Tag: "The Michael Harrison Interview"

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

| June 30, 2020

iHeartMedia Launches BIN: Black Information Network. This new venture is a standalone unit within iHeartMedia that will be the “first and only 24/7 national and local all news audio service dedicated to providing an objective, accurate, and trusted source of continual news coverage with a Black voice and perspective.” iHeartMedia says BIN: Black Information Network “is focused on service to the Black community and providing an information window for those outside the community to help foster communication, accountability and a deeper understanding.” It is being led by Tony Coles – who also serves as division president of iHeartMedia markets group – as president of the unit. Tanita Myers – most recently with Reach Media – will be director of news operations.  iHM says national founding partners are: Bank of America, CVS Health, GEICO, Lowe’s, McDonald’s USA, Sony, 23andMe and Verizon. Content will be available on the iHeartRadio platform and on “dedicated all-news local AM/FM broadcast radio stations providing local news, weather traffic and sports in addition to national news – all focused on the Black community and from the Black perspective – in markets including Atlanta, Augusta, Charlotte, Cleveland, Columbus, GA, Detroit, Greenville, Macon, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, Norfolk, Riverside, San Francisco and Seattle, with additional local markets being added over the next 60 days.” BIN will also provide the news service for iHeartMedia’s 91 hip hop, R&B, and Gospel stations across the country. iHM says, “BIN’s unique partner supported business model is tailored to its mission of providing comprehensive, accurate and trusted information and news. The national Founding Partners of BIN: Black Information Network will support building this new platform for Black journalism and trusted news, and this partnership support will enable BIN’s focus to be on providing a reliable, responsible, and responsive news service to the Black community without the daily pressure of ratings.” Coles says, “BIN: Black Information Network will fill a void by providing continual news and objective information with full focus on the Black community. We began developing our 24/7 Black news source last year, and events of the last few weeks, especially the senseless and tragic death of George Floyd, highlighted the need for this network. Now is the time for our voice to be heard, and I could not be prouder of our work and the team we are assembling at BIN.”

PPM Analysis: Has Pandemic-Related Listening Peaked? TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian wraps his “extra” ratings reports on the effects pandemic-related radio listening has had on Nielsen Audio’s PPM survey data by asking if pandemic-related listening has peaked after its unusual April spike. He says that in the PPM era, month-to-month gains or losses of a full share or more are noteworthy. “To underscore the genuine rarity of what transpired in the April 2020 survey period, there were nearly four times as many of these swings then as were registered in April 2019. Indexed against April 2020, roughly 70% as many stations notch declines of -1.0 or greater, while only approximately 40% as many stations rack up a +1.0 or more (May 2020 versus April 2020, 6+).” Kinosian says what’s truly amazing is that 75% of sports talk stations were up (weekly, 6+ AQH share) April to May with no live sports play-by-play since March. See Kinosian’s entire report here.

Chicago Radio Host William Kelly Sues Illinois Governor and Chicago Mayor Over COVID-19 Restrictions. Illinois business owner and WCGO-AM, Chicago talk show host William Kelly – along with three other plaintiffs – are suing Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Major Lori Lightfoot, complaining that their acts violated the plaintiffs’ rights under several sections of the station constitution, violated their rights to equal protection under the law, and that both exceed their authority in several instances. Kelly says, “We have filed suit for the people of Illinois. Every other lawsuit has, so far, missed the mark. Lives are being destroyed. People are going bankrupt. If we succeed, Mayor Lightfoot and Gov. Pritzker will pay a price, in the form of legal damages, for the terrible harm they’ve caused to people’s lives and liberties.” See the complaint here.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WGN-AM station manager and VP of content Todd Manley and his consulting company EarSight Studios is working with Crain’s Chicago Business to produce its podcast, “Crain’s Daily Gist.” Crain’s Chicago Business publisher and executive editor Jim Kirk says, “We are thrilled to partner with Todd to help us grow our audience in audio. We’ve had tremendous success with ‘The Daily Gist’ since its debut last year, and we expect even stronger growth with Todd’s production help.”…..According to a story at Crossing Broad, Entercom Philadelphia personality John Barchard is leaving the sports talk WIP-produced podcast “Go Birds” that he co-hosts with Eliot Shorr-Parks and James Seltzer. Citing family and health as concerns he must put to the forefront, Barchard says the decision to leave was his and he calls it one of the hardest decisions he’s had to make…..ESPN promotes commentator Pablo Torre to full-time host of the “ESPN Daily” podcast. This is part of a new, multi-year contract for Torre, who will also make appearances on ESPN shows such as “Highly Questionable” and “Around the Horn.” Current “ESPN Daily” host Mina Kimes is joining the network’s NFL Live team as an analyst and will host “The Mina Kimes Show featuring Lenny” football podcast. She will continue to be a key contributor to “ESPN Daily.”

This Year’s Gracie Awards to Be Streamed on September 10. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces the 45th Annual Gracie Awards will be streamed virtually on September 10. The Gracies Gala, originally scheduled for May 19, was intended to be held at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills and the Gracies Luncheon, originally scheduled for June 24, was intended to be held in New York City at Cipriani 42nd Street. The 2020 honorees will now be celebrated through a series of digital acceptance speech montages along with a virtual awards ceremony. AWM/F executive director Becky Brooks says, “The leadership of AWM/F, which annually presents the Gracies as our largest fundraiser, has had one singular focus – to appropriately acknowledge and celebrate our outstanding winners in whatever manner is feasible this year. Therefore, we have made the decision to shift this year’s events to virtual experiences to ensure recognition of all winners in this very important year.”

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 regular 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 includes experts on the Chinese Communist Party, the USA gymnastics scandal, presidential race strategy, progressive rock, diversity management, campus safety during police reform, and much more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

SCOTUS Abortion Ruling, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Black Lives Matter Movement/St. Louis Guns Incident, Russian-Taliban Bounty Allegation, U.S.-China Relations, Iran Issues Trump Arrest Warrant, and Sports Leagues Plan Seasons Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/29). The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the Louisiana law that would have limited abortion options; the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in re-opening states and projections about future infections; the protests supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and the case of the St. Louis couple who drew weapons on protesters; the allegation that Russia is offering the Taliban bounties for killing U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and President Trump’s reaction to the story; relations between the U.S. and China as the latter clamps down on Hong Kong; Iran issues an arrest warrant for Trump and numerous other officials in the death of General Qasem Soleimani; and sports leagues making plans to open or re-start their seasons 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. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the launch of the nationally syndicated “American Top 40” show, Premiere Networks announces that this weekend (7/4-5) host Ryan Seacrest will begin a yearlong celebration that will include his highlighting an iconic artist moment from the show’s archives every weekend – including interviews with the stars and the show’s creator and original host Casey Kasem. Listeners will also have the opportunity to win prizes and one-of-a-kind experiences throughout the year. Premiere president Julie Talbott says, “Over the past five decades, ‘American Top 40’ has become a cultural touchpoint for millions of people around the globe. Casey Kasem created the gold standard that we carry on today, and we’re so proud of how Ryan has expanded that legacy.  He’s taken the show to new heights over the past 16 years with added reach, engagement, and technology, while continuing to drive impressive results for our partners.” The program debuted the weekend of July 4-5, 1970…..Legendary rock bank U2 is getting its own channel on SiriusXM Satellite Radio. The U2 X-Radio channel launches tomorrow (7/1) at 3:00 pm ET.  p.m. ET, exclusively on SiriusXM Channel 32. SiriusXM says, “U2 X-Radio is U2 as you have never heard them before. An extraordinary and unique audio experience exploring the band’s history, idols, influences, and current passions, plus inspiration, conversation, culture, commentary and ideas from the band and guests. All curated by U2. The dedicated and exclusive channel will come to life with music and radio shows that celebrate music from across the globally acclaimed, four-decade career of Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen, including their biggest hits, deep cuts, live concert recordings and rarities, as well as music from artists that are connected to or inspire the band.”

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

| June 23, 2020

Ramsey Solutions to Expand; Create 600 News Jobs. The Tennessean reports that Dave Ramsey’s Ramsey Solutions is investing $52 million to construct a second office building on its campus in Franklin, Tennessee and will create 600 new jobs. The paper says this project is “part of Ramsey Solutions’ continued expansion, which started in 2015 when the company closed on 47 acres of land in the Berry Farms development.” Dave Ramsey is quoted saying, “We appreciate our partnership with Governor [Bill] Lee and Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development in helping us create another 600 jobs for our state. Tennessee’s low tax environment is causing healthy business growth and migration. It’s helping boost our economy, and we’re honored to be a part of that.” The story goes on to say that in 2019, “the Ramsey team moved into the first six-story office building, which includes podcast and radio studios, more than 200,000 square feet of workspace, a team member cafeteria, a bookstore and coffee shop for guests watching ‘The Dave Ramsey Show’ live in the studio. This latest expansion will accommodate the company’s continued growth. Construction on the second office building began in August 2019 and is expected to be completed in May 2021.”

Joe Pags Celebrates 10 Years as Host of ‘The Weekend.’ The weekly issues-oriented program “The Weekend” has been airing on iHeartMedia stations since the late 1990s. It was created to provide live weekend talk content for the company’s news/talk stations and featured a rotating cast of then-Clear Channel talk hosts. In June of 2010, Premiere Networks named WOAI, San Antonio talk show host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo the permanent host of the three-hour show that is heard on more than 300 stations.  Premiere says, “Each weekend on the show, Joe Pagliarulo – or “Pags” as he’s affectionately known – offers listeners a refreshing break from traditional talk as he covers a variety of stories and topics that affect all Americans – from family, social issues, and pop culture, to news headlines and politics. The relevant, entertaining and often funny program also features playful debate.” Speaking about his 10th anniversary, Pags says, “It is such an honor to be able to crack the mic every weekend and talk to wonderful people across the nation! Time flies when doing what I love. I’m humbled that it’s been a decade!  Looking forward to many more years to come.”

