Tag: "staff reductions"

Friday, September 11, 2020

| September 11, 2020

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The latest installment of 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. This new episode titled, “Don’t Panic!” looks back at this past week of September 7 – September 11, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSTodd Feinburg; talk show host, WTIC, Hartford; McGraw Milhaven, talk show host, KTRS, St. Louis; Dr. Lisa Mozer, talk show host, WSIC, Statesville, NC; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; and Walter Sterling, talk show host, WABC, New York and “Sterling on Sunday” in national syndication. 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 WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, 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.

Entercom’s Implementation of ‘Reimagined and Enhanced’ Programming and Sales Strategies for Country and Alternative Brands Brings About Staff Reductions. An internal memo from Entercom president and CEO David Field yesterday (9/10) revealed the company is putting into effect its new plan that applies its reimagined programming strategies in the country and alternative formats. A company-wide town hall is taking place today (9/11) in which staffers will hear from brand managers about the plans. It’s clear from Field’s memo that a reduction in force in part of the plan and already some released staffers have reported their exits via social media. How this new thinking may affect Entercom employees working in formats other than country and alternative is unknown at this time but is no doubt a question many will have. Field says in the memo: “I want to make sure that there are no misunderstandings about the actions we are taking. To be clear, Entercom will remain local, first and foremost. As the industry’s #1 home for premium, original audio content, we will continue to make the industry’s largest investment in local talent. From our iconic local news brands, to our top-ranked music channels, to our unrivaled sports stations – our engaging and compelling personalities remain the heart of our original local programming. We will continue these large investments in our local product and talent, as well as new local features across our brands.” However, he also acknowledges the job cuts. “While this is an exciting time of growth and transformation and we look forward to the creative opportunities that lie ahead, we also recognize that change is hard. As we make the necessary changes to best serve our listeners and customers, it is difficult to part ways with members of our team who have made significant contributions to our company over the years. We are grateful to them for their service. In order to assist in their transition, we are providing enhanced benefits for each affected individual and wish them the very best.” It seems evident from Field’s memo that part of the plan means fewer programmers will be responsible for more stations and successful talent is to be heard across multiple stations. Exactly how this is being implemented will become clearer with time.

PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations that serve as MLB flagships, based on data from Nielsen Audio’s August 2020 PPM survey. He says, “To say this has been the wackiest baseball season on record – and perhaps the strangest, most challenging year, in general, in our lifetime – would be the height of understatement.” With the season whittled from 162 games to 60, stations that count on that cume boost each April had to wait until July for games to start. In this report you can see charts comparing 6+ AQH share changes for flagship stations from the July 2020 survey to the August 2020 survey, cume increases from July to August for flagship stations and more. Read it all here.

Jim Hayes Exits Sports Talk KFNS, St. Louis. According to Dan Caesar’s report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch KFNS-AM, St. Louis morning drive personality Jim Hayes is a victim of budget cuts at the Randy Markel-owned station. Hayes hosted “The Morning After” and Markel tells the paper his exit was “strictly financial. He’s another casualty of the coronavirus.” Hayes also works for FOX Sports Midwest covering St. Louis Cardinals baseball. He’s expected to be replaced by KTVI-TV, St. Louis sportscaster Charlie Marlow. Markel tells Caesar, “Charlie wants to sell advertising for the show, and he costs us less than Hayes.”

Westwood One Releases Fall 2020 Podcast Report. Designed to coincide with this week’s IAB Podcast Upfront, Cumulus Media’s Westwood One, unveils Westwood One’s Podcast Download – Fall 2020 Report. The company says it is a “comprehensive evaluation incorporating several studies that examine podcast audience and advertiser trends over the past five years.” Cumulus EVP and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes states, “The podcast platform wars are heating up. In this year’s report, Spotify is closing in on Apple as the most used podcast platform, and YouTube is growing as well. There’s good news for advertisers too. Podcast listeners embrace advertising. Four out of five podcast listeners have taken an action after hearing a podcast ad, and an increasing number of listeners feel podcast ads are relevant and memorable.” You can check out the complete report here.

