Tag: "Voltair"

Thursday, April 7, 2016

| April 7, 2016

nielsen logoPPM Reliability Issue Re-Surfaces at Philadelphia Conference.  Last year’s intense debate over the reliability of Nielsen Audio’s PPM technology and the promise by 25-Seven Systems that its Voltair processing unit can improve detection of a station’s PPM encoding is being renewed.  The issue came to the fore at yesterday’s 2016 New Radio Conference in Philadelphia presented byvoltair image Jerry Del CollianoPremiere Networks star Sean Hannity and Harker Research’s Richard Harker presented a session titled, “Nielsen – Getting Around a Rigged Ratings System,” during which Harker presented his own study hannityshowing how talk radio suffers under the PPM methodology.  Nielsen’s John Snyder was there and took the stage to argue Harker’s and Hannity’s points.  But the most newsworthy moment took place when Hannity told Snyder he would sign an affidavit promising not to take part in a class action suit against Nielsen if the company would agree to meet with them on the matter.  Snyder agreed.  This issue will be addressed at the 2016 Bridging the Generations conference at Hofstra University on May 20 when TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison conducts a “Fireside Chat” with Sean Hannity.

Talkers2016 logo lgSalem to Present Special Luncheon Discussion at TALKERS 2016 on the Relationship Between News/Talk Radio and the Conservative Movement in America.  The TALKERS editorial board is pleased to announce the addition of a very special presentation sponsored and produced by Salem Radio Network that will take place during the 1:00 pm luncheon at TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations on Friday Mayhewitthugh 20th on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY.  It will explore the ongoing, complex relationship between the news/talk radio format and the evolving state of the conservative political movement in America.  Moderated by Salem Media Group SVP Phil gallaghermikeBoyce, the speakers will include Salem syndicated stars (in alphabetical order) Larry Elder, Mike Gallagher and Hugh Hewitt.  Speaking on behalf of the board, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “This is very exciting!  Phil Boyce is one of the acknowledged programming gurus in the talk media space and the star power and intellectual mass of Elder, Gallagher and Hewitt on one panel will be extremely informative and dynamic.  This is a subject that is widely misunderstood andelderlarry misrepresented in the mainstream press.  It should prove quite interesting indeed.”  The agenda for this event – the 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – continues to grow providing an impressive who’s who of the field’s most notable figures from all ends of the spectrum in programming, sales and technology.  However it is nearing a sellout, so register now.  For registration, sponsorship, hotel and agenda information, click here.

kuseliaserikErik Kuselias to Host Mornings on WHOO, Orlando.  Sports media personality Erik Kuselias is launching his new morning show on Genesis Communications-owned sports talk outlet WHOO, Orlando “Sports Talk 1080 The Team,” on Monday (4/11).  During his career, Kuselias has worked at ESPN, The Golf Channel, and, most recently, as a personality with NBC Sports Radio.  In addition to airing from 6:00 am to 9:00 am on WHOO, the program will be streamed on its SportsTalkFlorida.com platform.

spoonerjgFormer WKRK, Cleveland Personality Charged with Money Laundering.  According to a report from Cleveland.com, former WKRK, Cleveland “92.3 The Fan” producer and personality Joseph Gerard Spooner, a.k.a. J.G. Spooner, is facing a charge of money laundering after allegedly shifting $7,300 from a GoFundMe account to his personal bank account.  The GoFundMe account had been set up by Spooner to collect donations to help a childhood friend of his — Allyson Thadeus-Zappe – who was suffering from cystic fibrosis.  She died in 2015.  Her family reports that Spooner offered to use his name recognition in the market to help raise funds for Allyson.  The family never saw any of the money donated to the account.  A subsequent investigation by police led to the charges.  CBS RADIO told Cleveland.com that Spooner had recently been terminated from his position.  Read the story here.

The Presidential Race, Battle Against Islamic State, U.S. Immigration Policy/European Migrant Troubles, Miss. Religious Freedom Law, and Merle Haggard Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/6).  The activities of the candidates for president and the aftermath of the Wisconsin primary; the ongoing fight against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria; debate over the immigration and refugee policies in the U.S. and the related migrant problems Europeans are dealing with; the new Mississippi law that allows businesses to refuse to serve gays based on religious reasons; and the death of country legend Merle Haggard were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Typical Is Your Enemy

| October 12, 2015

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

 

cookewriterBLOCK ISLAND, RI — In 1976 or 1986 or 1996, he would’ve cranked it up.  Here in the future, “Hotel California” comes on and the listener might hit scan.  Or, increasingly, skip.

Someone JUST-tuning-in at 14 past the hour on a cloudy morning hears the announcer assure that the next Traffic & Weather Together On-the-Threes update is just nine minutes away.  Or “WHAT A NIGHT AT WRIGLEY!” teases a sportscast into spots.  Are we naïve enough to think people aren’t toting smartphones?

Yes, you’re really hearing this from a consultant.  I do install success templates.  In the 21 years since I last had an employer, I’ve paid my mortgage by assuring clients that “nothing I recommend is an experiment.”  And the logic of if-it-works-do-it/if-it-doesn’t-don’t becomes even more obvious as radio has overdone what works until it doesn’t; and has cost-cut until innovation becomes cost-prohibitive.

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Monday, July 27, 2015

| July 27, 2015

cowherdcolinColin Cowherd Exits ESPN Early After Dominican Comments.  Already headed out the door after he accepted an offer from a competing sports entertainment network, Colin Cowherd has been removed from ESPN’s radio and TV programming after a comment he made that was deemed by the company to be offensive.  In the process of arguing that baseball is not too complex a game, as some contend, Cowherdespnradio said that a third of the sport is from the Dominican Republic which has “not been known, in my lifetime, as having, you know, world-class academic abilities.”  The quote was taken out of context and publicized and ESPN reacted with the following statement, “Colin Cowherd’s comments over the past two days do not reflect the values of ESPN or our employees.  Colin will no longer appear on ESPN.”  Cowherd apologized on Friday, but he also explained that he was taken out of context and didn’t mean to insult Dominicans.  Though no official announcement of what his role will be with soon-to-be employer Fox Sports, sources tell TALKERS magazine Cowherd will be making a much as $6 million per year in his new position.

