Tag: "San Francisco"

June 2020 PPM Ratings

| July 8, 2020

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

| June 9, 2020

Round One of May PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey have been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s May 2020 survey period covered April 23 – May 20. You can see all the 6+ data from subscribing stations here. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from this group of markets and so far, it appears the weekly, 6+ AQH shares for news/talk stations has leveled off after enjoying ratings spikes during the April survey. In New York, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOR went from a 3.0 share in April to a 2.6 share in May. In Los Angeles, iHM news/talk KFI dropped nine-tenths to finish May with a 4.6 share and the #2 rank in the market. Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM, Chicago forfeits four-tenths for a 5.2 share but remains in the #3 slot. Entercom all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago loses 1.4 shares but stays at #1 with a 7.0 share. In San Francisco, Entercom’s KCBS-AM gives back 1.4 shares for an 8.5 share finish and the #2 rank. Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta relinquishes 2.8 shares but stays in the #1 spot for the 11th straight sweep. In the New Jersey market of Middlesex-Somerset-Union, Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” adds one-tenth to finish May with a 6.8 share and the #3 rank in the market. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways report here.

New Podcast from Pollster Scott Rasmussen Debuts on Just the News. The Just the News multiplatform news network announces a new, daily podcast called “Number of the Day” from pollster, political analyst, and author Scott Rasmussen.  The “Number of the Day” has been a long-running feature at Rasmussen’s Ballotpedia.org that now becomes the newest show on the Just the News podcast platform. Just the News founder John Solomon says, “Scott has been conducting our widely quoted daily poll and now he will give our listeners a podcast that makes sense of the numbers that define what Americans are thinking. He is one of the most respected barometers of American sentiment. The context and insights he brings to politics are a must-listen opportunity as we head into the 2020 fall election.” Ron Hartenbaum is managing member of Crossover Media Group, which handles ad sales for Just the News as well as produces, sells and distributes audio and video programming for the platform. He says, “Scott has earned his place among America’s premier pollsters and political analysts. He gets it right more often than most and his insights can be essential to understanding the 2020 races.” The podcast will be published each morning at 8:00 am ET.

BLM Protests, De-Fund Police Movement/Police Reform, U.S. in Recession, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Prince Andrew & Jeffrey Epstein Case, and Fate of MLB Season Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/8). The Black Lives Matter protests taking place across the country; the movement in several cities to de-fund police departments and New York’s discussion about reforming its police department; economists determine the U.S. officially entered a recession in February; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and concerns about rising numbers in the wake of re-openings and protest activities; the U.S. Justice Department’s interest in Prince Andrew in connection with the case of the late Jeffrey Epstein who was charged with sex trafficking; and the fate of the 2020 baseball season as players and the league continue to negotiate were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. There’s a new content deal between FOX News Media and SiriusXM to report. FOX News Audio president John Sylvester announces that all of FOX News Podcasts’ original programming is now available to Pandora users across all tiers of the service. Also, the daily news digest “The FOX News Rundown” is now airing weekday mornings on SiriusXM’s Patriot channel. Sylvester says, “We are thrilled to expand our longstanding partnership, ensuring SiriusXM and Pandora’s combined over 100 million listeners continued access to our cutting-edge news coverage, as well as our best-in-class lifestyle and opinion programming.”…..iHeartMedia’s Milwaukee sports talker WRNW-FM “97.3 The Game” adds a new, Saturday evening show called, “On Your T’s and Q’s,” co-hosted by Milwaukee natives, Grady “Trey” Crosby III and Quinton “Q” Miller. Each Saturday evening from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm the duo will share their intense and passionate views on a variety of sports and discuss a multitude of topics within the Milwaukee community and worldwide…..According to May 2020 data from the London-based financial publication Learnbonds.com, just 10 podcast publishers accounted for 893.78 million streams and downloads. in May 2020. Learnbonds says, “iHeartRadio podcasts attracted the highest downloads and streams at 216.15 million, followed by NPR with 208.92 million. Among the top 10 podcast publishers, iHeartRadio and NPR accounted for 47.6% of the streams and downloads. In the third spot, there is New York Times podcasts which attracted 130.28 million streams and downloads. In the fourth spot, there is PRX which had 82.87 million streams and downloads while Barstool Sports closed the top five categories with 55.46 million streams.” Learnbonds says other publishers with top podcast streams and downloads include Wondery (53.64 million), NBC News (41.97 million), Cumulus/Westwood One (37.74 million), WNYC Studios (35.91 million) and Kast Media (30.74 million)…..SportsGrid announces its 24/7 linear video gaming network is launching on The Roku Channel. SportsGrid says its live video original programming will be available to Roku users “delivering insightful analysis with extensive team, player, pre- and post-game data and statistical intelligence. SportsGrid features a team of experienced anchors and analysts providing the network’s comprehensive signature programming coverage including “Ferrall Coast to Coast” hosted by Scott Ferrall, “Game Time Decisions” with Gabe Morency and “In-Game Live.”…..Beasley Media Group Philadelphia announces details about the Beasley Small Business Advertising Grant Program presented by PECO in which the company is giving away $250,000 in advertising grants to businesses located in the Philadelphia Metropolitan market. A total of five $10,000 advertising grants per Philadelphia station will be awarded. The stations include: country WXTU-FM, rock WMMR-FM, adult hits WBEN-FM, sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic,” and classic rock WMGK-FM and the initiative takes place June 8 – 21. A total of five $10,000 advertising grants will be awarded per station. Interested local businesses are encouraged to submit a 300-word essay on why they should be chosen to receive the advertising grant. Consideration will be based upon the company’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as community service, business culture, and employee loyalty.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Nate Reed is promoted to operations director for Cox Media Group’s Tampa station group. Reed has been serving as director of branding and programming for adult contemporary outlets WDUV “105.5 The Dove” and WWRM “Magic 94.9,” roles he will continue. His new position also gives him programming oversight for CHR WPOI “Hot 101.5,” classic hits WXGL “107.3 The Eagle,” and talk WHPT “102.5 The Bone.” CMG Tampa VP and market manager Keith Lawless says, “Nate is a brilliant programmer, thoughtful leader, and an all-around great person. The entire CMG Tampa team is fortunate to have Nate leading the future of our content.”…..The Wichita Eagle reports that SummitMedia’s country KFDI, Wichita laid off staffers recently and among the casualties are midday host, APD and music director Carol Hughes and assignment editor Wil Day. Former KFDI news director Dan Dillon is quoted by the paper saying, “I have never seen a better ambassador for that radio station than Carol Hughes. Listeners loved her. Her contacts in the country music industry were unbelievable. They still are.”…..Beasley Media Group announces rock WDHA-FM, Dover, New Jersey air personality Curtis Kay has died after a three-and-a-half-year battle with lung cancer. Kay had been with the New Jersey rock station for 40 years. He launched his radio career in 1980 when he was hired by Howard Stern at WRNW in Westchester, New York. Beasley Media New Jersey SVP and regional market manager Dan Finn says, “Besides being an enormous and passionate talent, Curtis was the salt of the earth. He was such a kind person with an incredible disposition. I’m proud to have had the honor to work with him.”…..As the state of Connecticut continues to adjust guidelines related to graduation, Connoisseur Media’s rock WPLR, New Haven is helping one area high school with its graduation ceremony. Tomorrow (6/10) at 5:00 pm, the station will stop regular programming and air, commercial free, the full graduation ceremony of Amity Regional High School. The school is too big to comply with the state’s social distancing guidelines for an in-person graduation ceremony. Connoisseur VP of programming Keith Dakin says, “We have felt incredibly bad for our local high school seniors and we thought this was a great way to honor them. They won’t be able to walk across the graduation stage, but they will be able to hear their name over 50,000 watts throughout the state. Who else can say that?”

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

| May 20, 2020

Hubbard Radio Promotes Phil Mackey to Brand & Digital Content Director. At Hubbard Radio headquarters in the Twin Cities, it’s announced that sports talk KSTP “SKOR North” brand/distribution director Phil Mackey’s role is expanded to brand and digital content development director for Hubbard Radio. He’ll report to SVP programming Greg Strassell and in this role will be dedicated to assisting Hubbard Radio managers with strategies for creation of new multi-channel content built around the core brands. Mackey will retain his brand/distribution director duties at ‘SKOR North.’ Hubbard says that under Mackey’s leadership over the past 18 months, ‘SKOR North’ grew podcast downloads, monthly app users, YouTube subscribers, and social media followers by double- and triple-digit percentage increases. Hubbard Minnesota VP/region manager Dan Seeman says, “As difficult as the COVID-19 crisis has been, we’ve learned a lot. With radio listening habits disrupted we’ve realized firsthand how important digital platforms are to brand messaging and engagement. The work that Phil has done creating digital brand extensions for ‘SKOR North’ can be utilized by all of the brands in our company. Let’s take the model and support all of Hubbard.”

