Tag: "Townsquare Media"

Monday, November 9, 2020

| November 9, 2020

Pending Business: Sales Lessons from the Election Cycle. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, writes in today’s column that presenting a concise, targeted message of your station’s benefits to prospects is crucial to making the sale and is ultimately more important than how many prospects you toss into the hopper. Read his column here.

Biden Declared 46th President/Trump Refuses to Concede, Georgia Runoff Elections, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Vaccine, the Economy/Stimulus Deal, Tropical Storm Eta, and Alex Trebek Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Democratic challenger Joe Biden is declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election and President Trump’s refusal to concede the election; the January run-off elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; the rising number of COVID cases in the U.S. and Europe, projections for the fall and winter months, and Pfizer’s announcement that its COVID vaccine appears to be 90% effective; the state of the U.S. economy and anticipation of a new stimulus deal; the arrival of Tropical Storm Eta in Florida; and longtime “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek dies among top news/talk stories over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday Memo: 20-20 News. With the holidays looming, and as we are prepping perennial year-end retrospectives, it’s easy to wonder what-the-heck-NEXT? In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke offers a wider-angle shot, and simple suggestion for radio. Read it here.

Townsquare Media Q3 Net Revenue Down 15.3%. Third quarter earnings from Townsquare Media indicate the company is weathering the COVID-19 pandemic better than some of radio’s larger firms. Net revenue for the third quarter of 2020 was $95.4 million, a decrease of 15.3% from the same period in 2019. While advertising revenue was down $16 million or 17.2%, Townsquare Interactive net subscription revenue increased $2.3 million, or 14.5%, to $18.2 million. For obvious reasons, live events net revenue decreased $3.5 million, or 98.2%, to $0.1 million. Townsquare was able to post net income of $1.3 million for the quarter (compared to the $7.3 million in net income in Q3 2019) whereas many broadcasting companies are posting losses for the quarter. Townsquare CEO Bill Wilson says, “I am proud to share with you today that Townsquare’s third quarter results exceeded our expectations, driven by sequential net revenue improvement throughout the quarter as our business continued to accelerate despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Third quarter net revenue improved to a decline of -15.3%, as compared to the third quarter of the prior year, which was up from a decline of -34.5% in the second quarter. This translated to a strong increase in Adjusted EBITDA from $2.1 million in the second quarter to $17.5 million in the third quarter. Our better than anticipated third quarter results were due to gains in both our Townsquare Interactive and Advertising segments. Townsquare Interactive, our digital marketing subscription business, has delivered net subscription revenue and subscriber growth each and every month of 2020, demonstrating its recession-resistant characteristics and proving to be valuable and a tremendous resource to local businesses. In the third quarter, Townsquare Interactive’s net revenue increased 14.5% over the prior year period, at an Adjusted Operating Income margin in excess of 30%, and added approximately 1,150 net subscribers, marking the 10th consecutive quarter of 850 (or more) net subscriber additions and the most quarterly net subscriber adds in nearly six years. Improvement across our Advertising segment was broad based, as revenue declines improved from -37.5% in the second quarter to -17.2% in the third quarter, each as compared to the prior year. Broadcast advertising net revenue sequentially improved throughout the quarter, with and without political revenue, and digital advertising net revenue returned to growth in the third quarter, driven by positive net revenue growth from Townsquare Ignite (+10% year over year), our digital programmatic advertising solution, and AMPED (+9% year over year), advertising revenue associated with our owned and operated local websites. In total, our digital net revenue exceeded 44% of our total net revenue in Q3 2020, and we remain confident that Townsquare Interactive and Townsquare Ignite will each generate $100 million of annual net revenue in two to three years… Although 2020 has been a challenging year, we are proud that we did not need to alter our core strategy.  Rather, we believe the pandemic has allowed us to separate from our local media peers by placing a spotlight on the success of our strategy.  Our focus on underserved small and mid-sized local markets, our investment and commitment to our ‘Local First strategy, and our investment in world class personnel, technology and infrastructure that allowed us to build a strong digital platform with best of breed products, services and solutions that contributes 44% of our total revenue, have all contributed to our ability to mitigate revenue declines and manage quite effectively through this downturn. We believe these actions will position Townsquare to quickly emerge from this crisis and return to our market leading performance quickly once this crisis abates.”

iHeartMedia Cuts Hit WLW, Cincinnati’s Steve Sommers. WVXU, Cincinnati’s John Kiesewetter reports that longtime “America’s Truckin’ Network” host Steve Sommers is a victim of the current downsizing taking place at iHeartMedia. The overnight program has aired on WLW, Cincinnati since it was launched by Sommers’ father, Dale “Truckin’ Bozo” Sommers, in 1984. As Kiesewetter notes, Steve Sommers joined his father on the program in 1996 and took over the program in 2004. Sommers posted to Facebook: “I have been DISMISSED from I-Heart Radio… I’m sorry my friends… 2020 is a bitch!!! I will not have a chance to say GOOD-BYE!!! Thanks for 25 years of friendship!!” It’s unclear what the status of the overnight program is as the “America’s Truckin’ Network” – along with Sommers’ photo – is still listed on the WLW website.

TALKERS News Notes. Washington, DC’s WTOP is partnering with longtime market crime reporter Paul Wagner for a new podcast titled, “Murder in a Safe Place.” Wagner has worked for WTTG-TV “FOX5 News” for the past 20 years covering cases including the murder of Congressional intern Chandra Levy to the Mansion Murders and the police-involved shooting of motorcyclist Terrence Sterling. He served as a reporter at WTOP from 1989 to 1999. In this series, Wagner examines a local cold case from 22 years ago: the murder of Sherry Crandell, a 50-year-old hospital worker who was brutally assaulted and later found dead in her office at Prince George’s Hospital Center. WTOP director of news and programming Julia Ziegler says, “Paul is a part of the WTOP family, and we are so excited to partner with him on this project. This 22-year-old cold case is a horrific and baffling one that will have listeners asking questions. Our hope is that through the reach of this podcast, we can bring closure to this case and the Crandell family.”…..iHeartMedia and the Malcolm Gladwell and Jacob Weisberg-co-founded Pushkin Industries enter into a co-production and distribution agreement that will make iHeartMedia the exclusive sales partner for Pushkin’s catalog of podcasts that includes “Revisionist History,” “Broken Record,” “The Happiness Lab with Laurie Santos,” and many others. As part of this deal, iHeartMedia and Pushkin Industries will co-produce a slate of new, original podcasts over the next two years. Gladwell says, “We started Pushkin to share the joy Jacob and I have found in creating and producing podcasts. Working with the team at iHeart will allow us to spread this joy at an even bigger scale.”…..AdLarge Media and National Sports Network unveil their slate of NCAA basketball games for the 2020-2021 season for radio. Last month, AdLarge was announced as the exclusive ad sales partner for the NCAA basketball games on the National Sports Network. The networks will air the Creighton Bluejays vs the Kansas Jayhawks on December 8 and the Gonzaga Bulldogs taking on the Iowa Hawkeyes on December 19.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Zannie Glover, a.k.a. Zannie K, is named program director for Beasley Media Group’s hip hop WMGC “105.1 the BOUNCE” and urban contemporary WDMK “105.9 KISS-FM,” effective December 1. Zannie K was most recently program director at non-commercial KMOJ-FM, Minneapolis as well as was the associate program director and nationwide night talent for Westwood One’s classic hip hop format…..Urban One Columbus enters into a Local Marketing Agreement with Southern Ohio Broadcasting to operate WWCD-FM, Columbus and launches a regional Mexican/tropical format branded as “La Grande 102.5 FM.” Urban One RVP Eddie Harrell Jr. says, “We are pleased to expand our footprint again in Central Ohio by reaching the fastest growing segment of the population, inclusive of the Mexican community and growing Central and South American communities. Combined with our African American targeted radio/television assets, we are now the largest single source provider of content to African Americans and Spanish speaking residents in Central Ohio.”…..Entercom’s rock outlet KISW-FM, Seattle is presenting the sixth annual “Live Day” tomorrow (11/10). This year’s completely live, virtual event will feature broadcasts of the station’s morning show “BJ & Migs” and afternoon show “The Men’s Room” with no recorded commercials, sound effects or music. Fifteen bands from across the Northwest and multiple voices from across the country will perform throughout the 12-hour program. KISW brand manager Dave Richards says, “For the KISW audience, 2020 wouldn’t be complete without the annual entertainment spectacular, ‘Live Day.’ This year, every artist and performer will participate virtually and distanced. Thank you, technology.”

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

| October 27, 2020

Round One of October PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s October 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s October 2020 survey period covered September 10 – October 7. You can see all the 6+ weekly AQH share numbers from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In New York, while Entercom’s all-news stations gain no ground – WINS loses eight-tenths to finish with a 3.2 share and the #11 rank and WCBS-AM remains flat at a 2.7 share and the #14 rank – iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOR adds a half share to wrap the survey with a 2.8 share and rises to the #13 rank. iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles tacks on one-tenth for a 4.5 share and jumps to the #3 rank in the market. Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago adds a half share for a 6.9 share finish but remains in the #2 spot while Nexstar’s news/talk WGN-AM loses one-tenth for a 3.0 share finish and stays at the #11 slot. You can see all of Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways for these 12 markets here.

Ishmael Johnson Named Market President for Townsquare Media Killeen-Temple, Texas. Adding market president and chief revenue officer duties for Townsquare Media’s Killeen-Temple, Texas market is Ishmael Johnson, who also handles the same duties for the company’s Lufkin, Texas station group. Townsquare’s Killeen-Temple cluster includes news/talk KTEM as well as country KUSJ-FM, hip hop KOOC-FM, classic rock KLTD-FM, and urban contemporary KSSM-FM. Townsquare Media SVP Todd Lawley says, “Ish made an immediate impact on the Lufkin market when he was hired over three years ago and he and his team have set the standard for performance utilizing our ‘Local First’ strategy. I’m proud that we were able to promote Ish from within the company and continue our successful initiative of growing the careers of our highly talented employees. He will excel as the leader of our fantastic team in Killeen-Temple by employing many of the same strategies and creative solutions that made his team so successful in Lufkin.”

Entercom Ups Emily Ward to GSM for Atlanta Station Group. Sales and management pro Emily Ward moves from Entercom’s Chattanooga operations to the company’s Atlanta cluster where she’s been named general sales manager for sports talk WZGC-FM “92.9 The Game,” news/talk WAOK-AM, hot AC WSTR “Star 94,” and urban contemporary WVEE “V-103.”  Entercom Atlanta SVP and market manager Rick Caffey says, “In just a few years with the company, Emily has displayed a proven ability to lead sales initiatives and achieve substantial results. Her commitment to excellence puts her on a path to excel in her young career and we’re fortunate to welcome her and her talents to our Atlanta market.” Ward joined Entercom in April 2018 as an account executive in Chattanooga. She was elevated to the market’s local sales manager role in July 2019 and assumed the additional role of digital sales manager in September 2019.

TALKERS News Notes. Orlando SVP and market manager Claudia Menegus will serve as interim market manager for Entercom’s South Florida station group in addition to her duties in Orlando after Keriann Worley resigned from her position. Entercom is searching for a new market manager for its South Florida cluster. Worley issued the following public statement: “I have made the very difficult decision to leave my position as the senior vice president/market manager of Miami. Over the past three years I have been fortunate to lead the most talented team in the industry. It is now time for me to focus on my other goals and interests. There is no doubt this team will continue to innovate and accomplish amazing things. We achieved a lot together and it was an exciting ride.”…..At its Intelligence Reimagined virtual event, Nielsen Holdings announces that when its Global Consumer Business becomes a standalone company, it will be known as NielsenIQ. Nielsen Global Consumer Business CEO David Rawlinson says, “Unveiling our new brand is one of many actions we are taking as part of our blueprint for modernizing our client experience, while continuing to be the global leader in delivering complete consumer intelligence. We are creating a bolder, more forward-thinking company that will allow us to share our unparalleled expertise, which is rooted in our pursuit of the most comprehensive data sets and commitment to measuring every transaction equally. Our new name and brand represent our continued dedication to these ideals, while bringing to light the intelligence behind our technology, platforms, and predictive capabilities.”…..NuVoodoo Media Services appoints Roger Malinowski to the newly created position of vice president, business development. In this role, Malinowski will support the growth and development of NuVoodoo’s advanced research and marketing services across multiple sectors. He will also lead business development strategies for NuVoodoo’s newly launched Digital Division, which last month unveiled its first research/marketing/digital combo product, the Conference Cloud, a virtual event service…..WhyHunger and Entercom’s New York stations are partnering for Live Hungerthon Day on November 24. The annual radiothon will air across sports talk WFAN, the company’s two all-news outlets WINS and WCBS-AM as well as its music radio outlets and will feature interviews, auctions, exclusive Hungerthon merchandise and more.Entercom New York has supported WhyHunger’s Live Hungerthon Day since 1985.