Heidi Glaus Hosts Afternoons on KTRS-AM, St. Louis. With the recent retirement of Guy Phillips from CH Holdings’ news/talk KTRS-AM, St. Louis, the station elevates Phillips’ co-host Heidi Glaus to lead personality. The station says Glaus “debuts her new show ‘The Heidi Glaus Show with Josh Gilbert’ after a short but solid run with radio legend Guy Phillips. Heidi is a former, longtime reporter and host of ‘Show Me St. Louis’ for KSDK television. Glaus is originally from the small town of New Madrid, Missouri. She attended Williams Woods University and played softball and basketball. Following college, she started working at KSDK in 1996 as an intern, then transitioned into working as a production assistant for the network after her internship ended.” KTRS says Josh Gilbert joined KTRS in 2010 handling shifts “nobody else wanted to do.” After producing the “Guy Phillips Show,” Gilbert rises to his new producer/co-host role.

PPM Analysis: COVID-19’s Effect on Spoken-Word Listening. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian looks at the data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM and April 2020 PPM surveys to analyze spoken word listening trends. In this report based on weekly, 6+ AQH share, Kinosian charts listening trends by market, ratings gains by market, ratings losses by market, top 20 gains by spoken-word stations, top 20 losses by spoken-word stations, and more. See it all here.

Jason McCollim Elevated to SVP of Programming for iHeartMedia Austin/San Antonio. Programming pro Jason McCollim moves from iHeartMedia’s Colorado Springs/Pueblo markets where he was SVP of programming to the company’s Austin/San Antonio region to serve in the same capacity. The clusters include legendary news/talk WOAI-AM, San Antonio; sports talk KVET-AM, Austin; and 13 other brands. iHeartMedia Austin/San Antonio president Matt Martin says, “It is terrific to re-connect and work with Jason again. Jason is passionate about leading teams, is a proven winner, and fits our culture perfectly. We are excited to welcome him to our team.” McCollim comments, “Thank you iHeartMedia for this fantastic opportunity to work in not one, but two of the most competitive radio landscapes in the country. I am beyond excited to join forces with the already incredible leadership, sales, and programming teams in the Austin and San Antonio markets.”

Peter Tripi Rises to EVP of Affiliate Sales at Premiere Networks. Affiliate sales pro Peter Tripi is promoted from his senior vice president of affiliate sales/talk and morning shows position with Premiere Networks to executive vice president of affiliate sales. In this new position, Tripi will oversee affiliate sales and affiliate marketing for all of Premiere’s talent, including: Rush Limbaugh, Ryan Seacrest, Delilah, Sean Hannity, Steve Harvey, Glenn Beck, The Breakfast Club, Bobby Bones, Elvis Duran, Mario Lopez, the FOX Sports Radio Network, and many others. Additionally, he’ll manage affiliations for more than 60 prep, production, imaging and research services. In total, Tripi and his team are responsible for more than 7,100 radio affiliations worldwide. Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott states, “I’ve worked with Peter for over two decades and I couldn’t ask for a better representative for our unmatched lineup of national radio personalities and their brands. His extensive industry experience and tremendous insight make him an effective leader and valued member of our team. I look forward to working together for years to come.”

Spiking COVID-19 Numbers in South and West, Trump Tulsa Rally/Presidential Race, Black Lives Matter Movement, Confederate & Colonial Era Statues, Seattle Autonomous Zone, and Trump Expands Visa Ban Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/22). The rising number of cases of COVID-19 in states in the South and the West as economies re-open; the aftermath of President Trump’s rally in Tulsa and his race against presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden; the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests at LaFayette Park in DC; the movement to remove statues of Confederate and Colonial-era figures from public land; Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announces the city will take back the Capitol Hill district that’s been an “autonomous zone”; and President Trump’s expansion of the ban on employment-based visas were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. WNYM-AM, New York “AM970 The Answer” announces a new producer for the morning drive “Joe Piscopo Show.” The Salem Media Group station says it recently said “goodbye” to longtime producer Frank Morano and is now welcoming back Joseph Sibilia as the new producer for the program. Sibilia worked on ‘The Joe Piscopo Show’ from 2017 – 2018 as a social media assistant and production assistant. He left the show to take on the executive/associate producer and director of parody development role at Entercom’s WPHT, Philadelphia…..According to data from Edison Research’s May 2020 Share of Ear data, streaming hit double digits for the first time with 10% of AM/FM radio listening coming from streams versus 90% of listening on a traditional radio receiver. This comes as listening patterns have been altered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Edison director of research Laura Ivey says, “Adoption of radio station streams continues to be slow. While it remains an area of opportunity for broadcasters, to date most people in the U.S. listen over the air when they are listening to AM/FM radio content.” She adds, “The statistics here represent the combination of music and spoken-word listening. Our research shows listening via streaming is higher for spoken-word radio stations such as news, public radio, talk and sports, while listening via streaming is lower for music radio stations.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One News will present the special, “Black Lives Matter: From Protests to Police Reform,” over the July 4th holiday weekend. Correspondent Elliott Francis will explore “how the killing of George Floyd by a police officer sparked a national reckoning on racial and social injustice in the United States and fueled a movement years in the making, with massive demonstrations across cities large and small protesting violent police tactics. Francis also will look at the impact the movement is having from the boardroom to the courtroom, and from the sidelines to the big screen.” It will replace “The Week in Review” on July 4-5…..CBS Audio announces its special one-hour, weekend program “Coronavirus: Changed Forever” has evolved into “America: Changed Forever,” allowing it to address “new issues emerging daily from protests to elections to health.” Also, CBS is presenting its three-hour Independence Day special hosted by Gil Gross. CBS says, “From fireworks to the Declaration of Independence, this three-hour block of programming will focus on what makes July 4​th so special to all Americans and how this year’s most patriotic holiday will be so different from celebrations of the past.”…..ABC Audio is providing special programming to affiliates for the July 4th holiday weekend. For talk stations, ABC News Radio correspondent Alex Stone hosts “Turning to Tech,” a show that explores how Americans used technology while sheltering in place. From virtual classrooms and doctor appointments, to exercising at home and remote work, Stone reports on the new role technology plays in daily life…..A podcast production partnership has been struck between iHeartMedia’s iHeartRadio and WarnerMedia Entertainment (HBO, HBO Max, TNT, TBS, truTV, etc) for the parties to co-produce a slate of companion podcasts for HBO Max’s upcoming catalog of original and legacy shows. The first podcasts to debut will include companion podcasts for the comedy thriller series “Search Party” and sci-fi drama “Raised by Wolves.” The new slate of companion podcasts will play as standalone productions in their own right, but will often center around and help promote HBO Max programming…..Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington says that in the wake of the tragic killing of George Floyd and renewed calls for meaningful change and racial equality in America, it is releasing a new podcast titled, “Colors: A Dialogue on Race in America.” The program is hosted by longtime WTOP national security correspondent JJ Green and former WTOP contributor and creator of “Core Values,” Chris Core. WTOP says, “Each week, JJ and Chris – a black man and a white man who have known each other for 30 years – will engage in raw, real, honest and, sometimes, uncomfortable conversations about race. JJ and Chris will also invite guests to offer their knowledge and opinions on issues and give listeners an opportunity to ask questions in a safe place.” The podcast is a “revival” of a similar radio show the pair piloted in 1993 called “Black and White” while they were colleagues at crosstown WMAL…..Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon is honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. Kenyon is one of 31 broadcasters to receive the honor since 1989. Entercom Detroit regional president Michael Doyle says, “Debbie is a relentless leader whose work ethic and breadth of expertise serve as a pillar for our Detroit market. I congratulate her for this distinguished honor and am proud to see her outstanding career achievements recognized through this award.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Classic rock WRKI, Danbury, Connecticut “I-95” program director and afternoon drive personality Tim Sheehan exits the station after a 30-year career. The station’s morning host Ethan Carey reports on the “I-95” website, “It was 3:00 pm on Thursday, June 18, 2020, when I-95’s Tim Sheehan turned on his microphone for the last time to say goodbye to his afternoon classic rock audience. He told me it was time for a new challenge and a new adventure. He graciously thanked his listeners for their support over the last 30 years and handed over the reins as I-95’s afternoon rock jock to I-95 production director and former part-time air personality, Large Dave.”…..iHeartMedia announces its all-new television and radio special, “iHeartCountry 4th of July BBQ” featuring country music artists Kane Brown, Lauren Alaina, and Old Dominion performing live from the backyards of their homes. The program is being hosted by Bobby Bones. It’ll be broadcast as a television event on Friday, July 3 at 8:00 pm ET on The CW Network and ​audio broadcast on iHeartCountry stations nationwide…..Alpha Media’s classic hits KXGL, Amarillo, Texas “100.9 The Eagle” adds the Sun Broadcast Group syndicated “Ashley and Brad” show to air on mornings…..The Tulsa Music Awards names country KWEN-FM “K95.5” morning drive personality Natalie Cash “Tulsa’s Favorite Radio Personality.” Cash co-hosts the “Cash & Bradley Show” on the Cox Media Group station. Station PD Matt Bradley says, “Natalie is bold and vivacious and so much fun – it’s hard not to love her and want to help her on whatever project she is working on. When Natalie tells listeners that we are going to get involved and do something to help others, it is incredible the way they respond. She really knows how to utilize the power of radio to affect change in a meaningful way.”

