Group’s second-quarter earnings report (Talkers.com, 8/8) was the following quote from Sinclair president and chief executive officer Chris Ripley who addressed the pending acquisition of Tribune Media Company: “We are working with them to analyze approaches to the regulatory process that are in the best interest of our companies, employees, and shareholders.” It was announced early today that not only is the marriage between the two entities over, Tribune Media is suing Sinclair Broadcast Group for breach of contract; the suit was filed today (Thursday, 8/9) in Delaware Chancery Court. The proposed $3.9 billion deal hit a snag when the FCC designated it for a hearing, a red flag that the transaction would most likely not be approved. Last month, FCC chair Ajit Pai raised “serious concerns” about the deal, which originally would have reached roughly 70% of U.S. households. Tribune is charging that, “In an effort to maintain control over stations it was obligated to sell, Sinclair engaged in unnecessarily aggressive and protracted negotiations with the Department of Justice and the FCC over regulatory requirements; refused to sell stations in the markets as required to obtain approval; and proposed aggressive divestment structures and related-party sales that were either rejected outright or posed a high risk of rejection and delay – all in derogation of Sinclair’s contractual obligations.” Tribune further claims, “Sinclair’s entire course of conduct has been in blatant violation of the merger agreement; but for Sinclair’s actions, the transaction could have closed long ago.” According to Tribune chief executive officer Peter Kern, “In light of the FCC’s unanimous decision, referring the issue of Sinclair’s conduct for a hearing before an administrative law judge, our merger cannot be completed within an acceptable timeframe, if ever. This uncertainty and delay would be detrimental to our company and our shareholders. Accordingly, we have exercised our right to terminate the merger agreement, and, by way of our lawsuit, intend to hold Sinclair accountable.” Revenue for Tribune’s only radio property – Chicago news/talk WGN – is not broken out in the company’s second-quarter financials. “Notwithstanding our disappointment regarding the outcome of the [Sinclair] transaction,” Kern remarks, “we are extremely pleased with our second quarter results, which were very strong. Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA grew 69% versus the prior year period and 84% for the first half of the year. While net core advertising revenues declined 6%, we were able to drive consolidated revenue growth of 6% when excluding the impact of barter revenues, with solid growth in retransmission and carriage fees revenues and political advertising revenue. Our disciplined focus on cost management drove programming expenses down 29% and corporate and other cash expenses, excluding transaction costs, down 19% over the prior year period.”

Rumor Becomes Fact: Warner Is WW One’s Lead MNF Analyst. Just this past Tuesday (Talkers.com, 8/7), we referenced a report by Richard Deitsch in The Athletic, hinting that Hall of Fame QB and NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner would join Kevin Harlan as Westwood One’s lead analyst for “Monday Night Football” and the Super Bowl. It is now official: Warner’s first broadcast will be in a little over four weeks (9/10), when the Oakland Raiders host the Los Angeles Rams. He becomes only the fourth regular “MNF” analyst for Westwood One since its broadcast partnership with the NFL began 40 years ago. The others were Boomer Esiason (2000-2017); Matt Millen (1996-2000); and Hank Stram (1978-1984, 1987-1995). Ever since he retired from the NFL, Warner insists he has “been blessed” with tremendous broadcasting opportunities. “I am grateful to Westwood One for this opportunity and for believing in me with this role. The bar has been set extremely high by Boomer Esiason and others. I look forward to grabbing the torch, working hard, and maintaining the sense of excellence that has become synonymous with Westwood One. I also look forward to continuing my relationship with Kevin Harlan, who I believe is one of the best play-by-play people in the business.” Westwood One president/Cumulus Media executive vice president of marketing Suzanne Grimes states, “We have been proud partners of the NFL for more than four decades and our best-in-class broadcasts feature the brightest stars from the league. Kurt Warner is a keen observer with a great eye and unique analysis. He adds another layer of authenticity, knowledge, and expertise to our roster. He is an incredible asset for our loyal and passionate listeners and engaged advertisers.” Westwood One Sports executive vice president/executive producer Howard Deneroff adds, “To have a player, and person, of Kurt Warner’s caliber become our lead analyst is incredibly exciting. We look forward to Kevin and Kurt working together full-time. We are confident that they will continue the legacy of great Westwood One broadcast teams which have informed and entertained listeners on Monday nights for decades.” A 2017 inductee in the pro football Hall of Fame, Warner played 12 seasons in the NFL, leading two different franchises (St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals) to Super Bowl appearances. He was the NFL’s MVP in 1999 and 2001. He and wife, Brenda, created “The First Things First Foundation,” dedicated to impacting lives by promoting Christian values, and “Treasure House,” which provides a supportive living environment for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Multi-Year TuneIn, Cumulus Deal Expands Streaming Partnership. The arrangement between the two principals calls for streaming of Cumulus Media’s 441 stations in 90 markets, as well as shows on co-owned Westwood One Podcast Network on the TuneIn platform. Cumulus Media president and chief executive officer Mary Berner remarks, “We understand that consumers engage with content across multiple platforms and devices. We put our listeners first, and we have made it our mission to provide a modern and platform-agnostic listening experience. Expanding our partnership with TuneIn takes our distribution and promotional opportunities to the next level, exposing our portfolio of leading stations, shows, and programs to new fans.” TuneIn chief executive officer John Donham states, “As the world’s leader in live digital audio, we are thrilled to provide our listeners access to some of the best live-station programming across sports, news, talk, music, and entertainment, as well as popular podcasts and other on-demand content offered by Cumulus Media. We look forward to a long and successful partnership as we grow the next chapter of the audio business together.” Heretofore, Cumulus Media stations have been available through iHeartRadio, as well as TuneIn.