The Presidential Race/Early and Mail-In Voting, Amy Coney Barrett Confirmed to Supreme Court, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/National Mask Mandate, the Economy/Financial Markets Activity, New California Wildfires, and Hurricane Zeta Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/26). The November 3 presidential election and the ongoing early voting and mail-in voting; Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed to the Supreme Court; the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad and projections for fall and winter cases, combined with the argument for a national mask mandate; the state of the U.S. economy and the world’s financial markets activity; new wildfires break out in Southern California; and the projected path of Hurricane Zeta 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. San Antonio CHR KXXM “96.1 Now” adds “The Jubal Show” to its programming lineup for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart…..Harper Horizon and country radio and television personality Cody Alan have partnered to publish a book chronicling Alan’s music industry adventures and life-altering self-discoveries that will be available October 19, 2021. Alan hosts Premiere Networks’ “CMT After MidNite” and in the upcoming book, Alan provides expert guidance on how to become a world-class listener, gleaned from encounters with family, friends, colleagues, and music icons such as Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks and Keith Urban. He says, “It might seem strange for a guy who talks for a living to write a book about shutting up and listening. But I’ve discovered that in a world of noise, with so many voices talking, we could learn a lot by stopping to listen. Not just listening to others, but also to ourselves. I thought it would be fun to share stories from my personal journey, country music adventures and experienced insights on what I’ve learned about life, career and love from listening.”

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

| October 14, 2020

The Spoken Word Audio Report. People spend less daily time listening to music and LOTS more time with spoken word content. And – for the first time – AM/FM receivers now deliver less than 50% of it. And – like e-commerce and telecommuting – this behavior shift, already in motion before the pandemic shutdown, has accelerated as we’ve quarantined. Consultant Holland Cooke summarizes the 2nd annual report from Edison Research and NPR. Read it here.

Rich Herrera to Program and Host at Cumulus Media’s KCUB-AM, Tucson. Sports radio pro Rich Herrera is named program director and afternoon drive host for Cumulus Media’s KCUB-AM, Tucson “Wildcats Radio 1290.” Herrera, who also serves as an air personality for CBS Sports Radio, returns to the University of Arizona flagship station he programmed beginning in 2001 when it launched as “FOX Sports Radio 1290.” Most recently, Herrera has been with Entercom’s KWFN, San Diego “97.3 The Fan” where he was senior executive producer and pre- and post-game shows host. Herrera will continue to host national shows on CBS Sport Radio from Cumulus Tucson studios. Herrera says, “I am excited to join Cumulus and am happy to be reunited with so many good friends and radio professionals in Tucson. The University of Arizona is one of the iconic schools in college sports and to be able to host afternoons and program their flagship is a fantastic opportunity. After working in Major League Baseball, I plan to bring many of those best practices to ‘Wildcats Radio 1290,’ on air and digitally, to build one of the best college flagship radio stations in the nation.”

Key Networks to Handle Ad Sales and Affiliate Marketing for Bloomberg Radio. A new deal between Key Networks and Bloomberg Radio will see the former managing all network advertising sales, affiliate sales, and marketing for Bloomberg’s global 24-hour business radio network, effective October 26. Bloomberg Radio’s signature “Daybreak” shows cover the morning hours of each part of the world, anchored from Bloomberg’s studios in New York, San Francisco, London, and Hong Kong. Throughout the day, Bloomberg Radio delivers in-depth coverage of the financial markets coupled with interviews with newsmakers, analysts, and company executives. In addition to its engaging full-length business shows, Bloomberg offers short-form reports ranging from “Money Minutes” to “The Business of Sports.” Key Networks CEO Rob Koblasz says, “Bloomberg is undeniably the gold standard in business news, and we are thrilled to deliver access to Bloomberg’s unmatched global business news resources to radio stations across the U.S. With 2,700 journalists and analysts in more than 120 bureaus, the quality of their network products for local radio stations is clear. We look forward to growing with Bloomberg Radio as we help grow their network.”

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. The resumption of the MLB season, the NBA playoffs, and the promise of the new NFL season didn’t provide enough juice for America’s sports talk radio stations in the Nielsen Audio PPM markets as 47% of those outlets saw their weekly, 6+ AQH shares decline and just 35% improved during the September survey (August 13-September 9). In his second format analysis for the September survey, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian reports that gainers from the August to September surveys include Capital Broadcasting’s WCMC-FM, Raleigh (+1.2) and Entercom’s WSCR, Chicago (+0.7). It’s hardly surprising that comparing data from September of 2019 (pre-COVID) with September 2020 shows a major falloff for sports talkers. Year-over-year 68% of sports talk stations in PPM markets were down and just 19% improved. Gainers were led by Entercom’s KWFN, San Diego (+0.9). See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

TALKERS News Notes. The Radio Hall of Fame names NPR’s Noel King this year’s recipient of its “One to Watch” award.  The “One to Watch” award was created in honor of radio legend and 2012 RHOF inductee Art Laboe. Each year, the RHOF nominating committee selects a promising radio personality or team who has demonstrated ratings success, audience growth, and impact on one or more radio stations and their communities. King is co-host of NPR’s “Morning Edition” and “Up First.” The RHoF says, “King’s investigative reporting has affected change through her powerful storytelling about social and criminal justice issues. As a correspondent for NPR’s ‘Planet Money,’ her work focused on economic questions that don’t have simple answers, with complex and often conflicted people at the center of these stories.”…..Tomorrow night (10/15), Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” presents a Town Hall broadcast on the upcoming November election. The station says, “New Jersey is facing a general election like no other in its history. Amid the many pandemic related changes, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy declared almost all voting would be done with mail-in ballots.” Station senior political director Eric Scott adds, “This is the first time the majority of people in New Jersey will cast their vote by mail. And as a result, there is much confusion. There have been documented cases of voting irregularities in New Jersey and our goal is to help everyone who wants to vote be certain their vote will be counted.” The program’s expert panel will be led by New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way. Other panelists will include county clerks charged with coordinating the ballots and who can speak directly to any irregularities. Scott and his guests will answer live, call-in questions from listeners throughout the hour…..The Alliance for Women in Media announces that this week’s Gracie Interview Series – Virtual Gathering features special guest Susan Larkin, COO for Entercom and moderator Weezie Kramer. The event is tomorrow (10/15) at 2:00 pm ET. The two will discuss the ever-evolving roles in media companies today. Larkin will share how media companies continue to face the opportunities placed in front of them and the ever-important model of monetizing these new business paths. You can register here…..Entercom’s podcast company Cadence13 announces a partnership with Leon Neyfakh and Andrew Parsons, co-creators of “Slow Burn,” for distribution of the first season of “Fiasco,” the award-winning documentary podcast series about power, politics and uncertainty. Fiasco Season One: “Bush v. Gore” launches today  (10/14)…..iHeartMedia announces the release of “Aaron Mahnke’s 13 Days of Halloween” from Blumhouse Television and iHeartMedia. The original scripted podcast series stars Keegan-Michael Key as “caretaker” of the purgatorial hotel “Hawthorne Manor.”

The Presidential Race, Barrett Confirmation Hearings, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Stimulus Negotiations, New UN Human Rights Council Members, SCOTUS Census Ruling, DOJ ‘Unmasking’ Investigation, and the NFL’s COVID-19 Policy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/13). The November presidential election; the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett; the rising number of COVID-19 cases across the country and concerns about a fall/winter second wave; the negotiations over a new COVID stimulus package; controversy over China and Russia gaining seats on the UN Human Rights Council; the Supreme Court rules President Trump can end the 2020 census; the DOJ’s investigation into “unmasking” or revealing the names of Americans in NSA foreign intelligence reports by the Obama administration ends without charges; and the NFL’s scramble to save games as some players test positive for COVID-19 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. Longtime radio management pro Mark Krieschen announces he’s retiring from Cox Media Group’s Houston station group – country KKBQ “”93Q,” classic country KTHT “Country Legends 97.1,” and classic rock duo KHPT-FM/KGLK-FM “The Eagle” – effective October 23. Prior to joining Cox Radio in 2005 as VP/GM of CMG Radio Houston, Krieschen held various positions at Tribune’s WGN-AM, Chicago. Cox Media Group EVP Bill Hendrich says, “I can’t speak highly enough of Mark and I am certain his Houston team shares my sentiment. In leading the largest market in CMG’s radio portfolio, Mark has been an integral part of CMG Radio’s growth, our impact in the industry and in the communities across Houston. His contributions will always be valued, and he will be remembered for his passionate dedication and leadership style that moved others to give their best, every day.”…..Condolences to the family and friends of Jeff Anderson, the evening air personality and production director at Beasley Media Group’s classic hits KKLZ-FM, Las Vegas who died on October 9 after suffering health complications. Anderson joined the company in 2006 as the midday personality at KKLZ-FM. After the station flipped from the classic rock to classic hits format, he moved to evenings and took on the role of production director. Beasley chief content officer Justin Chase says, “I’ve known Jeff for nearly 20 years, working with him almost that entire time in radio at both CBS Radio and Beasley. In that time, I’ve come to greatly respect Jeff for his talent, professionalism, and kindness. All of us here at Beasley are deeply saddened by his sudden passing and will miss him immensely.” Anderson spent more than 25 years in the Las Vegas radio market and was inducted into the Nevada Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame in 2008.

Monday, October 12, 2020

| October 12, 2020

Monday Memo: Got Local News? Guard it. Now more than ever – with the pandemic upending the life we were accustomed to – consultant Holland Cooke says “you will continue to distinguish your product from your robotic audio competition, and what’s-left-of the newspaper, by telling listeners something useful that nobody else is telling them.”  In this week’s column, some simple tips. Read it here.

The Presidential Race/Mail-In Voting, Fatal Denver Rally Shooting, VP Debate, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Trump’s COVID Case, New Stimulus Negotiations, Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation, Hurricane Delta-California Wildfires, and NFL COVID Concerns Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The November presidential election and the matter of mail-in voting; the fatal shooting at a Denver political protest gathering and tensions in the city; Wednesday’s vice presidential debate; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., projections for future cases, and President Trump‘s bout with the disease; negotiations for a new federal stimulus package; the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett; Hurricane Delta drenches Louisiana and the ongoing California wildfires; and the positive COVID-19 cases popping up in the NFL were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Take It or Leave It. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes today about selling news/talk radio in a time when your sales planning priorities can shift as quickly as the news cycle changes. He says that “organizing chaos is part of our new sales world” and offers some strategies to keep sellers on track during these unpredictable times. Read it here.

Carmean Joins Entercom Sacto As GSM. The market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media’s Boise (Idaho) cluster – Rick Carmean – is named general sales manager of Entercom Sacramento. According to Entercom Sacramento senior vice president and market manager Stacey Kauffman, “Because of the rich history and success of Entercom Sacramento’s portfolio of brands and assets, expectations are high for this team. Rick’s vast experience in audio, sports, and digital – coupled with his track record of producing winning results – make him an excellent and valuable addition to our strong leadership team. We are excited to welcome Rick to Entercom and Sacramento.” Carmean adds, “I’m thrilled for the opportunity to represent the top-rated radio stations in the market and work with a talented team of sales professionals and on-air talent.” Carmean previously was Red Zebra Broadcasting’s president and chief executive officer and held digital advertising leadership roles at AOL and Source Media. In addition to sports talk KIFM-AM “ESPN 1320,” Entercom Sacramento consists of rhythmic CHR KSFM; CHR KUDL “106.5 The End”; classic rock KSEG “96.9 The Eagle”; KRXQ “98 Rock”; and alternative KKDO “Alt 94-7.”

More Than 2,100 “Attend” NAB’s Online Radio Show. The week-long digital experience began one week ago (Monday, 10/5) and continued through this past Friday afternoon (10/9) at RadioShowWeb.com. According to the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB), Radio Show in-person attendance has recently been averaging 2,000, while this year’s online event attracted 2,143 registrants. NAB president and chief executive officer Gordon Smith comments, “Although we regret not being able to meet in person, this [past] week’s Radio Show digital experience provided a welcome opportunity to connect and gain valuable insight on how to prevail during this difficult time and move forward as an industry.” RAB president and chief executive officer Erica Farber remarks, “The Radio Show is an industry favorite. Having the opportunity to gather virtually and connect with broadcasters, advertisers, thought leaders, and partners has been tremendously valuable. The good news is all Radio Show content will continue to be made available for on-demand viewing should anyone want to re-watch a specific session or may have missed any of the sessions or presentations.” Among the highlights were a keynote by Dave Ramsey, and a “CEO Town Hall” with Mary Berner (Cumulus Media); David Field (Entercom); and Bob Pittman (iHeartMedia). The Town Hall was moderated by NBC News senior business correspondent/MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle. Next year’s Radio Show will co-locate with the NAB Show, which has been rescheduled for October 9-13 (2021) in Las Vegas.