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format. There are 11 all-news outlets (however, several reach into adjacent markets) on our panel. Entercom operates eight of those, iHeartMedia, Hubbard Radio, and Sinclair Broadcast Group own the others. The format experienced intense weekly, 6+ AQH share increases from February to March, but lost some of its steam from the March to April surveys with 35% regressing and just 47% improving. Entercom’s WINS-AM, New York led the gainers adding a full share to finish with a 5.7 share. Year-over-year, the format fared well as 82% of stations saw AQH share increases, with Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco leading that pack by adding 3.6 shares. Three Entercom all-news stations ranked #1 in the April survey: WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago (8.4); KCBS-AM, San Francisco (9.9); and WWJ-AM, Detroit (6.4). See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

The Re-Opening Begins, Statistics & Projections, Trump vs WHO, Hydroxychloroquine Controversy, Michael Flynn Case, Inspector General Fired/Pompeo Investigation, Pressure on China, and Sports Leagues Plan Seasons Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/19). Numerous states begin re-opening their economies; the number of confirmed U.S. COVID-19 cases, the death toll, and projections for future cases; President Trump threatens the U.S. will leave the World Health Organization permanently; the controversy over Trump’s statement he’s taking hydroxychloroquine; the DOJ’s dropping the case against former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and Trump’s accusing Barack Obama of sparking the Russia inquiry; the firing of inspector general Steve Linick and the reported investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s arms deal with Saudi Arabia and using staff to perform domestic chores for him; the 100 nations pushing China to open the investigation into the origin of the coronavirus; and U.S. sports leagues lay out their plans to play games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. In case you missed it, there’s a great piece by Larry Stone in the Seattle Times on market sports talk radio legend Dave Grosby, who’s fighting a battle against Parkinson’s disease. As you may recall, “Groz” had to leave his daily show on Bonneville’s KIRO-AM, Seattle “710 ESPN” alongside Bob Stelton and Tom Wassell last summer, although he’s still contributing to the station’s shows and digital presence…..Minor changes take place at Entercom’s WFAN, New York according to Neil Best and Newsday. He reports that Mike Francesa’s show will air on WFAN for a full hour from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm, instead of ending at 6:00 pm. Also, Jerry Recco and Al Dukes are getting a full hour from 5:00 am to 6:00 am. Entercom New York SVP of programming Mark Chernoff says in a statement, “By extending the programming time of our trusted hosts, we aim to provide fans with more of the compelling sports and entertainment content they want as they navigate the changes and await the return of live events.” Tweaks to the schedule leave the evenings and overnights as follows: John Jastremski from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, Steve Somers from 11:00 pm to 3:00 am, and Amy Lawrence from 3:00 am to 5:00 am…..Chicago Public Media announces that it has hired Andi McDaniel to serve as president and CEO, taking over for Goli Sheikholeslami, who left in 2019 for the CEO post at New York Public Radio. McDaniel, who has been serving as chief content officer at American University’s WAMU, Washington, will start her new position in September after a maternity leave.

NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at ‘Expert Guests.’ Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a weekly basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV, and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that include an investigative reporter with inside information about China and COVID-19; an award-winning political scientist; an internationally renowned media psychiatrist; a modern era marketing expert; an expert on investing in gold; an expert on global trade; and the former Attorney general of Nebraska. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Rock programming pro Troy Hanson is promoted to vice president/corporate programming-rock formats for Cumulus Media. This promotion adds oversight of the classic rock format for Cumulus to Hanson’s purview. Hanson was previously vice president, operations for Cumulus Chicago; program director, 101.1 WKQX-FM; and vice president, programming, rock formats (active/alternative formats). He will continue in his roles as VP, operations, Cumulus Chicago, and PD for WKQX. Hanson says, “Very appreciative of the continued confidence [EVP, content & audience] Brian Philips and [VP & market manager] Marv Nyren are showing with this new appointment. We have an amazing group of creative and talented programmers and personalities in rock to draw inspiration from daily. A tip of the cap to Brian and Marv, along with Mary Berner, Dave Milner, and Bob Walker for their stellar leadership.”

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

| May 6, 2020

Chris Oliviero Returns to Entercom as SVP/Market Manager for New York. It’s been almost two years since Chris Oliviero left his EVP of programming role with Entercom. On June 1, he returns to the company’s New York offices as senior vice president and market manager for the station group that includes all-news WINS-AM and WCBS-AM, sports talk WFAN-AM/FM, and alternative WNYL “ALT 92.3,” classic hits WCBS-FM, and country WNSH-FM. He assumes the role previously held by Susan Larkin, who was promoted to company chief operating officer. Larkin says, “Chris is an exceptional leader with proven success developing talent, growing many of our leading brands, and building a thriving culture. We’re thrilled to welcome him back to take the helm of his hometown where his energy, passion and drive will help further raise the bar of excellence in the top media market in the country.” Oliviero originally transitioned to Entercom as the company acquired the CBS RADIO properties.  He worked for CBS for 22 years and was a senior manager for CBS for years. He comments, “Radio in New York is an incredibly special place, so to have the chance to return to a collection of the most iconic and influential brands on the dial is humbling. Our stations are in many ways the soundtrack of the city. I am confident that along with all my Entercom New York colleagues we will add to this legacy. I can’t wait to reconnect with so many old friends and of course meet new ones as well.”

Sandhill Media to Launch New Talk Station in Idaho Falls; Neal Larson and Julie Mason Recruited for Mornings. There’s no exact launch date set for the new format but Sandhill Media Group says it will move its CHR format off KAOX-FM, Idaho Falls and install the new “Newstalk 107.9 FM” format with market morning duo Neal Larson and Julie Mason as hosts of the AM drive show. Larson and Mason left their positions with Rich Broadcasting’s crosstown news/talk KID last month.  The station plans to air Westwood One’s Mark Levin program as well as other national programs.  Neal Larson is also serving as program director for the station.  He says, “We’re thrilled at the opportunity to not just continue doing what we love to do, but also join the great and talented team at Sandhill and build something from the ground up. It is a unique opportunity at a truly unique time in our community, state, and country. We can’t wait to unveil to the whole region what we’re putting together.”  Mason adds, “While being part of a brand-new station is an incredible opportunity, what we really love is what happens after – building a community of informed and loyal listeners on one side, and also watching that audience create huge value for our advertisers on the other.”  Station OM Will Kezele, says, “We have a fantastic core of music stations here at Sandhill, but the one piece we’ve been missing is a news/talk station. This is our moment to fill that void and create something that will be a valuable part of east Idaho for many years to come.” Sandhill will move the CHR format to KAOX-HD2/K286BU at 105.1 FM.

Kim Guthrie to Leave Cox Media Group President and CEO Post. This change comes as a surprise to industry watchers and one has to wonder what caused Cox Media Group president and CEO Kim Guthrie to decide to “move on from the organization after a 22-plus year career with the company.” In a press release, CMG says executive chairman Steve Pruett will serve as interim CEO until a permanent CEO is named. He says, “On behalf of the board of directors, we would like to thank Kim for her decades of service to Cox Media Group and her leadership during the company’s transition to new ownership. She has been instrumental in positioning CMG for future success as an industry-leading media company.” Guthrie, who will work with Pruett on an orderly transition, comments, “We have built a strong foundation for future growth, including an exceptional senior management team, a successful carveout from Cox Enterprises, and deep, long-term relationships with our communities, customers and partners. I have full confidence in this great team at CMG and I look forward to watching CMG’s future achievements.”

Saga Communications Reports Q1 Financials; Net Revenue Dips 6.5%. The first broadcasting company to report its first quarter 2020 financial data is Saga Communications, Inc and its report comes with a huge caveat – this report doesn’t reflect the hit the company has taken from April 1 to now.  Saga states net income increased to $1.7 million from $1.4 million in the first quarter of 2019, an increase of 20.3%.  However, net revenue was $26.1 million for the quarter, a decrease of 6.5% from Q1 2019 in which net revenue was $27.8 million. Free cash flow was $1.5 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2020 compared to $2.6 million for the same period last year.   Saga reports having $47 million in cash on hand as of May 4, 2020. It says in its report, “The COVID-19 global pandemic continues to spread, and state and local ‘shelter-in-place’ orders in the states where we operate have impacted and restricted various aspects of our business. Our operations are functioning, subject to regulated restrictions and safety constraints we have enacted in order to protect our employees and customers. As a result of the current challenging economic conditions, our reported results for the three months ended March 31, 2020 are not reflective of current market conditions. The company’s advertising revenue has declined significantly as a result of the pandemic and these unfavorable trends have continued into May and June. While we cannot reasonably estimate the length or severity of this pandemic, an extended economic slowdown in the U.S. could materially impact our consolidated financial position, consolidated results of operations, and consolidated cash flows in fiscal 2020 or beyond.”