hillangelaAngela Hill Moves on From WWL, New Orleans Talk Show.  Leaving her 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm talk show on Entercom’s WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans to pursue other interests, Angela Hill is replaced by Scoot, who in addition to his evening show, also made regular appearances on Hill’s program.  Hill says,scoot “It’s been an amazing experience, one I will always cherish, but it’s time to do other things.  I’ve learned so much.  This is a great team…smart, smart radio people, who’ve shown me nothing but love and support.  This truly is a family.  I will always be a part of WWL Radio and WWL will always be a part of me.”  Filling the evening slot on WWL will be a new sports talk show co-hosted by T-Bob Hebert and Kristian Garic, who slide over from sister sports talker WWWL “3WL” where they hosted morning drive.

rogerJpRoger & JP Named Midday Show at ‘The Bone’ in Tampa.  Hot talk WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone” has a new midday show co-hosted by Roger Luce and John “JP” Parise.  The duo comes to Tampa from Cox Media Group’s Long Island rock outlet WBAB, Babylon, New York where they hosted the morning show.  CMG Tampa director of branding and programming John Brennan states, “Roger & JP are a great fit for ‘The Bone’ and the Tampa market.  The team is excited to have them, and we’re looking forward to a fresh sound in Tampa Bay.”  Roger & JP comment, “We’ve wanted to work in Tampa and at ‘The Bone’ for a long time.  Joining ‘The Bone’ family with Mike Calta and Drew Garabo, we feel it’s a great team and can’t wait to start. Our goal is to become Tampa radio fixtures for many years to come.”

kabrichrandyKabrich: AQH Rating Point Increase Stat Doesn’t Support Voltair’s PPM Effectiveness.  In another blog post from broadcast consultant Randy Kabrich addressing the controversial Voltair audio processor from Telos Alliance and Nielsen Audio’s PPM ratings methodology, he compares the Total AQH Rating of all stations in the 48 PPM-rated markets (Persons 25-54 Monday–Sunday) from both the June 2014 (prior to Voltair) and June 2015 (with an estimated 62.6% of competitive stations in those markets using Voltair units) surveys.  The result is the figure rose by just 0.9 ratings points – 402.2 Total AQH Rating in ’15 versus 401.3 in ’14.  Kabrich goes on to report that “a total of only 390 stations nationwide out of 1407 stations in PPM markets — Persons 25-54 Monday–Sunday  — had ANY INCREASE in AQH June 2014-2015 with 600-plus Voltairs sold – and a large number of the increases were caused by facts that can easily be explained and not attributed to Voltair.”  Further, he says even if all 390 stations that saw increases had Voltair units, the breakdown indicates that almost 40% of those stations saw an increase of just 0.2 AQH rating points.  Read Kabrich’s entire blog here.

miklaszbernieMiklasz Returns to WXOS-FM, St. Louis.  Three years ago, St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Bernie Miklasz stepped down from his second gig as midday sports talk host on Hubbard Radio’s WXOS, St. Louis.  Now, the company announces that Miklasz will return to the station in late August to host the 7:00 am to 10:00 am show.  He will exit his role with the newspaper.  WXOS is an ESPN affiliate and to make room for Miklasz, the station will only air the first two hours of ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning.”

wnsr logoNashville Sports Talkers Greg Pogue and Joe Dubin Return to Radio on WNSR Simulcast.  Sports talk personalities Greg Pogue and Joe Dubin are returning to the Nashville radio waves today on Southern Wabash Communications’ WNSR and W240CA simulcast.  The “Greg Pogue and Big Joe Show” will air from 9:00 am to 11:00 am.  Previously, the duo aired on Cromwell Group’s crosstown “The Game 2” (WQZQ and translator W235BW) but ended that show when Dubin joined WSMV-TV as a sports reporter.

Odds & Sods.  Talk personality Ed Schultz’s days on MSNBC appear to be numbered as wholesale changes to the MSNBC cable channel are on the way.  According to the New York Daily News, new NBC News chief Andrewschultzed Lack told staffers of both NBC News and MSNBC that he plans to rebuild MSNBC to focus on breaking news coverage and to be less of a left-leaning talk outlet.  Lack also plans a name change for the network since Microsoft hasn’t been involved with the cable channel in years.  Schultz’s “The Ed Show” is reportedly one of the shows slated for demolition as part of the re-build.  Schultz ended his three-hour, rosenbergsiddaily syndicated AM/FM radio show in May of 2014 and currently does a one-hour, web-based radio program…..BobsBlitz.com reports that WMEN, Ft. Lauderdale sports talk host (and former longtime New York radio personality) Sid Rosenberg will return to WABC, New York on August 4 and 5 to sit in for Geraldo Rivera.  The blog reports that Rosenberg will be joined on the air by Don Imus executive producer Bernard McGuirk…..AdLarge Media becomes national ad sales rep for The Associated Press’ news digital on-demand service via the AudioBoom podcast platform.  The deal broadens the reach of AP’s breaking news audio service and allows affiliate radio stations to host on-demand audio on their websites and mobile applications with updates every hour, 24/7.

Friday, July 24, 2015

| July 24, 2015

cbsradio logoCBS RADIO Announces Market Manager Changes. Taking over for Marc Rayfield at the CBS RADIO Philadelphia cluster as SVP/market manager is current director of sales David Yadgaroff.  Rayfield was recently named market manager for the New York market.  Elsewhere in the company, current Boston SVP/market manager Mark Hannon adds the same duties for Hartford, replacing the retiring Suzanne McDonald.  CBS combines the SVP/market manager post for both Miami and Orlando and appoints Steve Carver, who replaces Joe Bell in Miami and Dave Robbins in Orlando.  They both exit the company.  Director of sales Tony Perlongo is promoted to SVP/ market manager in Las Vegas, taking over for the exiting Jerry McKenna; and Mike Valenzuela rises from VP/director of sales in the Riverside cluster to SVP/market manager, replacing Harvey Wells who’s returning to the Chicago area to be closer to family.