KBA Honors Talbott. Bluegrass native Julie Talbott will be presented with the Ralph Gabbard “Distinguished Kentuckian Award” from the Kentucky Broadcasters Association at today’s (Monday, 10/12) 2:00 pm virtual Excellence in Broadcasting Awards event. Fifteen years after joining Premiere Networks, Talbott was named president of the company in January 2014 ; she oversees operation of Premiere Networks’ more than 100 radio programs and services. In addition, she manages business partnerships with talent, as well as leading/maintaining affiliate relationships to sell/service Premiere Networks, Total Traffic & Weather Network, and the 24/7 News Network. Talbott previously was chief operating officer of MJI Broadcasting, which was acquired by Premiere’s parent company Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia). Talbott began her career at BBDO Advertising. The Ralph Gabbard “Distinguished Kentuckian Award” is presented in recognition of achievements and accomplishments of former Kentuckians who have earned fame or acclaim in their respected field.

AWMF and ESPN Launch Scholarship For Black Females. The mission of the partnership between the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (AWMF) and ESPN is to provide black women a path into careers in sports media. ESPN’s donation of $10,000 will provide two educational scholarships to assist black females pursuing such career paths. Alliance for Women in Media Foundation executive director Becky Brooks remarks, “It has been wonderful to collaborate with ESPN to conceptualize this scholarship. Through this strong partnership, we’re proud to continue our work in pursuing greater diversity in the sports journalism work force.” ESPN vice president of corporate communications/AWMF board member Katina Arnold notes, “Diversity and inclusion is ESPN’s #1 focus. We want to support and create concrete ways to grow the pipeline of black talent in the sports industry. The ESPN and AWMF scholarship is the perfect way to fulfill ESPN’s mission of supporting black and African-American women pursuing careers in media.” Selection of student winners will be based on applicants developing an essay of 750 – 1,000 words, highlighting the importance of black women in sports media. Applications are due in less than six weeks (11/20). AWMF and ESPN will select one black female undergraduate student winner and one black female graduate student to receive the scholarships payable to each winning student’s educational institution.

TALKERS News Notes. Former CIA officer and NYPD counter-terrorism expert Buck Sexton debuts his Premiere Networks’ three-hour show in Tampa Bay tonight (Monday, 10/12, 9:00 pm – 12:00 midnight) on iHeartMedia’s WFLA “News Radio 970.” Senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia Tampa/Sarasota Tommy Chuck comments, “We are excited to have Buck Sexton join our on-air lineup of strong local and national personalities. His life experience gives him unique perspective that our audience will be very interested to hear.” Sexton adds, “I’m honored to have my show join WFLA, [one of] the greatest heritage stations in the country. I can’t wait to begin speaking every night to listeners in the Tampa Bay area, one of the best talk radio audiences there is.” WFLA’s revised weekday lineup is: “Coast to Coast AM with George Noory” (12:00 midnight – 5:00 am); “AM Tampa Bay” (5:00  am – 9:00 am); Glenn Beck (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); Rush Limbaugh (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm); Sean Hannity (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm); “PM Tampa Bay with Ryan Gorman” (6:00 pm – 9:00 pm); and Buck Sexton (9:00 pm – 12:00 midnight). Also in the iHeartMedia Tampa Bay cluster, personal finance host Dave Ramsey moves his daily talk show to news/talk WHNZ “1250 Impact Radio” from cross-town Beasley Media Group’s WHFS “Money Talk 1010.” According to iHeartMedia market president Chris Soechtig, “We’re excited to add ‘The Dave Ramsey Show to our [2:00 pm – 5:00 pm] line-up. [Dave] brings a new group of listeners to 1250 WHNZ who pay attention to what’s coming out of their speakers and applying what they hear.” ….. Designed to encourage eligible voters to cast ballots in next month’s election, Beasley Media Group’s “Your Vote – Your Voice” initiative will include recorded fifteen- and thirty-second PSAs, as well as custom content that will be featured on the chain’s 64 radio station websites. Beasley Media Group chief content officer Justin Chase notes, “This initiative is a great reminder that no matter who you choose, it’s important to make sure your voice is heard at the polls.” Customized messaging encouraging listeners to vote will be displayed using Quu RDS technology across the company’s in-car dash platforms ….. Technology entrepreneur Matt Moog is named interim chief operating officer of Chicago Public Media, which includes public radio news/talk WBEZ. Moog succeeds Steve Edwards, who performed those duties on an interim basis as well, but segues back to his vice president and chief content officer responsibilities. Chicago Public Media’s CEO role opened up a year ago when Goli Sheikholeslami exited to join New York Public Radio. Earlier this year, American University Washington, DC public radio news/talk WAMU “The Medium Is The Message” chief content officer Andi McDaniel was appointed CPM’s chief executive officer, but departed. The search for a permanent Chicago Public Media CEO is expected to resume next year ….. During a Washington State gubernatorial debate last week, governor Jay Inslee remarked that, “We follow science in Washington.” Bonneville Seattle news/talk KIRO-FM host Dori Monson tweeted, “The state where I could go to Olympia and change my ‘birth cert’ to say I was a girl on 10/2/61 HAHAHAHAHA.” That tweet has led to Monson’s indefinite suspension from his KIRO-FM duties, as well as his pre-game and post-game hosting chores for Seattle Seahawks football games ….. An integral cog of the Cincinnati Reds’ “Big Red Machine,” Joe Morgan, has died at his Danville, California home. After his playing career, Morgan became a baseball analyst on television and radio. The former second baseman did color for games of the Reds (1985); San Francisco Giants (1986 – 1994); and Oakland A’s (1995). Morgan attained national exposure on ABC-TV’s baseball telecasts and had a 20-year run (1990 – 2010) as Jon Miller’s analyst on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball.” During that stretch, he was in the ESPN Radio booth for post-season and World Series contests. In 2011, he hosted a daily syndicated radio show for Sports USA Radio Network. In addition to the Reds, Morgan played for San Francisco, Oakland, Houston, and the Philadelphia Phillies. The Hall of Famer was 77 years old.

Midwest Communications Taps Villarreal As Wausau VP/MM. Eight-year Laredo, Texas-based International Business & Marketing consultant Milko Villarreal, Jr. is appointed vice president and market manager of Midwest Communications’ five-station Wausau, Wisconsin cluster. Midwest Communications president and chief executive officer Duke Wright comments, “We welcome Milko to the family and look forward to many successful and prosperous years to come. His passion and desire to win are a great fit for our already positive Wausau operation.” Villarreal, who begins his new assignment in three weeks (11/2), remarks, “I am thrilled to join Midwest. The Wright family has a long-standing tradition of excellence in broadcasting. Ideologically, and operationally, I believe we are a very good fit; I look forward to making a positive contribution.” The former NAB radio board member succeeds Brett Lucht, who passed away three months ago. In addition to news/talk WSAU and sports talk WRIG, Midwest Communications’ Wausau cluster consists of country WDEZ, CHR WIFC, and rock WOZZ.

NEP & Edison Research To Implement COVID-19-Related Protocols. The exit poll conducted by Edison Research on behalf of ABC News, CBS News, CNN, and NBC News, will begin interviewing voters at early voting locations around the country starting tomorrow (Tuesday, 10/13). Edison Research co-founder and executive vice president Joe Lenski states that, “More Americans are expected to vote before Election Day this year than any other election in history. The member networks of the National Election Pool (NEP) and Edison Research have developed innovative new techniques to account for that in our long-standing exit poll. In 2018, Edison and the NEP pioneered the technique of conducting interviews at in-person early voting sites, and today, we’re using that valuable experience to expand those efforts for 2020. It’s simply a matter of taking our time-tested models and applying them to the ways people vote today.” In addition to adapting to the changing ways that voters cast their ballots, the NEP is taking precautions to ensure that voters participating in the in-person exit polls remain safe. Exit polls will be conducted by interviewers wearing masks, who will remain six feet away from respondents and will have single-use pencils available for each voter filling out the exit poll questionnaire. Hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes will be available for voters to use before and after completing their exit polls. As it has since 2004, the NEP exit poll will include extensive telephone surveys of those planning to vote by mail to ensure that all voters are represented in Election Night coverage across the pool’s member networks and subscribers. This year, those polls will reach more than 25,000 voters casting ballots before Election Day.

“WTMJ 2021” Airs Tomorrow. The nine-hour broadcast (9:00 am – 6:00 pm, Tuesday, 10/13) on Good Karma Brands’ Milwaukee news/talk WMTJ “News Radio 620” looks at events and issues that will shape the year ahead. It will feature interviews with Wisconsin’s most influential names such as Wisconsin governor Tony Evers; senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson; Milwaukee Bucks president Peter Feigin; Medical College of Wisconsin chief executive officer Dr. John Raymond; and community activist Frank Sensabaugh. Good Karma Brands Milwaukee vice president and market manager Steve Wexler explains, “Every year, WTMJ brings our listeners an all-day look at the issues shaping our future. Little did we know how tumultuous a year 2020 would turn out to be when we gathered last year.” Presidential politics is the leadoff topic at 9:00 am. It will be followed by public safety (10:00 am); sports in the age of COVID-19 (11:00 am); business and the economy (12:00 noon); healthcare (1:00 pm); entertainment (2:00 pm); education (3:00 pm); local and state government (4:00 pm); and the racial divide (5:00 pm).

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Starting today (Monday, 10/12), Mz Shyneka takes over in afternoon drive on Core Radio Group Atlanta urban contemporary WWSZ “Streetz 94.5.” Core Radio Group president and chief executive officer Steve Hegwood comments, “It is my pleasure to sign Mz Shyneka to afternoons. Her addition to our great team keeps us at the forefront of this competitive Atlanta market.” According to Mz Shyneka, “I am overwhelmed with joy to be back on the radio in my hometown. I can’t wait to continue making history at the only black-owned station in Atlanta.” She most recently did afternoons for Radio One’s cross-town similarly-formatted WHTA “Hot 107.9” ….. Elsewhere in Atlanta, after an approximately 20-year tenure at Cox Media Group urban AC WALR “Kiss 104,” Saturday morning “Spotlight Gold” host “Youngbloodexits …..  Under a new one-year deal, all Villanova football and basketball games for the 2020 – 2021 season will be carried on Beasley Media Group Philadelphia adult hits WBEN-FM “95.7 Ben FM.” Beasley Media Group Philadelphia vice president and market manager Joe Bell comments, “Our motto at ‘Ben’ is ‘Playing Anything We Feel Like,’ and we feel like playing some Villanova games. It will be a great season for Villanova sports.” Program director Chuck Damico notes, “We’re thrilled to add Villanova football and basketball to ‘95.7 Ben FM’ this year. It’s an honor to deliver these games to their passionate fans and alumni.” Meanwhile, Villanova Sports Properties vice president and general manager Drew Young adds, “The affiliation with ‘Ben FM’ expands our reach in the Delaware Valley and gives the ‘Nova Nation’ a prominent new home on the FM dial.” ….. The former 15-year afternoon personality/music director at Bahakel Communications Colorado Springs rocker KILO, Jack Wilson, has died from coronavirus. Wilson left KILO in 2015 and did weekends in Phoenix for Hubbard Radio’s similarly-programmed KUPD. KILO’s Facebook page notes, “It is with deep regret that we share this news with the KILO Nation. He was and will always be a big part of the KILO family. We send our love and condolences to his family and friends. Please keep them in your thoughts during this difficult time.” The 38-year-old Wilson is survived by his mother (Pattie Ray); a 17-year-old daughter (Bella); and a six-year-old son (Jack Jr.) ….. “The Quick Silva Show with Dominique Da Diva” moves to Reach Media for distribution and syndication. Reach Media and Radio One chief executive officer David Kantor comments, “I’ve had the opportunity to see this show grow tremendously. Quick Silva and Dominque Da Diva are two very strong radio talents who have an authentic connection to their audience. I am confident that the show will continue to be a huge draw for the listening audience. The beauty of this is that this is one of few syndicated afternoon shows.” The program will be carried from 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm by Radio One stations in Washington, DC (WKYS); Philadelphia (WPHI “Hip-Hop 103.9”); Baltimore (WERQ “92-Q Jams”); Cincinnati (WIZF “101.1 The Wiz”); and Columbus (WCKX “Power 107.5”).