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

| June 16, 2020

Longtime St. Louis Radio Personality Guy Phillips to Retire from KTRS-AM. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Guy Phillips will retire from news/talk KTRS where he’s been afternoon drive host since February of 2018. Phillips joined KLSQ-FM in 1979. It changed calls to KYKY-FM and he left the Entercom hot AC in 2018 to join KTRS. He tells the paper, “I’d say I thought about (retiring). I’m going to be 68 and I have a granddaughter now, our first. So, it just seemed like the right time.” Phillips was originally co-hosting the show with Julie Buck but she left in early 2019 and Heidi Glaus has been his co-hosted since then.

Florida Air Personalities Test Positive for COVID-19. According to a piece in the Tampa Bay Times, WHPT, Tampa “102.5 FM The Bone” air personalities Mike Calta and Anthony “Spanish” Polichemi, as well as three DJs from Beasley Media Group’s hip hop WLLD “Wild 94.1” have tested positive for COVID-19. Calta and his cast members work for Cox Media Group and are broadcasting from home studios for now. Beasley closed its St. Petersburg offices to all but essential employees after a staffer there tested positive.

KMZQ, Las Vegas Morning Host Heidi Harris Tests Positive for COVID-19. Las Vegas morning drive talk host Heidi Harris told listeners via Facebook that she’s tested positive for COVID-19. Harris writes that she started with a cough last Thursday and, after getting worse that night, called in sick on Friday. She says she got considerably sicker over the weekend with intense body aches but did not suffer breathing troubles or nausea. She intends to do her radio show from home assuming she’s able to handle it.

TALKERS EXCLUSIVE:  A Conversation with Lee Habeeb of “Our American Stories.”  The two-hour, nightly syndicated storytelling radio show, “Our American Stories” produced by American Private Radio, continues to pick up major affiliates and receive stellar reviews. It is now making an impact in Texas having recently added KTRH, Houston and KRLD-AM, Dallas to its growing roster of what now totals more than 225 news/talk stations across the US.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison recently conducted a fascinating conversation with American Private Radio CEO and the host of “Our American Stories,” Lee Habeeb.  They discuss the program’s unique business model and non-partisan, storytelling approach to unifying the American public through positivity and a knowledge of history. To listen to the conversation in its entirety, please click 

      here
.

BLM Protests/Rayshard Brooks Killing, Seattle CHOP, COVID-19 Statistics/Beijing Outbreak, U.S. Re-Opening, SCOTUS Gay-Transgender Ruling, John Bolton Book, and Russia Jails Accused U.S. Spy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/15). Protests in New Mexico, Tennessee, and Oregon and the police killing of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta; the status of the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest in Seattle; the COVID-19 statistics in the U.S. and the current outbreak in Beijing; the re-opening of states across the U.S.; the Supreme Court’s ruling against firing on the grounds of being gay or transgender; former Trump national security adviser John Bolton’s book prepares for release; and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan is sentenced to 16 years hard labor by Russia for espionage were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WIND-AM, Chicago morning news anchor Amy Jacobson’s ban from Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has been rescinded. Jacobson – with the assistance of the Liberty Justice Center – sued Pritzker and his press secretary after they banned her from press briefings because she appeared at a rally to protest the governor’s stay-at-home orders. They argued she lost her journalistic cred for taking “an extreme position” on the issue and speaking out about it. The Illinois attorney general’s office did not explain its decision but simply stated Jacobson is allowed to participate in press briefings “to the same extent that any other media is allowed to participate.”…..At yesterday’s iHeartMedia Annual Meeting of Stockholders, Gary Barber and Brad Gerstner were elected to the company’s board of directors to serve as Class I directors, each for a three-year term ending at the 2023 annual meeting of stockholders. Barber is co-founder of Spyglass Entertainment and previously served as chairman and CEO of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Gerstner is founder and CEO of Altimeter Capital…..Newsday’s Neil Best writes that Entercom New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says he won’t rule out bringing former WFAN sports talk host Craig Carton back to the station after he completes his prison sentence for running a Ponzi scheme to pay off gambling debts. Oliviero says it’s the question he gets asked the most. “I understand why people would ask that, especially based on our long history. But the answer is: Who knows? There are so many variables. That said, if a time in the future came where Craig had gotten his life back on track, fulfilled all that was asked of him and was in a position to resume his career, of course we’d talk and discuss.” Fifty-one-year-old Carton is one year into a three-and-a-half-year sentence in a minimum-security prison.

Cleveland Radio Stations to Present ‘Justice for All.’ Five radio groups operating in Cleveland are cooperating to present a 90-minute program titled, “Justice For All: A Conversation about Race, Equality and Inclusion,” that will air on 21 stations tomorrow (6/17) afternoon at 1:00 pm ET. The program will feature Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson, Police Chief Calvin Williams and other area civic leaders. The show is being anchored by former WOIO-TV news anchor Romona Robinson. Broadcasters Radio One, iHeartMedia, Entercom, Good Karma Brands, and Salem Communications issued the following joint statement: “A discussion as significant as this one requires all of us to come together and listen to each other. Together, our radio stations reach more than 95% of the people in Cleveland – people of all ages, races, and backgrounds. We all recognize this unique inflection point in the history of our city and our country. Now is the time to share in a meaningful dialogue that allows us to hear people on all sides, recognize our similar views and discuss how we can begin to work together toward meaningful progress, including justice and equity for all.”

New Format for 2020 Radio Mercury Awards Announced. The Radio Mercury Awards Advisory Council and the RAB executive committee are announcing “a shift to the 2020 awards competition, a new slate of award categories and a virtual event in lieu of the previously publicized NYC event.” Submissions to the 2020 Radio Mercury Awards are free and open to agencies, advertisers, radio stations/groups, production companies and students. There will be no prize monies or trophies given in 2020. Current Radio Mercury Awards entrants will have their work automatically moved into the 2021 competition. Additionally, 2020 winners will be automatically entered into the 2021 competition. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber says, “The Radio Mercury Awards has a long-lasting heritage and reputation in recognizing outstanding radio creative. The advertising and radio industries have put a lot of heart and soul into serving their consumers during COVID-19, and we are looking forward to honoring the excellence of the creative community.” Honorees will be announced via a livestream event at 7:00 pm ET on October 6, 2020.

MIW Radio Group Announces Mentoring Program’s 2020 Class. The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group introduces the MIW Group Mildred Carter Mentoring Program’s Class of 2020. Each year, four candidates from the radio industry, representing the sales, marketing, programming, and digital disciplines, are selected annually for the mentoring program. The 2020 class is comprised of the following professionals (pictured above from l-r): Nicki DellaPosta, general sales manager, Entercom, Chicago; Jill Masek, director of sales, NRG Media, Lincoln, Nebraska; Dana Schaeffer, producer, ABC News Radio, New York; and Alyson Sprague, senior director of research & analytics, iHeartMedia. Entercom VP national agency partnerships Lindsay Adams, chair of the 2020 MIW Group Mentoring Committee and a 2006 graduate of the program, says, “The quantity and quality of candidates desiring to develop their careers in radio is astounding. Given the challenges we have all faced this year, the program will prove to be even more valuable to our 2020 mentees who highly reflect the excellence we’re seeing in applications. Let the mentoring begin!”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In San Antonio, Alpha Media flips KTFM-HD/W277CX from classic hip hop to rhythmic CHR as “WE 103.3.” Alpha Media executive vice president of content/programming Phil Becker comments, “Hip hop is the most consumed music in the world and one that our company is passionate about and believes in. The addition of ‘WE 103.3’ to our San Antonio cluster gives us the ability to offer our advertisers a new demographic and puts us in a great position to continue to be one of the markets most listened to radio operators.” The brand will be programmed by current CHR KTFM-FM program director Ernie Martinez…..On June 25, iHeartMedia and sponsor P&G are presenting “Can’t Cancel Pride: A COVID-19 Relief Benefit for the LGBTQ+ Community, ” a virtual relief benefit designed to help raise visibility and funds for LGBTQ+ communities most impacted by COVID-19. Artists taking part in the event include: Adam Lambert, Big Freedia, Billy Porter, Katy Perry, Kim Petras, Melissa Etheridge, Sia, Ricky Martin, and more. iHeartMedia says the celebration will culminate in a one-hour special hosted by Elvis Duran and actress and LGBTQ+ advocate Laverne Cox. It will stream on iHeartRadio’s Facebook and Instagram pages, iHeartRadio’s PrideRadio.com and broadcast on iHeartMedia stations nationwide and on the iHeartRadio app June 25 at 9:00 pm local time…..WTHR-TV, Indianapolis reports the death of Radio One regional Mexican “La Grande 105.1” program director Grisel Barajas. The 31-year-old also was a TV personality on Telemundo Indy. She died on Sunday (6/14) after being in a motorcycle accident. Barajas was a passenger on the motorcycle driven by her boyfriend, who survived the crash. Radio One RVP Deon Levingston states, “The sudden passing of Grisel Barajas has deeply shocked and saddened us. As the program director for ‘La Grande 105.1,’ Grisel was a valued colleague and trusted friend. She was taken away from us too soon and will be missed by all of us at Radio One Indianapolis and the entire Urban One family. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Grisel’s family and friends.”