orban logoOrban Addresses Nielsen-Voltair Issue.  Audio processor competitor Orban has been very quiet during the industry-wide discussion about 25-Seven’s Voltair processor but breaks that silence with a press statement released on Thursday (7/23).  The statement says, in part, “Some have argued that Voltair is ‘just another form of audio processing.’  However, we believe that there is an essential and fundamental difference between audio processing (like that done by our Optimods) that increases the opportunity of the Nielsen encoder to insert audibly undetectable watermark tones and processing that directly manipulates the level of the watermark, potentially breaking Nielsen psychoacoustic masking model and allowing the tones to become audible.  Based on their testing, Nielsen concluded that Voltair can degrade perceptual quality.  In an environment where traditional radio is suffering ever-increasing competition from new media, we believe that it is unwise for radio to degrade its audio in an internecine battle whose ultimate winner could be non-broadcast providers.  Because Nielsen is a large, global business that depends on producing credible audience measurements, we expect that it will soon solve any problem (if it actually exists) by making improvements to its encoder.  Accordingly, we have decided not to add processing to Optimods that directly manipulates the Nielsen watermark signal because we expect that any such effort would degrade audio quality and would soon be rendered obsolete by Nielsen’s encoder improvements.  Moreover, we trust the Media Rating Council to thoroughly evaluate any such improvements, as they have already done for the Nielsen PPM system in its current form.  While it is true Orban’s Optimod processors are compatible with Voltair, we urge caution.”

kfi logoDoug Steckler Ends Friday Appearances with Tim Conway Jr. on KFI, Los Angeles.  For the last four years, Doug Steckler has been co-hosting the Friday evening edition of Tim Conway Jr.’s show on iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles.  But that is ending and Steckler says in a statement, “I am leaving the Tim Conway Jr. show on KFI where I enjoyed sharing Fridaystecklerdoug evenings with the funniest, nicest guy in radio.  We had more fun than should be legal.  All good things must come to their finish and it’s always better (if still difficult) to get out while you can still hear the laughter.  I want to wish everyone connected with the Tim Conway Jr. show the very best in every way.  I would like to especially express my profound gratitude to Sheron Bellio, our executive producer, whose creativity, original thinking, laser wit, and supernatural administrative abilities made every Friday a wonderfully conspiratorial caper.”  Conway and Steckler co-hosted a talk show on the old hot talk-formatted KLSX-FM, Los Angeles (now CHR KAMP) from 1996 through 2005.  Doug Steckler is represented by Jason Insalaco’s Kelton Agency.

hoffmancraigWTEM, Washington Adds Craig Hoffman for Redskins Beat Reporter Gig.  This will be a year-round gig at Red Zebra Broadcasting’s Washington Redskins flagship WTEM “ESPN 980” for Craig Hoffman as he is named the new Redskins beat reporter.  Hoffman was most recently with ESPN O&O KESN, Dallas “103.3 FM ESPN” as a host and update anchor.  Red Zebra says he has experience “covering both professional and college teams along with reporting from large national events like the NCAA Final Four.  Craig will cover the Redskins year-round and will contribute content to the station’s local shows.  He will also be part of the game-day broadcasts on the Redskins Radio Network while producing content for ESPN 980’s website and social media outlets.”

vandenburghpaulPaul Vandenburgh Takes Top Talk Show Honors in Metroland ‘Best Of.’  WGDJ, Albany owner, general manager and morning talk host Paul Vandenburgh’s daily show was named the Best Talk Radio Program in the market by Albany alternative weekly Metroland.  Here’s how the entry reads: “This is the show for local issues.  Special mention must be made of the must-listen interviews he conducted with local reporters on scene in Dannemora during the prison break.  Standard disclaimer: We’re a bunch of liberals and disagree with 75 percent of his opinions, but so what?  Who didn’t enjoy it when he went after Troy’s City Hall clown show during the frozen pipes scandal?”

Odds & Sods.  Los Angeles-based talk legend Tom Leykis is streaming his program live from the Maximum Yieldleykistom Indoor Gardening Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center tomorrow (7/25) from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm PT from the Aqua Camel booth.  What is Aqua Camel?  It’s a self-watering plant pot system that uses 65% less water.  The company is co-founded by Tim Sabean, former Sirius Satellite Radio and CBS RADIO programmer…..Hearst-owned WBAL, Baltimore  “NewsRadio 1090” agrees to a new multi-year partnership with the Naval Academy Athletic Association to continue serving as radio flagship for Navy football.  This will be the 11th consecutive year WBAL has broadcast Navy football.

blackstoneaudioGot Old Radio Shows? Opportunity to Monetize Content in Your Basement.  One of the largest independent audiobook companies in the world, Blackstone Audio, is looking to expand its product offerings beyond audiobooks into spoken-word, including comedy, opinion pieces, soundtracks (non-musical), old-time radio and TV shows, sports broadcast highlights, and any other forms of spoken-word or subject matter that would be interesting to the audio-listening public.  Blackstone would offer the content owners of recorded audio programs that they choose to license or distribute an arrangement under which the content owners would receive the majority of the net revenue from the sale of their content to the public by Blackstone.  If you have recorded spoken-word content and would be interested in having Blackstone Audio consider it for licensing or distribution contact Larry Harris at talkharris@olypen.com.

talkersten logo2016 Presidential Candidates and Trump Criticisms Tie for Top Spot on Talkers TenTM.  The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the criticism of Donald Trump’s recent statements tied for the top spot on the Talkers TenTM for the week of July 20-24.  At #2 this week was the Iran nuclear deal.  Coming in at #3 was talk about the U.S, immigration policy and the sanctuary city concept followed by threats from ISIS at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

| July 23, 2015

voltair imageNielsen Audio-Voltair Debate Rages On.  The industry is still aflutter with chatter – and quite a few blogs – over Tuesday’s Nielsen Audio webinar in which the ratings giant told clients its tests of Telos Alliance’s Voltair audio processor showed no conclusive evidence that the unit positively impacted the PPM unit’s ability to pick up the embedded codes in any way that could affect ratings.  Although Nielsen did admit that in some circumstances, Voltair did give the watermark a boost that would allow the PPM to pick up more codes.  Broadcasting consultantkabrichrandy Randy Kabrich responded to that conclusion in a recent blog post in which he explained that – due to the U.S. system of Quarter Hour measurement – picking up some extra codes via Voltair which might have gone undetected without it, still would not increase ratings because the Media Rating Council testing done on PPM concluded the measurement system “hears” enough of the codes to get an accurate record of listening.  The Voltair unit has only been in the field for less than a year and it appears there isn’t enough data, available publicly anyway, to produce sound conclusions about whether – or exactly how – the unit affects the audio and the PPM’s reception of it across all radio formats.  Even Telos Alliance doesn’t seem to have all the answers about its product as Kabrich points out in today’s blog post that focuses on contrary opinions about whether certain music “encodes well” for PPM.  Read it here.

