Tag: "WAMU-FM"

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.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

| April 28, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

| January 8, 2020

Elliot Jacobson Joins Newsmax TV as EVP of Programming/Chief Content Officer. Television executive Elliot Jacobson joins Newsmax TV as executive vice president of programming and chief content officer.  He most recently held the same position with Comcast-backed Baby Boomer-targeted network RLTV.  Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy comments, “Elliot comes to Newsmax with a significant career in content strategy, programming operations, and production.  We’re excited because Elliot has a tremendous background in content and will help us implement our 2020 plans and beyond.”  Jacobson began his career as a news producer in Spain and has held positions at news and entertainment networks and production companies over the last 25 years.  He has consulted extensively on programming strategy and operations for emerging networks domestically and internationally.  He is a frequent speaker on the subjects of Boomer audiences and consumers.  He says, “I have followed Newsmax’s extraordinary growth over the last several years and I am enthusiastic to join the team.  Chris Ruddy has positioned Newsmax to become a critical source of news and information in the media landscape.”

It’s Official: Rush Limbaugh Renews with iHeartMedia. During his rally in Miami over the weekend, President Trump revealed that Rush Limbaugh had signed a new – the president said – four-year deal with iHeartMedia’s Premiere Networks.  In an official release, iHeartMedia says the “specific terms” are not being announced but “long-term, multi-platform agreement reflects The Rush Limbaugh Show’s decades-long dominance in the talk radio format, including increased audience levels and revenue.”  In a statement, Limbaugh says, “Growing up, dreaming of and pondering success, I never actually envisioned it to the degree I have experienced it.  And it would not have happened without a huge audience of Americans, people who make the country work; hundreds of great radio stations who took a great risk 31 years ago; and the wonderful people at iHeartMedia, who know radio almost as well as I do.  Now, four more years!  There is nothing I would rather do!”

PPM Analysis: Public Radio News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s December 2019 PPM survey, today reporting on the public radio news/talk format.  Public radio talk fared better than its commercial news/talk “cousins” in the build-up to the holiday season with half of the stations on our panel see positive weekly 6+ AQH share movement and only 32% of stations seeing a decline when comparing November to December data.  The year-over-year comparison – December 2018 to December 2019 – shows about half the stations were up (48%) and the other half went down (52%).  Two public radio news/talk stations ranked #1 in their respective markets: WAMU-FM, Washington and KUT-FM, Austin.  However, five public radio news/talk stations ranked #2 in their markets.  See all the data here.

TALKERS News Notes. At Salem Media Group’s KDXE-FM, Little Rock “101.1FM The Answer,” Rush Limbaugh now airs in the 11:00 am to 2:00 pm daypart.  The Premiere Networks superstar moves there from Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk KARN-FM.  FOX News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade assumes the 11:00 am to 2:00 pm slot at KARN-FM…..Production pro Jody Avirgan leaves his senior editorial producer position with ESPN where he produced and voiced the “30 For 30 Podcasts.”…..Podcast producer cabana adds two new programs to its portfolio of shows.  “Voices for Justice” is a true crime program hosted by Sarah Turney, whose sister Alissa went missing in 2001.  “ONE Extraordinary Marriage” is co-hosted by Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo, marriage coaches and co-authors of 7 Days of Sex Challenge.  cabana SVP of business development Frank DeSantis says, “We’re excited about 2020 and kicking off the new year with these two great podcasts.  Our advertisers are eager for podcasts that tap into the interests and emotions of listeners.  We look forward to working with Sarah and the DiLorenzos and to bringing their audiences to national advertising brands.”