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

| June 2, 2020

KFI, Los Angeles Front and Center in Coverage of Chaos. Los Angeles is another American city in which authorities are trying to quell civil unrest in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. KFI, Los Angeles – which, on the strength of a 5.5 share in Nielsen’s April PPM survey, shot to #1 in the market – has been front and center in covering the story. Program director Robin Bertolucci tells TALKERS that KFI “was and will continue to be wall-to-wall on this story. KFI’s news team, led by Chris Little, was all over this, covering the protests and the ensuing chaos. One of our reporters, Kris Ankarlo, was so close to the action in the Fairfax district that his tires were slashed. In addition to covering it for KFI, we covered it with updates all weekend long for all of our iHeartMedia LA stations.” Bertolucci shared with TALKERS the content of a memo to all staffers sent Sunday. “I want to remind everyone that as this situation unfolds, we are in NEWS mode. This goes for all shows, news or talk. This is the time to tell people what’s happening and explain all the sides of the story. This is a dynamic situation and we need to cover it clearly, first and foremost. We should try to refrain from drawing grand conclusions, making pronouncements or adding to the overall tension and confusion. The tone is INFORMATION and CLARITY. There are many different factions at play in this story… business owners, antifa, police, looters, the national guard, and let’s not forget the original focus of this… the protest about race and police brutality that launched this moment in history. This has become something very different and awful, but we need to stop talking about this as if it’s an us/them situation. We are all part of the same community and we need to find a way to talk about what is going on. Let’s get the whole story and let’s talk to different members of our community. No, I’m not condoning any bit of this horror show but I am asking us not to simplify this, not to paint everyone with the same broad brush and to find the nuances and tell the stories.”

WSB, Atlanta’s Drew Anderssen: Proud of WSB and CMG News/Talkers. WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta director of branding and programming Drew Anderssen tells TALKERS magazine, “I’m very proud of the work that WSB and frankly all of our Cox Media Group news/talk stations have done in response to local market protests. In Atlanta specifically, our 95.5 WSB news center was staffed around the clock and we aired wall-to-wall coverage of the protests throughout the weekend. ‘The Show’ with Shelley Wynter and Malanikai, which features a predominantly black cast, were integrated into our news coverage and helped facilitate conversations about how we move forward each night as a community while protests continue. We added 22 hours of local programming this weekend focused on the impact of George Floyd’s death at the hands of law enforcement, featuring talk with prominent Atlanta leaders in government, civil rights, entertainment, and faith. We continue to monitor the developments of the historic protests happening across the country and are making real-time decisions on adjusting programming to meet the needs of our listeners and to serve our community.”

KPCC, Pasadena Reporter Shot with Rubber Bullet. As reported by LARadio.com, KPCC-FM, Pasadena reporter Adolfo Guzman-Lopez was shot in the throat (at right) by a Long Beach police officer. LARadio.com notes that the law allows reporters access to protests in order for them to do their jobs and KPCC had “confirmed with officials from L.A. County and the cities of Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Santa Monica that journalists were among those exempt from the curfew.” Guzman-Lopez tweeted that he’d just finished interviewing a man with his iPhone when he saw a police officer take aim and shoot. He tweeted, “The rubber bullet hit stings like a mf, and is starting to hurt, talked to doctor friends, said if not having trouble breathing then ok. Going home.” He later tweeted that an ER doctor confirmed no damage to his windpipe.

New York Landmark Boarded Up. In New York City, WABC talk host and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa tells TALKERS he’s been “leading the Guardian Angels patrols at night to stop the looting in Soho and return in the morning to broadcast on WABC about what I just experienced hours before.” The photo above is a still from video Sliwa shot of the Macy’s flagship store at Herald Square – all boarded up. Sliwa adds, “The NYPD seems unable to address these safety issues.  So, the Guardian Angels have stepped in and are now patrolling these hot spot areas around the clock. It is uncertain how long the mayhem will last but we are in it for the long haul. We have been here since 1979 and we don’t intend on going anywhere.” You can see Sliwa’s eerie video of the Macy’s storefront here.

Rush Limbaugh and ‘The Breakfast Club’ Air Conversation About Race. In a first for the Premiere Networks personalities, conservative talk star Rush Limbaugh and “The Breakfast Club” hosts DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlamagne Tha God had a 30-minute conversation about race relations in America that aired on both of their programs. The point of contention between Limbaugh and the “Breakfast Club” cast was the issue of white privilege. During the conversation Limbaugh said he doesn’t believe in the concept of white privilege, calling it a “construct of today’s Democratic Party.” Charlamagne called Limbaugh “delusional” for his stance on the matter. You can hear the exchange here.

Dimes Media Launches ‘K-NEWS 98.5’ in San Luis Obispo. The San Luis Obispo market has a new news/talk station as Dimes Media unveils “K-NEWS 98.5 The Power of Information” on KWWV-HD2/K253BR. Dimes Media president and CEO Eric D. Fahnoe says, “‘K-NEWS 98.5’ now provides San Luis Obispo county residents with a voice and perspective they didn’t have before. We look forward to enhancing the diversity and dialogue regarding issues ranging from local to national which our resident’s face daily. The importance of hearing and considering other perspectives cannot be overstated during these current times. Our culture will best evolve and compromise through informed discussions and we look forward to ‘K-NEWS 98.5’ contribution to the conversation every day.” The station’s weekday lineup includes: “The Armstrong & Getty Show,” “The Glenn Beck Program,” “The Savage Nation with Michael Savage,” “The Andy Caldwell Show,” “The Larry Elder Show,” “The Dennis Prager Show,” “Red Eye Radio” and “The Hugh Hewitt Show.” Weekend programs include: “Handel on the Law,” “Free Talk Live,” “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” “Townhall Review,” “Meet the Press,” “Armed American,” and “The Christian Outlook.”

George Floyd Protests, Trump vs Governors/Military Threat, Trump Church Visit, Facebook ‘Walkout,’ COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, and Limbaugh-Breakfast Club Conversation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/1). The ongoing violence and looting accompanying the protests over George Floyd’s death; President Trump calls U.S. governors “weak” for failure to stop protests and threatens the call in the U.S. military; Trump’s photo op at St. John’s Episcopal Church in DC; Facebook employees stage a virtual “walkout” over Trump posts; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections for future cases; and the radio conversation between Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh and the syndicator’s “Breakfast Club” hosts were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Salem Media Group Reports Q1 Revenue Down 3.7%. Reporting its financial data from the first quarter of 2020, Salem Media Group says total revenue was $58.3 million, down 3.7% from the same period in 2019. After reporting net income of $322,000 in Q1 of 2019, Salem reports a loss of $55.2 million this year. Breaking down the company by segment, net broadcast revenue decreased 2.0% to $45.2 million. Same Station net broadcast revenue increased 0.6% to $44.3 million. Digital had a tough quarter, dropping 11.1% to $9.1 million.  Speaking during Monday’s investor conference call about the company’s strategy for surviving the economic impact of COVID-19, CEO Ed Atsinger said, “First of all, we’ve reduced discretionary spending such as travel and entertainment, which of course has been easy so far. We’ve eliminated open positions, we’ve instituted a hiring freeze, we’ve made request for discounts or forbearance from vendors and landlords, and we laid off and furloughed about 10% of our employees. We have limited capital expenditures to emergency expenses only, we suspended the quarterly dividend, we suspended the 401(k) match, and we’ve taken advantage of the ability of deferred payroll taxes of approximately 3.6 million under the CARES Act, and we’ve reduced base salary for every employee with salary cuts ranging from between 5% and 10% depending upon the salary levels.” Company EVP and CFO Evan Masyr says the company will not be offering Q2 guidance but delivered some April data. “April revenue is down 24%. I’ll break that decline down in a little bit more detail. Broadcast revenue in total declined 24%; local spot advertising was down 49% and national spot advertising was down 38%; local programs were down 26% while national programs were down 2%; local digital revenue was up 30%; national digital revenue declined 11% and publishing revenue declined 45%; and in May, revenue was down just around 23%.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. You can read the whole conference call transcript here.

TALKERS News Notes. KXTV-TV, Sacramento reports that KHTK-AM, Sacramento sports talk host and Sacramento Kings play-by-play voice Grant Napear has been placed on leave by station owner Bonneville after a Twitter exchange with former King’s player Doug Christie in which Napear said, “all lives matter.” The Sacramento Kings issued a statement saying they are investigating the incident with broadcast partners KHTK and NBC Sports California…..This Thursday (6/4), Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is presenting the latest in a series of COVID-19-related Town Hall broadcasts. This edition is titled, “NJ Back to Business.” The station says, “Even as more New Jersey businesses are permitted to reopen, the road to economic recovery will be long. With unemployment at record levels and the state facing a multi-billion-dollar deficit due to lagging tax collections, critical decisions will be made in the months ahead that will determine how quickly businesses will recover, or if they will recover at all.” Vice president, senior political director and director of special projects Eric Scott leads the discussion with New Jersey State Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. LARadio.com reports that Muerelo Media has let a number of staffers go from classic rock KLOS, Los Angeles. Frosty Stillwell – who had been on furlough from the Frosty, Heidi & Frank morning show – is let go permanently. Joining him are afternoon drive host Gary Moore, as well as Jim ‘JD’ Daniels, Steve Jones, Frazer Smith, and Greg Beharrell.…..On-air pro Matt Ryan – assistant brand manager and afternoon host at Townsquare Media’s hot AC WJLK, Asbury Park, New Jersey “94.3 The Point” is named host of “Pop Crush Nights.” He takes over for Lisa Paige. He’ll continue his role with WJLK.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

| May 26, 2020

Memo: Copy Copy Like This. While listeners – whom your advertisers want to meet – have been disrupted, NOTHING resonates like empathy, succinctly conveyed. For this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke has collected examples instructive to commercial copy we craft for local retailers, and station imaging. Read it here.

Re-Opening Across America, Memorial Day Holiday, Michigan Protests, COVID-19 Tests/Vaccine Research, Presidential Race, Brazil Travel Ban, and ‘The Match’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. States across the country begin cautiously re-opening their economies; the Memorial Day holiday takes place without the usual parades and observances; Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s battle against lockdown protesters; the number of COVID-19 tests being done in the U.S. and the global work being done to create a vaccine; the November presidential election; President Trump puts a ban on flights from Brazil as the coronavirus sweeps through the South American nation; and “The Match” featuring Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady playing golf were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: What’s All the Fuss About? Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that great sellers have always been built to work remotely. He draws a sports analogy. “High-performing athletes are regularly well-coached and prepared. Then, on their own, away from the head coach – remotely – often with private coaches, they practice. When they return for the next session they are better… the takeaway here is the individual commitment to practicing ‘remotely.’” Read his column here.