Friday, October 9, 2020

| October 9, 2020

Radio Show 2020: Noon Is ‘the new Morning Drive.’ In today’s report from the virtual 2020 NAB/RAB Radio Show, consultant Holland Cooke recalls how, “in olden times, when the boss asked what the station got for its money when you got home from the convention, THIS is what you’d show-off.” In the virtual Radio Show session “Radio Listening During Covid-19: What’s Changed,” Nielsen Audio senior VP/client services John Snyder draws the road map to radio’s New Normal, “and you didn’t have to spend a dime on airfare or hotel!” Read it here.

NYTimes: Talk Radio Is Turning Millions of Americans Into Conservatives. A piece in The New York Times by author Paul Matzko (The Radio Right: How a Band of Broadcasters Took on the Federal Government and Built the Modern Conservative Movement, Oxford University Press 2020) credits talk radio with, as the headline states, “turning millions of Americans into conservatives.” In the piece, Matzko writes, “Talk radio may face an aging audience, a decline in ad revenue and competition from new mass media forms like podcasts, but there are still millions of Americans whose politics are shaped by what they listen to on talk radio all day, every day. FOX News gets more of the attention for shaping conservative opinion and for its influence on the Trump administration, but we shouldn’t overlook the power of conservative talk radio.” Citing such show hosts as Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage, Matzko suggests that “[t]alk radio’s power is rooted in the sheer volume of content being produced each week. The typical major talk radio show is produced every weekday and runs three hours, so just the top 15 shows are putting out around 45 hours of content every day. Even setting aside hundreds of additional local shows, the dedicated fan can listen to nothing but conservative talk radio all day, every day of the week, and never catch up.”

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “The Other Side is Lying!” looks back at this past week of October 5 – October 9, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Robyn Walensky, talk show host, KWAM, Memphis; Charlie Kirk, talk show host, Salem Radio Network/president, Turning Point USADr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/medical doctor; and David Bernstein, professor, Caldwell University, New Jersey/general manager, TalkersRadio. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network;Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here  or call 616-884-8616.

WABC, New York Debuts ‘The Other Side of Midnight’ Overnight Program. New York City’s TALKRADIO 77 WABC launches the live and local overnight program “The Other Side of Midnight” hosted by Frank Morano. Red Apple Media says that the 1:00 am to 5:00 am program airs Monday through Friday and “features newsmakers, insightful commentary, expert guests, lively exchanges with callers, and a healthy dose of satire. Just this week, Morano welcomed former Trump adviser Roger Stone, subway vigilante Bernard Goetz, former radio talker Doug McIntyre, and radio legend John Gambling. There are also regular discussions exploring the world of the paranormal, including UFOs and conspiracy theories.” In addition to this new program, Morano will continue to host his daily 10:00 am to 11:00 am program on “Talk Radio 107.1” (WLIR-FM, Hampton Bays, Long Island). Red Apple Media and WABC president Chad Lopez says, “Frank has already proven to be one of the most entertaining young voices in talk radio today. We’re thrilled to add Frank to our ranks as we continue to cement our place as New York’s premiere news and talk station. This is the city that never sleeps, and New Yorkers deserve a live and local overnight show.” Morano comments, “I grew up listening to overnight radio. To me, there’s nothing more intimate and more fun. There’s no daypart where you can combine longform interviews, wacky topics, off-the-wall guests, and a bit of irreverence. When I’d fall asleep, or wake up early, listening to the likes of Alan Colmes, Brian Whitman, Art Bell, Jay Diamond and Doug McIntyre, I’d quickly find those voices becoming the soundtrack of my dreams. I was absolutely hooked. I’m hoping to give insomniacs one more reason to stay awake.”

Townsquare Media to Investors: 2020 Continues to Improve. In a presentation to investors, Townsquare Media says that its status as a “small market presence” has “greatly benefitted the company” because its markets reopened sooner than many of the big cities. Townsquare says its digital products and services were more resilient than its over-the-air services and those helped offset overall revenue decline. It adds that digital products Townsquare Ignite and AMPED (advertising on its O&O websites) returned to positive revenue growth in July. Finally, Townsquare tells investors that it has “prudently managed cash and generated positive cash flow from operations through the first six months of 2020,” pointing out that its cash balance on June 30 was $70 million, down just $15 million from its $85 million balance on December 31, 2019.

Calgaro Named OM for Entercom’s Sacramento Operations. Programming pro Joe Calgaro moves from Entercom’s Boston station group to the company’s Sacramento cluster to serve as operations manager for sports talk KIFM-AM “ESPN 1320,” hip hop KSFM, CHR KUDL-FM “106.5 The End,” classic rock KSEG “96.9 The Eagle,” KRXQ “98 Rock,” and alternative KKDO “ALT 94-7,” effective November 1. Calgaro has been serving as operations manager for the company’s sports talk WEEI-FM, adult hits WBGB “Big 103,” and rock WAAF-FM (prior to that signal’s being sold to religious broadcaster EMF). Entercom Sacramento SVP and market manager Stacey Kauffman says, “Joe has a long track record of working with rock, sports and high-profile talent, which lends to the Sacramento portfolio in working with the biggest radio brands and engaging personalities in the market. His experience leading three very different brands in Boston will allow him to strategically position our stations to collectively represent our audience.”

TALKERS News Notes. On today’s Premiere Networks nationally syndicated Rush Limbaugh program, President Donald Trump will appear for what Limbaugh is calling the “largest virtual rally in radio history.” The program is also giving listeners the chance to submit their questions to the president…..An article by Matt Perez in Forbes explores how Americans perceive the coronavirus pandemic based on political affiliation and their consumption of conservative media. The piece analyzes data from a recent Pew Research poll and says, “Nearly 40% of all U.S. adults believe the outbreak has been ‘made a bigger deal than it really is,’ but only 15% Democrats think it’s been exaggerated compared to 66% of Republicans. That number jumps to 78% among Republicans who only consume FOX News or talk radio like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.”…..SiriusXM’s The Beatles Channel is honoring John Lennon’s 80th birthday today (10/9) with exclusive programming featuring special guests Paul McCartney, Alec Baldwin, Sean Ono Lennon, and more. The weekend-long programming will feature McCartney in conversation with Alec Baldwin in which he reflects on his songwriting partner, bandmate, and friend. It will air multiple times on The Beatles Channel throughout the weekend…..PodcastOne, a subsidiary of LiveXLive Media, Inc., launches the new podcast/vodcast from Grammy Award-winning artist Pitbull. The first episode of “From Negative to Positive” features Flo Rida, followed by intimate and in-depth interviews with Lil Jon in episode two, and noted producer Uncle Luke, a.k.a., Luther Campbell from 2 Live Crew in episode three.

The President’s Battle with COVID-19 Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 5-9. The positive COVID-19 tests for President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump and the president’s treatment at Walter Reed Hospital was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the presidential race and Wednesday night’s vice-presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris. Coming in tied at #3 was the transfer of power question, the SCOTUS nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, court packing, and the abortion issue, followed by COVID-19 stats & projections, health care and medications all tied at #4. The Talkers TenTMis a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Washington, DC-Based News Pro Bob Costantini Launches ‘Ear on the White House’ News Service. Radio news pro Bob Costantini is launching a Washington, DC-based White House news service called Ear on the White House that serves client stations with regular debriefs with a White House reporter. The former Westwood One News correspondent says, “I provide market-exclusive facts and analysis – not significant leanings – from someone on-scene as we move through the election cycle and potential changes in the dynamic between the White House and Capitol Hill.” Bob Costantini has more than three decades of experience covering Washington, Congress, The White House, and major political issues. His tenure at Westwood One News included traveling with Presidents Trump and Obama. In addition to covering the news, he can also provide an inside perspective on what it’s like to cover the White House, including asking the last five presidents scores of questions. Costantini is available for clients Monday through Friday to do talk-backs with stations and if news warrants, weekends and travel to major event locations are part of the mix. Video debriefs are a possibility for stations that have streaming simulcasts and he’s available for podcasts upon request. Find out more by direct messaging him on Twitter to @costantiniWHear or call at 410-302-3855.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Vince Richards is promoted to brand manager for Entercom’s adult hits KJKK, Dallas “100.3 JACK FM,” effective November 1. Entercom Dallas regional president and market manager Brian Purdy says, “Since 2018, Vince has consistently led the operations efforts for six iconic brands in our Sacramento market, and we look forward to bringing him back to his roots to revamp ‘JACK FM.’ ‘JACK FM’ is a state of mind here in DFW, and Vince’s leadership qualities and rich experience will only fuel its growth.” Richards was most recently operations manager for Entercom Sacramento…..iHeartMedia Chicago is promoting its fourth annual “Sista Strut,” a 3K breast cancer charity walk that will go virtual this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The “Sista Strut” is presented by Illinois Lottery and Xfinity, and will benefit the Chicago Chapter of the Sisters Network Inc., the nation’s largest Black breast cancer survivorship organization. iHeartMedia Chicago VP of programming Derrick Brown says, “2020 has brought many unforeseen challenges to our community, one being the ability to get together. Breast cancer remains a significant threat to Black women in our community and it is our responsibility to continue raising the much-needed funds to educate and inform our listeners about this devastating disease.”

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

| August 18, 2020

Brian Davis Named OM for Cumulus Appleton-Oshkosh. Programming pro Brian Davis returns to Cumulus Media to take on the operations manager position for the company’s Appleton-Oshkosh, Wisconsin cluster that includes news/talk WOSH-AM, country WPKR-FM, classic hits WVBO-FM, alternative WWWX-FM, and nostalgia WNAM-AM. Davis served as a programmer in Cumulus’ Bloomington, Illinois cluster from 2011-2016. Most recently, he was a brand manager for Townsquare Media’s Dubuque, Iowa station group. Cumulus Appleton-Oshkosh VP and market manager John Rowe says, “This is a homecoming of sorts for Brian, having worked in the marketplace a few years ago. We’re thrilled to have Brian’s passion for radio and know he will make an immediate impact at a time when programming leadership is critical to the cluster’s continuing success.” Davis comments, “I am very excited to be rejoining Cumulus and returning to Northeast Wisconsin. We have an outstanding team and a great lineup of stations, and I know we’re going to do great things together!”

Entercom Names ‘D-Lo and KC’ Midday Show at ‘ESPN 1320’ in Sacramento. The new 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm show at Entercom’s KIFM-AM, Sacramento “ESPN 1320” is “D-Lo and KC,” hosted by Damien Barling (left) and Kenny Caraway (right). Entercom Sacramento Stacey Kauffman says, “Damien and Kenny are two incredibly talented, local personalities that bring passion, energy and enthusiasm to 1320. Damien’s market experience coupled with Kenny’s passion for Northern California sports make this a winning combination. I couldn’t be more excited to see what they’re able to accomplish right out of the gate on air and on our digital platforms.” Barling previously hosted on sister KHTK-AM’s “The Lo-Down.” Caraway is a content creator across multiple mediums, including podcasting, sports radio host, podcast and radio producer, as well as co-host for The Athletic’s Sacramento Kings podcast, “Throne Room Breakdown.”

‘New Jersey 101.5’ to Present Back to School Town Hall. This year’s “back-to-school” season is very different from past years due to COVID-19 and Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is presenting the latest in its Town Hall broadcast series to help New Jersey parents prepare for the start of the new school year. New Jersey has more than 600 school districts with each setting its own policies regarding how and where kids will begin school, leading to great confusion among parents. Station special projects director Eric Scott leads the news and digital departments in bringing health and education experts together to answer parents’ questions. He says, “Kids may be permitted to attend some in-class learning, but is it safe to do so? We will get parents the answers they need to make the best decisions possible for their children.” The program’s expert panel will feature: Marie Blistan, president, New Jersey Education Association; Patricia Wright, executive director, New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association; Dr. Margaret Fisher, world-renowned pediatric infectious disease specialist; and Dr. Steve Tobias, director, Center for Child and Family Development. Scott and his guests will answer live, call-in questions from listeners throughout the hour. The broadcast takes place Thursday (8/20) at 7:00 pm and is being streamed on Facebook Live and via the New Jersey 101.5 app.