Salem Media Group Reports Mixed Q2 Results. Second-quarter total revenue for Salem Media Group increased .2% to $66.3 million; net broadcast revenue rose 2.7% to $50.6 million; and station operating income held steady at $13.3 million. Conversely, operating income fell 84.4% to $1.3 million and net income spiraled from a gain of $1.3 million to a loss of $2.2 million. In addition, EBITDA dropped 40.8% to $6 million and Adjusted EBITDA fell 9.4% to $11.2 million. A full-slate of Salem Radio Network talk shows aired on news/talk WBIX, Boston but, in early-January (2018), Salem Media Group agreed to sell “The Buzz” for $685,000 to the International Church of the Grace of God, which – through an LMA – flipped the station to a Portuguese format; the sale was finalized approximately two months ago (6/20). The second-quarter included a $5.7 million net loss on the sale of stations in Omaha and land in Covina, California. Salem Media Group projects third-quarter total revenue to be flat or up 2% from 2017’s $65.4 million.


Round Three of July 2018 PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 PPM survey 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 July 2018 survey period covered June 21 – July 18. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.

TALKERS News Notes. Under newly-signed five-year deals, Joe Bowen and Jim Ralph will return calling Toronto Maple Leafs hockey games. The NHL team’s radio broadcasts are split between Rogers sports talk CJCL “Sports Net 590 The Fan” and Bell Media sports talk CHUM “TSN Radio 1050.” Per The Toronto Sun, the deal is for radio only. This year’s Hockey Hall of Fame Foster Hewitt award winner – Bowen – has been calling Toronto Maple Leafs games since 1982; Ralph has been on the broadcasts since 1997 ….. Morning driver John Hines is retiring at the end of the month from heritage Entercom Minneapolis news/talk WCCO. Newly-arrived (from Entercom Philadelphia) operations manager Andy Bloom is holding on-air auditions to fill that upcoming “News Radio 830” vacancy. In a station memo obtained by City Pages, Bloom writes, “My only interest is getting someone that will generate an audience. The fact is, the majority of news/talk radio listeners are center-right.” ….. Former San Francisco 49ers defensive end Dennis Brown is named co-host of KNBR’s pregame and postgame NFL coverage. This marks the 14th year of 49ers football on the Cumulus Media San Francisco sports talk outlet. Program director Jeremiah Crowe comments, “We are thrilled to welcome Dennis Brown to the KNBR family. Dennis brings a Super Bowl champion’s perspective to our coverage, and he will maintain a regular analyst role throughout the week during our primetime talk programming. The addition of Dennis further strengthens KNBR’s NFL roster as the strongest in all of sports radio.” Brown, who was a 49ers television analyst from 2012 – 2017, adds, “As a Bay Area native, I’m very excited to be joining KNBR’s game-day broadcast team. I’ve listened to KNBR for decades and jumped at the opportunity to join their pregame and postgame coverage.” Brown was the 47th overall pick in the 1990 NFL draft and played all seven years of his career for San Francisco, including 1995, when he was part of the team that won Super Bowl XXIX ….. Meanwhile, in Seattle, Dave Wyman is named radio analyst for the NFL’s Seahawks on Bonneville-owned flagships KIRO-AM “710 ESPN Seattle” and news/talk KIRO-FM “Radio 97.3.” The former linebacker (Seahawks and Denver Broncos) will work alongside play-by-play announcer Steve Raible during the regular season; Jen Mueller and John Clayton return as sideline reporters ….. Cleveland-based podcast production and radio syndication network Front Porch Media Network acquires Pit Pass Media Group, producers of weekly two-hour motorcycle racing podcast “Pit Pass Moto,” which has had 785,015 episode downloads in the last four years. Front Porch chief executive officer Michael DeAloia notes, “We look forward to enhancing the brand and building new content. We continue to concentrate on building a dynamic and engaging podcast portfolio. ‘Pit Pass Moto’ is a prestigious podcast and one that merits additional resources and investment.” The podcast’s partner and guest host Ed Kuhlenkamp remarks, “We are excited about the Front Porch Media acquisition and what it means for the show’s fans. We believe Front Porch Media has the resources required to take the ‘Pit Pass Moto’ brand to the next level.”

Harrison Podcast Resurrects 36-Year-Old Interview with Apple I and Apple II Inventor Steve Wozniak. In commemoration of Apple, Inc. reaching the historic milestone of a one trillion dollar valuation, TALKERS founder Michael Harrison dug up a 36-year-old interview that he conducted with Apple, Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak, the designer and inventor of the original Apple I and II personal computers. It is the centerpiece of this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Originally aired in 1982 on the pioneering national cable TV talk show “Harrison’s Mic,” the 24-minute conversation explores the beginnings of Apple Computer, Inc. (as it was then called) from what was a relatively recent perspective (it was only six years old). More importantly, it reveals the prescient thinking and perspective of one of the most important electronic designers and computer scientists of the digital era (and eventual philanthropist) when he was only 32 years old and society had merely scratched the surface of the revolution about to change the way people live and think. This fascinating interview is a must-listen for pop culture enthusiasts and media freaks. Michael Harrison states, “I am only first understanding the level of historical and intellectual gold that exists in the thousands of interviews, specials and broadcasts collecting dust in my archives that go back a half-century. We never realized when this content was being created in those early days that it would be of such historical interest and value. It just seemed like disposable pop content of the moment. This gem of a conversation with the great Steve Wozniak, which I hadn’t heard in more than three decades, is a prime example. I am so happy to share it in 2018 upon the milestone of Apple setting such astonishing records.” To listen to the interview in its entirety, please click here.