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk formatted stations. It appears that radio listeners shifted from wanting straight news about the pandemic in March – when all-news outlets saw their weekly, 6+ AQH shares shoot up – to wanting to hear analysis and discussion about the COVID-19 pandemic in April. Seventy-eight percent of news/talk stations saw their AQH shares go up during the April survey, led by big gainers such as iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM, Milwaukee (+3.5, 9.3 share), Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City (+2.8, 8.8 share), and Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence (+2.3, 6.1 share). It’s important to note that radio cume was down across the board in April and that dramatic increases in time spent listening are driving these AQH spikes. With that said, some impressive year-over year AQH increases happened in April. Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta was up 7.3 shares over April 2019 (13.9 share, #1), iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento shot up 5.6 shares (11.6 share, #1), and Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis was up 5.1 shares (10.3 share, #1). Also, in April there were 11 news/talk outlets that ranked #1 in their respective markets. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Erick Erickson Interviews Mike Pence in Sanitized Space at Waffle House HQ. Pictured above is Georgia talk radio host Erick Erickson (left) conducting an in-person interview with Vice President Mike Pence (right) on Friday (5/22) at Waffle House corporate headquarters in Norcross, Georgia. The interview aired on Erickson’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta afternoon drive show on Friday and on his statewide syndicated late morning show today (5/26). Erickson says of preparing for the interview, “I didn’t have to wear a mask. The Secret Service took my temperature, made me set up all my equipment, then made me leave the room so they could sanitize everything themselves. I was not allowed back to my equipment until the interview. It was a new twist on these sorts of interviews.” The two discussed the progress being made in re-opening Georgia, the what-ifs of a potential flare-up of coronavirus cases, and what might be expected for college football this year.

KOIL, Omaha Launches New ‘Local 1290’ Program. Omaha news/talk KOIL “News Talk 1290” says it is debuting a new, daily two-hour program “focusing on the local community as our friends, neighbors and businesses begin to face the new normal.” The live program is being hosted by Neil Nelkin and will focus on everything “local” in Omaha, Nebraska and Council Bluffs, Iowa as businesses start to re-open and figure out how to go forward. Other NRG Media on-air talent will join the program as co-hosts, including Nikki and Laura from KQKQ-FM “Sweet 98.5,” Mike’l Severe and Damon Benning from KOZN-AM “1620 The Zone,” and Matt Tompkins from KOOO-FM “101.9 The Keg.” Neil Nelkin comments, “Finally a positive show about our listeners, our community and businesses within the Omaha and Council Bluffs area.  We want to highlight the local business and hear their stories about how they are doing and re-opening. It’s a community feel good, as we are all in this together.”

TALKERS News Notes. The global pandemic can’t keep Stephanie Miller’s “Sexy Liberal Tour” down. Miller’s SM Radio Productions says, “Until it’s safe to travel and gather in large groups again, the hysterically funny ‘Sexy Liberal Tour’ is now set to come into fans’ homes with ‘Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Virtual Tour.’” It will debut virtually on Saturday, June 6 at 9:00 pm ET / 6:00 pm PT and will feature Stephanie Miller, John Fugelsang, Hal Sparks, Frances Callier, and Angela V. Shelton…..Nationally syndicated talk host Buck Sexton interviewed President Trump in the Oval Office for a conversation that aired on his Premiere Networks-syndicated show. Among the topics discussed were the president’s thoughts on the intelligence community, the judiciary, the “deep state,” “Russiagate,” Michael Flynn, and more. The president also told Sexton the country will “never do this again” and will deal with the coronavirus issue by employing the country’s “best resources” to put out any fires as they emerge…..The Times-Union of San Diego reports that Mexican signal XEPRS-AM, Tijuana could be back on the air as “The Mightier 1090” around July 4, to coincide with the return of Major League Baseball. As has been reported, Flagstaff, Arizona-based marketing executive Bill Hagen is leasing the former sports talk outlet and plans to build a lifestyle and sports talk station around afternoon personality – and former longtime “Mighty 1090” personality – Scott Kaplan. The sports talk format on XEPRS ended 13 months ago when Broadcasting Company of the Americas lost its lease on the signal…..GCN-syndicated host Kate Delaney is honored with a 2020 Communicator Award for Excellence from the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts. Her DelaneyMediaGroup won in the Commercial Campaign category for “Her Story.” Delaney tells TALKERS magazine the feature airs on 70 stations and Amazon’s Echo…..Last Friday (5/22), WTKS-FM, Orlando’s “The News Junkie” radio show – hosted by Shawn Wasson, Sabrina Ambra, and Chris “C-lane” Lane – held “the World’s First Live Radio Broadcast With Social Distancing.” Pictured below is the trio at their broadcast booth. They say that fans arrived at staggered times to prevent a large crowd outside and those feeling sick were urged not to attend. Each table was limited to only a few guests and hand sanitizer and optional masks were available for all guests. Wasson says, “The show featured plenty of drinks, plenty of fun and games. What we didn’t do is have people shaking hands and hanging all over each other. We showed that with enough planning and preparation you can juggle being safe and having a blast.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Last week’s WKQX, Chicago radiothon supporting the Chicago Independent Venue League netted $34,000 for the association and its live music venues. The morning show trio of Brian, Ali, and Justin were on air for 34 hours and interviewed artists including Billy Joe Armstrong from Green Day, Grouplove, Silversun Pickups, Cage The Elephant, Local H, KFlay, All Time Low, Powfu, Chip Z’Nuff, and Jerry from JBTV. The event was sponsored by Goose Island Beer Company, supporting Chicago music venues since 1988…..iHeartMedia flips classic hits WJDX, Jackson, Mississippi to hip hop as “The New Real 105.1.” The station’s lineup includes “The Breakfast Club,” with DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlamagne Tha God in morning drive. iHeartMedia Jackson market president Mike Comfort says, “We are excited to launch ‘The New Real 105.1’ in Jackson and bring another choice for hip hop and R&B to the market. Based on our research, we know not only is this going to connect with our market’s audience, but this format is also going to produce a strong listener base for our advertisers – things just got real!”…..iHeartMedia Philadelphia re-brands alternative WRFF as “ALT 104.5.” Station PD and midday personality Amber Miller says, “Who doesn’t love the big reveal at the end of a makeover show. Well, ta-da! Philly’s Alternative Rock station is now sounding bigger and better than ever, combining the music and personalities our listeners love with this fresh, energetic new aesthetic. The station offers listeners the same music and entertainment they crave, just with a fresh new coat of paint.”

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

| May 12, 2020

Cumulus Media Reports Net Revenue Decrease of 14.8% in Q1. Reporting financial data for the first quarter of 2020, Cumulus Media’s net revenue was $227.9 million, a decrease of 14.8% compared to Q1 of 2019. After reporting a profit of $451,000 in 2019, Cumulus ends Q1 2020 with a net loss of $7.4 million. Adjusted EBITDA was $27.7 million, a decrease of 33.7% from the first quarter of last year. On a same station basis, net revenue was $226.5 million, a decrease of 11.2%. On the positive side, digital revenue was up 30% to $21.8 million. But spot revenue was down 12.6% and network revenue was down 22.9%. Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner states, “Regardless of the challenge, the Cumulus team has focused acutely on what matters most, moved decisively where it will make a difference, and executed every effort efficiently and with an eye toward creating value. Our reaction to this unprecedented COVID-19 crisis has been no different. We entered March with strong financial performance, a favorable capital structure and significant liquidity, and we’ve taken swift actions that we believe will help us weather the adverse impacts of the pandemic. Over the past few years, we have made meaningful shifts, both culturally and strategically, expanding from our on-air radio foundation to become a multi-platform audio-first media company, delivering premium content to over a quarter billion listeners each month whenever and however they want it. With our robust portfolio of broadcast, digital, mobile and voice-activated media solutions and integrated digital marketing services, we are very well-positioned to provide advertisers with the personal connections, local impact and massive national reach that will help them quickly reconnect with their customers as the crisis wanes.”

Michael Harrison Says the White House Is Now Obsolete.  TALKERS founder Michael Harrison says it is “insane” that no one is questioning the wisdom of continuing to use the White House as the office center for the administration’s upper management while they bemoan the fact that the architecture is dangerously out of step with the perils of COVID-19 transmission.  Harrison floated the concept on the latest installment of his podcast while musing with WHP afternoon drive host Ken Matthews about administration officials and employees suddenly testing positive for the virus. According to Harrison, “One of the many things that the coronavirus is exposing as being out of synch with the new reality is the quaint notion that the West Wing is a viable venue in which administration brass should operate.”  Harrison continues, “Okay, so we learn that the offices in which West Wing workers are squeezed are remarkably tiny and cramped.  So, what should we do?   Get them out of there as quickly as possible!  Surely the government has enough resources to find a modern office building in which the West Wing can be relocated so the administration upper management can stretch out in a workable facility. Perhaps the Executive Office Building can be a temporary space… I’m not sure.  But I do know they should also move the steerage-level White House press quarters into a more modern and healthier environment.  This should be done immediately.  Let the White House be a residence and a museum.  As far as I can tell, the West Wing is obsolete.”