PPM Analysis: Extra. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the “Extra” edition of his monthly study of Nielsen Audio’s 6+ ratings data from the March 2020 PPM survey. He says this “Extra” coverage of each PPM sweep in the foreseeable future will uniquely detail month-to-month shifts among news/talk; all-news; public radio news/talk; and sports talk stations. Among this month’s data is: A ranking of the strongest spoken-word markets among the 48 PPM markets – #1 is Washington, DC, followed by Boston at #2 and San Francisco at #3; a ranking of the markets that most improved over the February 2020 PPM survey – Portland saw a 4.0 share gain from month to month, with Seattle close behind with a 3.8 share improvement; a ranking of the stations that achieved the highest increase from February to March – Entercom’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago is the winner here; as well as a look at the stations losing the most ground, month to month (hint: sports talk).  See the entire report here.

Entercom All-News Stations Honored with Awards. Two of Entercom’s all-news stations were recently honored for programming quality.  KCBS-AM/KFRC-FM, San Francisco garnered 10 2019 Associated Press Television and Radio Association Awards – eight first place awards and two second-place awards. KCBS won first place for Outstanding News Operation, Best Evening Newscast, and Best Spot News Coverage, among others. Meanwhile, the company’s WINS, New York took home three 2020 Excellence in Broadcasting Awards first-place honors from the New York State Broadcasters Association.  “1010 WINS” won for Outstanding Spot News, Outstanding Newscast, and Outstanding Use of Digital Platforms.

COVID-19 Statistics and Projections, Rush to Re-Open, Scrutiny of China’s COVID-19 Response, Presidential Race/Joe Biden Allegations, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/5). The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the death toll plus the projections of future cases; the debate over ‘lives vs livelihood’ as states begin to re-open their economies; the accusations that China tried to hide the coronavirus outbreak; the presidential race and Tara Reade’s allegation of sexual assault against Joe Biden; and activity among the world’s financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Nobody covers the New York City sports radio scene more colorfully than the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand, and in today’s column he speculates about the possible return of former WFAN-AM/FM morning personality Craig Carton now that radio executive Chris Oliviero is returning to Entercom as SVP and market manager of its New York stations. Of course, Carton is currently serving a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence after being convicted of fraud in a concert tickets Ponzi-scheme. Marchand notes that Oliviero and WFAN program director Mark Chernoff put together the team of Boomer Esiason and Carton back in 2007…..ABC News’ “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir interviewed President Trump in Phoenix on Tuesday as the president was in the city visiting a plant that makes face masks. Muir is featured on ABC Audio’s “Start Here” podcast with host Brad Mielke speaking about his interview with the president…..Entercom launches a daily “I’m Listening” capsule. The 60-second public service announcements, an extension of the company’s annual, yearlong “I’m Listening” mental health awareness initiative, features the voices and thoughts of artists, celebrities, media hosts, and mental health specialists. The daily capsules will feature singer and songwriter Halsey; former American Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps; singer, rapper, songwriter and flutist Lizzo; singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Allessia Cara; rock band Blink-182; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and former Nirvana member Krist Novoselic, and more to help listeners navigate the complexities of this global health pandemic…..Three new iHeartRadio Original Podcasts launch today. “Fierce,” co-produced by Tribeca Studios, is hosted by Jo Piazza and explores the stories of extraordinary women who never made it into history books; “Flashback: History’s Unintended Consequences” in conjunction with OZY Media, is hosted by OZY’s Sean Braswell who explores disastrous turning points, dangerous ideas, crazy coincidences, unsung heroes, and forgotten villains in history; and “The Trend Reporter,” hosted by four-time Emmy award-winning TV personality and journalist Mara Schiavocampo, is a weekly show that will help listeners figure out which wellness, beauty, style, and fitness trends are actually worth trying…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One Podcast Network welcomes two shows to its platform: “The Stacking Benjamins Show,” with host Joe Saul-Sehy and co-host Josh Bannerman teaching listeners about personal finance through headlines, guest experts, and plenty of humor. The hour-long, magazine-style show drops each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; and the spin-off program “Money with Friends” with Joe Saul-Sehy and Bobbi Rebell who are joined each season with a rotating cast of thought leaders providing fresh perspectives and unique insights to the personal finance news and issues discussed on the podcast.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Jacksonville, iHeartMedia launches a regional Mexican format branded “El Patrón 97.3” on translator W247CF (fed by WKSL-HD2). The translator had been fed by sports talk WFXJ-AM. Jacksonville iHeartLatino GSM Jorge Lopez says, “I am grateful to be part of a company that sees Hispanic growth in Jacksonville, by adding another radio station and Hispanic brand to our market. With this launch, we confirm our commitment to the community and our solid growth in the communications industry in North Florida, covering 100% of the Hispanic market with our ‘Rumba’ brand and now with ‘El Patrón.’”…..SiriusXM launches the “Mandatory Metallica” channel through the month of May featuring the band’s biggest songs, rarities, and concert recordings from throughout its history. The channel is embarking on a 30-date “virtual Metallica tour,” which will air a daily concert from the band on tour around the globe, including the band’s exclusive SiriusXM concert from 2013 at the Apollo Theater in New York City and their 2016 concert at New York City’s Webster Hall.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

| April 28, 2020

Hannity Attorneys Demand Retraction from New York Times. Attorneys for FOX News Channel and Premiere Networks star Sean Hannity have sent a request to The New York Times that it issue an apology to Hannity and retract its coverage of Hannity’s work at FOX covering the coronavirus pandemic.  Hannity’s lawyers are saying if the paper does not act within 24 hours, Hannity will have no choice but to file suit.  According to a FOX News story, at issue are “three separate pieces by columnist Ginia Bellafante, contributing writer Kara Swisher and media columnist Ben Smith which they said all showed ‘an outrageous disregard for the truth.’” The paper responded that its reporting is accurate and there is no need for an apology.  Hannity attorney Charles Harder says the issue is the Times’ “blatant and outrageous disregard for the truth in mischaracterizing Mr. Hannity’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and blaming him for the tragic death of Joe Joyce,” referring to a 74-year-old who contracted the coronavirus on a cruise. Joyce’s children warned him and his wife not to take the cruise but, according to Bellafante’s column, Joyce watched FOX News Channel and believed the virus was under control.

Tony Bruno and Harry Mayes Launch Sports Talk Show on SB Nation Radio on May 11. Sports talk personalities Tony Bruno and Harry Mayes are returning to terrestrial radio on May 11 as SB Nation Radio and JAKIB Media Partners announce the program “Into the Night” will be made available to radio stations via the SB Nation Radio network.  The program feeds to affiliates from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET.  Bruno says, “I continue in amazement that at a time when there are no sports to talk about, my partner Harry and I keep getting hired to talk sports.”  Bruno and Mayes reunited — they worked together at WPEN-FM, Philadelphia — for a daily sports talk show on April 6 when they joined the Dan Patrick Radio channel on SiriusXM for the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET daypart.  The “Into the Night” program SB Nation is presenting is mostly a re-broadcast of the SiriusXM show, however Bruno will customize some segments for the late-night show and there’s also the possibility that Bruno and Mayes will broadcast live for special events and remotes, according to SB Nation’s Brian Schaible.

PPM Analysis: Public Radio News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on public radio news/talk.  The thirst for news during the coronavirus pandemic has lifted public radio news/talk stations as 79% of those on our panel saw their weekly, 6+ AQH shares rise from the February 2020 survey.  KOPB-FM, Portland and KQED-FM, San Francisco led the group of gainers with increases of 1.7 shares and 1.5 shares, respectively.  Year-over-year comparisons were not quite as impressive with 59% of stations improving.  KNOW-FM, Minneapolis stands out as it added 3.4 shares from the March 2019 survey to the March 2020 survey and climbed from the #9 rank in the market to #1. In addition to KNOW-FM, four other public radio news/talk outlets ranked #1 in their markets in March: WAMU-FM, Washington; KCFR-FM, Denver; KOPB-FM, Portland; and KUT-FM, Austin.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

‘Bogey’ Exits WXYT-FM, Detroit. Evening sports talk personality Kyle Bogenschutz – a.k.a. Bogey, has exited Entercom’s Detroit sports talk outlet WXYT-FM where he co-hosted the evening show with Bob Wojnowski.  According to the Detroit Newsreport, Bogey’s exit was the result of stalled contract talks, not cuts due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Bogey had been with the station since 2014 and had been co-hosting the evening show with Wojo since June of 2017.  His agent tells the News that he’s in conversations with “a couple of people” and believes Bogey will land somewhere soon.