Iran Air Strikes/Middle East Tensions, Trump Impeachment, Presidential Race, Financial Markets Activity/The Economy, Hunter Biden Paternity Case, and Puerto Rico Earthquakes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/7). Iran’s strikes against U.S. bases in Iraq in the aftermath of the U.S.’ killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani; the impeachment articles against President Trump; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in November; the activity in the financial markets and the health of the U.S. economy; a judge rules Hunter Biden is the father of the child of a former DC stripper; and the earthquakes wreaking havoc in Puerto Rico were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Houston, Jessie Watt joins the cast of “The Morning Mix” on Entercom’s hot AC KHMX “Mix 96.5” alongside air personalities Sarah Pepper and Geoff Sheen.  Watt comes to Houston from her most recent position at the company’s WYCD, Detroit where she was the on-air producer for the “Chuck, Rachael and Grunwald in the Morning” program.  Watt says, “I am beyond thrilled to be joining Entercom Houston’s incredibly accomplished ‘Mix 96.5’ team.  I feel lucky to be able to spend my mornings working and laughing with the fiercely talented Sarah Pepper and Geoff Sheen and am extremely excited for the opportunity to work under [market manager] Sarah Frazier and [program director] Chase Murphy.”…..iHeartMedia and FOX Entertainment announce the nominees for the 2020 iHeartRadio Music Awards that will air live from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 29 from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm.  The event also will be broadcast on iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide and the iHeartRadio digital platform.  iHeartMedia president of entertainment enterprises John Sykes says, “The iHeartRadio Music Awards is a true celebration of the music and artists that millions of fans listen to every day on their favorite radio stations across the country.  FOX’s young and engaged audience has proven to be the perfect home for our iHeart listeners.”  You can see the nominee list here…..The Premiere Networks-syndicated hip hop show “The Breakfast Club” is now airing on Cumulus Media’s hip hop WMNX, Wilmington, North Carolina “Coast 97.3.”  WMNX program director and afternoon drive host Brandon “Bigg B” Hickman says, “We are excited to bring a fresh morning to Wilmington with breaking hip hop and R&B with Angela Yee, Charlamange the GOD, and DJ Envy.  This addition pushes the urban culture forward with topics from trending news, finance, and politics wrapped up in a music intensive show on the way to work.  They and we are the culture!”

Thursday, November 7, 2019

| November 7, 2019

iHeartMedia Third Quarter Revenue Rises 3%. Revenue for iHeartMedia, Inc. – whose shares became listed on the NASDAQ on July 18 of this year – was $948.3 million, an increase of 3% compared to the same period in 2018.  Digital revenue increased 33.4%.  Looking at the first three quarters of 2019, revenue was $2.66 billion – an increase of 2.8% over the same period in 2018.  The company says, “Our traditional radio business, which is comprised of our Broadcast and Networks revenue streams, is stable and growing.  Broadcast revenue declined by 0.6% on a reported basis and increased 0.4% excluding the impact of political revenue, while Networks grew 9.2% year-over-year driven primarily by growth in our Total Traffic & Weather network.  Networks also grew sequentially by almost 300 basis points over the second quarter. Our growth was also driven by our Digital revenue stream, which grew 33.4%.  Digital revenue growth was primarily driven by growth in podcasting, as well as other digital revenue.  Audio & Media Services declined 14.3% on a reported basis and increased by 0.2% excluding the impact of political revenue.  Political revenue primarily impacts our Broadcast and Audio & Media Services revenue, and therefore these revenue streams tend to show greater variance in non-political years.  Sponsorships increased by 4.4% year-over-year. Importantly, all of our revenue streams grew year-over-year excluding the impact of political revenue, demonstrating the continued momentum in our business.”