Round One of April PPM Ratings Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 PPM survey have been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Long Island (Nassau-Suffolk), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 survey period covered March 26 – April 22. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to bring listeners to all-news and news/talk formatted stations. In New York, iHeartMedia’s WOR adds 1.1 shares to wrap the April survey with a 3.0 share. Entercom’s all-news WINS tacks on another full share to finish with a 5.7 share and the #3 rank in the market. iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles rises 1.3 shares for a 5.5 share and the #1 rank (its first #1 since March of 2011). Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM, Chicago adds another 1.1 share to finish April with a 5.6 share and the #3 rank, while Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM adds seven-tenths for an 8.4 share and its third straight #1 finish. Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco stays steady with a 9.9 share to remain at #1. Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta tacks on another full share for a 13.9 share and its 10th straight #1 finish. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian has much more ratings analysis for you. Read his Ratings Takeaways here.

Brian Kilmeade to Celebrate Paperback Edition Publication Via KRMG, Tulsa. Nationally syndicated radio personality and FOX News Channel “Fox & Friends” morning host Brian Kilmeade is launching the paperback edition of his book Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers via a virtual release party today with affiliate station KRMG, Tulsa and local seller Magic City Books. Dan Potter is the morning host at the Cox Media Group station, and he’ll facilitate the virtual event and allow participants to ask Kilmeade questions. Participants will have access to an online room and will receive a paperback version of Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers as part of their registration fee. Kilmeade’s radio show is syndicated by FOX News Radio and KRMG director of programming and branding Levi May states, “Brian is one of our most popular syndicated hosts and we are always so honored when he chooses KRMG to partner with him when he comes to Oklahoma.” Kilmeade came to Tulsa in November 2019 and broadcast his national show from the KRMG Performance Center when the hardcover book was originally released.

David Wood Promoted to VP of Programming for Emmis Indy. Programming pro David Wood rises from director of programming at Emmis Communications Indianapolis to vice president of programming. The 10-year Emmis veteran works with the program directors of Emmis-Indianapolis’ sports talk WFNI-AM “The Fan,” adult contemporary WYXB-FM “B105.7,” WLHK-FM “Hank FM,” and he’ll continue to serve as the head programmer for news/talk WIBC-FM and Network Indiana. Emmis Indianapolis SVP Bob Richards states, “David’s experience building legendary brands and coaching world-class talent is second to none. This promotion is well deserved recognition for the amazing work he has been doing leading our programming teams for the past 10-plus years.”

Statistics and Projections, States Begin Re-Opening, COVID-19 at the White House, Michael Flynn Case, Presidential Election/Biden Allegation, and Sports Leagues Plan Re-Opening Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/11). The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the number of deaths, and projections about future infections; the re-opening begins in numerous states across the country; the presence of confirmed cases among White House staffers; the DOJ drops the Michael Flynn case and allegations of the Obama administration’s role in implicating Flynn; the November presidential election and the allegation of sexual assault against Joe Biden; and MLB’s and the NFL’s plans to play games this year were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. This past weekend, Premiere Networks-syndicated personalities George Noory, host of “Coast to Coast AM” and sports talk host Colin Cowherd, host of “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” appeared together on Cowherd’s Saturday podcast in which he often talks about issues outside the realm of sports. Noory chatted with Cowherd about the mysterious Navy pilot videos recently declassified by the Pentagon, the conspiracy theories around the origins of COVID-19, the unsolved case of the 1971 D.B. Cooper airplane hijacking, and more.  The two also traded stories about their personal experiences with UFOs…..Cumulus Media’s Dallas sports talker KTCK-AM/FM “Sportsradio 96.7 & 1310 The Ticket” adds several FOX Sports Radio programs to its weeknight and weekend roster. “The Jason Smith Show with Mike Harmon” and “The Ben Maller Show” are being added to the weekend program schedule along with various other FSR weekend programs…..ADX Communications’ news/talk WNRP-AM/W222BR “News Radio 92.3” is honored with five First Place awards from the Florida Association of Broadcast Journalists for coverage of the December 6 shooting at NAS Pensacola. The station won Best Radio Newscast (anchored by Mark Jacobs); Breaking News; Continuing Coverage; Team Coverage; and News Anchor/Anchor Team led by Andrew McKay…..Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington, DC was honored with six Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards today by the Radio Television Digital News Association. The station was recognized in the Overall Excellence category for the 9th time in the past 11 years for its coverage of the D.C. region on WTOP and WTOP.com. WTOP also received recognition in the Best Newscast category for coverage of the July 2019 severe floods in the DC region. Individual WTOP reporters were honored as follows: Feature Report: Mike Murillo – “Answering the Call”; Hard News Report: Megan Cloherty & Dave Dildine – “Rock Creek Rescue”; Podcast: Megan Cloherty & Jack Moore – “22 Hours: An American Nightmare”; and Excellence in Social Media: Tiffany Arnold and WTOP Staff…..Rhode Island talk radio host John DePetro wrote lyrics to a parody of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” about life in the time of coronavirus in the Ocean State. It was performed by local artists Nick Gosselin and Cat Carrick in a video produced by DePetro that you can see here…..Due to the uncertain economic environment as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Salem Media Group announces it is temporarily suspending the regular quarterly cash dividend on its common stock. The company will re-assess the dividend suspension throughout the year, in light of facts and circumstances at that time, whether and when to reinstate the dividend.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro Colleen Carew is the new morning drive host at Shamrock Communications’ classic rock WZBA “100.7 The Bay,” taking over for Stash, a.k.a., Steve Ash, who recently exited. Carew was most recently PD at triple A WOCM, Ocean City, Maryland “Ocean 98.”…..Condolences to the family and friends of San Diego radio personality Steve West who passed away recently at age 68 after a long battle with cancer. Prior to his passing, he’d been handling weekend duties at Entercom’s alternative KBZT, San Diego “ALT 94.9.”…..In celebration of National Nurses Week, Brooke Fox (pictured below, at right), of Hubbard Radio’s CHR KQMV, Seattle “MOViN 92.5” and Famous Dave’s BBQ delivered food and beverages to the nursing and medical staff at Harborview Medical Center yesterday (5/11). Brooke, co-host of the syndicated “Brooke & Jeffery” show, says, “Thank you to all of the amazing nurses, doctors and medical staff. We are so proud of every member of our medical community who have gone above and beyond to keep our community safe during this time.”

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

| May 5, 2020

Westwood One: Strategies for Creative and Marketing in COVID-19 Era. The latest Westwood One Blog presents some of the takeaways from a number of studies looking at what makes effective creative and what constitutes a reasonable marketing plan in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic. According to NuVoodoo research, clients should reconsider any copy that includes “We’re all in this together” as 35% of those surveyed are already tiring of it and that number is only likely to grow. System1 finds that ads that delivered a “a strong connection to local community and togetherness” appear to be working well. Other aspects System1 believes are effective include use of “established brand characters, ads that make use of familiar scenarios or taglines, ads set in a specific time and place in the past, ads that highlight the human connection in the current state of ‘betweenness.’” However, coronavirus ads run the risk of not being perceived as unique and marketing pro Mark Ritson laments the generic ads ring as cliched and not “distinctive.” Read the blog here.

Entercom Adds Translator to WYRD-FM, Greenville. The news/talk station gets an FM translator simulcast as W236CD, Seneca, South Carolina begins airing the station’s audio.  Entercom says the addition of this frequency to WYRD-FM’s broadcast “extends the reach of the Upstate’s No. 1 news/talk radio station to Pickens County and into Oconee County, bringing its coverage to additional cities including Seneca, Pickens, and Clemson for the first time.” Entercom Greenville-Spartanburg SVP and market manager Steve Sinicropi adds, “‘106.3 WORD’ serves a vital role as the Upstate’s trusted source of information. We are thrilled to expand the over-the-air signal for ‘106.3 WORD’ to Pickens and much of Oconee County on 95.1 FM during this critical time in which demand for live and local news and talk is rapidly rising. This expansion allows us to maximize our reach in the region and more broadly meet the needs of our listeners and advertisers.”  In 2019, the station expanded to Anderson County on 101.5 FM.

Entercom Files Motion to Dismiss Discrimination and Retaliation Case. Former WIP-FM, Philadelphia account executive Maria McBride is suing Entercom claiming that she was discriminated against and suffered retaliatory actions after complaining to her superiors.  Entercom filed a Motion to Dismiss based on a jurisdictional error (claiming it should have been filed in Eastern Pennsylvania District as opposed to New Jersey District) as well as arguments that McBride failed to sufficiently demonstrate a hostile work environment or a retaliation claim.  In response, McBride’s attorney argues since the bulk of McBride’s clients were located in New Jersey, the suit was filed in the proper district.  Her attorney also lays out arguments that McBride has satisfied pleading requirements for her claims.

COVID-19 Statistics and Projections, States Begin Re-Opening, Lockdown Protests, Pressure on China, Michael Flynn Case, and Presidential Race/Joe Biden Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/4). The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections for future cases; a number of states begin re-opening their economies; groups of protesters rail against the social distancing requirements in their states; the U.S. and other countries put pressure on China to open up to investigation into the origin of the coronavirus; Republicans seek an investigation into the FBI’s treatment of Michael Flynn; and the presidential race and the allegations of sexual assault against Joe Biden were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

FOX News and Spotify Ink Deal for Podcast Distribution. The new deal between FOX News Media and Spotify will have the latter distributing FOX News Podcasts on its global audio streaming platform.  Effective today (5/5), FNR’s catalogue of more than 20 original series, including three new programs slated to debut in May — “The Trey Gowdy Podcast,” “The Proud American Podcast Series” and “FOX Top 5” — will be made available globally on Spotify, reaching more than 286 million monthly users. FOX News Radio VP John Sylvester says, “Throughout these unprecedented times, FOX News Audio has become a destination for listeners to get up to the minute information, whether it’s the latest on the current coronavirus pandemic, insights from the 2020 presidential campaign or in-depth interviews with leading newsmakers. We are pleased to partner with Spotify, offering their millions of subscribers worldwide access to our best in class content.”