States Begin ‘Re-Opening’ Economy, U.S. Coronavirus Statistics & Projections, Health Care System/Testing Capabilities, China’s Role in Pandemic, Presidential Race/Biden Accusation, and Kim Jong Un Health Status Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/27). A handful of states court controversy as they begin to ease social distancing restrictions; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the death toll and projections for future cases; the state of the U.S. health care system and the capabilities for testing for COVID-19; the U.S. begins investigating China’s role in the pandemic; the November presidential election and the sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden; and questions about the health status of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

SiriusXM First Quarter Revenue Up 5% Pro Forma. Today (4/28), SiriusXM reported its first quarter 2020 operating and financial results.  It says revenue rose 5% (pro forma) to $2 billion.  Net income for the quarter was $293 million, up from $162 million in the first quarter of 2019.  SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “In the face of the economy hitting the brakes hard in March, SiriusXM’s first quarter results were very strong.  Auto sales, advertising, and customer responses to marketing campaigns all fell swiftly in the second half of March, yet we delivered increasing subscribers, solid revenue growth and 13% adjusted EBITDA growth to a first quarter record of $639 million.  Just as it was a little over a decade ago during the global financial crisis, SiriusXM’s subscriber-based business model is resilient.  We do not know what the shape of a recovery from this current crisis will look like, however, we are confident that our business will continue to generate substantial positive free cash flow.  Once we have a better view of how and when the economy will restart, we plan to resume providing guidance.”

TALKERS News Notes. Phoenix talk show host Larry Gaydos announced to his listeners on Bonneville’s news/talk KTAR-FM, Phoenix yesterday that his mother – already suffering from cancer – succumbed to COVID-19 over the weekend.  Gaydos said she tested positive several weeks ago and suffered no effects until last week when she began to decline quickly…..The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand speculates about possible changes to take place at ESPN Radio in the near future in a column. In it, Marchand wonders about the futures of Dan LeBatard on the radio (his cable TV show is popular), Trey Wingo’s role on the Golic & Wingo morning show, and says Will Cain is all but destined to leave for a gig with FOX News very soon…..Yankees Radio Network play-by-play voice John Sterling is honored with the 2020 Governors’ Award, presented by the New York Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.  The Governors’ Award recognizes Sterling’s 60th anniversary as a broadcaster and his 31 years as the radio voice of the New York Yankees.  Sterling says, “Whenever you get an award, it’s wonderful. But when you get an award from your peers, it is even better. I’m very humbled and appreciative to be the recipient of the 2020 Governors’ Award.  I’m thankful to the board for their recognition of my longtime work with the New York Yankees, which is nothing short of a labor of love for me.”…..Cumulus Media announces that it will hold its investors conference call to discuss first quarter 2020 operating results on May 11 at 4:30 pm ET.  Cumulus is the second publicly traded audio company to announce its Q1 call that is expected to address how the coronavirus pandemic – that had fully affected the country by mid-March – impacted its operations.  iHeartMedia will hold a Q1 conference call on May 7.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.   A new three-hour program starring Roula Christie is being launched by Cumulus Media’s Westwood One on May 2.  Titled, “Weekends with Roula,” it is designed for hot AC and CHR stations and targets women 25-54.  Westwood One says the show is “upbeat and motivational as she helps listeners find fun in the madness of juggling work and family.  Roula mixes pop culture and entertainment news with hilarious conversations between her kids and her mom.”  She comments, “I am over the moon at the opportunity to be nationally syndicated with Westwood One for ‘Weekends with Roula!’ I hope to connect with the rest of America the way I have been able to connect with my Greater Houston-area audience. I’m so grateful to my husband, Tasos, and children for providing me with material! I’m so excited!”…..Programming pro Scott Gaines is named operations manager for Alpha Media’s Amarillo, Texas cluster that includes country KGNC-FM, rhythmic CHR KVWE, classic hits KXGL “Eagle 100.5,” and news/talk KGNC-AM.  Gaines will also program KGNC-FM and serve as afternoon drive host.  He was most recently with Cumulus Media in Atlanta as APD and afternoon host at WKHX “New Country 101.5.”

Friday, April 24, 2020

| April 24, 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.  The new episode titled, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place!” looks back at this past week of April 20-24, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSDr. Renee Kohanski, forensic psychiatrist / contributor, “Psychcast-MDedge” podcast;  Glenn Beck, talk show host, Premiere NetworksMichael Riedel, talk show host, WOR, New York; and Bob Flaherty, talk show host, WHMP-AM, Northampton, MA. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, 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, Denver “Freedom 93.7”; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL-AM, Alexandria, LA; 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.

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format.  For those following how all-news and news/talk stations have fared since the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S., it won’t be a surprise that every all-news station in the U.S. saw its weekly, 6+ AQH share go up from the February survey. Comparing the March 2020 and February 2020 surveys, Entercom’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago and KYW, Philadelphia led the gainers with each rising 1.9 shares.  Taking a look at year-over-year data, 67% of all-news stations were up, 22% were down, and 11% remained steady.  While Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco was the leader here (+3.5 for a 9.9 share and the #1 rank in the market), Sinclair Broadcast Group’s KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle’s 2.3 share increase pushed it from the #15 rank in 2019 to the #3 rank this year.  Despite the ratings jumps, just two all-news outlets ranked #1 in their respective markets in March – WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago and KCBS-AM, San Francisco.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Michael Banks to Lead Connoisseur’s Frederick, Maryland Duo. It’s a return to the general manager position at news/talk WFMD-AM and country WFRE in Frederick, Maryland for Michael Banks.  He led the duo under iHeartMedia’s Aloha Trust that was created to divest of stations it couldn’t own due to ownership cap regulations. Now, Connoisseur Media puts Banks back in the GM chair.  Connoisseur Media CEO Jeff Warshaw states, “Mike has been the general sales manager of our Long Island operation.  He was a crucial part of our success and today we are excited to promote him into this important position.”  Banks comments, “I’m excited to get back to Frederick.  This is a perfect fit for my family and me.  I look forward to working with a world-class staff and once again becoming a leader in the community.”

RAB’s ‘Business Unusual’ Series Continues on April 29. The RAB announces the next element in its “Business Unusual” initiative – a live video series titled, “Open for Business.”  The RAB says it will bring together broadcasters and advertisers “to discuss proven programs they are leveraging on radio’s platforms during COVID-19.  Each live presentation will feature several broadcasters and/or advertisers sharing success stories in their local markets including marketing promotions, community service programs, and ideas they have executed to drive revenue success for their stations and results for local businesses.”  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber will moderate the event.  Wednesday (4/29, 12:00 noon CT) will be the first live presentation featuring: Darrell Calton, chief executive officer, ILIAD Media Management, LLC; Erik Hellum, chief operations officer, local media, Townsquare Media; Beth Neuhoff, president and CEO, Neuhoff Media; Ron Stone, president and CEO, Adams Radio Group.

Former Affiliate Sales Reps Sue Cumulus Media and Westwood One. In a suit filed in federal court in New Jersey, Michael J. Capozzoli and Lee Napier allege that TM Studios parent Westwood One and company executives Kirk Stirland and William G. Clancy unlawfully discriminated against them based on their age.  Capozzoli was an affiliate relations rep for TM Studios and Napier was a regional manager for affiliate sales.  The allegations state that beginning in 2016, Stirland stated to Capozzoli his desire to “reinvent TM Studios to attract a younger demographic by hiring younger employees in the sales division.  Stirland became obsessed with hiring young sales employees who he perceived to be ‘hip’ and compared Defendants’ sales employees with those of a competitor (Reel World) that employed younger individuals.”  The complaint goes on to allege the two were treated differently with respect to their compensation despite meeting or exceeding sales goals.  They were both terminated in November 2018.  They are seeking back pay, compensatory damages and more.

The Economy and Lives vs Livelihood Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 20-24. The precarious state of the U.S. economy and the question of saving lives versus preserving the livelihoods of American workers was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the encroachment on civil liberties tied with the federal government’s relief packages.  Coming in at #3 was the presidential race and politics, followed by the state of the country’s health care system 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 complete chart here.