cumulus logoCumulus-Commissioned Study Indicates Radio Advertising Helped Drive Awareness of Amazon Prime Day.  The Ipsos study commissioned by Cumulus Media/Westwood One analyzing how advertising drove awareness of the July 15 Amazon Prime Day was done to “understand how effective advertising and radio is to drive online purchases.”  The study concluded that: 81% of Americans aware of Amazon Prime said they were exposed to some form of advertising for the event; one out of five Americans reported making a purchase during Amazon Prime Day because of advertising; three out of five Amazonamazonprimeday Prime subscribers (18-49) exposed to advertising said they purchased something during Amazon Prime Day; and radio advertising was the most effective at converting awareness into Prime Day purchases when compared to TV and online.  Of those exposed to radio ads, 52% made a purchase versus TV (39%) and online (48%).  Cumulus and Westwood One chief marketing officer Pierre Bouvard comments, “Advertising put Amazon Prime Day on the map, and radio was the most effective at converting awareness into purchases.  The greatest Amazon Prime Day purchases occurred among Millennials, households with children, and those with a full-time job — precisely the profile of the American radio listener.”

ramseydaveDave Ramsey Show to Air on WRKO, Boston.  The Dave Ramsey program will air in the evening daypart, immediately following the Howie Carr afternoon drive show on Entercom’s news/talk WRKO, Boston, effective July 27.  Entercom Boston market manager Phil Zachary says, “After a long day reporting and talking about hard news, Dave’s show invites our listeners into the homes of America’s working class to hear their stories, struggles and triumphs.  It’s radio ‘comfort food’ ideally suited to New England values.”  This addition comes shortly after other changes to the station’s program lineup that include the move of former morning host Jeffrey Kuhner to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot and the addition of Kim Carrigan as host of the “Boston.com Morning Show.”

wtemlogoWTEM, Washington Inks Clinton Portis for Redskins Coverage.  Washington Redskins great Clinton Portis is joining Red Zebra Broadcasting to serve as an analyst for the upcoming football season.  Portis played seven seasons for the Redskins.  WTEM “ESPN 980” says that in addition to joining afternoon show personalities Chris Cooley, Steve Czaban, and Al Galdi every Monday during the football season, Portis will also co-host a monthly one-hour show, Fridays during the season, where he’ll provide a detailed look at the Redskins performance.  Portis comments, “I am so excited to finally be on the air covering the team I love.  Chris Cooley was a great teammate and close friend and we promise to make it as memorable as we did during our playing career.”

Odds & Sods.  After a Tweet from ESPN Radio’s Ryen Russillo, we now know that the 10-year ESPNrussilloryen personality will remain with the sports media giant.  Russillo reports “I’m staying at ESPN” after his status with the company was being questioned.  His former radio partner Scott Van Pelt recently leaving the radio gig for new roles in ESPN’s cable programming and other highly publicized cuts at the company had industry watchers wondering if Russillo would remain…..At Calvary-owned Pittsburgh news outlet KQV, Bruce Sakalik resigns from the station after 15 years — the last 10 as morning news anchor.  He leaves radio for a position with Comcast.

wfanBoomerCartonBryan15Boomer & Carton Host Daniel Bryan.  WFAN, New York morning hosts Boomer Esiason (left) and Craig Carton (right) pose for s photo with WWE superstar Daniel Bryan on the show’s set today (7/23).  Bryan appeared on the program to plug his new book, Yes! My Improbable Journey to the Main Event of WrestleMania (St. Martin’s Press 2015).  During the interview Bryan spoke about his career, his marriage to Bella Twin, Brie Bella, and his story of the couple’s house being robbed.

2016 Presidential Candidates, Iran Nuclear Deal, Planned Parenthood Videos, Immigration Policy-Sanctuary Cities, Chattanooga Slayings Aftermath, ISIS Threat, and Sandra Bland Death Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/22).  The activities of the candidates for president in 2016, the state of the deal with Iran over its nuclear program; fallout over the two recent videos showing Planned Parenthood doctors haggling over the price for human tissue from abortions; the conversation about the immigration policy in the U.S. and the cases of sanctuary cities; the memorials to the Marines slain in the Chattanooga attacks and questions about the radicalization of shooter Mohammed Abdulazeez; the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment of the threat posed by ISIS; and scrutiny of the arrest and death of Sandra Bland were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

| July 22, 2015

nielsen logoNielsen on Voltair and PPM: The Morning After.  Yesterday’s Nielsen Audio webinar with PPM client stations regarding upcoming changes to its PPM technology and the Voltair audio processor from Telos Alliance has the industry buzzing.  As you know, Nielsen has been testing the Voltair unit and has concluded that it cannot “support” Voltair, saying it found nothing substantial to show the processor positively affects the PPM unit’s ability to pick up the watermark tone that credits listening.  A number of managers and programmers have subsequently commented anonymously that they remain unconvinced by Nielsen’s research and presentation.  One programmer tells TALKERS, “Their research proved without a doubt that Voltair recorded more listening in certain formats when the PPM was in a noisy environment.  However, they did a flip-flop in their presentation, stating that ‘Voltair’s increased recording of listenership was inconclusive.’  Interestingly, at the same time they announced the rollout of an enhanced and more robust watermark which should be in the field by fall.  If there was not a problem, then why the new watermark?”  But broadcasting consultant Randy Kabrich writes in a blog post today in which, in this instance, he defends Nielsen’s response.  He says it’s well known that PPM doesn’t hear all of the codes and because of the 15-minute Quarter Hour ratings method employed in the U.S., it doesn’t need to.  “The Media Rating Council has examined every aspect of the PPM very extensively with their audits…[The] policies for stations to receive credit from the PPM codes were put in place many years ago after years of testing because it is known that the PPM meter misses codes!  And yet, the results are statically valid.  Otherwise no PPM markets would be accredited by the MRC.  And don’t you find it interesting that the MRC has agreed to look at Voltair with stations who have gone to them based on their own observations?  Look at it from the outside.  What do those stations gain?  It is almost as if they have post purchase dissonance and need someone to tell them they made the correct decision.”  Read Kabrich’s interesting blog piece here.