TALKERS News Notes. Rochester producer and radio personality Pauly Guglielmo is leaving the “Brother Wease Show” on iHeartMedia’s classic rock WAIO-FM “Radio 95.1” to pursue his marinara sauce manufacturing career full time. Guglielmo began selling his grandfather’s marinara sauce commercially in 2014. Recently, he had the opportunity to acquire the plant that’s been making the sauce. The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle has the story here…..The latest episode of the podcast “The -30-: The End of the News,” hosted by Save Journalism Project co-founder John Stanton, features Joshua Koran, head of innovation labs at Zeta Global, discussing “the current digital ad marketplace, how dominant players like Google can ‘play by a different set of rules,’ and how Google will continue to engage in the same kinds of data collection and measurement it claims harms the privacy of consumers when others do it.” Listen to the podcast here…..The weekend radio show, “The Radio Free Hillsdale Hour,” from Hillsdale College is being added to the lineup at Starnes Media Group’s KWAM-AM/W300DE, Memphis “The Mighty 990.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Nashville CHR WNFN-FM re-brands as “Hot 106.7.” To celebrate, the Midwest Communications station is launching the new brand with its $5K Payday awarding someone in the Middle Tennessee area $5,000.  Station brand manager Joe Breezy says, “I fully expect ‘Hot 106.7’ to be a Nashville powerhouse. Nashville is one of the hottest cities in the country, so it’s about time we turn up the heat with the all NEW, ‘Hot 106.7.’”…..iHeartMedia Chicago stations are honoring Chicagoland teachers and nurses in a weeklong celebration, kicking off on National Teachers Day (today 5/5) and culminating on International Nurses Day on Tuesday, May 12. Throughout the week, each station will feature on-air shout outs for teachers and interviews with school principals, parents and students.  From May 6 through May 8, 103.5 KISS FM’s midday host Showbiz Shelly will host Zoom classroom takeovers to speak directly with students during the week of celebration…..Entravision Communications Corporation announces the launch of Entravision Digital, a division that consolidates its digital reach, data, creative, and programmatic capabilities into a unified solutions offering.  Entravision chairman and CEO Walter F. Ulloa says, “By combining our comprehensive digital capabilities into Entravision Digital, advertisers and agencies have a single source to access a rich combination of audiences, media, performance solutions, and consumer insights. Entravision Digital has a global reach and is an exceptional complement to our television, radio, and digital media assets serving the U.S. Hispanic market.  We are excited to extend the Entravision brand to these businesses and look forward to continued success in the media technology marketplace.”

Thursday, April 30, 2020

| April 30, 2020

Michael Harrison Programs Cleared on Podcast Radio, UK.  The recently launched Podcast Radio, UK that is taking Great Britain audio media fans by storm, has cleared the two Michael Harrison audio products – “The Michael Harrison Wrap” syndicated radio show (Talk Media Network) and “The Michael Harrison Interview” podcast (PodcastOne).  Podcast Radio, UK is a combination on-demand podcast website and on-air DAB streaming radio station that plays these podcasts (podcastradio.co.uk).  Harrison states, “It is really exciting to have our programs receive direct exposure in the UK where there is a tremendous interest in American news, views, and popular culture. I’m honored to be a part of Podcast Radio’s lineup of programming and to work with brilliant British broadcasters such as the platform’s founder Gerard Edwards and star show host Graham Mack.”  In welcoming him to the platform, Mack interviewed Harrison yesterday (4/29) in a deep dive conversation about radio, politics, and culture via Zoom For Podcast Radio, UK’s “The Pod 20” show and YouTube.  Watch it here.

Nielsen Holdings Reports Q1 Revenue Flat. The media ratings and consumer behavior/retail measurement giant reports first quarter 2020 revenue of $1.56 billion, roughly flat (-0.3%) compared to the same period in 2019.  Nielsen Holdings also reports that its Nielsen Global Media sector (ratings) was up 1.9% over the same period a year ago. The company is posting a net loss of $18 million for the first quarter compared to Q1 2019’s net income of $43 million.  On February 27, 2020, Nielsen announced its plan to complete the spinoff of Nielsen Global Connect (consumer behavior/retail measurement) by November 2020. The company continues to make operational progress towards separation but now expects the closing to take place in the first quarter of 2021, largely due to temporary shutdowns of government agencies that are necessary to move forward with the separation.

WRNW-FM, Milwaukee Names Former Packer John Kuhn Late Morning Host. Former Green Bay Packers fullback John Kuhn is joining iHeartMedia’s WRNW-FM, Milwaukee “97.3 The Game” as host of the late morning “Nine 2 Noon with Kuhn” show, beginning May 4. Joining him as co-host of the program is former Wisconsin Badgers basketball star Brian Butch. Kuhn says, “I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to join the iHeartMedia team and to continue learning and growing in this industry.  I look forward to bringing the same energy to the studio that I brought on the playing field during my days as a football player.”

WGAN, Portland Weekend Host John McDonald Exits. According to a report in the Portland Press Herald, Saga Communications’ news/talk WGAN-AM, Portland has let weekend morning personality John McDonald go.  McDonald has worked at the station for the past 25 years.  He’d been on hiatus from the station due in part to trepidation about coming into the station during the COVID-19 crisis and tells the paper that he was given no reason for his dismissal.

Entercom’s RADIO.COM Available on Comcast’s Xfinity Platforms. This deal between Entercom and Comcast will make its RADIO.COM platform available to subscribers to Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex.  X1 and Flex customers can enjoy RADIO.COM stations on their televisions by saying “RADIO.COM” into the Xfinity Voice Remote to launch the app. Entercom VP, corporate business development David Rosenbloom says, “During this critical moment when listeners are dependent on reliable and familiar voices to inform and entertain them, we are especially pleased to expand the reach of RADIO.COM even further. Launching on Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Flex allows us to bring RADIO.COM’s premier news, sports and music content to millions of listeners when they need it most.”

2020 ‘Rising Through the Ranks’ Course Canceled. The “Rising Through the Ranks” seminar that is a collaborative effort between the Radio Advertising Bureau, BMI, and the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group is canceled for this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The organizations say that “due to the current travel restrictions and fluid situation of COVID-19, it made sense to look towards 2021 for the professional development course which is designed to foster and educate current and emerging female radio managers within broadcast radio.”  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber adds, “‘Rising Through the Ranks’ is by far one of my favorite initiatives produced by the RAB and I’m disappointed that we have to suspend it due to COVID-19. However, we’ve seen that knowledge sharing through intimate peer-to-peer discussions between both speakers and attendees is immeasurable, that we couldn’t replicate this experience in a virtual setting.”

Parshall Steps Down from NRB Board Chair Position. Broadcaster Janet Parshall is resigning from her position as chairman of the board of the National Religious Broadcasters.  At the same time, her husband Craig Parshall has resigned from his post as general counsel for the organization.  The NRB says, “Both Janet and Craig have a long association with NRB. Janet served the NRB for nearly 20 years as board member, executive committee member, and most recently as chairman. Craig served two terms as NRB’s general counsel, where he effectively championed NRB’s public policy interests in Washington, D.C.”  Parshall was a longtime talk host on the Salem Radio Network.  SRN VP, news & talk programming Tom Tradup comments, “It is the passing of the torch at NRB, with veteran Christian broadcaster – and former Salem Radio Network talk host – Janet Parshall stepping down as board chairman. Janet’s talent – which always made SRN’s call-in lines ring so hard they were practically levitating – will be missed as the NRB moves into the future of Christian broadcasting.”

States Re-Opening Economies, Confirmed COVID-19 Cases/Projections, Remdesivir, Meat Processing Plants, Presidential Race/Biden Assault Accusation, Michael Flynn Case, U.S -China Relations, and Kim Jong Un Status Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/29). Almost half the country’s states begin opening up their economies; the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., the death toll, and projections for future cases; reports that the drug Remdesivir is showing positive results helping people recover from COVID-19; President Trump orders meat processing plants to remain open; the presidential race and the sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden; released FBI documents indicate investigators were trying to get former national security adviser Michael Flynn to lie; the U.S. and China spar over accusations that the other is responsible for the coronavirus pandemic; and speculation about the 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.

Glenn Beck Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Nationally syndicated Premiere Networks talk radio star, Glenn Beck is this week’s guest on the award winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” His remarkable career includes groundbreaking stints as a host on both FOX News Channel and CNN’s Headline News, in addition to being a 13-time New York Times best-selling author and media industry entrepreneur.  An independent-minded conservative, Beck’s brand-new book is titled, Arguing with Socialists (Threshold Editions/Simon & Schuster, 2020).  Beck, a marvelous storyteller who brings a unique combination of intelligence, unpredictability and emotion to the microphone, is described by Harrison as “talk media’s leading performance artist.”  Harrison and Beck candidly discuss life during the coronavirus pandemic, the disturbing power wielded by Google and Facebook, and the burning issue of lives versus livelihood, plus more.  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. In Los Angeles, morning drive personality Angie Fitzsimmons is out at Mt. Wilson Broadcasters’ country KKGO “Go Country.”  She’d been co-host with Tim Hurley since he joined the station last June.  During her career, Fitzsimmons has served as a producer for Carson Daly when he hosted the morning show at KAMP-FM, Los Angeles…..The Memphis Flyer reports that Memphis radio pro Drake Hall is no longer with Cumulus Media’s rock WXMX “98.1 The Max” where he’s been serving as morning host.  Hall issued the following statement, “As many of you have noticed, I’m not on the radio at the moment.  I’m very excited about our future plans and we’ll be letting you know what’s next, very soon. You can follow us on the Drake Hall Memphis Facebook page and at drakehallmemphis.com. I owe a debt of gratitude to all the good people I’ve worked with for the past 16 years, especially Wes Yahola and Syd Nabors and my late, great partner of 23 years, Zeke Logan. My main goal for now is not getting up at 3:00 am. Wishing you good health and peace until we meet again.”