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reports on the spat between WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa and Twitter user Funhouse that uses the handle @BackAftaThis to critique Francesa.  For years @BackAftaThis has posted audio and video of Francesa, but recently Francesa and Entercom warned @BackAftaThis about its policy regarding use of its content that largely forbids it.  Marchand reports that “Francesa reversed course in a tweet Thursday saying it is now going to be OK.”  However, @BackAftaThis tells Marchand, “I have absolutely no plans to resume posting Mike’s clips.  He let me out of jail and I’m not going back willingly unless I’m compensated handsomely for it.”…..iHeartMedia announces that it will present its first quarter 2020 financial report on May 7.  It will also hold an investors conference call on that day.  iHeartMedia is the first media company heavy with radio assets scheduled to announce financial figures from the quarter that ended with the first few weeks of the coronavirus pandemic.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In San Antonio, Cox Media Group names Joe Pesh the new co-host of the morning show on country KCYY “Y100,” effective May 6.  Pesh will work alongside current AM co-host Beth Chandler.  He was most recently morning personality on Radio One’s CHR WNOW, Indianapolis.  Cox Media Group San Antonio operations manager Jeff Garrison says, “We are very excited to have Joe join the team here in San Antonio!  We can’t wait to see his talent in action – just one minute speaking with Joe, and you know he is committed to his work, passionate about his audiences, and dedicated to doing his very best every day.”…..Alpha Media’s country KUPL, Portland “98.7 The Bull” adds the Premiere Networks-syndicated “Bobby Bones Show” for morning drive.  The program replaces the “Tony, Jake & Jenn” show.  Both Tony Russell and Jake Byron exited the station earlier this month and Jenn Hays moved to host of the midday show.  Bobby Bones says, “I love Portland. I love the people of Portland. Every time I’m in PDX I beg to be put on the air there.  And finally, I get that chance.”…..In West Palm Beach, iHeartMedia unveils a classic hip hop and R&B format on translator W277CX.  The previous country format heard on the signal was fed by WRLX-HD2.  The new station is branded “Throwback 93.3 FM” and features core artists including: Usher, 50 Cent, Kanye West, Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z, Mariah Carey, Eminem, 2Pac and more.  Air personalities include: “The Bushman Show,” Roxy Romeo, Lady Ray, and others…..Educational Media Foundation names Jim Houser to the newly created position of chief content officer.  The Christian music pro will oversee content for the “K-LOVE” and “Air1” radio networks, which currently broadcast on more than 1,000 signals nationwide.  Additionally, Houser will further develop EMF’s streaming strategy, oversee the upcoming podcast platform, all marketing strategy, and the integration of EMF’s digital assets with its programming initiatives…..Local Media San Diego received approval for the new call letters for KFMB-FM.  The adult hits outlet branded “100.7 BIG FM” now carries the calls KFBG-FM.  LMSD acquired the station from Tegna and part of the deal was giving up the KFMB calls that remain associated with Tegna’s KFMB-TV.  LMSD spun KFMB-AM to iHeartMedia in a deal that has not closed yet and that station will also have to change its calls…..Condolences to the family and friends of Southern California disc jockey and voice over pro Jerry Bishop, who passed away on April 21.  Using the stage name Bill Bishop, he worked at KCBQ, San Diego in 1963, moved to Los Angeles in 1965 and worked at such stations as KLAC, KFI, KKDJ, KIIS and KGIL.  He moved into voice-over work and became known for his work on the syndicated “Judge Judy” show.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

| April 16, 2020

Round One of March PPM Data Released.  The first of four rounds of data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2020 PPM survey have been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey).  The March survey covered February 27 through March 25. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his Ratings Takeaways from this batch of markets.  The Covid-19 crisis began hitting the U.S. halfway through this survey – around March 13 – and the big gainers were the all-news stations.  In New York, Entercom’s all-news stations WCBS-AM and WINS-AM were both up (weekly, 6+ AQH share) from the February survey – +0.5 and +1.1, respectively.  iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles rose 0.4 shares for a 4.2 share and the #5 rank in the market.  Nexstar Media’s news/talk WGN-AM, Chicago increased six-tenths for a 4.5 share and the #5 rank, while Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago spikes 1.9 shares – the biggest February to March jump in this group of 12 markets – to finish March with a 7.7 share and the #1 rank in Chicago.  Entercom’s all-news KCBS-AM, San Francisco is up 1.2 shares for a 9.9 share and the #1 rank.  Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta tacks on another 1.5 shares to finish March with a 12.9 share and its ninth straight #1 finish.  Entercom’s KYW-AM, Philadelphia added 1.9 shares for a 6.6 share and a leap from #8 to #3.  See Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways here.

KGO, San Francisco Brings John Rothmann Back for Evenings. Back in 2011, talk show host John Rothmann was let go from Cumulus Media’s news/talk KGO, San Francisco along with a number of other local air talent.  Now, nine years later Rothmann is back on the air holding down the 6:00 pm to 9:00 program (5:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Saturdays).  Rothmann is featured in a story in The Jewish News of Northern California and he tells the paper that being on the air during this pandemic comes at a time that people want to connect. “There is a huge hunger for KGO as a community forum, and I’m helping fill that role, and people are responding.  My board is loaded from the time I come in until the time I head home.”  He adds, “People crave contact with others, and because we no longer have the physical contact, talk radio is the most intimate, immediate medium, and KGO is the only live, local talk show.”

WABC Launches New Weekend Show. Dubbed, “The Right vs The Left,” the Sunday afternoon show on Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York “TALKRADIO 77 WABC” “pits a WABC air personality on the right vs. well-known political commentators and activists on the left to offer listeners opposing sides of a range of current issues.”  This Sunday (4/19), WABC morning co-host Sid Rosenberg takes on left-leaning actor Michael Rapaport at 4:00 pm and WABC midday co-host Curtis Sliwa spars with “The Aggressive Progressive” Christopher Hahn at 5:00 pm.  WABC program director Dave LaBrozzi says, “At WABC, our goal is to present both sides of the story so that our listeners can get to the truth of every issue.  This special program does that in an entertaining joust between two strong, knowledgeable, opinionated-yet-open-minded personalities.  The result is engaging talk radio that pulls in the audience and keeps them there.”  The station says the program debuted last weekend with morning show co-host Bernard McGuirk going against Hahn and overwhelming response from listeners spurred it to set up the second and third matches, with the possibility of more right vs. left battles in the coming weeks.

President Trump Wanted to Host Daily Talk Radio Show; But Didn’t Want to Affect Rush Limbaugh’s Program. According to a piece in The New York Times, President Trump was eager to launch a daily, two-hour talk radio show in which he would take calls from Americans – without a call screener – to talk about the coronavirus pandemic.  However, he balked because he didn’t want to compete with conservative media icon and supporter Rush Limbaugh.  He would have wanted to do the program in afternoon, the time when Limbaugh’s Premiere Networks show airs live.

Coronavirus Statistics and Projections, WHO Funding, Trump vs Governors, Health Care System, China Under Scrutiny, and the November Election Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/15). The official tally of U.S. coronavirus cases and deaths and projections of future cases; the controversy over President Trump’s order to suspend funding to the World Health Organization for its deference to China; the question of the president’s power versus that of the states’ governors; the state of health care and the health of medical personnel in the cities where hospitals are being overwhelmed by Covid-19 patients; questions about China’s truthfulness about its handling of the outbreak in Wuhan; and how the November elections will be handled in the U.S. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

KTRS, St. Louis Longtime Morning Host and PD McGraw Milhaven Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The morning host and program director of independently owned and operated KTRS, AM 550 in St. Louis, McGraw Milhaven, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Harrison and Milhaven, a perennial member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred, discuss what it’s like broadcasting from home during Covid-19 and President Trump’s handling of the crisis as well as the state of political news/talk radio in a timely conversation of interest to industry pros and listeners alike.  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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A special, four-week tribute series hosted by Ryan Seacrest and streamed LIVE on iHeartRadio’s YouTube channel and broadcast across more than 90 iHeartMedia stations debuts this Friday.  It’s called, “iHeartRadio’s First Responder Fridays with FirstNet, Built with AT&T,” and is designed to honor first responders and medical professionals on the front lines during the Covid-19 pandemic.  Seacrest is asking listeners on air on iHeartRadio stations across the country, online and through social media to share stories of how their lives have been positively impacted by police, fire, EMS and hospital workers by using #iHeartFirstResponders on social media and calling 1-833-3FRIDAY.  In honor and support of these first responders and medical professionals, AT&T is committing $5.5 million to provide much needed support in the form of nourishing meals through World Central Kitchen, Feeding America, Salvation Army, and Team Rubicon…..RCN Boston and iHeartMedia are partnering to honor local community heroes of the coronavirus pandemic.  The partnership was developed to show appreciation during these uncertain times to the people who are working tirelessly to keep the community safe and comfortable. These heroes include medical professionals, first responders, delivery service workers, cleaning staff, cooks, teachers, stock clerks and others.  RCN and iHeartMedia Boston are asking for nominations of individuals or organizations who are going above and beyond during these unprecedented times. Nominations will be accepted through Friday, April 24.  Ten heroes will be selected to receive a $250 gift card to continue their amazing work for which they are being recognized…..On-air pro Bryan “B-Dub” Washington announces via Facebook that he’s leaving his afternoon personality and APD/MD roles at iHeartMedia’s country KWBL, Denver “106.7 The Bull.”  He writes, “The last two years have been absolutely amazing.  I’ve had some of the coolest experiences of my entire life here, and it’s so hard to say goodbye, but the time has come.  I’ll have more to tell you, soon.  It was by choice, and when I am able to, I’ll explain why.”…..The company’s cost-saving policy forces midday air personality Jodee Woods out of Midwest Communications’ country KVOX-FM, Fargo…..Condolences to the family and friends of All Pro Broadcasting owner Willie D. Davis, who passed away yesterday (4/15) at age 85 after a long illness.  In addition to his career as a broadcaster and businessman, Davis was a Pro Football Hall of Famer who was a key defensive player on the 1960s-era Green Bay Packers.  He won five NFL championships (including two Super Bowls) as a member of the team before retiring from the game in 1969.  All Pro Broadcasting owns hot AC KHTI and adult contemporary KATY-FM in the Riverside-San Bernardino market.  Davis also formed Milwaukee Radio Alliance LLC with Bill Lynett in 1996.  It owns adult contemporary WLDB-FM, alternative WLUM-FM, and oldies WZTI-AM.