TALKERS News Notes. Cleveland news/talk WTAM is broadcasting today’s funeral mass for Cleveland Police detective James Skernivitz who was killed in the line of duty on September 3. Detective Skernivitz was assigned to the Gang Impact Unit and was recently sworn in as a Violent Crimes Task Force officer with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working on the national law enforcement initiative Operation Legend. The iHeartMedia station’s coverage of the funeral service is being anchored by morning host Bill Wills and veteran news anchor Tom Moore…..Former FOX News Channel star Megyn Kelly is launching a new podcast via her media company Devil May Care Media. “The Megyn Kelly Show” debuts the week of September 28 and “will feature interviews with newsmakers, thought leaders, and compelling voices from the heartland and beyond. Listeners can expect interviews that transcend the superficiality and sound-bite driven confines of traditional broadcast and cable news, and instead deliver in-depth, uncensored, thought-provoking conversations.” Kelly’s company is working with Red Seat Ventures for production and management. Red Seat Ventures was co-founded by Chris Balfe, who formerly worked with Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze…..In New Hampshire, “Free Talk Live” host Aria DiMezzo – a self-described “anarchist she-male” – won the Republican primary race for the office of Cheshire County Sheriff. “Free Talk Live” co-founder Ian Freeman says DiMezzo “has campaign signs up across the county emblazoned with ‘F*** THE POLICE’ and is taking on the incumbent Democrat Sheriff who happens to have a history of violence. It’s the perfect time for this campaign and it’s bound to generate some headlines.” Read more about this at Freeman’s blog…..Hubbard Radio inks a deal with Total Traffic and Weather Network for its 24/7 News division to provide NBC News Radio Network newscasts to nostalgia KIXI and talk KKNW “Alternative Talk.” Hubbard Radio Seattle’s Scott Mahalick says, “24/7 News has flexible business models and a variety of news content available to fit each station’s unique needs. We are proud to partner with TTWN to provide our Seattle stations with NBC News, a trusted, credible worldwide brand with years of experience.”

Woodward Tapes and The Atlantic Article Top News/Talk Stories for Week of September 7-11. Author Bob Woodward’s tapes of President Trump admitting to downplaying the coronavirus pandemic and the piece in The Atlantic that purports Trump referred to America’s dead soldiers as losers and suckers tied as the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the November presidential election and politics. Coming in at #3 was health care, vaccines, meds and masks, followed by COVID-19 statistics and projections 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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Casualties of the above-mentioned cuts at Entercom’s country and alternative stations are starting to trickle in. Programmers and air staff let go are revealing their status via social media and country KFRG, Riverside, California “K-FROG 95.1” morning personality Ginny Harman is one of those. She posted to Facebook: “Hey all! So today was my last day at K-FROG. The dreaded COVID has caused budget cuts everywhere, and we are no different.”…..iHeartMedia Boston’s CHR WXKS-FM “Kiss 108” and the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents announce the “Kiss 108’s Chromebooks For Kids” fundraiser raised more than $100,000 to go directly to purchasing Chromebooks for local students to use at home and in the classroom. They also announced that Chromebook delivery has already begun in several local communities…..Pictured below is WWPR, New York “Power 105.1” personality Angela Yee accepting her Gracie Award for Best Podcast – Entertainment for “Angela Yee’s Lip Service.” The 45th Gracie Awards were held virtually yesterday (9/10), streamed live via the Alliance for Women in Media’s Facebook page. See the show here.

Monday, May 18, 2020

| May 18, 2020

Monday Memo: Weekend Warriors, Battling the Virus. As the cooped-up are coping, radio talkers are listening. In last week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke polled a panel of weekday hosts, who describe the mood they’re monitoring. This week, HC rounds up weekend ask-the-expert hosts, who describe how callers’ questions flesh-out listeners’ lives during the shutdown now easing in phases. Read it here.