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.”

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

| April 21, 2020

KID-AM, Idaho Falls Morning Hosts Resign Over COVID-19 Coverage Conflict with Station Owner. The morning drive duo of Neal Larson and Julie Mason resigned from their positions with Rich Broadcasting’s news/talk KID-AM, Idaho Falls yesterday (4/20) after deciding a directive from station owner Richard Mecham about their coverage of the coronavirus pandemic went against their principles.  The East Idaho News reports that at the heart of the disagreement was the duo’s disagreement with Idaho Governor Brad Little’s “stay at home” order.  While Larson and Mason tell the paper they didn’t suggest anyone to break the law, Mason says she told listeners they should “follow your heart and figure what’s right for you and your family because COVID-19 is really situational.”  Mecham tells the paper, “I was trying to understand why you would fly in the face of the governor’s order when so many other stations are doing things to support your clients and listeners.  This is the first time I’ve ever had a conversation with them about what they do and don’t cover.  I’ve always trusted Neal.  I’ve always supported them.  I’ve never critiqued the show, and I’ve always had their back.”

Entercom Adopts Limited Duration Shareholders Rights Plan.  The board of directors of Entercom Communications has voted to adopt a shareholder rights plan – also known as the “poison pill” – to prevent a takeover of the company without consent of the board.  The company explains the move in a press release, “The Board adopted the Plan at this time due to the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on equity market valuations which has led to substantial volatility in the trading of the Company’s stock and a dislocation in Entercom’s share price.  The Plan is similar to those adopted by other publicly held companies and is intended to promote the fair and equal treatment of all shareholders and ensure that the Board remains in the best position to uphold its fiduciary duties to the Company and its shareholders.  The Plan is designed to allow shareholders to realize the long-term value of their investment by guarding against opportunistic efforts to capitalize on recent macroeconomic conditions, including open market accumulations and other strategies, aimed at gaining control of the Company without paying all shareholders a full control premium for their shares.  The Plan provides for the issuance of one preferred stock purchase right for each share of Class A Common Stock and each share of Class B Common Stock held by shareholders of record on May 5, 2020, exercisable for Series A Preferred Stock and Series B Preferred Stock, respectively. Generally, the rights will become exercisable or exchangeable only if a person or group (with the exception of certain existing holders in certain circumstances) acquires 10% or more of the Company’s outstanding Class A Common Stock, or 15% in the case of certain passive investors (including shares synthetically owned pursuant to derivative positions or deemed owned due to specified actions in concert) or announces a tender offer and the consummation of that offer would result in ownership above such percentage-levels.  If the rights become exercisable, the rights will entitle its holder to purchase one one-thousandth of a share of the newly-created Series A and Series B Preferred Stock, as applicable, which, in each case, at the Board’s election, may be converted into shares of Class A and Class B Common Stock, respectively, of the Company.”  The Plan has a one-year duration, expiring April 20, 2021.

Cox Media Group: Local Media Outperforms During Pandemic. According to a study conducted by Cox Media Group, consumers are turning to local radio for information, entertainment, and companionship more than any other media source during the coronavirus pandemic.  The multi-market, online in a wide variety of demographics – ranging from 18 to 54 – and yielded more than 11,000 responses.  CMG says that the study found that one-third of participants are listening to radio more since the coronavirus outbreak.  Since the outbreak, 94% of participants indicated that they have tuned into local radio more than any other streaming service for music, talk, and information, demonstrating that as radio continues to evolve, ‘local’ ranks as one of the most important differentiators.  CMG Radio VP, audience and content Tim Clarke says, “Audience engagement is very strong by any metric you look at.  Listeners depend on our radio brands more than ever for a mix of news, entertainment and a friendly and familiar voice to keep them going during this uncertain time.  They are captive and immersed in our content on all platforms and our top personalities continue to deliver.”

Members of Congress Send President Trump Letter Requesting Aid for Local Media. The letter dated Monday (4/20) is written by Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Bill Flores (R-TX), Marc Veasey (D-TX), and Fred Upton (R-MI) and is signed by more than 240 Members of Congress.  It expresses the notion that people rely on local newspapers, TV, and radio for information and that those entities can’t survive without advertising.  The letter requests the following specific action: “We believe that Executive Branch agencies have a powerful opportunity to support local media and promote public awareness by directing that federal spending on advertising be prioritized for local media outlets.  Specifically, we encourage federal agencies to put into action today already funded campaigns to achieve certain public objectives as well as potential promotions of the economic stimulus programs provided for by the CARES Act and other recent legislation. We urge you to: 1) Direct your Cabinet secretaries to review any resources intended to be used for advertising campaigns and have them expedite such activities with local media outlets; 2) Direct federal agency advertising dollars for existing and new federal programs where community outreach is needed for spending with local media, including those serving minority and rural communities; and 3) Incentivize a portion of stimulus funds provided to businesses for their recovery efforts for advertising on local media.”

Round Four of March PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford.  Nielsen Audio’s March 2020 survey period covered February 27 through March 25.  The intense coronavirus news consumption since the pandemic was declared in mid-March has driven listening to all-news and news/talk radio stations.  Some of those seeing increased weekly, 6+ AQH shares during the March survey include: Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis “Indy’s Mobile News 93.1” adds eight-tenths to finish with an 8.8 share and the #2 rank in the market; in Milwaukee, iHeartMedia  news/talk WISN tacks on six-tenths for a 5.8 share and the #5 rank while Good Karma Brands’ WTMJ also rises six-tenths for a 5.7 share and the #6 rank; Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, Nashville “Super Talk 99.7” is up six-tenths to a 5.3 share and the #6 rank; Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville rises 1.4 shares for an 11.8 finish and the #1 rank; and Entercom’s WTIC-AM, Hartford shoots up a full share to wrap March with a 7.2 share and the #4 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 from all 48 PPM markets here.

TALKERS News Notes. Milwaukee sports talk outlet WAUK-AM is airing content from SiriusXM’s Doctor Radio channel instead of the ESPN Radio content it usually airs now and for the foreseeable future.  Good Karma Brands vice president and Milwaukee manager Steve Wexler states, “We can’t wait for live sports to resume and for the threat of the coronavirus to subside, but in the meantime, we believe the health and well-being of our community is the top priority, as well as delivering relevant information to our audience.”…..No medium does parody songs better than radio and one such example addressing the coronavirus pandemic comes from Bob Flaherty, morning drive personality at Saga Communications’ WHMP-AM, Northampton, Massachusetts.  Taking on the topic of “herd immunity,” the Flaherty Singers twist a Johnny Cash classic into a parody for our times.  Check it out here…..Cox Media Group’s Tampa Radio stations – including talk WPHT-FM “102.5 The Bone” and its four music brand sisters – raised close to $268,000 for the Metropolitan Ministries via its “Feed It Forward: A Virtual Food Drive” that took place last Thursday (4/16).  The donations will assist families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic…..Beasley Media Group Philadelphia stations, including sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” and its four music-formatted sisters have officially unveiled a line of ‘Philly Stands Together” merchandise to benefit the “PHL COVID-19 FUND.”  The PHL COVID-19 FUND is a joint venture between Philadelphia Foundation and The United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey designed to benefit organizations throughout Philadelphia and surrounding counties in PA and New Jersey to serve the region’s most vulnerable neighbors and to ensure critical resources remain accessible for those with the greatest need…..SiriusXM is presenting coverage of the 2020 NFL Draft that begins on Thursday (4/23).  The SiriusXM NFL Radio channel will carry the live announcements of every selection by every team.  The broadcast will feature Pro Football Hall of Fame member and legendary player personnel executive Gil Brandt; former NFL scout, coach and front-office executive Pat Kirwan; former veteran NFL quarterback Jim Miller; and lead host Jason Horowitz.  Former college coach Rick Neuheisel will join the broadcast team for the Friday and Saturday draft rounds.  All hosts will be broadcasting from their home studios.

COVID-19 Statistics and Projections, Trump vs Governors, ‘Stay at Home’ Protests, Relief Funds Controversy, Oil Prices Crash, GA TN and SC Plan Reopening, Kim Jong Un Status, and Tom Brady Cited in Tampa Park Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/20). The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. and the death toll, plus the projections for future cases and fatalities; the battle between President Trump and the governors of several states over authority to issue directives and the states’ needs for medical assistance; the protests against “stay at home” directives; the controversy over reports that large corporations are receiving relief funds designated for small businesses; the price of oil continues to crater in the absence of demand; Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina’s plans for re-opening immediately; questions about the health status of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un; and Tom Brady is cited for working out in a closed park in Tampa 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. After exiting iHeartMedia’s KWBL, Denver “106.7 The Bull” for a new opportunity, we learn that Brian “B Dub” Washington is taking on afternoon drive show host duties at Hubbard Radio’s KNUC, Seattle “98.9 The Bull.”  He says, “I’m beyond excited to get my family back home to the Northwest and join the team at ’98.9 The Bull’ and Hubbard Seattle.  Can’t wait to make some great radio with Fitz, Wingnut, and the rest of the crew at ‘The Bull,’ as well as work with Scott Mahalick again!  Amazing things to come!”…..Changes take place at Saga Communications’ country WCVL-FM, Charlottesville, Virginia as morning drive host Adam Rondeau and program director and PM drive personality Bryan Shine exit.  Operations manager Les Sinclair takes over station programming duties…..After being off the air since March 31 due to a case of COVID-19, iHeartMedia alternative KTBZ, Houston “94.5 The Buzz” evening jock Karah Leigh returns to the air.

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