‘97.1 The Fan’ in Columbus Unveils New Lineup. Columbus sports talk outlet WBNS-FM “97.1 The Fan” unveils its new program schedule, including its new morning drive show. The Tegna station puts ‘Fan’ personality Brandon Beam together with former Ohio State linebackers Bobby Carpenter and Anthony Schlegel for the “Morning Juice” from 6:00 am to 9:00 am. The station also creates a new midday show from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. Station director of operations Matt Erhard says, “In addition to the energy and excitement of launching ‘Morning Juice,’ I’m excited to team up Anthony Rothman, who’s been covering sports in Central Ohio for 27 years, with Matty “Ice” Hayes, a born and raised Ohioan who brings fresh perspective and insight as he makes the move from producer to host. I’m extremely proud to see these next career steps for guys who have helped shape ‘The Fan’ into the sports powerhouse that it is today.” The station is making a move physically as well. Vice president and general manager Todd Markiewicz says, “I am also excited to announce that we are moving our radio studios from Front Street to the 10TV building on Twin Rivers with brand new, state of the art broadcasting facilities. Creating synergy between 97.1 The Fan’s sports lineup along with 10TV’s sports anchors allows us to create ‘The Best Damn Sports Team In The Land.’ With TV and radio’s sports personalities under the same roof, we will be able to provide the most thorough and entertaining sports information to fans in Columbus for years to come!”

Lisa Ann Bonk Joins JAM Media Solutions as National Sales Manager. Radio sales pro Lisa Ann Bonk is named national sales manager for JAM Media Solutions. The company operates seven radio stations – three music brands in Iowa, plus news/talk WZPR-FM, Nags Head, North Carolina and three music brands on the Outer Banks – as well as digital publication OBXToday.com and a New Jersey-based direct response ad agency. Bonk worked with new company COO Steve Borneman at WABC, New York and also served as a regional manager at Interep Radio. Borneman says, “I am happy to be reunited with Lisa! Lisa hired me many, many years ago at 77 WABC and I am looking forward to the contributions she will make at JAM. Lisa is one of the best sales leaders I’ve had the pleasure of working with and she’s an all-around wonderful person!”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a story at Crossing Broad, Beasley Media Group is going to lease the old WIP-AM – now WTEL-AM – to iHeartMedia and that company plans to flip the format. It’s currently airing sports as “610 ESPN Philadelphia.” Beasley acquired the signal in a swap with CBS RADIO…..Good Karma Brands’ “ESPN Cleveland” is launching a new daily podcast titled, “The Daily Grossi,” hosted by Cleveland Browns analyst Tony Grossi and Matt Fontana. “ESPN Cleveland” director of content Matt Fishman says, “Tony is the eyes and ears for the fans this year at training camp. ‘The Daily Grossi’ podcast provides fans an inside look at Kevin Stefanski’s first season as the Browns head coach as he tackles the additional challenges 2020 has provided.”…..FOX Sports Radio’s Colin Cowherd appeared on the August 14 edition of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” in which he talked about the possible impact of the college football season on the presidential election, how major sports leagues have dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort to salvage their seasons, and a variety of other sports topics. You can see it here.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections/College Outbreaks, USPS Funding/DeJoy Testimony, Presidential Race/DNC, Southwest Heatwave/California Power Woes, and Protests/Urban Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/17). The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., projections for more cases, and the outbreaks at some college campuses; the state of the U.S. Postal Service, its funding woes, and next week’s testimony before Congress by USPS Postmaster General Louis DeJoy; the November presidential election and last night’s opening of the Democratic National Convention; the record-setting heatwave in the Southwest and the rolling blackouts in California; and the Portland protests and urban violent crime increase in several cities were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

PPM Analysis: Adult Hits. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the adult hits format. In this report, you will find charts that show weekly 6+ AQH share movement compared to the June 2020 PPM survey, the July 2019 PPM survey, as well as market rank and market share. See the whole report here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Notifying their listeners via social media, country WQMX, Akron program director and afternoon host Ken Steel and station music director Jody Svoboda Wheatley have been let go by owner Rubber City Radio Group. Noting that their departure is related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wheatley posts to Facebook: “Exactly two weeks ago I celebrated my 19th year working at WQMX, and it turns out that today is my last. Our company decided that I should be their first COVID casualty, along with my favorite co-worker, Ken Steel. I guess if I wasn’t going to leave the company on my own terms, at least I left in the next best possible way…at the top with the best ratings WQMX has ever had, and next to the best boss and co-worker/friend that I’ve made along the way. So I guess it only makes sense that we exit this ride together, even though we both don’t deserve it. It’s definitely their loss. Not sure what’s next for me, but I guess I’m ready to find out.”

Friday, August 14, 2020

| August 14, 2020

Pandemic-Related Layoffs At KQED. Twenty staff members at KQED Inc. San Francisco public radio news/talk KQED-FM and PBS affiliate KQED-TV have become layoff victims, owing to the coronavirus pandemic. That represents more than 5% of KQED’s workforce. Among those known to be affected are a full-time limited term journalist and two temporary members of the science team. In a communication to staffers, president/chief executive officer Michael Isip notes that some employees are having their hours reduced and those in leadership roles are taking a 12% slash in pay. Furthermore, “non-essential” staffers will be required to take four-day furloughs at the very end of this year and immediately after July 4th (in 2021). As of October 1, KQED will drop its employer match of 403(b) contributions; there won’t be any salary increases the rest of this calendar year. Laid-off employees though are welcome to apply for any future openings. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s July 2020 sweep, KQED-FM ranks second in San Francisco (7.4, 6+) and second, as well, in San Jose (6.6, 6+).

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM in Washington, DC.  This new episode titled “Momala Kamala!” looks back at this past week of August 10-14, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSErick Erickson, talk show host, WSB, Atlanta / independent Georgia statewide network; Michael Medved, talk show host, KTTH, Seattle / CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; Pat McCrory, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte / former Governor of North Carolina; Steve Weisman, founder, Scamicide.com / law professor, Bentley University; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Entercom, Good Karma Brands, Browns Extend Partnership. As part of the deal between Entercom Cleveland and the NFL’s Browns, sports talk WKRK “92.3 The Fan” and co-owned WNCX “98.5 Cleveland’s Classic Rock” will continue serving as FM radio flagships of the 26-station University Hospitals Cleveland Browns Radio Network. They have been in that capacity since 2013. The team’s AM key station is Good Karma Brands’ sports talk WKNR “850 ESPN Cleveland.” Entercom Cleveland senior vice president/market manager Tom Herschel comments, “With football season right around the corner, we’re excited to continue delivering premier coverage of the Browns to Cleveland’s biggest sports fans on two of our market-leading stations. We value our long-standing partnership with the Cleveland Browns and look forward to many more seasons as the flagship radio stations of the team.” Good Karma Brands vice president and Cleveland market manager Sam Pines states, “We are thrilled to extend our partnership with the Cleveland Browns and Entercom. The power of live sports, particularly Cleveland Browns football, is baked into the fabric of the city and ‘850 ESPN Cleveland.’ We look forward to supporting and being a partner of the Browns in the years ahead.” Cleveland Browns executive vice president and chief operating officer Dave Jenkins notes, “Through our partnership with Entercom and Good Karma Brands, we have incredible opportunities and resources to consistently provide our fans with compelling radio programming on game days and throughout the year. We greatly appreciate the efforts of Entercom and Good Karma Brands to bring our fans even closer to our players, coaches, and entire team. We are excited to continue to produce these shows with them in the years to come.” Over and above gameday coverage, WKRK morning show talent Ken Carman and former NFL player Je’Rod Cherry host a one-hour (7:00 pm – 8:00 pm) Wednesday night “Cleveland Browns Preview Show.” In addition, Browns senior media broadcaster Nathan Zegura and Beau Bishop will chat with Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski on “The Kevin Stefanski Show,” each Thursday evening (7:00 pm – 8:00 pm).

PPM Analysis: The News Format. In the first of a four-part series of extensive recaps of the July 2020 survey period, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian highlights the performance of the all-news format. Right off the bat, there is a bit of a statistical oddity: Precisely mirroring June’s stats, 50% of stations in our sample experience month-to-month erosion; 44% improve; and 6% remain steady. While the percentages are identical in back-to-back sweeps, there were only a few duplications by station. Specifically, only iHeartMedia Boston news-talk hybrid WBZ-AM (+.7 and +.1, 6+) and Sinclair Broadcast Group Seattle’s KOMO (+.2 and +.3, 6+) notch increases both times. Regressing in June and July are Entercom-owned WINS in both New York (-.7 and -.4, 6+) and Long Island (-.1 and -.2, 6+); co-owned business news WDCH (Baltimore report, -.3 both times, 6+); and KCBS-AM (San Jose sweep, -.2 and -.9, 6+). A whopping 81% of all-news stations post July 2019 – July 2020 growth. Gaining +2.2 year-to-year are Entercom siblings KCBS-AM, San Francisco (6.1 – 8.3, second to first, 6+) and WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago (4.8 – 7.0, fourth to first, 6+). See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Audio Industry’s Unique Opportunity. In a presentation last week to Radio Advertising Bureau members, MediaVillage founder Jack Myers opined that radio broadcasters need to play up their local ties. According to Myers, “Radio has an opportunity to recreate unique marketing opportunities on localism and content and to rebuild its competitive position.” Many in the ad community may not be familiar with audio’s evolving story. The industry is a relatively new space for some of them, as according to The Myers Report data, 62% of media professionals have less than eight years’ industry experience and brand managers spend just 2% of their time on media. “As an industry, we have to take a stand for increasing the importance of media decisions and the medium is the message,” Myers notes. Audio sellers, he suggests, should communicate positive attributes. “At the top of the list is radio and digital audio’s trust and reliability. Audio is a brand-safe environment where companies know exactly where their ads will run and select the content or personalities they’ll be associated with. Radio and audio need to stump for a larger slice of ad budgets and creative spending. To do that, play up all the opportunities that radio can deliver, including both local over-the-air and digital audio, and to reach diverse audiences, including minorities and consumers 55-plus.” Forecasts from The Myers Report are suggesting that this year’s total ad spending will fall between 14% and 20%, compared to 2019 levels. Myers projects the ad market will not begin a meaningful recovery until 2022. Audio is suffering major revenue losses, with year-over-year spending down 20% to 25%. Those declines, however, are in line with local TV, cable, and broadcast networks. As ad markets slowly recover, Myers admonishes radio and audio companies to invest in education within their organizations and externally. “Companies that invest significantly in education and rethink their PR and promotional output in an educational context will be the next generation of leaders.”

TALKERS News Notes. Progressing from swing and weekends at Hearst Radio Baltimore news/talk WBAL “News Radio 1090 & FM 101.5” is Torrey Snow, who takes over afternoon drive duties (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm). WBAL president and general manager Cary Pahigian states, “Torrey’s deep knowledge of Baltimore, Maryland, and his thoughtful viewpoint on the current issues of importance are valuable additions to WBAL. Listeners can expect a spirited examination of topics from all angles, along with late-breaking news, weather and traffic.” Portugal-born/Boise, Idaho-raised Snow relocated to Maryland 14 years ago. The president of the Frederick Douglass Foundation of Maryland, Snow was named Anne Arundel County’s “Republican Man of the Year” in 2018. He was appointed to the Maryland Commission of African-American History and Culture and makes his WBAL PM drive debut today (Friday, 8/14) … Given that the coronavirus wiped up this year’s “March Madness,” Fox Sports Radio is countering with a “Basketball Bracket Challenge” focused on the NBA playoffs. The challenge debuts tonight (Friday, 8/14) after the final regular-season game between the Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets. Listeners will compete against each other, as well as against FSR’s Colin Cowherd, Clay Travis, Doug Gottlieb, Chris Broussard, Rob Parker, R.J. Bell, Jason Smith, Mike Harmon, and Ben Maller. Up for grabs is the chance to win a Westinghouse 50” Roku TV. Fox Sports Radio vice president of sports programming Scott Shapiro declares, “We all have bracket envy since the tournament was robbed from us in March. So we thought why not give sports fans what they want – a way to compete against our hosts and fellow listeners in a basketball bracket.” Brackets must be submitted prior to tipoff of the first playoff game (next Monday, 8/17) at 12:59 pm (ET).