francesamikeWhat Would it Take to Reunite Mike Francesa and Chris Russo?  That’s what New York sports talk fans are probably wondering after a passing question to Chris “Mad Dog” Russo by YES Network (and WEPN-FM, New York) personality Michael Kay about whether he’d considering working withrussochris WFAN, New York afternoon personality Mike Francesa again received the answer, “Yeah, I would.  Definitely.  I miss the camaraderie.”  Francesa was asked the same question by Newsday and told the paper that he would consider it.  Both Russo and Francesa are under contract to their respective employers – Russo through 2016 with SiriusXM and Francesa with CBS RADIO through 2017.  It’s no secret that Francesa is unhappy with his relationship with CBS.  NJ.com reports that Russo told Kay he handled his 2008 exit from WFAN and the Francesa partnership poorly and wishes he’d been more up front about the situation.

vandirkDirk Van to Retire from Westwood One’s ‘First Light.’  For 26 years, Dirk Van has been the only host of Westwood One’s early morning news magazine “First Light,” but he announces that Thursday, July 30 will be his last day.  The company says he “leaves with a legacy of accomplishments and awards.”  Dirk also hosts “The Week in Review” news program and has anchored morning drive newscasts throughout his successful career.   Van says of his 35-year radio career, “Radio is all about people, and I’ve had the great fortune to work with the best in the business, following in the footsteps of my father, Lyle Van – awestwood one NEW radio legend at NBC and WOR — and others greats like Lou Adler, Nick Verbitsky, Tom O’Brien, Ron Nessen, and Bart Tessler.  Hosting our morning magazine, ‘First Light,’ has been an amazing experience and has allowed me to work with talented broadcasters for more than a quarter century.  Talking to listeners on a daily basis has kept me grounded, and hopefully provided a window into what America is thinking.  And to think — we started way back when talk radio was ‘new.’  Helping to create an exciting, new product, Westwood One News, has been especially rewarding, and being a part of its success is a great way to cap a career.  And talk about ‘sailing off into the sunset’— that’s exactly what I plan to do, with my beautiful wife, Paula, who has put up with those agonizing broadcasters’ hours all these years.  To all my friends at Westwood One, thank you!”

valentinephilTalk Host Phil Valentine Wins Screenplay Competition.  Nashville-based talk show host Phil Valentine picked up first place honors at the Colorado Film Festival in the screenplay competition.  The Westwood One-syndicated personality’s “Derek Dickens & The Dream” screenplay is a fictional story of one man’s mid-life crisis that turns him into an international pop sensation when he takes on an imaginary persona through which he lives out his lifelong dream. This 50-year-old fabricates a 20-something British band, with himself at the lead, and it takes the world by storm.  He realizes no one is prepared for this kind of success, at any age.  Noting that the Colorado Film Festival is watched by industry pros, Valentine jokes, “I’ve been sitting by the phone waiting for a call from Hollywood.  I already have Robert Downey, Jr. planned for the lead.”  This is not the first accolade for this screenplay; it was a finalist in nine other film festivals, including the Beverly Hills Film Festival, the American Movie Awards, and the Atlanta Film Festival.  Valentine has been dabbling in film alongside his radio career for several years now.  He recently wrote and produced the award-winning documentary, “An Inconsistent Truth.”

biztalkradioBizTV and BizTalkRadio Enter News Game.  The business news reports that will be available to air from 9:00 am to 5:05 pm daily are being produced by Little Rock-based Independent News Network.  It is a five-minute, top-of-the-hour product that gives stations the option of running the whole cast or choosing from headlines, market reports or business stories.  BizTV and BizTalkRadio EVP Scott Miller says, “We felt there was a void in the marketplace for business news.  There are several great resources for news, but our TV and radio affiliates wanted a news product that follows the stock market and provides business centered news stories.”

Odds & Sods.  Morning show personality Sergeant Sam Cox is retiring from his gig at Emmis-owned news/talkcoxsam KLBJ-AM, Austin.  Cox has been with the station for 28 years.  He served with the Austin Police Department for 31 years and retired from the force in 1995…..WKGN, Knoxville is flipping from regional Mexican to sports talk after Hodges Media purchased the station from Richardo Espinosa for $225,000.  The station is using Fox Sports Radio Network programming in addition to local shows.  The station will work with the Tennessee Volunteers platform GoVols247.comNate Hodges and mcmanusadamexecutive producer Brad Matthews will host the 7:00 am to 10:00 am show and Tom Poisal will host the afternoon drive show…..Talk radio pro Adam McManus sits in for WPGP, Pittsburgh “AM 1250 The Answer” morning personality Rose Tennant August 17-21.  He recently did fill-in work for KMJ, Fresno where PD Blake Taylor says, “Adam did a great job filling in at KMJ – lots of energy and thought-provoking topics.  Generated tons of calls!”…..Three-time Super Bowl Champion and ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth begins producing a new, weekly podcast on PodcastOne called, “The Stinkin’ Truth.”  PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “What a great addition to our network of sports programming.  A great athlete and communicator, Mark joins Shaq, Dan Patrick, Steve Austin, Ross Tucker and so many more on that list.  Mark’s podcast will be a stand out, and we expect it to deliver a significant audience and become a featured attraction in the podcast world.”

2016 Presidential Candidates, Iran Nuclear Deal, Chattanooga Killings Aftermath, New Planned Parenthood Video, Illegal Immigration-Kate Steinle Death, ‘El Chapo’ Escape-Mexican Corruption, and Sandra Bland Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/21).  The activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the fragile state of the Iran nuclear deal and the response from nations around the world; the investigation into terrorist ties to Chattanooga shooter Mohammed Abdulazeez and the aftermath of the slayings; the surfacing of a second video showing a Planned Parenthood doctor haggling over the price of fetus body parts; ongoing talk about the state of the U.S.’s immigration policy and the death of Kate Steinle; talk about Mexican corruption in the wake of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s escape from prison; and the arrest and subsequent death in jail of Sandra Bland were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