Beasley Broadcast Group Reports Q3 Net Income Up 1.5%. Net income for Beasley Broadcast Group’s 2019 third quarter was $66.1 million, an increase of 1.5% over the same period in 2018 and the company says that “reflects increased revenue in the Company’s Philadelphia, Detroit, Boston, Charlotte, Fayetteville, and Wilmington market clusters. Net revenue for the three months ended September 30, 2019 was comparable to net revenue for the same period in 2018 at the Company’s other market clusters.”  For the first nine months of 2019, net income was $189.5 million, an increase of 4.1% over the same nine-month period in 2018.  Station Operating Income increased 12.7% year-over-year in the third quarter of 2019.  The company says the year-over-year increase is primarily attributable to higher revenue in the 2019 third quarter and lower station operating expenses related to $1.7 million of non-recurring bad debt expense that was recorded in the comparable 2018 period, partially offset by higher expenses at recently acquired stations.  Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley states, “Throughout the third quarter, we continued to advance our revenue diversification initiatives and actively manage our local radio broadcasting and digital platforms, while implementing our operating disciplines at recently acquired stations to drive SOI growth and margin expansion.  Record third quarter net revenue of $66.1 million was driven by the strength of our station clusters in four of our top five largest revenue markets, as well as contributions from recent acquisitions and more than offset the approximate $0.9 million of combined political, spectrum and United States Traffic Network traffic revenue recorded in the 2018 third quarter, which did not recur in the 2019 third quarter…Third quarter results also began to reflect financial contributions related to our new and expanding digital development and diversification initiatives. Beasley generated a year-over-year increase in digital revenue of approximately 37%, with digital now accounting for 7.4% of total revenue, compared to 5.4% of total revenue in the prior year period. Going forward, we remain committed to increasing digital share of total revenue as we continue to aggressively roll out our digital transformation strategy across the organization.”

Urban One Third Quarter Net Revenue Basically Flat at $111.1 Million.  While third quarter net revenue was up just 0.3%, Urban One’s broadcast and digital operating income was up 3.2% on $44.8 million, compared to the same period in 2018.  Operating income was approximately $32.5 million for the three months ended September 30, 2019, compared to approximately $32.1 million for the same period in 2018.  Urban One CEO and president Alfred Liggins III says, “During the third quarter we completed the sale of WDMK to Beasley Broadcasting, as a result of which our cash position improved, and net leverage was reduced. On a same station basis, our third quarter radio revenues were up 4.2%, and I was pleased that we were able to grow the Radio Broadcasting segment Adjusted EBITDA by 6.6%.  Same station core radio revenues, excluding political, are currently pacing down low single digits for the fourth quarter.  Cable Television advertising was robust in the quarter, up 7.8%. While digital revenues decreased by 6.4%, we were able to post significant Adjusted EBITDA growth in that segment as a result of improved cost control.  Overall, we were able to grow Adjusted EBITDA by 5.8% for the quarter, and I believe we are well positioned to achieve our strategic goals for the year, with Adjusted EBITDA in the range of $138-$140 million.”

Nielsen Announces Plans to Split into Two Companies.  Along with its third quarter financial results, Nielsen Holdings Plc is announcing that it will “separate the Global Media and Global Connect businesses through a spin-off of the Global Connect business.”  Global Media is the audience measurement division and Global Connect is the consumer data division.  CEO David Kenny says, “We are pleased with our third quarter results.  Both Media and Connect revenues were ahead of our expectations, reflecting strong execution as well as our focus on driving faster, bolder decisions to enhance value for Nielsen and for our clients.  We also announced today the conclusion of our strategic review and our decision to separate Global Media and Global Connect.  As we look forward, we remain focused on executing on our growth strategies and positioning both businesses to create value for our shareholders.”  The strategic review was led by chairman of the board of directors James Attwood, who says, “Nielsen has two strong and global franchises — Global Media and Global Connect.  Following an extensive review process, which included an in-depth analysis of our businesses, strategies and market opportunities, the Board concluded that separating into two independent, publicly traded companies is the best path to position each business for long term success and maximize value creation.  As independent companies, both Nielsen — the Global Media business — and the new company consisting of Global Connect will enjoy added flexibility and further strengthen their paths toward a new phase of growth, productivity and industry leadership.”