Friday, February 28, 2020

| February 28, 2020

iHeartMedia Posts Flat 2019 Q4 Revenue Figure; Full Year Revenue Up 2%. The financial data for iHeartMedia is a bit complex as the result of the company exiting bankruptcy protection in May of 2019.  But revenue of $1.03 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019, while flat compared to Q4 2018, was up 4.3% excluding political ad dollars.  For the full year of 2019, revenue was $3.7 billion, up 2.0% year-over-year and up 4.2%, excluding political revenue.  The company reports that digital revenue in the fourth quarter was $112.5 million – up 33.6% from the fourth quarter of 2018.  For the full year, digital revenue was $376 million, an increase of 32.2% over the full year of 2018.  iHeartMedia COO and CFO Rich Bressler states, “Our financial performance in 2019 was underpinned by the reach and resilience of our traditional business, profitable growth in our other platforms – including our digital businesses and proactive improvement of our capital structure.  Through our innovation and thought leadership in areas like podcasting and our SmartAudio suite of targeting, analysis and attribution services for advertisers, we are at the forefront of driving the audio revolution.  We will continue to work to build long-term shareholder value by maximizing our free cash flow and de-leveraging our balance sheet.”

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on all-news.  Coming off the Holiday 2019 survey 88% of all-news stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go up.  Top performers here included Entercom’s KYW, Philadelphia (+1.4) and KCBS-AM, San Francisco (+0.7).  However, comparing January 2019 to January 2020, 70% of all-news stations were down, with Entercom’s WWJ, Detroit leading that group and absorbing a hit of -3.2 shares and dropping from the #1 rank in the market in January 2019 to #11 this year.  On the positive side, the company’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco was up 1.4 shares to post an 8.4 share and regain the #1 rank in the market.  iHeartMedia’s WBZ-AM, Boston was 0.7 shares better than the year before and rose to claim the #3 rank in January.  KCBS-AM, San Francisco was the only all-news station to rank #1 in January.  Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington ranked #2 in the January 2020 survey, despite falling three full shares from January 2019.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

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 “Brother, Can You Spare a Face Mask?” looks back at this past week of February 24-28, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Tom Sullivan; talk show host, KFBK, Sacramento/Talk Media NetworkKen Matthews, talk show host, WHP, Harrisburg, PA; Lee Abrams, consultant, MediaVisionDeborah Norville, anchor, “Inside Edition;” Steve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston/webmaster, Scamicide.com; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. 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;  KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; 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. See the full story below.

‘The Michael Harrison Wrap’ Now Available in Syndication via Talk Media Network.  TALKERS is pleased to announce it has entered a strategic partnership with independent broadcasting firm Talk Media Network for the syndication and distribution of its weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap.”  The show, hosted by Michael Harrison, was launched in May 2019 on iHeartRadio’s WONK-FM in Washington, DC where it airs Fridays at 6:00 pm.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is a fast-paced roundup of the hottest news/talk media stories tracked by TALKERS and is described as “a weekly overview of the national conversation.”  Each installment features Harrison in conversation with several talk media hosts, pundits and experts from around the country representing a variety of popular ideologies. The show opens with a riveting countdown of the week’s most-discussed items with TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey.  Since its launch, several proactive radio stations around the country inquired about the show’s availability to which TALKERS complied – as best it could – on a market exclusive basis. According to Harrison, “We’re delighted that, in addition to our flagship WONK, excellent facilities such as WRKO, KSCO, WVOX, KFNX, KBDT, KQSP, KBKW, WIQO, WGMN, and the Virginia Talk Radio Network among others showed enough interest in the program during its developmental phase to request it for their rosters before it was even officially available for national distribution.”  Harrison continues, “However, we are not a syndication company, nor have any intention of becoming one, and it just became too unwieldy to service more stations efficiently, so we began looking for an appropriate network partner. Talk Media Network is a perfect fit.  TMN is moderately sized, independent, and run by one of the brightest young executives in the network business, Josh Leng.”  Leng states, “We’re honored TALKERS has entrusted the syndication and growth of ‘The Michael Harrison Wrap’ with Talk Media Network.  It is a pleasure to be working with a professional of Michael’s stature who has dedicated so much of his career to the betterment of the radio industry.”  Leng continues, “What program directors will notice immediately when they listen to ‘The Michael Harrison Wrap,’ is the amount of preparation that goes into each and every episode.  It is amazing how much compelling content is packed into one hour!  Combine that with the ‘best in the business’ talk radio hosts who contribute to Michael’s timely and topical news discussions, and you have an on-air product that features a great group of broadcasters who bring their ‘A’ game for the audience to enjoy.”  Stations interested in affiliating with “The Michael Harrison Wrap” should visit talkmedianetwork.com for more information, and can call Talk Media Network at (616) 884-8616.

TALKERS News Notes. On Super Tuesday (3/4), FOX News Radio is offering affiliates live national network coverage beginning at 7:00 pm ET anchored by national correspondent Jared Halpern, with key insights from FNR political analyst Josh Kraushaar and FNR reporters around the country.  FNR is also offering hourly “Democracy 2020” updates on Amazon’s smart speaker.  FOX News Podcasts is presenting special editions of the daily morning podcast “FOX News Rundown,” as well as new episodes of Bret Baier’s “The Campaign” and “I’ll Tell You What” with Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt.  Additionally, FOXNews.com will carry multiple livestreams from candidate headquarters across the country…..iHeartMedia’s NBC News Radio brings talk and news radio pro Michael Castner aboard to serve as national news anchor.  Castner was most recently morning drive personality at Entercom’s news/talk KXNT, Las Vegas…..iHeartMedia announces it is presenting a new companion podcast for the three-part Hulu series “Your Attention Please” that celebrates the achievements and creativity of Black visionaries.  The “Your Attention Please” podcast is using this medium to continue the conversation past Black History Month, diving deeper into the stories that were highlighted in the show.  The first guests in the series are Jon Boogz and Lil Buck, founders of MAI (Movement Art Is).

The Coronavirus, the Stock Market, and the Economy Top News/Talk Stories for the Week of February 24-28. The status of the coronavirus epidemic, its effect on the world’s financial markets and the global economy came together to make up the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week and landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the presidential race and this week’s Democratic debate in Charleston, SC.  Coming in at #3 was healthcare reform, climate change, and race relations, followed by the deadly Milwaukee brewery shooting and gun control 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.

Happy Retirement to Pete Spriggs. Current and former Cox Media Group Atlanta staffers gathered last night (2/27) for a retirement bash for WSB-AM/WSBB-FM program director Pete Spriggs who is leaving the company after 27 years with Cox and 19 years at WSB.  Above right is a group shot that includes such guests as Cox Media Group CEO Kim Guthrie, WSB VP/market manager Rob Babin, WSB legend Neal Boortz, syndicated star Clark Howard, and Cox DC bureau reporter Jamie Dupree.  Above left is (from l-r) Spriggs, consultant and former WSB PD Greg Moceri, and incoming program director Drew Anderssen.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A surprise move in national syndication as Ty Bentli leaves his eponymous, Westwood One morning country radio show for an unnamed gig outside of the radio biz.  For now, co-hosts Chuck Wicks and Tricia “TJ” Jenkins will handle hosting duties.  The Nashville-based show has undergone numerous changes over the past few years.  Blair Garner was the original host when it was called “America’s Morning Show.”  Then it was “Ty, Kelly, and Chuck” with Kelly Ford in the mix and, after her departure in late 2018 (she’s now hosting AMs on Entercom‘s WNSH, New York), was renamed the “Ty Bentli Show.”  TJ joined the program last spring…..A big shakeup at Entercom’s Los Angeles cluster as longtime alternative KROQ program director (and SVP of programming) Kevin Weatherly exits.  Taking over at KROQ is Mike Kaplan, who adds brand manager duties at the station in addition to his alternative format captain position and brand manager post at WNYL, New York “ALT 92.3.”  At the same time, Ralph Stewart is handed the brand manager keys for adult hits KCBS-FM “93.1 JACK FM.”  He’s been operations manager for the station in addition to his brand manager role at urban contemporary KTWV “94.7 The Wave.”  Finally, KRTH “K-Earth 101” brand manager Chris Ebbott and CHR KAMP-FM music director and afternoon host Yesi Ortiz will serve as interim programming leaders for “97.1 AMP Radio” while a national search is conducted.  Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “Mike’s name is synonymous with alternative music and I’m delighted to welcome him back to Los Angeles.  Along with Ralph, Chris, and Yesi, this dynamic team will usher in the future of our brands in this important music market.  I’d like to thank Kevin for his years of dedicated contributions to our premier collection of brands and our company.  He has certainly made his mark here and we wish him the absolute best in his new role.”…..Buddy Shula’s Radio One Buffalo has entered into a strategic alliance with Burlington, Ontario-based Byrnes Communications “to serve radio listeners in Buffalo and Southern Ontario.”  Shula says, “I am very excited to add ‘MORE 101.1FM’ (adult hits CFLZ, Fort Erie) and ‘105.1FM THE RIVER’ (hot AC CJED, Niagara Falls) to our radio station portfolio. ‘MORE 101.1FM’ has a very large 50,000-watt regional signal that barrels though Buffalo and Southern Ontario.  The music on the station are the ‘biggest hits from the 70s, 80s, and 90s’ which target listeners in the 35-64-year-old age group.  ‘105.1FM THE RIVER’ plays ‘Todays Best Hits.’ aiming to please women 25-54 years old… With this cluster of radio stations, it increases our potential to reach listeners of every age group and attract more advertisers who can pick and choose which station is appropriate for their advertising needs.”…..Pictured below is the new “Nikki and Laura” morning show at NRG Media’s hot AC KQKQ, Omaha “Sweet 98.5” on its first live remote at Le Peep restaurant.  From left to right are: Nikki Oswald, station program director Jay Michaels, and Laura Blenkush.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