Mueller Investigation; Ohio Special Election/Primaries; Manafort Trial/Gates Testimony, California Wildfire and the Environment, Trump China Tariffs, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Discussed Yesterday (8/8). The Robert Mueller probe; the special election in Ohio and key primaries in several states, the trial of Paul Manafort highlighted by the damaging testimony of Rick Gates; the deadly California wildfires and their possible causes; and MLB action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday (8/8), according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. “Summer Camp,” a two-day, outdoor music concert showcasing the different sounds of alternative rock, will be held this Saturday (8/11) and Sunday (8/12) at Redmond, Washington’s Marymoor Park. Entercom Seattle’s KNDD “107.7 The End” hosts the tenth annual event, which will feature – among others – AWOLNATION, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Manchester Orchestra, Robert DeLong, and Elle King. A portion of the ticket sales will go to Pearl Jam’s “Home Fund” to fight homelessness in Seattle. The “Home Fund” is part of the Vitalogy Foundation, which supports the efforts of non-profit organizations and their work in the fields of community health, the environment, arts and education, and social change ….. Changes at Cumulus Media Syracuse find CHR WNTQ “93-Q The #1 Hit Music Station” music director/afternoon drive talent Rick Roberts boosted to assistant program director/digital content manager, while production director Joey Walker takes over as “93-Q” mid-day host/digital content manager for alternative WAQX “95-X” and rock WXTL “105.9 The Rebel.” Operations manager Tom Mitchell comments, “We are pleased to promote from within. In these new roles, both Rick and Joey will apply valuable fresh perspective to market leader ’93-Q.’ Rick assumes all APD duties, along with digital content oversight/management and the afternoon-drive air shift. Joey brings talent and enthusiasm to the ’93-Q’ midday slot. Both will continue to develop new opportunities for us in the digital and social media realm.” ….. Former 12-year vice president of operations for Rubber City Radio Akron’s WQMX “94.9 Your Station – Your Country,” Sue Wilson Cordle, restarts her voiceover business with Sue Wilson Creative. She previously was Cleveland adult contemporary WDOK’s director/programming for 12 years; a programming consultant for McVay Media; and director/programming of Salem Cleveland contemporary Christian WFHM “95.5 The Fish” and co-owned Christian talk WHKW “AM 1220 The Word.” ….. In conjunction with the National Association of Black-Owned Broadcasters (NABOB), Kizart Media Partners (KMP) will present the 18th annual “Power of Urban Radio Forum” October 4th and 5th in Washington, DC. This year’s National Service awardee, Procter & Gamble chief business officer Marc Pritchard, will be the keynote speaker. KMP founder/managing director Sherman Kizart notes, “We continue the tradition of bringing together influential marketers and advertising agencies to discuss the incomparable value that the African-American market and urban radio bring as key communications elements. The event coincides with NABOB’s 42nd annual Fall Broadcast Management Conference. NABOB and PURF conference registrations are $200 for members; $400 for non-members ….. Chicago media reporter Robert Feder is first to report that, sometime next year, legendary “Windy City” programmer/on-air talent Tommy Edwards will publish his memoir, which will feature stories of Edwards’ 54-year radio career. Highlights will surely include his time working with the iconic Larry Lujack and moonlighting as public address announcer for the Chicago Bulls. Four years ago, Edwards retired from CBS Radio’s classic hits-oldies WJMK “K-Hits 104.3” (now Entercom-owned urban-rhythmic oldies WBMX “104.3 Jams”) ….. Grammy-nominated country artist Cam will serve as the first host of Slacker Radio’s “Women Crush Everyday” (#WCE Country), a channel devoted to introducing and elevating female country artists. “Women Crush Everyday” will feature commentary and playlist selections from ladies in the music industry. Slacker’s country format captain Jess Wright declares, “We have amazingly talented women making music in Nashville and they deserve to be heard. In 2017, more than 97% of the artists who appeared on the year-end country top 40 were male. This doesn’t reflect the quality of music created by women – it reflects a lack of support from the gatekeepers of country music who believe that women have limited commercial appeal. Through Slacker, we can bring the music of female country artists directly to our audience, curated by the people who are most passionate about it – the women in Nashville’s music industry.” ….. Interim general manager of Bellevue Community College-owned KBCS, Seattle – Carol Handley – is named director of music programming at Friends of 88.5 FM’s KNKX in the same market and will begin her new duties one week from next Monday (8/20). Director of content Matt Martinez notes, “Carol has proven success in building and nurturing teams and on-air talent; an entrepreneurial spirit; and a love of storytelling. With her deep roots in the Seattle music scene, I am confident she will redouble our commitment to supporting this vital and vibrant community.” Handley succeeds Nick Francis, who is retiring after 13 years in that position. In Seattle’s July 2018 Nielsen Audio PPM report, KNKX ranks #14, dropping the six-tenths it gained in June (3.0 – 3.6 – 3.0, 6+).

Rod Shares Red Roses With Dresdale. During his interview with ABC Radio‘s Andrea Dresdale (r), one of the most prolific pop star interviewers in radio, the ageless Rod Stewart (l) discussed his new album “Blood Red Roses” and his headlining tour with Cyndi Lauper.

 

 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

| June 20, 2018

RTDNA Announces National Edward R. Murrow Award Winners. From more than 4,400 entries, the awards recognize 89 local and network radio, television and digital news organizations for 118 examples of outstanding journalism in 16 categories. The leader in overall Radio Television Digital News Association awards with five – NPR – scores wins in “Continuing Coverage,” “Excellence in Social Media,” “Excellence in Sound,” “Excellence in Hard News,” and “News Documentary.” Hubbard Washington, DC all-news WTOP and New Hampshire Public Radio repeated their 2017 wins for “Overall Excellence” in large market radio and small market radio, respectively. RTDNA executive director Dan Shelley notes, “Winning an RTDNA National Edward R. Murrow Award means that a news organization has provided exemplary public service to its viewers, listeners, and readers. These honorees truly represent the very best in broadcast and digital journalism around the world. We cannot make our communities better unless we understand them, and these stories from news organizations large and small have educated, uplifted, inspired, uncovered, and enlightened. These winning pieces revealed the tragedies of human trafficking, kept audiences safe and informed during devastating hurricanes and fires, and provided desperately sought information and context during too-common moments of violence. They provided insight into healthcare, homelessness and immigration issues, engaged communities in learning about mental health and dug deep into election interference.” In addition to the “Overall Excellence” award won for the second time straight and 12th over 18 years, CBS News Radio was recognized for “Best Audio Newscast” for the sixth time in succession. This year, it was for “World News Roundup” coverage of Hurricane Harvey with Norah O’Donnell reporting from Houston and Steve Kathan anchoring from New York. Coverage of the mass shooting of concertgoers on the Las Vegas Strip last October earned the staff the “Breaking News” award for a report by Steve Futterman, Steve Dorsey, and Deborah Rodriguez. This year’s “Excellence in Writing” award went to Dave Ross for his daily feature. CBS News Radio general manager Craig Swagler states, “It is because of our great radio station affiliates that we are a better, stronger radio network.” Entercom was honored with three awards: Large Market Radio “Excellence in Sound” to all-news KCBS-AM, San Francisco for “Wine Country on Fire”; News Series to all-news WCBS-AM, New York for “The Breaking Point”; and the same station scored for “Newscast” (October 31, 2017, 5:00 pm). The national awards will be presented in four months (10/22) at the RTDNA “Edward R. Murrow Awards Gala” in New York City’s Gotham Hall.