Q3 2019 Flat for Saga Communications. Third quarter net revenue for Saga Communications, Inc. was $31.3 million, basically flat compared to 2018’s Q3 figure of $31.7 million.  Station operating expense increased $171 thousand to $23.6 million and operating income decreased $520 thousand to $4.8 million compared to $5.3 million for the same period in 2018.  Net Income decreased $361 thousand to $3.3 million for the quarter.  On a same-station basis, third quarter net revenue decreased $1.4 million to $30.3 million.  Looking at the first three quarters of 2019, net income was flat with the same period in 2018 at $9.4 million.  Net revenue decreased $610 thousand to $91.3 million.  On a same-station basis for the nine-month period, net revenue decreased $3.8 million to $88.1 million.  Saga reports having $42.3 million in cash on hand as of November 4, 2019.  The company’s total bank debt was $10 million as of the end of the quarter.

PPM Analysis: Public Radio News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s October PPM survey, today focusing on the public radio news/talk format.  More than 60% of public radio news/talk stations were up (weekly 6+ AQH share) compared to the September 2019 survey.  Year-over-year, the results were split about 50/50, with half the stations up and half down. Four high-performing public outlets ranked #1 in their respective markets in October.  They were: WAMU-FM, Washington; KPBS-FM, San Diego; KOPB-FM, Portland; and KUT-FM, Austin.  Perennially top-ranked public outlet KQED, San Francisco ceded the #1 spot to Entercom’s all-news KCBS-AM, San Francisco in October.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Sun Broadcast Group to Rep All of Envision Networks’ Products in 2020. This agreement between Sun Broadcast Group and Envision Networks is an expanded sales representation agreement that now includes all Envision Networks shows and services.  Envision Networks CEO and president Danno Wolkoff says, “We started with Sun Broadcast Group selling all of our Spanish inventory and began adding more general market advertising to their networks as we grew.  SBG’s ability to maximize our lineups and create networks with such high advertiser demand fueled the development of many new shows and services.  It’s only fitting that Jay [Bailey], Julio [Aponte] and the Sun team now represent all of Envision Networks’ advertising sales in 2020 … we’re thrilled to be working together.”

TALKERS News Notes. Greenville, South Carolina news/talk WYRD-FM “106.3 WORD” adds a translator to its broadcast.  Now carrying the station’s signal is W270AM, Anderson, South Carolina at 101.5 FM. Anderson is about 25 miles southwest of Greenville.  Entercom Greenville-Spartanburg SVP and market manager Steve Sinicropi says, “We’re happy to meet the demand from listeners and advertisers to expand 106.3 WORD’s over-the-air signal to Anderson County using 101.5 FM.  Anderson is a fast-growing market that we are looking forward to serving with 106.3 WORD’s programming on all of our platforms.”…..Kentucky sports talk host Matt Jones will be off his WLAP-AM, Lexington-based program after U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission.  Jones has announced he’s exploring the possibility of running as a Democrat for McConnell’s senate seat.  The iHeartMedia station asked Jones to step away from the program after the complaint was issued.  Jones was relieved of his duties at WLEX-TV, Lexington in July after he made his political ambitions known…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is presenting a news special titled, “30 Years After the Fall: The Legacy of the Berlin Wall,” that explores the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.  Correspondent Chas Henry hosts the program as he reports from the site where the Berlin Wall once stood.  He talks to scholars about why the wall was constructed and with residents who watched it come down.  The half-hour program airs Thanksgiving weekend.  Stations interested can contact Jim Jones at jimjones@westwoodone.com or 202-840-7933 for more information.