Re-Opening Controversy, Statistics & Projections, Trump IG Firings, Michael Flynn Case, Pressure on China, Ahmaud Arbery Case, Presidential Race, and Fred Willard Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The concerns about safely re-opening the economies in states across the country; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections about future infections; the political battle heating up over President Trump’s firing of inspector general Steve Linick; the DOJ’s dropping of the charges against Michael Flynn for lying in court and Republicans’ efforts to involve Barack Obama in the case; some 100 countries pressuring China for an investigation into its coronavirus efforts; the case of murdered Georgia jogger Ahmaud Arbery; the latest poll numbers in the presidential race; and comedian Fred Willard dies at 85 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Get Ready. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that as most parts of the country begin transitioning out of mandated self-isolation, your clients are working through a maze of regulations and protocols completely new to them. Go with the “Three-E Theory” – be empathetic, energetic, and easy. Read his column here.

Mancow Asks Court to Toss Defamation Suit. A story in the Daily Herald by Harry Hitzeman reveals that WLS-AM, Chicago morning host Erich “Mancow” Muller is asking a Cook County Circuit Court judge to dismiss the defamation suit filed against him by former Harvest Bible Chapel pastor James MacDonald. If you recall, Mancow aired on his radio show secretly recorded tapes of MacDonald in which he wonders if child porn could be placed on the computer of a Christianity Today editor with whom he had a beef. MacDonald was subsequently ousted by his church’s board in 2019 and in response MacDonald filed suit against Muller late last year. Now, Muller files the Motion to Dismiss arguing that MacDonald is a public figure and it was Muller’s “duty as a Christian and media member to shine a light on MacDonald’s true character.” MacDonald’s lawyer is saying Muller’s motion comes too late, too long, and also argues Muller’s lawyer has a conflict of interest in the case as he once represented MacDonald. The two sides have a court date of June 12.

Josh Wolff Named VP of Programming for iHeartMedia Harrisburg-Lancaster. Programming pro Josh Wolff is promoted to vice president of programming for iHeartMedia’s Harrisburg and Lancaster, Pennsylvania markets. In this role Wolff will oversee all on-air content as well as music and digital programming operations for all of the Harrisburg and Lancaster brands. He will continue to program CHR WAEB “B-104” and rock WZZO in Allentown. iHeartMedia area SVP of programming Dave Hovel says, “With Josh’s strong leadership skills in Allentown, it was a no-brainer to elevate him to oversee iHeartMedia Harrisburg and Lancaster. The entire Harrisburg/Lancaster team is excited to have Josh in the role to lead and grow our iHeart footprint in the markets.” Before joining iHeartMedia’s Pennsylvania region, Wolff served as the music director and assistant program director for adult contemporary KESZ and adult hits KYOT “95.5 The Mountain” in Phoenix.

Beasley Delaying 2020 Q1 Financial Report. In a May 15 filing with the SEC, Beasley Broadcast Group, parent of Beasley Media Group, says it is unable to meet its Form 10-Q filing deadline due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its business operations. The company notes that an order issued by the Securities Exchange Commission grants a 45-day extension to file certain disclosure reports. Beasley says it intends to file its Quarterly Report no later than June 29. In addition to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on its ability to complete its quarterly review, “the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have caused disruptions to the Company’s business and operations, and the related uncertainty as to when or the manner in which the conditions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic will subside have made it necessary for it to seek an amendment to its credit facility that would, among other things, amend certain financial covenants. For the quarter ended March 31, the Company was in compliance with its financial covenants related to its credit facility. However, at that time the Company was projecting that it was unlikely to be able to comply with its First Lien Leverage Ratio as of June 30. As a result, the Company is seeking and expects to enter into an amendment to its credit facility in the coming weeks, and projects that it will be in compliance with the financial covenants, as amended, over the next 12 months. If the Company is unable to obtain an amendment to its credit facility, it would result in an event of default, which would materially affect its results of operations, liquidity and financial condition.”