Kamala Harris/Mail-in Ballots/School Opening Challenges are the Top News/Talk Stories for this past week of August 10-14.   The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top 10 stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Following a 28-year run at WHBC-FM “Mix 94.1,” Kayleigh Kriss exits the Alpha Media Canton (Ohio) hot AC – victim of coronavirus-related cutbacks. Alpha Media Canton general manager Larry Gawthrop comments, “While the effects of COVID-19 created some tough decisions for us, one thing is for certain: Kayleigh Kriss will forever be part of the legacy of WHBC-FM. For 28 years, she endured multiple owners, managers and musical directions; she played just about every song ever recorded. Kayleigh is a true professional and I have no doubt her career will continue to be a success no matter which side of the mic she’s on.” Kriss began in the station’s promotion department in 1992 and became a member of the on-air staff in 1997. She was furloughed four months ago and was officially let go earlier this month … Former director of sales/general sales manager for Radio One Charlotte, Michael Taylor, is named general manager /sales manager for cross-town Core Radio Group urban contemporary WGIV “Streetz 103.3 & 100.5.” Core Radio Group president/chief executive officer Steve Hegwood comments, “I am extremely pleased to have Michael Taylor lead our Charlotte team to victory. He brings the experience, relationships, and successful proven track record to our company.” Taylor notes, “I have been watching and paying attention to the growth of Core Radio Group and the ‘Streetz’ brand for many years. I am extremely impressed with their perseverance and success. Steve Hegwood is focused and determined – I am honored to join his team.” Taylor’s background includes account manager stops in Philadelphia (WPHI); Raleigh (WZZU and WQOK); and Charlotte (WPEG) … Tonight at 9:00 pm (Friday, 8/14), iHeartMedia Philadelphia CHR WIOQ “Q-102 Philly’s #1 Hit Music Station” and Verge Aero join forces to announce the annual “Q-102 102 Grand in the Sand” presented by Acme. “Q-102” listeners are encouraged to continue practicing social distancing while watching the drone light show from their windows and rooftops. The show will be live-streamed on WIOQ’s Instagram Live. In addition, the drone light show’s musical soundtrack will be broadcast live and synced on the station. To prevent gathering of any kind, the exact location of the drone light show will not be released to the public … Six-year Townsquare Media Albany (New York) operations manager Steve Richards exits. In addition to his OM duties, Richards was brand manager for adult contemporary WPBZ “103.9 The Breeze”; alternative WQSH “Alt 103.5”; and classic rock WQBK “Q-105.7.”

Monday, August 10, 2020

| August 10, 2020

Monday Memo: Say It Shorter. In this week’s concise column, consultant Holland Cooke barely says ANYTHING, “and that’s the point.” Read it here.

The Presidential Race, Biden VP Choice Speculation, Vote-By-Mail Debate, and Stimulus Exec Orders Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend (8/8-9). The November presidential election, speculation over Joe Biden’s pending VP selection, the failure of Congress to arrive at a new stimulus package with President Trump responding by signing contestable executive orders to move the process along  as well as the controversy over his ongoing allegation that voting by mail encourages voter fraud were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this weekend according to TALKERS research of the most talked about topics on issues-oriented news/talk radio. Other heavily discussed topics over the weekend included the school closing debate and COVID-19 stats and projections.

Pending Business: Talk to the Winners. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes about how radio sales professionals should have faith in the resilience of local, small business based on the premise that many WILL survive the COVID-19 era.  He suggests that radio sellers seek out those whose innovation clearly has them on a winning track and talk directly to them, customizing campaigns that are in sync with their efforts. Read it here.

Update: WAMU-FM Sexual Harassment. As we reported here last week (TALKERS, 8/5), American University-owned public news/talk outlet WAMU-FM, Washington, DC is in a state of chaos over sexual harassment allegations. WAMU-owned publication DCist ran a Rachel Kurzius-written story detailing allegations of harassment and improper behavior by former WAMU-FM reporter Martin Di Caro. Numerous employees were asking for station general manager J.J. Yore to resign, something he said he was not prepared to do. That situation changed, however, late last week as the station’s six-year general manager has indeed stepped down. Vice president of people and external affairs/chief of staff Seth Grossman states, “American University thanks JJ for his years of service to WAMU; we wish him well as he pursues his next endeavor. We are announcing a series of critical steps designed to address issues in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, human resources, and management, as well as how matters of misconduct are handled at WAMU. These actions are a combination of immediate and longer-term steps to accelerate WAMU’s work to enhance culture and workplace. The changes will provide important support to the WAMU staff, who we thank for continuing to focus on producing award-winning journalism that the Washington, DC region relies on amid this period of change. We believe these actions will offer support for the entire WAMU team and provide a foundation for the station’s next chapter.” An interim general manager will be named in “the next four to six weeks.” In addition, a human resources employee relations consultant with “proven experience in improving organizational culture and creating inclusive workplaces” will be put in-place. Interim chief content officer Monna Kashfi becomes the permanent chief content officer, overseeing WAMU and DCist. WAMU’s former chief content officer, Andi McDaniel, left the station last month to join Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM, Chicago as president and chief executive officer; McDaniel begins those duties next month. As indicated in the The DCist piece, McDaniel was well aware of Di Caro’s behavior, having signed off on a “Level III Final Written Warning for Serious Misconduct” given to Di Caro after “almost two years” of complaints.

Coronavirus Affects Cumulus’ Q2 Numbers. Second quarter figures for Cumulus Media include a 47.8% year-to-year revenue decrease to $146 million. The company witnessed its net income transition from a gain of $42.9 million to a loss of $6.4 million and adjusted EBITDA dropping from $61.8 million to -$6.4 million. Despite the pandemic’s material impact on revenue, Cumulus Media president/chief executive officer Mary G. Berner explains, “The company generated over $90 million of cash in the quarter through quick and decisive expense actions, strong working capital management, and the completion of sale of land in Bethesda, Maryland. Ending the quarter with nearly $200 million of cash, we have entered into an agreement to monetize our tower portfolio for more than $210 million, proceeds which will further add to our liquidity and contribute to significant incremental debt paydown.” She adds, “Our demonstrated ability to rise to a challenge, strong liquidity position, and resilient balance sheet are critical assets as we operate through this uncertain environment. We believe we remain very well-positioned to drive long-term shareholder value through continued aggressive debt reduction and the execution of our growth initiatives.” Broadcast station revenue was down 51.6% to $114.2 million. Spot revenue was off 55.6% and network revenue declined by 42.7%. Meanwhile, digital revenue was up .7% to $20.3 million.

COVID-19 “Impacts” Townsquare Q2 Results. Commenting on selected results for the second quarter that ended June 30th, Townsquare Media chief executive officer Bill Wilson remarks that, as expected, the company’s “second quarter financial results were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.” Net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA declined 34.5% and 93.1%, respectively, as compared to the prior year. Advertising net revenue throughout the quarter, however, “experienced sequential improvement,” Wilson reports. “Together with our Live Events, net revenue has experienced the brunt of the negative business impact.” To Wilson’s point, one second quarter highlight is that, compared to the second quarter of 2019, Live Events net revenue decreased 99.5%. Wilson observes that by the end of the second quarter, “Advertising net revenue had materially improved, from -42.1% in April to -29.6% in June and continued to show improvement through July and early-August.” Townsquare Interactive added approximately 900 net subscribers, ending the quarter with approximately 20,750 subscribers, with Wilson commenting, “Townsquare Interactive’s growth continued in the second quarter, with net revenue increasing 10.5%, at an Adjusted Operating Income margin in excess of 30%, marking the ninth consecutive quarter of 850 (or more) net subscriber additions. During this pandemic, the Townsquare Interactive team became a tremendous resource for their local clients by strengthening online presence and capabilities and powering their online communication strategy. Our thesis has always been, that Townsquare Interactive is a recession-resistant subscription business and will continue to grow its revenue and subscriber base throughout the year.” Wilson explains that Townsquare Media “enacted approximately $1.7 million of monthly fixed cost savings during the second quarter, in addition to the reduction of variable costs related to the decline in revenue, which led to total direct operating expenses declining 14.8%, compared to the prior year. In addition, we have reduced our planned capital expenditures, which declined 30% in the second quarter compared to the prior year. Our board of directors elected to cease paying our quarterly dividend moving forward. Even with all the challenges and unknowns during this pandemic, we have not had to alter our core strategy. Instead, the pandemic placed a spotlight on the need to double-down on executing our existing long term strategy. We believe our ‘Local First’ strategy, together with our talented team and diversified and differentiated product offering, ensures that Townsquare will emerge from this crisis well-positioned for the future. Although a very tough Q2, we believe our revenue, profit and cash flow results will be among the best in the radio – as well as in the local media – industry.” 

Why Are “You” Voting? That’s the simple question iHeartMedia is putting forth to listeners, cultural influencers, athletes, and musicians. It’s in advance of the November election, of course, when – in addition to the presidential contest – Americans will be voting for 35 Senate seats and all 435 House of Representative seats. Soundbites start today (Monday, 8/10) and run until Election Day (11/3). President of iHeartMedia entertainment enterprises John Sykes states, “With voter turnout expected to hit record numbers, ‘Why I’m Voting’ presents a rare opportunity for people of all backgrounds and beliefs to have their voices heard by millions of their fellow Americans before we cast our votes.” Listeners can record/submit their own 20 second or less audio or video message. Meanwhile, also debuting today (8/10) and running through Election Day is iHeartMedia’s longer-form “Why I’m Voting” podcast, which will feature conversations with a wide-range of celebrities on why/how this year’s election will shape our future. The podcast will showcase personal stories behind why voting means so much for our nation. The “Why Are You Voting” series of soundbites will air on iHeartMedia’s 850+ broadcast radio stations in 160 markets, podcasts, social media platforms, and the iHeartRadio app.

Podcast Ad Spending to Surpass $1 Billion Next Year. That forecast further predicts that more than one in five digital radio ad dollars will go toward podcasts. By the end of this year, podcast ad spending in the United States will reach $782 million, up 10.4% from last year, giving it a 21% share of the US digital radio ad market. Spending is expected to jump nearly 45% next year to $1.13 billion. Insider Intelligence eMarketer forecasting director  Shelleen Shum comments, “Growth in podcast advertising spend will be more resilient this year relative to digital radio advertising as a whole, which will see double-digit declines. The continued growth in podcast advertising is no surprise, as investments have made podcasts accessible to a wider audience. The news genre, a focus of many podcast advertisers, has performed well during the pandemic. While some ad campaigns were paused due to the uncertainty from COVID-19 lockdowns, we expect a rebound in Q3 and Q4. One key challenge in podcast advertising is the lack of uniformity in measurement. [The Interactive Advertising Bureau] has released a set of guidelines to establish a common set of ad metrics for podcasts, which should bring some standardization to the industry and give advertisers more confidence.” This year, 105.6 million people in the US will listen to podcasts, the first time podcast listening will surpass 100 million.

KYW Silences Familiar Sound. Owing to pandemic-related budget cuts, a number of well-known voices on spoken-word and music-intensive formats across the country have been eased off the air. A longtime fixture at Entercom Philadelphia’s KYW “News Radio 1060” is gone, but it had nothing to do with the bottom line or COVID-19 – and it isn’t a human. The station has eliminated the teletype sound effect that – for decades – has been played underneath its news broadcasts. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, KYW program director/brand manager Alex Silverman remarks to The Philadelphia Inquirer, “They stopped making the ribbons for the trusty teletype in 1986 and our supply finally ran out; so, old reliable is out of commission until further notice.” To that, co-owned WIP “Sports Radio 94” brand manager Spike Eskin mocks in a tweet, “Just excuses again from Alex Silverman. Are we to believe he couldn’t find a new one on Ebay, or simulate the sound somehow? Does he think we are fools?” On a more serious note, Silverman states, “As technology has evolved over the years, so has KYW. The sound of the station should reflect the modern, nimble, multi-platform news organization we’ve become.”  KYW has recently updated its jingle and logo. Entercom’s other top ten market news and news-talk hybrids include: WCBS-AM and WINS, New York City; KNX, Los Angeles; WBBM-AM & WCFS-FM, Chicago; KCBS-AM, San Francisco; and KRLD-AM, Dallas.

Leadership Training Program Accepting 2021 Applications. Designed to prepare senior-level broadcasters to advance into ownership or executive positions, the NAB’s Broadcast Leadership Training (BLT) program is accepting applications through August 19 for next year’s session. BLT program founder and dean/ ShootingStar Broadcasting founder, president, chief executive officer Diane Sutter states, “As we transition to a hybrid online and in-person model, we look forward to expanding the reach of the Broadcast Leadership Training program. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we cultivate the next class of diverse industry leaders and equip them with the knowledge and training to advance their careers.” As it moves into its 21st year, this executive MBA-style program teaches the fundamentals of purchasing, owning, and operating radio and television stations to senior-level broadcast professionals. All education sessions planned through the end of 2020 will be held online, with the starting gathering to be held next month (9/24 – 25). Broadcast professionals from all areas of the industry, including general managers, sales managers and department heads, as well as regional and corporate executives, are encouraged to apply. Fellowship opportunities are available for women and people of color. The complete schedule will be made available in early-October.