| February 27, 2020

Jack Sunday Retires from Full-Time KFGO, Fargo Role. Longtime Fargo talk radio personality Jack Sunday has retired from his full-time role as an on-air talk host on Midwest Communications’ news/talk KFGO-AM.  Sunday had been co-hosting the late morning show with Amy Iler, who wrote a nice piece about Sunday that you can see here.  Iler is now partnered with JJ Gordon on the “It Takes Two” program.  Sunday acknowledged his decision to leave the position was difficult and noted that he is caring for his wife who suffers from a rare neurological condition.  Sunday first joined KFGO in 1989 and over the course of 30 years served as program director, afternoon host, and midday personality.  He tells KFGO’s Joel Heitcamp, “I am convinced that there is probably no other radio station in the country like KFGO… we have 17 or 20 people who are on the air live as personalities for extended periods of time… a four-person news team, a meteorologist and sports.  We have two great sportscasters here, plus on-air personalities with producers that become personalities themselves.”  Sunday will develop a podcast to be part of the station’s podcast offerings.

Appeals Court Tosses Prager’s YouTube Lawsuit. The suit by Salem Radio Network talk host Dennis Prager’s non-profit educational organization, Prager University, against Google’s YouTube platform was shot down by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday (2/26).  Prager University had sued YouTube claiming it had violated its First Amendment rights and the Lanham Act (false advertising), but the District Court dismissed the suit.  PragerU appealed and the Appeals Court agreed with the lower court.  At issue here was PragerU’s claim that YouTube’s Restricted Mode violated the conservative educational organization’s First Amendment rights by making certain of its video unviewable for those under a certain age due to its Restricted Mode guidelines.  It also claimed that YouTube’s promotional language touting the importance of people being able to “speak freely” while putting certain videos in Restricted Mode violated the Lanham Act.  Judge M. Margaret McKeown writes in the decision, “The panel held that despite YouTube’s ubiquity and its role as a public-facing platform, it remains a private forum, not a public forum subject to judicial scrutiny under the First Amendment.  The panel noted that just last year, the Supreme Court held that ‘merely hosting speech by others is not a traditional, exclusive public function and does not alone transform private entities into state actors subject to First Amendment constraints.’  The panel held that the Internet does not alter this state action requirement of the First Amendment.  The panel therefore rejected plaintiff’s assertion that YouTube is a state actor because it performs a public function.  Addressing the false advertising claim under the Lanham Act, the panel held that YouTube’s statements concerning its content moderation policies do not constitute ‘commercial advertising or promotion’ as the Lanham Act requires.  Nor was YouTube’s designation of certain of plaintiff’s videos for Restricted Mode part of an advertising or promotion or a misrepresentation as to the videos.  Finally, the panel held that YouTube’s braggadocio about its commitment to free speech constituted opinions that are not subject to the Lanham Act.”

Former News Staffer Sues Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco.  A lawsuit filed in California Superior Court by former KCBS-AM, San Francisco news staffer Sheryl Raines accuses the station of retaliation, failure to prevent harassment, unlawful termination and more.  The complaint centers around allegations of inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment on the part of engineer Dan Denton.  Raines says she reported Denton’s alleged behavior to superiors, but it continued.  She was terminated in May of 2019 and was told that the station wanted “a different sound.”  In her complaint, she states her replacement was a woman of similar demographic makeup with a “startlingly similar” on-air voice to her own.  She is seeking unspecified damages.

ABC Audio Appoints Lakeia Brown to Senior Producer, Race & Culture Audio Insights Post. The senior producer, race & culture audio insights position is a newly created one at ABC Audio and Lakeia Brown will assume that post on March 9.  She has been serving in the ABC News research department.  She has more than 15 years of experience in consumer insights and analytics for television networks including: ABC, Disney, Comedy Central, Nick @ Nite, TV Land and BET.  She starts with ABC Audio on March 9.  ABC Audio vice president and general manager Stacia Philips Deshishku says that in this position Brown will “act as a storyteller, researcher, and social connector all rolled into one.  She’ll work closely with our amazing team to create and deliver new radio news products and podcasts, maximize sponsorship opportunities and participate in editorial story development, all while focusing on expanding Audio’s reach with multicultural audiences. Lakeia will also serve as ABC Audio’s in-house expert on all things research, connecting insights to actionable strategies that help drive reach and revenue for ABC Audio.”

TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated home improvement radio show, “Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford,” hits the 300-affiliate station mark as it celebrates its 10th year under the direction of Lipford.  Along with Lipford’s Emmy-nominated TV show, “Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford,” airing in 91% of the U.S., Lipford is a familiar figure in the home improvement industry.  “Today’s Homeowner” radio dates back to 2009 when Lipford took over a small radio show called “Homefront.”  He re-branded the program, officially launching “Today’s Homeowner” radio which began airing on 60 stations.  Over the past decade, Lipford and his team have strategically grown the show’s footprint by 200%.…..In Virginia Beach, Max Media names Tim Donnelly executive producer of the Nick Cattles show on sports talk WVSP “ESPN Radio 94.1.”  Donnelly was most recently with Monticello Media’s WRAD-AM, Blacksburg, Virginia where he hosted his own sports talk show.  Max Media VP of operations and programming Rusty James says, “Tim lives and breathes sports and we are so excited to have his passion on ‘ESPN Radio 94.1.’”…..Townsquare Media’s sports talk WTMM, Albany adds another hour to the “Big Board Sports” show.   The program, hosted by Rodger Wyland and Chris Onorato, now airs from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm…..Salem Radio Network assures us that nationally syndicated late morning talk host Mike Gallagher does not have the coronavirus, but he did test positive for influenza and has to miss the opening day of CPAC 2020 in Washington.  So, filling in for him is Kurt Schlichter (right) who is pictured below interviewing American Conservative Union president Matt Schlapp (left).

Lee Abrams Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most influential music radio programmers of the past 50 years, Lee Abrams, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Abrams was the chief architect of an approach to FM album rock radio known back in the seventies as the “Superstars” format and, as a consultant, guided hundreds of stations across the country to commercial success utilizing its systems and techniques. He went on to be one of the original programming forces behind today’s satellite radio during the first decade of its development and then served a couple of years with the Tribune Company helping that organization revamp its newspapers and television stations for the 21st century. Today, Abrams is the head of a newly launched, Chicago-based consultancy, MediaVision, which is focused on radio (terrestrial and beyond) and music for 40-plus consumers as well as revolutionary approaches to video news and television. Harrison and Abrams take a deep dive into the past, present, and future of pop culture including a retrospective on the days they spent as two of the top thought-leaders in AOR (album oriented rock) radio. This program is a must-listen for anyone in the radio business. 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.

Talk Radio at CPAC. Numerous radio talk show hosts from around the nation are attending this year’s CPAC gathering in National Harbor, MD with many broadcasting from the conservative event’s radio row.  Pictured covering CPAC for her national commentary is Victoria Jones (l) executive director of DC Radio Company visiting the broadcast setup of John Fredericks (r) of the John Fredericks Radio Network.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Names FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Recipient of Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award. The recipient of this year’s Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award from the Broadcasters Foundation of America is Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai.  The honor will be presented at the Broadcasters Foundation Annual Breakfast on Wednesday, April 22 at the 2020 NAB Show in Las Vegas.  The Award is bestowed annually on an individual in broadcasting whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship.  The Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award salutes its namesake and is underwritten by The Mays Family Foundation.  Past recipients include Bill Clark, Eddie Fritts, Cathy Hughes, Mel Karmazin, Jeff Smulyan, Dick Wiley, and others.