| June 23, 2015

talkersnyc15RatingspanelSean Hannity Moderates Blockbuster Panel on Audience Measurement at Talkers New York 2015 – See Video Today!  One of the highlights of the recently held (6/12) Talkers New York 2015 mega-conference is now posted on Talkers TV – “The State of Radio Ratings.”  Moderated by Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity, the panel includes (in alphabetical order): Phil Boyce, SVP, Salem Media Group; Erica Farber, president/CEO, RAB; Steve Goldstein, CEO, Amplifi Media; Richard Harker, founder, Harker Research; Tom Langmyer, VP/GM, E.W. Scripps; Jon Miller, VP Audience Insights, Nielsen Audio; and Greg Moceri, CEO, Moceri Media.  The session is introduced by Brian Kilmeade, host, Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel.  The hard-hitting, no-holds-barred conversation addresses the ongoing problem of achieving accurate radio ratings – particularly in the spoken-word formats – during audio media’s transition into the digital era. Issues such as the PPM, the new Voltair device, achieving adequate sample size, and the challenge of rating elusive online listenership are analyzed.  Each panelist brings their own insights, problems and solutions to the discussion with Nielsen’s Jon Miller formidably bearing much of the brunt of probing questions and stinging criticism.  This video is a must-view for all professional radio broadcasters today.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “I have been organizing and attending industry conferences since 1976.  This particular session provides more valuable take-aways than any I have ever witnessed in my entire career, as well as moving the interests of a fairer and more productive radio industry forward.  My congratulations to all the participants – especially Jon Miller – for bring their A-games to the table.  And Sean Hannity shows what a major league host and moderator he is – above and beyond his skills as a ‘political’ talk show host.  Sean’s constituency in this case is everyone who makes, or is trying to make, their living in radio.  He delivers a real clinic on how to run a discussion.  I give him a 10.”  To view the entire session, please click here.  Coming tomorrow:  An intimate “fireside chat” between Cumulus Media EVP, John Dickey and Michael Harrison.

voltair imageTelos Alliance’s Dr. Barry Blesser Explains Voltair’s Success.  The conclusion drawn by Telos Alliance director of research Dr. Barry Blesser regarding his company’s controversial Voltair products is, “The way that the radio industry handles the current Voltair controversy will influence its likelihood of surviving.”  Most industry pros are aware of Voltair and the controversy over the reliability of Nielsen Audio’s PPM measurement system.  Those who are not should be getting up to speed quickly and Blesser’s paper illustrates – from Telos Alliance’s perspective at least – what Voltair does, what it doesn’t do, and how it is affecting what radio listeners hear and don’t hear in PPM-rated markets.  The selling point for the $15,000 signal processing unit is that it helps stations make up for alleged inadequacies in the PPM technology and Blesser’s paper explains how those inadequacies manifest themselves for radio programmers.  One of the issues is Blesser’s assertion that different types of audio are “friendlier” to PPM code tones than others.  He says, “Voltair is basically an AGC (automatic gain control) compressor that keeps the tones higher in amplitude when they are on their way to becoming too small.  Voltair produces tone energy similar to that of a well-encoded audio signal.  The tones are perceived as being louder in part because they are of longer duration.  Why does increased duration make a difference?  Because the detector cannot identify the frequency of a tone if it is too short.  When a tone is relatively constant for the full half second, all is well; but if the tone lasts for less than a tenth of a second, the meter has no idea about its frequency.  And the exact frequency is required to determine the meaning of the codes. Tones are truncated when the spectral content of the program is in short bursts. Interestingly, speech is comprised of short spectral bursts.”  That last part may not bode well for spoken-word programming.  Nielsen says it is testing the Voltair unit, but so far the industry has heard nothing.  Blesser writes, “In the decade since PPM was rolled out, radio has changed dramatically as programmers, who, ‘teach to the test’ of PPM’s technical properties, have shortened or eliminated spoken word segments, moved clocks around, and even dumped whole formats.  Now, with Voltair providing tremendous insight as a monitoring/measurement tool, this dynamic has accelerated as programmers have proven to themselves the correlation between PPM’s technical underpinnings and raw meter count.  Assuming Nielsen refuses to address technical issues raised by Voltair, we can expect this trend to accelerate.  Call it the law of unintended consequences where a measurement methodology drives programming decisions, determines careers and discards content, all in service to watermarking success.”  Read the entire paper here.

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallFly Me to the Moon – Actually the Moons (of Pluto)!  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has been expanding his probes beyond radio deep into the media universe via his international hit Podcast One program “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” This week, he takes his audience of “media freaks” billions of miles across the solar system in advance of NASA’s “New Horizons” mission’s unprecedented fly-by of the Pluto system on July 14.  Harrison interviews Dr. Alan Stern, a leading planetary scientist who is the “principle investigator” of this exciting and historic project and the two get into illuminating detail of the solar system’s unfolding new paradigm.  There is a lot more to the debate about whether or not Pluto is a “planet” than the mainstream media is indicating… and there is hardly consensus among scientists about the topic.  Harrison states, “All these technologically wondrous probes and space satellites are connecting the human nervous system to places that were once considered one-dimensional abstractions, completely out of reach.  After all, ‘media’ is the extension of human consciousness by technological means – plain and simple.  We used to use drums and smoke signals.  Then we accomplished such major feats as laying a trans-Atlantic cable across an ocean.  Now we are ‘wiring’ the solar system!  Anyone see an amazing pattern here?  To listen to Michael Harrison’s exclusive conversation with Dr. Alan Stern, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column of every page of Talkers.com.

nyfest smallNew York Festivals Names Winners in 2015 International Radio Program Awards.  The winners in this year’s New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards were presented last night (6/22) at the annual gala at Manhattan Penthouse in New York City.  The Grand Jury honored RTÉ Ireland with the prestigious title of Broadcaster of Year and TBI Media UK with Production Company of the Year.  In addition, three prominent companies earned the coveted Grand Award: New York Philharmonic USA, TBI Media UK, and WNYC-Radiolab USA.  Commercial broadcasters from the U.S. that won awards included ESPN Radio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio and Gold Coast Broadcasting’s news/talk KVTA, Ventura, California.  The 2015 Grand Jury awarded 3 Grand Awards, 53 Gold trophies, 62 Silver, 58 Bronze, and 117 Finalist Certificates submitted from 32 countries.  All entries were judged online by the NYF Radio Awards Grand Jury of radio experts from stations and companies around the globe.