KBME To Shuffle Its Lineup. Former National Football League quarterback Sean Salisbury will join the weekday lineup of iHeartMedia Houston’s KBME “Sports Talk 790” in afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm), starting in less than three weeks (Monday, 7/9). Director of AM programming for iHeartMedia Houston, Bryan Erickson, notes, “We are thrilled to be adding Salisbury to the team. The former quarterback brings a unique perspective from his days on the gridiron. We have put together an all-star lineup of guys who know sports and love talking about sports. [KBME] is truly the best destination for compelling local sports content in Houston.” Salisbury adds, “I have been blessed with a full career. This opportunity to work with iHeart and ‘Sports Talk 790’ was too good to pass up in so many ways. I don’t take these great moments lightly. The last five years have been special. I fully expect this new journey to be filled with ‘wow’ moments that make our listeners feel like they are getting the show they deserve.” Following his ten-year professional football career, Salisbury was an NFL analyst on ESPN, and served as a consultant for the 2005 remake of “The Longest Yard.” KBME’s revised lineup as of July 9 will include Josh Innes (6:00 am – 10:00 am); “In the Trenches with Koch & Kalu” (10:00 am – 12:00 noon); Matt Thomas (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm); and Salisbury from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm. The station will continue its broadcast partnerships with the Houston Astros, Houston Rockets, and the University of Texas football and basketball teams.

MacFarlane Donates $2 Million to NPR; $500,000 to KPCC. Opting to answer Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s comments about dishonesty in the media with his wallet, “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane is making a $2 million donation to NPR and $500,000 to Los Angeles’ NPR membership station, KPCC. MacFarlane’s contribution will directly benefit NPR’s Collaborative Journalism Network, which connects NPR’s nearly 1,800 journalists so they are able to share resources and eliminate “news deserts” in the United States. An NPR spokesperson writes, “We are deeply appreciative of the generous gift from Seth MacFarlane, which will go to supporting local news coverage, allowing NPR and member stations to continue working together to tell the story of the whole country from everywhere in the country.” Southern California Public Radio president and CEO Bill Davis states, “We are deeply moved by Seth’s generous contribution to Southern California Public Radio, KPCC, and NPR. It is this local/national partnership that is the heart of our shared public service mission and we are committed to more fully realizing that mission thanks to this gift and his challenge for others to join us.” Last Thursday, Carlson stated, “If you’re looking to understand what’s actually happening in this country, always assume the opposite of whatever they’re telling you on the big news stations.” In a tweet, MacFarlane wrote that statements like Carlson’s “make me embarrassed to work for this company,” referring to Fox for whom MacFarlane has provided “Family Guy,” “American Dad,” “Cleveland,” and “Orville.” As a direct rebuke to Carlson’s remarks, MacFarlane further told his Twitter followers, “In other words, don’t think critically, don’t consult multiple news sources, and in general, don’t use your brain.”

TALKERS Founder Michael Harrison Says Fox News Channel Hosts Present “Legitimate” Point of View on the Current Border Controversy.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison spoke this morning (6/20) on CNN’s Headline News Channel (HLN) program “Across America with Carol Costello” about the media’s role in the current border immigration controversy (pictured above).  Costello asked Harrison for his perspective on threats by 21st Century Fox show business producers such as Seth MacFarlane (“Family Guy”) and Steve Levitan (“Modern Family”) as well as director Paul Feig who have publicly expressed “disgust” and “embarrassment” over the way Fox News Channel has been covering the family-separation issue with hosts Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and others showing support of President Trump’s stringent policy.  Harrison said that he doesn’t take these threats seriously and the situation will probably be resolved with the country moving on to the next issue before they could even make good on them.  If anything, Harrison said, this issue will force Trump to further tweak and define murky areas of his immigration policy.  Harrison went on to say that the Hollywood establishment “which includes show business across the board such as Broadway and what took place at the Tony Awards” is hurting its own cause as well as its business interests by speaking out so vehemently for one side in what is a highly-charged polarized situation.  Harrison stated, “Famous people whose media products are not directly involved in politics would be wise to stay out of the fray because they will only further alienate the significant segment of the public and electorate that is supportive of Trump… even to the point of strengthening its resolve.”  When asked if he thinks the potential acquisition of Fox by Walt Disney Co. or Comcast could result in the Fox News Channel modifying its conservative stand, Harrison replied, “Probably not – they are in business and it is doubtful that they would do something to diminish the formidable earnings of a viable news venue serving a large portion of the population.”  Harrison concluded, “No matter how harsh or even cruel Trump’s handling of this situation might be, there are many millions of Americans who support him on it and, thus, Fox News Channel is presenting a legitimate point of view within the highly diverse American marketplace of ideas.  If Fox were to back off on its pro-Trump stance, you can be sure other venues such as Newsmax would be more than happy to swoop in and fill the void that would be waiting to be served.”