Coronavirus Pandemic Fears, Presidential Race, Financial Markets Activity/China Productivity, Deadly Milwaukee Brewery Shooting, and India Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/26). Concerns about Covid-19 developing into a global pandemic; the Democrats battling to face President Trump in the November election; the reaction of the world’s financial markets to the coronavirus and the virus’ effect on China’s productivity; a fired brewery worker returns to the plant in Milwaukee and kills five co-workers before killing himself; and the deadly sectarian violence in India 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. Air personality Scotty Kay is adding midday hosting duties at Entercom’s St. Louis CHR KNOU “NOW 96.3” to his responsibilities.  Kay also serves as co-host of the morning show at country WUSN-FM, Chicago “US99.”  Entercom St. Louis SVP and market manager Becky Domyan says, “I’ve been a fan of Scotty and his unique ability to become one with his audience and we’re delighted to add him to our team.  Scotty will be a vital part of the puzzle as we continue to grow ‘NOW 96.3’ into the dominant contemporary hit radio brand in St. Louis.”…..iHeartMedia appoints Rex Long program director for Austin CHR KHFI “96.7 KISS FM.”  He was most recently with the company’s Salt Lake City cluster.  iHeartMedia Austin/San Antonio region president Matt Martin says, “Rex’s abundance of energy, his creative ideas to connect with listeners, combined with his strategic vison to be a fabric of Austin’s culture make Rex a perfect fit to continue building the ‘KISS’ brand.”…..Cumulus Media names Bev Rainey program director of country KRST, Albuquerque.  She’ll also host the late morning show.  Rainey served for the past 20 years with iHeartMedia’s crosstown country KBQI, the last seven as program director.  Cumulus Albuquerque VP and market manager Jeff Berry says, “KRST provides the very best in country music and entertainment for our listeners and unmatched results for our promotional partners.  I could not be happier to have Bev join this fantastic team.  She is known and loved by the audience and respected by the industry.  This is a great day for one of America’s great country brands.”…..Berkshire Broadcasting flips WAXB-AM/W233CF, Danbury, Connecticut “B945” from classic hits to classic rock as “945 The Hawk.”  Berkshire CEO Irv Goldstein says, “‘B945’ has been continuously evolving over the years.  Morphing from a traditional oldies station to an 80s based classic hits/classic rock mix.  We just felt that now was the right time to get off the fence and go all in.  ‘945 The Hawk’ is classic rock that really rocks.”

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

| February 19, 2020

Round One of January PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2020 PPM survey was released for 12 markets, including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s January 2020 survey period covered January 2-29.  Coming off the previous Holiday survey during which Christmas music listening alters usual audience media habits, some spoken-word stations gain lost ground in weekly, 6+ AQH share.  In New York, Entercom’s sports talk WFAN-AM/FM adds five-tenths to finish January with a 3.1 share and the #12 rank, while ESPN’s WEPN-FM gets six-tenths back to post a 2.1 share and the #19 rank.  iHeartMedia news/talk KFI, Los Angeles gains seven-tenths for a 3.3 share and the #9 rank in the market.  Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM, Chicago adds eight-tenths to finish January with a 3.8 share and the #8 rank.  iHeartMedia’s KTRH, Houston finishes its sixth survey without setback by adding eight-tenths to finish January with a 5.4 share and the #5 rank in the market.  You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways here.

Conservative Talker Steve Malzberg to Host Weekly RT America Show. Talk host Steve Malzberg is joining cable’s RT America to host the weekly media commentary program, “Eat the Press,” set to debut Friday (2/21) at 6:30 ET (with repeat broadcasts Sundays at 10:30 AM).  Malzberg says, “I have been highlighting media bias to my audiences for years.  Some of it is blatant.  Some is less obvious, and some is actually revealed by what the media is not telling you at all.  With “Eat the Press,” I relish, pun intended, the opportunity I’ve been given by RT America to make this important issue my focus.  Stay hungry, because ‘Eat The Press’ will have a lot to offer each week.”  Malzberg has hosted radio talk shows at WABC and WOR in New York (and in national syndication).  He’s hosted his own show on Newsmax TV and served as a commentator on FOX News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, and RT America.

Entercom to Sell WAAF-FM, Boston to EMF for $10.75 Million. The latest major market FM signal to be acquired by religious broadcaster Educational Media Foundation is Entercom’s rock WAAF-FM, Boston.  The price tag is $10.75 million in cash and EMP will begin operating the 107.3 FM frequency under a network affiliation agreement beginning Saturday (2/22).  The WAAF transmitter is in Westborough, Massachusetts and covers the central and eastern portions of the state, including the Worcester market.  Entercom states in a press release that it will continue to air the WAAF format on WWBX-HD2 104.1 FM and WEEI-HD2 93.7 FM and via RADIO.COM.  Entercom says it expects the deal to close in the second quarter of this year.

Jimmy Farrell Promoted to Director of Sales for CMG Jacksonville. Sales and management pro Jimmy Farrell is moving from his general sales manager post at Cox Media Group’s Orlando cluster to the company’s Jacksonville operations where he’ll be director of sales.  CMG’s Jacksonville cluster includes news/talk WKOV-FM “News 104.5.” sports talk WOKV-AM, plus five music brands.  CMG Jacksonville vice president and general manager Katie Reid says, “We are pleased and proud to promote Jimmy to this new position.  His entrepreneurial approach, high-impact leadership style, deep understanding of both the marketplace and Cox Media Group’s offerings has served him well, enabling him to exceed sales goals by complementing his customers’ brands and business objectives with CMG station content solutions that meet their objectives.”

Nolan Murphy Named NSM for Good Karma Brands.  Sales pro Nolan Murphy is promoted from his marketing consultant post at Good Karma Brands’ Milwaukee operations to national sales manager for the company’s Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison, Cleveland, and West Palm Beach station groups.  Sports talk WMVP-AM, Chicago director of sales David Scharf says, “Nolan’s skillset and attitude makes him the perfect national sales manager.  His knowledge of Good Karma Brands’ assets sets us up to win partnerships quickly, while also planning and preparing us to win long term.  His solutions-based approach and solid work ethic will help us develop the national division of Good Karma Brands.”

Georgia Student Chosen for Mentorship Program. Sophomore Georgia College and State University student Jonathan O’Brien has been chosen as the first quarter mentee in the Benztown Mentorship Program.  The program is being sponsored by Benztown in conjunction with the National Radio Talent System and O’Brien is the third student from the NRTS to take part in the mentorship program.  O’Brien – who attended the GAB Radio Talent Institute at the University of Georgia last summer – handles news duties on his college radio station, WGUR-FM, Milledgeville, Georgia and is passionate about radio news.  He will be mentored by Jennifer Seelig – director of news and programming at Entercom’s all-news KCBS-AM/KFRC-FM, San Francisco – during O’Brien’s Benztown-sponsored trip to the Bay Area March 15-17.  She will also mentor O’Brien virtually throughout the spring academic semester.  Benztown president Dave “Chachi” Denes says, “If Jonathan O’Brien is any indication of the future of our industry, we’re in great shape.  We are so pleased to be able to provide this opportunity with the assistance of our friends at the National Radio Talent System and the incredible Jennifer Seelig and KCBS.”

Oakland A’s to Be Heard Online Only in Oakland.  In a first for the MLB club, this season’s radio play-by-play of Oakland Athletics baseball will only be heard
streaming online in the Oakland market.  Affiliate radio stations will still broadcast games over the air but fans in the Bay Area will hear games via its TuneIn channel, “A’s Cast”.  The team’s games were heard on Salem Media Group’s news/talk KTRB-AM, San Francisco “860 AM The Answer” last season.  Oakland A’s president Dave Kaval says, “We really listened to our fans and saw the success with ‘A’s Cast.’  We’re doing an incredible job getting people excited about baseball and the content. Partnering with TuneIn and having a semi-exclusive platform; we think it made a lot of sense and sets the example.”

Presidential Race, Trump Grants Clemency, Stone Sentencing/Barr Criticism, Coronavirus Pandemic, Weinstein Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/18). The Democrats battling to challenge President Trump in November and tonight’s Las Vegas debate; President Trump issues a number of high-profile pardons and clemencies; the controversy over the Justice Department’s change in sentencing recommendation for Trump adviser Roger Stone and the related criticism of Attorney General William Barr; the status of the covid-19 coronavirus and its effects on the Chinese economy; and the trial of former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein on sexual assault charges were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Gone is the business talk format on Cumulus Media’s KTBL-AM Albuquerque and now the station – along with FM translator K233CG – becomes rock as “94.5 The Pit/KTBL, Albuquerque’s New Choice for Rock.”  The station flipped airing Metallica’s “Master of Puppets.”  Cumulus Albuquerque vice president and market manager Jeff Berry says, “We are thrilled to provide ABQ and the surrounding areas with an exciting new rock station.  ‘The Pit’ will provide fans with current rock artists like Shinedown and Disturbed, laced with 90s and 2000s mega bands such as Metallica and Foo Fighters.  It will be a game changer for ABQ rock fanatics and our clients.”…..In Detroit, Cumulus Media’s country WDRQ rebranded from its “NASH FM 93.1” moniker to “New Country 93.1” and replaced the syndicated “Ty Bentli Show” with the local “Electric Barnyard with Broadway & Krissy.”  Bill “Broadway” Bert moves from afternoons to partner with Krissy T, who recently exited iHeartMedia’s crosstown CHR WKQI “Channel 95.5.”  Station PD Lance Tidwell takes over the afternoon drive show.

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