Impeachment Process, Ukraine Affair, 2020 Presidential Race, Tuesday’s Election Results, Mormon Family Massacre, China-Hong Kong Tensions, New HIV Strain, and OK Boomer Meme Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/6). The impeachment process against President Trump; the testimony about President Trump’s alleged quid pro quo offer to Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; Democratic victories in Virginia and Kentucky in Tuesday’s elections; the massacre of nine members of a Mormon family by drug cartel members in Mexico; the ongoing tensions between Hong Kong and China; the discovery of a new strain of HIV; and the controversy over the “Ok Boomer” meme were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the Fresno market, iHeartMedia names Angel “Visa” Jarquin program director for hip hop KBOS “B95.”  He comes to “B95” from his most recent position with the company’s CHR KDON, Monterey where he was afternoon drive personality and assistant program director.   iHeartMedia SVP of programming for Central California and Nevada Tony Matteo says, “Angel’s incredible track record of success and his experience in the format make him an ideal fit to spearhead this market’s leading brand in Fresno.  We’re excited to bring his energy to the ‘B95’ team.”…..JVC Media announces the addition of Long Island radio personality Bill “The Wiseman” Wise as morning host at WPTY-HD2/W251BY, Patchogue, New York “Oldies 98.1”  JVC New York general manager Bruce Shepard says, “The Wiseman is a great addition to our staff.  He will not only be on the airwaves of ‘Oldies 98.1,’ he will also work with the team to develop new and exciting live events and concerts for ‘Oldies 98.1.’  I am thrilled to have him on board.”…..Country outlet WYCD, Detroit  hosted last night’s “Stars and Strings Presented by RAM Trucks Built to Serve” event that raised more than $25,000 for Folds of Honor, the organization that provides educational scholarships to spouses and children of America’s fallen and disabled service members. Entercom has now raised more than $275,000 to support the cause.  The RADIO.COM event featured performances by Keith Urban, Maren Morris, Lady Antebellum, Kelsea Ballerini, Jon Pardi, Brett Young, and Ryan Hurd…..iHeartMedia’s rock WJRR, Cocoa Beach, Florida announces the all-star lineup for its “Earthday Birthday Number 27” music festival taking place on Saturday, April 18, 2020 at the Central Florida Fairgrounds and Orlando Amphitheater.  Performing will be: Shinedown, Halestorm, Theory Of A Deadman, Beartooth, Fozzy, Dirty Honey, New Years Day, Crobot, and Dinosaur Pile-Up, with more to be announced…..Cox Media Group classic hits WSRV, Atlanta “97.1 The River” will celebrate its 14th birthday with “The River’s Rockin’ Birthday Bash Presents: Journey with Pretenders” on Thursday, August 13 at Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood in Atlanta.  Station director of branding and programming Chris Eagan says, “We can’t wait to celebrate The River’s 14th birthday with our awesome fans.  Journey and Pretenders will definitely put on an unbelievable show to help us party on August 13!”

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

| July 2, 2019

Mapleton Communications Sells 37 Stations in Seven Markets to Stephens Media Group. This is an exit from the radio business for California-based, Jim Shea-led Mapleton Communications.  The price for the 37 stations in Medford, Oregon; Merced, Monterey, and Redding, California; Spokane, Washington; and Alexandria and Monroe, Louisiana was not revealed in the press release.  But, with Mapleton previously agreeing to sell KSFN-AM, San Francisco and its Chico, California stations to Bustos Media, it will have divested of all of its radio assets.  The buyer in this transaction is Oklahoma-based Stephens Media Group, led by David Stephens.  Stephens begins operating the stations immediately under an LMA.  Stephens Media owns stations in Tulsa and Ardmore, Oklahoma; Watertown, Ogdensburg, Massena, and Rochester, New York; and Yakima and the Tri-Cities in Washington.  Several news/talk and sports talk stations are involved, including KYOS-AM, Merced; KQMS-FM and KNRO-AM in Redding; KCMX-AM in Medford; and KGA-AM in Spokane. You can see Mapleton’s stations here. KALIL & CO., INC. is the exclusive broker for this transaction.

KMOX Promotes Amy Marxkors to Daily On-Air Role. Effective immediately, Amy Marxkors begins a regular on-air role with Entercom’s KMOX, St. Louis joining station institution Charlie Brennan as a co-host of the “Total Information AM Overdrive” Mondays through Thursdays from 8:30 am to 9:00 am and will stay on the air for “The Charlie Brennan Show” from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. Marxkors joined the station in 2018 as a sports reporter and host.  Prior to joining Entercom, she served as co-host of the St. Louis Blues weekly hockey show “Chili’s Week in Hockey” in 2016, that aired on KMOX.  She joined the Blues radio broadcast in 2017 and became the first woman to host the pre- and post-game of a radio broadcast for any St. Louis professional sports team in February 2019.  Entercom St. Louis SVP and market manager Becky Domyan says, “Amy is a rising star in radio and has shown tremendous growth on air while covering everything from the Blues Stanley Cup run to discussing local and national issues during our long-form talk shows.  She has a very bright future and I’m looking forward to the impact she can make on KMOX.”  In addition to her role on the morning show, Marxkors will continue to cover the St. Louis Blues and the National Hockey League by hosting a weekly hockey podcast.

Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Continues Posting Today with Lee Habeeb of “Our American Stories” Delivering Official Welcoming Address.  TALKERS is continuing to post key speeches, presentations and sessions from the recent 22nd annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story.  Today’s post presents the convention’s official opening address titled, “Telling the Story,” delivered by one of the industry’s great storytellers, Lee Habeeb, host and producer of the tremendously successful syndicated program, “Our American Stories.” The first two videos already posted today are of RAB president/CEO Erica Farber receiving the Woman of the Year award and SiriusXM Satellite Radio star “Cousin” Bruce Morrow receiving the Lifetime Achievement award. The convention took place in New York City on Friday June 7 and was one of the most positively received in the event’s colorful history.  TALKERS plans to add one or two videos per day to those posted until all the major events of the conference are posted here at Talkers.com.  To see the videos and convention video page, please click here.

News and News/Talk Radio Analysis. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an assessment of “the temperature of spoken-word stations as a complete entity in all 48 PPM-markets.”  Formats involved in this report are news/talk, all-news (including business or financial news), and public radio news/talk.  As this report is based on Nielsen Audio’s PPM surveys, the rating metric is weekly, 6+ AQH share from subscribing stations.  Looking at the May PPM survey, the #1 market for news and news/talk is Washington, DC.  On the strength of Hubbard’s all-news WTOP-FM, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM, and American University’s public radio news/talk WAMU-FM, the format garnered a 22.7 share in May.  Rounding out the top three markets are Milwaukee and San Francisco.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

TALKERS News Notes. Sources in Philadelphia tell TALKERS magazine that news/talk WPHT program director Jared Hart has exited Entercom.  We’ve reached out to Entercom Philadelphia for confirmation but have not yet heard back…..In addition to his work as a nationally syndicated talk show host for the Salem Radio Network, Hugh Hewitt also serves as president of the Richard Nixon Foundation.  In that capacity, he announces two coming events being held at the library in Yorba Linda, California centered around the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing in 1969.  On July 20, the “Earth to Moon: The Longest Distance Phone Call in History” celebration will commemorate Nixon’s call to the Apollo 11 astronauts on the surface of the moon.  Nixon White House officials Dwight Chapin, Larry Higby, and John Price – who were with Nixon the night he made the historic call will be in attendance.  Then, on July 23, the library will present the “Splashdown Celebration” with Dr. Buzz Aldrin to honor the legendary Apollo moonwalker…..ESPN’s annual ESPYS Auction benefiting the V Foundation for Cancer Research is again teaming up with eBay for Charity for its 15th year.  Bidding for the 80-plus VIP packages and experiences is now available on eBay and will remain open through July 10.  Senior vice president of ESPN Audio Traug Keller says, “Everyone at ESPN Radio is beyond proud to have played a role in raising funds for cancer research with the ESPYS Auction the last 15 years.  Seeing the support from fans bidding on experiences or directly donating to the V Foundation is truly something unique and special.”…..The nationally syndicated “Free Talk Live” program reports the addition of new affiliate station WSLW-AM/FM in Lewisburg, West Virginia and the expansion of carriage of the show on existing affiliate KINN-AM/FM in Alamogordo, New Mexico…..The Houston Chronicle reports that longtime market radio news pro Charles L. “Chuck” Scott died on June 28 after complications from a fall and previously diagnosed lung cancer.  Scott most recently served with Houston Public Media’s KUHF-FM.  During his long career he worked in the news department KIKK-AM, KNUZ-AM, and KQUE-FM.  He also worked for a number of years in the late 1960s and early 1970s at WLS-AM, Chicago.