Westwood One News’ Vietnam Retrospective Nabs Gold Medal Award. Among the five citations Westwood One News received Monday night (6/18) from the New York International Radio Festival was a gold medal award for “Pain & Pride: Remembering Vietnam – 50 Years Later,” which aired during Veterans Day weekend (November, 2017). Westwood One host/Vietnam veteran Jim Bohannon narrated “Pain & Pride.” Bohannon, who served with the 856th Radio Research Detachment in Cat Lai and Long Binh from 1967 -1968, won a NY Festival prize 30 years ago for his first “Pain & Pride news special. He comments, “I am very gratified that producer David Oziel, the Westwood One News team, and I have received this recognition. For me, there is special meaning in that we did a 20-year look back special that won the New York Festival’s Grand Award in 1988. Also, I’ll be the keynote speaker [tomorrow, Thursday, 6/21] at the Branson, Missouri reunion of my Vietnam unit, the 199th Light Infantry Brigade. It is a delightful manifestation of what Vietnam vets say to each other – ‘welcome home.’” Bohannon gave the keynote address at the Vietnam Wall Memorial in Washington in 1990; was the principal MC for the Vietnam Veterans reunion in Branson in 2002; and hosted the “Rumble” at “TALKERS 2018” less than two weeks ago (6/8) in New York City.

PPM Analysis: All-News. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents four analyses of the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s May PPM survey. Today’s report focuses on the all-news format. A year-to-year improvement of nine-tenths (8.8 – 9.7, 6+) enables Hubbard’s WTOP to move from second to third in Washington, DC. It is the only all-news station in a PPM-market to rank first in May 2018. Moreover, with a 9.6 (6+), it once again boasts the strongest 6+-share among its all-news peers. The category’s runner-up in all six survey periods highlighted in this analysis (“Holiday” 2017 – May 2018) is iHeartMedia Sacramento’s KFBK (6.7, 6+, May 2018). See the entire all-news overview here.

Edison Research Releases 2018 Q1 “Share of Ear” Report. The study quantifies reach and time spent with of all forms of audio. Results indicate terrestrial AM and FM radio remains the centerpiece of audio. Among nuggets from the quarterly report as summarized on the Westwood One website by director of content marketing Lauren Vetrano: AM/FM accounts for 47% of all audio time spent among persons 18+. “Owned music” is next at 12%, followed by YouTube videos (9%); ad-free SiriusXM (5%) and TV music channels (5%). AM/FM’s share has been consistently strong throughout the last few years. Edison reports AM/FM radio’s daily reach also remains stable, while Pandora continues to see losses in share and reach; Spotify has grown 36% (3% to 4.1%). Since 2016, Pandora’s “Share of Ear” dropped 17%. From 2016 to 2018, millennials 18-34 daily reach jumped 39%. Daily reach among 25-54s increased 52%. In addition, podcasting’s daily reach is growing, especially among younger audiences, with listening share +39% in two years to 15.2% among those 18-34 and +52% to 9.7% in the same timeframe among 25-54s.

Salem Radio Network Sets Midterm Election Coverage. With its vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup commenting, “There is unprecedented interest in this year’s midterms,” Salem Radio Network will feed live Mike Gallagher-anchored coverage on (Tuesday) November 6 beginning at 7:00 pm (ET). Adding their perspective as well that night will be SRN host Hugh Hewitt; White House correspondent Greg Clugston; Senate correspondent Linda Kenyon; Congress correspondent Wally Hindes; Pentagon/military affairs correspondent Colonel Robert Maginnis; and SRN analyst/former presidential candidate Gary Bauer.

TALKERS News Notes. Having overseen the programming content strategy for 54 radio stations in Radio One’s 15 markets and Reach Media‘s nationally syndicated programming since January 2007, senior vice president of programming content Jay Stevens will leave the company when his contract expires the middle of next month. Immediately prior to joining Radio One, Stevens spent 16 years as vice president of programming for CBS Radio ….. It’s a busy week for Westwood One “Sterling on Sunday” host Walter (Sabo) Sterling who is filling in for Westwood One teammate Jim Bohannon tonight (Wednesday, 6/20) and tomorrow night (Thursday, 6/21). Sterling will be originating those shows from Entercom Pittsburgh news/talk KDKA-AM. Then, in approximately two weeks (7/5 and 7/6), he will guest host for Cumulus Media Little Rock news/talk KARN-FM afternoon drive talent Doc Washburn ….. Chicago media writer Robert Feder (RobertFeder.com) is first to report that veteran “Windy City” news anchor Dave Stewart (WGN, WLS-AM, WIND) will retire at the end of the month … Word from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Rodney Ho is that Elly Yu is remaining in the public news/talk arena but shifting from Atlanta Public Schools-owned WABE to American University’s WAMU as a general assignment reporter.

ABC Radio To Air Four July 4th Specials. All will be three hours in length for broadcast over the upcoming holiday weekend. In “America’s Pastimes,” ABC News Radio correspondent Aaron Katersky enjoys the pastimes that comprise a classic American summer such as the back porch, barbeque, sports, and a day at the beach. Katersky will explore not only the traditional American summer hobbies, but also those that are new. ABC News Radio correspondent Alex Stone hosts “Great American Car Show” in which he examines America’s love affair with the automobile. He tours the presidential limousine that John F. Kennedy was in on that fateful day in Dallas; visits an assembly line making the Ford Mustang (pictured at left); and ponders a future with flying cars. Stone will take listeners on a tour down historic Route 66, do donuts with a Hollywood stunt car driver and learn about the latest in car technology. “Red, White and True-Blue Country Fan Salute” is hosted by Dustin Lynch, who reveals the special relationship between country artists and their fans. Among those included are Jason Aldean, Kelsea Ballerini, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Little Big Town, and Darius Rucker. They discuss their most memorable and strangest fan encounters, how they engage with fans on social media and what sets country fans apart from partisans of other musical genres. Eddie Money-hosted “Red, White & Rock 2018” celebrates cities, artists, and songs that comprise the landscape of American rock and roll. It will feature music from Aerosmith, Allman Brothers Band, Cheap Trick, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Tom Petty, Bob Seger, Bruce Springsteen, Van Halen, and ZZ Top.