TALKERS News Notes. Starting one week from today (Monday, 8/17) and lasting through next Thursday (8/20), ABC News Radio is set to cover this year’s Democratic National Convention and plans to do the same  the following week (8/24 – 27) for the Republican National Convention. Aaron Katersky and Karen Travers will anchor; Alex Stone, Ryan Burrow, and Jim Ryan are slated to serve as reporters; and Steve Roberts joins for analysis. Multiple one-minute “Status Reports” will air each night, as will the network’s daily Brad Mielke-hosted podcast, “Start Here.” Meanwhile, each day during the conventions, the Karl & Klein-hosted podcast “Powerhouse Politics” will release special editions featuring interviews and analysis …  Former iHeartMedia Jacksonville senior vice president of programming Tommy BoDean joins Cumulus Media as operations manager of its four-station Melbourne (Florida) cluster, which includes sports talk WLZR “1560 The Fan.” Cumulus Media regional vice president Pete DeSimone comments, “I am really excited Tommy is joining the Cumulus Melbourne team. He’s going to make an immediate impact – and at a time [when] programming and operational leadership are critical.” BoDean adds, “The world we live in is changing every minute; radio has not just an opportunity, but an obligation, to get plugged in and help. Now is the perfect time to step into a role that both challenges and excites me every day.” In addition to his OM duties for WLZR and classic rock WROK “95.9 The Rocket,” BoDean will be the day-to-day program director for CHR WAOA “107.1 A1A” and country WHKR “102.7 Nash FM.” He previously was operations manager for iHeartMedia Cincinnati and programmed Nashville CHR WNFN “Hot 106.7.” …  Effective today (Monday, 8/10), Bustos Media Tucson’s KVOI “AM 1030 The Voice” adds “The Joe Walsh Show” to its weeknight (7:00 pm – 9:00 pm) lineup and shifts “Our American Stories with Lee Habeeb,” which had been in that slot, to 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm … Twenty-year Spokane television and radio journalist Teresa Lukens will return to Morgan Murphy Media Spokane’s KXLY-AM “920 News Now” next Monday (8/17) as morning drive co-host. After three years as a reporter on KXLY-TV’s “Good Morning Northwest,” Lukens transitioned to radio as morning host on co-owned KXLY-FM “Classy 99.9 FM” and then as news anchor on KXLY-AM. Lukens left KXLY-TV in 2010 and hosted “Health Matters” on Spokane public television outlet KSPS.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Every Friday this month, iHeartMedia San Antonio joins forces with San Antonio Metro Health for the “Friday Night Virtual Dance Party” (7:00 – 7:30 pm). Participating stations within the iHM cluster include adult contemporary KQXT “Q-101.9”; CHR KXXM “96.1 Now;” country KAJA “KJ-7″; and Spanish contemporary KZEP “104.5 Latino Hits.” According to iHeartMedia San Antonio senior vice president of programming Jason McCollim, “There is nothing like the power of music. [We] are excited to partner with our friends at San Antonio Metro Health for ‘Friday Night Virtual Dance Party’ [and] look forward to raising our community spirit during these challenging times – all while abiding by the state’s safety guidelines to fight the COVID-19 virus.” Mayor Ron Nirenberg notes, “We want to send an encouraging and positive message to San Antonio to keep doing the things that make our city great, but do them in a safe way so we can continue to stop the spread.” …  A country music special hosted by four-time Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan is among several, three-hour ABC Audio Labor Day weekend specials. “Luke Bryan: Born Here Live Here Die Here” takes listeners through each song on Bryan’s new album, which has produced three #1 singles. “Labor Day Rock Salute: Frontline Edition – From Speakeasy” honors frontline workers who stepped up during COVID-19. Hosted by ABC Audio’s Matt Wolfe, the special features hits from artists including ZZ Top, Alice Cooper, and Stevie Nicks. Top rock artists will also share what they’ve been up to during lockdown. Meanwhile, the Aaron Katersky-hosted  news special “How America Works Now” explores how people are coping through the pandemic. It questions what the future of American life and labor may look like, and puts a spotlight on those adapting to the new normal  … “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” takes over 12:00 midnight – 5:00 am duties in Santa Rosa, California on Amaturo Sonoma Media Group-owned KFGY “Froggy 92.9 Today’s Country.” Alan comments, “Our show is excited to be a part of the ‘Froggy 92.9’ lineup. We already feel like part of the ‘Froggy’ family. I can’t wait to get to Sonoma for a visit to wine country.” Amaturo Sonoma Media Group vice president of programming and operations Jim Murphy notes, “Cody creates unique, multiplatform content that really resonates with country fans; we couldn’t be happier to welcome him to the ‘Froggy’ family. The station’s revised lineup includes: Amber & Tanner (5:00 am – 10:00 am); Jenn (10:00 am – 3:00 pm); Dano (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm); Lia (7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight); and “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” (12:00 midnight – 5:00 am) … Former four-year wakeup duo at Hubbard Broadcasting St. Louis’ WIL “New Country 92.3, Bud Ford and Jerry Broadway (“Bud & Broadway”), sign with Houston-based SuiteRadio for morning show syndication, gearing up for next month’s start (9/7). The show will be represented on a market exclusive basis by Colbert Media Group. Prior to exiting WIL this past May, “Bud & Broadway” worked in Tulsa and Dothan, Alabama.

Monday, July 6, 2020

| July 6, 2020

Monday Memo: 1,000 True Fans. “Broadcasters know things podcasters don’t,” but consultant Holland Cooke explains that “podcasters have an opportunity to grow audience that broadcasters don’t.” And in this week’s column, HC points to a podcasting business strategy he’s recommended for years. Read it here.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Fourth of July Holiday, Trump Mt. Rushmore Rally/Presidential Race, BLM Movement/Confederate and Colonial-Era Monuments, U.S.-China Tensions, Ghislaine Maxwell Case, and Sports Leagues Plan Re-Openings Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The spiking of COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future infections; the Fourth of July holiday and concerns about large gatherings; President Trump’s rally at Mt. Rushmore and the November presidential election; the Black Lives Matter protests and the movement to remove Confederate and colonial-era monuments; the U.S. and Chinese military tensions in the South China Sea; Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged former madam Ghislaine Maxwell is indicted; and the plans to re-open pro sports leagues in the U.S. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Updating Your Unique Value. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column about the changing “unique” value that your news/talk radio station has. He says that since radio is no longer the preeminent free utility that it once was, salespeople should take time to re-evaluate what makes their station “unique.” Read it here.

iHeartMedia Gets KGB-AM Calls for San Diego News/Talker. The acquisition of San Diego news/talk outlet KFMB-AM by iHeartMedia from Local Media San Diego is complete and the station has received permission from the FCC to change the call letters to KGB-AM. As part of the deal in which Tegna sold KFMB-AM and KFMB-FM to Local Media San Diego for $5 million, Tegna required the stations give up the KFMB calls. LMSD in turn sold KFMB-AM to iHeartMedia for $1.2 million. iHeartMedia San Diego market president Melissa Forrest says, “The KGB call letters are legendary in San Diego and we’re excited to make them a part of AM 760’s next chapter as San Diego’s talk station.” iHeartMedia has kept the program lineup largely intact with local hosts Mark Larson (10:00 am to 12:00 noon) and Mike Slater (12:00 noon to 3:00 pm) in the mix among syndicated programs. Former station talk host Brett Winterble exited the station earlier this year and is now afternoon drive host at Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte.

‘New Jersey 101.5’ Presents Next Event in Town Hall Series. On Wednesday (7/8) at 7:00 pm, Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is presenting the next in its series of Town Hall broadcasts to help New Jersey residents and businesses dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The station says that according to a survey by the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, nearly 40% of New Jersey business owners are depleting their personal savings to survive pandemic closures. New Jersey 101.5 VP and head of news and digital content Eric Scott adds, “Businesses are still hurting, and we will connect them with the help they need. But we also want to celebrate their unique innovations that are allowing them to operate in these challenging times.” Experts on this week’s panel include: Michele Siekerka, president & CEO, New Jersey Business & Industry Association; Marilou Halvorsen, president & CEO, New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association; Kristin Fitzgerald, communications manager, Six Flags Great Adventure; and Dr. Ronald Nahass, epidemiologist, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. Scott and his guests will answer live, call-in questions from listeners throughout the hour.

Herman Cain Being Treated for COVID-19. Former WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta talk host Herman Cain announces via Twitter that he’s been diagnosed with COVID-19 and that symptoms were severe enough that he’s been hospitalized. The message notes that Cain has not been put on a respirator. It also says there is no way of knowing how or where Cain contracted the illness. It’s being noted in numerous reports that Cain was hospitalized on July 1, the same day he sent a tweet saying masks will not be required at Donald Trump’s Mt. Rushmore rally and that “people are fed up.” Cain was present at Trump’s Tulsa rally and had traveled before and after that event, including to current hot spot Arizona. Cain hosts a talk show on his website and hosts a weekend talk program on Newsmax TV.

WPHT, Philadelphia Presented Major Homegrown Two-Hour Independence Day Weekend Special.  Located in the birthplace of America, it was only apt for news/talk giant WPHT, Philadelphia to present a homegrown two-hour holiday special celebrating the 244th birthday of the nation that aired twice over the weekend.  The program titled “Independence Day 2020: Hope and Inspiration for America at the Halfway Point of a Very Tough Year” focused on American heroes – local as well as national officials and military figures – telling their stories and talking about the comeback of our great nation.  The special was written and hosted by WPHT mid-morning personality Dom Giordano who tells TALKERS, “We got a great response from our listeners and sponsors who enjoyed the information and ‘feel good’ aspect of the program that although recognizing the difficulty of these tough times, approached the issues in a much-needed uplifting and inspirational manner.”

AJ Punjabi Named Market President for iHeartMedia’s Charleston, SC Cluster. Media sales pro AJ Punjabi is named market president for iHeartMedia’s Charleston, South Carolina station group that includes news/talk WSC “News Radio 94.3” and five music brands. He was most recently general sales manager for Cox Media Group in Miami. iHeartMedia Carolina’s area president Ron Hill says, “We’re excited to have AJ join iHeartMedia as our market president in Charleston. He’s a dynamic leader with a proven track record of building strong relationships and success for his company and their clients. AJ’s experience and leadership skills make him one of the best executives in our business, and he’ll be an excellent addition to our team serving the Low Country.”

‘myTalk 107.1’ Twin Cities Raises Almost $150,000 for Neighborhood Rebuilding Fund. The Hubbard Radio talk station says that “in an effort to lift up and rebuild minority-owned businesses on Lake Street and on the Northside of Minneapolis, as well as in St. Paul’s Midway and Frogtown neighborhoods, ‘myTalk 107.1’ [KTMY] on-air personalities poured out their hearts, sharing stories of the business owners whose lives were negatively impacted with their thousands of listeners.” In partnership with the Neighborhood Development Center, the two-week awareness and fundraising campaign “myTalk Neighborhood Rebuilding Fund” raised $149,515. The station says that its four programs – Jason & Alexis, Donna & Steve, Colleen & Bradley, and Lori & Julia – encouraged their listeners to contribute to the Neighborhood Rebuilding Fund. The Jason & Alexis morning show featured “10 stories in 10 days” – allowing an entrepreneur whose business was destroyed or negatively impacted during the unrest to share their story with ‘myTalk’ listeners. KTMY program director Amy Daniels says, “This is what community looks like in the Twin Cities. ‘myTalk 107.1’ listeners and 20 of our advertising partners joined together to rebuild our neighborhoods, uplift businesses, and bring hope. The Neighborhood Development Center was the perfect partner to tell small business stories and distribute the money to all who need it.”

TALKERS News Notes. Sales pro Jessica Schwartz is named director of sales for Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” and WPST-FM, Princeton. She was most recently VP of sales & marketing at iPlay America. She begins her new role on August 10. She says, “I am beyond excited to join the team at Townsquare Media. With a strong and diverse portfolio of broadcast and digital solutions, positive work environment, and the best team in the market, I know we will continue to grow these two fantastic stations.”…..BIA Advisory Services is presenting a webinar on July 14 at 11:00 am ET called “U.S. Local Radio: State of the Industry Now and in 2021.” BIA estimates U.S. local radio advertising will be $12.8 billion in 2020, comprised of $11.4 billion for over-the-air revenue and $1.4 billion for digital revenue. Although this estimate is lower than its earlier expectations, BIA says there are bright spots for the industry and opportunities for a strong rebound from the effects of this pandemic. Register for the webinar here…..NuVoodoo Media Services is offering a free webinar on Wednesday (7/8) at 1:00 pm ET called “Marketing in the New Abnormal.” The company will share the latest findings of its Ratings Prospects Study XVI and “important insights for marketing radio brands during uncertain times.” You can register here…..The Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame board of directors announces it is postponing its 9th Annual Induction Ceremony scheduled for Saturday, August 8. For now, the organization is hoping to reschedule this year and says tickets for the August 8 date will be honored for the new date…..Former longtime producer of the Neil Rogers show, Jorge Rodriguez has died at the age of 55. A post on the Neil Rogers Tribute Facebook page by former cast member Boca Britany (formerly Boca Brian) lauds Rodriguez but offers no cause of death. Rodriguez produced the Neil Rogers show during its time airing on WIOD and WQAM in Miami. He leaves behind two daughters, Sabrina and Arabella.