Odds & Sods.  Former Cumulus Media executive Marko Radlovic – market manager for Los Angeles stations KABC and KLOS – returns to Spanish Broadcasting System to serve as SVP and West Coast regional manager…..iHeartMedia has a new senior vice president of programming for its New Hampshire stations.  Tim Moore is in charge of programming for the station including news/talk WGIR-AM, Manchester; WQSO-FM, Portsmouth; and sports talk WPKX, Portsmouth.  He takes over for Jeff Pierce who recently joined Saga Communications’ Portland, Maine station group.

carrhowieSiegel15Boston Legends Go to Bat for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.  Boston talk radio legend Howie Carr (right) chats with WXKS, Boston “Kiss 108” morning personality Matty Siegel (left).  The two were at The International in Bolton, Massachusetts for the Ted Rubin Memorial Golf Tournament – a six-year old charity event that has raised more than $1 million for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Dr. Richard Stone’s Leukemia Research.  It was Howie Carr’s first live remote since he took ownership of the Howie Carr Radio Network in 2014.  Carr jokes, “It’s great to be working with the Jimmy Fund and Dana Farber, especially with an elder radio statesman I’ve always looked up to since my youth – Matty Siegel.”

gracies15b2015 Gracie Awards.  The 2015 Gracie Awards were presented at the New York Hilton on June 22 by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation.  This photo shows just a few of the high-profile attendees and winners.  (From l-r): Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Lori Lundin, anchor/reporter WTOP and Gracie winner (also host of the new experimental animal rights show “Vox Animali” on TalkersRadio); Kristen Welch, chair, AWM/F and SVP, global content operations, Discovery Communications, Inc.; Chad Lopez, VP/market manager, Cumulus New York; Kelly Ford, WNSH, New York host and Gracie Winner; Maire Mason, VP/GM WNSH, New York; Valerie Blackburn, VKB Media Consulting and past chair of AWM/F; Pavlina Osta, Gracie Winner; Loren Raye, Gracie Winner and co-host of “The TJ Show,” WODS-FM, Boston; Matt Bosso, WASH-FM, Washington; Emme, supermodel; and Kay Olin, Olin and Associates and past chair of AWM/F.

madisonrisingREDMadison Rising Releases New Album American Hero RED.  That band that bills itself as “America’s most patriotic rock band,” is releasing its American Hero RED album. Madison Rising says the new record is completely remixed and remastered to deliver the cleanest and strongest sound possible.  It includes four additional tracks: “Amazing America,” the band’s powerful rendition of the classic Marines’ Hymn, the hauntingly beautiful “Soldier’s Christmas” and its brand-new rendition of the Irving Berlin classic, “God Bless America.”  As with the original American Hero album, American Hero RED is anchored by Madison Rising’s best-selling rock rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner.”  Originally released in the summer of 2012, both the song and video have become huge hits, catapulting the band into the national spotlight and creating one of the most loyal fan bases in rock music history.  The band has recently partnered up with Concerned Veterans for America as well as the Young Marines National Youth Organization and is currently embarking on an ambitious 70-city tour.  Madison Rising is on a mission to make great rock music and send a message that American culture is alive and well.  Led by navy veteran and former 8404 FMF Corpsman Dave Bray, the band promotes the principles of liberty, independence, smaller government and personal responsibility. For review copies, please contact albumreview@madisonrising.com.

Charleston Church Massacre/SC Confederate Flag Issue, Obama Uses ‘N-word,’ Pope Francis’ Climate Encyclical, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Taylor Swift-Apple Music Case, and Massive U.S. Govt. Cyber-Breach Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/22).  The aftermath of the church massacre in Charleston and South Carolina’s debate over the Confederate flag; President Obama’s use of the “n-word” during an interview; the flap over Pope Francis’ climate change encyclical; the potential candidates for president in 2016; Taylor Swift calls out Apple Music over payments to songwriters and musicians; and concern over the massive security breach at the government’s Office of Personnel Management were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, June 15, 2015

| June 15, 2015

2015 NYC 150Packed Talkers New York 2015 Conference a Hit with Attendees.  Talk media industry practitioners jam-packed the India House in Manhattan’s Financial District on Friday, June 12 for a full day of presentations, panels and speeches as TALKERS magazine celebrated its 25th anniversary serving the talk radio industry at its 18th annual New York-located national conference.  The day began with a continental breakfast and reception titled, “Breakfast with Hannity,” sponsored by the Premiere Networks-syndicated talk radiokilmeadeHannityFrancesa15 superstar.  WFAN, New York sports talk legend Mike Francesa kicked off the presentations with a powerful and informative welcoming speech.  Panel discussions included such topics as “The State of Radio Ratings,” “The Big Picture,” “Generating Talk Radio Revenue,” “Programming Talk Radio in 2015,” “Variety, The Spice of Life,” and “Navigating a Talk Host Career.”  The program also included a one-on-one “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Cumulus Media EVP, content & programming John Dickey, plus the TALKERS quiversTalbott15Awards Presentation during which WOLB, Baltimore morning host Larry Young received the “Humanitarian of the Year Award,” Howard Stern co-host Robin Quivers received the “Woman of the Year Award,” CBS Radio News VP Harvey Nagler was presented the “Lifetime Achievement Award,” and ABC Television, director, business continuity Howard B. Price received the “Freedom of Speech Award.”  Michael Harrison states, “We are deeply gratified, humbled and grateful by the SRO turnout and the tremendous love and support we have consistently received that has allowed TALKERS and all its various projects to make it to the quarter-century milestone.  This conference exuded a level of confidence about the future of the talk industry held by its key players that we haven’t seen in years!”  Video of each of the sessions and presentations will be made available online via Talkers TV, along with detailed story and photographic coverage of the conference, beginning next week.  Above right, FOX News’ Brian Kilmeade, WFAN’s Mike Francesa and Sean Hannity share a joke.  Lower left, Premiere Networks’ Julie Talbott (left) presents the Woman of the Year Award to Robin Quivers (right).

limbaughrush15iHeartMedia to Create New Boston Home for Rush Limbaugh on WKOX.  Dropping the Spanish music format “Mia 1430,” iHeartMedia will launch “Talk 1430” WKOX on Monday, June 29 with Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh as the centerpiece along with company stalwarts Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck surrounding him.  WKOX is licensed to Everett, Massachusetts and its primary signalwkox logo covers the city of Boston and reaches many of its suburbs.   iHeartMedia is going with a sports and talk hybrid using FOX Sports Radio content in addition to syndicated talk programming.  Here’s the lineup: “FOX Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman & Mike North” in AM drive; Glenn Beck from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Limbaugh; Sean Hannity from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; “America Now” from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; Westwood One’s Mark Levin from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight; and FOX Sports Radio during overnights.  iHeartMedia Boston market president Alan Chartrand says, “We are excited to bring this powerful lineup of talk show hosts to our cluster here in Boston.  We are confident that the biggest names in the talk radio format will serve our listeners and advertisers well.”