Coleman Insights To Present Podcast Engagement Study. Results will be shared next month (7/25) in Philadelphia at Podcast Movement as part of the conference’s Industry Track. The study will reportedly offer second-by-second data in an analysis on listener reactions to “The Ben & Ashley Almost Famous Podcast,” hosted by former contestants from ABC-TV’s “The Bachelor.” Coleman Insights executive vice president/senior consultant Sam Milkman notes, “We will go well beyond the simple measures of listener and download counts that podcasters are used to seeing and examine content engagement. By looking at how the audience responds to specific content, podcasters can more effectively develop engaging content.” Podcast Movement co-founder Dan Franks remarks, “One of the biggest challenges for a podcaster is to figure out who their listener is, and what their listener wants. Coleman’s solutions for this problem are very exciting for us as organizers, as we get to help spread the word throughout the entire podcast community this July.” Milkman will present the findings with John Boyne and will be joined by iHeartRadio senior vice president of podcasting Chris Peterson.

For The Record. An item in yesterday’s TALKERS (Tuesday, 6/19) noted that “CBS World News Roundup” earned a “gold” medal in the New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards; “CBS World News Roundup” actually won a “bronze.” We apologize for the error.

 

NYC’s “Alt 92.3” Adds Segall, Stone. In two separate moves, Entercom New York’s WNYL “Alt 92.3” names Bryce Segall music director/evening talent and Dan Stone imaging director. Segall begins in less than two weeks (Monday, 7/2); Stone starts next Monday (6/25). Entercom New York regional president and market manager Susan Larkin comments, “Bryce has continuously displayed the ability to be innovative in the programming end of our industry; we are excited to add his talents. Dan’s previous imaging and voiceover experience will pay great dividends as he joins us in the same capacity.” According to Segall, “New York City is an iconic pillar of alternative culture. It has long deserved a radio station that not only pays tribute, but adds to that legacy. I am looking forward to working with the ‘Alt 92.3’ team to develop an outlet that truly adds value to the thriving, pre-existing music community.” Stone notes, “Helping to build an ‘Alt’ radio brand for New York City is a dream come true. This station’s passion for the format is unequalled; I can’t wait to wake up and be a part of that.” Segall previously was assistant program director/air personality for Seattle’s KNDD “107.7 The End,” and label manager for Mad Zoo. Stone was an imaging contributor/consultant for Cumulus Media Chicago. WNYL is the former WBMP – its calls were changed last Tuesday (6/12). Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s May 2018 sweep, the station ranked #19 (2.0).

Bevvy of Beasley Media Group Philly Activities. Several community-oriented activities undertaken by Beasley Media Group Philadelphia seemingly converged all at once. Many employees at the cluster were involved in its recent “Best Day of Caring event to help the City of Philadelphia Community Life Improvement Program (CLIP). Team members from WMMR “93.3 Everything That Rocks”; WMGK “102.9 Philadelphia’s Classic Rock”;  adult hits WBEN-FM “95.7 Ben FM”; sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic”; sports talk WTEL “610 ESPN”; and WWDB “Talk 860” divided into two shifts to clean up a block in the city’s Frankford section. While there, they picked up trash and removed graffiti to help support the organization’s beautification project. Vice president and market manager Joe Bell comments, “This is truly what being a part of a local community is all about. I could not be more proud of our employees for paying it forward and helping our beloved city. I am proud to be on their team.” Meanwhile, last Friday (6/15), WMGK’s John DeBella raised over $143,000 for local veterans as part of his 13th annual radiothon at the National Constitution Center. Over the past decade, the station has raised over one million dollars to support vets in need. Among those donating items used in a series of eBay auctions that occurred in conjunction with the radiothon were Def Leppard’s Rick Allen, Jimmy Buffett, Phil Collins, Eagles, Billy Joel, and Yes. Former leader of Creedence Clearwater Revival, John Fogerty, called the station to voice his support. The following day (Saturday, 6/16), the 13th annual WMMR “I Bleed For Preston & Steve Blood Drive” produced 1,128 units of blood to benefit The American Red Cross Penn-Jersey Blood Services Region. Listeners showed up during a time when the American Red Cross needs blood the most and they received “Preston & Steve” T-shirts and “I Bleed For Preston & Steve pint glass. Hundreds of donors were randomly selected to receive a pair of tickets to a summer concert. Free food and samples were also provided. Thus far, the annual event has collected nearly 15,000 pints of blood.

O’Brien Inks Multi-Year WCSX Extension. Four-year WCSX “94.7 The Classic Rock Station” morning drive personality (Big) Jim O’Brien signs a multi-year deal to continue hosting “Big Jim’s Houseon the Beasley Media Group Detroit outlet. Vice president/market manager Mac Edwards comments, “It is really a pleasure to be associated with Jim and the healthy combination of creativity, wit, and passion for cars and classic rock he brings to his morning listeners in the ‘Motor City.’ Jim’s work to establish Glenn Frey Drive in Royal Oak and soon Bob Seger Boulevard in Ann Arbor; his tireless efforts on behalf of veterans; and his respect for all things Detroit prove he is an extraordinary ambassador for both WCSX and the city he calls home.” Program director JT Tarrants states, “I have been a ‘Big Jim’ fan since I arrived here. We are so glad to have him buttoned up to lead our morning show into the future.” O’Brien adds, “It is an honor to be part of the Beasley Media Group family in Detroit. I look forward to continue entertaining our dedicated ‘Motor City’ listeners for years to come.” O’Brien has been with WCSX since 2002 and is joined on the morning show by co-host Erin V and producer Ryan Logan.