Blanquita Cullum Named to The Texas Radio Hall of Fame and Awarded Prestigious Sammy Award.  Legendary talk radio personality and broadcast industry figure Blanquita Cullum has been named to the Texas Radio Hall of Fame Class of 2020 and is the recipient of this year’s Sammy Award.  The Sammy Award is presented each year to a “trailblazing” female broadcaster. In a statement made at the presentation, Josh Holstead, operations manager of the Texas Hall of Fame said, “Each year, the Texas Radio Hall of Fame recognizes the outstanding contributions and achievements of a trailblazing female broadcaster. Named for legendary female personality Mary “Sam” Stoddard, this year our Board of Directors bestow this honor on San Antonio’s Blanquita Cullum.  From humble beginnings as a copywriter at K-BUC, Blanquita became one of the most recognized and respected women in Alamo City radio, and eventually a nationally recognized figure after taking her talents to Washington, DC.  It gives me great pride to see a person so deserving receive this accolade.” Cullum achieved success with her program “The BQ View” in national syndication on the Radio America network in the 1990s and as a pioneer of the modern era of talk radio while serving as the executive director of the National Association of Radio Talk Show Hosts. She also received a presidential appointment by George W. Bush to United States Broadcasting Board of Governors (now the US Agency for Global Media) where she served from 2002 to 2010.  She was also the founder of the Young American Broadcasters Program which helped identify upcoming radio talent and provided them with scholarships. She is a veteran of San Antonio radio stations KITE, KTSA, and KSJL, as well as KENS-TV.   She served as White House liaison to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and executive assistant to the deputy director of FEMA during President George H.W. Bush’s administration. Commenting on Cullum receiving the Sammy Award, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison stated, “Ms. Cullum’s contributions to the growth of talk radio’s modern era both on air and behind the scenes are indeed worthy of this great honor.”  At present, Cullum hosts a daily program “The Hard Question” on WCGO, Chicago which is syndicated on the SmartTalk Radio Network.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Dave Hill joins Cumulus Media’s classic rock KCFX, Kansas City “101 The Fox” as program director. Hill was most recently with iHeartMedia Indianapolis where he was SVP of programming. Cumulus EVP of content & audience Brian Philips says, “Dave Hill impressed us with his pure programming creativity and vivid imagination. ‘The Fox’ rules classic rock in KC, but we don’t take our legacy for granted. Dave’s fresh perspective and rich experience will help keep us on top.”…..iHeartMedia flips WAKZ, Youngstown, Ohio from CHR to hip hop as “Real 95.9.” It will feature Premiere Networks’ “The Breakfast Club” in morning drive. iHeartMedia market president and VP of programming Keith Kennedy says, “Top 40 has evolved and ‘Real 95.9’ is the only station you’ll hear everywhere in The Mahoning Valley, playing today’s biggest hip hop and R&B hit songs.”

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

| July 1, 2020

WABC, New York Begins Simulcasting on WLIR-FM, Hampton Bays. The Red Apple Media-owned news/talk station begins simulcasting on VMT Media’s WLIR-FM, Hampton Bays on Long Island. Red Apple is operating the signal under an LMA. The addition of the signal means listeners on eastern Long Island will now be able to hear the station over the air. WLIR-FM had been airing a classic rock format. Red Apple chairman and CEO John Catsimatidis says, “When we bought WABC, I said we were in radio to stay. Our expansion with this LMA and simulcast is just the beginning. We’re going to deliver news and information that will keep listeners informed with the truth of what’s really going on in New York, Washington, and the world.” Coincidently, this iteration of WLIR-FM, although having gone through ownership and frequency changes over the years, is the artistic and cultural descendent of the original WLIR discussed in this week’s installment of “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Listen to it here.

WFAN, New York Celebrates Sports Talk Anniversary. All weekend long, Entercom sports talker WFAN, New York is celebrating its July 1, 1987 birth as the nation’s first sports-only radio station with programs hosted by former WFAN air personalities. Some of the personalities hosting shows this weekend include: Richard Neer (Sat. 6:00 am to 10:00 am) a WFAN host since 1988; Howie Rose (Sat. 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm) the station’s first evening host in 1987; Ed Coleman and Dave Sims (Sat. 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm), Eddie C is now WFAN’s Mets beat reporter, but Coleman and Sims were WFAN’s midday team in the early-1990s; Jody McDonald (Sat. 11:00 pm) was an original WFAN host back in 1987, and still hosts shows on the station occasionally while also working for CBS Sports Radio; Bob Salter (Sun. 6:00 am to 7:00 am) has been WFAN’s public affairs director since 1994, and hosts this timeslot every Sunday; Ann Ligouri (Sun. 7:00 am to 8:00 am) was also an original WFAN host and now covers golf and tennis for the station; Rick Wolff’s “Sports Edge” (Sun. 8:00 am to 9:00 am) is another Sunday morning staple on WFAN, airing in this timeslot since 1995; Suzyn Waldman (Sun. 9:00 am to 1:00 pm) was the first voice heard on WFAN, giving the first sports update at 3:00 pm on July 1, 1987, and these days she serves as the analyst for Yankees Baseball on WFAN. She has also served as both the Yankees and Knicks beat reporter, and co-hosted WFAN’s midday show with Jody McDonald as well; Steve Somers & Russ Salzberg (Sun. 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm), Somers is the only host who has been on the station full time since Day 1 in 1987! He and Salzberg hosted the midday show as “The Sweater and the Schmoozer” in the mid-1990s; and the Best of Mike and the Mad Dog (Sun. 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm), WFAN’s legendary afternoon team for nearly two decades (1989-2008).

Harry Hurley Marks 29 Years on the Radio. WPGG-AM, Atlantic City morning drive talk host Harry Hurley is celebrating his 29th year at the Townsquare Media news/talk station. It was July 1, 1991 that the “Hurley in the Morning” program launched on the station. Hurley says, “It’s been a privilege in every way. I want to thank our many loyal and faithful listeners, who have made it all possible, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year and decade after decade. I also want to thank our fiercely loyal clients who have been with us for decades. It is still amazing, new and fresh to sign on every day at the same radio station where it all began almost three decades ago. My sincere thanks and appreciation to my employer, Townsquare Media for their incredible support. We still have so much work to do. I’m excited about our continued future together.”

Edwards Media Launches Sports Talk Station in Waco Market. The station is being branded “CBS Sports Central Texas” and will air on the HD2 channel of hip hop KWBT-FM “94.5 The Beat.” Edwards Media LLC general sales manager and sports director Rich Richardson says, “We look forward to the opportunity to change the sports radio scene in Central Texas with the best in local, national, and play-by-play sports talk. The current situation in the country has changed the sports scene throughout the world, but there are more chances than ever for hosts and listeners to express their opinions, frustrations, even hypotheticals as to what happens next.  As live sports come back, we plan to do our best to keep listeners informed and entertained on a weekly, daily, and hourly basis while still allowing them to voice their opinions.” In addition to programming from CBS Sports, the station’s afternoon drive daypart will feature “Go Big or Go Home” with local host Big Rich.

Bob Long Retiring from GCN’s ‘Auto World.’ Citing health concerns that for the past few months have kept him from hosting the “Auto World” program distributed by Genesis Communications Network, Bob Long announces he’s retiring from his radio hosting duties. Mark Evans is taking over as permanent host of the program. GCN chief Ted Anderson says, “Bob Long has spent his years in broadcasting building the ‘Auto World’ radio show and will be missed by his fans. Bob has been a long friend of the Genesis Communications Network and we wish him success and health.” Mark Evans has been an “Auto World” contributor for many years and is a master technician who holds a patent on an automatic transmission cooler called Transguard that sells world-wide. Evans has filled in for Long over the years.

TALKERS News Notes. WGN-AM, Chicago announces it is adding the program “WGN Showcase” to its Saturday overnight schedule. It will air from 10:00 pm to 5:00 am, beginning July 11 and will feature highlights of weekday shows and excerpts of interviews with celebrities and newsmakers conducted by Bob Sirott, John Williams, Anna Davlantes, and Roe Conn. The Nexstar Media Group station says that it will continue a partnership with “WGN Radio Theatre,” which previously ran in the timeslot and presented classics from the golden age of radio, and the show’s host Carl Amari for special themed times throughout the year. Amari has spent decades licensing and preserving classic radio broadcasts from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s and founded Radio Spirits, the world’s largest marketer and distributor of these programs…..The deal between Mr. Master – the company that produces Automation Import Manager (AIM) – and Cumulus Media is expanded to put the software to use in all of Cumulus’ 424 local stations across 87 markets. Cumulus Media SVP of revenue strategy and operations John Kaufman says, “We were answering a call from our markets, which were looking for a way to improve the network continuity process and save meaningful time. Mr. Master’s AIM software offers a great solution for all Cumulus markets.”…..ESPN announces that it has reached a multi-year contract extension with host and commentator Bomani Jones to continue his ESPN Podcast, “The Right Time with Bomani Jones,” twice per week (Tuesday and Thursday). As part of his deal, Jones will also make regular guest appearances across ESPN Radio sports talk programming. Jones will play a significant role on “Highly Questionable” alongside Dan Le Batard, appearing three or four days each week. He will also continue to be a key contributor across ESPN’s television studio lineup, including “SportsCenter,” “Get Up,” “Outside the Lines” and as a panelist on “Around the Horn.”…..“The Todd Starnes Show” adds new affiliate stations WDMJ, Marquette; WMIQ, Iron Mountain; and WIAN, Ishpeming; all in Michigan. In addition to carrying the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm talk show the stations will also carry the short-form feature “Todd Starnes News & Commentary.”

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Russian-Taliban Bounties Issue, BLM Movement/Public Monuments/Mississippi Flag, China’s Hong Kong Crackdown, Mary Trump Book Blocked, and Sports Leagues Plan Openings Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/30). The rise in COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future infections; the controversy over the reports of Russia offering bounties to the Taliban for U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan; the Black Lives Matter protests, the movement to take down Confederate and Colonial-era monuments, and changes to the Mississippi flag; China begins cracking down on dissent in Hong Kong; a judge issues a temporary block of Mary Trump’s book; and U.S. sports leagues plan to open or restart their seasons were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Legendary Rock/Sports Broadcaster Richard Neer Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Legendary WFAN, New York personality Richard Neer is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Weaving a colorful radio story, Harrison and Neer reminisce about a shared experience they had in the very early days of their long careers that had a tremendous influence on their lives and the history of album rock radio. Tomorrow (7/1) marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of the progressive rock format at WLIR on Long Island.  On that Wednesday in the summer of 1970, the station transitioned from being an obscure suburban FM station that programmed a block format consisting of “beautiful music” and “easy listening” orchestras, along with classical music and show tunes into one of the most ground-breaking and longest-running FM rock giants of the past half century.  The station has been fertile ground for programming innovations, pop cultural evolution and the individual radio careers of countless personalities.  Harrison and Neer were a couple of college kids instrumental in making the historical transition happen and they engage in a remarkably candid conversation reconstructing the events between 1967 and 1971 that led up to and followed that meaningful format flip that changed their lives forever.  Don’t miss this!  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. Digital platform RADIO.COM is celebrating Independence Day with two exclusive music events on July 3 and 4 to remind everyone to register to vote. This is a partnership between Entercom and When We All Vote, whose mission is to “increase participation in every election and close the race and age voting gap by changing the culture around voting, harnessing grassroots energy, and through strategic partnerships to reach every American.” Both events are being streamed live nationwide on-air on select RADIO.COM stations and on the RADIO.COM app and website. “Party In Place” airs July 3 at 10:00 pm ET across all RADIO.COM alternative stations nationwide and features exclusive sets from: deadmau5, Disclosure, Major Lazer, ODESZA, RÜFÜS DU SOL, and Toro y Moi, as well as a world premiere and unreleased music from Flume and Rezz, with a special career-spanning mix from Porter Robinson, all performing virtually from their home studios. On July 4, “Summer Bash,” will feature performances by: Marshmello, Black Eyed Peas, Dillon Francis, Diplo, Kygo, Lil Jon, and Steve Aoki. Entercom SVP of programming and music initiatives Michael Martin says, “We’re looking forward to virtually coming together to enjoy incredible performances that will bring the festival experience right to listeners’ homes. We’re especially proud to celebrate Independence Day by supporting When We All Vote’s important mission to increase voter participation, one of the most patriotic acts we can do for our country.”…..TALKERS magazine confirms that Bob Lawrence has resigned his position as vice president of programming for Saga Communications. There’s no word from Saga on his replacement or a timetable for filling the corporate role. Lawrence took over the position in 2015 after Steve Goldstein exited the company.

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