Simmons Takes Over for Ryan at Salem Boston. At Salem Media Group’s three-station Boston cluster, Pat Ryan retires as general manager and general sales manager Carole Howley Simmons is promoted to the GM position. Salem operates three Christian stations in the market – WROL-AM, WEZE-AM, and WWDJ-AM.  Salem regional VP Jeff Reisman says,  “Throughout Carole’s tenure she has proven herself to be a creative and compassionate leader, skills that will serve her well as GM.  Carole brings a wealth of local-market knowledge and tenacity that will be instrumental in growing the Salem Boston radio stations/digital services to their full potential.”

Trump’s Meeting with Kim Jong Un, U.S. Tariffs Strategy, U.S.-China Trade Talks, 2020 Presidential Race, Immigration Reform-Detention Facilities, and Iran Nukes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/1).  The meeting in the DMZ between President Trump and Kim Jong Un; the U.S.’s tariffs strategy, including proposed tariffs on European Union goods; President Trump and China’s Xi Jinping enter into trade talks; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020; the Trump Administration’s immigration reform efforts and controversial reports of conditions at border detention centers; and Iran’s violation of the nuclear deal 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. Classic call letters are returning to California’s Central Coast as Cumulus Media announces the launch of classic hits KRUZ. At the same time, the company announces that classic hip hop KVYB at 103.3 FM signs off in the Santa Barbara market and moves to the 106.3 FM frequency in the Oxnard market.  Cumulus Oxnard/Ventura RVP and market manager Sommer Frisk says, “Everything good takes time.  And, after more than a decade, it’s time we bring KRUZ 103.3 FM back to the Central Coast!  It’s also the right time to move ‘106.3 The Vibe’ to Oxnard to give the fans what they’ve been begging for.  With the combination of KRUZ 103.3’s powerful signal, along with the synergy of its legendary sister brand ‘106.3 The Vibe,’ we will provide new and exciting ways for our listeners and marketing partners to engage with the fans up and down the Central Coast.”…..Entercom names Brian Shannon morning show co-host for classic rock KGON.  Shannon joins Terry Boyd on “Terry Boyd’s World,” effective July 8.  Shannon says, “I am incredibly excited to be going home to radio and to be working alongside one of Portland’s best, Terry Boyd. Radio is my happy place and I’m planning to be a part of this station and this city for a long time.”  Prior to joining Entercom, Shannon was an editor and anchor for KROI, Houston “News 92 FM.”…..iHeartMedia re-brands country WCKY-FM, Toledo as “Buckeye Country, 103.7 ‘CKY.”  Market president Shosh Abromovich says, “We’re so excited to once again be playing some of country music’s greatest songs from the 80s and 90s through today.  You may even hear some older classic country from time-to-time.”  The Bobby Bones show remains in morning drive.  Bob Delmont and Bob Pickett will split middays.  Meaghan Mick continues in afternoon drive.  Tom Travis handles evenings and “CMT with Cody Allen” airs in the overnights…..Speaking of Bobby Bones, his Premiere Networks-syndicated “Country Top 30 with Bobby Bones” program is now airing on the Chris Stevens-owned “Chris Country” format heard in numerous markets in the UK.  Also joining “Chris Country” is “Women of iHeartCountry,” an hour-long weekend program hosted by Bones and Amy Brown.  Each week on the show, they spotlight music from both established female country music artists and promising up-and-comers…..Last weekend, Premiere Networks-syndicated personality Delilah welcomed more than 100 guests to her home outside Seattle for the fifth-annual “Farm to Table” fundraiser for her non-profit foundation Point Hope.  2019 marks Delilah’s 15-year commitment to Point Hope, an organization she established as a voice for forgotten children everywhere. The immediate focus of the Foundation is supporting children in the U.S. foster care system, as well as refugee children in Ghana.  Pictured below is Delilah (left) and four-time Grammy Award-nominated artist Chris Daughtry, who performed for the dinner guests.

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