San Andres Ascends to “Z-90” APD. XHTZ “Z-90 – Today’s Hit Music,” the Comunicación XERSA-owned mainstream CHR covering San Diego, promotes music director Kat San Andres to assistant program director. Program director R Dub comments, “It is team members behind the spotlight like Kat San Andres who are responsible for the incredible success of ‘Z-90’ and the other brands in this building. Kat’s relentless work ethic and passion for the business helps propel ‘Z-90’ forward every day; expanding her role here was overdue. Add to that, she is the ‘Z-90’ listener; has a great set of ears; and is a lot cooler than I will ever be.” With the station since 2004, San Andres remarks, “Fourteen years later, I am still in love with this career. I am always so thankful and grateful that I decided to take a risk to follow my dreams because it has led me to this wonderful adventure. I am so excited for this opportunity and cannot wait to start this new chapter.” Meanwhile, Kalyna Astrinos of San Diego’s KGTV-TV joins “Z-90” for weekends. She and R Dub worked together at iHeartMedia Los Angeles in 2009.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. After 16 years in the CBS Radio Los Angeles – now Entercom – cluster, John Michael resigns. During his tenure, he was assistant program director/music director at mainstream CHR KAMP “97.1 Amp Radio”; music director for adult hits KCBS-FM “93.1 Jack FM’: and music coordinator/weekend air talent at alternative KROQ ….. Digital program director for iHeartMedia San Francisco Matty Staudt is elevated to iHeartRadio’s vice president of podcast programming. Staudt has launched more than 30 original locally-focused podcasts and hosts iHeartRadio’s “Access Podcast.” In 2008, he became part of the startup team and first director of content and community for the podcasting app Stitcher before moving to Premiere Networks as a consulting producer. A teacher at the Academy of Art University, Staudt will report directly to senior vice president of podcasting Chris Peterson …..Exiting Saga Columbus adult contemporary WSNY “Sunny 95” after 24 years is morning talent Dino Tripodis. Co-host Stacy McKay is the interim replacement named by program director Michelle Matthews …..  Morning drivers Chaz & AJ of Connoisseur Media New Haven’s WPLR “99.1 Connecticut’s #1 Rock Station” raised $18,000 for Connecticut based “Homes for the Brave.” WPLR operations manager Keith Dakin states, “It was truly inspiring to look at a packed house of people who were there not only for laughs but to help out a great organization making a difference in our community. ‘Homes for the Brave’ is doing great things in our state and we are so happy to write them this check.” Chaz adds, “With over a million U.S. veterans at risk of homelessness, this is the least we could do. It is up to us to help take care of those that gave for their country.” All money raised will go to help build homes, teach vocational training, and work with homeless veterans ….. The co-host of Cumulus Media’s “Nash Nights Live” – Elaina Smith – teams up with Nash Country Daily for an ongoing conversation about women in country music. Each article will feature a female county artist with an accompanying opinion piece, interview, podcast, or playlist. Profiled female artists will be featured on 90 Cumulus Media websites and more than 130 radio stations nationwide, with a reach of 400,000 people on Twitter and 180,000 on Facebook.

Monday, June 18, 2018

| June 18, 2018

NAB Pushing for Relaxed Ownership Regs. The National Association of Broadcasters is asking the Federal Communications Commission to modernize what it calls the “outdated radio ownership rules” as part of the quadrennial media ownership review expected to take place later this year.  The NAB states that the last change in ownership rules was part of the 1996 de-regulation of the industry and that since that time, competitors such as SiriusXM and the various digital audio services were born and have changed the audio media landscape.  Specifically, the NAB is suggesting the FCC consider the following: For station owners in the top 75 Nielsen Audio markets, raise the cap to up to eight FM signals and put no limit on the number of AM stations it can operate.  In the markets smaller than the top 75, it suggests there be no restrictions on the number of FM or AM stations a single entity can operate.  In explaining its request, the NAB writes, “The Commission’s goal of fostering audio programming ‘tailored to the needs and interests of specific local markets’ must account for today’s reality: tailoring now occurs on the basis of specific listeners, not just on the basis of local radio markets.  The FCC’s approach to regulating free OTA radio must reflect today’s competitive audio market in which consumers have access to a virtually infinite number of ‘stations’ tailored to their specific interests.  Continuing to insist that the existing radio ownership limits are necessary because local stations only compete among themselves defies reality and is contrary to law.  Indeed, the FCC’s current regulatory framework simply ignores a large portion of the listening and advertising equation.  The notion of what constitutes a competitor to radio stations must include audio outlets that consumers in local markets are listening to and the outlets that advertisers use.”

WGOW-FM, Chattanooga Morning Host Jeff Styles Wounded, Charged in Road Rage Incident. Chattanooga morning drive talk host Jeff Styles has been charged with aggravated assault and vandalism after a Friday afternoon road rage incident that left him with a gun-shot wound to his arm. WRCB-TV, Chattanooga reports that Styles – morning drive co-host on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WGOW-FM, Chattanooga – and fellow motorist Nickolas Bullington were involved in a road rage incident late Friday afternoon (6/15) that ended after Styles allegedly attacked Bullington’s car with a “military grade tomahawk” and Bullington responded by shooting Styles in the arm with a handgun.  Styles was treated at a local hospital and arrested the following day. The WRCB-TV report includes a statement from Styles’ lawyer alleging Bullington was the aggressor and Styles the victim.  Styles hosts “The Morning Press” with co-host Jim Reynolds and program and news director Kevin West.

Robert Feder Provides Glimpse Behind the Ratings Woes at WGN, Chicago.  Windy City media maven Robert Feder publishes an exclusive report on what some of the station’s talent are saying about the state of Tribune’s venerable WGN-AM as it moves from the Tribune Tower to brand new studios at 303 Wacker Drive.  It’s no secret that WGN has suffered a long trend of dwindling ratings as measured by Nielsen Audio’s PPM surveys, and Feder’s story offers a look at what at least a few of the station’s personalities are feeling about the situation.  Read it here.