voltair imageCanada’s Numeris Orders Voltair Units Disabled Until Further Notice.  Canada’s Numeris – formerly called the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement – has ordered all Canadian radio stations to disconnect their Voltair units from their audio chains.  The audio processor manufactured by 25-Seven – a division of TelosAlliance – has been a controversial topic within U.S. broadcast circles recently for reportedly enabling stations in Nielsen’s PPM markets to “amplify” the encoding that PPM receivers use to “hear” in order to give stations credit for listening.  As was discussed at the Talkers New York 2015 conference on Friday (6/12) on the “State of Radio Ratings” panel, Voltair is currently being tested by Nielsen but no such edicts have been issued here.  Canada’s Numeris states in a letter to station owners that the order to shut off Voltair comes because of the “importance of a level playing field.”  Numeris admists it doesn’t know if the technology is affecting ratings or not but that it expects to have an analysis of Voltair done within 60 days.

hessbillCumulus Media Elevates Hess to Corporate PD of News/Talk. A session moderator at last Friday’s (6/12) “TALKERS New York 2015,” Bill Hess takes on corporate responsibilities in addition to his role as program director of Cumulus Media Washington, DC news/talker WMAL-AM/FM. According to Cumulus executive vice president of content and programming John Dickey, “Bill is one of the format’s best minds. We look forward to sharing him within our company.” Senior vice president of content and programming Mike McVay comments, “This promotion enables us to take advantage of Bill’s previous experience as a corporate programmer and rewards him for the amazing job that he is doing at WMAL.” Hess remarks, “I deeply appreciate – and am incredibly energizedCumulus by – this opportunity to work with John Dickey, Mike McVay, and our team of talented programmers as we continue to drive the success of the industry’s leading platform of news-talk brands, both on-air and digitally.” Formerly senior vice president of programming for Air America Radio, Hess was brand manager for Clear Channel/iHeartMedia and was PD of talk stations in Providence (WHJJ); Springfield, Massachusetts (WHYN-AM); and Worcester, Massachusetts (WTAG), as well as operations manager of Washington, DC progressive talker WWRC, sports WTEM, and conservative talk WTNT. The Philadelphia native has programmed FM music stations in Washington, DC (adult contemporary WASH and classic rock WBIG); Providence (hot AC WSNE and classic hits-oldies WWBB); Springfield, Massachusetts (hot AC WHYN-FM); and Worcester, Massachusetts (adult contemporary WSRS).

wrkologoNew Course Set at WRKO, Boston.  In a press statement announcing the hiring of Alison Harris as sales manager for Entercom’s news/talk WRKO, Boston, VP and market manager Phil Zachary says filling this two-year-vacant post signals the station’s readiness to forward with the next step inharrisalison its evolution.  He comments, “Like every talk radio station in America, WRKO has been evolving with the changing media habits and demographic shifts in our society.  We did not want to fill this important position until our course was set for the future and we found the perfect candidate.  I’m thrilled we’re now at that point and that Alison was available to us.”  Harris is a 22-year media pro who was most recently with Clear Channel Outdoor’s Washington, D.C./Baltimore Division as vice president of sales.  The Boston news/talk will part with Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh next month and says it will announce its new, official lineup a little later this month.

Odds & Sods.  Boston journalist and talk show host Michele McPhee told her listeners on Friday afternoon that she expects to beat the charges leveled against her after a late night incident on Thursday that resulted in her beingmcpheemichele arrested for DUI, resisting arrest and assaulting an officer.  McPhee – heard on WMEX, Boston in afternoon drive – says she can’t comment specifically on the advice of her attorney.  She was pulled over after a police officer reported seeing her car swerve on I-93 in South Boston.  The Boston Herald reports she became belligerent with the officer and even sustained a head injury while the officer was arresting her…..Salem Media Group names Randy Bush general manager of its Little Rock station group that includes Christian contemporary KKSP, Christian teaching KDIS and news/talk KHTE “96.5 The Answer.”…..Townsquare Media announces Mike “Sandman” Sanders is the new operations manager for its Billings, Montana cluster that includes news/talk KCHH “Newstalk 95.5.”  He was most recently with Riverbend Communications as music director and afternoon personality at adult contemporary KCLE, Idaho Falls “Classy 97.3.”

Nielsen Audio Releases Fourth Round of May 2015 PPM Data.  The fourth and final round of May 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford.  The May 2015 survey period covered April 23 through May 20.  You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here.  Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.

njba logoNJBA Conference and Gala Begins This Week.  The annual New Jersey Broadcasters Association Conference and Gala opens this week in Atlantic City with his year’s theme: “Broadcast Has  New Attitude.”  NJBA president  & CEO Paul Rotella states, “We’re going to hear from a variety of voices during this conference which  will provide you with the latest and most substantial evolution in research, technology and advancement in audience measurement.”  During the conference, the NJBA will be honoring FOX News’ Judge Andrew P. Napolitano as its recipient of the Howard L. Green Humanitarian of the Year.  Also, Greater Media’s Peter Smyth will induct Dan Finn, Harry Hurley, Dick Swetits, and Kevin Williams into the NJBA Hall of Fame.

hobbsgabe‘Get Well’ Wishes to Gabe Hobbs.  Longtime radio pro and Gabe Hobbs Media principal, Gabe Hobbs is recovering from a ruptured disc in his lower back.  He writes to the industry that he’s been largely unable to communicated while literally “on his back” in the hospital for the better part of the last two weeks.  He writes, “As some of you may have heard, I have been hospitalized with a ruptured disk in my lower back for a couple of weeks.  My back just seemed to explode on the afternoon of May 26th and I’ve been largely unable to answer emails, phone calls or texts ever since.  I couldn’t even sit up or walk for 9 days.  I’m finally able to do a little work on the computer and have somewhat cogent phone conversations at this point…My apologies as I know many of you are wondering if I just dropped off the face of the earth.  Everyone at TALKERS wishes Gabe a speedy recovery.