Townsquare Media Promotes Dobbins to VP. Sales pro Sarah Dobbins is promoted from director of sales for Townsquare Media’s Portland station group to vice president of sales for Northern New England, including the Portland and Augusta markets as well as the Portsmouth, New Hampshire market. She’ll report to regional market president & chief revenue officer Christine Sieks. Dobbins says, “Townsquare Media has an unbelievable combination of local marketing resources designed to help local businesses grow. Now more than ever, our local brands, digital marketing solutions, and attribution tools make Townsquare a powerhouse in Northern New England. I am excited to partner with Christine Sieks in maximizing our resources to drive sales growth throughout Maine and New Hampshire.”

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago morning personality Erich “Mancow” Muller – host at Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM – was one of the high-profile leaders of Saturday’s “Open Illinois Rally” organized and co-hosted by Josh Ellis of American Revolution 2.0. Mancow and a number of politicians and candidates gathered to “address the governor’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic response.” The intent was to demand the state legislature “work on guidance and provisions to safely open Illinois businesses and resume our work lives.”…..WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway tells TALKERS magazine it was a “great honor” to have President Trump call into his radio show on Friday (5/15). Conway says that when Trump was running for office, the two spoke many times but this was the first time they talked with Trump as president. “It doesn’t matter what people think about him, this is the President of the United States who picked up the phone and spoke directly to my audience.” Conway’s show is also heard on WMT-AM, Cedar Rapids and WOC-AM, Quad Cities…..Nexstar Broadcasting is presenting “COVID-19 The Virtual Town Hall” to be aired on its television stations across Connecticut tonight (5/18) at 7:00 pm.  The audio from the event will be carried by iHeartMedia’s 11 Connecticut radio stations. The Town Hall will include: Governor Ned Lamont, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, and numerous state representatives and health care experts…..BIA Advisory Services is presenting a webinar tomorrow (5/19) at 11:00 am called “2020 State of Media Sales Study” that will consist of answering such questions as: What’s on the minds of local media sellers as they operate in a post COVID marketplace? Where do they expect to find ad revenue? What verticals will have the most potential in Q3 and Q4 in 2020? And, which types of accounts will pose the biggest challenges? The webinar will share findings from the April 2020 study of media sales professionals about the past year and current, unusual conditions…..The Talk Shows USA-syndicated “Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk” program adds two new affiliate stations as KBRN-AM/ K280GR, Boerne, Texas and KIVA-AM/ K229CL, Albuquerque, New Mexico add the show to their weekend program schedules…..Westwood One News is presenting “The Summer of COVID-19” as its Memorial Day Weekend special. WWO says, “Barbeques and beaches. Death rates and vaccine hopes. It is going to be a summer like no other. American traditions are under threat, from backstage ball fields to seasonal staples like family vacations and summer camps, while others still plan to hit the road or take to the skies during an unprecedented health and financial crisis… correspondent Christopher Cruise explores how we got here and where we are going, or not going, this summer.” It replaces “The Week in Review” on May 23-24.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On Long Island, Connoisseur Media’s four-station cluster that includes hot AC WALK-FM, rock WWSK-FM “94.3 The Shark,” classic hits WBZO “103.2 MAX,” and adult contemporary WKJY-FM “KJOY 98.3” shined a light on the mental effects of social distancing with a special live stream concert last night (5/17) to benefit The American Foundation For Suicide Prevention Long Island Chapter. The “Be Well Long Island” benefit concert featured performances and appearances by: Johnny Rzenick of the Goo Goo Dolls, Joan Jett, Scott Stapp, DMC from Run DMC, Kevin Martin and Brian Quinn of Candlebox, Fitz and The Tantrums, Vintage Trouble, and more. WWSK music director Brian Orlando says, “There are thousands of people suffering in silence right now. We at Connoisseur Media want them to know that they’re not alone.”

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