ESPN Audio Now Available on iHeartRadio. This move adds ESPN Audio’s networks and on-demand content to the iHeartRadio digital platform.  The multi-year deal with iHeartMedia allows users to livestream the ESPN Radio Network shows – “Golic and Wingo,” Dan Le Batard, Stephen A. Smith, etc. – the O&O’s in New York, Chicago and L.A., ESPN-affiliated stations, live play-by-play events, and ESPN’s roster of podcasts.  ESPN VP, Audio and Talent Traug Keller says, “We are consistently looking for new ways to give fans access to ESPN Audio’s tremendous content.  iHeartRadio, with its expansive network and reach, will help us bring new listeners into the fold and give current fans yet another way to enjoy their sports content, anytime, anywhere.”

National Radio Institute Begins Today at University of Tennessee. Today begins the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters Radio Talent Institute at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.  At this session, students from four different universities will learn from broadcast pros from Patrick Communications, Midwest Communications, Stonecom Radio, Entercom, Cumulus MediaScripps Radio, 5 Star Radio/Saga Communications, Cromwell Communications, Thunderbolt Broadcasting, and others.  The course is led by industry professionals and facilitated by the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters and the University of Tennessee’s College of Communications and Information and was spearheaded by radio consultant Dan Vallie.  The TAB Radio Talent Institute is the fourth of eight Radio Talent Institutes this summer from the National Radio Talent System, next are Confer Radio Talent Institute at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania; Hubbard Radio Talent Institute at Central Washington University; KBA WKU Radio Talent Institute at Western Kentucky University, and the MBA Radio Talent Institute at Northwest Missouri State University.

TALKERS News Notes. The case of Nielsen Audio v. Bubba the Love Sponge was supposed to begin in trial court today, but the start of the eagerly awaited legal face-off will not happen until July 23 – that is, unless the two parties come to a settlement.  Nielsen’s complaint that Bubba the Love Sponge damaged its reputation by tampering with the PPM survey in the Tampa market goes back more than two-and-a-half years. Although a settlement is always a possibility, it seems unlikely Bubba would concede anything after spending as much on legal fees as he has up to this point.  Nielsen is seeking $1 million in damages.  Federal Judge James Whittemore offered no reason for the change in trial start dates but says it’s expected to last five to seven days…..cabana, the digital audio division of AdLarge Media, is announcing an exclusive ad sales representation deal for the newly launched true crime podcast network Murder.ly. AdLarge co-founder and co-CEO Cathy Csukas says, “True crime dramas are sought-after and in high demand among listeners and advertisers.  We’re proud to represent the titles in Murder.ly and bring this exclusive opportunity to cabana advertisers.”

Three Join Broadcasters Foundation Board of Directors. The Broadcasters Foundation of America elects Wendy McMahon, president of the ABC Owned Television Stations Group, and Charlie Weiss, publisher of New Bay Media’s TV Sector Brands, to its board of directors, and names Dennis Lyle, president and chief executive officer of the Illinois Broadcasters Association, an officer and vice president.  The new directors and Lyle were voted in during the board meeting that took place in New York City last week.  In a related story, at the TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! conference held in New York City on June 8, WPG, Atlantic City morning host and Heavy Hundred member Harry Hurley (pictured below at left) donated $2,000 to the Broadcasters Foundation of America on behalf of his successful Harry Hurley Charitable Foundation.  Foundation president Jim Thompson (right) accepted the check.  This marked the third year in a row that Hurley has made a large donation to the Broadcasters Foundation.

Trump-Russia Investigation/Roger Stone Allegation, Illegal Immigration Enforcement, Inspector General’s FBI-Clinton Probe Report, Trump Trade Wars, Trump-Kim Jong Un Meeting, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the allegation Roger Stone met with a Russian promising “dirt” on Hillary Clinton; the controversy over the treatment of illegals with young children; the inspector general’s report on the FBI’s investigation of the Hillary Clinton email server case; the tariffs being levied by the U.S. and retaliation by China and concerns about a global trade war; President Trump’s meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Rock programmer Mat Bates has reportedly exited Cumulus Media’s legendary triple A KFOG, San Francisco where he was serving as program director.…..In the Reno market, Lotus Communications names Tina Smash morning drive host at classic rock KOZZ.  Smash is taking over the morning host role from operations manager and program director Jave Patterson who will assume the afternoon drive show hosting duties on Lotus’ sister active rock KDOT “Rock 104.5.”…..On-air pro Diana DeVille joins Strategic International Ministries’ country KWSV, Simi Valley, California “99.1 The Ranch” to host the midday program that was hosted by departed personality Mese Smith.  Station programmer Michael Raffety says, “It’s always hard replacing a strong personality that listeners have grown to love, like Mese Smith.  But if anyone can carry on the success, it’s Diana Deville. She’s loaded with great ideas and has a genuine love for the country music format and listener.  I know the audience will grow to love Diana as much as they do Mese.”…..Some of the winners at the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters awards luncheon held last Thursday (6/14) include Capitol Broadcasting’s hot AC WRAL-FM, Raleigh-Durham “MIX 101.5,” winner of the Radio Station of the Year honor in the large market category. Station PD Michele Williams says, “We at ‘MIX 101.5’ are honored to accept the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters’ radio station of the year award for 2017.  We thank this amazing community for allowing us to give back through events like our Radiothon for Duke Children’s Hospital, Interfaith Food Shuttle’s Back Pack Buddies Mediathon and our annual Christmas Choir Competition that supports local schools’ music programs.  It’s a privilege to serve you, our listeners, and we look forward to what’s to come in 2018 and beyond.”  Other winners were Beasley Media Group’s hip hop WZFX-FM, Fayetteville, which took home the Station of the Year honor for medium market stations, as well as WPEG, Charlotte “Power 98” evening personality Ya Girl Nikki who was honored with Large Market Personality of the Year.

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